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. Eidolon says:

    Couldn’t disagree more with this review. There must be some kind of cognitive gap between me (someone who loved the original games) and Quintin (who seems to like Bethesda).

  2. Frosty says:

    Question: I get why people are going nuts for the Wild Wasteland trait but I really have to ask.

    Why the fuck isn’t it engaged as standard? Why on earth make it a choice that many a player will probably miss out on?

    • Salamander says:

      For players that one a more pure, “serious” experience. Wild Wasteland adds wackiness to the world.

    • Sunjammer says:

      Personally I’d leave it off. I don’t play Fallout for the wacky wild funny stuff. It’s the same reason why i leave Blood Mess alone, it robs “the moment” of its moment. The moments of wackiness among the bleakness are why that wacky shit is there; It is not the fuelling force of the game.

    • Vinraith says:

      According to the wiki:

      According to J.E. Sawyer, the trait was added as a compromise because different members of the team often suggested ‘wacky’ content that others thought would be out of place.

      There are links in the original article to the source interview: http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Wild_Wasteland

    • Frosty says:

      But so many people here seem to be banging on about how this game feels better then F3 because it feels more like the previous two fallout games. So if you take that away what else is left?

    • Danarchist says:

      It’s the difference in taste between gamers that prefer “realism” to those that prefer humorous frivolity. Gears versus borderlands (sorry, couldnt think of a better anology). For a chunk of gamers the wackiness that some love would absolutely ruin the game. For me the game was ruined without it. I think of all the complaints I heard about fallout3 the only one that rank truest was the complete and absolute loss of the fallout worlds “flavor”.

  3. Tom says:

    It doesn’t seem so much phoned in as that it has the traditional Obsidian disconnect between ideas and reality. There’s less obvious feature creep than in their previous games, but it’s definitely obvious that the writers had grand ideas, and the programmers responded, “How the Christ do we put that in this rotting carcass of an engine?” and the writers told them to do it anyway.

    It’s why writers and idea men shouldn’t be 100% in charge. That said, I don’t feel any bit of the game was phoned in. I felt the opposite, in fact. It feels like these guys love Fallout, and love the universe, and wanted to bring it back to its roots, except there’s a reason it wasn’t with its roots to begin with: namely, that “the roots” have an awful lot of trouble in a modern game where every alternate solution to a puzzle is more expensive.

    As it is, I’m enjoying it. It’s a rose colored glasses situation: I tried to replay F3 a month ago before playing this, and I couldn’t. Everything is just so boring. Little Lamplight has some variety, and it’s what we remember, but…for every Little Lamplight there’s a hundred abandoned buildings with nothing in them and metro tunnels with nothing in them. Like, yeah, the wasteland is boring, but I’ve found the main plot much more compelling here, which is important. Because once you’ve wandered the wasteland once, you don’t get excited about finding boring buildings anymore.

  4. _Jackalope_ says:

    I had lost interest in this game. This review put me off even more. then I saw the weapons list. Looks like they took a look at the FO3 user made weapons because there seem to be a couple of them appearing. The lever action shotgun was one addon I downloaded. And then I saw “That gun” the .223. I’m getting New Vegas just for that!

    Good thing I’ve just upgraded to Windows 7 hough, I also have XP 64 bit!

  5. DiamondDog says:

    “:decline of RPS:”

    After reading some of these comments, I’d have to agree. RPS isn’t here to validate your opinions. Attacking Quinns for “bad journalism” just because the article has some venom in it… well it’s pretty pathetic.

    Certainly Quinns doesn’t need me sticking up for him, but I’m also sure Obsidian won’t be crushed by one review. A lot of you seem to have a soft spot for this company and it’s prompted quite a rash defense.

    Anyway, how does it feel to be a scapegoat, Quinns?

    • Wulf says:

      I don’t agree with saying that this is the downfall of RPS, or saying that Quinns is a bad journalist, but I see a lot of people here disagreeing with his taste* and I think that’s valid.

      I’ll agree with you though that making a scapegoat out of him is bad. I don’t like and will not support that at all. The writing here is as quality as its always been, and Quinns writing is top-notch, witty, intelligent stuff. He apparently just likes different games to what I do**.

      * – …or they’re railing against potential trolling.
      ** – …or he’s trolling us, just for the hilarity, and I wouldn’t blame him. I think this is the most likely.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I’d have delivered a similar review, I think. Not a fan.

