Interesting to see that I am not the only person who felt a deep ambivalence towards Fallout 3. I expressed this internal conflict during my review series, and now I’m noticing that others are also confused as to what to say about the game from a review standpoint. Scott Jones at Crispy Gamer gave the game good marks, but is now flip-flopping on the issue.
But is this such a crime? A game entertains you for forty hours. Then you walk away, and with a halfhearted shrug you lament that, “It could have been better.” A couple of days later, irritations and inconsistencies percolate to the surface, discoloring your memories of the game with the dirty hue of plot holes, glitches, and lame dialog. What now? Did this tainted aftertaste somehow undo those forty hours? Do you recant your earlier praise, and declare the thing to be the work of sophomoric hacks, or do you cleave to your original assessment?
What if, despite the flaws, you find yourself wanting to play again in six months? How many times are you allowed to alter your official position on a game?
(Scott Jones also makes a big deal about how he thought he was the only one who didn’t like the game. If you’re one of those who found that the game has left you cold and you’re looking for like-minded people, then allow me to direct you to No Mutants Allowed. They hated the game before you did, and with more fervor.)
This game is the reviewer’s bane. For people who are supposed to distill an experience down to a single, definitive opinion – perhaps even with a precise numeric value to accompany it – the game poses an impossible challenge. I can’t even decide how much I enjoy the game, much less make any sort of meaningful guesses about how the complete strangers of the world will respond to it.
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