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Default Fallout 3 - Reviews @ IGN, GameSpy, GameShark

October 30th, 2008, 14:33
This is the beef I expressed about game reviews in the one I wrote for the Watch (about The Witcher) — they pretty thoroughly ignore "content" compared to graphics, sound, and visceral ("dopamine-hijacking") gameplay. IOW, a really addictive shooter with great production values will rate 9 or 10/10, but a really well-written, complex, branching RPG with so-so production values and last-generation technology will rate 7 or 8/10 at best.

That doesn't mean reviewers are corrupt; it just means they review games as if they were toasters rather than as if they were books or movies.
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October 30th, 2008, 15:37
scores they were awarded simply because they were great games.
This is the beef I expressed about game reviews in the one I wrote for the Watch (about The Witcher) — they pretty thoroughly ignore "content" compared to graphics, sound, and visceral ("dopamine-hijacking") gameplay. IOW, a really addictive shooter with great production values will rate 9 or 10/10, but a really well-written, complex, branching RPG with so-so production values and last-generation technology will rate 7 or 8/10 at best.

That doesn't mean reviewers are corrupt; it just means they review games as if they were toasters rather than as if they were books or movies.
Sigh, that explains a lot! But I find the same problem with AAA movies also, the difference is the very popular full of action great producation value graphics sounds and special effect s no story no content movies at least get bad ratings! Still they are on top of the view charts though. But the all action no story no content AAA games they get great ratings and sell great.
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October 30th, 2008, 16:51
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
Sigh, that explains a lot! But I find the same problem with AAA movies also, the difference is the very popular full of action great producation value graphics sounds and special effect s no story no content movies at least get bad ratings! Still they are on top of the view charts though. But the all action no story no content AAA games they get great ratings and sell great.
So now you're trying to imply that the games you listed are "all action" and "no content\story"? I have to wonder how much time you've actually spent with those games.
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October 30th, 2008, 16:59
I think it's rather characteristic that Bioshock got all those accolades for story and content. If it was a book, it would've been a pretty mediocre sci-fi short story, and would've been roundly criticized for being derivative, repetitive, predictable, shallow, and calculated.

But by video game standards, the writing was golden.

Same thing with The Witcher — by literary standards, the writing was good but not paradigm-shatteringly great; by video game standards, the writing is among the top ten ever, and the top three of the decade.

There's a huge amount of room for improvement in computer game writing. IMO this is a big, unexploited territory just waiting for someone to move into — making games with decent-enough production values and gameplay, but genuinely compelling writing.
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October 30th, 2008, 17:14
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
There's a huge amount of room for improvement in computer game writing. IMO this is a big, unexploited territory just waiting for someone to move into — making games with decent-enough production values and gameplay, but genuinely compelling writing.
I have been waiting for the last 8-or-so years.
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October 30th, 2008, 17:26
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
I think it's rather characteristic that Bioshock got all those accolades for story and content. If it was a book, it would've been a pretty mediocre sci-fi short story, and would've been roundly criticized for being derivative, repetitive, predictable, shallow, and calculated.

But by video game standards, the writing was golden.

Same thing with The Witcher — by literary standards, the writing was good but not paradigm-shatteringly great; by video game standards, the writing is among the top ten ever, and the top three of the decade.

There's a huge amount of room for improvement in computer game writing. IMO this is a big, unexploited territory just waiting for someone to move into — making games with decent-enough production values and gameplay, but genuinely compelling writing.
I remember back in '96 I played an adventure game, Chronomaster. The plot was written by the (at least then) well known Sci-Fi author Roger Zelazny, and that showed. It was very creative, still among the best in my eyes.

Another good thing with it was than most quests/puzzles could be solved in more than one way. Hereby recommended.

And - coincidence - the voice of the main character was Ron Perlman's.
Last edited by pibbur; October 30th, 2008 at 17:38.

