Why mediocre reviews of Fallout: New Vegas are misleading

Like with all popular games, movies, TV shows, and all things nerd-tacular, Fallout: New Vegas has become the latest game for Giant Bombers and the Internet in general to rip on, even if they haven't played it or haven't given it a fair shake.  The Giant Bomb crew ripped on it a bit in the Bombcast, the review pointed out in great detail the many technical flaws of the game, and the Giant Bomb forumverse exploded with, "Man, this game suckzors, totally epidicedimal fail broseph."  It's the sort of thing that pisses me off about the Internet in general, and there's a term for it - it's called dick-riding.  If you've ripped on this game or any other game just because the Giant Bomb crew ripped on it?  You're dick-riding.  Sucking up to the rip-on-the-popular-game-of-the-month club without having actually watched the Quick Look or any other real preview of the game, or (God forbid) trying it yourself?  Dick riding.   But if you've seriously done your homework or played this game and determined that you don't like it, congratulations.  You're not dick-riding.  We just have wildly different opinions.
 
The reviews of New Vegas are right on one thing - this game is buggy as all get-out.  I just finished my first playthrough.  New Vegas crashed on me three times.  I had a few instances when I had to load up my quicksave because of weird technical glitches.  The factions, while adding a breath of fresh air to the karma system in general, create some frustrating moments of confusion. 
 
But if you're willing to actually play the game, Fallout: New Vegas is a fucking masterpiece. 
 
On a technical level, the fact that this game exists at all in a playable form is mind-boggling.  Without any hyperbole, the game world is huge.  I'm going to be discovering new quests, weapons, snow globes, and other goodies a year from now,  There are an insane number of NPC's to interact with.  This is without a doubt the single best example of how far current technology can go to creating worlds, not just games.  At no point did I feel like the game had been shipped broken, as so many people on these forums and others have claimed.  The game is far from broken.  Bug-ridden, yes.  Hiccuping, yes.  But broken, no.   
 
That isn't to say that the game is perfect.  There are a lot of areas that can be worked on besides the technical errors.  Options to sort quests and narrow down multiple area quests should be a priority.  Allies should return to the Lucky 38 after a set amount of time if told to "wait" somewhere (I have no freakin' clue where the hell I left my robot).  If radio DJ's continue to be used, they need quantity as well as quality in the music and the speeches given, perhaps with new bits being available via patches or downloads, even if that means celebrities can't do the voices.  New body and weapon models look good, but some variety in body sizes would go a long way.  Clear definitions of which quests will affect each faction should be laid out, especially in regards to the main quest, which can be super confusing.
 
Now for the good.  Massive world aside, the writing in New Vegas is top-notch.  The characters felt more human, the choices I could make as a player were often morally muddled and therefore fun to play out, and the followers are all excellent.  The same rock-solid gameplay of Fallout 3 is here, and smartly keeps most of the systems already established while expanding upon the universe.  There are a lot of throwbacks to the classic Fallout games.  There are no clear-cut good guys, as everyone in the game has an agenda.  There are benefits to all the skill branches, with speech rolls not just affected by your speech skill anymore.  There's an amazing richness to the new areas, while still maintaining a large amount of the charm from the original games.  And overall, the game is just flat-out fun as all hell.  I found myself genuinely wanting to explore the wastes and the hundred-plus areas within. 
 
If, for any reason, you're not playing this game because you've heard about how flawed it is, your fears are for nothing.  Yes, New Vegas is riddled with bugs, but that shouldn't stop anyone from giving this game a go.  And if you're not playing it just because it's popular to rip on it, well... have fun with that.

