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AusGamers Game of the Year Contender
Fallout 3
Fallout 3

Genre: Role Playing
Developer: Bethesda Softworks Official Site: http://fallout.bethsoft.com/
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Fallout 3

Genre: Role Playing
Developer: Bethesda Softworks
Official Site: http://fallout.bethso...
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
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Fallout 3 Review
Review By @ 11:15am 10/11/08
XBOX360
By now you know that Fallout 3 is a massive critical success. And while I agree with much of what the gaming journalism community at large has said, I'm going to begin by pointing out some of the things Bethesda has really gotten wrong through archaic design and an inability to advance their own gameplay concepts and innovations to the same (or higher) standard as so many other dev studios.

A lot of people might find this nitpicking. Especially in the face of the enormous amount of awesome stuff on offer throughout the Fallout 3 experience, but I think offering as much awesomeness as they have does not excuse a developer of Bethesda's calibre from poor design decisions, and there are a few major ones found within Fallout 3's inner workings.

You begin life in the game as a newborn child. It's from the decidedly interesting viewpoint between your mother's legs hoisted in stirrups (after having just been born), you're asked to create your character. Most of this is standard Bethesda issue; though the overall look still reflects the 50s theme Fallout 3 carries with it.

Once you've created a look you're happy with, you're given mild amounts of freedom as a baby, toddler, child and eventually young adult, all within the safety of your home, Vault 101. The first portion of the game serves as both a ready tutorial for interacting with the game-world as your newly created character as well as feeding you tidbits of information - on a narrative level - about post-fallout Washington DC.

While all of this clearly sounds functional, it's the first place I discovered my issues with the game. To begin with the third-person camera reveals Oblivion-like animations and movements for your character. There's no weight in how you move; most of the time you feel like you're on an invisible ice rink, sliding to and fro. The first-person camera then is a far better option, and unlike Oblivion, you do get a sense of natural motion in movement, but what this does is ultimately render the character creation element useless and arbitrary. I doubt too many people are going to be using the third-person camera as a result, and given the strength of other third-person games with excellent animation/movement systems (GTA IV, Mass Effect, Gears of War, Dead Space), allowing this portion of the overall design to remain untouched since Oblivion is just plain lazy.

Moreover, interacting with other characters in the game-world is an equally old-school affair with oftentimes single replies repeated over and over again. There's no real dynamism to conversations either, which is just difficult to swallow after being given something as robust as Mass Effect's conversation wheel. You can unlock newer pieces of dialogue by asking the right questions (or having particular perks or the like), but you're not really given much in the way of an expanding branch of discussion, and for the most part, once you clear a convo with a character they never have anything new to say, despite all you might have accomplished in the game (an equal shame, especially after playing the likes of Fable 2 - a game where recognition is both dynamic and important).

The annoying thing about these two main issues is how they sit juxtaposed to an otherwise robust and dynamic game-world. Most of the things you do in Fallout 3 are everlasting in that, nothing respawns or regenerates.

You might come across random mutated animals to kill at unpredictable locations, but these - along with everything else in the game - remain dead and in place until the very end. If you killed a super mutant who was living in the back of a semi-trailer for example, his body is going to remain in that location until game over. It's refreshing to walk around and be reminded of your handy work as you go, but this presents other issues as well.

One of the earlier side-quests you can discover (and accept) sees you rescuing the folk of Big Town from super mutants. The last part of the quest is to remain in Big Town and fend off the invading super mutants. Killing them completes the quest and all is well.

However, coming back to Big Town quite a while later reveals all the dead bodies still in the same place. It's awesome that they're there, but less than dynamic the Big Town people wouldn't want to get rid of these hulking monstrosities that would surely be creating a nasty smell and less than germ-friendly living environment.

The real problem here is while Bethesda have tried really hard to craft a dynamic world with consequence, they've left out some really simple (and completely obvious) stuff that would have gone a long way to creating an even deeper sense of suspended disbelief.

As I mentioned earlier, this might sound like nitpicking, but when you look at everything they've gotten right with Fallout 3 (and there's a lot, because the whole game and experience is absolutely massive in scope, detail and execution), all of this just makes it feel somewhat short of an ultimate goal.

As RPG As They Come


Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, Luck (or S.P.E.C.I.A.L.) is what builds your character's strengths and weaknesses in Fallout 3 and is a throwback to the system Black Isle Studios created for Fallout 1 and 2, many years ago. Each time you gain a level through accrued experience points you can govern skills and perks based on your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. It's an awesome skill-tree system that is equally changed throughout the game based on many factors and even in this modern day and age stands as an innovative system that reflects much of the game's overall aesthetic. You can check and adjust elements at any time through your supplied Pip-Boy 3000, a device you're given in Vault 101 by your Dad.
There are other annoying things, too. Sneaking around an enemy stronghold is fun, because being stealth is a huge factor in the game, but when you let loose an almighty blast from your sawed off shotgun and kill an enemy (at messy and fun close-range), with other enemies not even 10 meters off in the distance ignoring not only the blast, but the blood-curdling cry of the just-now fallen enemy, it kind of detracts from the intended realism.

You can break the law in as much the same way you could Oblivion. Break into people's houses, go through their stuff and take anything you want. You'll lose karma for being this sort of person and if you get caught, you may end up fighting for your life. But even in this seemingly free-form element there are poor moments of design. For example - sleeping, even for an hour - will heal you. However, you're not allowed to sleep in an "owned bed", which is fine except even if you kill the bed's owner and are the only person in their house you can't sleep in their bed. And no matter how many times you come back to their now seemingly vacant property (with their body still there), they remain the owner of the bed and you simply aren't allowed to kip in it (which is really just stupidly frustrating).

