Wot I Think – Fallout: New Vegas

By Quintin Smith on October 21st, 2010 at 4:36 pm.

Why won't VATS let us shoot guys in the nipples? I don't understand.

Obsidian’s pseudo-sequel to Bethesda’s Fallout 3 hits the UK tomorrow, arriving amid a raft of positive reviews. But I see you there, perched atop that blasted rock, canteen in hand, waiting for the official RPS review. That wait is over. Here’s Wot I Think of New Vegas.

There’s a distant sound that can be heard throughout your time with New Vegas. Quieter than the cheery 1930s pop hits that warble from your radio, quieter even than the chirps of night-time insects, or the long gasps of wind blowing across the wasteland. It is the sound of Obsidian phoning this game in. I’m talking long distance, reversed charges, not-giving-a-fuck.

Now, if it’s purely size you care about, New Vegas has you covered. From the moment your character (a professional courier who gets attacked and left for dead in the intro movie) wakes up in a backwater town, you’re introduced to a sprawling wasteland even bigger than that of Fallout 3. There are dozens of settlements to find. There are (shh!) secrets to stumble across. There are four and a half shitloads of different weapons. There is a heaving mass of character perks, just waiting to be unlocked as you progress through the game’s wide array of quests.

But something Bethesda were very aware of when they turned Fallout into a first-person game is that the wasteland is potentially quite a boring setting for the player to be set free in. I mean, you think wasteland, you think deserts, charred ruins and grumpy survivors wearing faded, drab clothes.

So, Bethesda went to great lengths to infuse their D.C. wasteland with colour. It was populated by kooky, occasionally even cartoonish characters- it’s no accident that super mutants and the Brotherhood of Steel featured so prominently. Then you had the independant towns, which were all built in or around visually striking setpieces, and Bethesda even built a labyrinth out of the subway system. Whatever direction you walked in Fallout 3, you felt confident you’d find something interesting.

Whatever direction you walk in New Vegas, you might find something interesting, but it’s much more likely you’ll find something pretty uninteresting, like an empty shack or an NCR army outpost where you’ll hear two different potato-faced soldiers voiced by two different actors say the same line of dialogue about the Mojave being hot. There’s also a slim chance you’ll find nothing at all but a few irradiated creatures, since the game has entire acres of barren scrub and desert that you absolutely would not see in Fallout 3. In my whole time with New Vegas, I found nothing as architecturally entertaining as Megaton, and nothing as eerie or inventive as Little Lamplight. Hiking long distances felt like a chore.

Maybe you’re reading this and thinking that a more bleak and empty and therefore a more “realistic” vision of the wasteland would suit you just fine. Trouble is, it’s more than that. It can be hard to tell the difference between a lack of content and an authentically barren wasteland, but sometimes New Vegas is so impressively bold in its laziness that the distinction is clear.

Look, here’s a shot of the incredible NCR sharecropper farms, the “pride” of the state! One of the guards working here told me that they have to keep the place well-defended, just so every wastelander walking past doesn’t come in and stuff themselves. This isn’t actually a joke. It’s just a disconnect between the scriptwriter and the whoever designs the actual areas.

And here’s a bustling casino floor in crazy New Vegas!

I took those screenshots from quite far back to get a sense of space, but they’re not staged. Almost all of New Vegas simply has a quiet minimalism to it, which is probably for the best since there’s a pretty awful bug with Windows 64 bit that dropkicks your framerate if you’re standing close to several people at the same time.

More frustrating are the absences where you know there’s meant to be an actual feature, but it was evidently forgotten or abandoned somewhere along the brief road to getting this game on the shelves. I had a long conversation with a bartender about the etiquette for hiring one of her prostitutes, before discovering after three increasingly confused laps of the bar that there were no prostitutes in the building. Later, I encountered a man tied to a pole, begging to be cut down, but there was no way to do so. And in one awesomely surreal instance, I had a chat with a character about their impressive snowglobe collection when there wasn’t a snowglobe in sight.

This isn’t another Vampire: Bloodlines, where an ambitious game’s been left unfinished, because there is no ambition here. Imagine for a second that the above problems didn’t come about because of a lack of time, but because of carelessness, and apply that carelessness to the entire game- most importantly, to the quest design and the dialogue. Now you’re getting close to imagining New Vegas.

God, the dialogue in this game. I think there were several points where I was so bored my brain began rotating in my head like food in a microwave. Whatever voice acting agency or methadone rehabilitation clinic Bethesda used to voice the populace of Oblivion and Fallout 3 is back, and while I didn’t particularly like the writing in Fallout 3 either, the characters in that game were often interesting or disturbed enough that you were curious about what they had to say.

With an unforgivably small number of exceptions (and one character who does actually approach the cast of Bloodlines in his likeability), the characters in New Vegas are all tedious constructs, voiced by people who sound like they’re boring in real life, wandering around in the Oblivion engine, which as we all know is about as charismatic as a slow-motion seizure. The low point for me was probably these guys:

Caesar’s Legion are New Vegas’ big addition to the Fallout lore. They’re a huge, warlike tribe that attempt to embody the characteristics of a Roman legion, meaning leather tunics, little skirts and ferocious disciple- drugs, and as far as I can tell, jokes, are banned. There is just nothing interesting about them, except for the fact that they all pronounce Caesar “Kai-zar”, a mystery I never got to the bottom of.

New Vegas’ saving grace is really just the framework it fails to employ particularly well. While I won’t be returning to New Vegas after this review, I did have a fair amount of fun doing all the old Fallouty things- exploring the wasteland, looting bodies, solving problems with my skills instead of violence and, when I didn’t have the skills, blowing apart head after tender head with my favourite shotgun.

It’s just that this is absolutely not the classic that Fallout 1 and 2 unquestionably were, and it’s also not the bold, bright reinvention that Fallout 3 was. It’s just… here, offering more Fallout. Do you want some more Fallout? If so, New Vegas can provide, so long as you don’t mind your every hour with it being laced with some small amount of disappointment. That is, unless you haven’t played a Fallout game before, but in that case you’re better off with the Game of the Year edition of Fallout 3.

I want to finish by talking about the new Hardcore mode, because that’s what lured me into doing this Wot I Think in the first place. Hardcore mode means playing a version of New Vegas where you have to eat, drink and sleep, where ammo takes up weight allowance in your inventory, and where crippled limbs can only be healed by a doctor or with a one-shot Doctor’s Bag item.

In execution, Hardcore mode isn’t hardcore. At all. Playing as a big ol’ science nerd with no survival skill, no barter skill, average endurance and meagre strength, I breezed through all of the obstacles of Hardcore mode without having to think about them.

Just about every building in the game has a working sink somewhere, so water isn’t an issue, and the piñata-like presence of food in the bins and cupboards of New Vegas’ “wasteland” is bolstered by the fruit you find growing naturally everywhere you go. The most you ever end up thinking about Hardcore mode is when some landmine or mutant with a club breaks your leg out in the middle of nowhere, and there’s nothing for it but to fast travel back to a town and go limping the rest of the way to a doctor.

The way it sounded in previews, Hardcore mode was going to provide New Vegas with an additional, survivalist dimension. Instead, it’s just a handful of weak extra rules that have little impact on the rest of the game. Hardcore mode is, at least, ripe for a modder to come along and fix up, which I suppose describes a lot of New Vegas.

What a bummer I am. Look, let me make it all better- here’s a post onSavyGamer about how you can buy Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 3: Game Of The Year Edition for £30. At that price, I’d say this game is probably worth it.

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800 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    skalpadda says:

    Oblivion, eh? I bet it’s just Obsidian with guns.

  2. SquareWheel says:

    I think I’ll wait for the inevitable GOTY edition at 66% off.

  3. Nick C says:

    I have to disagree with this review completely. It has everything I loved about F3, but with the writing wit that I enjoyed from the first 2 games. It’s a win for me.

    • mwoody says:

      Yeah, I’m stunned at this review. It’s Fallout 3, only with better balanced gameplay, infinitely more interesting quests and locations, better writing, better… EVERYTHING. It’s like he played a different game.

    • The Innocent says:

      In agreement as well. It reminds me a lot more of the bleak-but-darkly-humorous world of the first two games, and I’m rather pleased to see many of FO3′s changes gone. For one, the perks and stats don’t transform you into an uberman anymore, it isn’t possible any longer (as far as I know) to max out everything, the story overall is much more fascinating and mysterious, and… well, it just feels better generally than FO3.

    • tomwaitsfornoman says:

      I’m in this corner. To me, New Vegas feels like a real successor to the franchise in a way that Fallout 3 did not.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Yeah, I’m about 10 hours in now and loving it. An improvement over 3 in every way, and I’ve encountered no bugs besides the quick/autosave one.

    • suibhne says:

      I too feel…well, baffled. I’m only a few hours in, but the game has a far better vibe to it than FO3 ever did for me. I’m especially puzzled by Quinns’ criticism of the writing, which I’ve found to be a few levels above Bethesda’s plain, dull language in FO3. Granted, this ain’t your daddy’s PS:T…but the game still exceeds FO3 in every way that I can identify, even in features where the improvement is disappointingly slight (like Hardcore mode).

