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The Media Games

"Fallout 4" Release Raises Questions About Reviews of Buggy Games (kotaku.com) 367

RogueyWon writes: Fallout 4, the latest instalment in the long-running video-game series and one of the most hyped titles of the year, was released on 10 November. The game has generally been reviewing well, currently holding a Metacritic score of 89. However, a number of reviewers have noted the very large number of bugs present in all versions of the game and have, in some cases, reflected on the difficulty that these pose for reviewers, despite still awarding positive overall write-ups. Can it be ethical to recommend a product to consumers on the basis of its strengths, despite knowing that it contains serious faults?
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"Fallout 4" Release Raises Questions About Reviews of Buggy Games

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  • I'm 8 hours in (Score:5, Informative)

    by sokoban ( 142301 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @02:02PM (#50902535) Homepage

    And have no bad bugs to report. A couple instances of things disappearing and reappearing, but no hard crashes or getting stuck.

    • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @02:18PM (#50902715)

      And have no bad bugs to report.

      Well, roaches usually take a little longer to start collecting around the cheeto dust.

      A couple instances of things disappearing and reappearing...

      Yeah, that's called blinking. Over the course of 8 hours, humans tend to do it more than twice. Helps keep you from going blind.

      ...but no hard crashes or getting stuck.

      Nerdcore! No sleeping for at least another 12 hours! Oh, and towels work best to keep fat from sticking to vinyl...

      • And have no bad bugs to report.

        Well, roaches usually take a little longer to start collecting around the cheeto dust.

        Mmmmm.... RAD Roach meat....

        I had crash problems on my PC. Beta patch 1.1.30 solved them.

        I still see some occasional video issues on my GTX 970. There are PC tweaks that I'll have to go though to see if they fix this. Plus, NVIDIA is releasing driver updates and video tweaks fairly quickly.

    • Yeah, my girlfriend hasn't moved from the couch since we got it - and she hasn't complained of bugs.

      Though the 500MB+ update as soon as we put the disk in had her climbing the walls.

      • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

        I decided to wait until I get home from work..... which, I am not sure how I ended up saying I would come into the office for the first time in 2 months today. I meant to take today off, how that turned into "sure, I can come in next tuesday.....)

        Anyway, woke up this morning to find my wife already on and playing. I haven't even heard the "War never changes" speech yet.

        she has been way more excited about this than I have, but also way more pissed. The whole "protagonist has a voice" thing is some serious fr

    • The 1-star reviews on metacritic all seem to lament the boring plot and empty world, hollow characters, crummy voice acting, etc. Some say "buggy", but they don't mention what kind of bugs. You mention disappearing items... What items? Inventory items? Items in the world? Plot critical items?

      One of the funniest bugs I remember in TES4: Oblivion is when you killed a guy in a house, and came back to that house later in the game, the dead body was bouncing and flailing all over the room. Sometimes, the bangin
    • by ADRA ( 37398 )

      No so much bugs as annoyances:
      - Console controls, they want you to use a console. They force you to take your hand off the mouse continuously. Fail.
      - Deathclaw fight near the beginning. It wasn't clear that power armour can jump from buildings without taking damage, so I wasted all my ammo trying to hit enemies from top and died from the claw later. There weren't good indications that this was possible but it was pertinent to progress (maybe if it was in dialog, but there was a real bug of n

      • Console controls? Showstopper for me. Thanks for the warning, not going to buy.

        Dear game studios: I don't mind console ports. I don't even mind that the graphics is as shabby as it is on the consoles. I can even deal with the dumbing down that happens to everything remotely targeted at consoles. But don't mess up the controls.

      • It wasn't clear that power armour can jump from buildings without taking damage

        I distinctly remember the little 'helpful hints' window popping up and saying 'power armor eliminates all falling damage and reduces all other kinds of damage.' Doesn't get any clearer than that.

    • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @03:18PM (#50903231)

      This is a hobby of some people. Trash a game for having bugs, calling it the worst game of all time (seriously, that was in the forums), etc. But they'll point to other games that have had bugs and praise them. There have been bugs in computer games since they first existed, and there have been patches that have come out to fix them. I don't see the big deal. There's certainly zero *ethical* problems with giving a positive review here. Fallout 3 is a great game, I highly recommend it, and it has bugs. Fallout 1 is my favorite game of all time, and it's extremely buggy.

      There's also the wannabe professional reviewer corps. Even the ones at professional web sites aren't really trained critics with a journalism background. A lot of them seem to think that criticism means tearing something down. I mean if they're comparing Fallout 4 to popular console FPS shooters, which many have done, then they've sort of missed the entire concept of what Fallout is.

      The ultimate problem is that you have to eventually release the game. There will be bugs. If you wait until it's perfect then it will never be released. Compound the problem by announcing a release date long before the development is seriously underway. Compare to the rushed out yearly-franchise of Assassin's Creed, the latest was vastly more buggy than Fallout 4.

      • they should probably make two different review scores.

        what they rate it now, and what they'd rate it in a years time...

        you know, when presumably it's

        A) running stably
        B) all the content has been included
        C) no performance issues
        D) no showstopping bugs
        E) less irritating bugs

        you know... what they used to call gold.

        i'm going to wait a while to get it, maybe for the GOTY edition, you know the one when i actually get to buy a finished product.

      • Re:I'm 8 hours in (Score:5, Informative)

        by Noah Haders ( 3621429 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @04:50PM (#50904149)

        It should be said, polygon has been giving games 'provisional reviews' and then updating a final review after a month. This is especially relevant for online multiplayer games that are most functional when there's a large community.

  • Yes? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dmomo ( 256005 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @02:02PM (#50902537)

    "Can it be ethical to recommend a product to consumers on the basis of its strengths, despite knowing that it contains serious faults?"

    Yes. Are you disclosing those flaws honestly, so consumers can make an informed choice? Unless you're lying about your endorsement, what's the problem?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Is it a good game? Sure, but people never seem to learn that you should always wait a few months for modders to fix any Fallout or TES game.
      • by OhPlz ( 168413 )

        I only played a couple hours since it's a work day.. but it's the first Fallout I've played where the preload unlocked on time, both audio and video worked without having to mess with ini files or go searching for specific driver versions, and it didn't crash. So.. maybe they're getting better. I think it was Fallout 3 where I couldn't even play it for a couple of days waiting on a patch to let me launch it.

      • Any game for that matter. I think console players are used to getting a game on cartridge or disc that can't be changed, and they're still new to the concept of getting patches. With Fallout 4 they're definitely going to be new to the concept of modding the game.

      • Preorders are for suckers.

      • by eth1 ( 94901 )

        Is it a good game? Sure, but people never seem to learn that you should always wait a few months for modders to fix any Fallout or TES game.

        Yes, Bethesda does seem to have a habit of letting their customers do all the bug-fixing work. They seem to have realized that they can get away with it, because my experience is that they never bother to fix much of anything. F3:NV was un-playable without a stack of mods, so I didn't even bother with F4.

        I've found that a good rule of thumb for me is just not to ever spend more than about $20 on a game, because there seems to be an inverse relationship between cost and quality these days.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by geekmux ( 1040042 )

      "Can it be ethical to recommend a product to consumers on the basis of its strengths, despite knowing that it contains serious faults?"

      Yes. Are you disclosing those flaws honestly, so consumers can make an informed choice? Unless you're lying about your endorsement, what's the problem?

      Exactly. I'm struggling more with the fact that we're actually asking this question, as if the accepted norm should somehow be unethical lying in order to maintain positive reviews.

      • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

        I think the implication was to go the other way; give a score a lower rating due to bugs.
        Frankly, if a game is truly buggy, it should get two ratings; one for the game as-is and an extra one for the game as it would be without bugs.

      • Were there lies? I never saw any. The reviews pointed out the bugs that existed, and recommended the game. I will recommend the game most likely once I get in and play it. There were no reviews that said it was bug free, all of them that I read pointed out the bugs. There are no ethical issues here.

