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On Objectivity And Fallout 4

Discussion in 'Published Articles' started by allout, Dec 4, 2016.

By allout on Dec 4, 2016 at 11:05 PM
  1. #1 allout, Dec 4, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2016
    On Fallout 4 and Objectivity
    A reminder of the facts by allout

    Over a year ago now, I wrote an article asking a simple question: What if Fallout 4 Sucks? In that piece, I imagined a world where Fallout 4 was a total disaster of a game and sent shockwaves throughout our culture. Does Fallout 4 suck? You’re free to think so, and it is by no means “disrespectful” to believe that, but objectively, it is rather hard to defend.

    “But Monte” one says “If I think Fallout 4 sucks that’s my opinion, and you can’t tell me it’s not true!”

    Fair enough I would say, that is your opinion. However, I am also free to have an opinion of your opinion, and criticize it using quantifiable measures. To really evaluate your opinion, we’d have to ask what other games you think “suck”? Is a game like Ride To Hell Retribution in your category of “bad” games with Fallout 4? Or is your opinion of a “bad” game more along the lines of Watch Dogs and No Man’s Sky (which both have comparable scores to Fallout 4 and sold well also)?

    It is logically irresponsible to say something is “bad” without equating it to something else that you think is “bad”. People who do not do this should not be taken seriously, and their opinion should not be thought of as anything more than a meaningless quip. This is because the word “bad” by itself is vague, instead saying something along the lines of “Fallout 4 is one of the worst games in existence” is a bit more clear and can be evaluated easier. Objectively we can look, and say Ride to Hell was universally panned by critics and consumers alike while also selling poorly, by using actual data. It is therefore among the worst games in existence. By that same token, we can see that Fallout 4 while garnering lower than usual scores for a Bethesda Game Studio’s game overall, still scored in the mid to upper 80’s according to critics. Although its metacritic user score is in the 5.5-6.5 range, that is still an average score, and respectable. 80% of reviews for the game on steam are also positive. One can also look at sales, and see that Fallout 4 moved $750 million worth of copies in a few days, selling who knows how much more since. These are not the traits of something that is objectively of poor or “bad” quality. If however, you equate being “bad” to being “average or slightly below” (which is using the word “bad” quite irresponsibly) you could twist the data and cherry pick enough for your opinion to hold water. If the game was objectively bad and deserved to be placed in the category with games like Ride to Hell, it would not have good-average overall scores from critics/consumers, mostly positive reviews on steam, and have sold incredibly well.

    If we couldn’t use quantifiable data to judge something’s quality, than one could say After Earth is better than The Godfather and that would be totally reasonable. One could find some dude playing piano in a restaurant somewhere and say he’s better than Beethoven and that would be fine. In this world, whether you like to admit it or not, there are things, movies, shows, and yes, games, that are better than other things, movies, shows, and games. Some are good, some are bad. One can like a bad thing, but you cannot claim that bad thing is better than a good thing based on anything but your personal opinion. On the flipside, one can not claim a good thing is bad based on anything but your own opinion. I can say the Dallas Cowboys are a bad team even though the data says they are 11-1, but I should be expected to be called out for that. I could say they are a bad 11-1 team though, just as people can claim Fallout 4 is a bad Bethesda game or bad Fallout game compared to the other games in the series and such, since that is much more subjective.

    But when comparing Fallout 4 to all games, it is not of bad or poor quality by any objective measure.

    This is not to say however the game wasn’t disappointing to many; something can be disappointing to a degree while still good overall. However the data clearly shows the majority of people, critics and consumers alike, have a positive feeling toward the game. People who have a negative feeling toward the game are a part of a smaller, more vocal minority. It’s that simple.

    Why am I taking the time to write all of this fairly obvious stuff you ask? It’s because when people on both sides of the fence get to talking about controversial games like Fallout 4, they neglect these undeniable truths. They use words and phrases like “bad” and “most people don’t like this game” too loosely. That should be expected because this is the internet after all, but since people felt the need to drag MrMattyPlays through the mud for what he said (while making logical fallacies themselves at times in regards to objectivity) in his video , I feel it is necessary to once again lay out the ground rules that must be obeyed for people to have a reasonable discourse. No, the majority of people do not think Fallout 4 is a bad game. By all the available data, that is a false statement. It shares no qualities associated with bad games like poor critical reception, negative user reviews, low sales etc. Maybe this was one of the main points Matty was trying to get across in (I think it was personally). It’s easier to word things like this when you sit down and type it rather than rant off the cuff.

