Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel Reader Review

I've always loved the Fallout games, I should make that clear from the start like some sort of confession in an AA group (its allowed, they're that addictive), simply because the offering is a very different spin on the multitude of cloned fantasy RPG types out there and they should be applauded for that. Fallout New Vegas however is a horrible mix of the best and the worst.

This is the PS3 version (I've also now brought the PC version for reasons that will become clear) and well, its a bit 'Good enough for Goverment work' clearly optimisation and playtesting fell by the wayside in the view of the glaring incoming traffic of deadlines. Basically its er, broke, not broke in an entertaining way like Hidden and Dangerous or Alpha Protocal but properly properly broken. Companions go missing, missions fail for no reason, the performance chugs along like its running on my 486 rather than a cutting edge man gadget.

Even worse than this, it actually fails, being a PC gamer I'm quite used to catastrophic failures, its the first game though I've known to do it on my PS3. A friends older first edition model actually died altogether whilst he's played it and mine is on around thirty hard reboots. I would tell you its all worth it to complete it in the end but I'm stuck on the final hoover dam mission, not due to my inadequate piss poor build and shooting skills (although I have those in abundance) but because it just crashes constantly now...

And yet... yet I also love it, I can't remember playing a game I've enjoyed so much for a long time. Forget the cynics saying its not as good as Fallout 3, its better in so, so many ways. The shooting is improved, the range of guns is now awe inspiring (take a look at the wiki if you don't believe me) companion AI doesn't leave you spluttering with rage as they become stuck in doorways or in ceilings (thats of course if they're still there). The engine really needs an overhaul but its adequate for whats its used for, what I love about it is it really does give a feel of choice, the first since Fallout 2 for me, I genuinely was slightly apprehensive about throwing my lot in with one group. Even the quests have improved slightly, most are still the usual RPG dross of fetch quests but with the right skills you can skip right past them and its immensely satisfying to know that if you've built your character without focussing purely on combat there are real tangible benefits.

Its still not very well signposted, anyone who spent a lot of points on energy weapons and unarmed is going to have a nasty shock in the early part of the game and its a shame some of the companions require a lot of exploration to find. I love the sense of adventure in striding out but the empty areas are very noticable this time round and I fear many will never stray to far from the main plot and side quests. The map may be larger but I'm not so sure thats an improvement.

The trouble is, much as I believe its a great game, its impossible to recommend in this state, even the PC version contains many lesser bugs. Its simply not acceptable for a company to release a game like this, even worse, they've been concentrating on producing the DLC rather than the core product.

My recommendation, wait for it to be patched, give it a few days and then buy it, or get a new PC...

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