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Dare to Disagree

January 7th, 2009 by Troy Goodfellow · 22 Comments · Crispy Gamer, Media

Scott Jones did not enjoy Fallout 3. But his story isn’t a counter review. It’s an explanation of why it can be so hard to love a game that everybody else enjoys.

Let’s be frank; the game makes a terrible first impression. The opening hour is simply one of the dullest videogame openings in our medium’s history, featuring the most boring birthday party that I’ve ever attended for myself (and trust me, I’ve had some really boring birthdays).


22 Comments so far ↓

  • Thomas Kiley

    Did you post any of your thoughts on this game? I missed them if you did.

    Hopefully getting it next Tuesday, so we shall see. At least now I know to just push through the first hour!

  • Cautiously Pessimistic

    The opening was not a bad thing, from my perspective. I enjoy the feeling of immersion the mundane events provide, and it provides contrast for when things go awry later. And the game saves just before entering the Wasteland the first time, and allows you to change everything about your character (Gender, looks, stats, skills) when you reload that save-point. For those that don’t like it, they only have to go through it once.

  • Troy

    I thought the beginning was fine, too. But it was a lame birthday party. I guess the vault had no clowns.

  • Cautiously Pessimistic

    To be fair, the lameness of the birthday party was part of the plot. One of the kids even remarks upon it, and your own character has the option of being a jackass about how lame it is. And a vault without clowns is a happy vault.

  • Bruce

    Wait, you are saying that the party was lame BECAUSE THAT IS HOW IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED? Awesome! I happen to agree!

  • Troy

    I think what he’s saying is that complaining about how lame the party is doesn’t count because the party is supposed to be lame.

    But how would the other kids know this was a lame party? What does a good vault party look like?

  • Bruce

    I still support the historical interpretation.

  • JonathanStrange

    Scott Jones, your critic with integrity and confidence! He didn’t like FO3 (although he implies that fearing social disapproval he said he did), didn’t play it much, voted for it for GOTY and now? The truth can be told!

    It’s OK not to like FO3, no one’s going to like every game, even a big seller. Hell, the big sellers going to have even MORE disappointed people than most games simply because of shear numbers.

    Maybe he could’ve done those disappointed people a favor and spoken up early on? Or would that’ve been too risky?


  • Jazmeister

    I’m so well trained as a gamer that I instinctively know when the HL-style intro bit is over and the game has begun. In Bethesda games, it’s even easier; it asks you if you wanna re-do your character. THAT’s when to make that all-important Save 01, to never be deleted.

    I think Fallout 3 is one of those games that peters out rather than conflagrates in a shower of fail; it’s great until, inevitably, you use up all the content, and then you hate it. That’s my problem with it, currently; hating all the quests for the fifth time.

  • Cautiously Pessimistic

    If I remember rightly, the kid that complains about the lameness of the party said his party had magic tricks, and some kind of party game in the Atrium.

    Lameness is a matter of degree, I guess.

  • Scott R. Krol

    Good for him. I’ve been playing it and wondering wot the ‘ell everyone else is talking about when they speak of it in such high terms.

    Combat looks absolutely silly; combatants shooting each other in the face with assault rifles at two feet away (and still needing to empty a clip or two!). The quests are either extremely boring, extremely stupid, or extremely poorly thought out. Or all three. Let’s not forget broken, too. Dialogue is painful. Atrocious writing. Bland NPCs. High school level voice acting. Nonsensical elements (why are there Chinese troops hiding out in a factory TWO HUNDRED years after the war?).

    Having said all that I will admit that I’ve probably put close to eighty or ninety hours into it. Over Christmas I’d play it easily for six or seven hours a day. Even with all its problems there was something compelling about exploring the wasteland in first person…wanting to see what was over the next ridge…what was in the ruins…

    But then I reached a point where I just didn’t care anymore. Probably when I realized that every factory looked the same, every town (with their four people…shouldn’t they be hamlets instead?), and practically every NPC. The thrill of discovery was gone. It was boring to discover some new spot, trudge through it wasting a bunch of raiders or mole rats or mirelurk hunters and getting nothing out of it. A few trinkets, but no real sense of “Wow, that was a cool experience!” Usually I’d end up spending more in ammo than getting back, making it even more of a waste of time.