    Just be aware, that if you want your opinion to be taken seriously in the public discourse, you have to accept the facts. The sky is blue. The Dallas Cowboys are 11-1. Fallout 4 has mostly positive reviews. Deal with it.


    Fallout 4 - http://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-one/fallout-4
    Ride to Hell: Retribution - http://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-360/ride-to-hell-retribution
    TheMadMan and Anachreon88 like this.
Writer, editor, admin
I'm just a guy who likes video games so much that I made a whole site to talk about them. I also write stuff like this every now and then. Follow me on twitter @4allout for more inane ramblings and rants.


Discussion in 'Published Articles' started by allout, Dec 4, 2016.

    1. Van Buren
      Van Buren
      It's possible for a game to be both very, very good and also deeply disappointing (if the expectations are high enough). That's my gut feeling about Fallout 4, and when people say it's terrible, I assume what they really mean is that, whatever its virtues, it's not what they hoped it would be.

      All of this has pretty much been said before. Fallout 4 is great in many ways, and I found it to be incredibly addictive, but it lacks many of the core role playing elements that made the two original games and New Vegas so excellent (in my opinion). Bethesda clearly sacrificed a lot of the role playing stuff on the altar of accessibility (or they think an open world can substitute for meaningful player choice), and while I totally understand both why'd they do that and why so many people love it, for me it was a real letdown. Obviously it's better than FO3 in terms of faction choice, but that damn dialogue wheel makes me want to weep and it's weak on character creation. These are some of the core things that hardcore fans loved about the originals, which is why FO4 can be both really good and really disappointing.

      I also think the complaints about the lack of role playing elements are more than just minor quibbles. Granted, if these games were part of their own franchise--say Post Apocalyptia 1 and 2--then obviously there would be far fewer complaints. FO4 is an incredible open-world first person shooter with RPG elements, it's a fabulous story driven action RPG. But in the end, it's a fallout title that lacks many core elements of other fallout games.

      I was really hoping against hope that they'd take their cue from what Obsidian did with New Vegas and create more meaningful player choice.

      I still love playing it and I'm still glad Bethesda resurrected the franchise. I just hope they let someone like Obsidian do a FO4 spin-off, a la New Vegas, that puts the roleplaying element back in this post nuclear RPG.
    2. Brandybuck
      That's very hand-wringy, and I keep hearing it, but what does it actually mean?

      To me, very little outside of a few follower quests was meaningful. I certainly did not care about either the NCR or Legion. The only halfway meaningful faction choice was Yes Man, but only because it was a "none of the above" option. Who cares about the battle on the dam? I get no sense from the game that the big battle would affect the Mojave inhabitants in any noticeable way. And when you strip away the post-game slideshow, nothing you do changes anything of significance. It's all about collecting token factions to help fight someone else's battle.

      Contrast to Fallout 4. My choices do affect the world. My choices can bring back the Minuteman and a militia army of the people and for the people. I am literally rebuilding civilization. My choices meaningfully remove the greatest threat the east coast has ever known (or conversely, empower it's greatest hope). My choice does that as it's up to me whether the Institute succeeds or fails. I can engage in a meaningful moral crusade via the Railroad. I can join a cult and worship it's leader via the Brotherhood. Or I can go completely independent, using the factions as my tools instead of me being theirs. And I get to find my kidnapped son. Maybe it's cheesy meaningful, but still meaningful.
    3. allout
      I'm pretty sure I said in this article that a game can be good while also being disappointing to some, if not I meant to say it. It's just that people need to clarify (especially content creators and such who drive the community) so there can be a proper discourse about the game. And I don't disagree with anything else you're saying for the record, but if you're hoping for a new obsidian fallout I think you should pt 1 of my interview with Chris Avellone, probably not gonna happen :mjcry:
    4. SitcomedyIsn'tFunny
      I feel like when talking about games, there's a lot of words thrown around without very much conceptual clarity.

