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Default Fallout 3 - Review @ NMA

November 20th, 2008, 13:19
Originally Posted by Hedek View Post
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.

Well, Oblivion had raving reviews and excellent sales despite some flaws - and nevertheless they learned some lessons for the Fallout3 development, so I would be more optimistic in that regard. I don't think they will be blinded by success, they weren't after Oblivion.

My only fear is that TES V will be a MMORPG :-)
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November 20th, 2008, 13:59
They opened a new studio for that (MMO) so I'll guess the single player games will continue. There was a rather heavy hint at the end of Oblivion that the series was turning into an MMO though so…

As for Fallout 3 it is rather a different game from the originals so I wouldn't expect all praise from the fans of those. When a different group of people take over a project like this it's bound to lose elements in translation - some of which are bound to be important to the original fans.
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November 20th, 2008, 20:08
Originally Posted by Guest View Post
In before rune_74 whines like a bitch. Oh wait…
Pretty brave, pretty much know who you are though congratz on failing the natural selection board.
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November 20th, 2008, 21:09
Originally Posted by Rendelius View Post
Well, Oblivion had raving reviews and excellent sales despite some flaws - and nevertheless they learned some lessons for the Fallout3 development, so I would be more optimistic in that regard. I don't think they will be blinded by success, they weren't after Oblivion.
This… unless what we perceived as improvements were actually them trying to incorporate Fallout elements into their Oblivion formula.
Sure Bethesda has always done their best to learn lessons from their previous games, despite good sales and reviews. Problem is, I have rarely been satisfied by their definition of "improvements".

When you look at all the things they changed in Fallout 1 & 2 to make Fallout 3, and how successful they are with these changes, from their point of view, that's an encouragement to alter the Fallout 1&2 formula even more in their future games, and not get closer to the originals.

So yes of course they'll try to improve, just not in the direction I'd like them to. Good sales and good reviews give them no reason to do so.
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November 20th, 2008, 22:41
After re-reading this interview with Ken Rolston on Narrative Design (also containing Runequest & Glorantha bits - did I mention I like those?) I'm wondering if Fallout 3 is a step back in some cases in the narrative department. After all, stat checks and choice are only any good if they are done well in the first place just slapping them in as transparent short-cuts (which seems to be the case in Fallout 3) I'm not sure I'm all that happy with. Basically, are badly written choices much better than you got in Oblivion? Books & Films, societies choice of highbrow narrative, don't offer much in the way of choice apart from those choose your path adventure books but I don't think they are considered on a par with the likes of War and Peace or say Hamlet. I have a few other gripes with Fallout 3 but narrative is certainly one of them. Unless someone can enlighten me…
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November 21st, 2008, 03:34
Originally Posted by woges View Post
After all, stat checks and choice are only any good if they are done well in the first place just slapping them in as transparent short-cuts (which seems to be the case in Fallout 3)
I don't feel that is the case - I feel that they are very often badly written, and you max out too early, but they feel integral to me.

— Mike
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November 21st, 2008, 04:18
Indeed, integral to the Fallout experience but then isn't writing/story integral to any rpg experience in general? I think it's rather a shame that they don't seem to be and we're "bottom of the barrel" as Rolston says.
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November 21st, 2008, 13:23
Originally Posted by woges View Post
but then isn't writing/story integral to any rpg experience in general?
In Action-RPGs it isn't.

And they sell.

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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November 21st, 2008, 14:47
ARPG are generally played for the gameplay but good world build and narrative (what D3 seems to be doing) would make them a whole lot more interesting.
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November 21st, 2008, 14:47
Originally Posted by woges View Post
After re-reading this interview with Ken Rolston on Narrative Design (also containing Runequest & Glorantha bits - did I mention I like those?) I'm wondering if Fallout 3 is a step back in some cases in the narrative department.
Step back from what? FO1 or FO2? Certainly. Oblivion or Morrowind? No way.

After all, stat checks and choice are only any good if they are done well in the first place just slapping them in as transparent short-cuts (which seems to be the case in Fallout 3) I'm not sure I'm all that happy with.
It's not quite like that in FO3. There are some stat-checks as shortcuts, but most choices are genuinely meaningful — in that they result in certain outcomes that exclude other outcomes. You can help the android or turn in the android, which results in different outcomes later on, and so on.

Basically, are badly written choices much better than you got in Oblivion?
Badly and better are both relative terms, and you have to distinguish between structure and writing. FO3's writing is bad compared to FO1 and 2, much better than Oblivion's, and par for course for most computer games, RP and otherwise. FO3's quest structures are only slightly worse than FO1 and 2's, much, MUCH better than Oblivion's, and a good deal better than most computer games.

So my answer would be "no, badly written choices are not much better than I got in Oblivion, but FO3's choices are much better than Oblivion's, therefore, FO3's choices aren't all that badly done."

Books & Films, societies choice of highbrow narrative, don't offer much in the way of choice apart from those choose your path adventure books but I don't think they are considered on a par with the likes of War and Peace or say Hamlet. I have a few other gripes with Fallout 3 but narrative is certainly one of them. Unless someone can enlighten me…
Yep, the narrative is pretty shallow. But that reflects on the quality of the writing, not the quality of the quest structures. It's a shame, really, since all they would've needed to make it click is someone with a vivid imagination and a way with words — everything else is already there.
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November 21st, 2008, 14:59
I didn't say the quests were badly designed though, I think the world is fairly badly designed and this effects the narrative design because they are intrinsically linked. The thing I'm getting at is that (for me) the good parts are spoiled by the lack of thought in some of the writing and world design. The world seems spread too thin with little quest communities I much prefer the design in the original Fallout where you have a bunch of struggling communities rather than hamlets. Which I think is better designed in Oblivion with it's towns and guilds.
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November 21st, 2008, 16:10
Ah, I see what you mean, and I agree.

