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 »

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  1. Nihileth says:

    Completely non-rage related, why does it want to launch at 2 am and not midnight on Steam :(

  2. 7rigger says:

    Quinns, don’t ever change :)

    (Need more onionbog though)

  3. Langman says:

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

    That’s a shame. RPS never used to be this kind of site.

  4. Dan says:

    A refreshingly honest review. Thanks Quinns.

  5. Samuel Bass says:

    Repeat after me, people…

    The

    Role

    Of

    A

    Critic

    Is

    Not

    To

    Validate

    Your

    Purchases

    Also, all this “RPS is going downhill” piffle….sigh….double sigh, with sprinkles.

    • subedii says:

      The role of a comment isn’t to validate the critic.

      If people aren’t allowed to say they hold a different opinion to the posted article then there’s no point in having a comment system in the first place.

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      @subedii
      I think you are missing the point – I for one am thoroughly enjoying NV (although I do believe the criticism of sloppiness rings true) But i respect Quinns opinion as it is just that. Equally there are plenty of people who disagreed with his review who have left thoughtful and even headed comments. What people are reacting to is the large amount of personal attacks with the only justification being ‘you have said bad things about something i like, you are a stain on this good site,burn in hell etc’

      There is no point in a comment system if people cant keep it civil.

    • subedii says:

      Funny, I’d have said the vast majority of posters are keeping it civil.

    • Robert says:

      Erm…

      I don’t have an opinion of this game yet, I came looking for opinions actually. And “It is the sound of Obsidian phoning this game in. I’m talking long distance, reversed charges, not-giving-a-fuck.” is not what I look for in game journalism. It might be fun writing, but I’d call it bad journalism.

      Am I now trying to validate my not-existant purchase, or my opinions about journalism and writing? I am puzzled my dear chap.

    • Dave says:

      @Robert: My dear chap, when I read your post, I could tell that you were puzzled straight away, for you’ve confused “bad journalism” with a writing style you simply don’t agree with. But I don’t begrudge you for it: everyone make mistakes! Cheerio!

    • Robert says:

      Thanks for the condescending ad hominem attack!

  6. Armyofnone says:

    Oh dear. Divisive article. I for one appreciate your opinion Quinns!

  7. MD says:

    Guys, please! If you disagree with Quinns: express your opinion! If you think Quinns mis-stated a fact, or skipped some necessary research, or overlooked something important: point this out!

    But please please please don’t let yourselves slip into attacking the author/website for expressing an opinion you disagree with. Those sorts of reactions are largely to blame for the bland, cheerleader-squad mentality of most of the gaming press.

    • MD says:

      Basically, people get a lot angrier about negative reviews of games they like than positive reviews of games they don’t like. Combine this with the natural pressure to be on good terms with the publishers who feed you review code and advertising, and there’s a pretty clear path of least resistence leading to blandsville.

  8. Alex says:

    You guys crack me up.

  9. ZanibarBuckBuckMcFate says:

    This thread was the most unpleasant thing I have ever read on RPS! NERDRAGE!

    The review, on the other hand, was a pleasure to read. Mr. Smith is fast becoming my fav RPS reviewer.

  10. sinister agent says:

    OHMYGOD YOU SAID THINGS ABOUT A GAME I JUST BOUGHT YOUR WORDS FILL ME WITH RAGE SHOUTING COMMENCES NOW

    • plugmonkey says:

      It’s very much like you haven’t actually read the thread.

  11. Tetragrammaton says:

    Its obvious to me that Quinns is either a troll or a black-hearted villain. There is no other possible way he could have expressed opinions that run contrary to my own!

  12. Delusibeta says:

    Timezone issues, I guess. It’s supposed to launch 12 midnight GMT, which is not the same as British time for another couple of weeks.

  13. Evo says:

    To all the commenters complaining about people disagreeing with Quinns:
    Most people disagreeing with the review have played New Vegas and Fallout 3 and have given clear reasons why they disagree with the review. Isn’t that what a good comments thread should be? Or would you prefer sycophantic agreement from everyone?

    Also, does anyone else find it funny that positive reviews are never called “refreshingly honest” by anyone? When a critic gives a critically acclaimed game a negative review they’re suddenly hailed as some sort of messiah, while other reviewers are derided as bribe-taking liars. It’s completely bemusing.