Throughout the game there are diminutive moments like those mentioned above that rear their ugly, inconsistent heads (and ever-so clearly because of how polished the stronger portions of the game are). It's part of the problem with spending so much time on factors such as the incredibly detailed and well-presented landscape (though it's not always so post-apocalyptically picturesque with massive moments of pop-up, slow load ins and even huge hits in frame-rate) or the game's robust combat system. But ultimately these factors, while consistently annoying, don't stop the game from being an immensely enjoyable romp - I just believe a game that ignores so much that should be so obvious in the face of a clearly palpable goal should at least be recognised for its disappointing portions as much as its greatness.

And there is greatness here.

Being utterly overwhelmed is one of Fallout 3's truly outstanding achievements even though it may seem like a detriment to the full experience at first. Once you embrace it the though, the true nature of the game quite literally comes to light. You have to keep reminding yourself; ultimately you're playing as someone who has been sheltered from the world - in its current form - and its countless dangers and wonders your whole life.

The view as you emerge from Vault 101 is as enticing as it is daunting. Like Oblivion, you can literally travel to any part of the horizon you can see, and it's upon realising you have no idea what lies beyond the next dilapidated white picket fence just ahead let alone the beguiling collection of buildings way off in the distance, you really begin to understand the alluring nature of being overwhelmed in this horrifyingly ubiquitous wasteland.

There are many dangers about, not the least of which are made up of rabid dogs, mutated rats, creepy crawly half man, half centipede monsters, crab people or massive blowflies.

Beyond the mutated wildlife of the "Capital Wasteland", you'll also find Super Mutants, Wastelanders, Ghouls and more. There are slave-traders (or "Slavers"), travelling salvagers and shops, various faction soldiers and more. And much of the time it's very difficult to discern friend from foe. Everyone in the world of Fallout 3 is out to look after themselves or their vested interests, and as such you'll always need to be on your toes.

Battle is made up of real-time confrontations with traditional RPG rules (percentage-based attacks, similar to those in Mass Effect) or a partial turn-based system called V.A.T.S. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System).

VATS will likely wind up being your favourite way to play though, as it offers the most amount of protection (in that action pauses while you make your attack decisions), and can often end-up in an awesome display of (slow-motion) vulgar power. You can't always rely on VATS however, as the system is governed by AP (Action Points) which deplete with each attack decision meaning it also needs time to recover. Moreover, certain weapons use specific amounts of AP (bigger use more than smaller, for example), resulting in a smaller number of assisted shots. It can take a little bit to get used to, and you constantly need to remind yourself you're playing an RPG, not a shooter to avoid frustration every time you're sure you aimed directly at the baddy's head.

Its advantages far outweigh the depleting AP though, as you can target specific body parts, often allowing you to disarm or immobilise an enemy before killing them (or showing mercy). There are also moments when violence can be avoided just by putting your weapon away. It can be a risky move, but in certain towns and encampments doing so can be the deciding factor between your head being hunted or welcomed with a smile.

Some towns you've messed up in can be left alone for a few days and revisited later with all previous issues left as water under the bridge. It's not as dynamic as it could have been, but a neat feature, nonetheless.

Being accepted into towns like Megaton is pretty important though. You'll find yourself constantly needing to sell items, repair items (at least until you can do it properly), heal yourself of radiation and the like (doctors can do it, but for a price) and buy new, better equipment. You can fast travel to discovered locations, which is a huge plus (given the overwhelming geometry of the game).

You can also just wait time out. There's a fairly dynamic day and night system, and it can get pretty dark at night - making it difficult to spot particular dangers. So, if it's safe enough (ie there's no threat in the area), you can just choose to waste any amount of time in a 24hr period. It's a good way to be able to travel through the day, or even speed up certain quests that require you to do something at a specific time.

There's an overall quest which is to find your father who escaped from Vault 101 just before you did, and through investigation, you'll constantly unlock new quests in an effort to find him. However, you also have the freedom to completely ignore your old man and just wonder about the wastes looking for your own destiny and fortune. Doing this will reveal countless hidden areas, dungeons, Vaults and more. Visting towns and talking to people also unveils much to be done, such as taking letters to relatives in a far off town, collecting information on the wastes and its inhabitants, exploring new areas, finding out persuasive bits of information, gathering up important people and handing them over to slaves, killing off various threats and lots, lots more.

You can also interact with a lot of stuff in the game that isn't mutated or human. As you gain in level in traditional RPG fashion (and distribute earned points to various skills and perks), you'll equally gain in the ability to work machinery, computers and more. Most computers you come across feature either information about the game-world or specific quests, otherwise they're used to gain access to locked safes or cool robots that more often than not go a bit haywire and help you out by killing hostiles.

There are also machines that can be switched in to just liven up the game's real-world interactivity, and if you pay particular attention, you'll find all sorts of hidden narrative goodies that flesh out the Fallout universe as a result.

Like most RPGs you'll gain in strength and equally come across better, stronger weapons to use. Everything in the game has a lifespan and like Oblivion you are bound by how much weight you can carry. It can be frustrating finding loot only to already be close to being over-encumbered. You can drink booze or take certain meds that give you more strength (and therefore raise the amount of weight you can carry), or if you're super patient, you can always remain over-encumbered and just crawl to the closest trader (to trade and barter to gain precious bottle-caps, the currency of the Fallout universe), but on the whole, finding and trading goods, is one of the most addictive elements of Fallout 3, and one of the reasons you'll find yourself wondering off with no real particular goal.

Speaking of addiction, one of the other cool factors of the game is despite being able to take meds to gain in strength or intelligence, you can also become addicted to them, and going through withdrawals is a real pain (especially at really inappropriate moments like right in the middle of a fight with Zombie Ghouls while low on health and ammo - and believe me, it will happen). You'll even come across other characters in the game suffering the same addictions as you, and there are various quests that go toward shaping the sort of character you become (governed by gaining or losing Karma) directly through the game's available drugs that you can partake in. It's just another example of the sense of freedom and attempted realism Bethesda have invested in their title for you to lose yourself in.

In fact, all issues aside, you're going to lose yourself in all that Fallout 3 has to offer, simply because it just has so much.