    • Moreover, Bethesda is known for making buggy games. All of the reviews I've read or heard about so far acknowledge not only the bugs in Fallout 4, but also the history of bugs that have plagued their previous titles, such as the Elder Scrolls series and Fallout 3. What's notable about Bethesda games is that they remain highly regarded among critics and actual gamers despite their bugs, but those bugs are never hidden, ignored, or not taken into account. They're simply a small mark against what are otherwise

      • :) yeah, i've got enough distractions, may just wait for goty. I don't need this fix that badly.

    • Re:Yes? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @02:33PM (#50902841) Homepage

      Disclosing or dismissing? "Sure it has a few bugs, but I'm sure they'll get fixed soon and it's a great game 9/10", please put me on the exclusive interview/preview/kickback list and not the shit list for your next game. Game reviews don't have the greatest reputation for integrity, to say the least. Oddly enough launch sales are crazy high despite except for first to level in MMORPGs there's rarely any hurry. So if you give it a kick in the teeth because it's buggy and not very playable right now the publishers tend to not like you. And content is king, if you don't have anything special except the post-release reviews everyone can do you're likely to go out of business.

    • by Ranbot ( 2648297 )

      Yes. Are you disclosing those flaws honestly, so consumers can make an informed choice? Unless you're lying about your endorsement, what's the problem?

      I agree the author of a review is doing no harm endorsing a game despite flaws if the flaws are disclosed in the review, which based on the Kotaku article it looks like most reviewers are. No foul. The problem as I see it is too many people focus on a review's overall rating/score and don't read the full review where they probably would have learned about the bugs. Metacritic's score aggregation exacerbates this problem. Readers [or users] need to shoulder some responsibility to take game reviews in their e

    • by ADRA ( 37398 )

      I'd imagine the OP's point is that the review scores are based on the speculation that once a game's bug are corrected, the score is as stands which isn't a true reflection of the game at release necessarily. The problem is, basically all reviewers get their copies well ahead of release, and reviews are almost always weighted with the assumption the crap gets sorted out. If that isn't the case, you have a review that is significantly higher rates based on potentially game breaking issues that weren't resolv

    • a single score doesn't capture how bad the bugs can be, and we know, we ALL know bethesda makes good games, they just need a good bit of maturation after release.

      so, do the reviewers let you know what they think of the "beta" or what they imagine the final state will be?

    • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

      This is an important point, but there is also honesty with yourself. Games share a property with relationships, its often not about how good it is, because good times are easy. Its really more about which negatives you can deal with.

      I really love "Zero Punctuation" reviews for ripping apart a game comically because I find the jabs are full of truth. Even when I love a game that is being shredded, I find myself agreeing with its criticism, he is usually right, we just have different priorities. Its like dish

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @02:04PM (#50902563)

    >> Can it be ethical to recommend a product to consumers on the basis of its strengths, despite knowing that it contains serious faults?

    Yes, as long as the first words of your review are something like, "you might like [product] in a few years, but don't plan on buying it now...[reasons for hope]...[reasons why it's currently broken]."

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      >> Can it be ethical to recommend a product to consumers on the basis of its strengths, despite knowing that it contains serious faults?

      Yes, as long as the first words of your review are something like, "you might like [product] in a few years, but don't plan on buying it now...[reasons for hope]...[reasons why it's currently broken]."

      You don't need to tell other people when to buy or not, just the facts please.

      • I liked PC Gamer's review of Extreme Paint Brawl (lowest score ever at the time mainly due to the fact that the game wasn't fun and was buggy as hell). That was a game that was so buggy as to be unplayable. a few glitches, crashes etc that are common in modern games, I can over look them as I know they'll be fixed. Another problem with reviews is that the game they get to play, isn't the same game you buy on day one. It's pre-release, so it has MORE bugs. What is the point of saying the game sucks beca

      • part of the facts is that bethesda games are eventually fully playable, it just takes time getting there.

