Friday, December 2, 2011

Loads O' Links...  


Games: So, I'm still playing Fallout: New Vegas.

I like this game. I like it a lot. In fact, the more I see of it, the more I like it. I might even go so far as to say that it could possibly be the best role-playing game I've ever spent time with.

Let me explain.

Can't we just talk this out? Oh, We can??
I'm not talking about the best combat system, the best skill trees, the best graphics, or any of that mechanical stuff. It all has its place, but when I'm playing a Western-style RPG, I want to actually be able to play a role. I want to make choices. I want to determine what sort of character I am, and have the world react. I want to feel like things that I'm doing matter.

In this respect, I honestly can't think of any game that accomplishes this better than New Vegas.

(…And although I like to play White Hat, I've seen some pretty despicable opportunities for those of you who like to play Black. That in itself is a fantastic choice to have.)

Besides the level of freedom, I'm just amazed at the quality of the writing and characterization. For example, I am hard-pressed to think of any game (RPG or not) that addresses homosexuality in such a mature and accepting fashion.

Love this guy.
Several characters in the game are homosexual, including a number that will join the player on their journey. In addition, I've encountered several NPCs who are gay, lesbian, or otherwise, and the game treats them as normal people worthy of respect. Their sexuality isn't played up for laughs or ridiculed… they're just people you meet, and no one in the game blinks twice about it.

(For more on this, here's a great piece by @JimSterling, and another great one from Miss Haitch at The Border House. Thanks to my Twitter folks who shared the links… You know who you are.)

This handling of the subject material is absolutely amazing, but apart from that I could also go on about the unbelievable variety of quests, the insane level of detail, and a dozen other topics worthy of celebration, but I plan on doing a full Second Opinion over at GameCritics, so I'll save some of my praise for that.

Although I'm not finished with the game, I've already seen more than enough to put it near the absolute top of the RPG genre, and I've just been endlessly impressed since starting. If you read this blog regularly or you follow my reviews, you know that I have no fear in criticizing a game that deserves it. If you put stock in my negative opinions, then put some stock in this positive one – Fallout: New Vegas isn't perfect, but it is a masterpiece.

In light of this, it's tragic that Bethesda released the game in such a buggy, unpolished state. (And yes, I know that Obsidian developed it, but the publisher is the one who's ultimately responsible for when the game is released.)

I heard several horror stories about how unplayable it was when it hit shelves, and although I did purchase a copy, I intentionally held off playing it all this time until I was sure that it had been patched. I know for a fact that other people did the same or just skipped the game altogether, and that is an absolute shame… if New Vegas had been in a polished, finished state last year, it would have been a monster contender for top honors.


Games: My good friend and colleague @RichardNaik has written a great blog post about Skyrim’s “racism” and why it doesn't ring true. He raises some good points, and it's certainly worth the read. Check it out right here. Don't mess with an Argonian, yo.


Games: Speaking of Skyrim, here are another couple of posts about it.

The first is by Nick Simberg (@TheGameLlama) and he explains why Bethesda’s latest opus is actually a Facebook game in disguise. I don't think he's entirely correct, but I think he is mostly correct and I think he's pretty brave for bringing up a particular viewpoint that I've heard a few people voice but not put into written words.

Friend meeeeeee.....
On the other side of the spectrum, Andrew Groen (@ScienceGroen) says that Skyrim is the sort of game that requires a specific kind of player participation, and that the traditional quest structure isn't really the main focus of play. Personally, I don't agree much with what he says, but Andrew is a brilliant guy and he does a good job of explaining his point. If nothing else, I think it's a good contrast with Simberg’s piece.


Podcast: Recently, I was on Big Red Potion’s end-of-the-year game show episode along with my GameCritics cohorts, @RichardNaik and @ChiKongLui. JoeDeLia (@Slamvanderhuge) also joined in, and the whole thing was hosted by the one and only Sinan Kubba. (@Shoinan.) If you'd like to hear us stumble and flounder as we prove ourselves unable to answer some extremely hard questions, you can give a listen right here.


Games: Just in time for the holidays, AbleGamers has released their shopping guide which lists both hardware and software for people who may require certain accommodations. AND HEY LOOK, New Vegas is one of their top three recommendations… wow, another point of praise. Anyway, you can click right here and take a look at what gets the thumbs up. You may even want to bookmark it for future reference.


Games: Finally, I am a huge fan of Dead Island and in case you are too, you might be interested in knowing that there's a big contest going on and there are some sweet prizes up for grabs. Click on over, take a look, and who knows... you may be dodging the undead on your own two-week tropical vacation!

If this is Christmas, I'll take the lump of coal instead...
If you win, send me a postcard and the blueprints for the Shock Mod.


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1 comments: to “ Loads O' Links...


    Nice to know you're liking New Vegas as much as I am. I've seen some folks giving it crap for being "not-Bethesda", under some impression that Obsidian is the off-brand RPG sequel-maker. The rep isn't entirely undeserved, but their RPG sequels have been fantastic.

    As an additional great read, I'd direct you to KillScreen's review of the New Vegas DLC. It's one of the most interesting angles I've seen, and convinced me that, taken as a whole, New Vegas' implementation of DLC as an extension/expansion of an RPG's story/world is the best ever done to date.