47 Comments
48 Comments
Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

Like with all popular games, movies, TV shows, and all things nerd-tacular, Fallout: New Vegas has become the latest game for Giant Bombers and the Internet in general to rip on, even if they haven't played it or haven't given it a fair shake.  The Giant Bomb crew ripped on it a bit in the Bombcast, the review pointed out in great detail the many technical flaws of the game, and the Giant Bomb forumverse exploded with, "Man, this game suckzors, totally epidicedimal fail broseph."  It's the sort of thing that pisses me off about the Internet in general, and there's a term for it - it's called dick-riding.  If you've ripped on this game or any other game just because the Giant Bomb crew ripped on it?  You're dick-riding.  Sucking up to the rip-on-the-popular-game-of-the-month club without having actually watched the Quick Look or any other real preview of the game, or (God forbid) trying it yourself?  Dick riding.   But if you've seriously done your homework or played this game and determined that you don't like it, congratulations.  You're not dick-riding.  We just have wildly different opinions.
 
The reviews of New Vegas are right on one thing - this game is buggy as all get-out.  I just finished my first playthrough.  New Vegas crashed on me three times.  I had a few instances when I had to load up my quicksave because of weird technical glitches.  The factions, while adding a breath of fresh air to the karma system in general, create some frustrating moments of confusion. 
 
But if you're willing to actually play the game, Fallout: New Vegas is a fucking masterpiece. 
 
On a technical level, the fact that this game exists at all in a playable form is mind-boggling.  Without any hyperbole, the game world is huge.  I'm going to be discovering new quests, weapons, snow globes, and other goodies a year from now,  There are an insane number of NPC's to interact with.  This is without a doubt the single best example of how far current technology can go to creating worlds, not just games.  At no point did I feel like the game had been shipped broken, as so many people on these forums and others have claimed.  The game is far from broken.  Bug-ridden, yes.  Hiccuping, yes.  But broken, no.   
 
That isn't to say that the game is perfect.  There are a lot of areas that can be worked on besides the technical errors.  Options to sort quests and narrow down multiple area quests should be a priority.  Allies should return to the Lucky 38 after a set amount of time if told to "wait" somewhere (I have no freakin' clue where the hell I left my robot).  If radio DJ's continue to be used, they need quantity as well as quality in the music and the speeches given, perhaps with new bits being available via patches or downloads, even if that means celebrities can't do the voices.  New body and weapon models look good, but some variety in body sizes would go a long way.  Clear definitions of which quests will affect each faction should be laid out, especially in regards to the main quest, which can be super confusing.
 
Now for the good.  Massive world aside, the writing in New Vegas is top-notch.  The characters felt more human, the choices I could make as a player were often morally muddled and therefore fun to play out, and the followers are all excellent.  The same rock-solid gameplay of Fallout 3 is here, and smartly keeps most of the systems already established while expanding upon the universe.  There are a lot of throwbacks to the classic Fallout games.  There are no clear-cut good guys, as everyone in the game has an agenda.  There are benefits to all the skill branches, with speech rolls not just affected by your speech skill anymore.  There's an amazing richness to the new areas, while still maintaining a large amount of the charm from the original games.  And overall, the game is just flat-out fun as all hell.  I found myself genuinely wanting to explore the wastes and the hundred-plus areas within. 
 
If, for any reason, you're not playing this game because you've heard about how flawed it is, your fears are for nothing.  Yes, New Vegas is riddled with bugs, but that shouldn't stop anyone from giving this game a go.  And if you're not playing it just because it's popular to rip on it, well... have fun with that.

Moderator
Posted by Tennmuerti

I think you will find that these were mostly just the initial knee jerk reactions we usually get on GB after the crew points out flaws in it.
As time went on most opinions on these forums have been mostly positive, at least I believe so from reading them everyday.

Online
Posted by anarchyzombie9

*flashes back to Gamespot days* Yep, hasn't changed a bit.

Posted by GetEveryone

Yeah, people generally can't form an opinion of their own. A film gets negative press/some poor reviews? The masses deride it and everyone you know will ask "isn't that film shit, though?" 
 
I really don't listen to reviews much more any more. If a game is universally panned, then I'm likely to avoid it, despite it probably having some redeeming features. Though, if it is a mixed bag, I'll usually play it and decide for myself. 
 