      FO:NV could be a case study, in fact, for the extent to which game reviews are situated in a specific time/market. This game is being dinged for flaws that were present in the original – a game which reviewers characterized with hyperbolic phrases like “a paean to the human spirit” (or was it “testament”?).

      As for FO3′s “inventiveness” – well, for every Little Lamplight there were two Big Towns. Memory, rose-colored glasses, etc., etc.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I agree; maybe it’s a difference in expectations, but for me the game is better than the review suggests. I think much it depends on how much you liked Fallout 3 (or didn’t), and whether you’re okay with just “more Fallout” instead of a complete engine re-write. The complaint about the Mojave being too empty is also puzzling, considering that unlike the DC area in F3, that area actually is an empty wasteland even without a nuclear war.

      This version seems better balanced than F3, where I became too powerful too early;. In this one, I’m constantly tempted into thinking I can handle a combat situation, and then I get smacked down. That probably changes towards the end game, but so far it seems like a good balance. The writing isn’t all that I’d hoped for, so far, but there have been some creepy bits with the Legion.

      Also, Quinn didn’t comment on the changes to VATS, which are substantial. Range is reduced, and iron sights are actually useful now. I had a habit of just using VATS as a sort of autopilot mode in F3, but I’m shooting much more on iron sights now, and enjoying it. The one thing that’s still a bit annoying is the laser-like, flat trajectory of projectile weapons. I can snipe accurately at ridiculous distances with iron sights, just laying them right on target with no adjustment. But I guess bullet drop would be asking too much for this type of game.

      The knock on “hard” mode is justified, though. Modders can probably make the effects kick in faster, but the real problem is the sheer abundance of water, food, and medicine in the game (including crafting). For the game to feel like a real survival situation, the body drops and loot boxes need to be ramped way down.

    • Lobotomist says:

      I am really shocked.

      While I admit, have played only 5 hours. My impressions were completely opposite.
      I give benefit of the doubt , Quintin maybe played far more into the game. But some things just dont strike as logical to me.

      Obsidian were the original people that worked on original fallouts. They were very excited about New Vegas ( which was talked about in a leak from obsidian employee talking about Alpha Protocol ). And last but not least – its friggin Obsidian: KOTOR2 , Mask of Betrayer , Planescape. If anything they know how to write story and dialogue.

      Now. I am also shocked with bad reception of this game I started seeing in media.

      They butchered Alpha Protocol. That was in my opinion fairly good game , at least not worst than ME2 crap. Now they try to kill this game ?

      Dont you realize it will spell death for Obsidian ?

      Do you want another great studio to go down, like Troika did ? And than we will be sorry.
      People still play Temple Of Elemental Evil , and Vampire <- same games Troika was burned for.

      So all in all I see this review by Quintin Smith, very contraversial.

      Either it will turn out the game sucks. But I still think he should have more remorse for Obsidian.

      or It will turn out the game is actually pretty good but not for everyone (like let say Risen, or Gothic) and Quintin will get bad rep – and hurt this site (cause its the only game review site i trust)

      In any way. Its bad

    • Premium User Badge

      skalpadda says:

      Lobotomist:

      Would you rather he lied about his experiences just to save face for Obsidian? And if they have made a game with severe bugs, missing content and a serious lack of polish (which doesn’t sound unlikely considering their track record), isn’t it fair to the people who read this site to point that out?

    • Lobotomist says:

      No.

      But I also think that he should be more forgiving ( given it is the case that game sucks, which I hear other people vocally deny )

      Troika went under because both Vampire:Bloodlines and TOEE were buggy at release and had missing content. And critics burned them in reviews.

      But both games were also that rare good RPGs that people play and buy to this day.

      I just wonder what would happen if the reviewers said that those games are great, but need more work. Perhaps we would still have Troika around, making good RPGs ?

    • StingingVelvet says:

      Add me too, I don’t think it is possible for me to disagree with the review more. It’s all the best parts of Fallout 2 and Fallout 3 merged together if you ask me, and quite brilliant. Only problem is the bugs, but the community has already fixed most of them.

      I am noticing my opinions and perspectives just don’t really mesh with this writer’s, on average. Shame.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      Lobo: I played TOE on release, and it was far from a good game. It was a painful experience. Not quite as bad as Ruins of Myth Drannor, but getting there. THe company that made that should not be allowed to make more games.

    • Premium User Badge

      skalpadda says:

      Lobotomist:

      “Troika went under because both Vampire:Bloodlines and TOEE were buggy at release and had missing content. And critics burned them in reviews.”

      And they deserved to be, they released a broken product. I can’t think of any other industry where that would ever be considered OK. It would be like a movie critic recommending a film even though it skips forward a minute for every ten, and makes your DVD player shut down just before the epic ending, but buy it anyway because the writing is good. Or recommending a comic book where half the panels are missing and every other speech bubble has to be translated from ancient Chinese.

      I don’t hate Obsidian at all and I really think they’ve produced some amazing stuff, but they have serious issues with production values and just plain getting their shit together and they need to be called out on it when they screw up or we’ll be stuck with having to wade through crap to get to the good bits forever. KotOR2 is one of my favourite games, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone without a long list of caveats.

      That said, the bit about “phoning this game in” in the article seemed needlessly insulting and presumptuous.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      While I respect Quinns’ opinion, i have to add my voice to those who strongly disagree. Were it not for the bugs and crashes, this game would be better than FO3 (which I absolutely loved.)

      Oh well, to each there own.

    • Psyk says:

      @Zenicetus

      Why would you want any more variables to where your bullet will go? your playing an RPG you make your gun more accurate by leveling up the correct skills.

    • Nalano says:

      Likewise: 16 hours into it (and counting) and I’m loving every moment.

      I hated Fallout 3 for giving me a nice treat in terms of the environment and then totally destroying it with the fridge logic and bad characters. New Vegas feels like a true Fallout sequel to me.

    • Kryopsis says:

      20 hours into the game, I absolutely love it, having disliked nearly everything about Fallout 3. While everyone is entitled to his opinion, I find that a lot of the negative points of the review are unjustified and the whole thing seems like a rush to get it over with and move on to a different game. Performance is certainly an issue and there seem to be some major bugs, from what I hear. Personally I’ve yet to experience a freeze, a crash or anything more serious than a collision issue.

      New Vegas offers a few options to tweak the experience: the ironsight aiming, the hardcore mode and the Wild Wasteland trait. I find that all three make the experience much more enjoyable. I don’t understand the issue with the Hardcore mode. It isn’t supposed to make the game significantly harder, much like Far Cry 2′s malaria. It’s there for flavour and immersion. The settings menu contains a difficulty option that does make the game easier and harder.

    • Premium User Badge

      skalpadda says:

      Oh, and one more thing that might be worth pointing out for those who feel Quinns should have some had some oversight with bugs and bad polish: It’s not a rare thing to see the writers on this site give their own views on a game after a Wot I Think has been done, and it’s also not uncommon to see them go back and give a game another whirl once it’s been patched up or modded, something that has gotten me to buy a few games where the initial impressions have been pretty dire. Might be worth keeping that in mind when reading this site.

    • Miko says:

      I definitely feel that New Vegas is like Fallout 3 except good. On the one hand, yes, the places do feel even more like empty wastelands than is typical for an Elder Scrolls/NuFallout game, this is true. On the other, for the first time in one of these, the writing isn’t terrible. On the balance, I’m definitely enjoying it more than FO3, despite Hardcore Mode being no such thing.

    • Nesetalis says:

      Quin.. I think you dropped the ball on this one.

      First off, its a wasteland, second, its a desert… empty swathes of land with a few rare spots of life. Making the world feel big did far more for the game in my opinion than if they had just condensed everything down to a small room with cities 10 steps from each other.

      Secondly, fallout 3 was drivel, a bad story, with bad gameplay, and worse immersion. The only downside to new vegas in my opinion was the fallout 3 engine/oblivion engine. Cant stand the wooden actor models that weve been plagued with for a decade, morrowind on.

      it feels like fallout 1/2, it plays similar, though I was never a fan of vats. I miss the old turnbased fallout but I’m good enough with ironsights to get along with this game.

      it may not be as vivid a palate of colors as fallout 3, lots of browns everywhere, but I don’t recall fallout 3 being much more than brown and gray with a bit of blue/gray thrown in.

      as for the dialog, It had me laughing at times, remembering at others, and always entertained me. Fallout 3 I didn’t even bother finishing my first time through, though eventually I did beat it, but never went back for the DLC.

    • Mike I. says:

      Add me to the “were you playing the same game?” camp. I’m not terribly far in the game (level 11, haven’t even entered New Vegas proper yet), but so far I’m finding the writing in the game to be an order of magnitude above what Bethesda pumped out. The feel of the game is a lot less directed, but in my mind that’s a good thing; along with everything else in Fallout:NV, it brings to mind the feeling I had playing Fallout 2, and fixes a lot of the weaknesses of Fallout 3.

      I think a great example of the writing is the character No Bark, who’s a mental case living just outside of Novac. His dialogue actually had me laughing out loud in a way I never did with any of the “zany” characters in Fallout 3. Bethesda would write dialogue that would essentially read as “I am zany. Look at the zany things I say. They make no sense! So zany!” Obsidian actually brought some writers to the game, and the result is much, much more entertaining.