  14. Shadram says:

    I’m a fan of Mr Smith’s work (particularly Journey of Saga and his game diaries), and haven’t played this game long enough to form an opinion yet, but

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

    That’s just rude. Sure, there’s issues, and the game could have done with a bit more time for polish and play testing (like most Obsidian games, then), but to suggest they were lazy, didn’t try hard enough or didn’t care? What a horrible thing to say, really not something I’d expect from this site. I couldn’t take the rest of the article as valid opinion after reading that.

    • mrmud says:

      After Quinns recent trolling attempts with regards to World of Warcraft it is exactly what I would expect from this site.

      While I have enjoyed some of Quinns AARs, the rest of his writing is starting to put me off the site.

    • Jolly Teaparty says:

      I thought it was funny.

  15. bwion says:

    Quinns hates New Vegas?
    Kieron would have liked it fine.
    RPS declines.

  16. Premium User Badge

    jaheira says:

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

    That’s punchy writing right there.

    Don’t tell the other three, but stylistically Quinns is the best games writer I’ve ever read.

  17. Ashbery76 says:

    “the characters in that game were often interesting or disturbed enough that you were curious about what they had to say.”

    What? I must have missed that in Fallout3.I do not recall any interesting characters whatsoever.

  18. Debaser says:

    It’s a good thing that the article isn’t called “Wot I Think”, eh?

  19. Some Yank says:

    Sounds like someone phoned-in this ‘review’.

  20. Lazarus says:

    Why do people complain about there being massive stockpiles of guns and ammo everywhere in Fallout? This is America! There’s a gun or twelve in every house! (and twenty-five thousand rounds of high-velocity hollowpoints).

  21. kedaha says:

    I’m getting seriously sick of people saying “OBSIDIAN ARE THE GUYS WHO MADE PS:T AND THE ORIGINAL FALLOUTS” as if that will make this game awesome.

    Know who the lead creative designer and writer was?
    John Gonzalez

    Never heard of him? That’s because the only other thing he’s written is Tom Clancy’s Endwar.

    Yeah.

    • Salamander says:

      Lead designer was JE Sawyer. I don’t know what crack you’re smoking.

    • kedaha says:

      I may be smoking crack, but I’m not a full fledged retard!
      Lead Designer

      * J.E. Sawyer

      Lead Creative Designer

      * John Gonzalez

      Lead World Builder

      * Scott Everts

      gg pld

  22. Mitthrawn says:

    I totally did. As soon as I saw that I said yes, please. Everything really fun and interesting I found was based on wild wasteland. I recommend everyone turn it on.

  23. Mitthrawn says:

    I totally did. The wild wasteland perk really makes everything so much funnier and better. If you didn’t turn it on you’re missing the best parts of the game.

  24. thebigJ_A says:

    This review…

    I don’t get it. If it weren’t for the horrible bugs, this would be a FAR better game than FO3

  25. malkav11 says:

    I honestly wasn’t expecting this review. I have no idea how anyone could play New Vegas and find it bland, characterless and boring. Certainly not in comparison to Fallout 3.

    And let me be clear here. I adore Fallout 3. I think it’s very likely Bethesda’s finest game to date, and all the little individualized nooks and crannies one can find make me very happy. I am continually baffled by people describing the “dungeons” as cookie cutter. Sure, they get a bit architecturally samey as they just don’t have a very wide palette to work with, but every one of them has its own unique qualities that makes it a -place- in a way that Oblivion dungeons were almost unanimously not. Computer records, audio logs, puzzles, bits of side stories, items and skeletons placed in ways that insinuate weird and intriguing scenarios. I guess I can see where the repeated combat scenarios would eventually pall enough that exploration stopped feeling altogether worthwhile (I’ve hit that point from time to time, although I’ve played the game off and on over months). Not all of the set pieces were brilliant, but they do all right and places like Rivet City are really pretty cool.

