Extra Punctuation: Action Is Not Finisher Porn

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Action Is Not Finisher Porn

Yahtzee doesn't get why action games stop the action.

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I'd argue that the X-Ray attacks in Mortal Kombat are valuable in that they provide the player with breathing room in an otherwise thumb-straining button-mashy combo fest. Long after I stopped being impressed with them I was still using them just because I needed the break sometimes. Feel free to disagree with me as that mechanical advantage is COMPLETELY at odds with the brutal presentation of it, but that's my stance and I'm sticking by it.

Otherwise I agree; I've never terribly much been a fan of these kinds of moves myself, and I think this column puts it best in identifying the breakage in combat flow.

Does Prototype's Tin Tank Can Opener fit into this? Because it sure as hell was annoying.

As usual, I'll go as far as "Yes, but..."

Scorpion vs Sub-Zero: Sonya Blade vs Kano

When you've got two mortal enemies against each other, there should be full on violence. Scorpion vs Sonya: Heavy punches. Sonya vs Jax: Pimpslaps.

Joker's Fatality in DCvMK was the best because it actually fitted the Joker. Which almost none of the rest of the Fatalities ever did. Especially not the X-Ray ones.

Scorpion's original Hellbreath or Sub-Zero's Chiropractor's Nightmare worked because they were tricky, happened at the end, and were relevant to the character. They also didn't require too much juggling for space for the optimal distance.

Leap kick someone with little health. Block,U,U,HP or T,D,T,LP and you'd got it. It shows that I can remember them without any looking up.

If it's just Scorpion vs Striker though, Teleport Punch, Teleport Punch, Hook and Uppercut - get out of there until there's someone who's not a big girl. Don't stop for silly X-rays.

I really agree about the X-ray moves in mortal kombat. I mean they are cool as hell and that, but the series has generally been violence porn. Thats how they sold the first one anyway ;) I definitely enjoy that stuff, but its needs to be in more moderation. When its every few minutes GORE, then you kinda forget that it matters at all. More tentative use give much greater effect.

Interesting article tho.

And I'm reminded of just how awesome it was to pull off a 20-30 hit combo in Arkham Asylum.

Yeah, that did carry more weight than spamming Kano's X-Ray with infinite super meter.

The X-ray moves were a fair amount of time I thought, they were just repetative. Mortal Kombat on a whole was very well done for a fighting game and for me had the best flow of combat in a 2d fighting game to date. If they changed 3-4 times the game would be much better. Also you can always just not use the X-ray moves since you are given other options such as powered normal moves.

As for Batman: AA having no finishers. The most annoying thing about it was waiting for a thug to stand up or walk over and slowly punch him in the face while other thugs waited around you.

This really is one of the tastiest articles I can agree with, and not just because I'm hungry. I really didn't enjoy all the goon level super violence QTE's being thrown around. If you make everyone special, then no one is special. I guess violence is the same way. I wish he had used Asassin's Creed as a counterpoint. Not everybody gets a special QTE death, plus the counterkills are quick.

In my opinion, Fable 2 and Fallout 3 are guilty of this, as well. The VATS kill-cam in FO3 is particularly annoying.

Okay, the weird double post allows me to agree about the other games mentioned Fallout 3 and Fable 2 and 3. Fallout 3 VATS is pretty guilty of the slow mo death, which would be nice if it was skippable. Fable 2 and 3 is pretty bad with the random bonus kills, especially with the handgun.

I did like how Arkham Asylum would do a slow motion attack on the last attack of the last bad guy in a group. It kept the final attack the coolest looking, plus it kept changing it up.

I admit I don't watch that much porn, but have yet to see a cum shot filmed in X-ray vision.

OT: The combos MADE Arkham Asylum for me, but I'm generaly shit at fighting games.

UltimatheChosen:
In my opinion, Fable 2 and Fallout 3 are guilty of this, as well. The VATS kill-cam in FO3 is particularly annoying.

Agreed regarding FO3. Head explosions operate on a diminishing marginal utility curve :\

Though, slow motion + iron sights mod seems to never get old O_o

Or look at Batman: Arkham Asylum, it's got one of the best fighting engines I've ever seen in a game and it doesn't really do elaborate finishers at all, it just flows incredibly well. Punch flows to kick flows to counter flows back to punch.

