[Author’s note: This article contains spoilers. They come up about halfway through the article, but they’re there. This is all stuff that happens in the first 15 hours of the game, but if you want a completely clean experience, come back later.]
This little game called Fallout 4 – perhaps you’ve heard of it? – released this past week, and if you are the sort of person who regularly visits this site I can only assume that you are reading this article in the bathroom as a means to distract yourself from the anger directed towards your damned mortal body because its biological functions are preventing you from playing more Fallout. My Facebook feed is currently full of Fallout: friends are playing it, friends are loving it, Dogmeat in full armor is sitting on my feed taking no shit and no prisoners. Somebody brought the collector’s edition strategy guide into work this week and we gathered around it like cavemen first discovering fire, all grunts and gestures.
Personally, I love this game. It has some glaring flaws: every character fell out of the Bethesda tree, smacking their faces on every branch on the way down; some glitches where subtitles and spoken dialogue aren’t synched; some occasional FPS and performance issues (Xbox One); odd things sometime cause loading times inexplicably; settlement building controls are borderline ass. But it’s a massive open world RPG made by Bethesda, which means two things:
- You know what you’re fucking getting. This company has a very well known standard at this point: great games with small but shitty flaws that prevent them from being perfect. Which brings us to point 2…
- All of these flaws exist because they’re trying to be perfect. Bethesda falls short of their goals (and our hopes) time and time again precisely because they try so damned hard to exceed expectations. “Let’s take a beloved franchise, change some of its storytelling conventions, try to make the best story yet, add voice acting, add settlement building, make crafting even deeper, make the map bigger and denser than before, tweak gun play mechanics, etc. etc. etc.” Did they try to do too much? Maybe. But if they’d made everybody wait seven years for more of the same, everybody would be pissed
Oh, wait, what? Everybody is pissed now?
As of this writing, the PC version Fallout 4 has a 5/10 on the user rating on Metacritic, thanks to 647 negative reviews. I couldn’t bring myself to look, but evidently the console versions are getting just as slammed. The vast majority of these reviews are a festering shit pit, where the last shred of human intelligence has gone to die. These reviews illustrate perfectly why more advanced alien species have thus far given humanity the cold shoulder. Can I get away with one more? Great. I’ve long thought Idiocracy was more documentary than fiction and these reviews were the final straw.
Let me be clear: if they didn’t like the game for legitimate reasons (any of the ones listed above or the clunky PC controls), I would say to myself: “Self, different people like different things. Let’s not concern ourselves with these differing opinions, and let’s instead focus on the fact that we can give our canine companion a teddy bear and then watch him playfully destroy it. How cute!” But no. I can’t do that. I can’t let this go. There is a lot at play here, from the PC master race being pissed off that they are getting a “shitty console port” to a general rise in our society’s desire to hate things and tear them down.
To illustrate my point, I will go through one of these reviews in depth. So that you know I’m not making this up, here is a link to the cretin’s profile: http://www.metacritic.com/user/ShadowWarfare. Without futher ado, let’s bring on the brain damage.
“The creators didn’t even attempt to create a coherent wasteland. Fallout is supposed to be a RPG about surviving a nuclear holocaust. In Fallout 4 however the game appears to be about nothing more than capping enemies in the head with an assortment of different weapons.”
First of all, what in the actual fuck does this even mean? What is a “coherent wasteland”? When I travel around, I see destroyed buildings, radiation, dead bodies, mutants, mutated animals, raiders, hostile people, small pockets of civilization, greedy people, people abusing their power, armor and weapons cobbled together from spare parts, dirt and debris. Seems like a post-apocalyptic wasteland to me. And yeah, it’s a first person shooter role playing game. You see, you create a character, assign it stats, level it up, grow stronger, have to make constant decisions about what to do, what to say, how to conduct yourself… you know – all the traditional hallmarks of a role-playing game. And then there’s this whole other side to the game, where you shoot guns. Because in the world of Fallout, most people are hostile. There isn’t a whole lot of trust. Because nuclear bombs. And fallout. And struggling to survive. And raiders. Most people – and this touch seems pretty realistic – shoot first and ask questions later. In which case, as somebody trying to survive in this sort of world, you would really want to have weapons and be able to use them in order to shoot people. And since shooting them in the head seems to do the trick pretty quick, that’s not a horrible idea.
Too bad you didn’t even attempt to create a coherent opening statement for your lousy fucking review.
