A little less conversation, a little more action
I feel compelled to quote that verse from an Elvis Presley song when it comes to Japanese games.
I am currently playing Last Window: The Secret of Cape West and am once again amazed by the slow pace of the action and the endless dialogues. The characters say something, which could fit in two sentences, in ten. The explanation of very simple actions or emotions is discussed and analyzed in lengthy conversations that are truthfully boring.
Although I like the gameplay and somewhat tolerate the story I cannot get over my frustration about the dialogues.
Before Last Window I played Hotel Dusk: Room 215. It was a nice enough game, but same problem.
And those are not the only Japanese games in which I’ve noticed this kind of communication. I remember trying to play Okami and trowing it after I’d waited 30 minutes to actually get to play. For half an hour a “legend” was told in endlessly running subtitles and even though it seemed interesting I couldn’t bear just standing there, waiting for some action.
Even in action games such as Devil May Cry you can notice this characteristic inclination towards long conversations and explanation of feelings. I remember that before each boss battle in DMC 3 and in DMC 4 the bad guys just had to hold a long speech, saying how they would beat my character and how puny he is, how they cannot even imagine he had dared to challenge them, and I remember thinking “Shut up already!”.
Maybe it is some kind of cultural or communication barrier, but I cannot understand why Japanese games are like this. When I play I’d like to actually contribute to the story and not have to sit and wait for 15-20 minutes or more without doing anything. Moreover, I reckon if you wanted to sit and read a story, you would grab a book and if you wanted to watch an interesting story, you would choose to watch a movie, not play a game. I think this kind of communicating the story robes the game of its most important element, which clearly distinguishes it from books or films, and that is the player’s opportunity to take part in the action and the story, to be the hero.