Bethesda's Game Design is Insulting

A personal rant about why I think Bethesda's RPG design is over-hyped and condescending.


The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion OST
Games Appearing in this video:


Fallout 2

Fallout 3

Fallout New Vegas

Fallout 4

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
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  • etherraichu

    Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas all have this one interesting difference from Skyrim and Fallout 4: You don't start as a god.In MOrrowind you had to go through an insane amount of work getting people to even maybe acknowledge you. in Oblivion you had to stupidly jump into a gaping hell maw and manage to not die, which is definitely a note worthy achievement. in Fallout 3 and New Vegas, you were just some guy with a mediocre gun and armor, and little supplies. You had to work your way up.In Skyrim? You get magic powers no one else has and are instantly the chosen one. In fallout 4 you immediately get the God Armor, even though most of your time is spent fighting raiders wielding pool sticks.I prefer the older way.

  • Life of Boris

    STALKER being mentioned? how was I not informed?? I need to fire my secretary.

  • Pogo

    The premature power armor in Fallout 4 says everything. It's like Bethesda is trying too hard to please everybody.

  • The Finance Guy- Stock market videos

    tell me how you feel about EA......I would love to hear that....

  • steampunch

    I come from the future! Bethesda didn't learn anything, and the new fallout is an online survival one!

  • Zer0dog

    I like Fallout 3 and Skyrim despite their flawsgets shot

  • Stepperot

    Honestly this is the mindset and design of the entire industry not just Bethesda

  • Phat Tacoz

    It's sad that Skyrim's mods have better gameplay than the game itself. Especially that whole beyond Skyrim thing

  • Concrete Outcry

    New Vegas was gold. But is outdated

  • It'sAGundam

    Great video, you summed up so many of my rants about FO4 without throwing a single chair!

  • Spartan Q77

    Bethesda removes more than they add. The amount of rpg elements gone from Oblivion to Skyrim is appalling. Skyrim had loads of potential but little substance. It frustrates me how modern game lack compelling rpg elements. Instead they have a small puddle of them. Yet still there labeled "rpg" games. Next people would be calling The Legend of Zelda games rpgs. Wait a minute peolpe actually do that already. I miss actual rpg games. It has become a bygone genre. Due to developers not wanting to take risks.

  • TheOneAndOnlySame

    Bethesda is a really mediocre studio. Horrible artistic direction (chara design, visuals), total lack of polish in pretty much all area (bugs, animations, level design, 2d art, 3d art, story, dialogues) . this all feel like if a studio specialized in making generic assets started making games. I hate Bethesda as a developer.

  • TheSteelStallion

    I've been saying it for years but at this point they really are taking the piss. I'm willing to forgive them for using the engine and such back when Morrowind and Oblivion came out during their original releases but not now, no way. They got around the engines limitations back then with some memorable quests, characters, sights and all the possibilities your character could bring to your playthrough. I don't feel that one bit these days. Skyrim showed it was outdated the second I took one look at gameplay footage for it. You could feel it in the voice acting, the animation and the continued dumbing down of gameplay. I still feel more immersed in Morrowinds huge walls of text, alien like world design and varied creature design than I ever did trying to give hours of playtime to Skyrims dull copy/paste/repeat Tolkien-like world of trees and dungeons, disinterested voice acting of dull rinse and repeat characters, boring box-ticking fetch quests and hack, slash and yawn combat.When Todd Howard takes to a gaming convention stage and emanates a sense of achievement and creativity, I truly wish to slap him in the face. I can understand people finding enjoyment in some way from his games, hell, even some of the worst games in history give some enjoyment with how terrible they are. It just really bugs me when people say there's something truly special in their design when I can effortlessly find more reasons to the contrary. I often see people lifting Bethesda RPGs on a pedestal and it is usually from people telling stories of glitches or 'amazing' characters they've completely reimagined in their heads to have backstories and the like. Good on you folk out there if you can patch together the holes these games have with your imaginative minds but don't give credit to them for something you're adding or wasn't intended, much like mods. Modding is a fantastic addition to any game but it should not be used as a defence or sole crutch for average or half-arsed work.

