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Sometimes the best thing in a game is a pause

Action games often have built-in moments for players to take breaks, be it in safe rooms, during animated story sequences, conversations, or the part of a map that acts like connective tissue between one open area and another, where surely a fight awaits you.

Breaks, however, are different from pauses. A pause is simply a short moment of respite, a blink-and-you-miss it moment between one decision and the next. I love pauses.

I love it in bullet-time sequences when everything slows down to a crawl, when you see enemies and projectiles slowly advancing and you know, as soon as you press that one button, that everything around you will be faster, louder, more chaotic – but this moment is for you to get your bearings and to find a new strategy. I enjoyed it as much when it was a new thing all the way back in Max Payne as I do now in the Final Fantasy 7 Remake. That said, there are other, different kinds of pauses too.

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