    • Huggster says:

      Interesting

    • DiamondDog says:

      @Wulf

      Yes, to be fair there are a load of comments from people simply stating why the disagree with Quinns opinion of the game and expressing how much they enjoy it. Nothing wrong with that at all!

      It’s just really quite sad and pathetic that Quinns status as the new kid is being used against him. All these “I miss Kieron” remarks? Horrible, really horrible. His Minecraft diary was a complete joy to read, but diss Obsidian? It’s back to the playground.

      Plus, I’m not sure what you mean by trolling? I know what the term means, obviously, but are you saying he’s intentionally trying to wind-up Obsidian fans?

    • DXN says:

      @Wulf:

      I usually like your comments, but harping on this “Yeah, nice troll, dude!” schtick is pretty obnoxious. Like it or not, I think we can be pretty sure Quinns actually wrote Wot He Thinks here.

  6. EthZee says:

    It appears that many people disagree with Quinn’s rating of the game. I’ll have to check some other reviews and maybe try the game before I decide.

    Right or wrong, though, I thought this article was excellent. You may be wrong but I agree with your writing style. Please continue.

  7. Ravenger says:

    I’d let you know what I think, but my shiny disk version which is located right in front of me won’t install until tomorrow, the official release day.

    Now I’m actually a big fan of this sort of protection because zero day piracy is the worst kind, but it’s annoying to me when the game’s already been out a few days in the US so stopping me installing it now is a bit pointless really.

    • Wulf says:

      It’s also available to dirty, filthy pirates who’ve actually paid for the game. >_>

    • Jimbo says:

      http://www.usaip.eu/en/free_vpn.php

      Close Steam. Download the trial from there ^. Double-Click the file, which will effectively make your PC look like it’s in the US for a few minutes (it auto-disconnects after that because it’s a trial). Install Fallout 3.

      You’ll probably have to repeat the connection to get the patch to download and run the game the first time. Once you get to a point where the game has ‘Ready to Play’ next to it in your Steam library you can just set Steam to offline mode and not worry about the connection thing anymore.

      (your own risk etc. etc.)

    • Tei says:

      Where I have to click?
      The website is written in american. Do anyone here have a translator?

    • Ravenger says:

      I knew you could do it that way, but I’d prefer not to risk it. I’ll install and unlock it tomorrow morning, for play tomorrow night.

  8. derf says:

    It’s refreshing to read a negative review, regardless of truth or accuracy.

    More of the same, please.

    • Jimbo says:

      Your comment sucks! The way you typed entirely in caps was particularly galling.

      2/10

    • EthZee says:

      Can-

      -can you do me too please

    • Jimbo says:

      Where to start? Your comment was so bad that I can only assume you were repeatedly dropped on your head as a baby. The single redeeming feature is that you remembered the question mark after your question.

      14%

    • outoffeelinsobad says:

      I can not in any form of good conscience recommend this thread to anyone, ever.

      Seven out of ten.

    • EthZee says:

      …UNNNGGH

      more please

    • Wildcard says:

      It was worth reading through all 300 or so comments for this little diversion alone!

      1 star

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      Beautiful. Give the man some cake!

    • Jake says:

      The head spins around and the dragon doesn’t match the cinematics, clearly you are trolling. Onioncraft or GTFO.

      Zero Optimus toes.

  9. DoucheMullet says:

    I really did expect to see a “LOL JK” at the end of this review. Everything you said, has honestly got to be the exact opposite to how I feel.

    The voice acting?
    Miles better than Fallout 3.

    The writing?
    Outstanding. How you can call this game’s writing boring is honestly unfathomable to me. Especially compared to FO3′s.

    Lazy?
    You shitting me? FO3 had so many copy pasted dungeons, something I’ve see in New Vegas once. Obsidian are not good bug testers, but that doesn’t make them careless. Fallout is Obsidian’s lost child. They finally get their chance to work with it again, and you think they just slack off?

    I’m sorry, but this review is just terrible. You don’t seem to even know what you’re talking about half the time.

    By the way, CL pronounces Caesar “Kai-sar” because that is the correct way to pronounce it.

    • Gvaz says:

      It’s See-sir or Seeze-er not Kai-ser.

      germany=/=rome

    • sinister agent says:

      Caecilius est pater.

      I recall that the German-sounding way is actually right.

    • DoucheMullet says:

      @Gvaz

      Yeah…no.

      The Roman pronounce it Kai-ser because Latin c’s are hard.

      Where do you think the word Kaiser came from?

    • Kandon Arc says:

      @Douche Mullet: it would be correct if the rest of the game was in Latin too but it’s in English so it’s sees-er. Just like when you speak in English you say Moscow not Moskva or Nuremberg not Nurnberg.