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October 30th, 2008, 17:33
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
I think it's rather characteristic that Bioshock got all those accolades for story and content. If it was a book, it would've been a pretty mediocre sci-fi short story, and would've been roundly criticized for being derivative, repetitive, predictable, shallow, and calculated.

But by video game standards, the writing was golden.
Hang on, that is not really accurate. BioShock has been derided for its story - though not so much in the reviews (it's one of those flaws people overlook). The "twist" in the story has been widely praised as have the scenes with Andrew Ryan and the fruity opera guy, but what vaulted it up was not the story but the way it was told - the great environmental design, creative and consistent setting, and effective use of audio tapes. It's not so much that BioShock has a great story to tell, it's more that it's a really good storyteller.

But the endings, for example, have been shot to hell and back, taking it so far that it was seriously suggested they should "fix" the endings for the PS3 port - a sensible suggestion but not really a usual one for a port, and obviously never an option.

So golden? I wouldn't say that and I think a lot of people would agree*. This isn't Pathologic we're talking about (Pathologic, arguably together with Planescape: Torment and Vampire Bloodlines, would be the only high-standard writing games I know of)

* Not necessarily my fellow game reviewers, but they tend to all be in love with Ken Levine, give or take a few.

Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
IMO this is a big, unexploited territory just waiting for someone to move into — making games with decent-enough production values and gameplay, but genuinely compelling writing.
Cyclopean? I mean, have you seen that dude's writing? Wow.
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October 30th, 2008, 17:54
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
Cyclopean? I mean, have you seen that dude's writing? Wow.
Wait. He can write prose, wether he can write a game remains to be seen. I am hopeful, but its two pairs of shoes. What I understand as "game writing" is equal parts writing and design (as in interactive story design, world design, etc.)

What really seriously vexes me is that I have't played any of the three games you name as having top writing. Arrrgh, need more time…
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October 30th, 2008, 17:59
It would seem that a lot of "video gamers" don't play games for the writing, there's other aspects of video games that people enjoy, and there's nothing wrong with that. Torment was a success but not by much selling 400k copies and Bloodlines sold what? 72k according to Gamebanshee which ended Troika. As for Cyclopean I'm sure interested but what does that mean in the broad scope of video games?
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October 30th, 2008, 18:04
So now you're trying to imply that the games you listed are "all action" and "no content\story"? I have to wonder how much time you've actually spent with those games.
I guess we also have a different opinion about that, But I did enjoy bioshock.

I don't considering running around in africa blowing things up or running around in the jungle blowing things up, or running around in "hell gates" and blowing things up or running around in an arena and blowing things up. A "story" and blowing things up is not content. I have played through most of those games.
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October 30th, 2008, 18:22
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
Hang on, that is not really accurate. BioShock has been derided for its story - though not so much in the reviews (it's one of those flaws people overlook). The "twist" in the story has been widely praised as have the scenes with Andrew Ryan and the fruity opera guy, but what vaulted it up was not the story but the way it was told - the great environmental design, creative and consistent setting, and effective use of audio tapes. It's not so much that BioShock has a great story to tell, it's more that it's a really good storyteller.
That's a valid distinction, but I'll still stand by my claim — even the storytelling was pretty blah by literary or cinematic standards; it had its high points, but if it was a movie, the storytelling would've been more Plan 9 than Citizen Kane.

So golden? I wouldn't say that and I think a lot of people would agree*. This isn't Pathologic we're talking about (Pathologic, arguably together with Planescape: Torment and Vampire Bloodlines, would be the only high-standard writing games I know of)

* Not necessarily my fellow game reviewers, but they tend to all be in love with Ken Levine, give or take a few.
Well, I *was* specifically discussing the way your fellow game reviewers see things.