    • Idiot Reviewer says:

      Wow, you’re so cool. A negative review for an awesome game just so you can generate hits for your page. Yawn. You obviously are cashing some Bethesda checks right now, so you won’t bother reading this.

      You are 100% wrong about this game. And I am never coming to RPS again.

    • Niker says:

      This is the review you get when you have a lazy, ignorant person writing it.

  4. Vinraith says:

    Since hardcore mode is already present in the code, it’s not even going to require “a modder to fix it up,” my guess is you can go into the mod tools and simply tweak a few numbers to give it real teeth.

    • Bhazor says:

      I think the one hardcore addition people keep missing is the whole companions can die thing. Y’know, a pretty major thing really.

      Also I played FO3 with the Better Stimpacks mod (essentially the same delayed healing thing as Obsidian added) and I thought it made a huge difference. Certainly fights were more dramatic when I could no longer instant heal the use of my arms back.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Bhazor

      I’ve been playing Wanderer’s Edition so much I can’t help but think of stimpaks as rare and precious commodities not to be used except under dire circumstances.

      Companions dying is a nice touch, certainly, though in FO3 at least I never used them. I tend to play stealthy, and never met a companion that didn’t cramp my style to the point where I was better off without them.

    • jsdn says:

      Tweaking numbers is a mod. He was saying that it lends itself well to modding, but you’d think it’d have the right numbers in the first place (subjective, but the current numbers are worthless). Along with the missing computer, snowglobes, and prostitutes.

    • Vinraith says:

      @jsdn

      Tweaking numbers is a mod.

      No more so than changing your game resolution in an .ini file, or turning off mouse acceleration in a config file, or any other standard PC game tweaking.

  5. Tyrone Slothrop. says:

    I couldn’t disagree with this review more, I loved Fallout 3… yet this just supersedes it in the most crucial areas of gameplay and writing. Sure it’s not very polished (yet moreso than I believed it would be) but this is one of the best games I’ve ever played. The choices are quite complex and worrisome unlike Fallout 3′s or Mass Effect’s, the dialogue is quite beautiful and sophisticated at times, completely and effortlessly hilarious and poignant at other times.

    My candidate for GOTY2010.

  6. Sunjammer says:

    Couldn’t disagree more. But you’re entitled to your opinion of course.

  7. Quasar says:

    I now have no idea what to think – but I liked both Oblivion and Fallout 3, despite their issues.

    I think I shall play it for myself.

  8. Ian says:

    There is a bloke – bearded one in the opening town – who acknowledges the different pronunciations of Caesar. It’s not a full-blown explanation supported by reams of back story, more just an off the cuff comment that establishes the point in the game world.

    But yeah, I love the game.

    • Bhazor says:

      Well I’ve not played the game but I’m sure Kaiser (German for king) was pretty common 50′s slang for a head honcho/ leader/ Bad Muthfucka.

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      “Kai-zar” is how “Caesar” is pronounced in Latin. “See-zer” is an English bastardisation. I guess the Caesar’s Legion guys prefer to use the authentic pronunciation.

    • heh says:

      Yes, it’s the old man sitting outside of the saloon. He mentions the confusion in the pronunciations himself. It isn’t ignored.

    • Premium User Badge

      stahlwerk says:

      Kaiser is german for Emperor and is a direct derivation from the latin word (what with the “holy roman empire of german nation” and such). Ironically, Caesar is pronounced Zäsar (Tsay-Sar) in day-to-day german as well.

    • suibhne says:

      It *is* a nice touch – it’s an affectation that immediately establishes the Legion’s collective character.

    • Dreamhacker says:

      VelvetFistIronGlove is correct, it really is pronounced “kai-zar” in correct Latin.

      I studied latin on university level and can provide you with this small pronunciation guide:
      C is (always) pronounced K.
      AE is pronounced AY.
      OE is pronounced OI.
      U is pronounced as Oooh.
      O is pronounced…. with a sound that isn’t really used in the english language. Think italian/spanish O.

      Now, try this: In vili veste, nemo tractatur honeste.

    • Grundlewart says:

      V is also pronounced like a W.
      My Latin teacher explained the vowels thusly:
      A is flat, as in “black”
      E is pronounced “eh” or “ay”
      I is pronounced “ee”
      O is flat, as in “hot”
      U is pronounced “oo”

      So Veni Vidi Vici is pronounced Wennay Weeday Weekay.

    • Grundlewart says:

      Crapsticks, screwed that up. Teach me to multitask whilst reading RPS.

      Weh-nee Wee-dee Wee-kee

    • Bhazor says:

      Well done. Now write it out 500 times or I’ll cut your balls off.

    • Wulf says:

      Do as the man says, be true to Bhazor!

      Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  9. Delusibeta says:

    This is probably the first review I’ve seen that preferred Fallout 3 over New Vegas. I imagine that RPS will probably get some slack for this (although I imagine it’ll also be hailed as proof in certain sections of the Obsidian hatedom).

    Not that I’m complaining too much, I bagged that Fallout 3 + New Vegas for £30 deal (topped up with Just Cause 2 for a little under £9 on top of that. I’m going to have my fill of sandboxes for a while). New release AAA games for £18, who would have thunk that?

  10. Urael says:

    *glances upwards*

    Hmmm. If I were a cynical man I’d wonder if there weren’t some publisher stooges leaving comments on boards to dispell any negative criticism of the game…surely a sign that the world of Fallout can’t be too far off.

    I’m not a Day One purchaser except in rare circumstances. I bought Fallout 3 GOTY, all DLC and patches included and I’ll probably do the same here.

    • Archonsod says:

      If so they’ve hired more stooges than purchasers, everywhere I’ve seen people are saying it’s FO3 as it should have been.

    • mwoody says:

      Well, have you noticed that all the comments, both above and below, are negative if they’ve not played the game but positive if they have? Perhaps THAT should tell you something?

    • perilisk says:

      Not really, I’m enjoying myself. That said, I’m playing it as an Obsidian game, rather than a Bethesda game, so I don’t just aimlessly wander out into the wasteland for shits and giggles, I’m either heading toward something interesting I saw in the distance, or working on quests, of which there are quite a few. As a result, I have yet to notice “emptiness”. The VO and writing are hands down better, the quests invite you to think and make choices (and wonder if they’re good ones), the combat is much more challenging, and the bugginess hasn’t been a deal-breaker for me yet. I’m playing in hardcode mode, which basically requires that you carry some extra survival gear and use it periodically. If it was too challenging, it would detract from the experience, but it mainly forces you to give more thought into what you carry.

      About the worst thing I can say about it is that there is a hell of lot of stuff that they don’t explain and just leave you to figure out for yourself, especially when it comes to crafting. The manual is particularly worthless — it doesn’t even describe stats and skills, let alone perks.

    • Iggy Pop says:

      This game is good, and I can assure you I’m no stooge.

    • neems says:

      Lol. Plus one million points.

  11. Mac says:

    After reading all the reviews of this game whining about the “bugs” and claiming the game was “a mess,” this is the first write-up I’ve read that really touches on the real problems of the game: the content. I’m still playing NV and am enjoying it well enough, but I can agree with many of the points here. Solid write-up.

  12. Castle says:

    Wow. Not what i was expecting. Though I’ll probably still pick this up once it goes on sale based on the glowing EG review, I’m a little less excited now…

  13. Alli says:

    FWIW, while it was published by Bethesda it was developed by a different studio.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Kelron says:

    Not an unexpected review, Obsidian’s games have always been divisive.

  15. Noël says:

    Kai-zar is how Caesar is originally pronounced in latin and explains for example the German word for Emperor: “Kaiser”.

    This article makes me a very sad man.

  16. Danarchist says:

    I have been enjoying it myself, but the bugs, good lord the bugs! I know no game releases perfect these days. Most companies expect their customers to perform all the QA testing for them I guess. I was actually surprised when I noticed the little cloud symbol appeared next to the game on my steam console. I had been playing an hour or two on my laptop at work and the second I got home I popped onto my desktop to continue my ammo hording. Of course the “sync” apparently only syncs your autosave and quicksaves from the first 10 minutes of play. After dinking around with loading on my lappy and exiting the game, waiting for the little sync notification etc I just said screw it and copied the saves folder off my laptop over my network.
    Now of course my quicksave only works about 25% of the time…..sigh. I have to rekill a swarm of radscorpions again today at lunch….

    Bugs aside I do like some of the new stuff, still hate the character graphics but not enough to hate the game. Your right it is just more of the same, but after the couple days worth of ingame time I spent on fallout 3 more of the same isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Even with the game crashing its still more fun than risen IMHO ;)

    5 days till the new fable? Maybe this one will be better than the last hehe

    • Delusibeta says:

      Apparently, due to reports of that bug, Valve has switched off Steam Cloud for that game. Reports are still coming in, so I’m calling it an engine bug until proved otherwise.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Yeah, why the heck didn’t Quintin mention the bugs? If anyone didn’t read the previous mini article about it, they’re just gonna assume he didn’t like the game because it felt uninspired to him.

    • Miko says:

      Any time you save in a new slot, it makes a backup of that save. Every time you run the game (because you quit or crashed to desktop, probably the latter) it copies that backup over the slot. In other words, quicksaves and autosaves only work as long as you don’t quit or crash, then they’re gone, and if you want other saves to be usable you have to always use a new slot.

