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Default Fallout 3 - Review @ NMA

November 19th, 2008, 14:12
Several sources wrote in to point out NMA's Fallout 3 review written by the famous (infamous?) Vince D. Weller. Vince isn't impressed with the cohesion of the setting but finds the quests quite well designed:
The East Coast “wasteland” is anything but dead and empty – one of many inevitable changes brought by switching the format from a “classic”, isometric RPG focused on exploring through dialogue to a first person, sandbox RPG heavy on the action side. Running into enemies at every step is a traditional sandbox feature. Sticking with Fallout's "dead wasteland" atmosphere would have made traveling in first person unbearably boring. As a result, the "wasteland" seems overcrowded: hungry monsters, trigger-happy raiders, super mutants, and stray, hostile robots of all shapes and sizes are everywhere. Evil-doer hunting Regulators and do-gooder killing Talon mercenaries complete the picture.

The setting’s casual approach to nuclear explosion is especially jarring. You get out of the vault, look at this brave, new world, and someone promptly asks you to detonate a nuclear bomb inside one of the towns. Why? Because it's cool, apparently. Later on you will unavoidably run into a super duper mutant who can only be taken down by a several direct nuclear blasts that, oddly enough, have only a few meters radius and are harmless to people outside this radius. Shooting old rusty cars results in even more nuclear explosions, which makes you wonder if there really was a big War or if a simple car accident caused a chain reaction of exploding nuclear cars across the States.
In other news, Shamus Young's Twenty Sided blog revisits some cynical questions asked a while back and finds Fallout 3 doesn't measure up so badly and Gamasutra has a piece called Escape from Vault 101 that finds the changes made by Bethsoft work well in the end.
More information.
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November 19th, 2008, 14:12
I found the review rife with spoilers about places, people and and events in the game, which is unfortunate.
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November 19th, 2008, 14:30
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
I found the review rife with spoilers about places, people and and events in the game, which is unfortunate.
I skipped over large parts because of that, but it still seems a rather thorough and rather balanced review - written from the NMA perspective of course, but that is fine. In some ways this and the Codex review did more towards convincing me to buy it than all the 10/10 reviews.
The only thing I found baffling is the claim that it's "not even a Fallout inspired game" - I understand "not a Fallout game" - which is true from the viewpoint of VD and "NMA average opinion" but this seems rather weird. It would require even much less than we see in FO3 to call something "Fallout Inspired", IMHO. With all the things the review lists as positives, it certainly seems Fallout inspired to me…
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Thumbs down Fallout 3 criticism

November 19th, 2008, 14:52
Some reasons why game isn't 10/10:

- Bobbleheads (ridiculous console shit)
- Simplified character development (less skills and dull S.P.E.C.I.A.L.)
- Character doesn't really develop that much, or skills doesn't matter
- Too easy (ammo is everywhere and mobs have no AI whatsoever) and too fast char development (Max out to 100% a single skill in less than 5 hours of gameplay)
- Too much FPS and too little RPG
- *VATS is dull
- The world doesn't feel a REAL world
- No real companions, no cars

*) VATS: At first VATS is much of fun, but it gets repetive very quickly, because the head is a only good target and it's far too easy to hit. I miss groin and eyes. And you cannot target body parts when in melee (or unarmed) combat.

Anything else is ++!

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November 19th, 2008, 14:52
It can't be fallout inspired to them.
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November 19th, 2008, 15:33
Well, after reading this review I really feel like never getting Fallout 3, I was a little bit positive before.
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November 19th, 2008, 15:38
Originally Posted by Ergolius View Post
Some reasons why game isn't 10/10:

- Bobbleheads (ridiculous console shit)
- Simplified character development (less skills and dull S.P.E.C.I.A.L.)
- Character doesn't really develop that much, or skills doesn't matter
- Too easy (ammo is everywhere and mobs have no AI whatsoever) and too fast char development (Max out to 100% a single skill in less than 5 hours of gameplay)
- Too much FPS and too little RPG
- *VATS is dull
- The world doesn't feel a REAL world
- No real companions, no cars

*) VATS: At first VATS is much of fun, but it gets repetive very quickly, because the head is a only good target and it's far too easy to hit. I miss groin and eyes. And you cannot target body parts when in melee (or unarmed) combat.