    That said, in the hours that I’ve played New Vegas, which are admittedly still few, it is unquestionably better in several key respects, from RPG systems (picking skills and perks is actually difficult now as there are more than a few worthwhile approaches and you can’t just spam bobbleheads and skill books to max everything out, plus the return of traits), to crafting (much more useful and expansive), to voice acting (not universally, but some of the voice actors are quite good) to combat (much less fixedly reliant on VATS, more approaches work, more weapon variety, recycling ammo, more visceral feel) to story (I’m already wondering what’s up with Victor, for example, and unsure if I’ve made the right decision re: Primm’s law enforcement) to radio (terribly limited song list, sadly, but the Black Mountain Radio station is -hilarious). System by system, Obsidian have improved on what Bethesda achieved.

    And buggy? Well, it is a bit. Not a broken trainwreck like some people are making it out to be, at least not for me, but they absolutely need to fix the Steamcloud bug fast-like. Otherwise it’s actually performing better and bugging out less than Fallout 3 did. I continue to believe that Obsidian’s reputation for poor QA is largely undeserved and their accomplishments in storytelling, game design, and consistently dramatically improving on the games they’re following up far less recognized than they ought to be. (Troika, on the other hand? Well. Brilliant conception, but they actually did fail quite a bit on the whole execution thing.)

  26. Premium User Badge

    stahlwerk says:

    450 Comments, only 6 occurences of the word fanboy including this one, leading to an average amount of 1.3 centifanboys per post. That’s pretty good, folks.

    • Enigmatic Gray says:

      This is a brilliant metric. I’m not exactly sure what that proves, but It sure sounds scientific.

    • Premium User Badge

      stahlwerk says:

      It’s akin to thread-fuel ppm, but more directly measureable. Low value: a civilised discussion has ensued, maybe the subject could be more divisive? High value: don your asbestos, and don’t forget to feed the trolls – it’s flamewar time!

  27. Mitthrawn says:

    I’d just like to correct a few things Quinns said. First of all, the sharecroppers. That farm is not just the little patch of ground right there. Look around Quinns, explore a bit. There are at least 4-6 greenhouses ( at least by my count) full of crops. Its not just that tiny patch of land. If you had bothered to explore a bit more you’d have seen that.

    The casino. That is one room in one casino on the strip. There are three functioning casinos on the strip, most with multiple gambling rooms, all of them with plenty of npcs and extra people. I never though, wow, the strip is a ghost town. There are plenty of people there. Remember, its a goddamn wasteland, not everyone has money to blow at the casinos, not to mention the freeside casinos and the demilitarized zone (or whatever you call it).

    The writing. Its top notch all the way throughout. I’m assuming you, Quinns, did not play through with the wild wasteland perk on. Do me a favor, turn that perk on, then do the quests at the rocket factory and navoc. Now tell me that the writing is terrible. Simply put, I laughed out loud repeatedly loud enough to scare my roommates and there was one point in time in the Come Fly With Me quest where I said out loud, “There are no words. No words.” It was simply too awesome. Seriously go play it with that.

    These mistakes, and your harshness in previous posts when confronted with “bugs” which turned out to be “not knowing the control to put your gun away” seems to point to a lack of thoroughness on your part. Especially in not following up on the bugs or, say, noticing that there were half a dozen greenhouses sprinkled like daisies around the sharecropper lands. In this case, I would not be the one accusing anyone else of “phoning it in.”

    • Kevin says:

      Time of day also effects the population of the casinos.

    • malkav11 says:

      And, frankly, while I have no doubt that the population of any given area in Fallout: New Vegas is unrealistically sparse, this is a scale issue that Oblivion and Fallout 3 both had, as do many other RPGs. It’s a “bustling town” of five or ten people plus a few nameless extras. Nearly invariably. But there’s not a great deal to be done about it because of performance limitations and the enormous task that a genuinely bustling town, much less city, would be to write with any kind of depth.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      While I don’t think for a second Q phoned in this review, everything else you said is absolutely true.

      I just think he took a dislike to the game early on, which colored his view of everything else. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s the feeling the game gave him, and he wrote it down as per his job.

      I’m just glad I didn’t have the same problem.

  28. jack says:

    Wow. I come onto RPS early in the rosy-feeling morning, and this is what I find?

    It’s a bitch-slap of a review, and the comments are just reacting to that, although saying that Quinns has ruined RPS forever is ridiculous and uncalled for.

    I haven’t played New Vegas, so I can’t say whether it deserves the slap or not. But coming straight from an internet of nothing but goodwill towards the game to this is jarring. I might have to try it out before buying, but seeing as you’re one of the only people who dislikes it, I think I’ll still be giving it a shot.