  17. battles_atlas says:

    Nice to read a review by someone who has actually played the Hardcore mode, rather than just regurgitating the press release, which appears to have been the case with other reviews (PCG I’m looking at you).

    • suibhne says:

      Sure, Quinns mentions Hardcore mode, but he doesn’t cover the most important aspects: ammo weight (versus the weightlessness in FO3 that allowed you to effortlessly carry dozens of rockets and nukes alongside hundreds of rounds of all types of ammo) and companion permadeath (which can be a real curse due to the oft-silly AI). To be fair, other reviews aren’t mentioning these factors either, but it’s worth mentioning since Quinns dings Hardcore mode for having negligible in-game impact. The ammo change alone is huge.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      From above: “Hardcore mode means playing a version of New Vegas where you have to eat, drink and sleep, where ammo takes up weight allowance in your inventory, and where crippled limbs can only be healed by a doctor or with a one-shot Doctor’s Bag item.”

    • suibhne says:

      He mentions ammo weight, yes, but he doesn’t cover it – ammo weight gets no mention in his elaboration of Hardcore effects. I’ve found it to change the game pretty significantly from my experience back in FO3, where I was carrying thousands of rounds without breaking a sweat. This in turn enabled me to easily juggle multiple weapon types at a time. Ammo weight enforces more careful character choices, but it seems Quinns didn’t notice. (Perhaps this wasn’t an issue for the type of character he played, or perhaps he felt the overall effect was insignificant.)

      And he doesn’t even mention companion permadeath, for what that’s worth. (Maybe not much.)

    • Josh W says:

      Yes hardcore mode does make it harder, but it doesn’t do it in a way that gives you a feeling of scarcity and survival. It forms a nuicence rather than a proper strategic consideration.

      Also, when playing it me and my friend kept waiting for the double-cross we knew was going to happen, because we were getting away with stuff too easily, but no. The “angles” never turned out to be substantial. We kept hoping that the political stuff would get complex, but it never did. Real shame.

      There’s a problem there, where making value choices in this game seems to be mostly about picking options on a list, rather than having to fight for any of them. It’s like the game just holds up it’s hands and gives you the lot.

      Both of those sides of the game don’t seem to have any teeth, like they’re the padling pool version, designed to make sure people want more, rather than running scared. Maybe obsidian are hoping that if they start off like this, people will ask for more of this stuff in future games.

  18. Mike says:

    The Caesar pronounciation thingy comes from one of the way latin scholars think the Romans used their laguage. One of these tradition says that “ae” may have been pronounced “ai”.

    Mistery solved.:)

  19. Will Tomas says:

    On the Caesar/Kaisar thing – as far as we can tell, that’s how the Romans would have pronounced Caesar in Latin. They used a hard ‘C’ sound for the C and ‘ae’ is pronounced ‘ai’. I suspect they’re trying to be authentic.

    That’s the benefits of a public school education, right there.

    • the wiseass says:

      As somebody who has studied Latin himself, I can say that this explanation is absolutely correct.

    • Clovis says:

      But the game takes place in the post-apocalyptic US where everyone pronounces it sees-er. I guess if you’re the kinda’ crazy person who manages to start up a group of people who wear tunics after the nukes fall, maybe you know the different pronunciation and foist it on everyone else though. I guess Quinns wanted to hear someone explain that that was the reason.

      I guess the disconnect is that if I saw “Caesar” and someone said “Kai-sar”, I’d immediately ask why. Those Caesar guys must constantly get asked about it, so it seems like they’d get used to explaining it to people. They’d say “Kai-sar”, see your confusion, and then sheepishly explain that big boss man sez that’s how the old Romans said it.

      Anyway, after the war comes, I’m gonna’ form a group called the Genghis Kahns and make all my recruits pronounce it “Jin-Jiss”.

    • heh says:

      One of the first characters you can meet (I believe the old man sitting outside of the saloon) mentions that he doesn’t know if it’s really pronounced Ceasar or Kaisar. So that ‘confusion’ is established in the game world through the characters themselves.

    • Bhazor says:

      Or they’d have you crucified for dissing their sweet Latin skills. Y’know, because the Romans weren’t the nicest guys.

    • Zenicetus says:

      @ Clovis:
      “But the game takes place in the post-apocalyptic US where everyone pronounces it sees-er. I guess if you’re the kinda’ crazy person who manages to start up a group of people who wear tunics after the nukes fall, maybe you know the different pronunciation and foist it on everyone else though.”

      I went to school here in the USA, and I had a mean bastard of a Latin teacher who would have done exactly that, if the bombs had dropped and he survived.

  20. bblz says:

    Personaly I..disagree! Which startles me, because I’m usually pretty in sync with RPS’ opinion pieces. Not to take away from what you’re saying of course, it certainly isn’t for everyone.

    Here goes nothing:

    I enjoyed Fallout 3 quite a bit, but not as a Fallout game. See, I’m “one of those”. One of those people that pissed all over the idea of a Bethesda-made Fallout sequel from the day it was announced. When it came out, I was actually hurt by how very much “not Fallout” it was (in comparison to 1&2, obviously), even though I kind of expected it. A month or so passed and I picked it up again, without any illusion that this has anything to do with the two prequels I love. And it was fun. But I could never draw parallels to the earlier Fallout titles.

    New Vegas changed this. I can be nostalgic and play NV without getting an aneurysm. Just about everything Fallout 3 did, NV does better. The voicing, the writing, the shooting, the exploration – they even battled the level scaling nonsense with Damage Threshold (superior armor vs. inferior weapon means you chip away at an enemy 0-1 hp at a time). The quests aren’t half as boring. Dialogue isn’t stupid as shit. No more “[Intelligence] So you fight the good fight with your voice?” or “Have you seen a middle-aged man?”. It can be intensely funny when it wants to be and the cross-referencing stuff that happened in Fallout 2 is insanely rewarding. I met a woman that talked about being a vertibird pilot; one day she flew over Klamath and had problems with the machinery – thinking back on the crashed Vertibird I saw 10 years ago when playing Fallout 2 just made me smile so, so much.

    So, there’s another opinion on NV. I literally don’t know how to start listing the things it does better than it’s predecessor, which is why I barely scratch the surface and keep it short. Which doesn’t mean that it’s not bug-ridden as fuck, but I enjoy the game so much that I put up with it. And there has to be a lot of good in a game to make me do that.

    • Fox says:

      I had the same impression of F3 – decent game, didn’t feel like Fallout. I wasn’t going to get NV for this reason, but some of the reviews convinced me late last night. I’ve only barely scratched the surface of the game, but so far I’ve really enjoyed it. The review here had me suddenly worried that I’d misspent $50, but your comment has put me at ease again. Thanks for that.

      I can’t wait to find these references to the past games!

  21. Alex Cox says:

    Quinns — Where you put ‘Oblivion’ you meant ‘Obsidian’. A few times.

  22. burglarize says:

    I can’t even imagine how awkward that pole-dancer’s animation is.

  23. Premium User Badge

    Faldrath says:

    “They’re a huge, warlike tribe that attempt to embody the characteristics of a Roman legion, meaning leather tunics, little skirts and ferocious disciple- drugs, and as far as I can tell, jokes, are banned.”

    “Discipline” instead of “disciple”, right?

    And I don’t know, most of the people saying that they “love” the game don’t say *why* they love the game, which does lead me to think they might be forcing their high expectations into reality. I acknowledge that’s what happened to me with FO3, I wanted it to be great so much that I convinced myself it was great for a while, until reality slowly sank in, and I couldn’t even bring myself to finish it.

    (I do plan on trying it again with a heavily modded GotY edition. As for NV, I’ll wait for a few patches, at least.)

    • The Innocent says:

      Plenty of people have been saying *why* they love it. All the positive reviews have, and plenty of comments here have as well.

    • Danarchist says:

      Well I can say for myself, I did NOT have high expectations. I am an old school fallout fan and hated 3 right up till a coworker made an awesome mod for it and forced me to buy the bloody thing.

      As for why I love it, thats really simple, its fun. You remember fun right? I have been doing a real tour-de-blase’ through all my old unfinished games and anything that has been mentioned favorably in forums that I hadn’t tried over the last few months. You see i suffered a sudden mmo burnout about 6 months ago and quickly burned through all the single player games I hadn’t tried in the interim. So I have been bored, and everything I have bought recently has been boring (except armored princess, and it is good for about an hour at a time). So when I bought new vegas, not even on release day mind you, I honestly was just expecting to be bored again and $50 wiser. Being happily surprised was in itself quite surprising!

      So to answer your statement, I expected to hate it, I read enough about the bugs and saminess to quantify hating it. I bought it anyways and found that my faithful sources of game opinioness had failed me more epically than when siskel and egbert gave the original dune movie two thumbs down and I ended up watching it for the first time on VHS.

  24. Burgeri says:

    I pre-ordered mine, so I am already committed. However, I am afraid you might be telling the truth. The shock of post-apocalyptic wasteland is that it is not supposed to be wasteland: it was transformed into one. Deserts of Nevada are wastelands even today, so as far as the choice of locale goes, FNV happens in the one place where nuclear holocaust did not matter.

