Until recently, my answer to this question would have been Saints Row 2. I played the PC port of the game on Steam, and it contained its share of problematic glitches. In fact, more than once I found the game to be completely unplayable. Worst was when the screen would randomly blackout in the middle of a mission with the sound still playing in the background. It only happened a handful of times, but even one occurrence of such a glitch is one too many.
But as glitch-ridden as Saints Row 2 was, it doesn’t hold a candle to Fallout: New Vegas.
As I discussed last week, I recently completed Fallout: New Vegas on the PlayStation 3. For me, the experience was as close to video game magic as it got. I loved everything about the game, from the gorgeous desert setting to the amazingly deep and thoughtful story.
That said, not everything in the Mojave was perfect.
Like most long-time players (maybe?), I’m used to glitches. That’s not say that I find them acceptable or can deal well with them when the occur. It’s just that it’s not all that unusual these days to come across a few glitches in even the most polished games. From rendering issues to pixel hiccups to a skipped bit or two of a conversation, glitches do happen. Most of the time, it’s easy to simply gloss over them and move on. But sometimes, it’s not. And these days, thanks to the power of video, it’s easy enough to call out mega-glitches to the masses (Assassin’s Creed Unity comes to mind).
Though I didn’t know much about Fallout: New Vegas before going into it, I had read beforehand that it could be a little glitchy. Then again, I also understood that Bethesda’s games were often riddled with graphical nightmares. After all, I certainly I watched my fair share of funny Skyrim glitch videos. So I expected that I might run into an issue or two.
The game started out fine, and only gradually over the first couple dozen hours did a few minor glitches present themselves. Most of them were the amusing kind, from characters and set pieces randomly floating in the air to the game’s ragdoll physics accidentally placing deceased characters in the most discomfited of positions. These were things that, while noticeable, didn’t interfere with the actual playing of the game. All that changed about thirty hours in. That’s when the game-breakers started.
The first game-breaking glitch I encountered occurred as I was trying to make my way to The Boomers, a group that has settled at a local air force base. Being wary of strangers, their choice to keep people away was to bomb anyone who approached. When I first tried to get into their camp, the game locked up solid. After restarting, I tried again. This time the bombs got me, but the game froze just as I was dying. I restarted the game and tried again…and again…and again. Each time, the game completely froze at a random spot outside the base. I eventually made it onto the base and became good friends with The Boomers. (The freezing glitch happened once more, but soon subsided. I learned to avoid a few seemingly problematic spots outside the base from then on out.)
A big second game-breaker happened during a sidequest involving the Bright Brotherhood of ghouls. As part of the quest, I was asked to “clear out” the Nightkin – elite Super Mutants with an addiction to Stealthboys, which made them invisible — from the basement of the test facility that the brotherhood had taken over. And so I did. All gone except the Nightkin leader named Davidson. He was located in a special room. And every time I approached the room, my character fell halfway “through” the floor. That’s to say that her upper half was visible and her lower half was not. And though I could push the analog sticks and “move” and “run,” I really couldn’t. I was stuck there looking rather bizarre and helpless. (And Davidson couldn’t have cared less!) Now, because I’m so stubborn with wanting to finish any started quests, I kept restarting the game and the quest and tried to get through to Davidson, and I kept “falling” every time I tried to enter his room. I would have totally given up except that on my final and most aggravated from tries, he decided to leave his room and fight me directly. I’ve no idea why, but once he was out of the room, I was able to enter it without any problem.
And speaking of “falling” through game environments, it makes up a third significant game-breaking glitch as it occurred numerous times in different spots, and especially outdoors. I’d be running across the desert or up a hill or through a valley and, without warning, my character would fall into a pixel-less hole. I really should have thought to keep track of every time this happened, because I’m pretty sure that, at some point, I spent more time “falling” through the desert than I did running across it. It happened most frequently late in the game, right before the point of no return. Because at that point I spent some time trying to open up new locations across the map, so I did a lot of traveling on foot. With the number of “holes” I encountered, the Mojave would have looked like swiss cheese, surely. And the severity of the “holes” was fairly spilt. I found that about half the time I could maneuver to “solid” ground. But the other half of the time, I got interminably stuck and had to restart. Things got to the point where I was saving every fifteen minutes just in case I took another tumble into nothingness.
Like death and taxes, game glitches are a part of life. Thankfully they aren’t as serious as either death or taxes, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t annoying. I had loads of fun in Fallout: New Vegas despite its swiss cheese landscape and blackout issues. If these glitches hadn’t happened so frequently, well, just imagine the time I might have had!
Going back to the title of this post, what’s the most glitchy game you’ve ever played?