    • Years?? The bug fixes will be out soon. This is standard for almost all PC games ever. The only reason to wait years is if you need new hardware.

  • Warts and all (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @02:13PM (#50902649)
    If it's fit to release, it's fit to review, warts and all. If the devs don't want bugs to bring their average down, perhaps they should spend more time on QA.
  • Release now patch later give CEO big bonus for laying off QA (we have end users that pay to due that) and working people 60-80 hour weeks to save on man power.

    • by PhrostyMcByte ( 589271 ) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @02:57PM (#50903071) Homepage

      Release now patch later give CEO big bonus for laying off QA (we have end users that pay to due that)

      I've talked with enough folks in QA to know that in the majority of cases all these game-breaking bugs are known and reported by QA prior to a game's release. The problem is marketing has promised a specific date and they're damned well going to meet it even if it means putting out a day-zero patch and dozens of patches over the next several weeks.

      Knowing this is why I'd be perfectly okay having reviewers down-rate a game for a buggy release. It's the only way we'll be able to show them this toxic behavior isn't what we want.

      • I was in the kickstarter for Project Eternity and we could see how all the sausage was being made. Even so, day one some people whined bitterly about minor bugs. There will *always* be the petty whiners on the forums, and *every* game is claimed to be the worst game of all time by some body.

        Fallout 4 is in a huge universe. The very nature of open world games (of which there are extremely few) means there's just way too many things possible to test all possibilities. It would take a couple of years just

      • by Comen ( 321331 )

        That is true, but to be honest, most gamers should understand by now that when you buy a game on the day it comes out you understand you want it sooner and are willing to deal with some bugs. If you want bugs fixed wait and buy the game months after release when they have had some patches.
        For instance I bought FO4 knowing there would be bugs, but if I am going to buy the game eventually I might of well check it out now and wait for some patches to come in to play most the game.

  • by Radical Moderate ( 563286 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @02:16PM (#50902679)
    ...and yes, it was buggy. But it was still fun, and patches came out pretty quickly. I don't have a problem with reviewers giving a good review as long as they note that there are bugs. If it's so buggy as to be unplayable, that's another story.
  • by ThePyro ( 645161 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @02:17PM (#50902693)
    I find myself reminded of this quote:

    MILLIONS OF BUGS! We're only eliminating the crash-bugs, everything else is hilarious and we're keeping it

    - Goat simulator devs

    • by creimer ( 824291 )
      *cough* Driver 3 *cough*
    • I loved the head going all gimpy in that game whenever you climbed a ladder, it was a hilarious bug.

  • by bulled ( 956533 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @02:17PM (#50902695)
    They cannot break their streak now. Not a single TES or Fallout game they released was ready on release date, why would they want to tarnish that pristine record?
  • Can it be ethical to recommend a product to consumers on the basis of its strengths, despite knowing that it contains serious faults?

    Critics are panning the latest James Bond movie, yet movie watchers gave it an A- grade. How do we explain this gap?

    • I heard a movie reviewer last week saying a new Bond film was a lot like an election; that it was impervious to reviews.

      Because, like an election, a good portion of people are going to see the movie no matter what some reviewer says. The reviewer cannot influence their decision.

      At the end of the day, if the movie makes money and the critics hate it ... well, the critics have an opinion, and the movie going public may not care.

      • "a good portion of people are going to see the movie no matter what some reviewer says"

        Just wait for Star Wars: The Force Awakens to be released....for every person that screems "OMG Disney" or "GTH J.J. Abrams", I know they are still going to see the movie.

    • Ethical lapses in the movie journalism industry!

    • the new bond film is fine. the critics have been spoiled by daniel craig's stint as bond and expected terrific. This one doesn't hit the mark of skyfall, nor does it have the freshness of casino royale. So yes, the critics panned it for not measuring up... lets just never speak of quantum.

      Anyway, the moviegoers enjoyed it. So they gave it 5 stars, or whatever you give offhandedly when you've enjoyed something but don't want to bother with actually filling out a survey. But it was just fine.