“The design of the game has gone from being a game which tells a story. To simply a game about playing a game. Fifteen minutes after leaving the Vault butt-naked with nothing but a blue jumper suit and a pistol to your name, you will acquire a suit of high tech Power armor along with a Minigun to go along with it. Twenty minutes into the game you will be destroying some of the most powerful enemies in Fallout lore, the dreaded Deathclaw government experimented super soldier.”
I don’t even know where to start with this shit. “The design of the game has gone from being a game which tells a story… to simply a game about playing a game,” is the sort of stupidity you clumsily ejaculate onto a page when you have no fucking clue what you’re talking about but want to sound really smart. The entire sentence is meaningless. One of the dumbest people I’ve ever met in this entire world once told me he doesn’t like salmon because it tastes like salmon. At least that argument makes sense.
“Fifteen minutes after leaving the Vault butt-naked with nothing but a blue jumper suit”… well, which is it, asshole?
And then we get into a critique of one of the developer’s design choices, namely to give you early access to the Power Armor. In previous Fallout games, the Power Armor was largely something you witnessed, or was a late game reward. In Fallout 4, you get it early but it’s incredibly limited. You have to have enough power to use it, and trust me – in the beginning of the game, you don’t have enough power. You also get a Minigun to go with this power armor, but you only get enough ammo to (maybe) get through one fight, the aforementioned Deathclaw. Except our intrepid reviewer didn’t mention that there is also a gang of raiders attacking you simultaneously. This seems like a minor detail, but in my own play through, I burned through most of my power and all of my Minigun ammo neutralizing the raiders, which created a really awesome game of hide and go seek with a Deathclaw in the streets of Concord, using only my dog and a shitty pistol. For what amounts to a tutorial for the power armor, I ended up having one of the most tense and exciting encounters I can ever remember. Um… might I suggest, if you’re finding the game too easy, that you increase the difficulty level? I had to come back later with more juice, to actually recover my power armor and bring it back to my base. I’ve used it for one other mission. I’ve been hoarding that previous power, refusing to waste my power armor on a mission unless I absolutely need it. Yes, you get it early. Yes, it’s powerful. But because of its limits, in no way is it overpowered. Also, that Minigun? It’s sitting in my storage because I don’t have any ammo for it.
To take it a step further, I have encountered one other Deathclaw in my game so far, at about the eight hour mark. It was already half dead, and it took me five tries (and about 25 minutes) to kill it. I eventually had to lead it to a place where I could hide in a couple spots, slowly whittling down it’s health and moving from spot to spot whenever I had an opening. If it caught me out in the open, it ripped me to shreds pretty much instantly. I don’t think “they made the Deathclaws soft” stands up as a valid complaint.
“A few more hours into the game and you will have a mini nuclear rocket launch (The Fatman). An assortment of weapons from machine guns, pistols, sniper rifles, shotguns, auto pistols (list goes on).”
Yup. I have a massive shit ton of guns. I have the Fatman. A sniper rifle. More pistols than an NRA convention. A couple shotguns. Two miniguns. Some laser weapons. Revolvers. A flamethrower. And a missile launcher. You know what I don’t have in abundance? FUCKING AMMO. I have a single mini nuke to use in the Fatman. Much like my power armor, I’m sitting on that like it’s the last bottle of clean water. My Miniguns are shiny paper weights. My missile launcher might as well be in a glass case. I have to cycle through different guns based on how much ammo I have left, and most of the time I’m using a relatively low damage pistol because at least I have 350 10mm rounds. If you’re finding an over abundance of ammo, might I again suggest you increase the difficulty to something that actually challenges you?
“Another hour into the game and you will meet the Elite Brotherhood of Steel, the futuristic faction of super soldiers who guard their high technology secrets furiously. Don’t worry though because they’ll be happy to recruit you into their ranks almost instantly. Thus giving you access to laser weapons and other high tech weapons. The recon leader of the Brotherhood is even nice enough to give you his prized possession, his legendary laser rifle. Yes he will give his most prized weapon to some random wastelander he met just ten minutes ago.”