25 hours into the game I'd barely moved beyond the area around Megaton because I was just having so much fun conquering as many of the side-quests I could find, and on top of this is just walking around and stumbling upon something you might never have even found if you hadn't been looking. Which brings the overall point of the game back to being overwhelmed - you could speak to every NPC out in the Capital Wasteland and still not discover everything on offer and it's in this area, Fallout 3 is borderline genius in scope and execution.

Like Oblivion it's very likely Bethesda will release patches to fix many of the game's shortcomings, but its redeeming features are so vast and varied you're going to lose yourself, regardless. It's not the perfect game, but it does so much better than most, and despite a few early hiccups, the forethought and vision of the team at Bethesda has crafted an ever-lasting game that could potentially keep you playing this and only this the entire holidays (and let's not forget the potential for expansions down the track, just as they offered for Oblivion with Shivering Isles). If you love discovering, leveling, mutants, nuclear power, nuclear bombs, exploding heads, complete freedom, 50s nostalgia, stealing, helping, repairing, sneaking, cows with two udders, zombies, hacking computers and bottle-caps - you're going to love this.

(And then some.)
AusGamers Game of the Year Contender
WHAT WE LIKED
Absolutely massive (and overwhelming) game-world to conquer
So much to discover, both through NPCs and on your own
Great presentation
Visually stunning, especially in environments
Leveling system is among the best ever crafted in RPGs
Great combat system
Fully realised game-world with permanent deaths and some equally permanent consequences
WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE
Third-person animations, control and movement are terrible (and archaic)
Not nearly as much dynamism as an ambitious world of this nature needs
Conversation system needs more work
You can't sleep in a dead person's bed!
MORE...
WE GAVE IT:
9.5
OUT OF 10
AusGamers
Latest Comments
flagger
Posted 05:34pm 11/11/08
Fallout 3 was so much better than far cry 2
infi
Posted 05:38pm 11/11/08
I have already played it and uninstalled it lol. But I shall read and criticise punctuation anyways. :)

i note that zero punctuation stated he was considering taping the fallout 3 disc into his console never to play anything else.
Azaria
Posted 05:49pm 11/11/08
First game I have played through to completion (if you can really say that about it) for a long time. The review seems pretty negative for the big end score it gives and mostly seems pretty pedantic. Floating animation, pop-up and bodies left in Bigtown? I never even gave that stuff a thought till reading the review.

One of the first games I played was Wasteland on the old Apple 2e, and while this is really nothing like it apart from a few token throwbacks, it's a great game in its own right :)
Tollaz0r!
Posted 06:07pm 11/11/08
Excellent review. I do like who avoided comparing it to Fallout 1/2, because there is no comparison ;)

I'm glad you ragged on about the unforgivable short comings such as the animations. Surly they could have done better. The 3rd person animations are terrible. I popped it into 3rd person when I first played it took a few steps and quickly changed to first, I didn't want to cry.


I also think that a major con to the game is the lack of a development kit, Oblivion came with one on release. There is a pretty strong modding community that want to fix some of the stuff you mentioned up. The conversations/dialogs, altering the dynamics a bit to fix up those silly mistakes such as rotting bodies in the middle of towns and whatnot.

There is a rumour that Bethesda haven't released the SDK for it because they plan to release downloadable content for $'s. Any mod that users create could potentially outshine the DC taking away from sales. The idea is that they milk for DC then release SDK when sales are dwindling. It would be OK if they simply said that.

EDIT: TweakGuides.Com has an extensive Fallout 3 tweak guide to alter the performance and looks among other things of Fallout 3.

last edited by Tollaz0r! at 18:07:06 11/Nov/08
infi
Posted 06:14pm 11/11/08
yes that review spends a lot of time on the 0.5 deducted. with two paragraphs at the end saying how the design is "borderline genius". :S
Steve Farrelly
Posted 06:31pm 11/11/08
added some missing parahraphs because I was working off two different word docs (like an idiot), and didn't paste the whole review - it's all up in its full glory now.

Also infi, that quote should be posted here in full because I'm talking about their scope, not the entire game. And as far as the amount of stuff they've put in here and the depth of it all, it's borderline genius

last edited by Steve Farrelly at 18:31:10 11/Nov/08
infi
Posted 06:33pm 11/11/08
ok then:

Which brings the overall point of the game back to being overwhelmed - you could speak to every NPC out in the Capital Wasteland and still not discover everything on offer and it's in this area, Fallout 3 is borderline genius in scope and execution.
ctd
Posted 06:33pm 11/11/08
I am not usually a fan of RPG's or MMO's because they are homosexual but oblivion seemed to hold my attention for a good period so I got this expecting something very similar and thats what I got. Struggling to get into it though, probably due being overwhelmed with new releases.

/Off topic.
Every decent game gets a 9 or a 9.5 and the scoring seems to vary from game to game.

Example: GTA4 gets a 9.3 and Far Cry 2 (terrible) gets a 9? While GTA4 wasn't perfect it was worth more than a 0.3 difference.

nF
Posted 06:52pm 11/11/08
fo3 is a seriously great game, but i think you've dug yourself a hole with your reviews of far cry 2 and deadspace.

as if fo3 isn't infinitely better than both of them. you should bump fallout3 to a 9.8. then drop the decimal point from *all* your review scores and subtract 90. that'll recalibrate your scores to be a better indication of where they should fit.

fo3 is game of the year. deadspace is doom 3 with a better lighting. and lol, far cry 2.
Steve Farrelly
Posted 07:42pm 11/11/08
I'm still thoroughly enjoying Far Cry 2 - dead Space did so much to advance that genre of games, and tightening design so much overall that it deserves the score I gave.

I've said this before and I'll say it again - not everyone is ever going to agree on review scores. I think Fallout is amazing, but not nearly as tightly designed as Dead Space (and it's only thing in common with Doom is scary monsters in space, it's a way better game).
Tollaz0r!
Posted 08:10pm 11/11/08
I also think that the scoring system is a bit arbitrary.

It is almost as if the scoring isn't linear but closer to exponential.
So a score of 9.5 is HEAPS better then 9.0 which is HEAPS better then 8.5.