Fuck..Yeah. That game truly had flow, and all it required was "Tilt analogue-stick in direction of asskickery, press X to kick ass, press Y to wtfpwn, then X to kick ass again".
Never seen a game that let you do so many different things with just two buttons, and never, ever broke flow. God how I loved to jump into a fight with ten different thugs and just see how long I could keep my combos up. You really felt like Batman when you managed to take them all down, no hits taken.

I liked God of War's qte's, they had a consistency to them. Minotaurs always had the blade in the mouth, Medusas had the head twisty removal, etc. It helped negate the problem that I usually have with qte's, in that they're pretty much just random button mashing. And although they're not quite as unobtrusive as Leon's badass roundhouse kick, I never felt like they broke up the flow too badly. The big crazy ridiculous super showy qte's were mostly saved for the bosses, and thus they never got old because you only saw them once.

Maybe it's just because it was the first one that I played, but I had a ball with pretty much every qte in God of War and haven't played a game since that comes close to trumping it in that category.

I'd say Ninja Gaiden II also has a very good fast paced combat, sure it's hard as hell but the system is very fast paced because the finishing moves happen in a flash, nice and quick, you know, like a ninja should be... I guess it gets its porn aspects in in other ways though :P

The cinematic sequences are put in games to try and make them "movie-like".

In regards to MK though, with the X-Ray attacks, I think what they should have done is have each X-Ray attack be a complicated sequence of inputs like Ultra's in SF4. That way it would really be an achievment to pull them off successfully and they wouldnt occur as often.

I wholly agree with you here. The tend of video games wanting to take away control from the player in order to show you how cool they are has long been my single biggest point of contention. This takes a number of different forms - full cutscenes, exposition segments, these finisher moves, even overly-long animations every time the character opens a door or a box - but the one thing they all have in common is that gameplay comes to a screeching halt until they're done, and in my opinion gameplay should be the entire point of playing a game.

With the example of the X-Ray moves in particular, I find myself wondering why they couldn't have implemented it differently. For example, let's say that instead of executing the same move every time, it puts you into an X-ray mode and leaves you in control while showing you the damage you're inflicting with each attack. That way gameplay continues, you get the same visual effect, and you're directly responsible for what's happening giving the player a greater sense of accomplishment.

UltimatheChosen:
In my opinion, Fable 2 and Fallout 3 are guilty of this, as well. The VATS kill-cam in FO3 is particularly annoying.

I was thinking that. At least in New Vegas you can turn the kill-cam off. And VATS is optional, I really only use it when I'm low on ammo or getting my ass handed to me(you take less damage while vats is playing out).

As with anything, moderation is the key, especially if the sequences are drawn out. The short QTEs that didn't break flow were great, the combos in God of War are useful but they do call the action to a halt, albeit breifly.

I think it was something missing after the first GoW, actually; I remember chaining combos together in that game and never being able to do it in GoW2 or 3. They just didn't link up-or I could never get the feel for how to link them up.

But the occasional long sequence is cool.

Hilariously, I always considered the 90s Mortal Kombat: Conquest TV series to be porn as well. 10-15 minutes of stilted dialogue and hackneyed plot, just so you could get another stylized slo-motion fight scene, then back to dull plot. Repeat 3 times and you have an episode.

Was it one of Anthony Burch's Rev Rants where he said something similar? That kill animations should be triggered randomly when you kill enemies (Assassin's Creed style) instead of having to break flow to play a QTE every time?

blindthrall:

UltimatheChosen:
In my opinion, Fable 2 and Fallout 3 are guilty of this, as well. The VATS kill-cam in FO3 is particularly annoying.

I was thinking that. At least in New Vegas you can turn the kill-cam off. And VATS is optional, I really only use it when I'm low on ammo or getting my ass handed to me(you take less damage while vats is playing out).

I agree with with the whole "kill Cam" stuff. When I was Fallout: New vegas I was deeply immersed in it until, the slow kill thing happened and my immersion was shattered. So I turned and everything was fine afterwards, but the point still stands.

damn double post

Jamienra:
The X-ray moves were a fair amount of time I thought, they were just repetative. Mortal Kombat on a whole was very well done for a fighting game and for me had the best flow of combat in a 2d fighting game to date. If they changed 3-4 times the game would be much better. Also you can always just not use the X-ray moves since you are given other options such as powered normal moves.

As for Batman: AA having no finishers. The most annoying thing about it was waiting for a thug to stand up or walk over and slowly punch him in the face while other thugs waited around you.

