A PR Nightmare for Fallout:New Vegas – Bugs Spur Negative Reviews

After being hammered by the mainstream gaming media for having one of the glitchiest games of the decade, Fallout:New Vegas takes a new blow from PCWorld, which twists the knife in the wound listing links and texts that describe the game in very discouraging terms. It all may seam as a universal coalition against a game that promised a lot.

“Perhaps the biggest, most substantive criticism of Fallout: New Vegas is that it’s glitchy. Not just annoying so, but utterly, game-breakingly glitchy. In a massive, marathon play-through (before the game’s official launch), the game crashed five times in a 26 hour period, often in the middle of the action during vital moments,” reads a review by G4TV.

Now Obsidian Entertainment, the game’s developer, is left with the difficult task of countering the negative buzz. And they are doing a pretty good job at home, where they list everything positive, including a bold link to IGN’s Top 25 most wanted games of 2010, where New Vegas scored an unexpected place 1. Other reviews are more positive than all those listed by PCWorld – with The Escapist leading the way, with its bottom line conclusion: There is more than enough game in this package to justify the expense.

And Obsidian’s PR strategy gets even better, with Feargus Urquhart, CEO of Obsidian Entertainment, answering to a bunch of rewarding questions over at the Wall Street Journal. No mention of glitches and bugs… Fallout is a success. Or is it?

The positive few don’t supersede the negative many – Obsidian still has a long way to go. They’ll have to prove Andrew Kelly wrong, who ended his review in a somewhat positive note: New Vegas is disappointingly similar to Fallout 3, but the improved story and wealth of new content and features makes up for it – just.

They’ll have to counter Justin McElroy, who had to struggle a bit to find the courage to review the game: “How could I hope to evaluate the worth of Fallout: New Vegas, a full-price game that’s practically identical, both graphically and mechanically, to another game that was released two years ago? How could I tell you whether or not it’s an insult that you’re being asked to pay $60 for a game that’s so technically deficient that it scarcely feels past the beta stage?”

The list could go on, and for many, this seems like a lot of noise for nothing of substance. But the substance is there for Obsidian, whose games have been received with many negative reviews in the past as well. Luckily, the company managed to keep the fans interested – and this is a great accomplishment.


  1. Ceebs says

    Dynamic, open-ended, fallout: 3 evolved.
    Great game. I have it on the PC and the PS3 and have played a little too much… I digress.

    This game is very glitchy and it almost seems as much of what is happening is stuff that would have been caught tenfold by quality assurance testing, which I am sure it was. What we see here is a game that IS RIDDLED with bugs, but was released because the demand for the game was there. They may play coy, but let’s face it, there was money to be made and obviously a release of such poor stability was all about the almighty dollar. We got sold out folks… let’s hope they come good with some patched content.

  2. Mike says

    You are simply [offense edited by site admin] if you say this is a good game. This is not fallout new vegas. You cannnot load saved games on the xbox on top of all the other bugs it has. The PS3 version still has massive amounts of bugs. The PC version has bugs still, but not as bad ass the pS3 and xbox360, because the pc version has pc users using mods to fix the code.

    I love the fallout games, but the game should have never been released if it was not complete. The testers should have been doing there jobs and getting rid of these basic quest/game save bugs. The company should have made sure they was doing there jobs. Both have failed. The only reason its getting any good reviews is because it will be a good game once all this stuff is fixed. Otherwise dont talk about something you do not fully understand. Obsdian and Bethesda are not doing a good job, it has been a full week and still no decent patches out.

  3. aea says

    basically, you just have to take a look at the bethesda fallout nv forum to see how much pain they are causing to their customers. i wont go into my own terrible experience with it. suffice to say that i have deinstalled the game and will wait half a year to see if there will be any improvement. right now, its no fun at all (and this is from a hard-core fallout fan who even attended falloutcon in poland)

  4. Nitrowing says

    I’ve wasted my entire weekend just trying to get this game to run on my PC. How have they managed to make such a complete and utter balls up of what is, essentially, a modded Fallout 3?
    Are there DX11 graphical wonders in there waiting for me?