I'd add, though, that IMO the quest *content* was so atrociously bad in Oblivion that it didn't make much difference how they were served to me, so I'll still take FO3's flawed world with interesting quests over the alternative.
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November 21st, 2008, 16:20
I don't think Oblivion helps itself with it's voice acting either but if it was really well written with a lack of choice than a game that was really badly written with plenty of choice what is preferred? It's just amazing how the entertainment industry wants to push the relevance of writing down and I agree with Vince that to not fight the good dialogue fight is unforgivable. Now I wonder what Rolston will come up with at RBG.
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November 21st, 2008, 16:59
Originally Posted by woges View Post
I don't think Oblivion helps itself with it's voice acting either but if it was really well written with a lack of choice than a game that was really badly written with plenty of choice what is preferred? It's just amazing how the entertainment industry wants to push the relevance of writing down and I agree with Vince that to not fight the good dialogue fight is unforgivable. Now I wonder what Rolston will come up with at RBG.
I guess it's a matter of taste, and a matter of what else is in the game. Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay is completely linear, and it's a great game, for example. That's because (1) it has great gameplay, (2) it has great writing, and (3) it has great voice acting (Vin Diesel kicks ass). Classic LucasArts adventures are almost completely linear, but they're great games, because (1) they have great narratives, (2) they have great puzzles, and (3) they have great writing.

Re Oblivion? It's structurally just about identical to Morrowind — ginormous amounts of linear Fedex/trophy-hunt/kill quests handed out at quest hubs — and I loved Morrowind. Why? Because Morrowind has highly creative visual design and very rich background lore that's mostly shown rather than told — the Ashlander culture with its ancestor worship, the Dagoth Ur cult, the Vivec church, those thoroughly nasty but fascinating Telvanni, what have you.

In other words, would I have loved Oblivion if only it had better writing and more creative world design, even with its linear quests? Abso-bleeping-lutely… if you also fix the level-scaling, or at least are less incredibly ham-handed about it.
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November 21st, 2008, 17:19
Well I think Morrowind beats the last two offerings from Bethesda because it is rich in ideas and mythology that I can't seem to extract from Oblivion or Fallout 3. You missed out the Atlantean Dwarven myth as another interesting construct in Morrowind. It's characters are more fascinating aswell, Vivec and his sermons are rather unforgettable and I haven't seen anything like that in Oblivion or Fallout 3 either. So I'd say Morrowind is still Bethesda's best game even with the gameplay improvements that came with Oblivion and Fallout and it's purely the world/narrative design of the world that makes that a far more interesting game to me.
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November 21st, 2008, 17:23
I prefer the political manipulations of Daggerfall myself, but the story/lore in Morrowind was very good. As a game though it wasn't as fun as Daggerfall or Oblivion for me.

Fallout 3 is a neater experience, but I still prefer the Oblivion game world.
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November 21st, 2008, 17:42
I hated Morrowind of course, when I first started playing it, coming from Daggerfall. But the more I played it the more it won me over. Daggerfall seems to be rather a pain to get working these days with sound and stable so it's been a long time since I've played it unfortunately.

Another thing I thought about while wondering in Fallout 3 was how much better the game would be if the "hand-holding" was removed from the pipboy to not disclose the location of anything worth venturing to. Now I've never been too bothered with this in the past but for some reason (I guess the general enjoyment of exploration in Bethesda's games) I felt that exploration and finding the locations without this would feel much more rewarding.

Another edit: I've heard good things about that Riddick game but I haven't got it myself.
Last edited by woges; November 21st, 2008 at 17:54.
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November 21st, 2008, 19:01
Originally Posted by woges View Post
Well I think Morrowind beats the last two offerings from Bethesda because it is rich in ideas and mythology that I can't seem to extract from Oblivion or Fallout 3. You missed out the Atlantean Dwarven myth as another interesting construct in Morrowind. It's characters are more fascinating aswell, Vivec and his sermons are rather unforgettable and I haven't seen anything like that in Oblivion or Fallout 3 either. So I'd say Morrowind is still Bethesda's best game even with the gameplay improvements that came with Oblivion and Fallout and it's purely the world/narrative design of the world that makes that a far more interesting game to me.
I'd agree with you, except that the gameplay flaws in Morrowind are so big that they're stopping me from replaying it. I've tried, but I just can't put up with the early-game slog, nor those eternal cliff racers. It was much stronger at its best, but much, much weaker at its worst; on balance, IMO FO3 works better, with its lower peaks and shallower valleys. It is a shame that the peaks in FO3 aren't higher, but them's the breaks, I suppose.

The hand-holding in FO3 is discreet enough that I don't really mind — the map markers make sense, kinda — as in, after someone marks you a location on the Pip-Boy, it's logical that you can flag it with a waypoint, and it doesn't jar too badly that quests have you "auto-flag" these waypoints. The hostile markers showing up on it don't bother me much either, and I don't even know what those little arrowheads mean and aren't planning to find out.
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November 21st, 2008, 19:07
It's the little unfilled triangles, to be precise, that then fill when you've discovered a minor location. Hence, you always know when an undiscovered location is near.
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November 22nd, 2008, 01:27
Originally Posted by woges View Post
It's the little unfilled triangles, to be precise, that then fill when you've discovered a minor location. Hence, you always know when an undiscovered location is near.
Are you serious? That's unbelievably stupid imo. So the Pip-Boy just magically knows when stuff is near??

So much for the joys of exploration.
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