So I’m terrifically behind the times when it comes to computer gaming. But many months ago, I finally got around to playing the original Halo.
It’s a perfect first-person shooter. Now, that’s all it is, but it provides a fantastic environment in which to shoot at things. Excellent quality all around.
Until I noticed something: the character animation was surprisingly poor. By that I mean that the movement and “body acting” of the other characters, particularly during cutscenes.
The ultimate example was during an alien attack on the ship I was in. I watched through a window as an alien blew open the door to another room and shot a human technician. The scene begins with bangs and explosions on the other side of the door, and I watched as the technician screamed “Help me! They’re coming in!” as he calmly straightened up from his chair, and turned towards the door. His body was ramrod straight, his arms at his sides, even as he screamed in terror. Then the door burst open and he died screaming.
How did that get signed off? Why didn’t the technician at least crouch, or hold up his arms, or try to duck behind something in the room?
It made no sense, and it destroyed the believability of the scene. The game became just a computer game, no more than a chunk of code twiddling bits and causing a set of sprites to waltz across the screen.