  29. Nimic says:

    So… is this really that bad, then?

  30. Premium User Badge

    stahlwerk says:

    Sounds like someone phoned-in this ‘reply system’

    • Jake says:

      Yeah well I’m talking long distance, reversed charges, not-giving-a-fuck captcha.

  31. Sui says:

    skalpadda:

    Yes, but games are harder to make than comic books and films.* Programming is an incredibly tricky thing, especially when handled by a large team, and sometimes it’s just not feasable to carry on throwing money at a project. It can get to the point where a publisher only has two choices; scrap the project entirely, or release it as it is.

    Sure, in an ideal world everyone would have infinite amounts of money and all game companies could spend 7 years making their ‘Half-Life 2′. But this really isn’t feasable. Personally I’d rather have the game in a broken state than not at all.

    *Also, to elaborate on this: films are not ‘easier’ to make per se, but most of the problems arise BEFORE shooting starts and BEFORE all the money is spent. Once the directors, actors etc. are locked down, shooting is an organised, coordinated and relatively brief affair. In contrast, problems arise DURING a game development process (e.g. STALKER). Things that were promised suddenly are no longer feasable; parts of code become broken and must be scrapped; things simply take longer to do than the developers thought. Listen to any of the HL2 commentary and you’ll realise what an organic process game development is – things are constantly changing, evolving, growing. You can’t just write down the whole game as a ‘screenplay’ and develop the game like you would shoot a film. That’s impossible, and it would probably turn out to be a very boring game.

    So, some games turn out to be a mess, even though a group of very intellegent and very capable people were developing it. That’s life.

    • Premium User Badge

      skalpadda says:

      I certainly won’t argue against the fact that games are far more involved than most other entertainment projects. I’m very sympathetic to the fact that your vision and ideas often clash with the realities of budgets, time and other constraints; it’s something almost every creative endeavour has to deal with.

      What I oppose is the notion that reviewers and critics should gloss over faults or tone down their opinions to cut the developers some slack. I think the tone of this review is bordering on abusive and unnecessarily rude and hence don’t consider it a very good one, but if RPS writers start ignoring faults and not giving their honest opinion I’ll stop reading the site and cancel my sub, because I do expect honesty from them, and as far as I’m concerned their obligation is to themselves and their readers.

      As a counterpoint on negative reviews done really well by the RPS writers I’d point at their coverage of Clear Sky, like this:

      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2008/09/02/eurogamer-stalker-clear-sky-review/

  32. Walsh says:

    I would like to be able to play the fucking game to compare to this review. As it is, this pos is unplayable due to a crash to desktop after the intro movie. I can’t remember the last game that just wouldn’t work right on my computers.

    Goddamnit.

  33. hiver says:

    Regards from RPGCodex.
    Heres i wot it thinks about this “review”

    http://rpgcodex.net/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=50924&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

    cheers :lol:

    btw, personally i dont think ive ever read anything so mindbogglingly silly presented as a review.

    • Freud says:

      No one really cares what RPGcodex likes or not. Especially when it comes to RPGs.

    • Jake says:

      Web browsers need an opposite of ‘favourite’, that website is terrible.

    • Thants says:

      Ah, this did get linked to on some forum. That would explain endless trolling.

    • Thants says:

      Alright then, the explosion of posters who’ve suddenly decided that they hate Quinns and that the site has gone downhill right when he disliked their pet game, even though they’ve never expressed anything like that before, must be a total coincidence.

    • Thants says:

      Hey, he might be totally wrong about this game for all I know, I haven’t played it yet. People have every right to disagree. But suddenly deciding that he’s the worst thing to ever happen to this site is fanboy bullshit, yes.

    • Bret says:

      I care what RPGCodex thinks.

      It’s useful keeping an eye on, and I do not say this lightly (and would apply it to none of the people here, RPS has a swell bunch of folks, even (especially) when I disagree with ‘em, and/or tempers get heated ) the vermin.

      Lurked a little for some cultural anthropology, and I can safely say they are, if not the worst community on the internet, by far worse than the (low) standards of this brave digital frontier.

      Seriously, RPGcodex is just icky.

    • Thants says:

      Now I look crazy.

