When immersion backfires

Discussion in 'Fallout 3 Discussion' started by SiriusShenanigans, Aug 2, 2018.

  1. SiriusShenanigans

    SiriusShenanigans Those who write on Heaven’s walls...

    Jun 27, 2018
    Many people tell me that one of the reasons they love fallout 3 and New Vegas (and sometimes even Fallout 4) is that they feel that the games are more immersive with their first person perspective that makes the world feel more real. They use this argument saying that the old games aren't immersive at all with their birds eye view and tiny sprites, and I get that fallout 1 and 2 might not be immersive in that sense... but I've never felt that fallout 3 or any of the newer fallout games made me feel immersed.

    I've been thinking about it, and I've realized that its not because first person isn't an immersive experience, but rather that the fallout 3 engine in particular with the uncanny valley that makes its first person viewpoint work against creating a living, breathing world, and I think it highlights one of the strong points for old fallout as well.

    In Fallout 3, there is a very vast setting, but its graphically very restricted, but that doesn't stop it from putting everything directly in front of you. You end up seeing the same textures, the same sorts of repeated people, the same objects everywhere you go, making you numb to many of your surroundings and the designs of characters. In this sense, the game makes it as if every character might as well be faceless. These characters all lack that spark of life. They don't blink, they don't have gestures, they can't sway or wave as they say their stilted dialogue, every character sits the same way, sleeps the same way, walks the same way... when all those things are put directly in front of you, doesn't it make you cringe and reject any reality there is in there? The poor writing doesn't help, but neither does the massive world the game is set in. Its the sort of project where it is too big for anything unique to be added to any given area, but so much of the game is built on exploration! The biggest aspect of the game is running around looking at the same old assets you've seen again and again. Its not just other characters, its even the player that has this rigidity problem. You can't do gestures or affect how you do things. When ever I play, I have this problem of feeling like I'm this clunky robot that can talk, jump, and shoot, rather than being a versatile human being.

    You could argue that you have to just imagine all those gestures and bits of non-verbal communication and body language, but... you are immersed in it. Its so very hard to convince your brain that the images that are right in front of it are not how things truly are.

    This is where old fallout is amazing! Old fallout doesn't have good graphics, you hardly ever see characters up close and everything is done from a distance with only little descriptions and sprites. In this sense you aren't immersed, but it presents blank spaces for your brain to fill in the gaps. I never had trouble imagining the way that Little Mordino leaned on counters or sneered or how he raised his hand when he ordered another drink. I never had trouble imagining how ghoul bartenders would glare at you and then give a nasty grin when you mention "Tragic the garnering". I never had trouble creating elaborate fight scenes in my head to replace the turn based combat that appeared on screen. The old games aren't immersive, but they have immersion in the sense that a good book does. It gives you a lot of freedom to interpret characters and invent how they look in your mind, and I don't think any of the new games can have as lively of a world as anything in my brain. In that sense, I feel like the new technology has only hindered the fallout games and made them farther away from a satisfying experience.

    Does anybody else feel this way about new fallout games?
  2. TorontoReign

    TorontoReign Shoot me again. I ain't dead yet. Staff Member Moderator

    Apr 1, 2005

    This was one of the points raised by NMA Glittering Gems back around 2005-2006. I am sure you can guess what the response was. Time is the great equalizer.
  3. SiriusShenanigans

    SiriusShenanigans Those who write on Heaven’s walls...

    Jun 27, 2018
    I can't seem to find any preserved copies of Glittering Gems articles. I can't say I know much about it, other than it was a compiled validation of NMA's complaints on bethesda or something like that.
  4. MPPlantOfficial

    MPPlantOfficial Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Aug 24, 2017
    "muh murrrshuhhn"
    is always going to be relative to how much attention a person invests in the games/movies/any form of media.

    Hypothetically Metro LL has the tools to make it a more immersive game than Metro 2033 with most variety in environments, better models, a lot of background noise and dialogues you could eavesdrop in and just overall a more beautiful game. However the stupid ai and supernatural element to it occasionally took me out of the game.

    If you ask me what the most immersive game I'd ever played was I'd say Diablo 1. The music, cast of characters, sounds, voice acting is enough for me to feel like it's a living, breathing world. Understandably plenty of modern gamers would disagree because of the limited sprite work and tile-based movement.
  5. Mekt

    Mekt First time out of the vault

    Jun 25, 2018
    I don't feel this way at all... while Fallout 3 and New Vegas aren't graphical powerhouses, the increased level of detail over much older games doesn't distract me to the point that I think there needs to be even more detail to become immersed. The only games were this is actually a problem for me are those very early 3D games like, say... "Wild Arms." Those characters don't even look remotely human during battle sequences... the original Deus Ex on the other hand? Fairly blocky characters with primitive animations, but they serve their purpose well enough that I don't think twice about it.

    Sprites are indeed timeless for the most part, but I think Fallout 3 and New Vegas are well past the point where 3D graphics actually detract from the believability of the world.