17 December, 2010

CC28: The designers of Fallout New Vegas should try getting shot in the head themselves.

Now don't get me wrong. i enjoyed playing the game. But I'm the kind of person who thinks that someone who has the ability to win easily and doesn't bother is even more of a failure than someone who tried their best but never really had a chance. This sense of massive under-achievement is what underpinned Bethesda's Fallout 3 and the only thing they've managed to do is pass the baton of mediocrity to some other poor saps: Obsidian.

On the surface of things having Obsidian take over was something to be relished. Obsidian had been behind it's ground-breaking predecessors Fallouts 1 and 2 and (as black isle) they also had a massive hand in both baldur's gate games and are therefore responsible for absorbing more time out of my life than a time-fuelled hummer. (If you're an Oblivion fan and didn't like the baldur's gate series feel free to stop reading and throw yourself under the nearest heavy-goods vehicle)

The main problem with Fallout can be summed up with one question: Is it possible to enjoy a game that crashes every half-hour? Please note that this is not an exaggeration. So far I've logged almost 90 hours on New Vegas and it has crashed (yes I was counting) 167 times so far. It's also so glitched that one of the endings is impossible for me. Oh and one f my companions vanished without a trace taking a lot of my stuff and forcing me to re-start for miles back in the game. If you're thinking about buying New Vegas my advice to you is this: Get to love your quicksave button.

But that wouldn't have helped anyone who was playing the game in it's first few weeks (in other words, fans) as the save system corrupted the files upon creation so even binding quicksave to all of your fucking mouse buttons wouldn't have helped you. Also if you really want to see a bug log onto youtube and look up, what's now known as, the "exorcist" bug. If only most horror games were this freaky.

This is now not to say that whatever wasn't bugged was brilliant as the turd-sandwich of NPC interactions and combat that dogged Fallout 3 make there sorry way in here too. All the Mo-Cap seems to have been done by Keanu Reeves after having botox and the combat is almost designed to catapult you out of the game experience and leave you massively aware that you're playing a badly-designed game.

I'd love to ask the designers how my skill with a handgun somehow allows another person to survive getting six .44 rounds plugged into their face. (be aware they're not wearing headgear either) How does my skill with a gun affect the damage it causes? I hate it when games pull this shit. A bullet is a bullet, simple as. My skill shouldn't affect the damage it does should it land in someone. That's horseshit! Skill affects my accuracy and reload speed, maybe how fast I can move while holding it but not how much damage it does! If a round fired by a sniper and a complete novice both land shouldn't they both do the same damage? The only difference should be that the sniper would be able to re-cock and re-sight the rifle quick enough to nail the target's friends too, the novice would struggle to deal with the recoil and re-loading as it is in real fucking life!

It's a rare game that places such emphasis on story. Even rarer to find one that does so at the expense of combat (checkout planescape torment for this) but with new Vegas they placed everything behind story including testing and bug-fixing. They even admitted it themselves when the game first came out and fans were up in arms that they aimed to release a good game, not one that worked. In any other industry this behavior is not only frowned upon but also illegal. So why do gamers put up with this shit? The whole cult of "design-by-committee" isn't to blame here. It's to blame for a lot of fucking games but not this problem. What about companies rushing the process. Not that either. When you take stock of the what they've created in new Vegas you can say a lot of things but that it was rushed is not one of them.

One of the other problems is that they've decided to issue the game through steam; the universal platform for pretentious gaming. Steam isn't exactly a well-oiled machine either (as of this writing my steam account is refusing to let me log on for no reason other than I had the sheer gall to try to play games I paid money for) and it's main use seems to be downloading patches to bug-ridden games you paid full fucking price for.

I don't agree with the "flawed masterpiece" label that has been attached to these games. People point out the great story and stunning environment as worth it. But what they also don't point out is that these are the only aspects of the game the designers got right. Every other aspect of this game is broken. The combat, the characters and the quests are all almost totally crap. In other words, they got the story right but not how you progress through that story. They developed nice scripts for all the NPCs but made them act like 3-CPO with his dick stuck in a socket. They laid down an engaging set of objectives for you to follow but made it so you'll spend most of your time doing ridiculously boring fetch-quests with their own objectives that border on the retarded.

They've done the hard part. Then they got the easy part so massively wrong and then implemented it in such a lazy fashion they could be mistaken for the Irish government. With such a solid storyline all they needed to do was point the player in the right direction and they'd do the rest themselves. This is what makes New Vegas unforgivable. It dangles the carrot of a story that doesn't treat you like you've brain-damage but flog you with the stick of inept design. Did no-one notice what happened to Stalker?

Let hope the new 4.5GB patch along with the 7.2GB patch fixes things..........yeah right.