JUST BECAUSE A REVIEWER DOESN'T LIKE THE GAME DOESN'T MEAN YOU HAVE TO TOO. 
 
I could also go into a long diatribe about the arbitrary scoring systems so many sites/magazines make use of, but I won't. It would be long-winded.

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw
@Tennmuerti said:
"I think you will find that these were mostly just the initial knee jerk reactions we usually get on GB after the crew points out flaws in it.As time went on most opinions on these forums have been mostly positive, at least I believe so from reading them everyday. "

That's a good point, and true for most popular flawed-but-awesome games in general.  Hell, look no further than Fallout 1 & 2.  Or something like System Shock 2 or Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines.  I think of those games as masterpieces, but they've definitely got some rough edges too.
Moderator
Edited by 234r2we232

I'm waiting for the next Fallout game that has exactly the same problems as this one because it uses the same engine and mechanics... But! It's set in Texas. Therefore, it'll be a longer, and better game.

I call it: Fallout: Modern Texas.

Posted by TheGreatGuero

I totally agree. Dick-riders be DAMNED! Fallout: New Vegas is one of the best games of the year, without a doubt. I have loved every single minute of it so far.

Posted by Ignor

I don't give a flying fuck about technical flaws. 
I'd rather have a game break on me with some crazy shit, rather than playing the same damn game over and over again, knowing what will happen.

Posted by adsy120

Tell that to the people with corrupted saves or game breaking quest bugs. 
 
Love the game though, and hoping not to run into any of that.

Posted by GetEveryone
@Sparky_Buzzsaw said:
"Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines.  I think of those games as masterpieces, but they've definitely got some rough edges too. "
The Masquerade is absolutely incredible! I really want to play that again now.
Posted by sodiumCyclops

I agree mostly with the points you're making. I have played around 12 hours or so and I still think this game is really over hyped. Mind you, I'm not a huge fan of the new Fallout formula since the original 2.

Posted by swamplord666

I didn't like fallout 3 so i know i won't like this one because it looks to have the same problems as the first one.

Posted by WinterSnowblind

Generally, I do agree.  However, I don't approve of any developer/publisher releasing a game in this sort of state.  I feel it's lazy and very disrespectful to the fans and if anyone wants to wait for a few more patches to be sent out, I wouldn't blame them at all.  I also don't think the situation is any different from what happened with Fable 3 and whenever anyone disagree's with GiantBombs scoring of that, people get the pitchforks out.

 

They're both two very different games, but could both be considered among the best games released this year, depending on the player.  I can also see how both could be disliked.  So like what everyone's been saying about the Fable reviews..  It's just an opinion, why moan about it?

Posted by haggis

New Vegas really is a masterpiece of a game dressed up in old technology. I get the feeling that Bethesda realized that redoing the game from the ground up would take a while, and wanted to get another Fallout game out in order to keep the franchise in everyone's mind. The problem is that the game feels like it was made in 2006, will all the problems that go along with it. It is an absolutely fantastic game. Better than Fallout 3 in almost every respect, although in an incremental way.
 
I agree that people who are keeping from playing this game because of (somewhat exaggerated, I think) bug reports, are missing out.

Posted by TaliciaDragonsong

Always the same.
 
Most people care little to broaden their horizon, perfectly content with their current set of games.
But then, they get the game in question cheap/as a present and they bloody love it.
 
Happened before, will happen again!
Silly people!

Edited by VanderSEXXX

I agree with you when saying that New Vegas is a masterpiece. I was somehow expecting that as soon as I heard that the original developers of Fallout 2 were working on it then my hopes for the franchise have raised even further.  The story writing will definitely be top notch since having J.E. Sawyer who was directing the cancelled Van Buren project now has the chance to revive his plans for it, and notably Chris Avellone who designed the well loved New Reno setting back in Fallout 2 and even wrote "The Fallout Bible" which is a comprehensive lore to the franchise
 
And honestly I don't think its as relevant but I think those who complain about the excess bugs of this game obviously either hasn't or barely played the classics since even the original Fallout 1 & 2 back in 1997 & 1998 suffered from numerous bugs as well. Yet despite ALL those bugs the game still manages to gain such a cult following which is probably why Bethesda was so interested in purchasing the IP in the 1st place. 
 