Which works, because Fallout 3 is HEAPS better then Far Cry 2. ;)
nF
Posted 08:11pm 11/11/08
the only reason deadspace is tightly designed is because theres not an original idea in it. at all.

some guy in special armour but a shitty flashlight runs around killing monsters who jump out at him expectantly. the monsters as it happens are created by an evil scientist on some remote spaceship. sorry, i'm not even sure which game i'm describing anymore. advances the genre heh, the genre of flash light wielding space blokes shooting anatomically illogical space monsters, yeah sure it does.

fallout 3 on the other hand builds on what oblivion did well and fixes the shit that oblivion failed hard at. for a start the combat is awesome, which ever way you want to play. its got more than 3 voice actors. the plot doesn't suck balls, its surprisingly not all that repetitive (except for respawning monsters).

fallout 3 isn't a copy + paste 100% linear "oh my god i just shat myself" shooter. its original, its compelling despite the non-linearishness of it (unlike oblivion), the plot can't be summarised in two dot points and its also fucking awesome to look at. plus, and i refuse to believe you can disagree with this point: you can play it more than once. straight off the bat, you can either blow up a town or not.

the only possible reason i can see for playing deadspace twice is that you lost your save games before the end, and the second time around you'll be about as bored as a far cry 2 player.

deadspace < fallout 3
Bah
Posted 08:17pm 11/11/08
Does the n in nf stand for negative?

I like fallout 3, im getting a bit bogged down at the moment just spinning my wheels wandering about killing shit and not doing many quests atm though, i was trying to find galaxy radio and the cities on the way were full of dead ends and shit, i gave up and went back west where it was all open and did a different quest.
nF
Posted 08:21pm 11/11/08
yeah that bit shat me to tears as well. you're supposed to go via the subways by the way. (it sort of tells you this on the map)
infi
Posted 08:22pm 11/11/08
finding galaxy radio is the hard part. it get's fun after that. i enjoyed rivet city immensly. the level design... what can i say - amazing. and the visuals are breathtaking. did i already say that?

i hate being able to pimp your home in megaton and that virtual level in the vault shat me to tears, but the frustration is part of the enjoyment.

as for that comment about not being able to sleep in owned beds. cmon gimme a break. there are plenty of beds to sleep in, esp with fast travel.
Bah
Posted 08:27pm 11/11/08
Yeah i was trying to use the subway, but fuck its a maze and the maps shit. (i found the subway map and notice the red lines etc, but fuck still...)
I go in the subway, go east, come out and find myself 100 miles west.
flagger
Posted 09:14pm 11/11/08
stop being a nub bah, and follow the indicator on your compass and use the local map on your arm computer doobalacky
Khel
Posted 09:38pm 11/11/08
Personally, I think its pointless treating review scores as some relative scale. When I look at review scores I don't treat it like some absolute scale. I don't say well "Game X and Game Y both got the same score therefore they must be equal in every regard" or "Game A scored 5% higher than Game B therefore it must be clearly better in all regards", I treat it as an indicator of how well that game achieved what its trying to do, and the general quality of the game.

Dead Space is survival horror in space, thats all it wants to be, thats all I was expecting when I bought it, thats all the developers even say they wanted to make. Does it achieve its goals? In my opinion, hell yeah, its a fantastic survival horror game in a setting those games don't often get to explore. Its environments and atmosphere are beautifully realised, it looks great, it sounds amazing, its extremely well made and extremely solid with some really well designed, tight gameplay. So, it gets good scores, because its a good game. It isn't compared to Halo and Half-Life 2 and Mario Galaxy and GTA4 and every other game that has ever scored highly, because that would make no sense. Its judged on its own merits and rated accordingly.
Khel
Posted 09:43pm 11/11/08
the only reason deadspace is tightly designed is because theres not an original idea in it. at all.


Monsters you kill by cutting off their limbs instead of going for the typical head-shot is a pretty different mechanic, the fighting out in the vacuum of space and the zero-g is pretty original too. But so what if it isn't the pinnacle of innovation and originality? Theres plenty of room for games which just execute good, solid gameplay well. I would prefer a perfectly executed game any day to something which innovates and tries to be original purely for the sake of saying its innovative and original (I'm looking at you Peter Molyneux).
nF
Posted 09:58pm 11/11/08
oh please. we're not comparing a train simulator to fallout 3 here. its two fps/tps games. released, what, a week apart.

at the end of the day the point of a review is to say if the game is worth buying or not, not to judge it on its technical merits. not how well it meets the criteria of some arbitary genre. a review should tell the randoms who don't play games for a living, and who have to pay for games, if its worth buying and spending the time in. and the scores should reflect that in a relative way. you even said yourself that the game is nothing out of the ordinary, just well made. then why would it get the same score as a game which is out of the ordinary and is actually good to boot.

if your mate joe everygamer came along tomorrow and asked, "i just bought a brand new pc/xbox 360 whats a great game to buy at the moment with the left over cash i've got". if you said deadspace you're a terrible friend or a fucking moron.
Dan
Posted 10:17pm 11/11/08
oh please. we're not comparing a train simulator to fallout 3 here. its two fps/tps games. released, what, a week apart.
One is an RPG with a massive scope, the other is a horror shooter.

