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New Vegas is buggy. So what?

I’ve been playing the Obsidian-developed Fallout: New Vegas (on PC, but shh!) for a while now, and it’s got a few bugs. Technical glitches, hitches here and there and AI issues have proved mild irritants, while a handful of crashes have out and out killed my fun dead.

This isn’t a rare thing for games developed by Obsidian – their first release, Knights of the Old Republic 2, was claimed by some to be basically unfinished. Files found on the disc with unrecorded dialogue, story elements not included in the game and characters not used backed up this theory. Neverwinter Nights 2 was similarly criticised for its buggy nature. Alpha Protocol was loved or hated because of its issues. And now New Vegas is being brought to task by some for the hitches and glitches that get in the way of enjoyment.

But I don’t care.

I still hold Obsidian in high esteem. They are one of the few developers who can actually get me interested in a game through their involvement alone. When I first heard about Alpha Protocol, I can’t say I was too enthusiastic – a bland, modern-day spy RPG? Boring. Obsidian are making it, you say? I’m in. Fallout was a dead-cert anyway, fanboy that I am, but the involvement of the Californian devs just solidified my burning desire for the game.

But why? How can a studio consistently, demonstrably put out flawed products yet hold my attention? It’s the simple fact that when Obsidian-developed games aren’t making your AI counterpart walk backwards, when they aren’t making the camera face the wall for no reason and when they aren’t setting you up for an epic ending before basically pulling the rug out from under you with “THE END!” –when they’re not cocking up, basically, Obsidian make really, really good games.

They’re well-written, they’re clever, they introduce elements that more games should embrace (Alpha Protocol’s conversation system, I’m looking at you). People are all too quick to jump in companies for releasing flawed product, and I’m not saying it’s something that should be allowed or let off by the gaming press, but when beneath the bugs you find such sweet centres as you do with Obsidian’s output, it really doesn’t matter how many times the game crashes.

Well, unless it crashes too much, then you’re in a whole other world.

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  • Jake

    Yeah, Fallout 3 was kinda buggy but they put enough into the story, variety of characters and the overall atmosphere of the game for me to forget about them

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  • Sean

    I hate buggy games. I don’t buy the games for the technical issues so I shouldn’t have to endure them if it happens too often (yep Fallout3:GotYE, I’m looking at you). I would of welcomed the idea of New Vegas to be delayed to sort out those problems, but oh well it’s still a day one.

  • Dirk

    The idea that buggy software can brick your console without help is nonsense. I’d rather blame Microsoft. For example anyone actually using the console in a vertical position are idiots. This increases wear and tear on critical components and when the console heats up there isn’t nearly enough heat dissapation so you get various errors if not actaully the dreaded Red Ring of Death. The 360 especially compared to the PS3 is NOT a well designed piece of hardware and needs to be treated like a newborn. Make sure you operate the 360 in the horizontal position, place a DVD or 2 underneath the console for better airflow, make sure you operate at room temperature or colder, and all that heat that is spewing out the back – make sure it has somewhere to go instead of just sitting there.

  • mark

    So you’re a fanboy, congratz.

    Fact is Obsidian sucks, don’t even wanna think how bad NV would’ve turned out if they had to make it from scratch like AP.

  • rondon

    Talented devs make good games and properly bugtest them.
    Obsidian are just lazy. And guys like you are just giving them free passes.

  • Scott

    What if the game’s bugs makes the game unplayable? My save files are corrupt now on the 360 version and I lost a complete day’s worth of data. That is inexcusable. They released a broken product. The official forums has dozens of people with the exact same issue I’m having all flipping out because they put about 10-12 hours into it and it’s all gone. The only thing we hear…”We’re working on it.” They really screwed the pooch on this one.

  • Elman

    So what if Fallout 3 or New Vegas is buggy? I don’t care either. It’s the fundamental mechanics of the game that are broken.

    Fallout 3 is a bad FPS with worthless “RPG” elements compacted into dull, lifeless world where the characters are unrelatable and the story is a sequence of thinly-veiled fetch quests. Obisidian may have enhanced the immersive aspect of the game through better writing and character development, but that doesn’t fix the game we’ve already played two years ago.

  • b

    3 hours into New Vegas. I’m really digging the game, but you can see how unpolished the game is on many aspects. I’ve encountered a variety of glitches already.

  • G

    Obsidian does make games with great concepts, but some of the massive bugs in NV are unforgivable. I’ve actually stopped playing it until they get the next patch out cause i’ve played through (or attempted) 3 seperate times and still haven’t been able to get to the end of the game because of different mega-bugs. let me know what went down at hoover dam, cause i have no clue

    to sum up, releasing the game in this state is akin to selling t-shirts with no neck holes…”well, we ALMOST got it right…” yeah, but the things you got wrong made all the difference in the world.

  • dave

    I am a huge fallout fan. I am a huge bethesda fan. But I had to put this game down for a few months after trying really hard to not be mad from launch until christmas..
    So I’ve started it back up and I’m just trying to finish the game. It’s hard. REALLY hard. The game (on ps3) crashes once per half hour, and I keep having to go back and do elements of quests differently because things that are supposed to work, don’t. I mean, there are so many broken quests that I almost feel like it’s on purpose. The game is only barely playable because of my love for the franchise and my love for the work that bethesda did (like all the design from fo3.)
    Both fo3 and oblivion were pretty glitchy, but not like this. I disagree with the author of this article strongly and as someone that weathered kotor 2 and nwn 2, I can say with certainty that this will be the last obsidian game I play, unless the next thing is a ’10’ across the board and reviews unanimously proclaim it bug-free.
    I played that second rate sword and sorcery game two worlds 2, and at least I could walk around without random freezes. In fact, it never froze once in 50 hours.

  • Ian Dransfield

    That’s strange – the moment New Vegas was patched I only had one or two game-breaking bugs for the remaining 60-or-so hours I played it. It wasn’t perfect, there were glitches, but it was nowhere near broken anymore.

  • nunya

    No. Absolutely not.

    Rockstar makes good games. Obsidian makes unfinished crap.

  • Night

    buyed Fallout 3 and i would have loved it if it wasent for all the random freezes/slow downs that made me think back on it as a game i NEVER would touch again after i completed it Fallout 3 New vegas came and
    i thought ok this time they must have learned and had time to polish it and removing the critical errors in it
    boy i was in for a nightmare with even more freezes/crashes and wats bugs both games feels they are
    released in a alpha state and not even bother to patch thier own shit makes me feel they dont care and just laugh at us saying “well you bought the game now we dont care” im done with fallout if nothing are changed.