  • Killah Priest

    yeah the dummification of games is an issue.... also the politically correctness as well

  • Ben

    What's even worse is forums are filled with people complaining they're stuck on Skyrims puzzles.

  • David Parry

    Simple Answer... american game reviewers take bribes!You're welcome.

  • Terrible Tanner

    Oblivion, 5 minutes in: "Here, have full steel!"Fallout 3, 20 minutes in: "Here, have a Fat Man!"Fallout 4, 20 minutes in: "Here, have Power Armour!"

  • GLeeM

    i am 100% a Fallout 4 defender but i totally agree with everything in this video

  • OfficialNedSanders

    Sadly, I feel like mass-appeal will always be more profitable than catering to a small but dedicated audience. The folks at Bethesda are a company, not artists; their job is to make money. Obsidian were a much smaller developer and the fact that they focused so much on pleasing the small group of people who loved the property really shows, but at the end of the day, that's the reason that they're still a small developer and Bethesda are a huge conglomerate. That's fucking Capitalism for you.

  • Houston Helicopter Tours Inc.

    Oh boy, can't wait for Bethesda's next medieval / post-apocalyptic set piece simulator™Will they finally drop the last tedious RPG inventory management and character advancement? Will they boldly move towards more streamlined one-button gameplay? Creation Club from the start...for vital game elements?Sky's the limit, Todd.

  • Daniel

    Ironically enough, I got a Fallout 76 ad during this video

  • d e a t h d r e a m

    I should've taken the blue pill

  • Shmalfie

    Fair enough, F4 is a pretty crappy RPG, but you have to admit the building and action are fairly fun and you get your money's worth.

  • Valdetiosi

    I think STALKER more as RPG than whatever Bethesda could create out. Heck, even their Radiant AI gets pale in comparison of A-Life Simulation.

  • Calle Johansson

    I hope that they remaster Fallout New Vegas, because there are some things that they need to fix. For example, when you kill an enemy they shouldn't explode into a million pieces when you just happened to crit with your pistol. That should only happen if you have the "Bloody Mess" perk, when you use energy weapons, when you use explosives, a powerful melee weapon or when you use a very powerful firearm. They should also add some death animations, since it isn't that great to have an enemy just go limp and collapse (literally, take a look at an enemy getting killed with a firearm) instead of falling backward etc. It just isn't satisfying to me.

  • Maximilian Shaffer

    Fallout New Vegas is almost a political empire tycoon with complex strategy and difficult decisions when compared to Fallout 4 where yes means yes and no means yes.

  • Steve Smith

    yup.... dark souls..... masterpiece..... fkn roll and stab up the arse simulator.

  • EH7

    You can worry even more since apparently TES6 uses the same engine as Oblivion but "upgraded".

  • Ekkie Ekk

    I don't really like people calling fallout 4s dialogue system "bioware like". You're giving them too much credit. It's more telltale like. Joke, angry, questioning, and nice.

  • Cloudy_

    Ok, so something about the picture puzzles. They are meant to be easy. The characters who made the dungeons in Skyrim made them simple so anyone could enter, but the draugr couldn’t leave. They don’t need to be difficult from a lore perspective. I’m not disagreeing with you as this was a very good video.

  • JZ Squared

    That's one of the many reasons I don't like playing Fallout 4 on harder difficulties. It's not more difficult, it just takes longer to kill the enemies. It's boring.

  • JZ Squared

    Be careful whenever any publisher uses the terms "pride" and "accomplishment" especially when they use them together. :P

  • MRTN13

    I take no value in the ratings of IGN (they get paid) or the user ratings of Metacritics . That's filled with fanatics, fanboys, haters, dumbasses and maybe 1-2 good reviews that are interesting (like this video)

  • Kasbian Vaulks

    Were you a child when you played FONV? yup thats why you found it more memorable

  • the Redanator

    Fallout 4 is my first fallout game and I enjoy it. just because it doesn't let you make your own story doesn't mean it's bad, a lot of rpg games that people enjoy like final fantasy it doesn't let you create your own backstory and it's praised as some of the best rpg games ever made. However the creation club is retarded. To sum what I said up just because you don't like the fact that the game tries to get you to go find your son as a main plot point doesn't mean it's bad it just is trying to push the central plot.

