Fallout 3:
Reviewer’s Lament

By Shamus Posted Monday Jan 19, 2009

Filed under: Game Reviews 41 comments

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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41 thoughts on “Fallout 3:
Reviewer’s Lament

  1. Ding says:

    I think the weird thing about Fallout 3 is that it is a TV series of a game as opposed to a Film of a game. Although there is a single main story line, there are lots of other little plots and distractions on the way, much the same as a TV series. You look at something like Buffy or Firefly, they have episodes that drive forward a general plot and episodes that are fairly stand-alone in nature. That’s the feel I got from Fallout 3. It is also the only way I can reconcile the fact that some of the little distractions are fantastic, and some of them just fall a little flat.

    I’ve no idea if I like the game. All I know is that I don’t dislike it. I think Scott Jones’ comments and your own series of reviews summed up the sentiment perfectly.

  2. Zerotime says:

    If it was such an “okay” game, how did they manage to play it for 40 hours?

  3. scarbunny says:

    I played Fallout 3 for about 60 hours in one play through doing everything being good and having a very good time.

    However last night I went back to it after not playing for a few months, and I just couldnt enjoy it, I’m not sure if it is just the fact I was playing as evil, or I was kind of only playing it again to get the alignment acheivements, but I could only muster an hour at most (enough time to walk from Megaton to Tenpenny and do that thing you do that could be considered a spoiler)

    I’m hopeing the DLC will get me involved in the game again as I really did/do like it.

  4. Avilan the Grey says:

    This is an oppinion I can fully understand and respect. Heck I just took a break from Fallout 3 this weekend because I got Creepy and Cute (expansion pack for Spore) for Christmas, and right now I am in over my head in weird creations again.
    All games, just like any other entertainment, are mood-sensitive.

  5. Nihil says:

    Time for a Comic Book Guy quote:

    Worst Fallout ever! I will only play it three more times, today!

  6. Factoid says:

    I finally finished it this weekend. And by “finished” I mean I decided to wrap up the central plot line because I’d had about enough wandering the wasteland for a while, and I wanted to leave something for a second play-through.

    I managed to blunder through the first 10 levels without really going anywhere or seeing anything, so once the mood strikes me again I’m looking forward to another playthrough.

    The tough part of a game like fallout3/oblivion is that it’s hard to know the best way to build your character your first time through. Best advice: Specialize in one type of weapon at a time and get it up to at least 50 before building up another one. Energy weapons are my favorite, but they’re hard to come by early on, so I’d start with small guns. Big guns, melee and unarmed are a waste of time if you ask me. What you save in ammo cost you’ll more than make up for in stimpacks.

  7. Robyrt says:

    What about the opposite effect – where you know a game should be inferior, but you can’t tear yourself away from it? That happens just as often, and it usually ends up with the reviewer throwing up her hands and saying “7/10!”

  8. acronix says:

    Fallout 3 succesfuly makes the time pass without you noting at all, at least until certain point. That “certain point” varies from person to person. Some just notice after a few minutes or hours of gameplay, and others just after the ending.
    There are also others, like me, that play only for the silly hope that somewhere, deep inside the game´s core, there´s something as memorable as the first Fallouts. Thinking that, once found, the greatness of the game will blind you with all his might, while your mouth tries to say “Woa!”. But, unfortunately, after playing the game in a couple of ways; after eating the plot that tastes like crap; after having to cut your eyes out thanks to the clumsy dialogue; after your nerves implode for being abused by the karma system; after your brain fails to understand how a town made enterely by kids survives in that kind of world… after all that, the game just isn´t that great anymore.

    Fallout 3 is a great game, yes. As long as you don´t notice it is not.

  9. Krellen says:

    While I am not a member of the NMA party, I do support their platform.

    Fallout 3 is a myth, like Spore or Ron Perlman.