Besides the fact that if you follow the main storyline, you could easily miss this quest until much later in the game (12 hours for me), this description is grossly misleading. It’s full of more shit than a cow farm. So here’s how this really goes down:
- You can pick up on a radio signal if you walk in a certain area
- This radio signal is a distress call from a police station
- You go to the police station, where a Paladin (high ranking member of the Brotherhood) is surround by enemies
- He is protecting a scribe (unarmed) and a wounded companion
- You help him dispatch a pretty sizable wave of enemies
- Once this is clear, you have a conversation with him
- He is completely tight lipped about what his group is doing here
- Thanks to a failed charisma check, all I could get out of him was that he needed help expanding the range of his distress signal
- There is a building nearby that was once a technical company, which should have the part
- The wounded is taken inside and treated
- You can collect whatever supplies they have handy, and then you and Paladin are off
- The tech lab is full of enemies, with about five areas that are full of synthetics – difficult to kill bastards with high power laser weapons
- At one point during my play through, we cleared a room by filling it with fire, and he was able to survive thanks to his power armor
- After recovering the part that he needs, he complimented me on being able to follow orders, keep a cool head, and accomplish the mission
- He offers you a spot in the Brotherhood
- If you accept, he gives you his laser rifle, and makes a huge point of saying that he has many high tech weapons so you aren’t really putting him out by taking this
So… The Paladin is willing to recruit you because you saved his wounded crew member’s ass, and proved yourself useful in a fight. He then takes you on a test mission. If this mission took you ten minutes, I will again suggest that you turn up the difficulty because you are playing on Bitch Mode. And then if you accept his offer and become a new recruit, he gives you a weapon befitting a member of the Brotherhood. What’s the fucking problem? This seems like a legitimate story line with a believable arc and a satisfying conclusion. I don’t even know why I’m bothering, since it’s clear from the half assed and dishonest description of this quest that ShadowWarfare isn’t interested in being reasonable.
“And that’s Fallout 4 for you. It doesn’t even attempt to make any sense. It has no character progression because your character will go from zero to hero before you even get ten percent into the game. And the games world is not a wasteland. It’s just a game world which looks like a wasteland and has a bunch of loot thrown into it so that the console players can run around capping zombies and raiders without even trying.”
I just pointed out how it made sense. Quite a bit of it, actually.
There’s a ton of character progression. Levels, stats, perks, gear modification. I’m 14 hours into the game, and I’m routinely getting the hurt laid down on me by groups of raiders and super mutants. In order to complete a quest this evening, where the final enemy was a Super Mutant with a Minigun, I had to use 10 stimpaks. TEN. (PS – you can get addicted to chemicals, which is great fun!)
It’s funny, because I have power armor, and a Minigun, and a Fatman, but it’s the damnedest thing… Because I still have to be careful, and the game is quick to punish me if I get sloppy and careless. Could it be that this reviewer is just… I don’t know… completely full of shit?
And this was one of the better written, more coherent negative reviews I could find. There’s this…
“Bethesda… what you doing? Bethesda, I really wanna know answer! What you doing? For what?!
It’s so cruel, unsparingly and… and you are insane maniac! Maybe, my oldschool nature raget because this game is not Old Fallout? Yeah, that so… Fallout 3 – too many idiotic things, single-celled story and more of this, but it wasn’t so bad, new atmosphere good, gameplay not bad, wasteland – giant radioactive stone, that make me fun… Than release the Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout from Parents of Fallout! Oh, I love New Vegas, Old-New Fallout, it’s gooooood!”
“Fallout ? This is Fallout ???? This is some kind of joke. I’ve played Fallout 1, 2, 3 , 3 NV and i admire that some parts was better, some was worse but now it’s hard to call this piece of crap a Fallout.”
On principle, I cannot agree with somebody who uses four question marks. Fuck you, buddy. And this…
“This game is tastless. More like a cardbox than a sandbox, and just a waste without a land in it really – empty, meaningless and dull. No hopes for Charisma-based characters, no pleasure for explorers, sixty bucks for a high promises. Badly executed trickery, well played on community nostalgic feelings.”
Except Charisma has some of the most vital perks. And a bunch of unique dialog options. And my buddy who plays a charisma character was telling me about how he gets options to peacefully resolve quests, while my strong but dumb character only gets to use violence to resolve problems. Which makes total sense and gives a completely different feeling to characters that were built differently. And there’s hundreds of little nooks and crannies to explore. Fuck it. Why am I wasting time carefully responding to a fucking moron that didn’t even use spell check???? In positive news, this review was so putrid, it finally helped me understand why somebody would use so many question marks.
“Disappointment of the year! Where the interesting dialogues, exciting story? Where RPG abilities?
The feeling that you play in the pre-release version. Stupid shooter.RIP good old Fallout.”
