QTEs: Friend or Foe?

I had truthfully given very little thought to quick-time events (QTEs for short) in games. But then I started to uncover the massive controversy surrounding them. Turns out most gamers absolutely loathe QTEs…

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, a QTE is a cross-between a video cut-scene and actual game play. Gamers need to hit specific buttons at just the right time to survive or otherwise succeed. My experience with QTEs has mostly been from the Tomb Raider series, a couple of the Assassin’s Creed games, Mass Effect and Resident Evil 4. So, I’ll be the first to say, I’m not exactly an expert.

On a personal note, I find QTEs an odd mixture of fun and irritating. On the one hand, they advance the story just as well as a cut-scene would, and if it were a cut-scene, I’d get to kick back with my glass of wine and have a breather before getting back into the action. True, some QTEs do offer you the option of choice which can lead the story down a different path. But with the Tomb Raider QTEs I’ve experienced, it’s a case of either doing it “correctly,” in other words, the developers’ way, or not progressing.

The flip side of this is that it adds a level of diversity and interest to game play. Sure, they could have just made a cut-scene, but the addition of the QTE gives us another playstyle within a very different game. It keeps the action going, keeps you invested and provides a sense that you still have some level of control.

Do I think QTEs are necessary? Definitely not. But I also don’t think they quite deserve the level of hate they seem to receive. They can absolutely be frustrating when you have previously had total freedom of movement over a character and are now reduced to only being able to hit certain commands at certain times. But they do have their place within gaming.

QTEs, friend or foe? I will leave that decision to you.

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