  • Philly Fan

    Fo4 isn’t bad, if you only want to play through it once.

  • GMMReviews

    It's because mainstream reviewers are a bunch of impatient children, that are paid to give games good reviews..

  • 82 Habbal

    LOL, some of the side quests are lot better than the main story, and you can't remember those. Yes, F4 is simplified compared to the prequels, but it's still great. Far Harbor was right, with lots of options to finish the story.

  • YOU-5-IVER

    Suprising that Obsidian have made 2 games that they could not have more time to perfect (KOTOR 2 and Fallout New Vegas)

  • MrCaptain

    1. Complains about no freedom.2. Complains you are totally free to grab some power armor early on. And all within the same minute. Nice.

  • Dwinn

    So much complaining just let people have fun with games they find enjoyable.

  • Dapple Dog

    You know, Oblivion and New Vegas are much better games than Skyrim and Fallout 4. Skyrim removed the core elements of character designs: the classes and the birthsigns (no, those standing stones DO NOT count as birthsigns). I feel like I actually am someone when I create a character in Oblivion. When I make an Altmer Knight, I don’t have to grind for the first hour of gameplay to get my Knight skills to a reasonable level. Oblivion made me feel that my character was alive before I ever started controlling him. Fallout New Vegas is an entirely different story. Not only do I feel that The Courier has a life based on my backstory, he/she feels like they’ve existed in some way before the main game. Skyrim removes the core elements of character creation. I still love Skyrim, but it is not anywhere near the level of Complexity that games like Fallout NV and Oblivion have. If Bethesda were to add perks, classes and birthsigns to the Elder Scrolls VI, along with the return of speed, agility, mysticism, armorer perks, and attributes, I would be ecstatic. However, that is not enough. We need killable NPC’s, multiple endings and a less serious game in general. Oblivion is a game which laughs at itself sometimes, and then becomes serious again. Skyrim tries for so much realism, that it no longer works as an RPG. The worst irony as well, is that you can literally be everything in Skyrim. You can be the Listener, a Nightingale, a Companion, The Master Mage; the worst of all, is that you can sell your soul to most of these factions. More realism, but lore breaking bullshit.

  • Gavin Nichols

    Fallout 4 is a great game

  • PestTeufelApokalypse

    YT is full of people who complains about every great game. Sure, Bethesdagames are not like dark souls, and not like mass effects AND THATS FINE! Bethesda gave us games for hundreds of hours of playtime and when you get bored you can choose to overhaul your whole game with communitymods and make it completely different. You dont HAVE to play as a ex-Soldier-Father-Guy if your Imagination can deal with not thinking so much about how the game starts! Just play with the things the game gives you. You really care about the creation club? Come on, you DONT have to buy something! Bethesda gave tools to built every single aspect by the game for free. And you call that insulting? Yeah, Skyrim is a littlebit dumb in its puzzles, sure. The dialoges are bad and there is many other things i dont like, but i still play it and it is nice! I can choose to play as the character i want to be, i can choose the mods that fits with it. Yeah the most important part is my imagination and the communitymods. But Bethesda still gave us the sandbox and you dont have to shit in it.

