No Right Explanation

No Right Explanation
Best Cutscenes Ever

Firefilm | 2 Jul 2012 16:00
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Dan: I personally think that the cutscene additions to the Mass Effect 3 endings fixed the problems I had with the game. So much so that I am considering playing through the entire game again just to experience the story the way it should have been from the start. It's amazing that in the medium of video games, video can make the game worthwhile, even if the game can stand on its own. Some games like Half-Life try to incorporate the story that would have been in a cutscene into gameplay itself. As fun as this is, if you truly want to wow your audience and have them staring at their screen mouth-agape, you have to give them a break from gameplay to allow for it.

Points, points, who's got the points? Chris tried to snag the first point but just spewed Nintendo love for a few minutes, so Kyle breaks the seal instead. It's been a long time since many of us have played the first Max Payne, but the cutscenes were really quite revolutionary in adding to the atmosphere. The embedded example someone posted in the comment section reminded me how powerful they were. Still though they were, the mix of narration and sound effects made them more like a motion comic. The atmosphere they added, the story they furthered ... like a layer of chocolate sauce drizzled on your best French hooker.

Chris showed his true colors, red and white I guess, by supporting what Kyle branded "Nintendo porn". The cutscenes of Brawl basically show Nintendo fans everything they've ever wanted to see, as prizes to be won between frenetic battles of gameplay. Argue how you may the gourmet cutscenes of Max Payne, sometimes people just want the comfort food of Brawl. Just be sure to put on your stretchy pants and stop judging me.

Kyle pulled ahead with an interesting argument about cutscenes setting up the following action. In Brawl, we know it is a fighting game. There isn't a level where you solve a physics puzzle or shoot zombies, it's just a fighter. A cutscene isn't going to raise any tension other than who is going to be fighting whom. Max Payne on the other hand, is going to get you engrossed in a cutscene comic, and either drop you into a firefight or into a back alley where you are searching for clues. In a time before quick-time events, you were glued to the cutscenes to see what hot mess you were going to be dropped into, and that was good game design.

Chris made the next argument about his cutscenes being quick and, at first glance, you might think that is a silly point to award. Then you play Metal Gear Solid 4 and you realize that quick cutscenes are the best thing in the world ever ... ever.

Kyle, coming in for a nice solid win, landed the final point by stating that the cutscenes in Max Payne really fleshed out the characters, and made us care about who we were fighting. If anyone has seen the Thomas Jane Punisher movie, you know that the military friend he had betrayed him. If you watched the director's cut, you know why he betrayed him. A little exposition makes that version vastly superior, and the same applies to Max Payne. There was really no reason why the Brawl characters were fighting, it was just cool to do. Maxy boy managed to have an excellent story, and look cool all at the same time.

Kyle's smile was wider than the gaping hole in a semi-truck after it plows head-on into a road divider going 100mph.

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