  25. dhex says:

    i’ve been lucky not to have experienced any bugs thus far, beyond the usual problems with this engine. (mostly a kind of stutter that’s really more of a lurch, i.e. every three or four seconds of walking forward, it seems to skip ahead a tad. it’s irritating but you eventually tune it out, as i did in fallout 3)

    i disagree with the above on most of the points, but i do agree that so far it hasn’t really grabbed me as i’d hoped. the writing is far better, but outwriting bethesda may not really be much of an accomplishment. and hardcore mode may be more hardcore than easy, but it’s definitely not HARDCORE.

    or ‘ardcore, as it were.

  26. heh says:

    How anyone can think the writing in New Vegas is equal to the tripe in Fallout 3 is bewildering.

    • sfury says:

      Indeed, I haven’t started NV yet, but the writing in FO3 was just atrocious and I don’t think a company like Obsidian, that at least has always had quality story and dialogues in their games, can not easily top that and produce more quality stuff in a setting some of them are very familiar with.

      I’ll see for myself soon, but man – Chris Avellone himself did work on that one – surely it cannot be that bad. :/

  27. Joe Maley says:

    Shame.
    I never finished fallout3 because of an SLI issue on my old computer. I have since sold that retail copy along with the older computer.

    I was happily playing Morrowind with oodles of mods (thank you, PC) waiting for the New Vegas release.
    I think I’ll keep playing through hundred hours of content I have left in Morrowind.

    Bethesda used to make good games.

  28. Gotem says:

    even that stripper looks bored

  29. Jethro says:

    Absolutely bizarre review. Coupled with the snarky news posts earlier this week, and how pretty much everything he says flies in the face of what every other review says, it seems this guy just had his heart set on disliking this game.

    Especially the criticisms of the dialog, which in my experience is leagues better than F03′s dialog.

    • Langman says:

      I agree, it’s in keeping with a few other Quinns posts on here over the last month or so that have fallen short of the previous standard you used to expect from RPS. I know it sounds harsh, but to me it’s quite plain to see.

      I would have much rather heard the other guys opinions on this instead.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Do you mean the other Quinn’s posts in which he talked about his previous New Vegas impressions?

      I imagine you do.

    • Premium User Badge

      Morph says:

      If he doesn’t like it, what do you want him to do? Lie?

    • Ateius says:

      Games journalist dislikes game that I adore SHOCKER! How terribly unprofessional of him to have an opinion that disagrees with my own!

    • sfury says:

      “… fallen short of the previous standard …”

      Dude, please! I haven’t played NV yet, but even if I’m sure I’ll like it (at least way more than FO3) I have no problem someone else (especially Quinns) having a different view. The “RPS standart” you are talking about is to write about your own experience and insights of the game, not just copy&paste what every other review on the Internet said over and over.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      The RPS guys haven’t really liked a Bethesda game since Morrowind and, OK, New Vegas is an Oblivion game but it’s still pretty Bethesda.

      However, given that Quinns seemed to like F3 – at least more than NV – it’s a little hard to tell. Fair to say it’s his opinion, and others are entitled to disagree. I’ve read a lot of reviews, some great, some good – nothing as bad as this. But the criticisms here probably worry me more than the praise elsewhere excites me.

      I don’t have a computer to run it at the moment so it’s something of a moot point, but it’s interesting getting one “review” which is so vastly different to everything else I’ve read. Food for thought.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      Oblivion? Obsidian.

      Reverse Quinns!

    • Crusoe says:

      “Wot I Think.”

  30. Futant says:

    I can honestly say that I’ve found all of the dialogue significantly MORE interesting than FO3, as well as the characters AND locations. Maybe it’s because of my combination of high LUCK and Wacky Wasteland, but I literally run into a random encounter all the time. I don’t think I’ve been able to walk 10-15 minutes of boring so far.

    To me, this has essentially felt like what FO3 should have been (which I thought was terrible, due to the monochromatic colour-scheme, overbearing green tint on everything, lifeless characters, abominable plot, terrible gameplay balancing, complete lack of difficulty, the fact that nearly every location except 2 or 3 cities were just clone stamps of the same building, etc, etc, etc…).

    So, in conclusion, for the first time ever with RPS I actually disagree with this review in every single way.

  31. Tomo says:

    I didn’t really like Fallout 3 despite ploughing 30 hours into and finishing the main story. I got to the point where the side-questing just didn’t do it for me and I found the copy-paste environments extremely dull to explore.

    That said, I’ve been mulling over getting this still! Anything with an apocalypse scenario and my fingers twitch.

    BUT, thank you Quinns. Your discouraging remarks have done exactly that and I know now that I really shouldn’t buy this game \o/. Yay for not buying computer games!

  32. Qjuad says:

    I STRONGLY OBJECT TO THIS ARTICLE – CAPITALS EXPRESS MY RAGE.

    But seriously, I’m absolutely loving New Vegas in every way – minus the creeky engine and rather sparse number of characters (although too many would probably blow up the computer considering how poorly the engine handles lots of people) – and I’ve found the writing and voice acting excellent almost all the way through (as well as far better representation of the Fallout lore than FO3). A thoroughly enjoyable game.

    And as noted about, in classical latin Caesar is pronounced with a hard C not a soft C, so Caesar is Kaiser and Centurion is Kanturion.

    • Nalano says:

      Seriously. How he can compare FONV unfavorably to FO3 is beyond me.

      The things I don’t like about FONV – the crashes, the bugs, the AI – are Bethesda’s fault and were all true and painfully evident in FO3.
      The things I love about FONV – the writing, the atmosphere, the Fallout feeling – are all Obsidian (and by extension, Interplay/Black Isle).

      I’m not gonna say it MAKES UP for Bethesda’s horrible mangling of FO lore, but to me it kinda feels like Obsidian came in and showed them how it’s done.

  33. heh says:

    Also, playing on higher difficulties scales with Hardcore mode and adds to the speed at which those values increase. So if you were playing Hardcore on Normal, you weren’t doing it right.

  34. laikapants says:

    Well *that* was unexpected. Especially after the two posts of ‘I’m really enjoying this, the bugs are annoying, but I AM having fun.’ That said, it is Wot you thought. So fair is fair.

    I am enjoying the hell out of it. Maybe because the worst bug I’ve encountered thus far (knocking on entire forests as I type this) was Cheyenne’s eyes popping out and residing vertically off her right ear. Maybe because the first thing I killed was not instantly beheaded by a crappy pistol. Probably mostly because it isn’t as claustrophobic as Fallout 3 could be a lot of the time. I loved most of Fallout 3 until I got to DC, then I ground my teeth into dust. Hey that thing I need to get to is right on the other side of that building but wait I need to get lost in the subway again. Awesome. Maybe New Vegas will teeth grinding-ly annoy me too at some point (I’m just 6 hours in at this point), but thus far it is my second favourite big new game of the year (the first being another wide open spaces game, Red Dead Redemption).

  35. Bascule42 says:

    To be honest, if I had of pre-ordred this, or intended to buy very soon, I would be telling myself it’s great, it’s more of what I want – It’s FALLOUT. Btt when a review here, on this site, says the things it has. I’m gonna let myself be swayed, (a rare thing) , by this review. I’ll be keeping my eye on user comments on various sites for the now.

    (Captcha – come again?!?!)

  36. Lars Westergren says:

    :decline of RPS:

    • The Innocent says:

      Ouch. It’s just Quinns. Maybe he couldn’t find any iron.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Well, it’s like people saying that the Coen brothers or Christopher Nolan should take some pointers from Michael Bay on how to do great plots and dialogue. They are entitled to their opinion, but don’t expect me to pay much attention to what they say in the future.

    • James T says:

      God knows, Nolan needs help from someone…

    • Lilliput King says:

      You’re comparing Obsidian to Nolan or the Coen brothers.

      People are just crazy about Obsidian, aren’t they. And by crazy, I mean they cease to be rational.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      @Lilliput King

      >You’re comparing Obsidian to Nolan or the Coen brothers.

      As in “They create quirky and unusual stories, and are one of the few who show creativity and originality in an industry full of blandness and stupidity”, yes.

    • Paul S. says:

      …because he disagrees? Do you just want critics to tell you how right you are? What would be the point?
      Liliput King: yeah, Obsidian have a weird effect on people. I can’t understand it.

    • Lilliput King says:

      What exactly is creative or original about this?

      It’s made in an old engine which is ugly as a distinctly unappealing rear-end, so we can throw aesthetic artistry out the window (not something the Coen brothers or Nolan have ever done, incidentally) especially considering they didn’t even make it.

      It’s the fourth (unless we count Fallout: Tactics [we aren't counting Fallout: Tactics]) in a series! Four games! Same setting! The big thing everyone seems to be celebrating is that it’s the same as the first two.

      What the fuck? That’s not creative or original. Can you imagine the Coen brothers outsourcing a pair of Lebowski sequels then returning to the franchise for the fourth outing? “Hey everyone, we’re taking the series back! We’re going to be using all the same sets as the third, widely regarded as the worst in the series! But you can expect all that writing and wotnot you liked so much back in the day again! For a second time! What do you think?”

      Would we hail them as a creative power at the forefront of their industry? Like fuck we would.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      >What exactly is creative or original about this?

      The writing, the story.