    • Jeremy says:

      Being in English has nothing to do with it, this is a group devoted to the concept of Roman hierarchy and such… so obviously they’ll break out the Latin.

  10. wrathfirex says:

    Hmmm, usually I would pick up a game based on RPS reviews. But today, its the comments section that are influencing me to buy and play FLV. I can understand where the buyers are coming from just by reading their positive comments: FLV does address issues and improves on Fallout 3. Although the RPS review (and may others) may not rate it highly, I believe that fans will still appreciate more fallout. Its better than waiting 10 long years IMHO.

    Its also strange that usually RPS nails game reviews dead-on… Mayhaps Quinn’s game copy is buggy?

  11. stahlwerk says:

    Is this the RPS-Gate* we all feared? Chill out everyone, you can still go play the game to form your own opinion, I won’t.

    I don’t care much for the game (at the moment I don’t need a bleak & morbid virtual wasteland simulator in my life), so I did enjoy the read. As someone above said, angry Quinns is an interesting side of Quinns I thought reserved for quarrels with self-elected, so-called game masters.

    *) or RPS-Gate-Gate, if Quinns is actually trolling.

    • Wulf says:

      He’s totally trolling, Quinns is actually very good at this, and he’s trolled a lot in the past. I wish I’d seen it earlier so I could’ve gotten in on the joke. Though I kind of wish he’d picked a more popular game to troll, a real high-end AAA title. Could you imagine the fireworks? The response here is kind of a bit muted instead.

    • Fiatil says:

      So does this mean that Wulf is now trolling by continuing to insist that Quinns was trolling? Let’s see how many more layers of trolling we can add to this before the website implodes.

  12. Xtravious says:

    Wow, I don’t agree with this review at all. I feel the exact opposite of Quinn.

    This probably won’t help you decide if it is any good or not, but I’ll say this:

    This game is really a TON like Gothic 1/2 or Morrowind, in a good way, with much better writing.

    Let me explain:

    There is this sense of exploration and new, interesting places, that FO3 lacked, but Morrowind had (to me). Then there’s the more difficult combat that makes you feel quite weak at the beginning, especially on the harder difficulties – this reminds me of Gothic. In addition, the NPCs are usually a lot more real and have some actual stories to tell, giving the sense that they have their own views and their own agenda, also like in Gothic.

    Things are really very grey and it’s fairly hard to pick sides or decide what choice for a quest would have the “best” outcome. Many times, the options you can select all have flaws and you will just have to settle for one of them.

  13. oatish says:

    got it and so far enjoying it

    and I’m a hater of FO3

  14. Corporate Dog says:

    Man, I shouldn’t come here to read about FO:NV. Utterly Irrational Obsidian Fanboys VS. Game Critic Wot Didn’t Like It. FIGHT!

    I’ve got it sitting at home, but have been too busy to play. I’m sure I’ll like it just fine, when I finally do fire it up.

    • Wulf says:

      Gee, I wish I’d had this sort of backup and people citing utterly irrational Dragon Age fanboys when I said I didn’t like that. Golly gosh, I wish I’d been put up on a pedestal for tellin’ it like it is, mang. That would’ve been a bit of all right, wouldn’t it? Yes indeed. Crikey, I’d have loved to ‘ave me some of that cult like praise of my opinions. :p

      At the end of the day, some people will like something, some won’t, and everyone’s going to be passionate about their opinions. And the one side is always going to look like asshats to the other. It’s human nature.

    • Huggster says:

      Quinns strikes me as quite a passionate chap, I just bear that in mind when I read his stuff.
      “Wears heart on sleeve” springs to mind – this is no bad thing at all as long as you understand where people come from.

    • Corporate Dog says:

      Oh, I suspect Quinns also doth protest a little much. As I said: I’m sure I’ll like it just fine.

      Unless, of course, your pointed comment was aimed at me, in which case I just used Teh Google to refresh my memory on what sort of back-and-forths we might’ve had on Dragon Age, and I’m happy to say that I acquitted myself rather well in the one exchange I could find.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Now Quinns knows how Iraq feels.

  15. Wulf says:

    Also, for those who haven’t figured out how I’m playing this in the UK already… >_>

    I preordered the game on Steam a while ago, I’m still waiting for it to unlock. But Gods damn it, I didn’t want to wait for this game. You know how I love me an Obsidian game. Besides, all the data is there on my drive, I just had to… *coughmumblemumble.*

  16. pipman3000 says:

    can’t read bad review too busy playing new vegas must return MUST RETURN!!!