  • Sorry, but do we still believe reviewers are honest, objective, and tell us all of these things?

    Aren't they basically put under a gag order, told they can't release reviews early, and pretty much told they won't get access to future games if they give a bad review?

    I was kind of under the impression game reviewers have been glossing over crap like this for years.

    And if I'm aware of it, it's gotta be a pretty open secret. Because I don't read video game reviews, because I don't buy brand-new releases.

    From th

    • by bulled ( 956533 )

      From the sounds of it, game companies are now so reliant on shipping a broken product and then patching it later, getting a new release is like being the beta testers.

      It's true, the best time to buy a Bethesda game is 18 months later when it is 1/3 the cost and most of the big bugs are fixed. Nothing beats paying release prices to get access to the large public beta.

      • While that is true... if we all do that, then we won't get any more of these games...

        If you really want more of these games to come, someone has to pay launch day prices...

        • by bulled ( 956533 )
          I don't want more of these games where launch day features include broken quests, random crashes, missing plot points, and other things that would have been caught if QA wasn't cut the make the launch schedule. I am willing to see fewer of these games made if that is the price of me waiting 18 months to buy them.
  • Rational basis (Score:4, Insightful)

    by allquixotic ( 1659805 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @02:26PM (#50902791)

    I believe there is a rational basis for giving Bethesda the benefit of the doubt that the bugs WILL be fixed. In all of their previous games -- Fallout 3, Oblivion, Skyrim, etc. -- Bethesda has released a huge number of patches fixing bugs, bolstered further by an ardent community of modders to fix yet more bugs with their own patches, that make the polished game pretty close to bug-free 1-2 years later, and still quite playable and workable even after 2 or 3 months of major patches from Bethesda.

    There is something to be said for a developer's reputation. In this case, I believe the reputation of the developer is one that gives us reason to trust them to fix the worst of the problems, and the game should be moddable enough that the community will fix the rest.

    Also, this is a 64-bit native game on PC (not sure about consoles), which means that we won't be getting crashes due to hitting the virtual address space limit like we did on 32-bit. It makes a gigantic difference. Even if there's a slow memory leak in the game that persists for a long time, you can just have a large pagefile, even if you only have 8 GB of RAM, and eventually the leaked memory pages will get swapped out to disk, freeing up RAM for the pages actively being used by the game.

    And having it be 64-bit gives us the advantage of being able to scale up the number of objects and mods to a complexity level never seen before in a Bethsoft sandbox game.

    Basically I would advise everyone to take a chill pill about the bugs. If you're being bitten by bugs currently, and feel that it's too buggy to play, just wait 2 or 3 more weeks for the first major patch(es) to land, and it'll be good enough to enjoy the experience, at least. Then, on your second playthrough a month or two from now, it'll be even more polished, and we might even have a community bugfix patch by that time, depending on how quickly and fervently people work on it.

    I would not give this same level of trust and expectation of bugfixes for just any developer or just any community, though. Most games are not nearly as moddable out of the box as Bethsoft games, and most games don't get nearly as much post-release support as Bethsoft and their community gives their games.

    • Re:Rational basis (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bulled ( 956533 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @02:38PM (#50902895)
      Sure, they will likely fix these bugs eventually, but why couldn't they fix the bugs _before_ release and ship a working product? As I said earlier, Bethesda has always worked this way. I have never played a Bethesda game that worked on release date (to be fair my first was Morrowind, maybe the earlier ones were better). Instead they throw out this thing held together by chicken wire and chewing gum with the promise to fix later. That is the problem, there are no consequences for shipping broken software because you can patch it later.
      • by iONiUM ( 530420 )

        A perfect product never ships.

        • by bulled ( 956533 )
          The customer good will lost from shipping a broken product takes a long time to get back, far longer than the slip to included sufficient QA cycles. This is how it works for most products, eventually gamers will come around. Not asking for perfect, just not totally broken in obvious ways.
      • If a game is delayed players will complain. They will complain even more loudly about how a company doesn't know how to keep to a schedule and needs to get better management after a delay, then they will if the game is on time with minor bugs and a patch that comes later.

