Shaky Cam Games

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Shaky Cam Games

Yahtzee dishes on "shaky-cam" games like Castlevania and retires the phrase "like God of War."

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it wasn't good in the Blaire Witch project, it isn't good now. dunno why it's getting popular

Cloverfield was actually really good, but the size of the monster wavers somewhat.
I have never played GoW, so that hack'n'slash genre is just that to me, a game where yuou hack things to shreds.

i think someone should take into account that not everyone owns all the consoles, so when a "God of War-clone" hits the market that's multi-platform, why should gamers care if its a ripoff? its not like they own a PS3, they'll take the clone and call it awesome anyways because they can't get the real thing

this is why games should not be compared to each other unless there is a GLARING rip-off (like Kratos's name spelled backwards for the main character or villian or the protagonist fighting greek gods)

i did not enjoy cloverfield. :)

Hyperboly FTW!

Liking RE5 makes you racist and liking Dante's Inferno makes you an emo, misogynistic dork. I'm glad I've never played either of those games.

Azaraxzealot:
i think someone should take into account that not everyone owns all the consoles, so when a "God of War-clone" hits the market that's multi-platform, why should gamers care if its a ripoff? its not like they own a PS3, they'll take the clone and call it awesome anyways because they can't get the real thing

this is why games should not be compared to each other unless there is a GLARING rip-off (like Kratos's name spelled backwards for the main character or villian or the protagonist fighting greek gods)

Are you telling me that Sotark, raw fo dog is a rip off? Sacrilige!

Can't recall the shaky cam in Castlevania.

I just finished it on Friday, after 2 weeks of not playing, and can't recall the shaky cam.

WHERE THE FUCK WAS IT? Someone jog my memory, damn it.

Onyx Oblivion:
Can't recall the shaky cam in Castlevania.

I just finished it on Friday, after 2 weeks of not playing, and can't recall the shaky cam.

WHERE THE FUCK WAS IT? Someone jog my memory, damn it.

Me either. I mean, it moves about on its own, sure. But I recall it sweeping about smoothly when it moved. There may have been times where it swept gently and slowly about while otherwise maintaining the same angle... but that's not shaky cam.

It's not too much of a stretch to suppose that the power level of our favorite fantasy personas is inversely proportional to how weak and powerless we perceive ourselves as.

I agree with this as this fits with my personal experience: I prefer weaker but more human characters over super-powered heroes, possibly because I don't view myself as being weak or powerless (sorry this makes me sound a little full of myself). This is backed up by the fact I know several super-hero fans who have a big "I suck" attitude to their own life.

"So, if God of War is popular, it's because lots of people today are emo, selfish, self-hating, physically weak, sexist, responsibility-avoiding whiners who sympathize with Republican economic policies." -Crosshaw

I very much like this theory, might explain why everyone also like zombie games, you picture yourself as the only person with a brain left to be eaten by the monstrous hordes of mall going consumers.

Also not strictly speaking a Republican policy, just popularized by them.

haha, oh man, I love it when Yahtzee gets sincere, even if he hedges it with a joke.

A "hand-held" camera does not require the image to be shaky. Shaky is just terrible. It is not the equivalent for realism or even a hand-held camera if the image is shaking like Michael J. Fox's coffee.

The movie [Rec] offers a great example here. The camera operator should be awarded. He is just a stone cold professional quickly walking up stairs carrying a heavy camera and the image stays as smooth as if they were on rails.

I'm not racist, I hate everyone the same (j/k)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103905/

The only real excuse for shaky cam is when the camera operator is the sole documentation of the experience, a participant in said experience, and when the realism of the experience is not sacrificed for an instant.

Most games (and even movies) have problem with that last part, where realism is temporarily sacrificed by cheap tricks to maintain interest in the plot.

To be fair, I generally dislike movies (or games) that use hand-held cameras for the above reason, and especially don't like it when it's obviously a Steadicam operator faking it. (I'm looking at you, US version of "The Office".)