  17. Nullh says:

    Gah! Don’t believe I missed that.

  18. Huggster says:

    Vince from Age of Decadence has done a 10 hour ish impressions”:-

    http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php/topic,1748.0.html

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Thanks for that link Huggster, that was the kind of discussions I was hoping for.

    • Huggster says:

      RPGwatch is normally my “go-to” site for CRPG news and opinion, where I got that from (which I find interesting coming from a game developer)
      TTLG can be good for Thief / Deus Ex / Bioshock gossip (Even Levine and a few bioshock devs hung around a few years ago, not any more though). Its mainly full of taffers now I think.

  19. David says:

    I’m 8 hours into the game and I really couldn’t disagree with Quintin more.

    So far, at least, the game is what I really wanted Fallout 3 to be. I liked Fallout 3, but this is just a lot more enjoyable to me, and “feels” like a Fallout game.

  20. Alias says:

    This looks like the sort of review you get when someone is forced to review games for a living when they rather try and **** the new European intern.

    Also, Hardcore mode item/ water/ loot sparcity can easily be patched. Considering that the game isn’t even out in the UK yet, that is fairly reasonable.

    • Lilliput King says:

      “This looks like the sort of review you get when someone is forced to review games for a living when they rather try and **** the new European intern.”

      Yeah, Quinns. Tei finds your amiable advances inappropriate and uncomfortable.

  21. Sagan says:

    Looks like I’ll wait a little bit about this game and see what the conversation on blogs and forums is going to be like about it.

    I didn’t like Fallout 3 particularly much. I mean it really sucked me in for the first 10 hours, but after some time exploring just wasn’t fun any more. I guess because I never came across anything cool. I mean even the stuff that would be cool in theory, like the group of vampires, or the virtual reality thing, was just boring.

    And Quinns says that that is exactly what’s wrong with New Vegas. So my main criticism of Fallout 3 has carried over. And looking at that half-assed farm or that empty casino, I believe him. If you create your world with this little care, then I don’t expect to have a good time in it.

    Now the comments and other reviews tell a very different story, so I’m not entirely convinced yet. But since Quinns has talked exactly about what I wanted to know about the game, I believe him more.

    • Huggster says:

      I see your point, I felt the same thing about Fallout 3.
      However, if there are NPCs in New Vegas I actual care about it may turn the tables somewhat.

  22. Ben L. says:

    9 hours in, and there is absolutely no question that it has better writing than Fallout 3. If you still think that’s godawful writing, fine, but start ripping Fallout 3 more on that score, geez. Somebody game them an award for that disaster.

    Now, that out of the way, is NV writing up to par with previous Obsidian endeavors? Perhaps not, if only because there isn’t much of it, and the Fallout 3-inherited dialogue mechanism basically renders it impossible for characters to speak more than a few sentences at a time.

  23. Face says:

    The only real problem with RPS is that it’s on the internet. If I could somehow have RPS not be on the internet, but still be able to read it, and read the comments of my favorite commenters, I’d be set. For all that I spend hours a day on it (slack time at work) I really don’t like the internet. I’m weak-willed, what can I say.

    Hi KG! We still love you! Quinns, we love you too, you’re the best. I really want to buy New Vegas and right now this article is the only thing keeping me away. I hope I like it better than you do. If I agree with you I’ll come back and say so. Btw, coincidentally, I linked my brother to Butchering Pathologic a year ago. He just got around to reading it and immediately bought the game on Amazon. Powerful words, friend!

  24. bwion says:

    A prelude: I bought Winter Voices on the strength of Quinns’ rather negative review and am enjoying the hell out of it in spite of nothing he said about it so far actually being wrong. (I have not yet got to the bit that apparently caused him to black out with rage, mind.) Chances are good that I’ll be buying New Vegas as well (though probably not right away; I formed the habit long ago of waiting a few weeks for at least initial patches for PC games, and it will not go away no matter how many crazy pre-ordering bonuses people offer me).

    I don’t , of course, have the game yet, and so I don’t have an opinion on the game yet. But I don’t believe Quinns is trolling, though it’s entirely possible he’s letting the things he didn’t care for sour his opinion on all the rest. (I’m just the opposite; I will cheerfully ignore flaws in a game if it does enough that I like. Which is a good reason for me not to review games professionally, I suppose!) More to the point, I would be very displeased if it were to come out that he *were* trolling; I have a lot more time for an honest opinion with which I disagree than I do for ‘hur hur let’s see how badly I can rile up the internets today’.