    Personally, I think reviews should be written several weeks or months after the actual play of the game. Your reflection and recollection is at least as important as the actual game play, and a game is about far more than how much time you spent at it. A horrible game could be huge, with lots of new things to discover – hundreds of hours of things, even – and keep someone playing it for months. It would still be horrible, but people would play those hundreds of hours because it is new, and new exercises our minds and staves off boredom, even when “new” is also “bad”.

    A review should “go back over” the experience – thus the “re” part of the word – and what you remember when you first walk away will not be greatly accurate, as your mind will still be revelling in the “new” and will not see the “bad”. After some time has passed and your brain has been able to process it, you can actually review your experience and see what stood out, what you remember, and what you thought of that “new”. The parts that stand out are likely to be the parts that struck the largest impression, and if most of those parts are bad, then the impression of the game is bad.

    You just couldn’t see it at first, because it was new.

    When I look back at the previous Fallouts, even though I know they had bugs and glitches, none of those particularly stand out. It’s the characters, the quests, the interface I remember. The same is true of other great games I have played – Arcanum, Planescape, Bloodlines, Civilisation, Starcraft. All these great games still look great in retrospect (and being great caused me to seek them out for purchase years after their initial release; great leads to longevity, greatly expanding your customer base – as Good Old Games is starting to show us.)

    The unfortunate thing for so many “AAA” titles these days is that they focus entirely on the glory of new without seeing the value of quality; a good game does not only sell itself, it sells your entire company. Companies like Blizzard, BioWare and Valve have all built their legacies not off graphics, shine, or playtime, but off the greatness of their games. And they have been so successful at it that we no longer truly talk about their newest titles; we’re not excited about Starcraft II, or Dragon Age, or Episode 3, we’re excited about “the next game from Blizzard”, or BioWare, or Valve (well, okay, we’re excited about the games, but imagine if there was a sudden announcement that they would be done by a different company. Suddenly it’s not the same.)

    Making long games isn’t going to keep your company in business for decades. Only making good games can do that.

  10. Telas says:

    I enjoyed Fallout 3 until I started reading the negative reviews, especially the bits about how it didn’t have the cool characters and storylines from the first two. And then I started noticing things that I hadn’t noticed before, like 2D characters and circular conversations.

    Then I didn’t like it so much. It’s kind of like when you get your first car, and you love it until someone points out that it’s just another crappy Ford Escort.

    (sarcasm) Thanks, griefers! (/sarcasm)

  11. Kevin says:

    A thing looks one way up close, differently from a distance. That’s no sin, just the way we perceive the world.

  12. nilus says:

    No Mutants allowed would not have been happy with Fallout 3 unless it was exactly like Fallout 2 but with better graphics. They have been bitching that it was first person since Bethesda got the license. I’m not saying Fallout 3 was perfect but a lot of the Fallout 3 haters were hating on it long before it came out because it wasn’t exactly what they wanted.

  13. Magnus says:

    I’d like to concur with Krellen for the most part (and Kevin, nice bit of sage wisdom).

    The playtime issue also has to factor in the walking times, I spent many many hours of my Morrowind, Oblivion and Mass Effect playthroughs travelling. In ME in particular, you have elevator sequences, mako sequences and so forth, which elongate the game, but are mostly based on watching, waiting and absorbing the background. This part wears thin during a single playthrough, and gets more annoying in repeated playthroughs. There is the option of fast travel at times, but if you’re like me you worry about missing interesting side points.



    Do you think the First person perspective helped or hindered things?

    I prefer my RPGs to be top-down or isometric, but the FPP is nothing new, it looks (gameplay, dialogue, etc. rather than graphically) inferior to other (far older) FPP RPGs I’ve played in the past, but I haven’t had time to play it myself yet.

  14. Zwebbie says:

    This is how I felt with TES IV: Oblivion. I chucked over a 100 hours into that game and completed almost all quests, save for the Daedric shrines and those stupid collect-the-wine quests. I actually had fun playing.

    But after quitting it, I noticed *all* of its flaws and it’s now the butt end of many jokes between friends and me. I picked it up once again after half a year, but only played the tutorial and dropped it again. I really doubt you’re going to pick Fallout 3 up again in six months and play through it entirely.