Cyclopean? I mean, have you seen that dude's writing? Wow.
Yup, I'm struggling mightily not to get too caught up in it; it'd be too big a let-down if the project fizzles out. I'll let myself be a bit more optimistic if/when AoD comes out…
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October 30th, 2008, 19:07
One of the best stories (written by fantasy master Raymond E. Feist) in a computer game: Betrayal at Krondor.

other rpgs with a good story:

Planescape Torment
Ultima 6-7
Albion
Geneforge series
Exile/Avernum series
Dark Sun series
The Witcher

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October 30th, 2008, 20:32
I found Deus Ex to be exceptionally well written.
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October 30th, 2008, 20:53
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
Well, You do have a point Dhruin. It looks like the main part of the gaming world thinks a AAA FPS with great graphics is worth a 90 score, crysis, farcry2, deadspace, bioshock, oblivion, fear, halo 1 2 3, resistance, gears of war, unreal tournament etc etc, just as it is a AAA tilte and FPS and has great graphics it deserves a 90+ score and the readers agree, did any of these games have any great gameplay innovations or other revolutionary new features?
In my, biased, opinion, I would wholeheartly agree.

To me, this is just an obvious trend.

Some FPS games don't even tell a story (insert my favourite example of both Star Wars Battlefront games here).

Personally, I doubt many FPS games *really* tell serious stories - but I'm biased, since I haven't played FPS games in ages (except the above mentioned ones).

I fear that serious storytelling is limited to only a few genres.

And I also assume that action-oriented games tend not to tell any signifant story - because this would break the action in the same way as almost only focussing on action would break immersion in an non-action-oriented, storytelling games.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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October 31st, 2008, 00:08
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
I guess we also have a different opinion about that, But I did enjoy bioshock.

I don't considering running around in africa blowing things up or running around in the jungle blowing things up, or running around in "hell gates" and blowing things up or running around in an arena and blowing things up. A "story" and blowing things up is not content. I have played through most of those games.
I find it odd to hear someone claim that all you do is "blow stuff up" in those games, nothing could be further from the truth. Most of those games, with the exception of Unreal Tournament, had very good stories for a video game, as well as enough variety in the gameplay to keep them interesting. I don't speak for FarCry 2 because that's the only game you named that I haven't played.

It seems obvious to me that your problem is more with the genre than with those particular titles.
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October 31st, 2008, 10:06
Well, we might have a different opinion about a good story, it is fine if you like these stories, and if you think all of these games are worth a 90+ rating.

It just proves the point from before that Prima Junta had about the modern gamers. Yes, I also like to shoot things sometimes, I played through fear and enjoy it, yes it had some story elements about a little ghost girl, nothing deep or complex, it was fun to play it through but what I did was shooting things and blow things up, it was just like 100's of other shooters all in all, except for the graphics.

Yes, far cry 2 had a little bit oj a deja v story nothing award winning, what I did was run around and shoot things and blow things up. Just like 100's of other shooters. It did have great graphics though.

Yes crysis had a little bit of an alien story, nothing award winning, what I did was run around and shoot things and blow things up. It did have better graphics than the other games though.

Halo 1 combat envolved, yes it did have a little story of an action hero with a big armor, nothing award winning. What I did was run around and blow things up, and shoot a little. Same as 100% of other games, it did have great graphics for its time though.

Halo 2,3 they were innovative about multiplayer and brought something new to the genre, something exceptional so it could be they deserved their 90 + rating.

Bioshock also had some fresh ideas and great atmosphere, also worth a 90 + rating in my opinion.

Unreal Tournament, multiplayer run around blow things up, better graphics than before.

Resistance run around shoot blow things up, the standard aliens story, great graphics for the PS3.

Oblivion run around kill things in an medival FPS, the enemies even scale to your level to make it easy to kill them so you don't need to worry about that. There are people to give you quests, to kill things, and collect their stuff. It also has a standard story. It was innovative in its size though, for me it was just a big sand-box of boring, but I know others loved it anyway. The dark brotherhood questline was also well done.

It seems obvious to me that your problem is more with the genre than with those particular titles.
You are wrong, I love the genre, I loved NOLF, loved Half-life 2 , dark forces all of these where innovative and had varied gameplay. These are easily 90+ titles for me.