Anything else is ++!
Excellent breakdown. And I could add several other things I didn't like. Despite all this, Fallout 3 is still an excellent game. It's definitely worth buying and easy to recommend.
Still, there are so many things in Fallout 3 that could have been done better. Problem is, because it's probably going to sell very well and because most reviews are being ecstatic about it, this will give Bethesda little reason to want to improve/change anything.
And any valid criticism long time Fallout fans can give will simply be ignored "because it sold well and got great reviews".

That's just sad.
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November 19th, 2008, 16:02
Originally Posted by Ergolius View Post
Some reasons why game isn't 10/10:
- Bobbleheads (ridiculous console shit)
Agree (kinda) — I like the idea of having hidden bonuses to stumble upon, but magic bobbleheads are just stupid. Just like the magic clothing VD mentions, for that matter.

- Simplified character development (less skills and dull S.P.E.C.I.A.L.)
Disagree about the number of skills (there are still plenty, and they're still more than diverse enough), but agree about the simplification. I was especially ticked by the nerfing of "tag" — now it only means an extra 15% to a skill, instead of the much more important doubling of progress rate. Progression seems generally way too fast.

- Character doesn't really develop that much, or skills doesn't matter
Agree.

- Too easy (ammo is everywhere and mobs have no AI whatsoever) and too fast char development (Max out to 100% a single skill in less than 5 hours of gameplay)
Agree.

- Too much FPS and too little RPG
Disagree. This balance seems fine to me; rather Deus Ex'y, in a good way.

- *VATS is dull
Agree.

- The world doesn't feel a REAL world
Agree: this would, in fact, be my main beef with the game. It's fairly easy to block out the dissonance when you're actually playing, but that doesn't mean it's not a problem. The world just feels like a big bunch of set pieces put together for your personal amusement rather than a living, complex world with its own, brutal logic, laws, and necessities that we saw in FO1 and, to a slightly lesser extent, in FO2. There are way too many things that are just plain stupid.

- No real companions, no cars
Disagree. Meaning, sure, the game doesn't have them, but then it doesn't do your accounts or read your email either. IMO these are not core gameplay elements in either Bethsoft-style sandbox explorers or the FO franchise (Sulik was cool and trying to keep Dogmeat alive was a harrowing challenge, but overall the companions were more of a distraction than a central feature in them, and the game world is too small for cars anyway. OTOH the fact that the Capital Wasteland is so small and crowded is a legitimate criticism; they could well have spread the same material over a map with five times the dimensions and twenty-five times the area, in which case you *would* have needed a car to get around.)

Anything else is ++!
Not quite. I won't list my beefs here, since VD listed most of them… except for my pet peeve, writing. It really is unnecessarily bad — I mean, how hard can it be to find some monkeys who can type?
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November 19th, 2008, 17:14
yeah i agree pretty much with the nma review, its not a true fallout game.
that aside, its still a pretty fun game.
im not really a graphics whore, but the thing i miss most is actually world shadows. would really have added a lot to the immersion factor.
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November 19th, 2008, 17:56
Its a fun game, but it sure isn't very Fallouty.

Occasionally when I am wandering the more desolute outskirts of DC pursuing some side quest, listening to the Pipboy radio, I feel the Fallout vibe. Ironically the main quest with all its lip service to Fallout arcana does not feel at all like Fallout to me.

I do like VATS, however. Due to their strong dependence on player skill FPS/RPGS usually have you roleplaying youself . At least VATS allows me to roleplay someone who is good at FPS games.
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November 19th, 2008, 18:20
I fight the good fight with my voice!
[intelligence] Ah, so you fight the good fight with your voice, eh?
I can see that you are very smart.


Wow. Someone actually got paid for that.
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November 19th, 2008, 18:36
In before rune_74 whines like a bitch. Oh wait…

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November 19th, 2008, 20:17
And there you have Guest (too ashamed to enter your title? Or just too much effort for you?) demonstrating the intelligence of the new breed of poster currently infesting the Codex.

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November 19th, 2008, 21:23
Bethesda should get GSC to do the next Fallout (at least the programming and world design, they'd have to get outside help for the writing). And if they start now, maybe they'll be finished a couple of years after the next TES-game is out.

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November 19th, 2008, 22:37
Originally Posted by Dyne View Post
I fight the good fight with my voice!
[intelligence] Ah, so you fight the good fight with your voice, eh?
I can see that you are very smart.