  25. Flint says:

    More of a general New Vegas query than a comment on the article, but something I’d like to know if the devs have mentioned it somewhere or if someone has already finished the main story: have they added a proper Fallout-esque ending sequence where you’re told what your decisions accomplished, or is it still a F3-style copout? Based on what I’ve read on reviews and people’s comments it seems like New Vegas has fixed most of the things that make F3 a pain to go through for me, but there’s that one thing still that I’d like to know.

  26. Mister Adequate says:

    My experience with Fallout NV so far has not matched that of this review. I’ve not had a chance to play it much yet, but, what I have played has been impressive to me – the world already feels far, far better than the capitol wasteland ever did, I’m liking the characters, writing and voice acting is far superior – and this is a point I consider objective fact, not really up for discussion – and combat feels like a significant improvement over F3′s massively overpowered VATS. There are shortcomings, to be sure, but these seem to stem much more from the engine (Which I’m given to understand Obsidian couldn’t do much about) than the things they had control over. This is not to whitewash these flaws, and any fair review of the game will mention them, but I do think it somewhat harsh to be quite so acerbic towards them for these failings.

  27. geldonyetich says:

    When I saw the Fallout: New Vegas pulling a lot of consisting 80s or above on metacritic, I shelled out for it. I haven’t regretted it yet.

    Wot I Think said it thusly: “it’s just… here, offering more Fallout. Do you want some more Fallout?” To put it better, do you want more Fallout 3? Since comparing Fallout 3 to the earlier Fallouts is foolhearty at best: the earlier Fallouts were 3rd person isometric turn-based strategy RPGs, Fallout 3 was Oblivion with guns and VATS, it was always oblivion was guns and VATS, and if you liked Fallout 3 you were okay with that.

    Yes, I want some more Fallout 3. The thing is, I explored the entire dearth of Fallout 3, and playing that game right now is basically revisiting the old neighborhood, picking up the same old thing my previous characters picked up, a humdrum chore. There’s a few other things I could do in Fallout 3: Oasis (yes I never did this original and supposedly fabulous area); The Pitt; Mothership Zeta. However, I don’t care anymore, I saved the water purifier already and at that point the plot died, the overwhelming majority of the Fallout 3 world became a humdrum chore I’ve visited with 2 or 3 other characters already, and I’m sick of it.

    Fallout: New Vegas is entirely new to me, and this is enough. Just as all Fallout 3 had to do was reskin Oblivion with guns and VATS to be a runaway success, all Fallout: New Vegas had to do is give me a whole new section of Fallout 3 to explore and it was enough for me to feel good about the purchase.

    Although I do anxiously await the patches that will hopefully stem the tendency to crash and stop it from inexplicably reverting my auto and quick saves back to when I was level 1.

  28. RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

    I wonder how it will take for most of the bugs to be fixed.

  29. kevink says:

    I wish it was only something about “unpopular opinions”.

    The fact that he’s dissing an Obsidian game is the less relevant aspect, at least for me, the way he does it and the reasoning behind it is. His overall “style” in his trajectory around here is what clashes with what I always expected and liked about RPS all this years.

    But, NVM, welcome to the internet!

  30. Jetsetlemming says:

    Did I read that right? Did you seriously praise Fallout 3′s subways over New Vegas’s open wasteland? Are you high?
    Am I high?

  31. Kid A says:

    How dares Quinns have an opinion different to the rest of us? GOD DAMN HIM FOR NOT CONFORMING TO SOCIETAL NORMS!

    • Om says:

      Publish and be damned. Quinns doesn’t need protecting… or rather, if he does then he shouldn’t be writing reviews for public consumption. If people don’t agree with his verdict (or indeed the review itself) should they just shut up and keep shtum?

    • Kid A says:

      Oh no, they’re just as entitled to say “I don’t agree with you and this is why”. THe majority of what has gone on here, however, is “I don’t agree with you, and you’re a poopyhead and/or second-rate Kieron” which is something no reviewer should be made to endure for an opinion based piece. It’s like insulting someone who showers daily because they’re not doing the full Cleopatra asses-milk gig.

    • Duffin says:

      I think (the majority) of people are not upset at Quinns expressing his own opinion (which is ofcourse the whole point of the piece) but rather at the hostile tone and his claiming that the game is poor because the developers wanted to shaft us because they simply couldn’t be arsed. The amount of content in this game alone doesn’t make this a very likely proposition.