A review is still just an opinion and people have different ones, make your own call sure, but this trolling is uncalled for.
paveway
Posted 10:21pm 11/11/08
better be careful nf, the sheriff has spoken
flagger
Posted 10:28pm 11/11/08
fallout 3: 85% (good storyline, good graphics, has some replayability)

far cry 2: 60% (beneath the fancy exterior lies a very tedious and uninspiring game)
nF
Posted 10:58pm 11/11/08
A review is still just an opinion and people have different ones, make your own call sure, but this trolling is uncalled for.


its not trolling. why else have threads tagged to reviews if not for randoms to express opinions? steve's a big boy he can take some negative feedback. and its on topic even. if you are just going to nuke every negative comment then just drop just drop the comments, or maybe reviewers shouldn't join the fray?

its ironic though if a game reviewer can't take a bit of negative feedback heh.
trog
Posted 11:27pm 11/11/08
its not trolling. why else have threads tagged to reviews if not for randoms to express opinions? steve's a big boy he can take some negative feedback. and its on topic even. if you are just going to nuke every negative comment then just drop just drop the comments, or maybe reviewers shouldn't join the fray?
While I agree with /some/ of your comments, it gets a bit boring when you keep dropping into threads to express your opinion that Far Cry 2 is shit; if you have opinions on our scoring system in general I'd recommend starting a whole new thread to talk about it - i'd rather read comments in a thread like this about whether or not Fallout 3 is good, not whether or not it's good compared to Far Cry 2 or Dead Space or whatever.

I tend to agree with Khel's comments about scoring being a per-game thing rather than a comparison thing, but I agree with you that a score is basically an indicator though of whether or not you should buy the game. Otherwise, why would you even read the review? (... heh, like most gamers have exhibited anything resembling discriminating tastes anyway)

I've been thinking for ages actually that maybe we should ditch scores entirely and replace it with a "buy this game/don't buy this game" thing. If anyone is interested in discussing the mechanics of scoring in any detail, then let's start another thread for it in the forums and talk about it some more!
nF
Posted 11:40pm 11/11/08
i mentioned it because they are both "game of the year" and both have 9.5/10.

far cry 2 got a mention only because i was talking about scaling scores. that and I didn't mention it first, but a lot of people had the same opinion as me of that game. to be fair. i could also mention spore. which i don't think you guys even reviewed.
Khel
Posted 11:49pm 11/11/08
I would recommend Dead Space in an instant to anyone who owns a console. Everyone at work who bought it loves it, in fact pretty much everyone I know who bought it loves it. Sure theres going to be people who don't like it, but when so many people think its great, maybe it deserves the high scores.

And yeah, I like the idea of a simpler system which is just some generic indicator of "Its great, buy it", "Its average, you might like it, maybe rent it first", and "Its crap, avoid it", because thats all the score really boils down to. A game getting 9.5 doesn't mean its the best thing ever and it will single-handedly fulfill your survivor horror needs and you should not look at any other games, it just means hey, this is a really good game, you should check it out. Just like when Resident Evil 5 comes out, if it gets 9.5 I won't be thinking back and comparing it to Dead Space I'll just be thinking "Wow, 9.5, it must be a pretty good game, its worth checking out".

And yeah, all that stuff I just said probably doesn't belong in this thread, sorry :(
Dan
Posted 11:50pm 11/11/08
We didn't review Spore because it unfortunately landed while we were in the middle of prepping for TGS. It's a bummer because I did play it and found it to be incredibly dull so would have been a good one to rip on.

The buy this game/don't buy this game thing won't really work for us IMO because we don't have the resources for 100% review coverage and therefor we generally try to review the games that actually have a chance of being worthwhile, so they're pretty much all going to be "buy" it's just a matter of how much priority people should have on that.

Anyway, as trog said, this is a really a discussion for another thread. I haven't even had time to play Fallout 3. Damn baiting :/
Midda
Posted 11:59pm 11/11/08
the only reason deadspace is tightly designed is because theres not an original idea in it. at all.

What's your point? Fuck all games out now do anything original, and even fewer can say that they've done a good job of it. I totally agree with Khel, who the hell cares if it's not dripping with originality? You said yourself that it's tightly designed, isn't that enough? Even pretty much everything Fallout 3 does has more or less been done before, but it did them well. You prefer Fallout 3 to Dead Space? That's fine, but saying that Dead Space sucks because it's not original is basically saying that almost every game that's come out in the past few years has been shit for the same reason.
groganus
Posted 12:00am 12/11/08
i enjoyed fallout3, i think it was well worth the purchase as i know ill probably play it again... even more so if a decent mod community starts up for it.
as far s the review goes.. seemed pretty accurate.. i never look at scores personally.. pros and cons.. sure.. scores.. nah.. the review itself will tell me enough about it.. and player feedback (which is a plenty given the state of any gaming related forum these days) will confirm or dismiss my thoughts.
Tollaz0r!
Posted 12:02am 12/11/08
I agree,

Ditch the score completely and just have a fairly detailed Pros/Cons section.

Reduaram
Posted 12:15am 12/11/08
I agree with Mr tollz. a really detailed pros/cons would be fantastic. Also a "if you enjoyed game X (eg resident evil) you will enjoy this game (eg dead space) part.
Steve Farrelly
Posted 12:19am 12/11/08
I'm not gonna get into a big thing - but i review pretty much everything with the same intention: to look at the developer's intention for the game, how it sits within its genre/setting and how well it stands up on a technical/innovative level.

If you reviewed every game against each other with a sliding scale you'd get nowehere because gaming and various concepts in gaming are so vast and different, something, somewhere would be misrepresented.

I reviewed dead space against the survival horror genre and third-person action games, not against RPGs or RTSs or FPSs. It's clear I did that because I reference Resi 4 a bit as DS borrowed a lot from that game. But it also enhanced the experience originally crafted with Resi 4 and broached a bunch of gameplay shortcomings so many other games and developers have looked over.

I reviewed Fallout 3 against other RPGs and sandbox titles. I didn't compare it to other fps games because despite its fps viewpoint, it doesn't follow most fps rules.

with that in mind I still think the scores are appropriate, and if you looked closely you'd see both games aren't "Game of the Year" they're "contenders" for the award.

Scores are misleading to many different people - that's invariably going to happen in an industry with so much to offer such a broad consumer-base. But they're a good indicator for what's good and what's not really worth bothering with. But scores are not entirely reflective of an overall viewpoint, which is why it's important to read the accompanying text...

Anyway - agree with Trog: active and constructive discussion of review systems overall in a dedicated thread would be a good idea.
Azaria
Posted 12:43am 12/11/08
I can't understand at all why you would want score according to a relative scale only within its genre. That is like the movie show scoring horror movies against other horror movies only etc.