      >It’s made in an old engine which is ugly

      Well, the choice of graphics engine was probably out of Obsidians hands, so why are you blaming them personally for it?

      >so we can throw aesthetic artistry out the window

      No, as a number of indie games have shown, you can have artistry using very simple means. Didn’t think you were the type who cared all about The Shiny!!! in games.

      >especially considering they didn’t even make it.

      Exactly. So why are you attacking them for it?

      >It’s the fourth (unless we count Fallout: Tactics [we aren't counting Fallout: Tactics]) in a series! Four
      >games! Same setting!

      Sequels are a problem of the game industry as a whole, unless you have missed it. As much as a loud and eloquent minority on the web are decrying sequels, they tend to sell better. Much better.

      >The big thing everyone seems to be celebrating is that it’s the same as the first two.

      No, not *the same*. But we are celebrating is a return to a gameplay where reading a situation and choosing the right line of conversation can be as important as aim, and where things aren’t immediately black and white, where gamers are given a hard challenge occasionally, and the consequences of your choices aren’t immediately obvious, and quests can interact in unexpected ways which makes a replay a fascinating exploration. Things that the first two games were in the forefront of. And which the third game strayed away from quite a lot.

      >Can you imagine the Coen brothers outsourcing a pair of Lebowski sequels then returning to the franchise for the fourth outing?

      The movie industry is not the games industry. You will notice I was using a simile above – an indirect comparison that allows ideas to remain distinct. I didn’t say they were identical, I said they were similar in that they are original and have good writing.

      Also, it is not the setting that makes a story original. There have been many films that use themes or sets in new and unusual ways. What matters is how the story is told. If the Coen brothers think that they could tell a really compelling story by creating a sequel to one of their films, I think they could.

    • sfury says:

      Touche.

      Man, I’m really hoping I’m not on Quinns’ impressions when I finish that, I really need me some good ol’ Fallout after wasting my time with Bethesblah’s bland reboot.

      Funny thing is I absolutely hated what Quinns calls “the colour” in FO3 – a whole village of kids in a Wasteland where you’re attacked by SuperMutants and what not on every step, grown men dressing as idiotic super-heroes/villains, a hidden oasis, vampires… It’s not that the originals weren’t abundant of absurdist humour but at least it was written and implemented well, whereas everything seemed mostly off and bland to me in Fallout 3 – the humour, the story. So I’m looking forward to New Vegas changing that.

    • Lilliput King says:

      >>so we can throw aesthetic artistry out the window

      >No, as a number of indie games have shown, you can have artistry using very simple means. Didn’t think you were the type who cared all about The Shiny!!! in games.

      I think the most notable thing about the engine is that it uses very complex means to create something very ugly indeed. Braid or World of Goo are games that use very simple graphical effects and audio to create really beautiful worlds. We know it can be done. Half Life 2 came well before Oblivion, after all, and it’s world was far more artistically consistent and believable. It’s not about ‘the shiny’ so much as the artistic effort that’s gone into the product. This engine is redundant on that level. It’s hideous, especially when it isn’t trying to be.

      >>especially considering they didn’t even make it.

      >Exactly. So why are you attacking them for it?

      I’m not. I’m saying we can put that to one side. This is one area, we can say, where this game will never succeed. This is one area in which it is doomed. This is giving Obsidian an easy ride in this department (Quinn’s screenshots above may be all the proof necessary that there has been little effort to rise above the trappings of the engine) but the failure in this area is not entirely of their design so we would probably be remiss in holding them fully accountable.

      >Sequels are a problem of the game industry as a whole, unless you have missed it. As much as a loud and eloquent minority on the web are decrying sequels, they tend to sell better. Much better.

      Indeed, but that defence isn’t much use when we’re attempting to raise Obsidian up as “one of the few who show creativity and originality in an industry full of blandness and stupidity.”

      >No, not *the same*. But we are celebrating is a return to a gameplay where reading a situation and choosing the right line of conversation can be as important as aim, and where things aren’t immediately black and white, where gamers are given a hard challenge occasionally, and the consequences of your choices aren’t immediately obvious, and quests can interact in unexpected ways which makes a replay a fascinating exploration. Things that the first two games were in the forefront of. And which the third game strayed away from quite a lot.

      Fair enough. I haven’t yet finished my download, so I wouldn’t feel confident commenting on that. If it’s as you say, then there seems to be a good argument that the game is creative and original. Alpha Protocol did at least do some of those things. It’s refreshing to hear a response from someone defending Obsidian that isn’t ‘Good dialogue and story’, because ultimately I’ve always thought they were a bit rubbish at those things (Mask of the Betrayer included) but there were some exciting things AP for example did from a gameplay perspective.

      >The movie industry is not the games industry

      I was messing around a bit, but I think the point remains a fourth sequel can’t really be considered original. I would agree, though, that what’s more important than the story is how the story is told. I haven’t been impressed in the past by Obisidian’s craft in that area, but I haven’t played the latest offering yet, so I’ll just have to wait and see I suppose.

    • teo says:

      “decline of RPS”

      Yeah, right there, commenters like you.
      Stop reading reviews for validation

    • Jake says:

      >I think the most notable thing about the engine is that it uses very complex means to create something very ugly indeed.

      I’ve got to agree with this statement, though I have only played Fallout 3. I tried mods but it still just looked ugly, in a clumsy sort of way – like that gremlin that wore lipstick. The screenshots here, especially of the Caesar’s Legion guy are enough to stop me from buying this game. I thought STALKER was a lot better looking than Fallout 3. Actually I thought STALKER was better in basically every regard. and obviously aesthetics are not the only factor for my disinterest in Fallout 3 – I hated the combat and dialogue too – but I really felt they lacked any sort of personality or style.

    • adonf says:

      “Ouch. It’s just Quinns. Maybe he couldn’t find any iron.”

      Anemic journalist gives bizarre review. Gaming community in shock !

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      “God knows, Nolan needs help from someone…”

      Yes because it’s generally accepted that Memento, Insomnia, The Prestige, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight & Inception sucked arse right?

      Get a hold of yourself.

  37. brulleks says:

    @Delusibeta

    Do you mean stick or flack? I’m pretty sure you don’t mean slack.

    • brulleks says:

      …and I’m also pretty sure I meant ‘flak.’ Oops.

    • Delusibeta says:

      Flak, yes, that’s what I meant. I’m now wondering why I put down “slack”… hmm…

      Need more sleep, most likely.

  38. plugmonkey says:

    “It is the sound of Obsidian phoning this game in. I’m talking long distance, reversed charges, not-giving-a-fuck.”

    Wow. I would say that that is probably about the most insulting thing you can say about a development team, particularly one that has no doubt just finished crunching it’s respective reproductive organs off.

    I haven’t played the game yet, but when I do I will be expecting it to be pretty much devoid of any redeeming features at all, if that level of abuse is to be justified.

    • heh says:

      Yeah, combine that with him blaming Obsidian wholly for the bugs and glitches and never once mentioning the Gamebryo engine, and you’ve got a man who holds an apparent grudge.

      It would be nice to get the view of another RPS writer as balance, even if their view is also a negative one.

    • Sunjammer says:

      Opinions aside, that language seems a bit uncalled for.

    • Bhazor says:

      Yeah the whole opening bit really doesn’t fit in with “Now, if it’s purely size you care about, New Vegas has you covered. From the moment your character (a professional courier who gets attacked and left for dead in the intro movie) wakes up in a backwater town, you’re introduced to a sprawling wasteland even bigger than that of Fallout 3. “

    • FunkyBadger says:

      Shame they couldn’t be arsed to playtest it then, neh?

  39. Red Eye Commando says:

    I have to respectfully disagree. I do know that folks running 64-bit operating systems have had huge problems, and that is a shame. I am running XP Pro and I am apparently in the minority…the game has yet to crash on me, and I have seen none of the bugs that have been reported. I know a lot of folks have so I’m just saying here that I’m very thankful to have the game going so smoothly. I am only about 10 hours in, but I already feel connected to this game in a way that FO3 never managed. For the most part I love everything about it.

    I was working on launch day so I read about all the problems and ran a quick steam integrity check on the game before I started playing…it found some issues and re-downloaded the files and away I went. I like the writing much better, the quests are more interesting, the wasteland is populated with many more interesting places to check out and explore, the ammo and crafting system is a big plus, I could keep going on.

    There are some things they need to fix (I could do without bad karma hits from stealing things from a dead guy who just tried to blow my head off for no apparently reason, k thx), but for the most part it is a major improvement on FO3 to me.

  40. Clovis says:

    Clearly the only way for Quinns to make up for this is to give us more Onionbog. We will then all love you again.

    Or more minecraft when the update hits.

    • sfury says:

      True. What happened to Onionbog, Quinns? WE NEED CLOSURE !!!

    • Chris D says:

      On the subject of closure we need more Journey of Saga as well please.

  41. the wiseass says:

    It’s almost like Quintin didn’t even try to review this game properly and was dead set to dislike it form the beginning. Apart from some awkward bugs this game is better than FO3. At least the main quest is not about finding a method of purifying water from radiation, something that can be done by simple earth filtration.

    Have you even played the “Come Fly With Me” quest?

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      That always grated on me in FO3, the supreme importance of pure water to the narrative when any 5th grader with a bucket of gravel and some dirt can make pure water.

