The one thing that I can't say I care for is the Quick Time Events. Every time something action-y happens on screen, if you do or don't press the button that shows up, the sequence plays out a little different. Like in the screenshot below, if you successfully spam the 'Q' key fast enough, you'll win the tug-of-war over the axe with the Woodsman. If you fail, well, then you don't have an axe and now you're dodging it instead.
The idea seems to be to give you a little bit of a pacing break by tossing some interaction at you, as well as let you feel like you have some direction over the story. I haven't tried just ignoring the QTE entirely to see if you can get a game over, but for the most part failures haven't seemed to really prevent me from continuing on, which honestly is probably a good thing. Like in a game of D&D, failure shouldn't necessarily mean the end, but a different branch of the story.
However, the story doesn't seem to altar very significantly with any choices, either the macro choices about where to go next--where your ordering seems to change what clues you get, but in the end you still have the same series of events, just a slightly different order--or the micro-choices you get for failing or succeeding at the QTEs.
The QTEs feel jarring. I'm dug into a good visual novel and suddenly, bam, action game, requiring quick reflexes! Often I miss the first key entirely because I'm taken off guard. While a designer might count that as a win (because Bigby was also off guard, perhaps!), for me it's just annoying. In a game like Halo, a cinematic controlling the action for me is vexing, because the norm is having character agency for action sequences, whereas the visual novel department is closer to a Choose Your Own Adventure, where you make the occasional decision and you're piecing together a story. Your character agency is quite limited in that case, so having less agency in an action sequence feels like it would be fine.
|This book is literally older than I am by about 3 years. And it was amazing at the time.|
One way or another, though, the QTEs felt like they were tacked on because someone thought they didn't have enough gameplay in their game, and I'm not sure that's a good enough reason to do that. I think I'd actually enjoy the game more without them.