        With an open world game like this the delays to fix up bugs would take a year unless they hire hundreds of QA testers. This is why all the rapidly produced games are tightly on the rails, no deviance from the story line, no popping over t

      • Re:Rational basis (Score:5, Insightful)

        by allquixotic ( 1659805 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @03:58PM (#50903629)

        Actually, from my understanding of my own personal experiences on release day with Fallout 4, and the experiences I've read about so far, overall the game IS currently a "working product". Sure, there are bugs, and certain system configurations are partially or severely broken, but I'm running a GTX 980 -- a recent, but not the fastest video card, by any means -- and I don't have any lag or crashes.

        Once you are able to keep the game running lag and crash-free, in my opinion, as long as the main quests can be completed, it's fundamentally a "working product". If there are conversation bugs or NPCs that get stuck on a telephone pole or whatever, that's stuff that can be fixed later.

        Face it: with a game as hugely complex as this, with an uncountably huge number of different variations and sequences of the quests and the quests' interaction with random NPC wandering and so on, you're never going to be able to ship a product that's as tight and polished on release as, say, Witcher 3, which is designed from the ground up to be MUCH less dynamic and significantly more linear. Each quest is in its own separate, isolated sandbox of sorts, like a universe in a bottle, where random deathclaws can't wander up and murder the quest-giver. That's Witcher 3. This is Fallout 4, where the aforementioned deathclaw can, and will, kill your quest-giver out of pure random chance.

        And that unpredictability is part of what makes Bethsoft games fun. It also makes them frustratingly difficult to ship bug-free, but then, if their engine weren't designed in a way that's so incredibly moddable, we'd have a legitimate complaint that the game sucks. Instead, we take matters into our own hands and we FIX that telephone pole bug and we FIX that stupid deathclaw's pathing.

        This is a game for people who are patient, technically oriented, and willing to deal with a product that is flawed initially but continually improving, and shaping up to be closer and closer to the individual player's ideal experience as they install mods and download patches. This is a game for people who prefer flexibility over polish. There are other games out there that accomplish the spit-and-polish, near-bug-free holy grail much better than Bethsoft ever could, but the closest those games can come to an open world experience is probably Witcher 3 (and the fact that they managed to make the game as dynamic as it is, without making it as buggy on release as a Bethsoft game, is *astouding* and a true feat of game development.) If you expect the same of Bethsoft, we'd be waiting until Christmas 2017 to get our hands on Fallout 4.

        I can appreciate both types of games, myself. I definitely enjoy Witcher 3 a great deal, as well as other, even less moddable, even more linear games, like the Mass Effect series. But I find myself spending a lot more time on open world games where I can play a part in shaping the design of the game by choosing which mods to install, or even little forays into modding projects of my own.

        If you want to disparage a developer who's contributing to the dilapidated state of the game development industry, complain to those who make perfectly linear FPS games that are bug-ridden, slow, crashy, and unplayable on release. Complain to those who release games that are so broken that even 6 months of patching doesn't help its case at all, like EGOSOFT and their X: Rebirth game (as well as most other titles that preceded it in that franchise). Complain to the publishers that buy up publishing rights to old, low-budget games from the 2000s and flood Steam with thousands of games that are utter garbage and not even worth the bits they're stored on.

        But don't complain to Bethsoft about Fallout 4, when they're bumping up against extremely hard problems in software engineering that are necessarily exposed by the type of game they choose to build. Because the liberating freedom and long-lasting appeal and replayability of their games (ESO excluded; what a disaster) more than make up for a month or two of annoying bugs. That's why I feel the reviewers are 100% justified in giving the game a good rating despite bugs.

      • Sure, they will likely fix these bugs eventually, but why couldn't they fix the bugs _before_ release and ship a working product?

        1. If you want a piece of bug-free software, go download TeX.
        2. There are plenty of people willing to install and play the game now, bugs and all. Why should those people have to wait? If you're one of the people who insists on no bugs, fine, wait a year or two and buy the game then, get all the patches and the latest video card drivers (some bugs are caused by drivers, not games). Let me play it now, you can wait.