Wow. Someone actually got paid for that.
I think that was Vince paraphrasing the real content to show its innate inanity. Take a look at the screenshot of the dialog and you'll see they don't quite match.

Interdum feror cupidine partium magnarum Europae vincendarum
Sometimes I get this urge to conquer large parts of Europe
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November 19th, 2008, 23:32
Originally Posted by KazikluBey View Post
I think that was Vince paraphrasing the real content to show its innate inanity. Take a look at the screenshot of the dialog and you'll see they don't quite match.
Actually I cant quite say that original is better:

http://www.nma-fallout.com/images/fa…ntures/106.png
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November 20th, 2008, 00:40
Yeah, I noted the screenshot and was as unimpressed with the reality
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November 20th, 2008, 03:56
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
Well, after reading this review I really feel like never getting Fallout 3, I was a little bit positive before.
I had a good laugh at the review, agreed with loads, found other parts to be pure hyperbole, but none of it would stop me from calling it a very fun but very flawed game. Well, *well* worth the $50 I paid based on the ~60 hours I have played …

— Mike
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November 20th, 2008, 04:32
- Bobbleheads (ridiculous console shit)
How do they make the game less fun? The more stuff there is to find, the more rewarding exploring is. Fine if you don't like them, but how do they negatively affect your enjoyment of the game?


- Simplified character development (less skills and dull S.P.E.C.I.A.L.)
Take a look at the skills they removed. Gambling - there is no gambling in the game. Outdoorsman - obsolete. All the skills they removed or merged would have either not made sense in the context of the new game, would have been so underpowered that no one would have taken them, or just made more sense as merged skills. What is really wrong with merging sneak and pickpocket?

- Character doesn't really develop that much, or skills doesn't matter
This is just incorrect. Play a game with a character, build up your skills, then start a new game, and discover just how much difference your skills and stats make. Stats have a huge affect on combat, speech, lockpicking and science are all important. Repair - need I say more?

- Too easy (ammo is everywhere and mobs have no AI whatsoever) and too fast char development (Max out to 100% a single skill in less than 5 hours of gameplay)
Turn up the difficulty then. Ammo is actually pretty scarse early on. I found early on that I had to carry a good variety of weapons because I just didn't find enough ammo to always use my prefered weapon. Ammo does become plentiful later on, but I like this. The scrounging for ammo angle gets boring after a while, and it feels like nice development when you go from having to make every bullet count, to being able to use your favorite weapons all the time without worrying about ammo. It's a rewarding piece of progression.

- Too much FPS and too little RPG
Rubbish. This is a full-fleged RPG (which Oblivion wa most certainly not) that happens to have enjoyable FPS combat.

- *VATS is dull
I found it fun. The overwhelming feeling about VATS seems to be that it's more enjoyable than people expected. It adds a tactical element, and another resource to manage.

- The world doesn't feel a REAL world
Yes it does. There are a few jarring things, but overall it feels like a real world, full of real history, and real stories. You have to pay attention and go looking for all the personal stories, but they're there, and mostly tragic.

- No real companions, no cars
A car would make it a better RPG? There are plenty of companions. Fallout was never a party-based game.

Honestly, it sounds like your expectations for this game turned out to be a self-fullfilling prophecy. The game is FUN.
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November 20th, 2008, 10:52
Originally Posted by Badesumofu View Post
- Bobbleheads (ridiculous console shit)
How do they make the game less fun? The more stuff there is to find, the more rewarding exploring is. Fine if you don't like them, but how do they negatively affect your enjoyment of the game?
They jolt me out of suspension of disbelief. Suspension of disbelief is crucial to immersion, whether it's a game, a book, or a movie. Anything that jolts me out of it negatively affects my enjoyment of it. FO3 is annoyingly full of things like that. FO2 had lot of them too. FO1, very little.

- Simplified character development (less skills and dull S.P.E.C.I.A.L.)
Take a look at the skills they removed. Gambling - there is no gambling in the game. Outdoorsman - obsolete. All the skills they removed or merged would have either not made sense in the context of the new game, would have been so underpowered that no one would have taken them, or just made more sense as merged skills. What is really wrong with merging sneak and pickpocket?
Agree.