    • suibhne says:

      @Thants: If you look around in these comments, you’ll notice that many of the people disappointed with the tone of Quinns’ article, and in some cases its factual accuracy, are people who have posted at RPS for years. I think it’s not very reasonable to dismiss all negative reactions simply because there may be a subset of “new” posters (tho who’s to say they haven’t lurked for just as long as the rest of us have been posting – and even if they haven’t, who’s to say there’s no value in their views?).

  34. Kandon Arc says:

    After the frankly embarrassing launch of AP I’m stunned that Obsidian has once again released a game in such a buggy state. That, if nothing else, justifies Quinns’ anger in the opening paragraph – Obsidian, regardless of their merits, deserve to be chastised for consistently failing to improve their quality control.

    • Jolly Teaparty says:

      I never really gave it much thought because bugs just seem to be part of PC gaming that I ran out of steam getting angry about. That being said, yeah, I recall playing a few Obsidian games with a number of literally gamebreaking bugs.

  35. TariqOne says:

    It has long been apparent from his insistent trolling that Quintin Smith is simply not up to snuff. Another in his oh-so-cool-contrarian series.

    Please replace this gentleman. His credibility is shot and he does an otherwise fine site a disservice.

    • MD says:

      Assuming this isn’t a joke: piss off. Go back to every other site on the internet, and let the rest of us enjoy reading a genuinely interesting writer.

    • MD says:

      To elaborate: Kieron Gillen’s tastes differed pretty widely from mine, his reviews were sometimes worse than useless to me as a buyer’s guide, he often annoyed me a bit, and I don’t think I even like him as a person. But he’s a bloody good writer, and his articles probably made up about 50% of the interesting games writing I’ve been exposed to. Quinns has the potential to fill a similar role; give him a chance! If his ‘lack of credibility’ (i.e. disagreeing with you too often, in a manner you consider obnoxious) bothers you to the point that you’re unable to do so, please read other publications and let the rest of us enjoy his writing.

    • Sunjammer says:

      Quinns is, in Kieron’s absence, by FAR my #1 favorite RPS writer.

    • Thants says:

      Did this review get linked to on another site or something? The trolls are out in full force.

    • Jake says:

      I think Quinns is cool, even if he doesn’t like Warcraft. I would totally be happy for him to write Thor and/or X-Men in the future, if he wants to.

  36. Anthony says:

    I love your writings, Mr. Quinn. And I fully appreciate this is your considered subjective analysis.

    But everything else I’ve read on this game disagrees with your verdict. Not just one or two of the major sites, but practically every review along with the plebs that have already bought and played it for a bit. Even bloody Destructoid like it, and they do angry reviews as a matter of course.

    As it doesn’t come out here until next week I’ll just have to withhold my own personal opinion. But the promise of “More Fallout 3, just better” that I’ve heard everywhere else still has me excited.

  37. Nimic says:

    Eeh… I just got into the game, and the mouse is acting crazy. There’s something very funky going on with the sensitivity, or acceleration, or something. Any way to change that? I can change the actual sensitivity, but it makes almost no difference to that particular problem. I genuinely don’t know if I can play the game like that.

  38. Torgen says:

    I’m just boggled, boggled, that people can call a supposedly AAA title that looks like this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToKIkw3LIoQ&feature=player_embedded

    a great game. I can’t tell if the first page smells of manure or astroturf.

    And one of the reasons I read RPS as my only gaming site (besides being too old to spend hours every day going through others sites) is that they write how they feel, not what makes the advertisers happy. I truly don’t trust any other PC games review site at all.

    • John says:

      Torgen, that seems to be a unusual bug that doesn’t affect the vast majority of people, and the video poster urges people not let it ruin ‘this great, great game’. I’ve not played New Vegas, but writing it off because of a bug in one video is a bit silly.

    • Thants says:

      You’re boggled that a game that has a bug can be a great game? I’m boggled by that!

    • Narfesis says:

      “The now infamous Doc Mitchell video, while very funny (and horrifying) was not a bug. Unfortunately during our launch day, there was a brief window where Steam was pushing out corrupt or incorrect files. In the event that a user wound up with a corrupt meshes.bsa file, they would get that error. It was easily (and instantly) corrected by simply re-validating your files with Steam. At most, a handful of people ever saw that issue, and even then, only for a moment before fixing it.”

      http://forums.bethsoft.com/index.php?/topic/1125221-please-read-from-the-teams-at-obsidian-and-bethesda/

  39. tariqone says:

    No. I could care less if he agrees with me. And I don’t disagree with him. I haven’t yet played it.