  32. irongamer says:

    For anyone on the fence here is the thread I read before picking up the game. It is a long read. After reading a number of the replies I figured I should give it a shot even though the OP had a negative opinion of the game.

    http://forums.bethsoft.com/index.php?/topic/1123413-is-it-just-me-or-is-this-very-lacking-compared-to-fo3/

    I’m glad I picked it up.

  33. eides says:

    Thank you Quinns and posters who have objectively stated what they like about the game.
    For those trashing Quinns for criticizing the game, a guide to pronouns:
    Wot I think: “I” in this context refers to the author, not the individual reading the title
    There’s no reason to be offended…he’s not telling you what you have to think.

  34. Kyle says:

    Is QS gaming’s Armond White? Having played the game, I really can’t believe this isn’t at least a little contrarian.

  35. steggieav says:

    I know this douchebag from RPG Codex. Skyway or something like that. People like him are why I don’t go there anymore. Shame, I remember some good discussions from that place.

    • steggieav says:

      Whoops, that was directed at a certain commenter who posted earlier on this page. Looks like it got deleted now. Damn reply system.

  36. Nathanael says:

    Agreed on Alpha Protocol. I don’t understand any of the flak it received, as it was the best game I played in 2010 so far.

  37. Markachy says:

    Its far too harsh to judge Quintin Smith on this review, this is what he thinks and he is entitled to that. I definitely don’t like to the way he expressed it though. Reviews are obviously subjective but this strikes me as unprofessional, and against the RPS tone. I think Quinns is fine, just made a hash of this one. And seems to have very different tastes to me (and most people it seems…!)

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

    You are a games journalist working for some of the top websites in the industry. How could you not realise how WRONG this is before you wrote it? I’m guessing you aren’t a classic-Fallouts fan (or evern played them?!) judging from this level of ignorance. Obsidian is full to the brim of old Black Isle developers, many of whom worked on the Fallouts. Chris Avellone was a main man in developing this, and a good while back he dedicated LOADS of his time to penning the “Fallout Bible”, entirely of his own accord, for free. In his SPARE TIME. I recommend people have a look just to see how much work he put into it. I think that shows how much he cares about the franchise. Names like his, Feargus Urquhart, JE Sawyer, all big names from Fallout’s past. All heavily involved in New Vegas. All massive fans. And you think they don’t give a fuck?! They gave a hell of a bigger fuck (?!) about this game than you gave about this review. Embarrassing is the only way to describe that review opening. Shows a serious lack of knowledge about what it is you are writing about.

    “I found nothing as architecturally entertaining as Megaton, and nothing as eerie or inventive as Little Lamplight. Hiking long distances felt like a chore.”

    This line worried me regarding this review. I tend to pay more attention to the reviewer when they display tastes similar to mine, and I couldn’t agree LESS with this statement. Megaton had a cool opening door, that was it. The rest of it was just irritating to walk around, navigate and interact with, and only had about 2 characters worth noticing (both badly voiced, natch). Light Lamplight, feck me, full of running around boring brown tubes with REALLY annoying kid voices whining horrific dialogue at you, the absolute HEIGHT of abysmal voice acting. Eerie and inventive? Feck me.

    “Bethesda even built a labyrinth out of the subway system.”

    Another example of why I don’t think I can take much direction from your views because my tastes are so different. That subway system was an abomination, a terrible design idea and ludicrously irritating. It made me not want to ever go NEAR the main city, and whats even worse was that it made the main city seem like a load of little tiny pieces. It didn’t feel like a city. At all. By far the worst part of FO3 for me.

    I think Fallout 3 would have been fine had it not used the Fallout license. It didn’t need it. Bethesda turned the reclusive Brotherhood into irritating, self-righteous do-gooders. Super Mutants into grunts who aren’t to be feared. Basically didn’t make it like Fallout, all they took from the originals was names and art (Pipboy, BOS, Deathclaws etc) – thats what I would call lazy. Obsidian went about trying to return Fallout to what it is meant to be, what many of the team made it all those years ago. And then get accused of not caring. Of not trying to “reimagine” Fallout. Some things don’t need reimagining. Some do. Including Bethesdas boring, tedious, uninventive FO3 universe.

  38. Kevin says:

    I’d say that Quinns seemed to be playing a different game, but I too was frustrated by that prostitute conversation, and I too found Anders tied to a cross and wasn’t given an option of freeing him.

    (So I did what I do to all the others dying on the cross and shot him in the head. Mercy sucks in the Wasteland.)