    It’s why I never bought Fallout 3 – I saw all of Oblivion’s dumb faults and bad gameplay again and just couldn’t care. Had I not played Oblivion, I’d very likely have bought F3 and it would’ve given me a 100 hours of entertainment.

    On the other side, I’ve got Max Payne 2, which isn’t a 10/10 game, but that which it does, it does flawlessly, and I find myself replaying the game every 3 months since I bought it.

    So I theorize that playability has to do with with the things it does well and replayability has to do with flawlessness… and we all know that, despite the things they’ve got going for them, Bethesda’s games are full of flaws everywhere.

  15. Zel says:

    It may not be the place to say this, but I don’t understand the comments about NMA. They’re nowhere as hateful as other fanbase of popular games like Halo or Elder Scrolls, and anyone who claims so has probably never read anything there. The NMA review of the game is actually quite balanced, with both strong and weak points. Is “good and entertaining action RPG provided you can ignore the fact that it was supposed to be a Fallout game” really that hateful an opinion ?

    As far as I’m concerned, I couldn’t overlook that fact and kept comparing it to previous games. Sadly, it didn’t stand a chance. It’s the same reason why Shamus said he could never enjoy Bioshock, as he would be constantly comparing it to System Shock 1&2. The game may be good in its own right, but it’s so different from its predecessors that it really shouldn’t have been called or marketed as a (true, and not spiritual this time) sequel.

  16. Colonel Slate says:

    I’m quite tired of the “This game sucks because it isn’t the original” I really am, I mean, come on, if you don’t like the new one, play the old one, and leave the people that might like the new one in peace. They really don’t care, this is the case for Fallout, Halo 2 vs Halo 3, and Sonic, all types of games that where apparently once good, and now are apparently now bad.

    It is a case of taking the game too seriously, you should do this instead,
    Is the game fun, is it more or less than fun than the first ones?
    Does it still feature the main character, or type of setting that started the first?
    Would you rather play this game, or another game?
    Would you rather play this or the first?

    And depending on how you answer that, then do it, as in, if you answer, you’d rather play the first game, instead of the new game, then just drop the new game, and play the original.

    It’s a game, it’s made to be fun, when you bring it all down to one piece, it comes to, is the game fun, which is why or why not you will continue to, or not continue to play it.

  17. JKjoker says:

    i didnt like Fallout 3, i cant say i hate it, i do get some fun out of it but there are so many things that repulse me, the old fallout had some really silly things but at least they were there for a joke, f3 tries to take building a town around a nuclear bomb seriously and it makes my retard alarm go off, dialogues are so freaking awful… i sometimes i feel im playing a mentally challenged person even with maxed out intelligence and speech, i liked making my character but then i got disappointed as it doesnt make any difference in the world, i’d love for someone to comment on my Manchurian cut or my afro, and the thing i hated the most, the inventory/stats/etc screens, whats the point of making it look old pc style if it makes managing your character a freaking annoying chore ?, maybe consoles need bigger fonts but for pcs you could have put everything in 1 or 2 charts.

    as for the Reviews, i think the “professional” game reviewers should stop acting like kids with ADD, play the game, let it stew a few days/weeks while you play something else, then try it again and then you can tell if you really really like it or if just looking at the intro makes you sick, youll find out you can grasp what you like and dont like about the game much better and how it compares with the competition.

    i have a love/hate relationship with some games, i wouldnt say resident evil 4 was a great game but i just keep coming back to it, the ammo starving in pro difficulty makes me have pleasant nightmares from system shock 2 and devising clever strategies to kill some enemies and then having my ass handed to me seems strangely exiting, same goes for mercs2 the bugs in that game really piss me off but its so much fun blowing up everything…but for other games, like devil may cry 4, i know its short, i know i probably have 2 hours left of gameplay but the very thought of launching it makes me feel like turning the pc off and reading a book, ive never seen these points in any review (although, Yahtzee’s reviews are sometimes very close)

    and a last (slightly out of topic) thing : for the love of the holy Mario, i agree that Saints Row 2 PC is an awful port but it shares ALL its problems with GTAIVPC with the difference that SR2 is “almost playable” and GTAIV is “completely broken to the core”, but ALL the gtaIV reviews (some added postscripts, and a few put a link to another article to the problems, there was one that couldnt get it to run, eurogamer i think) did everything they could to avoid talking about or completely ignored the port problems, yet ALL the SR2 reviews completely TRASH the game for the port problems (and always in the main article where it does the most damage), a little fairness and less buttlicking please ?