    It is the inability to handle nuance, the color-blindness to shades of grey, that makes him uniquely unsuited to review subjective material. It’s never an inventory of pluses and minuses with the fellow. It’s either hagiography or a chop-job and therefore wholly without utility.

    He could write like David Foster Wallace for all I give a shit (and his writing is fairly propulsive and punchy). Doesn’t mean he canreview his way out of a paper bag.

    And he can’t.

    • tariqone says:

      Reply Fail. That was @MD. Mr. Inclusion-Slash-Leave-RPS-If-You-Dislike-My-Fave-Reviewer.

    • Shadram says:

      I think you mean you couldn’t care less. To say you “could care less” implies that you do care, since it would be possible for you to care less.

      One day, I shall banish this heinous grammatical failure from the earth, and on that day there shall be much joy and feasting.

    • tariqone says:

      Funnily, I read my post and chided myself for not writing correctly, then cursed RPS for it’s lack of an edit feature.

      Yes, I’ve seen the graphic. Yes, I gather that “could” implies the ability and room to go below the current level. And yes, I knew an RPS wag would be about presently to correct me.

      I’m an American. A New Yorker. It’s how we say it. Hell, I saw “irregardless” in the dictionary the other day. Cut me some slack!

    • tariqone says:

      GAAH! “ITS!” “ITS!!” Not “it’s.”

      Time to shut up now.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Erm, you got it right. “its” is possessive.

    • MD says:

      What about his Winter Voices review of a few days ago? (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/10/18/wot-i-think-winter-voices-avalanche/) Obviously not ‘hagiography’, but you could hardly call it a ‘chop-job’ either.

      I can’t really think of any recent hatchet jobs other than this one; he took the piss out of WoW once or twice, but they weren’t reviews, nor were they particularly extreme cases of negativity.

      I hope Quinns isn’t out to be negative for the sake of negativity, but if his overwhelming impression of a game is that it’s shithouse, I certainly don’t want him to hold back. (Except in certain cases: for example, a small indie game that could just as soon have received no coverage, where feelings would be unnecessarily damaged.)

      Also, sorry about my tone earlier. I stand by the general sentiment, but telling you to ‘piss off’ was immature and needlessly aggressive.

    • MD says:

      That said, calling me “Mr. Inclusion-Slash-Leave-RPS-If-You-Dislike-My-Fave-Reviewer” was pretty silly too.

      Leaving aside the ‘favourite reviewer’ assumption, you’re misrepresenting me. You’re perfectly welcome to continue to read RPS while disliking Quinns. But if you really can’t bear his presence, please move on to other websites rather than trying to ruin RPS for the rest of us.

  40. The Innocent says:

    A lot of these comments are sad. Not frustrating, just sad. Personally, Quinns is my least-favorite RPS writer, but that doesn’t mean I dislike him or his writing (Ah, but give me some MeerProse though). In fact, I think he’s a fine replacement for Mr. Gillen in a sort of thematic sense, and he’s certainly passionate and talented. And I don’t understand why someone not liking a game that you like means that he must be touting some lofty ivory opinion-edict that he barely condescends to shower upon our proletariat heads. He didn’t like the game, and yeah, I completely disagree with him. So?

    The RPS community tends to be great, but sometimes (I think of the L4D2 threads from a while back), the assholes come out to play. Sorry if that’s harsh — most of the comments here aren’t all bad, but man, some people are are really going overboard and need some perspective.

  41. John says:

    I haven’t played New Vegas, so I won’t comment on the thrust of the article, but I felt the opening paragraph was uncalled for. Obsidian has always seemed like a company of people who care a great deal about what they do, so to accuse them of ‘not giving a fuck’ seemed unfair and unprofessional. You can say a game lacks soul without personally attacking the people who made it.

    • suibhne says:

      That’s my primary irritation with Quinns’ “WIT”. Sure, I disagree with nearly everything he said and I don’t even understand how humans could hold some of those views – e.g., the notion that FO3’s writing is superior to FO:NV’s. But the only “over the line” bit was the personal attack on Obsidian’s motives.