  • Chetar Ruby

    Yeah, I don't really agree with this video. He makes some good points, but he just seems to dilute the game in an effort to tarnish what is actually a pretty fun game. If all you do is spend your time raging against the few parts of FO4 that are poor, then sure, you're going to hate it. Fortunately, because FO4 is an open world and the quests are definitely not linear, and you definitely can have lasting effects on the world you're exploring, most your video is garbage. A large number of the questlines lead to world altering events, and there's even some sidequests that do too. Both the DLC's Far Harbor and Nuka-World all have questlines that change the world in irreversible ways. Also there is no rule that says you have to buy into the character story you were handed. You can go, "Yeah, screw that, I don't care, I'll go do something else." There is no requirement you do anything in any particular order, and in fact, it's only if you buy into the shitty story (and yes, it's a pretty lame story, wont deny it) do you get early power armor, or that minigun. If you ignore that and explore anything but Concord, you will find the game way more challenging and interesting. At the end of the day, it's an open world, and you decide how you want to play the game. You also decide if it's garbage because of it's flaws, or that it's great because of all the good parts you left out of your video.

  • Joshua Burt

    Whilst I agreed with some of his points I do have to point the hypocrisy and irony that comes through, he talks about Bethesda being "condescending" and yet throughout this video I felt as though the guy was being condescending towards anyone who disagrees with him

  • default name

    The power armor didn't even help the deathclaw didn't touch you

  • DeviateWolf2468 S

    Hey dude I know this video is sorta old but look into dishonored and prey. They both pride themselves on having choices and the game is pretty fun. And doom is an amazing game

  • xC4N4D14NB4C0Nx

    bah only 135? you have not tortured yourself nearly enuff!

  • Ethan Bunger

    As much as I agree with you, you rely too much on your nostalgic feelings of New Vegas. I agree it is a good game, but you preach it as if there is no other fallout game that will ever be able to beat it. You also complain about the characters lacking anything in the way of personal backstory creation, and while I agree that this is important it's pretty hard to have a story line like FO4's that is also fully voiced without forcing a backstory on a player. Otherwise everything feels vague and you distance yourself from all the other character's because they'd have some loose, all applicable connection to the player character. Of course you didn't want a fully voiced protagonist and yet you got it because some of the fan base had asked for it in years past. You complain about all these things that are actually in the game and yet you say they're not. Such as: "Or go the complete wrong direction and get disemboweled by a deathclaw, do what you want it's an RPG". You don't HAVE to follow the main quest line the same in Oblivion, FNV, and Skyrim. It's not mandatory, but it is heavily pushed upon you to do because it helps out a lot by giving you experience and items. FO4 is not a perfect game by any meaning of the word but you hold FNV to some golden standard like it can do no wrong. Yes, it's a good game but it's riddled with bugs and used the same game engine as FO3, it could have practically been a mod. Just like FO76 could be a mod for FO4. What I'm trying to say is: Yes, Bethesda's game design is flawed. But is nowhere near insulting. EA's game design is insulting.

  • Goonie

    Todd has ruined that company for RPG fans and made it a share holder's dream. You buy a Bethesda game if you just want to go on a power trip, maxing out all your skills before the game ends and be the single god-like character in the game. If you want a sequel to Fallout 1 and 2, get Wasteland 2. It's the same for other (non-Bethesda) franchises too. I think System Shock 1 was way better than System Shock 2. For me, last year's Prey was the sequel it deserved.

  • ImScared

    Water downed gameplay has become a genre.

  • Tasorius

    Those simple "puzzles" are meant to keep the draugr in.

  • Dannie Mathew

    Obsidian need to make another fallout game

  • Rob Collins

    I agree with some of your points and disagree with some but you say all this like its fact and not just your opinion.

