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The key to enjoying video games is learning how to battle against common mistakes

The rain has finally come! I’ve had a dry summer despite the weather soaking my home in the United Kingdom. Over this month, I get a break from the heat as well. It’s been frequent, but finally there

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The rain has at last arrived! Given that I live in the UK, where we are frequently known for our dreadful rainfall, that seems strange. This summer has been unique, but it feels like I am finally getting a reprieve from the heat, if only for a short period.

In my previous Flawed Games article, I discussed four games that, while having serious flaws, I find to be really enjoyable. Even if a game has issues, they may not matter as much if other elements make up for them. I’ll use Cyberpunk 2077 as an example once more: Really, 250 hours of playtime speak it all. It’s worth playing because of the game’s compelling tale, endearing cast of people, and gorgeous (though somewhat antiseptic) setting.

As I worked on my Steam Deck and Indie Corner series, my last piece was meant to be a one-time affair. However, I found myself having a ton of games to discuss. I discovered how many flawed games I like after browsing through my game library. I therefore thought that making this a series would be fantastic! I’ll be getting back to my work with the Steam Deck soon; if anyone has one and is interested in learning more, they should check out the article I’m working on about getting the most battery life out of the gadget. However, today is all about more problematic video games!

I want to begin today’s installment with Fallout 4, a contentious video game from Bethesda. You’ll discover that a sizable portion of my “flawed yet pleasant” games are Bethesda titles.

When I was playing Fallout 4 on my Steam Deck, that’s when I really got the idea to start my series on flawed video games. That was a fascinating experience since I haven’t installed or played Fallout 4 since I stopped playing the game in the beginning of 2016. Even though Fallout 4 did well, the Fallout community hasn’t taken to it all that much. I seem to recall that, while I like playing the game, I wasn’t particularly fascinated by it. While the 2015 Fallout game improved on Fallout 3 in terms of graphics, shooting, and movement, it struggled to tell an interesting plot and made terrible dialogue design decisions, making it a poor Fallout game. It was unquestionably inferior than Fallout: New Vegas by Obsidian, which many fans consider to be among the greatest in the franchise. I’ll admit that I never found the fixation with New Vegas to be alluring. It’s a fantastic game, and I think it’s my favorite in the Fallout series, but I’m curious as to why it’s held in such high regard. It is even more broken than Bethesda games.

When The Outer Worlds debuted in 2018, that became a significant issue. Following the slog that was Fallout 76, many were so angry with Bethesda that Obsidian’s new RPG received an overly enthusiastic response. That has partially subsided, and The Outer Worlds is now a competent but only slightly above average game.

Consumer perception of Bethesda has significantly declined in recent years. Fans have reacted negatively to gaming mechanism simplification, even though it has been successful for sales and economics, and Fallout 4 offers a more streamlined experience. It was greatly influenced by Skyrim, which had expansive but shallow realms. Bethesda suffered a serious setback with the disastrous launch of Fallout 76, and I don’t believe they have fully recovered. Even though I’m looking forward to Starfield, I have a lot of worries. I’m willing to hold off on making a decision till it is in the wild.

I’m still confused by the Fallout 4 dialogue system. Why alter something that already functions well so drastically? I cannot comprehend them. Although I recall the Far Harbour DLC as one of the greatest Bethesda has released in years, the story and task design are generally uneven with few true standouts. In my previous gameplay, I didn’t care much for the tale, and I still don’t care much for it now.

Despite these problems, Fallout 4 is giving me a second wind. Even putting all the memes about Preston Garvey’s fixation with settlements aside, I actually find settlement building to be calming, and downloading the wonderful Sims Settlements mod turns it into an independent experience that makes it simpler for me to concentrate on exploring. I enjoy gradually constructing my expanding outposts, and looting everything is helpful. Since practically anything can be disassembled for crafting, there is a purpose for the traditional RPG problem of picking through everything in sight. There is still a lot to see and do, as well as intriguing places, even though the environment design isn’t as impressive as in other Bethesda games and competitive RPGs on the market. It also has some great gunplay and gameplay, which I thought was a major upgrade over prior games. This is one of the worst mistakes an RPG can make, and having a clumsy fighting system can make even the best games challenging to play. As it has been years, I intend to do a longer review of Fallout 4 later this year. It merits another opportunity.

