Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Why I Don't Love Fallout

I know it's not Saturday, and I know I've been inactive for weeks. I've been, like, busy, okay? I don't care about trying to stick to a set of specific set game analysis concepts to discuss anymore. I'm going to write about what I like, gun blammit. Maybe that way the content will somehow get less sporadic and stop bleeding to death.


So I've played a ton of Fallout: New Vegas. It scratches a few of my videogame itches really well. While it gives me a massage and provides me with mugs of melted dark chocolate to slurp. I definitely love the strategical aspects and the character building. I love exploring a big world full of interesting characters and choices. I love roleplaying different characters and having them all deal with these choices differently. I love the atmosphere, aesthetic, and depth of the game. But I don't like the original Fallout.

I played the original Fallout about halfway through before I finally just stopped. I couldn't put my finger on why I quit playing. According to the above list of why I spent over a month playing almost exclusively Fallout NV, I should have been totally consumed by the original. It took me a number of weeks pondering our falling out before it hit me. I didn't like the original Fallout because its kinaesthetics were annoying as all bork.

It wasn't the combat system that turned me off. I really enjoyed the methodical, strategic, and intelligent yet suspenseful and intense combat. That is, I would have enjoyed it if the field of view wasn't so constricted while being so fiddly to scroll. I would have enjoyed it if the engine made consistent decisions about when walls need to be invisible or partially transparent to allow me to see what's going on. Instead, I have to waste precious action points dealing with perspective issues, like trying to get the engine to decide that because I'm looking through a window, I should maybe see the inside of the building. This is while I'm trying to get the perspective that is just the small enough to slowly eat away at my patience and sanity to be where I want it to be which is just a slow enough process to make make me want to pull my beloved hair out after a few hours of play.

This reminds me of Abuse. I've picked Abuse up several times, each time remembering it as really cool and each time rage quitting. The field of view is far too narrow considering the scale of the game, and the framerate is low enough while the enemies move fast enough to make actual dodging and aiming barely impossible. (Also, the levels were borking stupid.) This is another great example of a good game being ruined by just a few kinaesthetic failures.

Both games get a partial escape from guilt in that the somewhat limited technology used to create them necessitated these compromises. Back in the days of Fallout, if you wanted good kinaestetics, you'd go play DOOM or Mario, or Descent, or some game that had good kinaestetics as a focus. Thus, the people who loved the original Fallout when it came out loved it because they didn't care enough about how the game felt to play compared to the other things it offered. This is why I like Fallout NV for the same reasons fans of the original like the original and NV, but I don't like the original. I like universe, story, characters, symbolism, unique and interesting visual design, roleplaying, and choice, but I'm not willing to put myself through an experience that feels annoying to play for as low a concentrated dose of those things.


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