I only have a finite amount of money to spend on games, movies, books etc. Reviews are meant to help sort the wheat through the chaff. I don't say to myself, I really feel like buying a survival horror game I wonder which one scored the highest amongst themselves, I want to know which game out of the current crop that is being released is better.

I don't do this through a score, and to be honest I rarely take notice of it, but if you are going to buck the trend and only score against other games within the same genre you really should have something that states that in the review somewhere as I don't think it's the norm.

Anyway, I really don't mean to troll, and enjoy reading the reviews you do, but the whole 'lets score everything 7+ unless it's shit' really grates on me and I think that the score should in some shape reflect what you write about the game.
nF
Posted 12:43am 12/11/08
Also a "if you enjoyed game X (eg resident evil) you will enjoy this game (eg dead space) part.


thats the biggest cop out ever.

i review pretty much everything with the same intention: to look at the developer's intention for the game, how it sits within its genre/setting and how well it stands up on a technical/innovative level.


actually no that is.

thats buying into the whole games are art nonsense. they aren't, they are entertainment. at the end of the day it should come down to is it fun/entertaining/whatever. someone buying a game doesn't give a toss if its a technical marvel if its a dog to play. spore was in the final stage atleast innovative and pretty cool from a technical point of view. but the game sucked. fallout 3 is both really impressive and fun to play, but at the end of the day nobody would play it if all the game mechanics sucked. like say morrowind. developer intention was great, they probably met that too but the game was a real mess.
Steve Farrelly
Posted 01:11am 12/11/08
of course there's an underlying current throughout each review. Fun, enjoyment, replayability that sort of thing... but you need differentiation because there's simply too much variety.

Some games are art, and others are just summer blockbusters.
VRBones
Posted 02:16am 12/11/08
tldr
Reduaram
Posted 06:20am 12/11/08
thats the biggest cop out ever

why?
Saint
Posted 07:22am 12/11/08
I want the old NF back, the one that wasn't bitter about everything in the world :(

As for AGN reviews, just from reading comments it seems most people love the actual review content and agree with it and don't really care about the final score as much, so in that way a yes/no system would be better. But then for games it's standard throughout the world and media for there to be a rating system out of 10 or 100 or whatever.

And people who froth at the mouth and get all worked up and get nasty towards a reviewer because they don't agree with their opinion on something are douchebags. It's fine to disagree and have an opinion of your own about a game and to state it, but to attack somebody else's opinion on a game and say their opinion is wrong are silly and obviously can't handle that people are different.

I think Steve (and also Dan) do a great job with reviews and they pretty much always say and score what the majority of people think too (again, determined by reading comments for reviews). Occasionally there might be a review that more people don't agree with, but that's the nature of reviews and reviewers and personal opinions.
typo
Posted 07:56am 12/11/08
When you say "I know this seems like nitpicking" it reads "I know I'm nit picking, but".

What I didn't like about your review is that ... it's shit. All of the games you compare it against have a fuck load of problems that if any one of us harped on about for two thousand words would look like a dick head.

Secondly, considering that Fallout 3 is such a good, fun game overall, bagging the shit out of the game for the first half before starting on anything good isn't a positive way of reviewing the game.

Anybody who fails to read past the first 17 chapters of your novel sized article won't come out with any positive feel about the game. Even then it still feels a lot like "don't bother buying it, get it from the internetz".
icewyrm
Posted 08:00am 12/11/08
Can't say I liked the ending much, and the equipment repairing and whatnot got a bit repetitive. Then again, i spent most of the game bashing stuff with my fists or a sledgehammer so I probably had to fix up my armor more than the usual gun toter.

Asides from that and a few little bugs, I found it to be an exceptionally good single player game.

Spoiler:
Also, cannibalism made me laugh the first time I watched the animation, very zombie like.


last edited by icewyrm at 08:00:37 12/Nov/08
infi
Posted 08:15am 12/11/08
I tend to agree with Khel's comments about scoring being a per-game thing rather than a comparison thing, but I agree with you that a score is basically an indicator though of whether or not you should buy the game.


That is total and utter crap (with all due respect). If you can't develop a consistent scoring system then you shouldn't be in the business of scoring.
Yerolo
Posted 08:15am 12/11/08
i note that zero punctuation stated he was considering taping the fallout 3 disc into his console never to play anything else.


You're not confused with his Stalker:Clear Sky review are you? As he hasn't reviewed Fallout 3 yet
infi
Posted 08:25am 12/11/08
actually it was escapist's review.

Russ Pitts is now wondering if he'll ever play another game, or if he should insert Fallout 3 into his Xbox and tape the door closed.


Now THIS is a review. It is effusive in its praise but also highlights the weaknesses. Instead of being effusive in criticism and then throwing in some of the good things as well.

I also think a score is unnecessary. This is not IMDB, we want to know whether to buy the game.

last edited by infi at 08:25:36 12/Nov/08
nF
Posted 09:56am 12/11/08
Some games are art, and others are just summer blockbusters.


some games MIGHT be art, but you shouldn't review them based on that.

forgive the weak analogy but it'd be like reviewing a rollercoaster. it doesn't matter if the ride is the tallest in the world, or the fastest if its as boring as dogs balls. if its not fun its not worth bothering with.

games aren't movies, they aren't books, and they aren't hanging on walls (lcd tvs excluded). they are entertainment, or else we wouldn't play them. maybe its different when you make your living playing games, but for everyone else reading game reviews they buy games to be entertained not to wallow in the magnificence of some game devs techno extravaganza.

also as others have said you spent more time on this games negatives than any positives, as if you really didn't like the game at all, yet still gave it a 9.5. which is it?
Dan
Posted 10:22am 12/11/08
Games aren't movies, they aren't books, and they aren't hanging on walls (lcd tvs excluded). they are entertainment, or else we wouldn't play them.
Nobody ever refuted that. You need to accept that different people can find different things entertaining.