I liked Cloverfield - shakycam has its place, but its place is in movies where the intention is to make it difficult for the audience to see what's going on sometimes so as to (theoretically at least) make people pay close attention and wonder what's happening in the bits of the world they can't see.

It surely doesn't make any sense to draw attention to the camera in a game, though - are you supposed to think you're actually controlling two people, one with the action controls and one mysterious cameraman figure with the camera controls (if there are any)? And if so, why doesn't camera guy put down the camera and help you when you're being eaten by demons?

(Actually now I think a Cloverfield/[Rec]-style game in which the person with the camera is a character you do control and you can swap it back and forth and maybe deal damage with it might be quite cool...)

Heh, that's the kind of Extra Punctuations I like to read, I always picture the ZP like a staged shows where Yahtzee jumps around the cage flinging poo at the face of onlookers, and then comes the XP where he changes into a robe with a pipe sitting in the living room with a chimney talking you down with his intellectual prowess haha.

And yeah That's weird but I gotta admit this XP was better than the ZP last week. I just wished I was quoted...

Yahtzee Croshaw:
You have a big angry bloke who seriously needs to get over something, generally a lady friend.

Gabriel Belmont was not particularly angry in the game. I would say more that he was conflicted, and not just for personal reasons, and if you watch the end (before the credits...), he makes peace with everything he's done and forgives himself.

They take it out on non-human creatures with a weapon that incorporates a chain so that it can have a decent reach.

Kratos kills humans too, incidentally. He pretty much kills everyone. Gabriel only kills the monstrous. And every single action game I can think of has that. Even TFU has you killing Rancors.

It has quick light attacks and slow heavy attacks,

Well.... technically Castlevania divides it into single enemy and multiple enemy attacks. Both do have light and heavy attacks, but so does just about every game ever.

as well as combos involving the two, air combos and the ability to grab and instakill the enemy with the circle button if you're just completely bored with tossing the guy around.

Every action game I can think of has air combos. Castlevania does have some grab insta-kills against some enemies, and not *every* action game does. Though a lot do.

You gather souls from enemies and use them to upgrade your combos and magic spells you learn along the way, and collect things that eventually make your health and magic bars bigger.

Just about every single action game has this. (I can't think of an exception off the top of my head, but there are a couple I'm not completely sure of... like I can't remember if you upgrade your health bar in NG2, but you certainly collect 'souls')

Then at the end of it you kill whoever the local equivalent of Satan is.

Hades is God of War's equivalent of Satan. So even God of War doesn't fit this formula. Unless you just generically mean "The game has an end boss". And all action games do.

Many games mix and match some or most of these elements but the three that do every single one of them are God of War, Dante's Inferno and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.

Apart from not *technically* being true, due to Gabriel being a different sort of protagonist, why exactly do you think this is? Might it be because you cherry picked? Bayonetta and Castlevania share a timed block/dodge slowdown mechanic that none of the other games have. God of War shares multiple selectable primary weapons with Ninja Gaiden II, and Castlevania does not have this. Ninja Gaiden II and Heavenly Sword both have chain weapons.

Almost everything you listed is *extremely* common in action games to the point that nearly every one has it. The only exceptions are chain weapons and grab finishers. These aren't the feature for feature copies you want to make them out to be.

Labcoat Samurai:

Onyx Oblivion:
Can't recall the shaky cam in Castlevania.

I just finished it on Friday, after 2 weeks of not playing, and can't recall the shaky cam.

WHERE THE FUCK WAS IT? Someone jog my memory, damn it.

Me either. I mean, it moves about on its own, sure. But I recall it sweeping about smoothly when it moved. There may have been times where it swept gently and slowly about while otherwise maintaining the same angle... but that's not shaky cam.

Ok it's not shaky when you are moving, but try standing still in at the begining of a stage where Gabriel is really close to the screen and don't move at all. You will notice it waves from one side to the other like if the cam was on top of a big dog's head or something.

At that last bit where he says you're a racist if you loved RE5, did anyone else think of the ZP tune kicking in just than? Also, I only played a little bit of it, but I think Castlevania needs to stick to 2D. Either that or play around with 2.5D, but no more 3D...

