In the modern era, fast-paced events (or QTEs for short) have developed a bit of a stigma. Of course, there are reasons for that. In the console’s seventh generation, some felt that the mechanic was leaning a bit too much. This sentiment is especially strong when it comes to boss battles that are exclusive to QTEs.
However, while many of these fall short of success, there are purely examples of event boss fights in quick time that prove to be very entertaining and enjoyable. Regardless of your opinion, it’s interesting to look back at some of the most notable boss battles that have used this technology.
Aizawa, Yakuza 5
Yakuza The villain of 5, Aizawa, is a pretty upbeat pick to start with. The events leading up to him becoming the game’s ultimate fighter are complex and perpetuate the fabric of believability. Even more so than most Yakuza games (which are saying something). Therefore, it’s only fitting for Aizawa to be a boss fight that requires more QTE than real time.
Of course, the Yakuza are famous for incorporating a few quick-timed events in the middle of a battle. However, there end half a dozen unique QTE segments in this war. It is a lot. That’s excluding any QTEs that get inserted between the heat actions that you’ll almost certainly do in the middle of a battle. Some fast time series are also surprisingly long.
In the end, it’s not a bad use of QTE, there is a clever use that helps you transition into a new arena, but it feels a bit redundant. This fight may not only include events that take place in quick time, but it is an unusual point in the series that it needs to be mentioned.
Deathstroke, Arkham Origins
It would be unfair to say that the whole Arkham Origins Combat is nothing but quick time events. It is not true. Only about 3/4 of them will do. When you go up against Slade, you’ll have an epic one-on-one match. Or at least that’s what the screen shows – you just hit him with a few attacks and then hit the flashing button on the screen. The length of time you see the word “access” pop up in this fight is legally shameful.
This is a tactic that developers would use to try to portray a fight in a more cinematic fashion, but gamers have already begun to express their displeasure at encounters like this one. Unfortunately, that cinematic element comes at the expense of enjoyable play. Or at least it did here.
Sauron, Shadow of Mordor
The battle against Sauron in Shadow of Mordor is overwhelming. It was almost as if this final battle was an afterthought. There are a total of five button prompts that require pressing (okay, two of them require pulling the analog stick in a straight line).
The shot took only half a minute or so to complete and it all just felt a bit rushed. This final encounter would have been better if there had been a simple cutscene in place of it. Ultimately, this is not the conclusion most gamers are likely to be looking for in an excellent game.
Crocodile, Resident Evil 2 Remake
There are different opinions on the Crocodile encounter redesign for Resident Evil 2 remake. However, if fans of the original are honest with themselves, the original fight isn’t particularly exciting. It’s not hard to see why the development team decided to make a slight improvement. For quick-time event boss encounters, this isn’t a bad encounter.
Crocodile telegraphs announce what they’re about to do, helping you predict exactly which side of the screen. It involves more than some traditional events in quick time, and it doesn’t feel random or unfair.
Since there is no button prompt, some will say that this is not QTE. However, you need to be on the right side of the screen or the crocodile will kill you instantly. It’s basically just a quick timed event where the prompt doesn’t show up on the screen, you just have to read the Crocodile’s movement correctly and move it left or right. It looks like a very smart replacement of the QTE format.
Gongen Wyzen, Asura’s Wrath
One of the main problems with fast-time event boss battles is that they meaningfully remove the player’s ability to interact with the game. It’s cheap to rip through all of the game’s mechanics in a climactic battle. Asura’s Wrath overcame this problem by basing the entire game around QTE. The live result is a consistent and stunning, cinematic gameplay.
Battles like the one against Gongen Wyzen show that QTE can be an effective vehicle for conveying something that is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to convey using traditional playstyle. There are people who won’t join Asura’s Wrath, but it does a good job of arguing the legitimacy of its own existence.
The Didact, Halo 4
It’s hard not to get excited about the final showdown with The Didact. He looks cool, and in a game about being a badass space navy, cool villains will only add to the experience. However, when it ended Halo 4, you don’t get an interesting confrontation with The Didact, you get a bunch of combo cutscenes that have button prompts associated with them.
But, even if we don’t have complete control, it’s probably a visual sight, right? Well, unless you’re thrilled to be prompted to “use L to crawl” we have some bad news for you…
Cyrille Le Paradox, Sly Cooper 4
This is another example of an idea in a developer’s mind that can’t be matched with the innate gameplay system in the game itself. Here the end of the game is a duel (not so) between Sly and Cyrille, where the only task of the user is to press the button corresponding to the prompt that appears on the screen.
Worse still, the prompts are easily forgivable and the sequence repeats three times: making it both visually tedious and mechanically uninteresting. It’s a shame that the last one Sly Cooper The game we received had to end on such a disappointing note.
Krauser, Resident Evil 4
If you want to know why the QTE boss fights in the cinema are so big, there are a lot of chances of knife fights with Krauser is the answer you are finding. This fight is awesome.
Are the reminders wonderfully synchronized with the on-screen action? Not really. Is timing brutal and will you have to repeat this sequence over and over again? Sure. Is it still really cool? Certainly so. Resident Evil 4 without a fighting motive like Devil May Cry’s, so there is no other way to describe this epic knife fight. This is a sharp scene that has a point.
Rais, Dying Light
In all the ways the beautifully staged knife fight in Resident Evil 4 argues for the legitimacy of QTE, the clumsy machete fight finale in Dying light argue that we would be better off without them. Once again, a game that upheld the idea of player freedom chose to take it away, with dire consequences.
It’s hard to see why the developers think this is how they should end their game, but it’s safe to say that whatever their motives are, they’re wrong.
Alastair, The Order 1886
There was a lot that went wrong in The Order 1886. One thing that was amazing, however, was the QTE battle against Alastair. It’s one of the fastest, most exciting, cinematic event finals to be found in a game.
The way the prompt perfectly matches the action happening on the screen makes it feel faster and more immediate than your typical example of this implementation. This type of fast, cinematic-based encounter has been largely rejected by gamers. And for good reason. However, if there is any controversy over their viability, it is here: the battle between Alastair in The Order 1886.
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