The word cinematic gets thrown around a lot when people are talking about systems and how their combat works. It seems almost like a holy grail that a lot of systems have been trying for. They want their games - specifically some of the most mechanically intensive part of their games - to flow and have that energy you get from watching an action sequence in a movie. The thing is though, it takes more than just mechanics to do this, it also takes a GM and players that are willing to play into it. I am ridiculously excited to say that with the right players and GM the new Star Wars system - Edge of the Empire - can pull it off in spades.
How am I so sure? Well, because in the session that just happened - and for the first time in my 20+ year gaming career - I was finally able to have my character leap through the air, fall behind cover, and fire two guns at the same time while doing so in an effective manner. Edge of the Empire doesn't bog the player down in penalties for trying this elaborate stunt, it just kind of embraces the fact that it can happen and for good or ill it gets to happen.
In my case the action was a maneuver to run towards where I wanted to go, two strain for an extra maneuver to dive behind cover, and my action to fire the two guns I was carrying. The system also has rules for firing two weapons that makes it penalizing if you're not built for it (most combat characters will be built for it even if they don't realize it) and it isn't a free butt load of damage, but when it works the damage does add up quite nicely.
The cinematic nature of the game is further up-played by the stats on NPCs and Players. Most NPCs you are in fights with should drop after one good hit - maybe two if that have really nice armor (i.e. Storm Troopers.) Special NPCs may take 2-3 shots. PCs also take 2-3 shots but have the benefit of an individual playing them and more likelihood of working together.
What comes out is a session where mooks can get dropped fast but are still dangerous because every hit hurts - exactly like it is in the Star Wars universe as shown in the movies. It was awesome to see in action, and I'm rather psyched as the player that I got to do it (it felt really bad ass.)
Anyhow, that was part of my weekend of gaming. How did yours go?