Yeah, I have to agree that I hate when the cameramen from COPS decide to be outsourced to shooting sequences in video games. I think it supposed to be about immersion, but it is more about motion sickness. When the main character is running down a hall, and the camera sways back and forth to simulate the motion of running, isn't it redundant? We already know the character is running, we don't need some third party to show the effect that running has on a person's point of view. All it does, if anything, is contribute to the "idea" (I use the term loosely here) that someone with an artistic edge thinks it makes the scene more dramatic. Perhaps if you drew the viewer in with a more interesting story, you wouldn't need to resort to some hack camera work trope to draw attention to something.

In RE5, I get that it was to build intensity to a moment of escape. It helped to play to the moment of being pursued by zombies and whatnot. When a camera is in a third person position behind the character in a "chase cam" situation, a la COPS, it doesn't make it believable that the camera would sway since we all know this is just a digital environment wherein there was never a camera operator on scene. If anything, it takes you more out of the moment in making it seem any more real.

Now in the situation where the camera is placed in first person perspective, it makes more (if not the most) sense to convey a certain emotion through the angle of the lens since we can't see any reactions from the character and are left to our own imaginations. When the writers purposely withhold plot information for the sake of character development, we don't always understand why a character would react the way they do without knowing the whole story upfront, which is (hopefully) the purpose behind why we are playing the game. Games such as GoW that fall into the hack-n-slash category shouldn't fall prey to the COPS cam since you only see those kinds of angles in a movie (if that is where they are drawing on the influence) during a chase scene or moment of intense combat which should last less than a minute to showcase some single special moment. Peppering a game with random moments of a camera placed on a dolly with a broken wheel don't make your game seem any more interesting to person playing it, they just tend to lose focus on whatever the hell it is you want us to pay attention to until you FINALLY pan around and lock on to it. Whipping the view around to make it seem more realistic or interesting just has the opposite effect.

Take for instance the game Gears of War. When you have the character run, the camera gets blurry and moves from side to side to simulate the action through the visual medium presented. So why the hell is it when the character runs, he suffers from tunnel vision at the same time? Moments like that make me wish that virtual reality had become the more dominant technology over three dimensions because at least you had the freedom to turn your head and change the view yourself instead of the programmer locking the camera to show off whatever film school influence they had or wish they had. Static angles help more to establish environments and mood than your gonzo line of sight tricks.

Misho-:

Labcoat Samurai:

Onyx Oblivion:
Can't recall the shaky cam in Castlevania.

I just finished it on Friday, after 2 weeks of not playing, and can't recall the shaky cam.

WHERE THE FUCK WAS IT? Someone jog my memory, damn it.

Me either. I mean, it moves about on its own, sure. But I recall it sweeping about smoothly when it moved. There may have been times where it swept gently and slowly about while otherwise maintaining the same angle... but that's not shaky cam.

Ok it's not shaky when you are moving, but try standing still in at the begining of a stage where Gabriel is really close to the screen and don't move at all. You will notice it waves from one side to the other like if the cam was on top of a big dog's head or something.

Ah, I do remember it sort of gently swaying from time to time.... that's not shaky cam, though, so it's disingenuous to compare it to the faux documentary tradition. It's not evocative of amateur film-making. Instead, it's more evocative of the confused, almost dreamlike mental state of the protagonist.... if I'm remembering it correctly... honestly, it didn't really stand out to me.

I gotta be honest, but I am getting sick of Yahtzee's cynicism and judgmental attitude.

Also, I have no idea what he's talking about when he refers to the "shaky cam" in Castlevania. It was quite obvious in Kane and Lynch 2, but Castlevania's cam was just fixed - it never shook.

