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The Top 7... Least-irritating quick time events

Interactive cutscenes. “Cineractive” sequences. “Press X to not die” moments. Whatever you call them, quick time events are those mostly non-interactive moments peppered throughout videogames, nearly all of which ask you to tap a button on cue – or hammer on a button, or twitch an analog stick, or whatever – in order to enable your character to do something that’s way cooler than anything they can do while you’re in direct control. These have been around since the days of Dragon’s Lair, and they’ve arguably worn out their welcome.


Above: Do you like this game? Then QTEs probably don’t bother you. Also you’re a masochist

That’s not to say that quick time events can’t be fun or interesting in the right hands, however. When handled correctly, they can actually add a lot to a game – and in fact, some of the most memorable in-game moments of the past several years have come from QTEs. To prove it, we’ve gathered together some of the best examples of QTEs that not only didn’t piss us off, but actually improved the experience.


7. STEALTH KILLS


From: Manhunt 2 (Wii)



Stealth kills in Manhunt 2 were a lot of fun… until the industry’s terrified censors tucked their (metaphorical) balls between their legs and forced publisher Rockstar to turn its gloriously sick murder scenes into something eyeball-searing and murky. After that, most of the gore was gone and we were forced to simply accept Manhunt 2 as the tepid stealth-action game that it was.


Above: A pre-censorship execution on the Wii (top) and its censored counterpart on PS2

Even after the censorship took hold, though, the Wii (and PC) version’s executions retained some of the old brutality that the other editions lost, thanks to the decision to turn them into motion-controlled quick time events that loosely reflected the action onscreen.Follow the prompt to yank upward with both Wii remote and Nunchuk, for example, and protagonist Daniel would tighten a garotte or raise a pair of hedge clippers to strike. Swing the remote downward, and he’d smash the pointy end of a crowbar into some deviant’s skull.

You couldn’t really see much of what was going on, but because it was semi-interactive, you could at least get a feel for it. It was far from ideal, but turning these sequences into QTEs at least made them less confusing and annoying than the weird, shapeless murder-cutscenes in the other two versions.


6. PULLING OUT THE KNIFE


From: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2



WARNING: if you haven’t already seen Modern Warfare 2’s ending, you may want to skip ahead to the next page.

As Modern Warfare 2 draws to a close, fugitive heroes Soap and Price have chased a fleeing, treacherous Lt. Gen. Shepherd across miles of white-water rapids, shot down his helicopter and been knocked unconscious by a plunge off a waterfall. Inexplicably coming to right at the crash site, an injured Soap gets up, staggers after Shepherd and – just as he’s about to stab the seemingly wounded officer – gets faked out, knocked down and impaled through the chest.


Above: Whoops

Mortally wounded but still alive, Soap is again awakened by Shepherd, who wants to deliver a speech before finishing him off. Fortunately, this buys Cpt. Price enough time to leap in from offscreen and engage Shepherd in a really blurry fistfight as Soap watches, helplessly.

Well, not entirely helplessly. Moving very slowly, Soap – not about to let Shepherd get the upper hand – looks to the only weapon within his reach: the knife jutting out of his chest.

What follows isn’t much more than mashing on a single button, really, but it’s still excruciating – in a good way – to be a part of. The struggle to jam on the button as quickly as possible brings us closer to Soap’s own struggle to pull several inches of steel out of his chest in time to save his comrade. And it only gets more intense when he grips it with both hands, turning the screen into a pulsing, dark-red haze of pain.

Once you’ve hammered the button enough to get the knife out, there’s a moment of relief that wouldn’t have been there if you were just passively watching. And it’s immediately followed by the reward of getting to throw the blade through Shepherd’s eyeball in a mildly gruesome display.

It’s not exactly a traditional hit-buttons-on-cue quick time event, but given its urgency and simplicity, it’s hard to think of it as anything other than a QTE. It’s also an involving, memorable way to cap what had, up to that point, been a batshit loonball story about Russians invading the US and military officials colluding with terrorists because their feelings were hurt.

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Top 7

61 comments

  • CLEIP - March 25, 2010 10:13 p.m.

    I think the QTE with Payne and his truck in RED STEEL 2 fits into this article... not anywhere near nr 1. though, but it was still pretty awsome.
  • FakeKisser - March 8, 2010 7:03 p.m.