Who's waiting for them to get up? If they're standing, press X and Batman leaps over to him. If they're on the ground, about to get up, do a leaping finisher. If they're on the ground but a thug is preventing you from hitting him, take care of that thug first.

Give me any individual frame of action in the middle of a combo in that game, and I can tell you what attack to use next from there without breaking it.

While I think Mortal Kombat fans should have their Mortal Kombat, my own gameplay tastes mostly agree with Yahtzee. Still, in a long-term fighting game, you do need to sort of have the idea of "breaks and rewards" when someone's thumbs start to hurt and they're getting frustrated. Mid-combat, this is mostly given by Kratos' finishing moves.

Capcom got it right. Ultra moves in SSFIV are 3 or 4 seconds long. That's enough time to make a spectacle without breaking the action flow.

blindthrall:

UltimatheChosen:
In my opinion, Fable 2 and Fallout 3 are guilty of this, as well. The VATS kill-cam in FO3 is particularly annoying.

I was thinking that. At least in New Vegas you can turn the kill-cam off. And VATS is optional, I really only use it when I'm low on ammo or getting my ass handed to me(you take less damage while vats is playing out).

I always go with a Sniper Rifle in New Vegas, and have Boone as my sidekick. Fuck VATs, who needs them when two snipers can pick off an entire Legion-patrol before they can fire back? Vats don't even work at the Sniper Rifles maximum range, but my headshots still do.

My challenge to Yahtzee: continue the cook/broth/carrot polishing metaphor in next week's video or essay. Shouldn't be too hard, "polishing the carrot" is pretty much a masturbation joke right there.

OT: agree totally. Five or so seconds of finisher move is too long to pay attention to, too short to go make a cup of tea. Make it less than two seconds, or more than six minutes, and you've got a winner.

Reading this I actually thought of another overdone spectacle that the programmers made EPIC like a shocking scene in a movie without regard that it could be done a few thousand times in normal play: Summons in Final Fantasy and other RPGs.

Celestial beasties perform fantastic routines that would realistically wreak the shit of all things a few miles in front of them, only for the fight to go on because their world shattering murder blast didn't take off enough HP. But no worries, because the next character can call them out for an encore. The only saving grace in these in-fight movies is the fact there's no flow to break in turn based RPGs.

There's finishing moves in The Witcher 2 as well. You basically stun them in exactly the way you mention and then RMB, which switches to another camera and you watch Geralt impale a dude or light him on fire. I don't mind it because it's actually kind of a treat when you get one, but I can imagine a more active system, wherein players can execute a series of LMB and RMB clicks, maybe combo'd with a sign or thrown item. Then at least he finisher becomes a matter of choice instead of a random event. It it important to note that they don't overdose on the gore there though, at least from what I've seen.

I would say save the graphic extravagant finishers for boss fights.

Good piece.
Games like MK and FO3 would be better without the slow gore sequences right in the middle of the game.
It gets dull after the first time and it breaks the flow.

Jamienra:
As for Batman: AA having no finishers. The most annoying thing about it was waiting for a thug to stand up or walk over and slowly punch him in the face while other thugs waited around you.

Well. Without wanting to be a bitch about it, you aren't really supposed to wait around once you've floored one of them.

If there are others still standing, you move on to them. Ain't gotta take them one at a time you know :P

Perfect example of the good finishers being talked about here can be found in No More Heroes. Very swift, very satisfying, and it flows.

Dear Burnout: I do not need control taken away from me for 15-20 seconds every time I crash so you can show off your fancy game engine. Give me an option to change it to a simple 2-3 second "crash, respawn, drive" as it should be. I'm pretty sure Burnout Revenge let me do this, which among other things (like alternate and really fun game modes instead of all racing all the time), is why I played it a hell of a lot more than Paradise.

CCountZero:

Jamienra:
As for Batman: AA having no finishers. The most annoying thing about it was waiting for a thug to stand up or walk over and slowly punch him in the face while other thugs waited around you.

Well. Without wanting to be a bitch about it, you aren't really supposed to wait around once you've floored one of them.

If there are others still standing, you move on to them. Ain't gotta take them one at a time you know :P

Yep. Sorry Jaminera, but you were playing it wrong. If you're not far enough to have a "finish the guy on the floor" move yet, you're meant to go punch somebody else while the other guy gets up, not stand around and wait.

I alternate between thinking the bugged finisher in Arkham Asylum [punching the downed mook in the groin instead of the head) is annoying and hilarious. It is the most painful looking thing in the game though, including broken bones.

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