  18. Cuthalion says:

    I just read some of the comments on the Scott Jones article. Man! Those people are tearing into him!

    “We can’t trust you anymore, ’cause you lied.”
    “You’re opinion doesn’t count because you’re a critic, not a player.”
    “You only played it 10 hours so you’re just as bad as a fanboy who played it 1 hour.”
    “You are why the gaming press is a joke. And not because of your voting for a game you didn’t like: it’s because you didn’t like a good game.”
    “You’re stupid, ’cause you used DragonQuest to say you’ve played RPGs.”
    “You’re stupid, ’cause you wanted to vote for ‘The Force Unleashed’.”

  19. Zel says:

    @Colonel Slate : Please do not misquote me, I never said the game sucked. If this is what got out of my post, it wasn’t intended : I merely wanted to say I didn’t have fun with it. Because sometimes, you can’t enjoy something as what you expected/remember/were promised and what you get are so far apart. You may think it’s stupid, I can understand that, I actually think it’s stupid too. I’m fully aware that’s what has probably blocked me from enjoying Fallout 3, but it’s just the way it is.

  20. Magnus says:

    @Colonel Slate: Most games aren’t original, so the basics of a genre might be identical, but it’s those extra parts, or improvements that make something worthwhile. I’m not sure that Fallout 3 adds anything new or interesting, from a spectator view, it does seem like “oblivion with guns” which is exactly what some people wanted, but its not what other people wanted. If I wasn’t getting it as a gift, I wouldn’t be playing it at all, but I expect I will sink a few hours into it, I did with Oblivion, despite it not living up to their promises (radiant AI anyone?).

  21. qrter says:

    That Scott Jones article is ridiculous though – you (or the site/magazine you work for) make a choice how you see criticism and act accordingly.

    Is a critic a person who tries to look at a game as objectively as possible, recognising when a game is executed well eventhough the critic didn’t enjoy playing it that much?

    Or is a critic a person who reviews the experience of playing the game, therefore making it a more subjective reading of a game?

    Both ways are valid, I think. Important is that you be consistent, though, which is where Jones started to slip.

    Jones could have said “I tried to choose objectively but made a mistake” or “On an objective level I chose X but personally I’d have chosen Y” – instead he tries to make himself look like some sort of victim, woe the poor reviewer, etc.

    I also don’t think Fallout 3 was that much lauded in the gaming press – it turns up on very few professional yearlists (whatever those actually mean), but on a lot more players’ lists.

    (Personally I loved Fallout 3 – I loved the atmospheric world, which always is a big thing for me)

  22. Licaon_Kter says:

    The guys at ComputerGames.ro have a Re-Play section, maybe this should be implemented by others too.

  23. Damian says:

    Fallout 3 is a great game, yes. As long as you don´t notice it is not.

    Hear, hear. Perfect.

  24. Hal says:

    Shamus, I think the value of a game is better measured in how you feel about it when you’re done playing rather than how you feel about it while you’re playing.

    Largely, this is because you’ll inevitably spend more time not playing a game than you will playing it (unless it’s WoW, then all bets are off). The majority of your experience with the game really happens after you walk away from it. How do you remember it? How much do you think about it in comparison to other games? What feelings crop up around the game?

    When I think about all of the games that I consider “classics,” the ones that I’ll go back to over and over, I can look at them and find any number of faults and flaws. Still, I go back to those games because I remember it fondly, regardless of whether I enjoyed it the first time.