  5. Dangerboy says

    I finally put this game to rest after at least 12 instances, within 1.5 hours, of the game freezing while trying to move thru Pramn. It was a given that anytime I entered my inventory I could expect not to get out without having to reset my console. Ditto for trying to save the game.
    I find it funny that the PR machine only talks about fixing the “quirky” bugs, and not the ones that prevent you from actually playing. I think everyone who bought the game should get credit on their website as a “tester”.

  6. Rafael says

    Dear Liliana,
    I’ve been a fan of Fallout since Fallout 1; it offered was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise fantasy role-playing game dominated industry.

    I picked up FNV at midnight and started playing. My game crashed once while still in the town where the adventure begins. Worst of all, one of the missions that I was trying to complete is now uncompletable because the game does not account for the death of one character that I needed to speak to in order to trigger the next part of the script. Again, this all happened in the town where the adventure begins.

    I’ve also encountered the same slow downs and jerky frame rates that others are complaining about.

    These are unfortunate side-effects of products that were rushed to retail and lacked fixes to the code that undoubtedly QA reported but were deemed not important enough to address.

    I hesitate to continue playing the game at this point. Games are supposed to provide the player with an immersive, stress relieving experience, not aggravate you to the point of frustration due to it’s buggy programming.

    Developers are lucky that consoles have gone online. This allows them some extra time after release to fix all the bugs that a product may have. Unfortunately, this practice also damages their reputation.

    At this point I refuse to spend any more time on this product until these issues have been addressed.

  7. Joe says

    Got it for the PS3, not a single issue in over 5 hours of play so far. Not for nothing and trust me, I am in no way a ps3 fanboy I think PC and Xbox360 are fine systems but every review for this game I’ve seen that complains of glitches and crashing has been for 360 and PC which is strange. Not saying it wont happen to me but I save like every 5 mins anyway so its no biggie.

  8. Dangerboy says

    I’m having constant crashes on my 360 version, requiring me to reboot the system, therefore losing any progress. The worst part is it’s crashing in areas that I need to move through. So I know it’s the game and not my system. I’d understand if the was a million things going on at once in the game, and it got hung up. But walking beside a shack or opening a simple container? Come on…

  9. Aaron says

    When I bought Fallout 3 for the 360, I rarely had any issues. Now that I have a PC with an okay GFX card (well above what the required specs were for the game, by the way. I have an GeForce 250S) I decided to go the PC route this time and I sort of regret it. My card’s fan is loud as all hell when I play a game, and it’s something I’ve learned to live with. However, New Vegas hardly makes the thing make a sound. Something wrong with the card? Nope, I started up another game and the fan kicked in right away. I’ve heard the game doesn’t like NVidia cards in general right now, as well, with constant framerate issues (seriously, why are so many people’s games dropping to 20 fps when they’re talking to NPCs? Shouldn’t the static environment and lack of much movement period be the one thing in the game that wouldn’t tax your card at all?) I’m glad it’s just not me. I’m sort of new to PC gaming in general, so I thought there might’ve been something wrong with my PC.

    Still, with all that said and done I’ve still manage to rack up plenty of playing time already. I am having fun, but it isn’t without it’s hiccups. Fallout 3 was probably the most fun I’ve had with a game this generation, so I have no problem with this game being all too similar (and its incredible size and length make it more than an expansion). Hopefully a massive patch will be released soon, because I know FO3 wasn’t this bad, not even on the PC, and all they’d have to do is look to it to correct some of these things… hopefully.

  10. Mark says

    Obsidian is such a garbage dev, all they had to do was build upon FO3 and they managed to make the game worse. Lord knows how bad it would be if they had to start from scratch.

    Oh wait we do, we’d have Alpha Protocol…

  11. Jessika says

    People are getting so defensive about this game.

    I played it at midnight for about 20 minutes and had to shut it off because the glitches were driving me CRAZY. It affected the game play so badly, I had to stop playing. There was nothing but crazy lag and single-digit framerates throughout my entire 20 minutes – from the exact moment I could control my character. That’s really not good.

    This morning I started researching this online to make sure it was the game and not just my copy, and a lot of people are complaining about it. Not just reviews from credible sites, but people on forums bitching about 9 crashes in a row, crashing during auto-saves and general glitchy messes that should have been fixed in the testing stages. I can’t believe Bethesda/Obsidian allowed ANOTHER game to be like this.

