As I recall back to the halcyon days of 2009 when Call of Duty wasn’t just the same copy-and-paste first person shooter every year, we all remember the ending of Modern Warfare 2, where Soap pulled a knife of his own chest piercing the evil General Shepard’s left eye and killing him. At the time it was awesome, as the scene was ramped full of tension as the game reached its conclusion. But if you take a look at mechanically it was flawed. After playing it a while later, I tried missing his eye on purpose to see what would happen. Instead, the knife defied physics to insert itself in his left eye. I was left disappointed, as it shows how ridiculously contrived the scene was.
Nevertheless Call of Duty has continued to overuse Quick Time Events in the games, remember the absurd “press F to pay respects” in Advanced Warfare? But surely it gets to the point where it becomes more like an interactive action movie, rather than an actual game in which you can shoot things and blow stuff up any which way you want. I’m not just vilifying Call of Duty, as this similar theme is becoming dominant in a number of action games, actually scratch that, movies too. QTEs should be used sparingly and effectively, not just used to hold your hand throughout. Neither should they be shoved into cutscenes to make you think you’re in control. If you want to keep us interested in cutscenes, perhaps write better scripts?!
QTEs are also the bread and butter of many graphic adventure games, such as that of Telltale’s The Walking Dead series to Tales from the Borderlands. QTEs are a key component of this genre and actually serve a purpose. For example, when speaking to characters, if you don’t choose one of the options in conversation trees, then nothing is said to another character. This can have further consequences in the game. Moreover QTEs are used to create tension in more action-type sequences as a break to the point-and-click portions of the game. This can lead to deaths of other characters too. For example, Season 2 of The Walking Dead; wouldn’t it be fantastic for you to survive while other characters die as a result of you failing a QTE?
QTEs should be used sparingly and effectively, not just used to hold your hand throughout.
In conclusion, QTEs can be effective tools in adding a bit of variation in games. However for FPSs and other action games, they should be used thoughtfully. The perfect example of this is in Bioshock: Infinite, as Booker and Elizabeth escape from the tower and are chased by Songbird, the chaos and destruction and keeps you on the edge of the seat. However QTEs are better integrated into more interactive genres. On the other hand, I feel that most QTEs should matter more congruent with the plot in that failing them can have serious consequences that could ultimately determine the ending