        I have never played a Bethesda game that worked on release date

        That's obviously an overstatement (maybe true for very strict definitions of "work"), but I

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Outsider here so this may be a stupid question but how is a reputation of "Our products are finished 1-2 years after we release them thanks to the support of paying customers" a good thing? I can't imagine a high % of people are still playing a 2 year old game when the franchise has likely released 2 more sequels. Its great that a company fixes its problems...but that should be the standard, not an exception. Is the gaming industry really that awful? Do gamers give them a ton of slack because many of them

      • by Minwee ( 522556 )

        "Outsider here so this may be a stupid question but how is a reputation of "Our products are finished 1-2 years after we release them thanks to the support of paying customers" a good thing?"

        Because the alternative is "We are finished with our products 1-2 weeks after we release them and any remaining bugs may be fixed in the next game or paid expansion. Pay up or suffer."

      • They get bug fixes out quickly. The major bugs that stop the game from being playable are fixed quickly. Maybe an occasional crash to desktop remains, but those often happen to just a few players. The bugs that take forever to fix are the ones that really don't matter much. The vase that's floating a few inches above a table won't affect game play or enjoyment, but there are players who will notice it and post to a forum "lazy devs don't know how to code, I could fix this in a minute".

      • I can't imagine a high % of people are still playing a 2 year old game when the franchise has likely released 2 more sequels.

        That's not the situation here. Oblivion (The Elder Scrolls 4) was released in 2006; Fallout 3 was released in 2008; Skyrim (The Elder Scrolls 5) was released in 2011, and now Fallout 4 in 2015 (Fallout: New Vegas was released in 2010 by a different developer). Each of those games are several years apart, and they are 2 different franchises. This isn't Madden football or Call Of Duty or whatever where they crank out the same game with a different skin year after year. And, yes, people still play Oblivion

      • Gamers are dumb. We get hooked into the hype-train and completely forget about past transgressions.

        • However, Bethesda also gets a pass because their games have a lot of replayability and great modding content. The game will be around for years to come, so I think I might wait a year to buy it.

          It won't be entirely fixed, but it will be cheaper and better.

      • Outsider here so this may be a stupid question but how is a reputation of "Our products are finished 1-2 years after we release them thanks to the support of paying customers" a good thing? I can't imagine a high % of people are still playing a 2 year old game when the franchise has likely released 2 more sequels. Its great that a company fixes its problems...but that should be the standard, not an exception. Is the gaming industry really that awful? Do gamers give them a ton of slack because many of them work or dabble in software too?

        As others have said, there are numerous incorrect assumptions here, which are forgivable because you're an outsider to the gaming industry. Others have already tackled those incorrect assumptions, so I'll skip to an analogy that might be more familiar to you.

        Here's the analogy. I pay a contractor to build me a grocery store. They say it'll be ready by November 10th, 2015. Lo and behold, on November 10th, 2015, the store celebrates its grand opening and welcomes in its first customers. The shelves are fully

    • If they're given a free pass on the assumption they'll eventually fix the bugs, they have no incentive to work harder to eliminate bugs before future games are released.
      • And they've spent all the time since the announcement in June on bug fixing. They have been working harder. And yet someone will complain about how devs are lazy because a million players will find some bugs faster than the handful of QA testers.

      • Bethesda has a solid track record of releasing patches. I would agree that a release from an unknown publisher shouldn't get the benefit of the doubt.
  • by Coren22 ( 1625475 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @02:31PM (#50902819) Journal

    It is currently sitting at 5.3 User reviews. Reading through the negative reviews, they have a point. Many immortal characters (where is the kill anyone Fallout?), game on rails, only like 5 different enemies, terrible voice acting, horribly stupid AI, same quests over and over (go kill this many of this creature), refusing quests doesn't refuse the quests, the world is empty, only one city on the map, and a bunch of ruins with nothing there.