      On a larger level, tho, I’m concerned that these “Wot I Think” pieces sometimes exhibit less journalistic rigor (even new-journalistic rigor) than a “review”. Quinns’ examples of the farm and the casino, e.g., are just plain wrongheaded – he’s either choosing to quote the game out of context, or he’s demonstrating his own lack of percipience. My ideal “Wot I Think” would have all the fact-checking, evidential support, and journalistic responsibility of a well-written review in a reputable trade rag, but with the personality and canny subjectivity offered by RPS at its best. But really, subjectivity isn’t a worthy replacement for reasonableness; it’s most effective when both go together.

    • Salamander says:

      It’s also particularly obnoxious since Chris Avellone wrote a fucking thing called the “Fallout Bible.”

      Insinuating that he doesn’t care about Fallout would be like saying the Pope doesn’t care about Christianity.

  42. Baron says:

    Review does seem to be missing the game’s intent. The examples he gave (the spartan crops, the empty casino) seem like dark humour to me. It’s appropriate that it’s not a bustling metropolis! And you shouldn’t be able to rescue every gimp chained to a pole… this should be how things are. It’s the landscape, the atmosphere; to free every slave would be like stopping to polish a burnt out car, or watering a dead tree. The player should just accept that there are also many people chained to poles, and that this is the world they live in. (Different voice actors saying the same like is a ES:Oblivion sin, I admit.)

    When I read a review like this, by someone who strikes me as not the sharpest tool in the shed, it makes me want to go out and buy the game (it’s released today in Australia). Maybe the reviewer should treat himself to an icecream cone, go sit in the sun for a bit, and write reviews when the stabbing pains of his dog’s passing has subsided.

    • 7rigger says:

      “When I read a review like this, by someone who strikes me as not the sharpest tool in the shed,”

      That’s the spirit! If he doesn’t share your opinion, he’s obviously just stupid…

      Please grow up or GTFO

  43. nmute says:

    probably has little to do with “agreement” as a general concept as opposed to “omfg this game sux and heres why” livejournalism.

  44. Kamisama says:

    I’m confused, i usually trust RPS when it comes to reviews and “wot i think” but this review is clearly confusing me. When i first read it i was like “well much ado about nothing, FNV seems to be crap, better move along …” but i still wanted to see what other reviewers thought about it.

    And canardpc (major french pc gaming newspaper) has a test coming in 2 weeks, and here’s the insight the reviewer shared with us : http://www.nma-fallout.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=56505&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

    It is totally opposed to Quentin’s opinion, ans i don”t know which i should believe !

  45. bhlaab says:

    Only a few hours in and I could not possibly disagree more. Some of the complaints in this writeup simply baffle me.

    • bhlaab says:

      And I’m all for personal attacks, but saying that Obsidian “didn’t give a fuck” is SO out there you must have delivered this review by space shuttle

    • Joey-joe-joe says:

      You mean you are ok with personal attack so long as it’s not a developer you like?

  46. Matt says:

    At least there aren’t any fuckin’ mudcrabs.

  47. Olivaw says:

    Wow. This is pretty crazy. I figured RPS would like this game a lot more, considering what they usually cover.

    It’s weird that he didn’t talk about technical issues once, though. That’s telling about how much he didn’t enjoy the actual GAME.

    I appreciate the honest opinion, though. I have a feeling this particular opinion is going to be wildly unpopular, though.

  48. Quark says:

    Wow, this is the worst, most disagreeable article I have ever read on RPS. I expected better from this site.

  49. Soobe says:

    Instead of pecking away at the merit of another’s opinion and his ability to express it, I’d like to dive a bit more into what I thought the meat of his criticism was–

    I’ve not had the pleasure of playing New Vegas yet (I will for sure be buying it), but I do recall a distinctly ‘unfinished’ feeling from some locations in Fallout 3.

    A good example is Tenpenny Tower. I mean here you have–for no doubt hundreds of miles–what has to be the most habitable and safest spot you can find, and yet no one’s banging at the front door to get in. No siege, no bandit assaults—nothing.

    Of course once you’re in you find, despite the almost total seclusion the populace has, an almost antiseptic environment. Nothing feels lived in or used. There was no personality in what should be the most hotly contested places for hundreds of miles. The building had no stories to tell, and neither did the inhabitants (yes I know what happens with the ghouls!).