RIP sentence structure and proper punctuation. You had a good run. It was fun while it lasted.
“Graphics 2005, did not expect can be games such graphics .. shame gameplay . Note 2 given me , I think it is still high.
Many bugs , Shame , Shame you can ask for money on something”
A cunning argument from a keen mind. I have nothing to say.
“This is no what i expected. First its a shooter, i wanted RPG. Second, its minecraft. And last but not least, characters are so flat and boring, The Witcher showed us how open word with living characters should looks like. This is not bad game… but its not Fallout that i used to know.”
Not. It’s. I, capitalized. It’s. Boring is the end of one sentence, whereas The Witcher should start a new sentence. Every time you splice a comma, an English teacher cries alone. Open world. Should look like. Not a bad game. It’s. I, capitalized.
And if you don’t care for the crafting and base building, you can ignore that aspect of the game completely. Fallout 3 and New Vegas were incredibly reliant on shooting and the VATs system. I know seven years is a long time when your brain ages a couple of days every time your body ages a year, but try to keep up for fuck’s sake.
“Is this what we have been waiting for ?! No this is not a mere shadow what we were expecting. This is old generic cheap way of making games. Everything here is from last generation or even before.”
The double negative in your second sentence… Fuck it.
“I bought this thinking it was an isometric RPG and what I got was FPS. I have only played Fallout 1 & 2 and was on cryogenic sleep in the last 15 years and this is how Bethesda welcomes me? 0/10”
“Fallout 4 is a scam im sorry for those who pre ordered the game..truly sorry for buying that worthless piece of **** they should be ashamed of themselves for publishing this game and for 60bucks thats pure stealing for this piece of **** garbage..they should be sued for scam.”
The man makes a compelling case.
“This game is bad. My computer don’t may run this game. Bad repack and game. Texture from the 20000000 years under H.X. Dialogue so casual. I very angry.”
Go play in a wood chipper.
“A tired, recycled, over-hyped, overpriced farce. The textures look like they were made in MS Paint for Windows 3.1, and the core has been dumbed down to suit the gullible target audience (hype train commuters). More money was likely spent on marketing than actual development from what I see.”
If somebody is that good with MS Paint for Windows 3.1, we need to find this person and make them famous. I’ll make sure that I gather the rest of the mindless plebes so we can really throw our support behind this hypothetical modern day da Vinci.
“I have around 300 hours in fallout 3 so i’m relatively new to the fallout series and this is absolutely a terrible game. I mean, they don’t even let you buy your own ship, and the voice acting is abysmal. If you’re smart you’ll vote with your money and not spend your hard earned dollars on this terrible game.”
This is a troll, right? This has to be a troll? Please, for the love of God and all that is holy, this has to be trolling. Right?
“Graphics is nice but… oh my god… how… how you can sleep dear Bethesda after that?… why? Why you killed Dialogue system?? WHYYY?! People will not forgive you >:-(“
I will never forgive your parents for procreating.
“Worst game ever made. Here is a sentence that make no sense but get closer to 150 characters long message limit. And another one. And once more… Aaaaand, finally, the last one.”
I can’t believe this particular sperm was the fastest swimmer.
“i bot this gam cuz i like fallput 3 and nv sucks so i saw bethesda maked this one i was excited. i stole my moms card to buy it and my **** laptop couldnt even open trhe game!!! hpw can bethesda make game for pc that dont work? fukin dum as ****”
“Fukin dum as ****,” indeed.
“It realy bad game, and it is done for 10-15 old boys with no brain att all. Where ismple were stupid with minimum main story. Don’t buy , it not worth it”
Other people have no brain at all? That’s rich.
“This game is horrid. Nothing more to say here. It’s sucks. I looked at the graphics and I almost crapped out a turd. A turd would have looked better by the way!”
I highly doubt that.
“II have seen screenshots of this game and by the look of them alone I would never buy it. They make it look dull and boring and I dont like games like this!”
So you have nothing better to do than write poorly worded reviews for games you haven’t even played? Fuck off and die.
“Notice that critic reviews are before the game even released.”
God, you’re so fucking smart, bro. You nailed it completely. How could we all have been so blind? Eat shit.
“All the aspects of the game is dumbed down. It just feels stupid trying to play this. I’d rather play the other Fallouts for tens of times.”
I can’t anymore. I just can’t. I think blood is coming out of my ears. I’m going to go to sleep now. I hate all of these people, intensely.