Then reviews pointed out that, while the game is a technical marvel, it actually isn't very fun or interesting. It's the Avatar of games. The story is disjointed and clumsy, and the shallow, tedious gameplay boils down to responding to basic prompts and watching the game continue on anyway if you fail them.
There are lots of great games that are light on the game part, but they use the strengths of the medium to tell their stories. Developers who make "cinematic experiences" use the style of movies, stretch two hours' worth of story into 10 hours of Ellen Page showering and hanging around her house because gamers get annoyed if their expensive games aren't long enough, slap the vague trappings of a game on it, then get defensive when people call them out for being boring.
Sony Computer Entertainment To be fair, some of those games skip being long enough to justify the cost.
I don't want to start a debate on what constitutes a game, because we all have better things to do, but when "cinematic experience" gets used in marketing it's a sign that they're hiding a major flaw. Beyond: Two Souls is a "cinematic experience" because it fundamentally fails to be a video game. Call Of Duty games have been "cinematic," but they fail to mention that the films that inspired them are the shitty Rambo sequels. The Order: 1886 is "cinematic" because, while we thought "1886" refers to the setting, it's actually a reference to the seconds you're in control of the game.
As a counter-example, The Last Of Us could be described as cinematic, but it isn't because there's an actual, you know, game underneath the visuals. It is more than game developers adding quick-time events to their rejected screenplays. So if you see "cinematic" being bandied about in marketing, remember that it's code for "We had to steal ideas from another medium, because we're not terribly good at working in ours."
Mark is on Twitter and has a collection of cinematic stories.
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