    Anyway, this created an awkward feeling of disconnection in the world between what I was being shown and what the games reality was. Mind you it that’s one instance in a very large world and I generally enjoyed Fallout 3, but that feeling underscored what I thought was Fallout 3’s main issue.

    To expand a bit, dare I say it, but it’s almost as if the game worlds a little too bat-shit crazy. Certainly humanity would, after an event like all-out nuclear war, band together just a bit stronger? Psychologically speaking, I think it’s safe to sat that most humans basic nature is to organize and form communities. Yet in Fallout the only communities you find are of the crazy type.

    When you combine these two ideas, a lack of personality in some locations and a dreary sense of desolation and hopelessness in humanities ability to rise up in the face of adversity, something just feels off.

    Now I could imagine, and again, I have not played this game yet—a situation where these feelings of disconnection spread to not just a few locations, but the majority. Should this be the case I would very much reflect the same opinion.

    I wonder if that feeling I had is what’s being referred to in this WOT?

    • Premium User Badge

      skalpadda says:

      Soobe:

      “A good example is Tenpenny Tower. I mean here you have–for no doubt hundreds of miles–what has to be the most habitable and safest spot you can find, and yet no one’s banging at the front door to get in. No siege, no bandit assaults—nothing. ”

      Except the first time you come there, where there’s an angry ghoul banging at the front door to get himself and his fellows in, and you then have a quest to either help the ghouls or wipe them out.

    • perilisk says:

      See, I agree with you, but the thing is — I don’t get that feeling from New Vegas the same way I did from Fallout 3. Fallout 3 never worked as a plausible world — it was a virtual theme park with a post apoc theme. No one ever actually seemed to do anything, everyone lived off 200 year old food (but very few people scavenged). The cities and areas weren’t well thought out, they were just someone saying “hey, this would be cool!”.

      Most of the towns in New Vegas have a landmark of some sort, but it’s mainly a way for you to locate the place in the distance — if Bethesda had developed Primm, the town would be based on people riding the rollercoaster there around to houses built around the track and maybe having gang fights from the coaster cars or something ridiculous like that. Everyone says that Obsidian makes stories and Bethesda makes worlds, but Fallout 3 fails as a world as did Oblivion (but Morrowind was much better, so it’s their new direction that sucks).

      Honestly, I can see why people are skeptical about this review. By way of analogy:

      Not-Quinns: You know, I really didn’t care for Batman Begins.

      Reader: Strange. I really liked it, most people I know did. But I guess it’s not for everyone.

      Not-Quinns: Yeah, it really failed to entertain me the way that Batman and Robin did.

      Reader: It.. what… I… I mean, I guess I can see that. Like, each movie has its strengths. If you really enjoy campiness and homoerotic banter, then I guess maybe that outweighs the strengths of the other film for you.

      Not-Quinns: See, the problem with Batman Begins is that the acting and directing, and especially the screenplay, really fall down compared to Batman and Robin.

      Reader: Wait, is this performance art or something? I’m pretty sure that monkeys aren’t smart enough to operate computers.

    • Soobe says:

      @skalpadda – As I tried to allude to yes, their was some conflict with the Ghouls, but it was my impression at the time that this should be a more hotly contested place.

      @perilisk – Indeed.

      Look, I’ll be buying this game for sure, but although I really appreciated your comments, you didn’t convince me of why this game is better than Fallout 3 in terms of setting and realization of a world as opposed to a collection of unrelated set pieces with varying levels of logistical and moral disconnect.

      And yes, I found your analogy very adapt at proving why Quinns thinking my be wrong on the issue of the game, but again, I want someone to show how his point are wrong.

      I know many are enjoying this game, but I thought he did a very solid job of pointing out things that were wrong from his perspective.

      In other words, how is he wrong?

  50. Hardtarget says:

    Holy cow, super surprised by this review, especially since I usually agree with RPS about most things.

    I’m not 14 hours into the game and having an absolutely Blast. Got to the strip at around the 9 hour mark and now there is even more stuff to do. The content is huge and I’ve been finding the atmosphere, the writing, the acting, and the overall direction to be a lot more enjoyable than Fallout 3 (and I liked fallout 3!)