I know it’s a cliché to argue exactly what I’m saying in the title here, but don’t worry. I’m not actually planning on going on a long tirade against QTEs in video games.
This is just another case of ‘I spent all day hanging out with my friends and didn’t take the chance to write anything so I need some space filler.’
Welcome to space filler.
The reason I bring up quick time events in the first place is because most of our time today was spent playing a little known title called Detroit: Become Human. That’s right, the narrative-driven title brought to the world by Quantic Dream and the ever-controversial developer David Cage.
It’s a game that’s interesting… But pretty heavily flawed. In some key places.
We’ve been playing the game over the last few hangouts we’ve had while Jonathan was off in Canada on an extended road trip vacation, and it’s given me the chance to absorb some of what I feel are the big problems with my experience of the game — outside of issues with the studio and some of the ways women are treated that have been played to death in media.
No, my main problems with the experience of playing Detroit: Become Human involve certain gameplay elements. Beyond just the way it awakened a previously unknown pet peeve of being back-seat gamed when messing up a quick time event because I’m not used to Playstation controls and stuff is too sensitive and gettING YELLED AT ABOUT SCREWING THE GAME OVER UP DESPITE THE FACT THAT LATER IT’S REVEALED EVERYTHING WORKED OUT OKAY BECAUSE I’M A GOOD ROBOT JESUS JUAN AND TIANA CHILL OUT.
Sorry about that. Just lost the last few seconds of my life, but I think I’m okay now.
But yes, besides issues with quick time events, it also annoyed me how much the game relies on using invisible walls and choices that inevitably seem to make no difference in the narrative necessarily.
For example, in one scene a character can lose their memory if the player doesn’t respond to a series of events fast enough. In the branching paths of the story’s narrative there is apparently a pathway that can be ventured down where the character legitimately loses their memories forever and becomes a mindless android servant.
But that isn’t a result of actually losing their memory the first time.
No, if the character loses their memory, that isn’t the end of the scene. Screwing up didn’t just kill the run, it instead let the character walk out and find ways to regain their memories.
I suppose the argument could be made that having these kinds of levels of choices to be made is an example of having a successfully branching narrative.
But there’s a narrative dissonance when the character you’ve been playing loses all sense of themselves… But that doesn’t inherently affect the player’s abilities to control their actions. All it really does is add a few extra steps for the player to advance into the next scene rather than going straight there because nothing about the experience of playing changes.
I don’t know, maybe I’m just not a fan of the style of games presented by Quantic Dream, but elements like that bugged me. It felt somewhat manipulative, attempting to throw the player in a certain story direction under the guise of giving them multiple different choices.
I won’t go on too much about the issue, since it isn’t necessarily something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about. It just seems like an interesting topic to broach and potentially get the internet’s opinion on by throwing it out into the aether here.
Besides we had a lot of fun playing it together
even when I was getting yelled at for nothING. It probably isn’t the kind of game I would play on my own, but with friends it’s an interesting concept to experience.
Unlike a different game we spent some time playing, Enter the Gungeon. That’s the kind of rogue-like I’m legitimately considered getting for the Switch.
Though I’m conflicted between getting that game or Hollow Knight, which I’ve talked about before.
Either way I think I’ll probably be getting a new game on my Switch at some point this week since I just got a little extra financial security through my SPJ scholarship, I’m just not sure which one.
I suppose if anyone has some suggestions for that, I’d be open to hearing those too!
Perhaps I’ll even throw out a poll on Twitter, see if that gains any traction. I’ve never done that sort of thing before so it might be fun.
No matter what I’m going to stop rambling and let you all go, because this is getting a little ridiculous for a dumb space filling post. Hope everyone out there had a good weekend!