  25. LintMan says:

    I’m totally unimpressed by that guy (Scott Jones). First, he admits he voted for Fallout 3 for Game Of The Year because “I wondered if I’d forsake the little credibility I have in this business by picking something other than Fallout 3”. And then he expects us to feel bad for him?

    Sorry, if you’re so worried about what other people think about your picks that you pick something you *don’t like* – yes, he explicitly said he didn’t like F3 – as “Game of the Year”, you have no business being a reviewer. That’s just pathetic.

    A reviewer being ambivalent or having mixed feelings about something is totally fine. Even changing your opinion upon further consideration is fine. But that’s not what this guy is admitting to. He’s basically saying he didn’t like it, but gave it good marks because he thought he’d lose everyone’s respect otherwise. There’s not one, but two WTF’s in that reasoning:

    1) Reviewers who grade based on what they think their audience and peers expect the grade to be are worthless as anything other than an echo chamber.

    2) What game has such a high positive peer pressure that he’s so afraid to be negative about it? Fallout 3. Huh? Fallout 3’s gotten some pretty good press, but it’s also had a fairly large helping of negative criticism all the way from development through release. It’s certainly not some PR juggernaut, as far as I’ve seen. Did this guy REALLY think he was the only one with a negative opinion? How clueless is that? And what if he was to review a *REAL* PR juggernaut like World of Warcraft? This guy’s opinion isn’t worth the pixels it’s written on.

    Let me reiterate: I don’t care if he liked Falout3 or not, or Force Unleashed or not, that’s not my point. I just think he discredits himself, his publication and reviewers in general with his admission that he picked a game he didn’t like for GotY because he was worried about his “credibility”. Sorry, bud, your credibility is gone.

  26. Derek K. says:


    NMA wasn’t bad when FO3 actually came out.

    The 3 or so years leading *up* to that momemt were filled with bile and hate that would make someone who wrote “The Torture Game 2” (lookit me, tying threads) say “Wow, guys, really, that’s inappropriate.”

    Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed going to NMA and reading threads. But they were far from happy.

    And Shamus, “They hated the game before you did, and with more fervor.” is my second favorite line ever of yours, right after “That’s totally gay.” “Just like you wanted.”

  27. Mart says:

    How about a “It is a good game, but it definitely could be better.” stance?

    I get affected by that too. If I play a game for some time, all its shortcomings are highlighted like a beacon. But if I don’t play it for some time, all its nice points and the fun creeps back into my memories, and I yearn to play it once again. For me, these are Neverwinter Nights 2, Might & Magic 6, Oblivion..

  28. Corsair says:

    I loved Fallout 3. There were only two things I disliked about it.

    1: Okay, the ending sucked. No argument here.

    2: It wasn’t very funny. The only time I remember grinning or laughing was during ‘The Nuka Cola Challenge’ and in the town with the cracked-up superheroes. The black humor wasn’t there.

    The first one is a crippling flaw. The second is personal taste. As for the people who hated it…okay, the game didn’t live up to your expectations. The plot wasn’t as good as Fallout 1 or 2s, the humor wasn’t present, everything was different, it was East Coast instead of West Coast, but seriously, we are not talking about the spiritual successor to Superman 64.

  29. MaxEd says:

    I feel at home when I’m reading NMA. Such a “glittering gem of hatred”. I couldn’t bring myself to play ONCE through my “not exactly bought” copy of Fallout 3, and I’m glad I never paid its creators any money (and I never will). The reason is simple: I MAY forgive its bad dialogues, and even tedious subway-crawling, if only there would be true turn-based combat. Sure, I’d still rate it worse than F2, but at least I’d be able to finish it. But real-time combat is THE thing that I HATE with passion.

  30. Tim Skirvin says:

    I loved it until I didn’t, but that doesn’t mean that it was a bad game.

    It could have been better, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t head and shoulders above everything else like it for a long time.

    It was no Fallout 1/2, but that didn’t take away its value.

    Its replayability is both amazing and horrible, and that’s probably what made it so fascinating.