- Character doesn't really develop that much, or skills doesn't matter
This is just incorrect. Play a game with a character, build up your skills, then start a new game, and discover just how much difference your skills and stats make. Stats have a huge affect on combat, speech, lockpicking and science are all important. Repair - need I say more?
I did. It made some difference to the game experience, but much less than it could or should. In particular, *stats* matter very little, since skill progress is so fast, and tag skills don't affect skill progress rate. Max out your INT and take the XP-gain and skill point gain perks ASAP, then take skill bonus perks, and you can max out about four skills really quickly (counting bonuses you can get from items; more if you include chems) while building up two more to a decent level.

Since there are only about six skills that really matter in the early game (Small Guns, Repair, Sneak, Lockpick, Science, and Speech), this means that the choice only boils down to "which two skills will I only build up partially?"

Meaning sure, it matters, but it matters far less than in the originals — you really had to choose whether you're a sneakky nimble little wimp good with a rifle (later with a plasma rifle), or a brawler who can rip a supermutant in half with his bare hands (later with a chaingun), or someone who's not much good at either but can talk all four legs off a donkey and then persuade it to take a walk while hacking a security system while she's at it. In FO3, you can be about two of the three at once.

- Too easy (ammo is everywhere and mobs have no AI whatsoever) and too fast char development (Max out to 100% a single skill in less than 5 hours of gameplay)
Turn up the difficulty then. Ammo is actually pretty scarse early on. I found early on that I had to carry a good variety of weapons because I just didn't find enough ammo to always use my prefered weapon. Ammo does become plentiful later on, but I like this. The scrounging for ammo angle gets boring after a while, and it feels like nice development when you go from having to make every bullet count, to being able to use your favorite weapons all the time without worrying about ammo. It's a rewarding piece of progression.
I didn't notice — I never wanted for ammo. Not in the beginning, not later. But yeah, I probably should turn up the difficulty.

- Too much FPS and too little RPG
Rubbish. This is a full-fleged RPG (which Oblivion wa most certainly not) that happens to have enjoyable FPS combat.
Agree.

- *VATS is dull
I found it fun. The overwhelming feeling about VATS seems to be that it's more enjoyable than people expected. It adds a tactical element, and another resource to manage.
Disagree. VATS *is* dull, repetitive, and boring, and as VD carefully explained, sitting behind a wall waiting for your AP to recharge isn't tactical, it's nerfing. It feels like cheating, actually — for example, it's rather tricky to score a head shot on a centaur because of the way they move, but it's 95% sure in VATS mode.

- The world doesn't feel a REAL world
Yes it does. There are a few jarring things, but overall it feels like a real world, full of real history, and real stories. You have to pay attention and go looking for all the personal stories, but they're there, and mostly tragic.
There are individual personal stories, to be sure, but *very little of it hangs together or makes much sense.* With FO1 and FO2, you had a real sense of a cohesive world, with commerce, rumors, politics, ambitions, and what not, with you a bit player who eventually stumbled into a big role. In FO3, you have a set of self-contained locations and quests that feel transparently like they were set up for you to resolve, and even the damn radio talks about you from day 1. It's terribly narcissistic and disappointingly shallow in this sense.

Again, it's not particularly shallow for a cRPG — most of 'em are like this. But it is shallow compared to FO1 and FO2.

- No real companions, no cars
A car would make it a better RPG? There are plenty of companions. Fallout was never a party-based game.
Agree.

Honestly, it sounds like your expectations for this game turned out to be a self-fullfilling prophecy. The game is FUN.
It is fun. Definitely one of the best cRPG's this year, and among the top 10 cRPG's of the past few years. I'm enjoying the hell out of it.

But that doesn't mean it's not without its flaws — nor that it fails to live up to its potential or its predecessors in those very things that make them so memorable.

Naturally, the converse is true as well — FO3 succeeds brilliantly in many areas where the originals fell flat; in particular, it's blissfully free of the endless slog of repetitive mob-fights that plagued both games, but FO2 more than FO1, and stealth works much better — unlike VD, I've been getting by with largely one-shot kills by maxing out my stealth early on and sniping from cover. But nevertheless, FO1 remains a true classic, whereas FO3 is more of a Phantom Menace to its A New Hope.
Last edited by Prime Junta; November 20th, 2008 at 11:02.
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