    And I THINK the quest to pick up one of my companions is bugged.

    That said… I was expecting more FO3, and instead found one of the best, most complex CRPGS I’ve ever encountered. A massive sandbox filled with a lot of politics, moral grey areas, and loads of places to explore. VATS is fixed, combat is harder, the acting is stellar, the graphics are… sigh… the best gamebryo can do on a console port. I haven’t lost this much time to an RPG in a long time.

    And choice. I haven’t played a game this wide open in how you do things since Deus Ex, and I think it might actually have more complex choices than that! Even following the main plot, I see other people’s playthroughs that have little resemblance to mine. Creative thinking is rewarded.

    There’s mature subject matter handled in a pretty sophisticated way and there’s plenty of comedy, too. (Even w/o the Wild Wasteland perk… though it helps.) The usual Fallout no-win situations are back, where you fon’t know what the Right thing to do is… where there often isn’t a right thing, just what your character would do

    FNV is a somewhat buggy game, but is overall (though I’m only about half through it, I’d say? Level 15.) a fantastic RPG of the kind that PC gamers haven’t seen in a while.

  39. august says:

    Tch. Mr. Smith, I thought you Brits were supposed to have a better classical education than us hairy, mouth breathing Yanks?

  40. Matzerath says:

    This is so directly opposite most review forums, where the reviewer likes a game and everyone dog-piles on him pointing out its flaws in the most vitriolic terms possible. I’m sure this game is nifty, but I’ve never seen so many people defending ‘buggy’ and ‘broken’ before. It’s like the American health-care debate, ha ha.
    All these problems WILL be fixed, of course, not by Obsidian, but by the mod community, who are just discovering that the mod tools for this are pretty much exactly those for Fallout 3. Expect the never-fixed Gamebryo bugs to live on, though.

  41. Stijn says:

    Just the amount of comments on this one tells me it’s at least partly just fanboys being fanboys, and not Quinns’ review (which I found an excellent read) being at fault.

  42. sfury says:

    I just want to bump the comments to 400, I don’t believe we’ve made it so far on any othe RPS rage-thread. :]

  43. Narrenschiff says:

    The guns alone are worth it. Thank god for iron sights. Thank god for guns that actually goddamn shoot. Thank god I can play this game without ever touching VATS.

  44. Wizlah says:

    Disclaimer: I’ve just recently finished up a run through Bloodlines again. I’ve got sitting on a shelf, waiting to be played (at some point in the distant future) NWN2 and Mask of the Betrayer, both RPGs that I’ve read interesting things about and would consider worth a look. I gave Alpha Protocol serious thought then decided I was going to leave it alone, because I’ve enough going on, and it sounds like it won’t be a stable game for a while. I fall neither in the love Obsidian nor loath them camp (and yes, I realise troika isn’t obsidian, but Bloodlines could be said to be very obsidian like – heavily bugged and really only playable after much patching, but with interesting writing and characters). I tend to take each game on its merits. With that said, I’ll plow on.

    I think its interesting that some of the more measured RPS readers like Lars and Vinraith are so appalled by Quentin’s use of language. Interesting because those guys are usually very measured, and not prone to such strong reactions. That, to my mind, is where the question of taste and opinon comes in. Granted, for Lars to say that this is the decline of RPS seems a bit strong, but still, I can appreciate where someone wouldn’t like the tone of the review.

    Having said that, He sounds pretty pissed off to me, and if he wants to express it in that manner, I can’t fault him. And reading that review, he sounds like he has things to be pissed off about. The barlady/prostitutes thing, for instance. the lack of people round and about. a character describing a farm as massive, but the vista on your screen showing something different. crucially, the sentence where he describes the lack of ambition. which is where, I presume, the ‘phoning it in’ line comes from.

    various people have cited how the choices are complex, and the NPCs interesting. But Obsidian have a track record of doing that. I would imagine the lack of ambition has more to do with a setting which tips its hat to fallout 2 a lot, but doesn’t do anything new with the universe. I’d guess ‘phoning it in’ is doing what obisidan always do – solid enough writing but not polishing up the other areas of the game.

    I enjoy CRPGs, I really do. But the form comes with necessary limitations – you can’t talk to everyone. A massively complex hub comes nowhere close to the complexity of a local neighbourhood in real life. There is no clever ad-libbing GM to help suspend the belief by adlibbing furiously when you decide to find out if this place has a cat, and whether you can talk to that cat’s owner by ringing the number on their collar. It is easy as a fan to allow the shortcomings, dismiss the related bugs that arise from trying to overcome those shortcomings, and then say ‘yeah, but I had a really tricky dilemma with these three competing factions, and none of them are black and white and there were great consequences from the choice’.

