Bethesda showcased four different titles, and of the four, Fallout: New Vegas was the most well known. Ironically, Rage, Brink, and Hunted were the lesser known, but because of their solid display, they quickly became the focal point of discussion whenever Bethesda was brought up.
Simply put, New Vegas was a disappointment for me, and because Vegas was once a place I called “home,” it was the title I was looking forward to most. While it may sound contradictory, or even slightly biased, my impressions of the demonstration are completely separate from how I feel the overall game will be upon release and with good reason too.
Getting right down to the heart of the presentation, Fallout: New Vegas was presented terribly at E3 this year. This was Bethesda’s moment to blow Obsidian skeptics out of their seats, and a chance to show the public that the publisher is granting Obsidian full support. Instead, they really failed to follow through and only placed a bit more doubt on how the end product will turn out.
Upon entering the media area, I quickly noticed a theater for Rage, an open area for Brink, a demo area for Hunted, and finally, a hands on area for Fallout. While the massive dinosaur display was impressive, the Fallout area was the last to be noticed, tucked away in the furthest corner. Nonetheless, I trotted over to get my hands on the game.
After taking a few minutes to observe the gameplay, I was greeted by an attractive young woman. She proceeded to walk me through the game, but oddly enough, she really didn’t have anything to say other than telling me where to go.
I’M REPORTING ON YOUR GAME! I’M PUMPED UP FOR THIS! I WANT TO HAVE TO CHANGE MY PANTS AFTER I’M DONE PLAYING!… is what kept running through my mind.
The silence between us was extremely awkward, and to break it, I kept recalling facts about Fallout 3 that could open up discussion about New Vegas. I got little response.
As time progressed, it turned into one of those moments where your teacher stands behind you as you type up an essay at the computer lab. You feel the pressure of someone standing over you, examining every one of your tiny slip-ups in an effort to diminish your self-esteem at a later time. You’re just anticipating something to happen, and all you want is for the person to leave.
I know I’m a sexy man, and that I have the charm and look to turn any woman into a feeble sheep, but c’mon, impress me. At this point you’re probably thinking, “So you had a bad run-in with a proctor, how’s the demonstration overall?”
That’s the thing, without someone talking you up, guiding you, showcasing the high points of the game, etc. Fallout: New Vegas is way too vast to experience through a demonstration. Don’t get me wrong, finding those marquee moments are what makes this game so enthralling – when you have the complete version and essentially an infinite amount of time at your disposal – but if you’re restricted to 15 minutes of gameplay, you don’t have time to find those moment.
I think we all can agree that it’s not a game where you can just pick-up and play. There are options about how you talk to people that determine the path you follow. For example, upon meeting a hotel lobbyist, all I wanted to do was fight him to see how the VATS system improved the melee combat, so I picked all the confrontational dialogue boxes.
After I killed the guy, my character was permanently banned from the hotel and I was forced to restart the demonstration because I broke it. Someone whispering in my ear that I need to be nice to the lobbyist, so that I can see all the casino games and witness how luck plays a larger role would have piqued my interest. Instead, I felt like a wandering child walking into the middle of the street.
To no surprise, I broke the demo a few more times, and eventually I just gave up to go play Brink. With no direction and a limited time to play, it’s impossible to get the full spectrum of New Vegas. In all honesty, this is a game that would have greatly benefited from a hands-off demonstration – showcasing all the new and improved characteristics.
Likewise, this hearkens back to my Brink impressions. There are games that you may know nothing about, but because the people behind its development are so enthusiastic, you can’t help but not get excited for them. On the other hand, there are games you dream about daily, but then your impressions turn sour after a terrible presentation. To put it bluntly, you essentially assume the lack of effort is attributed to the fact that they know the title will sell well, and therefore, they can’t be bothered to put together a solid demonstration.
Nonetheless, my hopes still remain high and that the full release will put my worries to rest. Until then, I’m still bashing my head against the wall out of utter confusion.