  • TheZombifiedZombie

    I believe that fallout 4 is a perfectly fine game in general, Bethesda tried to step away from the normal RPG that they had been doing for years and then made something that wasn't meant to be insulting but a different type of game. Instead of having to create your own character some people just want to get in and shoot stuff. I really loved fallout 3 for its mechanics in dialogue and wish they still had it but there's mods that do that the same way that fallout 3 and new vegas did it. Also fusion cores may be able to be bought from specific vendors but they're semi rare, and you don't get 20 in the first five minutes, It took me almost 2 days in 1 save to get 20 and by that I mean around a 48 hour gameplay time. I don't think that they are trying to dumb games down, I think they are stepping a way from the Sole Survivor, RPG stuff and trying new things, like fallout 76 is a multiplayer RPG and is going to be completely different than the other fallout games. Also creation club items aren't necessary, some of the are just over powered. That's why I only buy the things that I like because they are cosmetic for me. Something that shows me that sometimes, mods dont make my day and that a little money can. Take the Nuka Cola Addict Bundle they recently released which costs around 600-700 credits (don't quote me on that) and how its not only purely cosmetic but its also pretty and are just retextures of already exisiting containers and items. I personally love the nuka cola chain and think its amazing in almost every way and I wish they would do more but the bundle just adds stuff for cosmetic purposes. Its mods that they think are too good for Nexus or the mods page and ask the developers if they can use them and market them. Stuff that isn't 100% lorebreaking or unfitting in the fallout universe (mostly). Doesn't matter if they're OP just as long as they seem nice and make the experience better (IMO).Anyway, if you get to here thanks for reading that extremely long paragraph and I hope your day is great :)

  • yurisuika

    The more people that play videogames, the more stupid people that play videogames.

  • 2pump Chump

    Most of this video you were moaning at fallout 4 , not really giving out a good argument , nitpicking doesn't give you a good foundation of an argument it just means you haven't got a good one .Saying Skyrim is 4 dummies and is bad is your opinion , but doesn't mean it's not a stupid opinion , why did it have a rating review of about 95% on steam before the first paid mods fiasco ? Saying dark souls is better is your opinion once again but honestly I don't like to play a game where there s no clear objective in the game , I rather not have to look online just to find out what the hell is going on.I find most people these days have forgotten how to play video games

  • John Clarke

    I've read that the simple gate puzzles in Skyrim aren't to keep looters out but to keep the undead in.

  • LoH Bros

    They've done an amazing job with world building, and we all got hooked, so now they get away with murder when it comes to everything else

  • MattVideo Productions

    I honestly don’t know why I bothered buying fo4, bethesda is clearly nothing like it used to be all they are doing now is rereleasing skyrim.

  • Dj Gamez

    It got high reviews because it was good at what it set out to be. It didn't set out to be a story driven rpg, The reviewers were doing their jobs, If you review New vegas it's graded as an rpg with shooter elements, if you review fallout 4 its graded as an action shooter with rpg elements. It's a sucky rpg and in the context of fallout games it has very little of everything that made the franchise good in the first place but the job of a reviewer is to see what kind of a game it's trying to be and grade it on whether it succeeds. Saying it's bad because it doesn't respect it's series, genre and legacy is the job of an essayist

  • LukewarmBong

    Mainstream reviewers only rate that high because they're getting paid off for it

  • Alchemy Ocelot

    Three words: skinner box design.

  • Xix

    7.42 - YES, i like the fact that you can get this Tin Can in the beginning. Finally it is something that changes the way you play and is not only piece of armor that in gameplay doesn't feel any different than jumpsuit. You can feel like a totally different person if you had chosen to be armored badass. At least they got Power Armor right. Only fact i like about this game really.

  • danehb89

    Let's not forget the fact they've been using the same engine for sixteen years and all their games feel so clunky, floaty, and just plain old fashioned. This was fine back in Oblivion, but that was twelve years ago. I have zero interest in Bethesda games until they actually do something new. But who am I kidding, even if we do get a fancy new engine and a game that feels good, it's going to be even further dumbed down crap than we've already been getting.

  • Solid Fisher

    Forgive me if I'm wrong but didn't the original fallout start with the water chip breaking and you're told to go find a new one? That's who you are a vault dweller sent into the wasteland to do a specific task

  • Spiff Kid

    Skyrim can be crap sometimes. All my saves randomly disappeared except for the one that im in. And as soon as I load that save I have very low health, no weapons, (cause I’m in the thelmor embassy mission) and a angry gaurd is right in front of me. There is no option for me except to restart my game. PLEASE HELP 😢

  • Spiff Kid

    Bruh Peggle was fun as hell

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