I just do not think a lot of action, slap on some alien or mutants, or mystery that might fit in a B action flick and make it have great graphics is worth a 90+ rating from all major gaming site because it is a AAA title developed by the biggest publishers.
Last edited by GothicGothicness; October 31st, 2008 at 10:14.
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October 31st, 2008, 11:04
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
Well, we might have a different opinion about a good story, it is fine if you like these stories, and if you think all of these games are worth a 90+ rating.
It's not just me though, you're part of a very small minority with that opinion. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, just that most wouldn't agree.

I also don't think those games were good because of the story, I said they had good stories "for a video game". They didn't score 90+ just because of the story, they received those scores because of the overall experience.


Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
It just proves the point from before that Prima Junta had about the modern gamers.
The opinion of a single person does not prove a point.

Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
You are wrong, I love the genre, I loved NOLF, loved Half-life 2 , dark forces all of these where innovative and had varied gameplay. These are easily 90+ titles for me.
Again, I'm not trying to criticize your opinion, but I find it strange that you claim to love the genre yet dislike so many of the better titles. That's like someone claiming they love RTS games, but they don't think StarCraft, C&C, Warcraft, etc. are good games.


Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
I just do not think a lot of action, slap on some alien or mutants, or mystery that might fit in a B action flick and make it have great graphics is worth a 90+ rating from all major gaming site because it is a AAA title developed by the biggest publishers.
Kind of like Half-Life 2?
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October 31st, 2008, 12:21
Kind of like Half-Life 2?
Half-life 2 had a unique way of story telling as all the experiance was from the perspective of you as a silent player, the dog and alyx and her dad was also memorable characters. But the story was a bit of a dissapointment anyway. It did however breath new life into the genre by adding physics and the gravity gun!

That's like someone claiming they love RTS games, but they don't think StarCraft, C&C, Warcraft, etc. are good games.
I do love RTS games While I don't personaly like starCraft at all, I am the first one to admit that it deserves all the praise it got, no other game had such a variety of raises so much multiplayer possiblity so good balance as starcraft.

The C&C games, well I love the C&C games, but I think C&C 3 got too high ratings it was the same as C&C 1, and the red alert games, the only difference was better graphics.

Warcraft, nothing to say here also, warcraft one was the start of this genre in the fantasy universe and brought many new ideas with the farms and resource management. Warcraft 2, it added a lot of new ideas to the old concept. Warcraft 3 it brought a completely new aspect where you managed a smaller army with heroes, to focus more on the ability use in combat, and less on just building huge armies. So while I am not a huge warcraft fan I also easily admit it deserved the ratings.

I guess my point is it is games and should be rated with focus on gameplay and interactive story telling, rather than graphics. If it was a graphics demo sure it updated graphics should be enough for a top rating.
Last edited by GothicGothicness; October 31st, 2008 at 12:33.
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October 31st, 2008, 16:07
Originally Posted by woges View Post
It would seem that a lot of "video gamers" don't play games for the writing, there's other aspects of video games that people enjoy, and there's nothing wrong with that. Torment was a success but not by much selling 400k copies and Bloodlines sold what? 72k according to Gamebanshee which ended Troika. As for Cyclopean I'm sure interested but what does that mean in the broad scope of video games?
Exactly ten years ago 3D adventure Grim Fandango (noted for exceptional story) was released and it sold only 95k while 2d/3d action games like Diablo sold millions. The poor sales made lucasarts close down their entire adventure game development.

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October 31st, 2008, 16:31
Originally Posted by zakhal View Post
Exactly ten years ago 3D adventure Grim Fandango (noted for exceptional story) was released and it sold only 95k while 2d/3d action games like Diablo sold millions. The poor sales made lucasarts close down their entire adventure game development.
Which is really sad, as those adventure games were among the very best. "Day of the tentacle" is still my all time favourite among adventure games. Very creative.

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