Monday, January 28, 2008

Soul Nomad and Skipping Cut-Scenes

There is one thing that has really been bugging me about Soul Nomad & the World Eaters: the way it gives you the option of skipping cut-scenes. Of course, the option to skip long cut-scenes is a valuable tool in a game where you may need to retry certain battles with lots of cut scenes preceding them. However, it is the way that the function is handled in Soul Nomad that is annoying me.

In Soul Nomad, whenever you select to go to a plot related place from the overworld screen, a dialog box appears that asks if you want to skip the next cut-scene, and presents you with "Yes" and "No" options. If you select "No", the typical menu cancel sound is played and you watch the cut-scene. If you select "Yes", you skip right to next point of controllable action. This dialog box also appears after every battle where there is a cut-scene (though oddly enough, not if you select a cut-scene from a town menu). I find this process very frustrating, mostly because it is really easy to accidentally skip a cut scene and not even realize it.

The problem is that every time I have ever seen a confirmation dialog box in a video-game, I have simply selected "Yes" without even thinking about it. Most of the time I see such a dialog box is in Final Fantasy games and other such RPGs when I am trying to save. In order to speed up the process, I got used to selecting "Yes" without even thinking. Since I see the "Skip cut-scene?" dialog box so often in Soul Nomad, I end up answering it without thinking a lot of the time too. So, there are a few times when I accidentally skipped a cut-scene. A few minutes ago, I just ran into the worst case of this yet, where I think I might have accidentally skipped a cut scene that took place right after a pretty long battle. The only way to know for certain is to fight the entire battle over again. Joy...

I vastly prefer the much more common method of having to skip cut-scenes by pausing the cut-scene, then selecting a "Skip Cut-scene" option from a pause menu. That way, a person can only skip a cut-scene deliberately, and is at least informed of the cut-scene's existence before skipping it. Unfortunately, it is somewhat more common for game developers to make it so that you can skip cut-scenes by simply pressing Start, without giving a pause option during cut-scenes. This actually led to a problem for my brother a few months back, where he wanted to pause a game during a cut-scene and had no idea whether pressing Start would pause the game or skip the scene.

There just needs to be some more consistent standards for this kind of basic thing... Oh well, I will probably post some more detailed thoughts on Soul Nomad later this week.

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