Quick Time Events (or QTEs) are a recurrent gameplay mechanic featured in the Lords of Shadow series. These involve the player pressing a certain combination of buttons (sometimes also including directional movements) in an animation-driven sequence. Most QTEs occur during or after a boss battle. However, the player can choose to play the entire game with the QTEs automatically executed via the game Options.


There are two types of QTEs; the first is a typical button-mashing, while the second forces the player to time a certain key press with the graphical aid of a circle. A successful QTE either guarantees a kill or triggers the next phase in a boss battle; otherwise, a failed QTE will have the player character damaged and the enemy having its HP restoring to a certain percentage.

Game specific information

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

Now that Dracula himself is the playable character in this game, he is able to grab any enemy having a critical amount of health. During this QTE sequence, the player must press the [GRAB] button once more when the circle glows yellow in order for Dracula to finish the enemy by consuming it, healing him in the process.

Use and critical reaction

QTEs have received mixed reactions from players and journalists. They can be used effectively to enhance cutscenes and other actions. They also are sometimes considered to be a weak addition to gameplay, and often force the player to repeat such sections until they complete the QTE perfectly to move on. They are often considered a "bane of action games", as their presence breaks the standard flow of the game and reduce the control of the game for the player to a few buttons, distracting, and turning interactivity into a job. Also, QTEs may frustrate the player due to the fact that they might not have any sign that they are about to happen.

QTEs are often used during dramatic cutscenes and prevent players from losing interest while they play. One example in Resident Evil 4 is a knife fight. The fight occurs during a late-game cutscene where the protagonist meets a major villain, who explains missing links in the game's story while periodically slashing at the protagonist and requiring the player to quickly press a button to parry him. As the action takes place during the major revelation of the game, the QTE serves to prevent the player from skipping over the cutscene. While this example is considered to use QTEs effectively, punctuating the heating discussion between the characters with rapid player reactions, it also demonstrates a common failing with the mechanism, in that if the player should miss a QTE, the protagonist will be killed, and the player must restart the cutscene and the fight from the start. Because of the likelihood of player death, the phrase "Press X to not die" has become synonymous with the use of QTEs in game. Furthermore, when a QTE is used during such a scene, the player's attention is drawn away from the animation and instead to the area of the screen where the button control indicator would appear, rendering the effort put into animating the scene meaningless.

Another problem with the use of QTE during cutscenes is that it can dilute the emotion and importance of the scene to a single button press, trivializing the nature of the scene.

On the other hand, QTEs may also be used to provide a limited control scheme for a scene within the game that would be otherwise difficult or impossible to perform with the game's standard controls.

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