No Right Explanation

No Right Explanation
Best Cutscenes Ever

Firefilm | 2 Jul 2012 16:00
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Kyle: Okay. Let me get this out of the way ...

I know what cutscenes are. I know what film noir is. I know that my Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy jokes were cheap, easy jokes. Folks who have decided that I don't, let me retort in your language:

Um, no. Ur wrongz. And I will fights you.

Anyway, the cutscene debate was a chance for Chris and I to wave our fanboy flags. While he took to Nintendo like a platypus to water, I feel the need to defend my Rockstar heritage.

And I think that schism is the inherent difference between two large groups of gamers. Chris is very old-school. He wants a game to be about skill, competition, and a fantastic world of its own logic. I, on the other hand, look for an engaging immersion style. I want an interactive movie with me as the star. And cutscenes become way more important in that regard.

The SSBB cutscenes are way more bang for your buck. I'm the first to admit it. Lots of character interaction in tiny packages, and then back to the action. And copious amounts of dialogue cannot accomplish that.

But at the same time, Max Payne's eerie and twisted fall into madness as he fights to take down the mob, the corrupt politicians and the evil corporations easily becomes a bloated nap.

Remember the Max Payne movie? Remember what it was like to watch a generic action guy blow the hell out of generic bad guys while the bare-bones plot justified it and the supporting cast phoned in every moment (as if they had no idea if they were villains, heroes, lovers, or furniture)?

That's what the game would be like if you took the cutscenes out. No other game has made minor, level-specific boss fights into the showdowns Max Payne did. Jack Lupino, B.B., Frankie Niagra, Vinnie Gognitti ... these guys were just warm-ups for the bigger fights, but we learned so much about them during those cutscenes that they feel real. They are over-the-top characters that shouldn't die in the movie or comic book narrative that is their lives.

But if you take the cutscenes out of Brawl, you essentially have the same game. Not as much fun personality, perhaps. No Nintendo charm, at most. But beating on Jigglypuff feels the same. It is not made generic by the lack of cutscenes.

And I understand that the graphic novel format of the Max Payne cutscenes is not technologically impressive. But it fits. If the characters were rendered as lifelike shades of real people, it might make the game more impressive in that regard. But I'd argue that it would take the style out of the story, and turn it into a bad FMV game from 1996. I would probably throw a huge fit if Max Payne 3 had the technology of L.A. Noir for cutscenes.

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