Why I Don’t Love Cutscenes

Something occurred to me while playing Final Fantasy XI. I just don’t like it. I’ve tried beating it a few times but every time I start I get bored quickly. During the last round of L’Cie loathing I realized that it’s the cutscenes that throw me off. Now this got me thinking, why don’t I like them this time around? I mean I put up with so many of them for most of my life. What’s the deal? Well I think I’ve boiled it down to three distinct reasons.

1.  As a writer one of the first things you learn is the term IN MEDIA RES which is Latin for into the middle of affairs. You are taught that in order to keep your readers enthralled you must start somewhere in the middle. But the trick from there is to keep moving forward.  The whole “an object in motion tends to stay in motion” comes to mind. Once you are moving forward through the storyline, taking us out of the action and throwing us into flashbacks is just plain jarring. I’m willing to forgive this once or twice but if your game is based off of these “gems” of info, you’ve lost me.

2.  Characters are now able to speak. Some of you younglings may not remember a time when one was required to read the dialog throughout an entire game.  Cutsecenes used to offer an insight into what a character sounded like when it was hard to discern from the text. For example: It’s hard to read sarcasm.  (especially without the sarcmark) But now, as we chug along I just want to shout, “Yeah, I get it already!”

3.  Before you send a barrage of angry comments you need to know that I used to love cutscenes, (Like when Sector 7 was blown to smithereens?  You know what I’m talking about) so what happened?  Well in game graphics are finally up to par with the video of old. You can seamlessly play through major events with so many high quality games these days. When it’s not an option it becomes really obvious.

So what this all comes down to is this, I’m a fan of RPG’s for the fantastical worlds. It’s the same reason I read so many books. I love to be completely immersed. In any game I play or book I read, when I’m pulled out mentally I get frustrated. I know there are many games that can pull it off, (Hello love scenes in Dragon Age) but in the end I’d rather play then watch.

So what say you? Do you love them or hate them? Sound off below.

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  • Miki

    I disagree. I love cutscenes. The only thing I actually enjoyed about final fantasy xiii were the cutscenes. However, cutscenes must be done correctly, and implemented smartly in order to not slow down the pace of a game (if not intended.) if the game has a great focus on the storyline, eg mass effect and final fantasy, then cutscenes are essential IMO, but for games like modern warfare 2…hold on…now that I’m typing this, I realize that almost every modern videogame wants to be a hybrid of a movie/videogame, it’s just the way the modern world works. ‘gaming’ isn’t enough anymore for most people, we want a whole subversive experience as the author has stated. Sometimes, I like the idea of me not being in control of a video game (cutscene), so I can have a break and realize what it is that I am playing for or trying to save.

  • UltimateSin

    When cutscenes are done right, you want to watch them. Take Uncharted 2 for instance, they were great. I actually wanted to watch the whole thing instead of ending it in the middle so I just get the gist of it. When a game has cutscenes where it has humour that’s not forced or plot twist’s that you know are coming but it happens to be another that you don’t expect, you want to watch them. Cutscene’s need to be short and sweet AND long and understandable.

  • I used to love cutscenes but now as a gamer without that much time and with systems as powerful as they are, I much rather have the story played out while I’m actually playing the game rather then sitting around listening and reading the dialogue.

  • I love good cut scenes. For instance, the cut scenes in Max Payne were awesome, Red Alert 2 also had off the wall funny cut scenes. The Witcher was another one that had good cut scenes because it didn’t have a lot of them and most of the story was played out in character instead of through cut scenes. It really can vary, some are good and much needed other you can do without. I guess what makes me want to watch cut scenes is if I’m invested in the game and interested in the storyline. It the storyline is blah then I probably don’t want to see the cut scenes.

    In any case I think that other than one or two cut scenes they need to be pretty short otherwise they can get old fast.