    It sounds like Bethesda forgot to actually build a game and just built an engine.

    I'll wait till it is $5 on Steam and has a ton of mods.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Metacritic user reviews are a cult of negativity and cynicism against human existence. Any game with a positive user score on metacritic is guaranteed to be stale and unimaginative, almost always appealing to the nostalgia of 20-30 year old gamers by directly copying the style and gameplay of a specific title from their youth. Frabout, a Post Apocalyptical Action-RPG Adventure would get a 9/10 but Fallout 4 is guaranteed never to break 7. It gets penalized extra hard by going the wrong way against nostalg

      • Reminds me of the Fallout New Vegas forums. They think FO:NV is the best game over, while FO3 is the worst game of all time. When they're both good, just in different ways, but both of them have things I dislike in them, just in different ways. There's left over resentment about Bethesda changing Fallout 1/2 into something else, but they forgive Obsidian because there are a tiny number of people there who worked on Fallout 2.

      • Eh, I wouldn't say that really. Skyrim scored phenomenally with users on Metacritic, just as an example, and its from the same publisher. Low metacritic scores are most common when there are serious bugs in the game (Arkham, AC Unity) or if the game promotions are overloaded with false promises and the purchase is a big bait and switch (Sim City).

        I think the problem here is that the game has been marketed on its name, with little to no actual gameplay visibility and mechanics in the advertising. When you

    • Immortal characters added because the players want them. Some players don't, sure, but a lot of players whined a lot in the past when they killed an important story NPC and didn't find out it broke the game until months later.

      5 different enemies. Wow, did they not play Fallout 3 or Fallout New Vegas? Give me a break. And if they're posting just today, then they did not finish the game anyway (maybe finish main quest, but big deal, the earlier games can be finished in 10 to 20 minutes on a speed run).

      Voi

      • I am pointing out other people's criticism, not my own, I can't answer for them.

        It is however a game genre I enjoy, I have played many of the style of game, including the first three Fallouts.

  • Shoot, I'm playing (and loving) the original Witcher right now.

    I did play Fallout 3 earlier this year (and New Vegas a couple of times last year), but I'm in no rush for the new one at full price.

    Please note, all of the games I play are well tested and bug patched (I don't buy the games where reviews say they are still buggy).

    • I do get the vast majority of my games from Steam sales. I'm playing Witcher 2 right now. Aside from the annoying "no drinking potions during combat" rule, I'm liking it a lot more than its predecessor.
      • I've had Witcher 2 for far longer than the first, but a friend (who originally recommended the series) said to wait for the first to go on sale.

        So I waited, and I'm looking forward to the second, and I figure the 3rd will be $5-10 by the time I finish the first two...

  • This is not quite the question that TFS poses, but it's one that interests me. Some games are awfully buggy on release, but the developers have enough integrity to fix as many problems as they can, even if they aren't getting paid for them (the studio I most associate with this good behavior is Paradox). On the other hand, there's some games that are awfully buggy on release, the developers fix a few that have simple solutions, but leave the game a mess for the rest of time. The primary example I'm thinking
  • I think the fact that reviewers fail to mention obvious bugs is:
    1) unethical
    2) Proof of how widespread the control/corruption of these reviewers by the game companies is.
    3) If it already isnt, it should be illegal if reviewers misrepresent themselves as being an independent authority/in a position of trust that puts consumers interests first, as we look to these people for advise on spending wisely. Them being complicit in what amounts to misrepresenting and misadvertising a product is clearly fraudulent.

    Ju

  • by segin ( 883667 ) <segin2005@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @07:37PM (#50905261) Homepage

    Can it be ethical to recommend a product to consumers on the basis of its strengths, despite knowing that it contains serious faults?

    As long as you adequately highlight the faults, then yeah, it's ethical.

  • Kotaku? Ethics? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EvilSS ( 557649 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @08:45PM (#50905705)
    So a Gawker property is posting an article about ethics and journalism? Wow. Pot meet Kettle.

In every hierarchy the cream rises until it sours. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter

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