All in all I think Bethesda did the right thing having the original developers work on the franchise and I hope they hire them again to do the next Fallout game.  

Edited by Ignor

What about those who have the patience to wait a couple of months or years before they buy the game?
Saving money on something they may not like, and getting a more stable game experience from the get-go?
Are they silly?

Posted by GunslingerPanda

It's a shame that these "dick-riders" make up 99% of the idiots on this site.

Edited by ryanwho

Summary: anyone who has issues hasn't played it. And this has nothing to do with actual official reviews (like the thread title suggests). You're just bitching about other users.
Hmm compelling.

Posted by CptBedlam

I'll play it eventually. Right now there are many other good games out though and my thinking is that I'll have a much better experience with fallout NV after it has been patched a few times.
 
Btw.: The GB crew still enjoys the game a lot I think. They all play it or want to play it despite all the technical issues. But you have to point these out.

Posted by buckybit
@Sparky_Buzzsaw: you feel better now?  
 
I won't play the game, even if someone like you would buy it for me. And here is my killall argument: 
 
"The brakes don't work every time, the left back wheel is missing, but hell yeah - you REALLY should BUY THIS CAR!" 
 
Get it? :)
Posted by Psych0Penguin

tbh, I've seen more people defending the game than attacking it

Edited by LackingSaint

Yeah feels like the same sort of thing happened to Bioshock 2, although this community certainly isn't as bad as some in this regard.

Posted by probablytuna

 I agree with you. I can't think of a reason why people who talk trash about a game they haven't played/seen.    

Posted by Icadae
*reads thread* 
*looks at title* 
 
I think this thread has some technical issues of its own. 

 
As a consumer, who can only speak with his wallet, there is no way I'm paying full price for a broken game. In this day and age I really don't find it acceptable that games get released in the state that FO:NV was released in. No I haven't personally played the game, and I don't really need to, when I can google the title and the first page & beyond is littered with bug reports. For some it's worse than for others, but regardless, you're saying to me that I should forgive technical issues on an engine that has existed in over 5 years, with bugs prevailent through 3 AAA-titles from that 5-year period and up, because it's really good? It's a bad atitude for the industry as a whole to ship broken shit. Even if the shit tastes really good, you are still eating shit. Does it bother? Sure. It sets a negative standard, and what of the people who have no internet connection? Since it's a single-player game, it'll most likely be on the top-of-the-list for no-connection people. Since only, what was it 30% or so, of people owning an Xbox are actually on XBL (I can't speak for PS3 or PC) 
 
Does it piss me off? Not really. I'll wait for a couple of months and get the game on PC once the modding community have bitten into the meat of the game, and solved most - if not all- of the technical problems. Not everyone has that luxury or possibility though. 
 
 
All in All, it's just plain bad business.
Posted by Ignor
@Icadae: Well said, classy user icon guy!
Posted by YoctoYotta
@Sparky_Buzzsaw said: Allies should return to the Lucky 38 after a set amount of time if told to "wait" somewhere (I have no freakin' clue where the hell I left my robot).
 
I hope you don't need to go into Caesar's tent.
Posted by Virago

Totally. It pisses me off that people blindly follow them, but that's how it goes i guess.

Posted by ahoodedfigure

From what I've managed to watch so far, the game looks like it hits a pitch perfect tone that seemed absent in its immediate predecessor.  It's too bad it's getting such a bad reputation, since I've seen games with more buggy code slide by.  They're serious issues, but I hope someone will be able to hammer them down (and then maybe explain to everyone why this sort of thing seems to keep happening).  The game underneath looks really cool, nice and varied, with the darkness and humor balanced nicely.  It's up to Obsidian to kill those bugs, I guess.  If they do, maybe they'll see an increase in sales and cred.  