      The way I see it, if a person is careful about how they talk about a game, they would use words like "bad" and "good" very differently from the way they use statements like "I like this" or "I dislike this". I think most things are objectively "good" and objectively "bad", objectively "mediocre", etc.. However, that doesn't mean people aren't allowed to like or dislike certain things, because objective and subjective statements aren't mutually exclusive when it comes to art.

      What I mean by this is that there are objective standards and methods of evaluating any work. This much is conceded by most people. There are objective ways that a person can determine if a game's controls, graphics, and sound design are "good" or "bad", but I would argue the same is true for elements traditionally thought of as only subjective, such as story, art style, music, etc., and that's where the controversy usually comes in.

      People usually think of objective and subjective statements as being mutually exclusive, and to say they might not be might sound like a wild idea at first because of the treachery of the words' meanings and how they have sort of grown to be perceived as conflicting opposites. But if you really think about it, rational and respected game critics often concede that a game be objectively good without it being in their taste, and are able to appreciate things a game does objectively well, even if they don't necessarily enjoy it themselves to begin with. The same is true for any aspect of game production. Art style can be objectively considered "good" even if it is displeasing to individuals, and the statements "this art style is really good" and "i really hate this art style" can both be right in reference to the same subject.

      The trouble is that statements like "this is good" and "I like this" are often misleadingly used interchangeably in casual conversation, and as a result a lot of people take a statement like "this is objectively good" to mean "you are not allowed to dislike this thing", or the inverse. In reality, everyone is entitled to a personal opinion on art, but regardless of any "opinion", there are objective merits that belong or do not belong to the work in question. Any debate on whether or not a game is "good" should really be a struggle to find the objective "truth" about its merits as it deserves, while respecting and reserving consumer's rights to enjoy what they enjoy regardless of it's correspondence with the objective truth.

      In this case, people may argue about whether or not Fallout 4 is a good game. It either is or it is not. I guess it could also be somewhere in the middle, but the point is there is only one objective truth. Whatever the case may be, though, it doesn't take away meaning from someone's personal taste. You could find that Fallout 4 is an objectively good game, because it tries to be an action adventure focused title and does that really well, and have people hate it to death because it isn't the RPG they wanted. In your case, you argue that Fallout 4 is an objectively good game because it sold well and has good reviews, but I would say that's a very inductive support for the claim, as it does in no way guarantee quality, only suggest or point to the likeliness of quality.

      From most of the statements made by OP I think I mostly agree on what they have to say on objectivity. However, I don't think people are trying to deny facts when they make objective statements on a game's quality, at least most of the time. When people who aren't completely personally authoritative unjustifiably make claims of absolute judgement, "FALLOUT 4 SUCKS", without support, they often just mean they really really dislike Fallout 4 because it wasn't the role playing game they wanted. I think that's important to note, the intention of people and their voiced online opinions. Especially because this issue mostly comes from a lack of consistent understanding and conceptual clarity on what it means for a game to be "good" vs. to be "liked"
      Flowiest Joui likes this.
    5. Flowiest Joui
      Flowiest Joui
      I enjoyed fallout 4, thought I'd enjoy it more but.
    6. Arch Draitex
      Arch Draitex
      Most people know my opinions are...strong on Fallout 4.

      not because of ''disappointment'' as many people believe, i went in with low expectiations, after noticing the skills were removed in the trailers.

      and even then my expectations were not met or delivered at all, i enjoyed customizing my character somewhat...but all of that was removed when i noticed the protagonist approach.

      the lore breaking, ret cons and inconsistencies, i could ignore, if it hadn't been so many.. I mean there is an excessive amount to say the least.... i mean there's not only inconsistencies to the previous games, there are inconsistencies with fallout in general, and even 4 itself ( a lot of confilicts with itself tbh)

      is it a bad game? ... No I mean, it's below average if I were to consider it standalone (as in not a fallout game).

      but I still have serious issues with the game due to it being called fallout, and not being what fallout always have been, so I deduct ''points'' for that too if i have to be honest.

      But i'd never let sales (see no mans sky) determine if a game is good or not.

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