In keeping with the Bethesda theme, I’d like to mention Skyrim, their most popular game. Their 2011 behemoth, with a variety of ports, is still flying off the shelves. We have three separate versions, and the most recent Anniversary upgrade on the Switch includes all of their material from the content-controversial Creation Club. They keep reselling and repackaging it, and it appears to be effective since despite all of its issues, Skyrim keeps selling.

With over 300 hours spent on the Xbox 360 version and over 500 hours total on the PC, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim continues to hold the title of RPG I’ve invested the most time in, even if the majority of these hours were spent using mods. Although I spent a lot of time playing the more reliable Special Edition, I spent the majority of my time on the original Skyrim version. The fantastic entire conversion mod Enderal: Forgotten Stories, which is so brilliant that many people prefer it to Skyrim’s base experience, required an additional 80 hours of my time. Although I mainly concur, I continue to hold the opinion that Skyrim receives a little too much criticism these days. Yes, it is shallow, and it has serious problems like bugs, a dubious plot, and lesser quests than its predecessors. Despite all of their flaws, Oblivion and Morrowind had tales that I was more engrossed in.

Skyrim has weaker questlines and a shoddy narrative. One of the worst questlines I’ve ever encountered was in the College of Winterhold. However, I really like using the expansions. Even if they are nothing compared to the Shivering Isles expansion for Oblivion, I still had a joy playing Dawngard and Dragonborn.

I consider Skyrim to be the ideal “junk food” game, much like Fallout 4. The game has over 800 hours in it, and there’s a lot of interactivity with the world, including moving fully animated and real-world objects around, fantastic music, and a sandbox where you can do whatever you want. Even ten years later, the Elder Scrolls series is still far and by the best role-playing game series available. Skyrim has a permanent place on any system I use, despite its egregiously flaws. There’s something peculiar about it.

I still urge you to use mods with it. Skyrim’s default interface is awful.

Pokemon Sword and Shield is the last game I’ll talk about today. Despite being some of the franchise’s best-selling games, they were not well appreciated by players. That’s impressive enough for such a massive series. Sword and Shield was the first significant Pokemon game released for the Nintendo Switch, following the commercially successful Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee releases. Despite its peculiar mechanics, I rather enjoyed Let’s Go, and these first-generation remakes are passable but not very noteworthy. I advise them if you can find them on sale.

I have to admit that Game Freak’s first significant game after leaving the 3DS turned me off. Sword and Shield generated a lot of debate: There are plenty of things to criticize about this game, like its incomplete Pokedex, bad route design, lack of animation improvements, strange game choices, and subpar graphics. The awful draw distance did not help, but I found the routes uninspiring. The Nintendo Switch is underpowered, yet it’s frustrating to watch shoddily drawn trees suddenly appear as if you were driving through dense fog. While a constant issue in the Pokemon franchise, the lack of challenge didn’t help, especially since the EXP Share option can’t even be disabled. I worked past this by testing a few hundred Pokemon and switching team members frequently to see how they performed, but I always prefer a toggle. It can be repeated if Generation 7 has good difficulty.

Sword caught my attention during the first significant lockdowns in 2020, and even if I didn’t think much of the game, I still had fun playing it. I adored the new Pokemon designs, and even though the game didn’t come with a full Pokedex at launch, there are a ton of different Pokemon to collect and train. In addition, the game’s wild area and Max Raid mechanisms provided me with lots of activities. The characters in the gym leader challenge are really well developed, and I felt for them. Despite the weak script, I thought the cast was surprisingly well-rounded. They are still underappreciated even though Sun and Moon/Black and White are superior. They are at least superior than the characters from Pokemon X and Y. Even the players from those games escape my memory!

I ended up enjoying both the Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra DLC, despite the expansion pass being an odd departure from Game Freak’s custom of “let’s produce a third, slightly different version.” They came up with some brilliant solutions that addressed many issues with the primary game.

The release of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is scheduled for November 2022. After experiencing such great joy with Pokemon Legends: Arceus, I have some trepidation about this one. I hope Game Freak makes many improvements to Sword and Shield, but only time will tell. Whatever happens, it will continue to sell millions of copies.