  31. Dhruin says:

    No, this isn’t the reviewer’s lament. This is a guy who spent 10 hours with Fallout 3 and then complains he was too scared to vote against it in some silly poll. No – wait – it was the ad compaign’s fault. He was “duped”.

    You often complain about sites like IGN and GameSpot but *this* is the bad journalism.

  32. Gasoline says:

    I liked Fallout 3. It was fun to play (at least until it started to crash every hour or so) and there were some great moments. Sure, it has many flaws and could have been better – but be honest: that applies to every single game we have played.

    All these Fallout-Purists that cannot accept anything that is not like Fallout 1 or 2 as “real Fallout” are far away to be taken seriously by me. I loved Fallout 1 and 2 (FO1 ’cause it was great and new and a “graphic-version” of WASTELANDS (which was – in my memories – even better than Fallout^^), FO2 ’cause I loved FO1). But I had no problems to enjoy FO3 (I admit that I was sceptic at the beginning) – it worked for me.

    I think the whole discussion is based on too high expectations mixed with misty-eyed memories of the old games (again referring to my WASTELANDS-memories).
    FO1 was a great game – but it had flaws, too. The absolutely crappy inventory-system (remember the “money”-management?) for example.

    FO3 is not a great game, but it is a good game that is fun to play. And that is more than many other games can claim.

  33. Evangel says:

    Gasoline, and fans have debated and pointed out the flaws of FO1 and 2 to death. Fallout 3 is not like 1 and 2 except in name only. After playing it for several hours, it’s the inconsistencies in the setting that ruin it (I don’t feel like including examples here, ask if you really need them).

    The feel of the old games isn’t there. And before you say “rose tinted glasses”, I replay 1 and 2 once a year or so, they’re as great now as they were when I first played them.

    The majority of the argument is about whether it’s a “true” sequel. I have to say it’s not. It changes core gameplay and setting elements. A spinoff would take the setting and change it to what is required while using it’s own gameplay elements. A sequel would be a direct continuation and improvement of existing gameplay and setting elements.

    Fallout 3 is a spinoff. Spinoff’s are generally considered non-canon. The only difference with FO3, is that a large media company bought the rights to an already established setting and said “Fuck you” to the fans.

  34. Krellen says:

    @Gasoline, #33:
    No failed expectations here. I didn’t expect Fallout 3 to be good. It was being made by Bethesda. Bethesda makes crap.

    Well, okay, Bethesda makes mod engines and expects their players to create their own fun therein, rather than spending time making an enjoyable game to play. And I would totally support their efforts if they didn’t keep charging us for a game when they do so. If I have to make my own game, why am I paying them?

    But anyway; Fallout 3 lived up to my expectations. I expected Bethesda’s usual crap, and I got it. It was, in fact, Oblivion with guns (I actually have a friend that says it’s exactly that, which is why he likes it. At least he’s honest.)

    I’m just mad that they called it “Fallout 3” and thus tricked me into giving it a chance in the first place.

  35. Vader says:

    This is really a tough one.

    I was, as so many others, disappointed in the main narrative of Fallout 3. The game is, however, so vast and diverse in its immensity that I cannot but applaud it as a classic.

    The game offers so much to so many different types of characters, and the scope of the world is breathtaking. Yes, there are things I would have done differently. A lot of things – very differently!
    Yet I remain compelled to give the game high marks. Fallout 3 is, despite its faults, one of the best games in which to explore a fictional post-apocalyptic world. If only the consequences of one’s actions had more impact.

  36. Jeff says:

    They admitted they didn’t actually write anything, everybody guys kind of claimed a section and wrote whatever, I believe. There was that tiny (crappy) Holy Grail, and that was it.

    @The people who complain about “This game sucks because it isn't the original” especially with regards to NMA:
    Have you actually read the review? When you say something like that it seems more like jumping onto a bandwagon deriding something based on someone else telling you what it is. I liked FO3, I read the review, and it pointed out a lot of flaws that, while I hadn’t noticed, rang very true. Especially about the frickin main plot.