    • A-Scale says:

      Please, find some irradiated water, filter it through a bucket of dirt and rocks, and drink it. Darwin strikes again.

  42. Nullh says:

    Now I don’t know what to think (cries)

  43. Bassism says:

    Hmm, the wot I think was heartbreaking, but the comments are promising. I’ll have to give it some time to get fixed up then dig in I think.

    Oh, and Kai-zar is the proper way to pronounce Caesar if you’re speaking latin, like Caesar himself spoke.

  44. Premium User Badge

    stahlwerk says:

    I think another big difference between V:TM:B and New Vegas is, that the bugginess and brokenness of the former was reflected in the sales and ultimately (and deservedly* so) lead to Troikas demise, while the hype around the latter guarantees Obsidian will live to see another day (of not fixing bugs, ha!).

    *) when I say Troika deserved to go out of business, that’s my opinion as a customer of their software, which I expect, at the very least, to be functional (i.e. a game should actually be completeable). On the other hand, I regard Bloodlines as the flawed gem it really is, and mourn that no studio will have the guts or ambition to risk their neck on a project like this for at least five or six years, still.

    • Sunjammer says:

      Troika did deserve to go out of business as providers of a service. Their writing was wonderful but the experience as a customer was painful. I wish more games took after the first couple of sections of Bloodlines, but the end of that game is an absolute mess. I would have liked an Arcanum sequel though. I don’t think I ever played a more melancholy RPG. Fantasy in decline.

    • Wulf says:

      This is what fan patches are for. Wesp’s patch fixes it all up nicely, and adds in content that was left on the cutting room floor, all making for a more balanced experience.

      Really, give me a buggy, ambitious game over a mediocre one, any day.

      *shrugs.*

    • Premium User Badge

      stahlwerk says:

      Wulf, that’s the thing, those two things aren’t mutually exclusive. Yet somehow the tolerance of bugs (at least on release) in this industry is ridiculously high.
      One might argue this has always been this way, and kind of at the roots of game development as the past-time activity of computer scientists and business programmers. And, in a strange reversal of traditional market behaviour, the more popular and hyped a game is, the more people are willing to look the other way on quality issues.

      Sorry, that’s the programmer in me ranting again. :-/

    • Wulf says:

      I know where you’re coming stahlwerk, but what I’m getting at is this:

      A game is different to every other form of entertainment out there, different to an application, even different to the old retro games of the past, a game with a story is different again, as is a game with a world. The thing is, for each variable you add, you add a way in which that variable can intermingle with the others, thus creating the possibility of emergent gameplay (unintended gameplay effects which are simply incredible and wonderful to behold) but also adding bugs.

      Now add another variable, and another, and another. You increase the potential for emergent gameplay, and for an interesting gaming experience, but you also increase the chance for bugs. Complexity and bugs go hand in hand. Now, depending on the complexity of the game, QA could be easy or it could be difficult, or it could even be impossible.

      What I get the feeling people are saying is that developers should reach a point where they should stop adding variables, because they don’t want the potential pile of insurmountable bugs that will slip past QA. But my tolerance of bugs is higher, because the bugs can eventually be polished out by later patches and fan mods. Bugs can be squashed, but what I’ve said previously and I’ll say again is that you can’t add ambition easily to a finished product, it’s hard to go back and add variables, but you can add polish. So I’m all for a game being buggy so long as it’s ambitious. I have faith that the bugs will be fixed in time, and I’ll be able to experience the sort of gameplay that only occurs in those sorts of games.

      But my worry is that people want to take that away in favour of a more simplistic game, less variables, more polish for how the variables interact. But as a programmer, do you see what I’m getting at, here? The more you polish things to a shine, the more unexpected choices you’re taking away, the less risk there is of emergent gameplay, of brilliant things that just go beyond what the game was created for. Of experiences that the developers just didn’t design, that exist because the variables are interacting in unusual and unexpected ways.

      I’m worried that we’re too focused on polish, and in being so we’ll take away what’s brilliant about gaming, and PC gaming especially. The devil is in the details, and sometimes the unexpected details are the ones that can take a game from being simply very good to being unintended genius.

    • Wulf says:

      Coming FROM.

      Sorry about that, one of these days I’ll stop dropping words. Though I have an excuse, recently via an MRI I discovered that I have a brain that’s a mystery to medical science, and unlike anything every documented. I’m getting poked quite often by curious neurology students, and it’s very annoying. :D But a side-effect of that is that I seem to FORGET to write words/partial sentences, it’s a little distressing on times, and this is why I miss an edit function.

    • Wulf says:

      In fact, a friend of mine just gave me a great example of emergent gameplay, as he was telling me about his Minecraft adventures today.

      “A chicken stole my minecart!”
      “…what?”
      “A chicken stole my minecart, and is now riding it to freedom!”
      “…wait, what?”
      “A chicken escaped my farm, hopped into a minecart, and rode it to freedom.”

      Apparently chickens have enough weight to push a minecart along in Minecraft, one actually pushed a minecart to the edge, hopped into it, and rode it to freedom. This was just an artifact of AI, it isn’t supposed to happen, it just did. And it’s hilarious.

    • Wulf says:

      Okay, just one more thought on this (Gods I wish RPS had an edit function)…

      IF that was due to a bug that was fixed, and chickens could no longer push/hop into minecarts, would you actually be happy, or would you petition for the ‘bug’ be restored because it added something to the game?

    • Premium User Badge

      stahlwerk says:

      Huh, I find it strangely on topic that you write long, ambitious (and (more often than not) interesting) posts, yet yearn for the ability to patch them only after “release”. ;-)

      Of course you are right, a 100% bug free game (if it exists), is inevitably a game where you would notice the developer’s flea comb at every corner (a feeling I get with HL2 and other Valve games, lay off the user metrics, will ya?!). Emergent gameplay, freedom and the occurrence of scripting-bugs go hand in hand, that’s for sure. But engine bugs — like the one described in the other FO:NV post a few days ago, where a NPC model glitched into becoming an infinite wall of polygons — are just stupid and in the end frustrating when it causes you to die or take damage from obscured enemies.

      (My guess is that the rag-doll engine somehow set the w coordinate of some bones in the model to zero, effectively causing divisions by zero on the points in the model, which OpenGL and Direct3d interpret as points in infinity. It may have been a type conflict or a misplaced pointer, but in the end somebody messed up when integrating the physics middle ware into the engine. The thing is, after 4 years of constant development, the Oblivion engine should be mature enough to prevent stuff like this from happening, both to the developer and to the player.)

    • Premium User Badge

      stahlwerk says:

      The chicken/minecart thing is not a bug, it’s a feature!

      No seriously, minecraft is actually a pretty good example of a robust product, considering the team size of 1 and the development time of 1 year (up until now). If something unexpected happens, it’s mostly harmless, i.e. it rarely brings down the client, corrupts savegames, or hinders the player in having fun.

      I just don’t get how a well-funded team of experienced developers spends 5+ years on a game engine and then it causes glitches like those described in the other post. Why didn’t the typewriter model spawn, but the typist and the sound source did? It’s either an oversight in the script or a scripting engine bug. The former puts the blame on obsidian for not checking their scripts, the latter on bethesda for producing/selling unreliable engine technology.

    • Huggster says:

      Jet Set Willy had a bug where you could not complete the game.

      Go figure.

    • Wulf says:

      @stahlwerk

      Hm… fair enough. Bah, your posts were so reasonable and intelligent that I really have nothing to add.

      @Huggster

      Thaaat… actually wasn’t a bug, at all. That was the developer saying “Sod it, they’ll never get this far into the game because it’s simply too hard, I’m going to stop developing it here.“, which is quite different than a bug. >_>

    • Lilliput King says:

      VtM:B had a bug where you couldn’t finish the game.

      Man, it was swell. Inspired some truly emergent gameplay. Reminds me of a conversation I had with my friend the other day.

      “VtM:B crashes when I try to get into a taxi!”
      “…what”
      “Yeah! I can’t progress!”

      Amazing times.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      Art without Craft is worthless.

      Its the difference between Tracey Emin and Salvidore Dali.

    • Matt says:

      I dunno, I’m pretty sure she made a pretty penny from that bed of hers.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      Matt: you got me, but I think you know what I mean…

    • Stu says:

      @Wulf: The Attic Bug in JSW IS definitely a bug (caused by faulty sprite data); the publisher issued an official “patch” (ie. a type-in program which corrects the faulty graphics) and the game IS completable.

  45. Matzerath says:

    My lovely friend who’s playing this reports that the radio music is disappointing compared to Fallout 3, and that the ammunition crafting is baffling to her. And she’s encountered a lot of glitches, of course. I can tell she’s plugging along, hoping the experience gets better, but I would guess that she is not nearly as captivated as she was by Fallout 3. So there’s an honest report from the front.
    I’m glad RPS has a review counter to most of the others, which all seem to wear the same strained grin. Myself, I won’t play Fallout 3 without a ton of balance-fixing mods, so I will definitely wait for the community to catch up before getting this one.

    • Outsider says:

      I’m kind of in the same boat right now. After listening to Sunny Smiles deliver her canned dialogue with all the ardor, cadence and passion of a background character in a junior highschool play … it’s odd to come in here and read about how awesome the voice acting is.

