I am an opinionated person. I like to share my views and I'm quite vocal about them. One of the most controversial topics in the gaming community (though slightly less so nowadays) is the issue of Fallout 3 and it's supposed greatness.
The reviewers were absolutely raving about the game, giving it extremely high ratings and competing with each other just so that they can be the first to praise. The impression you get is that the game really is the second coming of Christ, giving out guilt free orgasms, curing cancer and saving puppies by the mere virtue of existing.
This is one of the reasons why I dislike game reviewers, primarily those that are paid for reviewing the games. There is no neutrality, especially not when it's an AAA game with massive marketing budget... obviously, the game's going to get extremely high marks, since every site wants a slice of the marketing pie.
I'd be glad if that was the only reason for extremely high marks, then I'd be able to make some snide comment about selling out or go on a tangent and rant about the weakness of the human spirit.
But no. The issue runs deeper. It's names are low standards and incompetence. Most reviews read like promotional materials, with almost no mentions of glaring flaws in the game, such as incoherent world that makes no sense, feeble main plotline or characters that have more in common with cardboard than humans. I know the game is impressive at first glance, I've been there and for a moment thought that it was truly a worthy entry in the series.
But, sadly, the more I played, the more I felt cheated. What was promising at first quickly turned out to be yet another frictionless game, designed to allow the player to play with almost no hassle at all. You made a crappy character? No problem, you can max out every skill and stat regardless. You're a bad shot? Don't worry, you have the Godly VATS Mode. Don't like text? No problem, it's not a battle we wanted to fight, so everything's a cheesy summary.
And so on and so forth. Few reviews made mentions of these flaws, most conveniently skipped them over.
What's even more insulting to my intelligence is ascribic poetic and philosophical depth to the game, how it's a deep work on himan willingness to survive, human nature and similiar fancy concepts that are not really present in the game, which was created basing on the rule of cool, rather than any coherent vision of the game.
One thing horrifies me the most - the effect it has on the industry. Mindless consumption of every properly marketed game and raving reviews do not reward creativity, they smother it. It's especially evident in the way te lead designers of the games respond to questions, Emil Pagliuro for instance, ignoring fans pointing out inconsistencies and bad elements, while taking professionally biased reviews at face value, continuously mumbling how great his game is, how great a developer he is et caetera, with not a single shred of humility or modesty.
I hope that one day game reviewers will grow a spine and finally become competent, unbiased reviewers. Not mouthpieces of the publisher companies' PR department.
For the record, Fallout 3 is a decent game.