    Frankly, as Shamus has said, it was an awesome sandbox. However, a good RPG needs good WRITING. Morrowind, and even Oblivion had much better writing than this. The whole “dialog/story isn’t important” thing is a slap in the face to anyone who plays RPGs. Though the new “I’m an RPGer! I like to shoot things in real time!” crowd obviously doesn’t notice. (Mind you, I’m thinking of reinstalling Mass Effect to shoot things again.)

    Seriously. Dialog. Wtf. Also a not-stupid main quest would be nice (although Liberty Prime was amusing as heck).

    THAT to me is the primary reason it isn’t a great Fallout. I’m fine with the shooting, the setting (discrepancies), the flat dialog, and the stupid dialog (Using [Intelligence] on Three-Dog is… repeating what he just said. Wow.). The main problem is the lack of consequences. Nuke a town and that’s more impact on the game world then you ever had in FO1 and FO2. FO1 and FO2 had things to say about what you did… something as major as wiping out the biggest town in the Capital Wasteland? Nothing. Randomly Megaton Survivors spawn and attack you. Nobody else cares.

    Once they got us to buy it they admitted it – they didn’t bother writing. BAH.

  37. B.J. says:

    I think this is just the logical conclusion of the Reviewer’s two biggest influence: Hype and Distaste.

    When a big game comes out the reviewers have to like it if there is a ton of hype, otherwise their readers will crucify them. No critic puts Halo 3 on their top ten lists, but they all gave it top marks.

    On the other hand, if you want to be taken seriously as an Elite Game Critic amongst the other Elite Game Critics, you have to hate everything to some degree or another. The first part of taste is distaste, as they say.

    So in other words the whole review industry is borked. No one gives their real opinion about anything, they just say stuff to appeal to other people, in one way or another. This particular case is a reviewer simply hedging his bets.

  38. Zelos says:


    Could the reason you’re not enjoying Fallout 3 so much now possibly be because you’ve already played it for 60 hours? I wrapped it up in 23 hours and was starting to get a bit worn out by the end. Of course doing basically the same thing for nearly 3 days is going to get dull by the end.

  39. Relayer71 says:

    Fallout 3 suffers from the same things Bethesda’s last few games suffer from: For all the things they do right, they drop the ball an equal amount.

    To note just ONE example:

    They get the ambience/atmosphere right (even though Oblivion’s was strictly “generic fantasy” and had little variety it was still done well).

    But then the sense of immersion breaks due to some of the most amateurish dialogue ever – It’s a shame when some characters on Cartoon Network exhibit far more wit, intelligence and depth than most of the characters in Oblivion & Fallout 3.

    So these and other flaws leave us with games with potential. Games that you WANT to love or at least like but leave you undecided. You get to the point where you’re about to give up and then come across something that makes you think, “oh, this is actually pretty good” and continue playing.

    You may even begin to see the game in a positive light and then something else comes up that makes you feel as though you’re wasting your time.

    Fallout 3 like Oblivion and Morrowind (to a much lesser extent, I’m actually still fond of Morrowind in spite of it’s flaws) are like that.

    I just don’t understand why Oblivion & Fallout 3 receive so much praise. It’s as if the reviewers play for 5 or 6 hours and are initially dazzled by the shiny graphics, art design and sheer “openness” of the worlds but don’t play long enough to see the huge flaws (although the poor writing is very evident from the start!).

    Maybe Bethesda should just design sandbox worlds and then let someone like Obsidian make the actual games using those worlds. Or at the very least, hire some capable writers!

  40. Glacier says:

    Personally, I tried to get into Fallout 2 about a month before Fallout 3 came out, but I just couldn’t. The graphics were atrocious (not that every game needs good graphics, but likewise, not every house needs a ton of rooms but you’ll notice if it doesn’t have a kitchen). The turn-based combat was extremely boring, and Fallout 3’s real time was much more fun and interesting. Most of the characters in Fallout 2 didn’t even have any voice acting, so even if their dialogue was better, they lose that as well. I found Fallout 3 to be a much better game.

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