      I’m also surprised that because the reviewer had a bad experience and hence, gave it a bad review, that more than a few people are plugging their ears and cursing the Gods for having to hear a differening opinion. Newsflash, just because the writers at RPS don’t always agree with your, or even popular point of view, does not mean that this is the decline of RPS. That’s overly dramatic and more than a little narcissistic

    • Salamander says:

      Sunny’s voice actor is terrible and gives a poor impression, but the rest is generally excellent and certainly much improved over Fallout 3.

    • Outsider says:

      Ah, that’s good to know, thanks. I’m forging on ahead because I’ve liked very much every single Fallout game thus far (yes, inlcuding 3).

    • Miko says:

      The ammunition crafting (and crafting in general) is one of a number of things I’m less than happy with. As far as I can tell, it can only be used to make type X of ammo out of other ammo of type X – that is to say, .357 Magnum ammo can only be made by disassembling .357 ammo into its component parts and then reassembling it. One of the components is basically caliber-specific and, as far as I can tell from 15 hours of playing, not available by any means other than disassembly. Baffling.

    • Nesetalis says:

      ah you missed one of the important parts about the ammo crafting.
      when you fire a gun, there is a chance the casing is retrieved.

      lead is shared between all bullets. primer is specific to certain classes of gun, powder is another set of classes.. and the casing, as i said, is recovered on firing.

      So say I have tons and tons of 9mm ammo but I ran out of .357, I can break it down and repack the 357 shells with pistol powder lead and small pistol primers.. you can also buy it elsewhere.. and there are some ammo’s you can craft that are far far beyond the normal ammo. (especially the hand packed ammo you can make after getting the perk)

      admittedly I think the system is a bit flawed.. generally powder is powder.. there are differences, grain size, but that has less to do with the gun type than the weight of the projectile and how much oomph you want behind it :p also, a primer is generally a primer, unless its rim fired (think common .22 rifle bullets)

      anyway, its not the most wonderful crafting system, but its useful and interesting.

  46. Vae Victus says:

    For anyone having serious performance problems:

    http://newvegasnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=34778

    It’s a .dll that basically gets New Vegas to use an earlier version of d3d. Just drop it in the game folder. It seems to fix the issues Quintin mentions. It took my game from a laggy crapfest (10 or 15 fps) around NPCs to running on par with Fallout 3 (solid 60 fps).

    Vista 64 here.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Lots of people have downloaded this and reported a success, I just want to caution people about downloading dlls from untrusted sources on the net. It can be a very bad idea.

      http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2010/08/new-windows-dll-security-flaw-everything-old-is-new-again.ars

    • Wulf says:

      There is a solution, if I may? That file is supplied by a random guy on the Internet, and whilst well intentioned, I would never accept a binary from a source I wasn’t willing to trust implicitly. I don’t even use installers created by modders unless they really have a reputation for their work, and even then it’s still questionable. The thing is, even the Emerald viewer for Second Life was recently revealed to have code in it that was used to steal login details, and monitor people. (Isn’t that fun?)

      But I did mention a solution. This file is actually just a normal Gamebryo file. Instead of downloading it from there, reinstall Oblivion or Fallout 3, grab the file from there, and dump it into New Vegas. Problem solved!

    • Nesetalis says:

      Wulf, as one of the people who was involved in the emerald fiasco, quit spreading lies and rumors :p
      Login information WAS NOT stolen, or even touched. there was code built in to broadcast (encrypted) what viewer you were using. the stupid programmer who wrote it, did this by grabbing the directory emerald was installed in.. but didnt chop of the full path.. meaning, if emerald was installed to your home folder on linux or (i think) mac, it would say something like /home/Nesetalis/emerald which gave your computer username… if it was installed there. :p

  47. clive dunn says:

    “It is the sound of Obsidian phoning this game in. I’m talking long distance, reversed charges, not-giving-a-fuck.”

    Yeah, fuck yeah.

    I like the new Hardcore Quinns mode

  48. Wulf says:

    Can’t agree, really. I mean, Fallout 3 had plenty of empty areas, so I’m really… I mean, is that an outright lie? Did Quinns just cheat to open up all the fast travel options at the start of Fallout 3? In Fallout 3, I walked pretty much everywhere, and there were lots of open spaces where there was simply shit all.

    Also, as an old Fallout fan, I’ll take any review thus far with a pinch of salt if they haven’t specifically tried Wild Wasteland. There’s a reason that trait is there… And it rather looks like Quinns didn’t use Wild Wasteland.

    • Vinraith says:

      That last is a good point, I can’t imagine why I’d play this game without “Wild Wasteland” and “Hardcore mode” on, so any review that neglects either simply doesn’t apply.

  49. Jolly Teaparty says:

    I almost cancelled my preorder on reading this, then I compared it to the Eurogamer review and I have no idea what to think. I guess this game is Marmite, so I’ll give it a go and hope that I love it.

    • Wulf says:

      It’s good, but it’s better for Fallout 1/2 fans than it is for Fallout 3 fans. That’s the truth of it. If you preferred Fallout 1 or 2, then New Vegas is for you, if your game was Fallout 3, then you’ll be left feeling sorry.

      The thing is, it’s more… zany than Fallout 3. But I like that.

    • Wulf says:

      Also, DO try Wild Wasteland.

      Trust me on this.

    • Jolly Teaparty says:

      That sounds amazing, I only played Fallout 3 because it said “Fallout” and I was willing to suffer all sorts of grievances to the IP to get another fix. I wasn’t as disappointed as I was expecting but there was lots wrong with it, most notably how the main quest was like “NOW NOW DO IT NOW OH GOD DANGER EXCITEMENT”, when it really should’ve been slower paced to encourage exploration, and more dialogue-oriented. Also where was my minigun ammo. Also also why does everyone look like Barbie/Ken dolls oh yeah that’s right the Gamebryo engine is a filthy carbunkle made only to be discarded and make us grateful for literally anything that replaces it.

      Sorry I’m going off on one; in conclusion, “it’s better for Fallout 1/2 fans than it is for Fallout 3 fans” is pretty much the best possible review from my perspective and now I’m excited again. Thanks!

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      What if I like Fallout 2 and 3, but not 1?

      Also, how weird is it that I’m more interested in Wulf’s opinion than Quinns’?

    • Wulf says:

      Not to toot my own horn, but a friend told me a bit back that the reason they listen to my opinions is because I look for strange things in games. Things that do ultimately matter, but also things that most people actually don’t think about as part of the gaming experience, more the experience than the game. The thing is, it’s one thing to make a great game, but it’s another thing entirely to craft a brilliant experience from a game, where you take something away from that game with you, where the developer was so successful at pulling your strings that they did something to you that lasts.

      The WTF-conspiracy-I-don’t-even-know-why-this-crazy-world-I-more-than-one-playthrough-it’s-making-sense-I-AM-SEEING-THE-PATTERN stuff in Alpha Protocol, that was about creating an experience. The emergent gameplay in Minecraft, especially if you have other players around, is about having an experience, and sometimes, games developers forget that they’re trying to make an experience for the player, instead, they just make a game. This is something that I think some developers forget, and the measure of a game isn’t how you feel when you’ve played it, but what you take away from it. For the same reasons you don’t judge a book by what you think when you’re reading it, you shouldn’t think of a game that way either.

      It’s in the quiet moments after, if you find yourself thinking about the game, about the things that happened, if the experience mattered so much that it lingered, that’s what a game should be judged on, as much as anything. I think this is often forgotten. This is actually why I get excited when developers actually talk more about crafting an experience than a game, and that the game is simply the vehicle to the experience, it’s the thing that gets you there, not what stands between you and it, it’s not a barrier, it’s a conveyance, and if the game gets that right then it’s likely going to be a much more fun, memorable game. And experiences can happen in linear games as much as they can happen in open world ones, they can be crafted, and they can be emergent, but they’re always important.

      And one thing I think that Obsidian is good at providing, something they did in Knights of the Old Republic II, something they did in Mask of the Betrayer, something they did in Alpha Protocol, and something they’ve done in New Vegas, is provide an experience. Though part of that experience is admittedly missed out on if you don’t have the Wild Wasteland trait. (Really people, if you’re going to play New Vegas, don’t play without it.)

    • Wulf says:

      One more quick great example of this is really the Ruined-Tail’s Tale mod, if you haven’t played that Oblivion mod, then… install Oblivion, just to play it. I’ve replayed that a few times and it never ceases to surprise me just how affecting I find that mod, and that it’s just a mod and not official content, that it’s amateur and not professional at all… it amazes me. That’s really the kind of thing I look for in games, I crave it.

  50. Inglourious Badger says:

    Thanks for telling it how it is Quinns! I was in 2 minds especially after 9/10 the eurogamer review.

    Have been replaying a bit of Fallout 3 in anticipation but having played Stalker: Call of Pripyat since my first run through I can’t get into it nearly as much as I did first time round. I know they are quite different games under the post-apocalyptic exterior, but that atmosphear and lonliness GSC Game World managed to create in their much smaller game world makes CoP far superior in my opinion. Think I’ll be firing up Call of Pripyat again this weekend on harder difficulty, rather than getting New Vegas and it’s ‘hardcore’ mode.

    Thanks for making my mind up for me