Quiet time allows the player to think about the game and prepare for future challenges
A crucial part of game rhythm is quiet time. Even in games as frantic as Hotline Miami, the player needs an occasional break. Quiet time, often paired with wide-open spaces, helps the player reflect on the actions they’ve taken so far and how best to proceed. It allows the hands and brain to relax before the action begins again, and it gives the developer a chance to communicate other supporting elements of the story or major themes of the game.
Shadow of the Colossus
SOTC is well-known for its brilliant use of quiet, open spaces. The major gameplay event is the killing of colossi, a task that requires the player’s complete attention. Colossi are enormous, challenging, and dangerous obstacles that require a blend of horseback riding, climbing, and combat at range and up close.
This is why the space between colossi is so important. After every kill, the player is returned to a central hub location and made to journey outwards again to find the next colossus. The player rides across wide plains and over vast canyons, all while the camera frames the landscape as endless and almost eerily calm. These long passages of riding, without any external pressure or danger, create a space for all sorts of important things. The player has a chance to reflect on the last fight - how did it go, and what did the player learn? The player has a chance to anticipate the next fight - what will the colossi look like, where will it be fought? The player has space to think about the larger themes of the game - how does the player feel about killing colossi, and the mysterious voice ordering them to do it?
The flashiest element of SOTC is the gigantic, imposing Colossi. But the wide plains and oceans of air between them are crucial to making the whole game work.
Kerbal Space ProgramLaunching a spaceship is a loud and long process. Multiple stages of fuel tanks and rockets will be separated from the ship and most likely explode. The fiery rocket fills the space with a dreadful roar as the player makes small alterations to the flight plan. This stage of the game is where most things go wrong. The tension is real as every detail of every stage is examined by the player while they are assaulted with sound. However when they finally clear the atmosphere the night sky fills with starts and galaxies and soothing music starts to play. The player will often cut the engine to reajust flight plans while the quite melody takes the place of the roaring engine. The panic of the launch is over and the player can drift through space and ponder his next move in peace.
The Mass Effect Trilogy
A game series that has plenty of tense combat-focused areas, the Mass Effect series also offers the player numerous engaging quiet spaces to explore and unwind in between missions. The Normandy, the player’s spaceship, is the primary example of such, but there are also several places located throughout the galaxy that give the player the option for milder play, and can oftentimes lead to more exciting adventures. Side stories are often made available through these spaces, providing them with their own separate appeal. Additionally, the player is given the opportunity to develop relationships with other characters in these zones. The player can choose how much or how little time they wish to spend in these places, which allows them to set their own pace for gameplay.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's EndUncharted 4 is a game with relentless over-the-top cinematic action sequences, but it also has a quite a few quiet sequences without action that let the player enjoy the story, dialogue and beautiful scenery that the game features. An example of this is when Drake, Sully and Sam are exploring Africa. This section of the game features no combat, just the characters driving around a vast open area talking and exploring a beautifully realized environment. It allows the player to feel relaxed after running and gunning for so long. It also gives time for character development as the characters freely interact and talk with one another.
Bayonetta 2 Edit
Bayonetta 2 is a fantastic 3D action game developed by Platinum Games. In the game, every time you dodge monsters' attack, you will get a short period of quiet time as a reward. Since Bayonetta 2 is a kind of core game and the monsters have swift actions and smart AI, so it will be very nervous and uncomfortable for players if they must constrain their attention on it all the time. This period of quiet time offers player a way to get some relax between intense operations.
The Last of Us
Within a "not zombie" apocalypse, moments of respite are few and far between. The majority of the game involves hiding from the infected, running to cover, and fighting infected and humans off. Because of this conditioning, the moments of quiet that come are that much more effective. Most notable of these is the player's arrival in Salt Lake City. The antithesis of the rest of the cities, Salt Lake is lush with green and appears to have very few infected about. The player is then met with an astoundingly close and peaceful encounter with friendly giraffes. This respite feels well earned and is a good moment for the player to center themselves before the climax of the game.