    That’s right. I invested probably 200 hours of my life into Fallout 3, and it got so frustrating at times I wanted to give up. One particlar night, the game froze EVERY TIME I tried to enter VATS mode. That’s ridiculous and should never happen.

    As a hardcore gamer, and a Fallout fan, I’m extremely disappointed at the repeat poor manufacturing that went into the Fallout games. It really takes the fun out of it when you want to throw your controller every 5 minutes because of crashes & glitches. The most disappointing thing of all is how incredibly solid these games would be if not for these small, technical problems that can be avoided.

  12. Steven Franks says

    Can I assume that english is not this author’s first language, or is her spell checker currently full of bugs and glitches?

    • says

      NO, you don’t assume, you smarty pants you. It’s in her bio. Don’t you have other better things to do with your time? BTW, English is spelled with capital E. How’s that for living in a glass house?

    • Liliana Dumitru-Steffens says

      Steven, please be so kind and enumerate my mistakes. I’d be more than thrilled to correct them.

  13. superdeluxe says

    I agree that the game has technical issues, but your point of the article is/was that the bugs are leading to lots of negative reviews, and I am countering that. That PC-World article I know that at least half of those while bugs are issues, that half of those are favorable/very favorable reviews.

    • Liliana Dumitru-Steffens says

      Superdeluxe, I am really waiting for the game to arrive to my home. My husband is an über-geek and I personally cannot wait to play. The reviews quoted are from people who actually tested the game, and there are many many points there where they don’t sound positive at all. Fortunately, they aren’t all negative either… But in all honesty, if the game crashes while I play it, you can expect me to be very very pissed. Very.

      Now, the game is out. The attention is normal now, fresh news and all. But what happens when more and more users start complaining? They cannot recall the game, can they? Think about it.

  14. says

    I love Fallout. I love it so much I had my band record a song about it. That being said I went home and played about 4 hours of New Vegas after midnight last night, picking up my copy from the local Gamestop. Within the first hour I was a damn happy camper, loving the additions to the gameplay as well as being back in Fallout once again… and then the stuttering and freezing happened. It IS game-breaking.

    Honestly, this is a fantastic game, yes, but its hampered by an insane amount of bugs and that is NO exaggeration. People are going to be very pissed. You have to pretty much save after everything you do just in case you crash or freeze. The worst part is that Fallout 3 was buggy as hell too so you would think that could have been avoided this time around, and instead it is MUCH much worse.

  15. superdeluxe says

    No offense, but you do know that the PC World linking the 4-5 reviews, that every single one of those reviews would be considered a positive/favorable review right?

    That very same PC world article even admits that the reviews are mostly favorable, if not overwhemingly so (Most scores are in the 8.0-9.5/10)

    The positive few does not supersede the negative many? Negative many what..Reviews? If you were to put all of these reviews at Rotten Tomatoes, this game would be generating a ‘Fresh’ Rating with a average score of a 8.2/10

    • Liliana Dumitru-Steffens says

      Right, Superdeluxe. But you also know that the ratings are given for many other features and not just for bugs. An average score of 8.2/10 doesn’t fix the technical issues.

  16. Frank says

    That’s fair enough. Not sure why there’s a huge focus on the negative since it’s mostly positive at this point.

    I personally can’t wait (UK release this Friday).

    • Liliana Dumitru-Steffens says

      I suspect some reviewers like to hammer things they cannot beat? :) Besides, PCWorld has a reputation for controversy. To be honest, I didn’t mean to focus on the negative at all. I think it is pretty clear that Obsidian is doing a good job in this campaign. It’s important for them to come up with some possible explanations for the bugs – the problem I see now is that the negative reviews come up on top of the positives in Google News.

  17. Frank says

    “Glitchiest games of the decade”?

    If that were true it wouldn’t be getting ANY good reviews. Even those that do have huge issues with the technical issues still raved about the game…

    …basically I think you’re exaggerating somewhat.

    • Liliana Dumitru-Steffens says

      Of course, I am a journalist. :) Joking aside, I’d love to play the game, Frank. BTW, the expression is not my own. I read it somewhere, too bad I cannot remember where now.

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