    The Shenmue games used QTEs extensively, but they are still two of my favorite games of all time. I would put those games at number 1 (having not played Heavy Rain or God of War).
  • Geckomayhem - March 3, 2010 5:26 a.m.

    Wow, a friend and I used to play Die Hard at the arcade. It was so much fun; and I remember the action sequences, where you had to press a button during one of the QTEs. XD
  • chriscp97wii - February 27, 2010 4:25 p.m.

    Hahaha: there is the bitch in yhe red suit! I loved that part.
  • ranzatsu - February 27, 2010 2:23 p.m.

    @ xboxrulez: "Broother"...I'm a girl. And I wasn't giving advice.
  • soren7550 - February 26, 2010 2:21 a.m.

    I have to say that my vote for the best/most epic/etc. is ripping out a knife out of Soap's chest at the end of Modern Warfare 2. (don't get why everyone keeps saying the story makes no sense though.)
  • Cyberninja - February 25, 2010 9:07 p.m.

    @xboxrulez read this if you think it will have extra graphics. http://blog.ningin.com/2010/02/20/final-fantasy-xiii-ps3-or-xbox-360-how-to-choose/ and if where did you read about a gift? i know in japan they had a ps3 bundle and here there is a xbox bundle but i checked gamestop.com and there is no gift secert or other wise just a preorder bonus for BOTH systems.
  • DriveShaft - February 25, 2010 9:05 p.m.

    Heavy Rain owned.
  • noobeater - February 25, 2010 8:52 p.m.

    the pulling the knife out in MW2 was great it made me angry and want soap to survive, kinda like i would be there, however the RE4 was cool but pain in the ass to keep repeating
  • Skykid - February 25, 2010 2:13 a.m.

    WOAH, What about CoD 3's rifle battle sequences and the river crossing? Do you consider them QTEs?
  • Skykid - February 25, 2010 2 a.m.

    If you get the chance GR, maybe you might include for the new version of the article, Halo Reach assassinations
  • dante1924 - February 25, 2010 1:10 a.m.

    Is it me, or is xboxrulez getting stupider with every comment he makes? The bear trials sound really cool. I now want heavy rain.
  • JackSkellingtonsSkin - February 24, 2010 10:12 p.m.

    What does xboxrulez have to do before he gets banned. I'm starting to think he's Chris and is just baiting PS3 owners.
  • Pocotron - February 24, 2010 9:35 p.m.

    @xboxrulez But you'll still ignore this advice when you post you next comment, am I right? Oh, wait. You already have.
  • jackthemenace - February 24, 2010 8:26 p.m.

    wow, there are some rubbish QTE's out there. some of the ones in dantes inferno got on my nerves, but some of the kills in bayonetta were also pretty bad
  • Phasmatis - February 24, 2010 11:24 a.m.

    Da hell number 6 was awesome. I could probably find worse quick time events then that. Like any that is dropped on you all of a sudden.
  • ranzatsu - February 24, 2010 7:55 a.m.

    Had fun with the GoW demo...even though I'm a girl. The ripping-off-Helios's-head was shocking, at first. And BTW, no one has to listen to an Xbox-sass's comments. It's quite interesting to read what he says, but it's all damn annoying when you actually READ it. Never liked Xbox, but it has my respect. And "idiots" has no E. Learn from that, Mr. Xboxrulez.
  • QWERTYCommander - February 24, 2010 6:07 a.m.

    Kinda funny. XBRulez told me to "go eat plop plop" when I said the PS3 was better. I was literally laughing out loud.
  • FriendlyFire - February 24, 2010 4 a.m.

    I'm now sure xboxrulez is either brain damaged or the smurf of someone who wants to make fun of fanbois by making the most extreme example possible. Maybe even GR staff? :P Stop playing with our minds guys!
  • Vitoruss1 - February 24, 2010 3:48 a.m.

    The knife fight with Krauser may single handedly be one of the best moments in all of gaming. Ripping off Helios' head was disgusting... that made me cringe more than the Manhunt kills. Did anyone else notice that Helios' glowing head looked a LOT like a street-fighter character? I mean, I haven't ever played Street-Fighter, but the art style was so similiar. Urgh... I want Heavy Rain :(

Showing 1-20 of 61 comments

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