So you didn't find Far Cry 2 or Dead Space "entertaining". Just because you didn't, that means nobody else possibly can?

A review is just an opinion and while this one is obviously different from yours that fact alone doesn't make it any less valid.
Strange Rash
Posted 10:28am 12/11/08
screw someone telling me if i should buy a game or not
i can make up my own mind

i want to know what was good and bad about it, and generally what the reviewers experience was like

a single number out of 10 is meaningless and i generally ignore it
SmOOvDoGG
Posted 01:12pm 12/11/08
... Well back on the Fallout 3 topic

This game is evil only because its taken so much of my time & sleep, made my wife cranky, and sometimes food.

I did have some problems with constant crashing on my pc but after much searching on the net and trying different fixes I have managed to make it work and im loving this game, I owed the first 2 and loved them and really love 3.
Spook
Posted 01:22pm 12/11/08
wow, farcry 2 has really broken nf
trog
Posted 01:28pm 12/11/08
screw someone telling me if i should buy a game or not
i can make up my own mind
Time and time again gamers have proven they can't be trusted with the decision of what game to buy; why should you be any different!
reload!
Posted 01:31pm 12/11/08
it's like he was raped and will never trust video games again
nF
Posted 01:38pm 12/11/08
Nobody ever refuted that. You need to accept that different people can find different things entertaining.


uh

Some games are art, and others are just summer blockbusters.


regardless, you need to stop taking what i'm saying as a personal attack. the far cry 2 thing was that a very flawed game got 90%, a lot of people agreed with me. thats not the same thing as what i'm talking about here. steve said games should be rated in isolation from both other recent games and other genres of games. which i don't agree with at all from the point of view of a gamer reading reviews to see what game to buy.

its as though steve is marking assignments. his reviews (or atleast he says) come from a technical or artistic point of view rather than from the view of a gamer. i'm just saying i think he has missed the point a bit.

thats just an opinion obviously.


Kimbo
Posted 01:42pm 12/11/08
Only critic thing I'd have with Fallout 3 is that a fair few of the enemies run at you like they're on steroids. It was the same in Oblivion and Morrowind.

I thought they would of abolished the whole "enemy is speed 100 so it can find the player" thing.
icewyrm
Posted 01:56pm 12/11/08
Only critic thing I'd have with Fallout 3 is that a fair few of the enemies run at you like they're on steroids.


Yeah, though I didn't find that annoying so much as when they decided to run backwards faster than I could run forwards. Hard to punch them when they do that :/
Dan
Posted 02:23pm 12/11/08
uh

Some games are art, and others are just summer blockbusters.
How does that, in any way, imply that one is not entertaining?

People can find entertainment in many things. Just because someone considers a game to be art, whatever that may or may not mean (not gonna touch that argument here) it doesn't necessarily exclude it from being entertaining. Particularly since video games are such a multi-faceted media.

the far cry 2 thing was that a very flawed game got 90%, a lot of people agreed with me.
Yeah, and plenty of other publications gave Far Cry 2 90% or higher. http://www.gamerankings.com/htmlpages4/942192.asp

What's your point? That different people can have different opinions? Oh wait.

last edited by Dan at 14:27:37 12/Nov/08
Steve Farrelly
Posted 03:01pm 12/11/08
Look. As a broken up argument spread throughout an open forum, my review method has been misconstrued into all the wrong pieces.

Each and every game I review has an underlying review method (so there are relative things that could tie the latest Resident Evil game to the latest Pokemon game, because games are a stand-alone form of entertainment with a specific goal to reach as an interactive medium). It is something ALL games are considered with. The above line stuff then relates to genre etc as I said in another post. The bottom line is, I don't mark games as individual assignments. It's not like I specifically look at stuff in one game that ONLY relates to another game of the same nature - I would not be a games reviewer if that's how things were done.

There are elements that go into reviewing each and every game that are the same, and elements that are specific BECAUSE not every game is the same.

Some games are art, just like some movies are art. Some games are summer blockbusters you leave your brains at the door for, just like some movies do. Most movies aim to entertain, regardless of their ardent outreach or attempt at breaking box office dollars. The same can be said of games. Ultimately, it's all about making an accessible product for a fickle consumer-base that is massively wide-spread in taste and wants.
nF
Posted 03:50pm 12/11/08
Yeah, and plenty of other publications gave Far Cry 2 90% or higher. http://www.gamerankings.com/htmlpages4/942192.asp


if you want to put yourselves in the same category as pc powerplay go right ahead. i notice that spore also got reviews in the 90s as well (and similar average), yet both games from what i've seen on this forum at least weren't exactly popular with players. half the time in far cry 2 it felt like drivnig to work on kessels rd. except everytime you'd hit a traffic light people would open fire. so probably more like logan rd. it was a chore. and spore was shite.

you're comparing yourself to publications which as has been discussed in previous threads are over a barrel keeping publishers happy trying to get exclusives and advertising and all that. naturally the games with the bigger budgets will get better reviews, because they've got more dollars to throw around. as if the gamer buying the game matters.

if you're not subject to that then don't compare to that. and don't review like that.
Nathan
Posted 03:53pm 12/11/08
OK everyone shut up and talk about Fallout 3 please


I think the nitpicks in the review probably got too many words. The only one mentioned that I even care about is the 'cant sleep in owned bed even if they're dead'' thing, its an annoying limitation when free beds are in short supply at the start of the game.

On the game itself, I found it really difficult to get into at first - as someone mentioned earlier, getting to GNR radio is difficult if you dont 'get' the game. Eventually I did 'get' it and reached GNR and everything gameplay wise made sense, but for that first hour or so I just had no clue what I was doing or where I was going.