P.S. I know he's joking about some bits, but these jokes just aren't that funny anymore.

the comments about GoW do bring up an interesting point about action game protagonists: that they exist as nothing more than wish-fulfillment Gary Stus to make the player feel elevated. It's why I prefer far more down-to-earth and well-rounded protagonists who serve to give a good hero rather than make the player feel like they're Awesome McGenericbadass

Azaraxzealot:
i think someone should take into account that not everyone owns all the consoles, so when a "God of War-clone" hits the market that's multi-platform, why should gamers care if its a ripoff? its not like they own a PS3, they'll take the clone and call it awesome anyways because they can't get the real thing

this is why games should not be compared to each other unless there is a GLARING rip-off (like Kratos's name spelled backwards for the main character or villian or the protagonist fighting greek gods)

That's surely a judgement that the audience can make for themselves. If he calls an Xbox game a God of War rip-off, but an Xbox is all you have, maybe that's the game for you.

Given that, games should definitely be judged and compared to everything else that exists in their medium and genre. If someone makes an Xbox game called Dog of Bore which is identicle to God of War except the protaginist is a talking dog, it deserves to be criticized as the creatively-bankrupt rip-off it would be, regardless of the fact that it gives Xbox owners a chance to essentially play GoW. It'd only be calling a spade a spade.

sravankb:
I gotta be honest, but I am getting sick of Yahtzee's cynicism and judgmental attitude.

Also, I have no idea what he's talking about when he refers to the "shaky cam" in Castlevania. It was quite obvious in Kane and Lynch 2, but Castlevania's cam was just fixed - it never shook.

P.S. I know he's joking about some bits, but these jokes just aren't that funny anymore.

Yeah, it's a bit obnoxious when he treats something good that you like as though it was a pile of crap. CV is a really good game, and he's gone easier on some legitimately awful games. Oh well. If you read Yahtzee without first eating your spoonful of salt, you're likely to run into this from time to time.

Misho-:

Labcoat Samurai:

Onyx Oblivion:
Can't recall the shaky cam in Castlevania.

I just finished it on Friday, after 2 weeks of not playing, and can't recall the shaky cam.

WHERE THE FUCK WAS IT? Someone jog my memory, damn it.

Me either. I mean, it moves about on its own, sure. But I recall it sweeping about smoothly when it moved. There may have been times where it swept gently and slowly about while otherwise maintaining the same angle... but that's not shaky cam.

Ok it's not shaky when you are moving, but try standing still in at the begining of a stage where Gabriel is really close to the screen and don't move at all. You will notice it waves from one side to the other like if the cam was on top of a big dog's head or something.

Oh, and one other point on that. Stand still for a while in *any* 3rd person game. The camera will eventually start moving on its own. Just sayin'

"So, if God of War is popular, it's because lots of people today are emo, selfish, self-hating, physically weak, sexist, responsibility-avoiding whiners who sympathize with Republican economic policies."

That pretty much sums up most gamers I know.

Wankers.

L.

Yea, cloverfield's camera shook so much it made me feel nauseated to the core

Haha love the needlessly provocative final paragraph.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
So, if God of War is popular, it's because lots of people today are emo, selfish, self-hating, physically weak, sexist, responsibility-avoiding whiners who sympathize with Republican economic policies.

I most certainly DO NOT sympathize with Republican economic policies! And I go to the gym every day!

luckycharms8282:
Yea, cloverfield's camera shook so much it made me feel nauseated to the core

Did they really point the camera at people's feet when they were running, like they did in that South Park episode(s)?

The Cheezy One:
Cloverfield was actually really good, but the size of the monster wavers somewhat.

No it wasn't. It lacked something rather basic, an insignificant little thing I like to call "plot". I know, I know, that's a fairly old fashioned concept, but I'm old enough myself to have grown up with such things, so I miss them.

I don't like the "shaky" in shaky cam, but I like what it does sometimes

The opening scene of Saving Private Ryan is quasi-shaky cam, and it certainly conveys the crazy

I think it works well when put into scenes like that one where it's completley crazy and it's less "pay attention to this character" and more "holy crap, we're gonna die we're gonna die who's shooting at us who's shoo-ARGH I GOT HIM I'M BLEEDING ARGH I'M DYING I GOT HI- *dies*)

As for games? Pfft, no. I like rumbling and camera shake when it's called for (being chased by giant footfalls (Halloween TF2, anyone?)) but I hate it when they try and make the camera interesting instead of the game

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