Edited by Make_Me_Mad

Claiming that everyone saying New Vegas is broken is just mindlessly siding with the Giant Bomb crew is kind of overdoing it.  Sure, I imagine some people are, but it's undeniable that New Vegas is riddled with issues.  Some people apparantly get lucky and many of those issues don't crop up for them, and that's great, but I don't think you should have to count on luck to make sure a game you payed for doesn't screw up and erase 20+ hours of progress.

I actually disagree with Jeff's assessment of the game, in that I don't think people should buy the game despite the bugs and glitches.  I think they should, at the very least, wait until the game has gotten an official patch to fix the glaring problems present.  The creators deserve to lose money over this game.

Posted by spazmaster666

And considering that the major bugs and glitches really aren't present in the PC version (which was patched day one), for me New Vegas was better than Fallout 3 in pretty much every way possible. Though at least most reviews for the PC version seem to recognize the fact that it's far less buggy than the console versions.

Posted by Galiant

Fallout: New Vegas is awesome. I hope they make more.

People who liked Fallout 3 and are avoiding New Vegas because of bugs/glitches are really missing out.

If you didn't like Fallout 3, you probably won't like New Vegas.

If you've never tried either of them your opinion means nothing.

Posted by ryanwho
@spazmaster666 said:
" And considering that the major bugs and glitches really aren't present in the PC version (which was patched day one), for me New Vegas was better than Fallout 3 in pretty much every way possible. Though at least most reviews for the PC version seem to recognize the fact that it's far less buggy than the console versions. "
Companion bug is still there. Game still occasionally freezes. Occasionally your companion goes crazy and kills everything but that's mildly entertaining. Yes I have the patch.  And all Vinny was saying is the command console is good for circumventing that glitch. And also cheating, which apparently he thinks makes the game better (I don't get that part).
Posted by Gamer_152

Dick-riding? Seriously? If you stop and analyse what the Giant Bomb staff have said about the game, although they've pointed out its many bugs (as they should) overall they've said pretty much exactly what you've said, that despite all the bugs it is a game well-worth playing, so anyone expressing the opinion that the game is ruined due to all the bugs isn't ripping off the opinion of the staff. Even if it was the opinion of the staff that the game had been trashed by all the bugs this would not have been an issue specific to this site, if you go to any other major video game community on the internet you will see endless hordes of game enthusiasts bickering and complaining over the bugs. The discussion of the bugs has also not just been a criticism of the game but also a general commentary on the quality control processes of the industry and specifically Microsoft and the people behind this game.

Moderator
Posted by dudeglove

You only crashed three times? Well fuck you, OP, I call bullshit.

Posted by spazmaster666
@ryanwho said:
Companion bug is still there. Game still occasionally freezes. Occasionally your companion goes crazy and kills everything but that's mildly entertaining. Yes I have the patch.  And all Vinny was saying is the command console is good for circumventing that glitch. And also cheating, which apparently he thinks makes the game better (I don't get that part). "
Yeah but I got way more game crashes when I was playing Fallout 3 (i.e. the game would crash every time I entered a certain building, etc) than New Vegas . . .
Posted by ArbitraryWater

From what I have seen of New Vegas (roughly an hour at a friend's house), I think it already seems far more towards my tastes than Fallout 3 was. I thought certain aspects of that game were pretty aimless, and the fact that F:NV actually gives you avenues towards some side quests rather than just randomly scattering them across the wasteland is a definite and major improvement. Thus, it's kind of a bummer that the game is so janky, but I'm probably going to get it anyways, if only because nothing else is coming out this holiday season (ok. I'll probably get Call of Duty too. As the tool I am)

Posted by Jimbo

They're misleading in the sense that it's rarely actually mediocre.  When it's good it's great, and when you're trying to work around some quest breaking bug and/or crashes it's just infuriating.  Still, I'm all for ambitious games being made and I'd take a rough diamond like New Vegas over a polished turd any day of the week.  I'd say that, overall, the reviews for this game have called it about right.
 
