It's amazing how review scores are practically already written before something comes out.
Take Fallout 4. It was unvieled less than five months ago at E3 (granted, being kept the worst kept secret in the games industry prior to that) with two bits of heavily scripted 'gameplay.' Since then, there has been almost no gameplay footage to speak of. No screenshots. No early access reviews. No press screenings. Instead, what you get are a few live action and animated trailers showing off gimmicky bits of the setting while showing nothing of the actual product that you are going to be putting down your hard earned sixty bucks for.
Oh, let's be realistic here. You've preordered the $119.99 PipBoy(tm) edition of the game.
You've already taken the day off work.
You've already included it on your Game of the Year 2015 shortlist.
I have too.
The question is...why? Is it due to Bethesda's pedigree? That reputation that means that you can trust that they'll do no wrong? Let's be honest, every single game they've ever released has been a buggy wreck at launch. Is it because you're excited for the excellent new gameplay features? The excellent gameplay features that they've shown next to nothing of? Is it the stellar graphics that...honestly look signifigantly worse than just a light modding of the PC Fallout 3 or New Vegas? Is it the voice acting that has replaced the nuanced dialog trees of the prior Bethesda efforts with generic grunts of "HATE NEWSPAPERS?"
So, what is it?
Bethesda's open world games are *good.* I will never discount that. Huge, expansive worlds, tons of content for your money, an active and driven modding community that will put miles and miles of extra content that makes your purchase worth even more. Hell, even their storytelling is pretty damn good. I used to keep a .mobi file of all the Skyrim lore books on my tablet so I could get into Elder Scrolls lore when I was out in the real world, filling my already very busy day of being afraid of talking to women.
I don't doubt that Fallout 4 will be a good game. But I do wonder if it'll be a great game. 2015 has already been a banner year for games. Bloodborne, Metal Gear Solid V, The Witcher 3...hell, Crypt of the Necrodancer is likely going to be on my top 5 list. The review embargo for Fallout 4 unviels less than 24 hours before the game comes out.
Before then, you'll have no trailers to base your decision on, no early access previews. Nothing.
Still, you'll spend that money. Because it's *Fallout.*
There's been some leaked gameplay recently that has found it's way onto the Internet. I'd link it here, but I suspect the Youtube link isn't long for this world. Still, it's out there, and I'm sure you know how to find things on the Internet. So, what's in it?
The first 10 minutes or so of the game, and another sequence later on. The first bit is what you've already seen at E3. The other bit? Well, it's that most desirable of things, isn't it? It's more Fallout. The main charactter wandering around the ruins of Boston, clad in leather armor and a laser rifle, dog at his side, shooting super mutants. I don't know at what point in the story it takes place in, just because I'm reasonably sure I've described the bulk of the game in that last sentence.
So, how's it look? Graphically, it looks...a bit better than the last efforts. A bit. The animations however look EXACTLY like the last effort. If anything, the extra visual clarity makes them look worse. This is the trademark Bethesda animation quality, the same kind you remember so vividly from the Hall of Presidents at Disney's Epcot. Characters still stand wooden until dialog animates them, and then stare off blankly while waiting for you to pick one of four dialog responses, now lovingly mapped to each of the controller face buttons.
Look, it's twenty minutes of gameplay, and out of context gameplay at that. I'm not even going to say I'm disappointed, because this game has always been presented as More Fallout, and little more than that. It's not going to be a completely revolutionary open world experience, like a Metal Gear, or a Witcher.
It's going to be more Fallout.
And I guess that's alright.