The VATS slow motion is great, blowing off a mutants head with the hunting rifle never gets old. It really is tempting to just wander off the main quest line and see what you can find. GOTY for me I think.
Steve Farrelly
Posted 04:02pm 12/11/08
I couldn't keep on the path to the main story. Once I was free from the Vault I just wondered around for hours and hours. I think I've cleared out a host of strongholds that likely have quest bearing later in the game... though I'm not sure because it's just so open-ended
Bah
Posted 04:30pm 12/11/08
On the game itself, I found it really difficult to get into at first - as someone mentioned earlier, getting to GNR radio is difficult if you dont 'get' the game. Eventually I did 'get' it and reached GNR and everything gameplay wise made sense,
Yeah that little bit was annoying, i was doing the "explore the place" thing, then decided to head towards gnr, its just that from where i was it was a complete maze, then someone told me to follow the radar, so i went back to megaton and started from there, it was a straight line with one metro tunnel section.
rec
Posted 03:49am 14/11/08
Rather entertaining comments thread.

You can't take away the review score and simply have detailed pros and cons though; that frustrates some readers like nothing else.

A lot of people don't read an entire review - people have limited time. They skip through the review, reading bits and pieces, and at the end of it want a clear representation of if overall it was actually considered a great game or not. Ie; "9.5" or "Buy this game".

Seeing a detailed pros and cons section, or a conclusion area that doesn't tell them if the game is worth buying or not, just means they have to go find another review that wont beat around the bush and give them the answer they're seeking.

Oh, and I agree on the point that reviewers shouldn't be engaging in public discussion threads about their reviews, especially if user comments are going to be getting censored in any fashion. It's great to be in touch with the community and all, but as a part of any editorial staff it's your duty to remain professional at all costs. Getting into arguments with readers about your reviews is hardly that, and removes both credibility from your own position, as well as the magazine or website you're writing for. It's best to sit back, take on board whatever can be, and aim to continually improve to suit your target audience. Spend less time defending your old reviews, and more time writing new ones.

Quite simply; there's no need for your opinion on someone elses opinion about your initial opinion (game review).... Leave that for the forum trolls.
Strange Rash
Posted 06:06am 14/11/08

Seeing a detailed pros and cons section, or a conclusion area that doesn't tell them if the game is worth buying or not, just means they have to go find another review that wont beat around the bush and give them the answer they're seeking.


But will they actually read this review that won't 'beat around the bush'?

Your readers sound like complete idiots.
rec
Posted 07:32am 14/11/08
No, they won't. That was exactly my point... they'll selectively read bits and pieces, and then look for the "buy" or "don't buy" suggestion. Most readers have almost already made up their mind about buying a game before reading a review anyway.

If however the review result contradicts the decision they had almost already made, they might be inclined to read the review in depth - but if they're thinking they'll buy it, and then the review says it's good, they'll usually buy it and spend their time playing the game as opposed to reading full reviews on it.
d^
Posted 02:12am 22/11/08
Free time fighting in this game just sucks, why can't there be a VATS option for the whole thing...
infi
Posted 02:22am 22/11/08
no iron sights is balls i do agree.
Bah
Posted 02:26am 22/11/08
Yeah i hate being able to see the wastelands, i think iron sights covering up 75% of my screen would rectify this nicely.
infi
Posted 02:27am 22/11/08
for fighting u dipshit
Bah
Posted 02:32am 22/11/08
Oh sorry, i hate being able to see the mutants i am shooting, i think iron sights covering 75% of the screen would rectify this nicely.
infi
Posted 02:34am 22/11/08
well killing beheamoth's more efficiently woould make the experience more fun imo. if u like being ass raped, then have fun
Bah
Posted 02:36am 22/11/08
Oh you must have got the prison bitch perk, i didnt get that one so i miss out on the arse rapings.
infi
Posted 02:38am 22/11/08
Oh you will get ass-raped. Go north to the next vault and enjoy the two beheamoths. Bitch.

(Unless you have a littleboy nuke.)
Bah
Posted 02:40am 22/11/08
Yeah i got the fatboy and im level 20, havent been to the second vault yet, when i get there i'll tell em infi sent me.
infi
Posted 02:42am 22/11/08
Oh yeah enjoy it, and apply lube liberally.

edit: Oh and enjoy the scenery :P
Bah
Posted 02:43am 22/11/08
Ill just pump myself up with jet and psycho so i dont remember anything.
infi
Posted 02:44am 22/11/08
I become a whore sucking cock for jet and psycho. I felt dirty but then once I injected it was all good.
Ross
Posted 03:06am 22/11/08
This game sux, I like the genre. Liked the other fallouts but its just slightly more interesting than oblivion was. After going to every single location before doing the main quest and then finishing it off.

The way the side missions work pisses me off. You can go clear a place only later to get a mission where you need to go back and fetch something that was not selectable when you first went through it. This serves no purpose as there is no bad guys when you go back so its just a pain in the ass running through an entire empty level again.

There is soo many glitches and bugs and absolutely retarded animations it makes me wonder how they can spend so much time and effort on something only to fall 2% short. So many times you will be fighting something only to see it float off or start climbing an invisible staircase. I also got stuck with my mutant buddy in places and had to reload where he was blocking a char from getting to a rally point it needed to be on for dialogue to continue.

The level cap is bollocks, the guns are bollocks, the enemies are bollocks the world itself makes no fucking sense whatsoever. The engine looks ok until you get to the oasis and you are confronted with the poorest excuse for a forest I have ever seen. The dialogue is bollocks, the character reactions and comments are stupid and incongruent. There isn't enough side missions, there is a lot of pointless locations. Nothing makes sense at all really.

6/10 because I like the style of play and the effort to make a shitty game.

Oh hacking and lockpicking is also bollocks and the story as well is bollocks

last edited by Ross at 03:04:16 22/Nov/08

And the fucking multiple endings is fucking lazy

last edited by Ross at 03:06:07 22/Nov/08
infi
Posted 03:05am 22/11/08
dude you are high on jet and psycho, so i understand.
Tollaz0r!
Posted 09:05am 22/11/08
See I agree with Ross, the game doesn't deserve anything higher then 7/10. There are just too many screw ups and the length of time it has taken to release a patch is rude.
infi
Posted 03:18pm 22/11/08
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