The game does have problems, but I think the total disregard for suspension of disbelief is a much bigger problem than the old ass looking graphics.  You're lucky if you go five minutes without something stupid happening to remind you that you're playing a game.  The pacing on the main story thread is kinda fucked too, but I can't go into that without massive spoilers.

Posted by jorbear

Hehe...  
Dickriding. 
Anyway, I completely agree. It's an amazing game.

Posted by CaptainCody

I completely agree, but like some users have already said, Bethesda needs to get over their shitty engine and build a decent one, its been at least a fucking decade of this shit.
Edited by Bongos

So basically people are displeased at the technical aspects of New vegas but its core mechanics and story is fine. So new vegas is in a way is like a rough diamond of sort but it being that holds it back for some.

Posted by Vinny_Says

Brad ripped on Fable 3 and I still bought it day two. At this point I realize that reviews on this site are all opinion based, there's no score for "graphics" or "story", and I ain't gonna check other websites. Sure I like the podcast and I read 80% of the reviews posted but I never get opinionated before trying it. And neither should anyone else. If you want to save up your money, or you heard that most critics say it sucked, and want to avoid it just do so, no need to dick-ride.

Edited by pweidman

If you really watch the QL, and listen to what Jeff says, you can tell he really likes and recommends the game.  Basically he thinks it's a better game than Fallout 3, and it shouldn't be missed despite the frequent bugs, glitches et al.  His review pretty much stated the same anyway.  This game's been treated more than fairly on this site is my point.  The QL alone made my decision to give the game a go this holiday season.  Before that I wasn't too sure despite eventually really enjoying Fallout 3 for 100 hrs plus, and fearing New Vegas was just a big(and sloppy)expansion.
Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw
@Ignor said:
"What about those who have the patience to wait a couple of months or years before they buy the game? Saving money on something they may not like, and getting a more stable game experience from the get-go? Are they silly? "

Nope, that's actually pretty smart and I wish I had that sort of fiscal responsibility.  What I get frustrated with are the people who jump on the bandwagon to rip on the game without having experienced it or do some thorough research on it.  I also can definitely see waiting a few months for patches, updates, and DLC content.
Moderator
Posted by RsistncE

If you loved Fallout 3 and wanted more Fallout, then New Vegas is great. For the rest of us: the first time you boot this up it's like, "Whoa, HELLO 2006." Then the bugs effectively nail this game up on a cross.

Posted by ryanwho

Since its a glorified expansion, the FOOK mod for Vegas is already out and fixes a lot of things. But devs don't get credit for when modders fix their shit.

Posted by ShinjiEx

Problem with a multiple platform not everyone is going to have a smooth ride or be happy cause you have so many people buying an playing the game
 
With that said when you get pass the tech steam exclusive timed DLC issues
 
You have arguable another game of the year in the series!

Posted by Deathpooky
@pweidman said:
" If you really watch the QL, and listen to what Jeff says, you can tell he really likes and recommends the game.  Basically he thinks it's a better game than Fallout 3, and it shouldn't be missed despite the frequent bugs, glitches et al.  His review pretty much stated the same anyway.  This game's been treated more than fairly on this site is my point.  The QL alone made my decision to give the game a go this holiday season.  Before that I wasn't too sure despite eventually really enjoying Fallout 3 for 100 hrs plus, and fearing New Vegas was just a big(and sloppy)expansion. "
Pretty much this.  There are times that games get unfairly trashed and the users jump on the bandwagon, but this isn't one of them.  I've played the game, and it's been represented fairly accurately and given a fair shake by the GB staff and most people I've seen here.  It's amazing in scope and design but has far too many bugs to be considered a perfect game.