    Overall it’s one of the most poorly designed games I’ve ever encountered. Yeah, there are a couple of interesting ideas in there. Dunwich tower, for example. But what starts off cool soon turns into an annoying grind with a lackluster ending. It’s like the designer blew his wad on the initial idea but didn’t know how to follow up with it.

    If only Tim Cain or Chris Taylor had been involved. Then maybe it would have turned out to be something decent. Instead we got candy coated feces.

  • JonathanStrange

    You spent “eighty or ninety hours” playing with “candy coated feces”? Either your standard of a good game is “one that I’ll play for friggin’ ever” or you just like candy coated feces more than you care to admit.

    Great Scotts! One’s too timid to say what he means in the first place and expects (and gets!) a pat on the back for a belated confession and the other plays crappy Fallout 3 nearly a hundred hours since Christmas. What was he waiting for? Extra-crappiness? Because, like the guy slamming his head against a wall, it felt so good when he stopped?

    I’ve a feeling we’re no longer in Oz, Toto. I don’t even play games I LOVE 100 hours.

  • steve

    Why do people expect to always dig the “popular” games?

    And man, picking a game as “Game of the Year” you dislike because it’s popular. According to their own site, “Crispy Gamer is independent. We have no outside pressure influencing us.”

    Except for popularity, I guess.

  • Jason

    That article was pretty pathetic, both as a critique of Fallout 3 and a “confessional”. How does a grown man feel peer pressure to like a game? And how was anyone duped by FO3? It provides nearly the exact same thing Bethesda has been providing for years. Which, being an Elder Scrolls fan, is why I’ve been addicted to it despite my bitter Fallout fan leanings. Anyone paying even the slightest attention should’ve known what they were getting into.

    At least the “I know RPGs because I’ve played Dragon Quest” comment was worth a chuckle.

  • Jimmy A. Brown

    I suppose I should thank Scott Jones for almost eliminating my desire to read the gaming media anymore. I especially appreciated the part that said:

    ” I know of a least a half-dozen writers who included Fallout 3 in their top-10 lists who, I know for a fact, didn’t invest more than three or four hours in the game (if that), and still felt compelled to vote for Fallout 3 — let’s go ahead and say it — because it felt like the right thing to do.”

    I guess people will do incredible things to maintain the appearance of credibility.

  • Alan Au

    Something irked me about the piece, maybe because the whole thing comes off as an self-righteous rant about why he feels enslaved by the expectations of the gaming public. Of course he is, and he’s well within his right to talk about it, but I could do without the “I told you so” vibe.

  • Gunner

    I’ve just learned to skip over anything he writes on CG. Simply can’t stand his writing, even in cases like this where I’m largely in agreement with his points.

  • Scott R. Krol

    @Mr. Strange:

    I already explained why I played for so long.

    “Even with all its problems there was something compelling about exploring the wasteland in first person.”

    For me, going the long slog once I began something–even if I don’t really like it–isn’t unusual. Gah, there’s been many of cheesy fantasy or sci-fi series where I sank thousands of pages into and despised (off the top of my head for example, Tad Williams cybepunk series and Peter Hamilton’s Reality Dysfunction series).

  • Bruce

    I wish I had 80 or 90 hours …

  • Sexpansion Pack

    I don’t agree with what seems to be the central implication of this article, that there’s some objective standard of excellence which everyone has to agree on. It’s really not a big deal to dislike a game that many others like – it’s not really all that interesting. It’s not even worth an article.

    This sounds a bit caustic, but games are subjective. The writer didn’t like it. So I have to say: so what?

    Maybe if the writer had shared something interesting about why he didn’t like it. And “mislead by marketing” doesn’t count.

    I’ve always found it much more interesting to hear about what people like about games, especially games that are not universally heralded. There’s a million reasons to dislike any game in our bug-ridden, uncanny-valley living, ever-evolving place in gaming history. Any sane person could find a hundred reasons to be bothered by even the most well liked titles. (Examples: Super Mario Galaxy – why is a plumber in space again? Thief 2 – why do I have to move so slowly? Rome: Total War – why are these war-dogs so effective? And why is the AI always so mad at me?)

  • JonathanStrange

    “I never play a game before reviewing it; it prejudices a man so”

  • Jason Lefkowitz

    Any sane person could find a hundred reasons to be bothered by even the most well liked titles… Rome: Total War – why are these war-dogs so effective? And why is the AI always so mad at me?

    Don’t forget the ninjas!