Top critical review
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Another Bethesda game marred by bugs...
on December 24, 2014
I like this game, no I mean I REALLY like this game. But I can't in good conscience give this a 4 or 5 star rating with the headaches it has caused me. No not, literal ones, but this game has a lot of problems that didn't get addressed by the game company, and thus it deserves a hit to its rating.
Bethesda has a history of making some really cool games with great graphics, game play and immersive worlds. Unfortunately, they also have a track record of games with a tremendous amount of defects. I consider a defect as either a bug or a glaring error in the way something should operate.
I'll break this into parts letting you know the good and the bad:
Character Face Design - You get the choice of both gender and race (African-American, White, Hispanic, Asian), not to mention a selection of several hairstyles and beards and a near endless choice of hair colors.
Character Creation System - When you begin a new game, you will speak with an NPC and through dialog and the use of a machine, you will determine your stats, skills and a few optional traits. The nice part is, you have one more chance to redesign your character (face too) when leaving the first area.
Controls - Easy to learn. I found that I and even my non-gamer friends could pick up the controls easy. The quicker you can get people into playing a game the better.
Character Movement - Love it. I feel in perfect control of my character. I don't feel inhibited in my movement, the weapon usage is easy and that makes for good, fun fights with bad guys.
Character Choices - My hat is off to this chapter of the Fallout series. In the previous Fallouts I played (1, 2, 3, Tactics), you could be immoral, but you really couldn't pick sides (except small ones in a certain town). For example, you could choose to help the people of town X, or not. The choice affects the ending, but Fallout endings are done in parts, showing what happens to each area/faction. In New Vegas a new element is added in that you choose a major faction to align with and that affects all of the ending parts (I think). /so you now have more ending choices and can truly play as "the bad guy" instead of just someone who is a murderer, but still wins the game the same as a good person.
Graphics - Good for the time. Not perfect, but I like them fine.
Voice Acting - Most of the voice actors do a good job here. I would say that some of them lack emotion to convey the situation, but most of them are well done.
Sound Effects - No complaints. Sounds good enough to make it feel believable.
Music - Most of the songs are great. Really sets the mood. Two words: Big Iron.
Quick Travel - Once you have been to a place, you can instantly return there, but time passes. This cuts down on a lot of running around.
World Design - I hear a lot of generic complaints about this, but I personally think it is fine. I have been to the areas in the game (in real life) many times, but I don't expect a to scale replica.
Character Creation System - Having to go through the same drawn out process to make a new character after the first time is annoying. There should have been a quickstart option.
Invisible Boundary System - Ugh, I'd almost rather have a giant wall wherever you aren't supposed to go. Sometimes when you are on a hill, trying to go this way or that, you are stopped by an invisible force. I get why they do it, but it kind of kills the immersion.
Lack of a berserker mode - Admit it, in open world games, sometimes it's fun to just go around and shoot everything. Unfortunately, that isn't really an option here. Yes, you actually CAN wipe out some towns and get a custom ending for it, but only when the game wants you to. Not really a con, but a disappointment.
Music - Two words: Johnny Guitar
Artificial Extended Gameplay - This plagues many of the popular games today that boast long hours of gameplay
The first problem is walking time. You'll spend a lot of time walking from A to B. Fortunately, there is the quick travel option, as mentioned in Pros. Unfortunately, there is usually not a lot to do when initially going from A to B.
The second problem is having to loot EVERYTHING and sell it. It's annoying to scrounge in every box and strip every body to sell their bloody clothes to vendors. You don't HAVE to do it, but without an online guide, you'll be checking for special things everywhere and doing whatever it takes to earn money.
The last major time lag is due to crashing and save game bugs. Sorry, but games shouldn't crash this much. I know software companies have deadlines and that the more complex games are the more chance there is to have a bug, but they could have fixed a lot of the glaring errors in the game.
Bugs - There are lots of them, but only some really hurt a game. If a character model's eyes pop out for some reason, yeah it's an eyesore (pun intended), but it won't kill your game. If a weapon vanishes or an explosion pushes an item behind a wall or somewhere else unreachable, that sucks, but you can make do. However, when choosing the energy weapons skill, one of the 5 major combat skills in the game, you create goo piles and ash piles that don't go away. This leads to lagging the game after a while. This is very bad, and virtually impossible to deal with unless you use console commands (PC only).
The Bottom Line
This is a fun game, and worth playing. Skyrim with guns! The unfortunate aspect is that you will spend much of your time reloading games after crashes, having to repeat 15-30 minutes of game play, or losing saves to corruption and having to do the same. Yes, you can download unofficial patches, do workarounds, etc... but I'm sorry, that shouldn't be a requirement to have a game that plays as intended with minimal problems.