    Quentin is a man in love with many things in gaming, but unique enthralling worlds, and testing your ingenuity and gamers ability are high on his list. Now to be fair, he makes clear that he enjoyed accomplishing some tasks without having to shoot everyone. And possibly he did get the hardcore mode confused. But still, I think what he’s getting at here is that obsidian did what they are very capable of doing – give you a location (the casino, say) with a smattering of people (enough, I’d wager, to interact with. and maybe some of those characters are neither black nor white, but somewhat nuanced), and made sure this could lead to some testing dilemmas in quests. But it sounds like they’re relying on you liking fallout. and giving you a bit more. and that’s especially understandable if some of them were involved in the original games. but it may be to quentin that what’s on the screen is neither especially inspiring (because how many times can we usefully visit this setting when the tropes seem to stay the same with each iteration) nor enthralling and all encompassing (because they’re letting their technology cripple the experience).

    But it *is* displaying a lack of ambition in terms of the setting. and in not attempting to rectify some of their usual mistakes (the glitchiness, adopting CRPG shorthands such as a describing a busy location with only a few people in it – ask yourself, how is the casino pictured above, any different to the one in the original fallout?)they could be said to be lacking ambition, of doing what they always do, of, if you like, phoning it in. And it sounds like, from what quentin (and others are saying), the way they are trying to get around these problems is by doing what bethesda did – giving you shit loads of terrain. and stuff. Now maybe it’s more lovingly crafted (because the dialogue’s better, say) and there’s no doubting that’s a lot of effort to do that, but it doesn’t make quentin’s criticisms any less valid.

    This sounds like a solid, engaging, very glitchy RPG. In their own way, obsidian are no better than bioware in doing what they do – they’re very good at the bits they’re good at, and they can’t be arsed with the other stuff. The review makes me think that I’ve already got two rpgs sitting on my shelf (waiting to be played at some point) that are very similar to this one. Maybe with mods in a couple of years time, it will be a more enthralling setting.

    But judging from what people have described of the game in this comments thread, and from what quentin has said, it would be wrong to dismiss Quentin’s review as merely a) a difference of opinion to yours and b) unfair on obisidian.

  45. BobbleHat says:

    Ouch. Wasn’t expecting that. Well, I was expecting the crappy performance bugs, but not the rest.

    I would be having second thoughts about buying it if I hadn’t won £20 worth of HMV vouchers for being the best at microwaving pub grub at work, which effectively means I can get New Vegas for a tenner. Surely it’s worth that.

  46. A-Scale says:

    This was a powerfully scathing (and hilarious) review that has utterly turned me off the game. Perhaps i’ll acquire it some day, but probably not even that.

  47. Ryuga says:

    Strictly speaking, Latin is a dead language.. nobody at the time of Julius Caesar took the time to write re. phonetics – at least nothing that has been preserved. So how to pronounce Latin really is guesswork. Add to this a slew of dialects and the language changing over time.. and you got yourself a bit of a complicated situation.

    • Ryuga says:

      Woo hoo, reply fail!

      Yeah. I guess ambitious people can sorta guess where I wanted that…

    • Saiko Kila says:

      Actually your comment fits into many places in this thread. It’s nice so many people are still taught Latin, but it’s strange that not many of them are taught that Latin is dead and there is no consensus on spelling. There are couple of schools, points of view on that matter, some probably better than others, but… All these assumptions are more or less educated guesses, nothing more. Since Latin ceased to be used as a main language (in original areas) and before it started to be used again, there was one big cultural breakdown. Barbarians invaded and ruled. New languages were born and intermixed.The pronunciation of words evolved, there were different pronunciations in one country, depending on cultural (religious mainly) center. Compare it with different pronunciations of English, despite sustained communication and no cultural catastrophe in the meantime. The scholars are trying their best to recreate the thing, and the changes, but there are limits. Until we have time machines…

  48. Freud says:

    I get the feeling that those that hate this review also were delighted when they read a negative review of Fallout 3.

    Having not played this game, I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy it when I get around to playing it (patched of course).

  49. Jack says:

    Controversial (sensational?) statement in lead sentence, plus gratuitous swearing? Review article that cherry picks in order to make facts fit an opinion? Attacking from a postion of ignorance?

    Quinns is the tabloid hack of RPS.

    RPS is a little – no, a fair amount actually – crapper because of this move.