The early Metacritic user ratings indicate a HUGE disappointment in the game (on average level), while critics (game magazines etc.) have much high scores on the average. One may only wonder, what creates such big gap between the two parties? It all seems rather fishy on the side of early critic reviews. Without making any accusations, I would just like to state that game development and running game magazines are business models among many others, and paid reviews DO exist in gaming world. Not claiming it's the case here, but it certainly has happened before. It may be too early to say where the final user average rating score will drop, but early signs promise no good.
EDIT 13/11/2015: and the Metacritic user scores seem to be continuing to sink as the first days since the release pass by.
At the moment for Fallout 4's PS4 version, critics average score (magazines etc.) is solid 89/100 at Metascore.com (by 42 critics)
Similarly user average score (independent players, no company related) is horrid 60/100 (aka 6.0, by 405 users)
PC version's user average score is even more disappointing, being averagely 10 points lower nearby 50/100 (aka 5.0/10.0)
Now that is a big difference betweem critic scores and user scores, which one doesn't see too often on Metascore!
The other way of looking the user given scores at Metacritic, is dividing them into positive, mixed, and negative user scores. Let's do take a look and compare Fallout 4 to Fallout 3's Metacritic user scores at the same time. Currently at 13/11/2015 the scores hold as following:
Fallout 4 - PS4
Negative 114 (33%)
Fallout 3 - PS3
Negative 21 (12%)
Fallout 4 - Xbox One
Negative 37 (31%)
Fallout 3 - Xbox360
Negative 28 (8%)
Fallout 4 - PC
Negative 1528 (50%)
Fallout 3 - PC
Negative 364 (12%)
Don't get me even started. Calling those scores "good", and calling the game "good" based on those scores would be a pure lie or ignorance. Should the percentage of negative user scores out of the total scores remain somewhat similar, than what they are currently, then this would only indicate that the fans except Bethesda to do some major chances and improvements for the sequel, should they ever come up with another Fallout game in the future. Scores like this would probably mean the end of Fallout series the way they are designed and presented currently. The fans seem to demand the next game to be something totally different.
One third of console gamers give Fallout 4 a negative score, and slightly over half of the PC gamers think the game deserves a negative score (which, by the way, is more negative than positive votes, because 273 votes on PC side went to "mixed" category, which makes it 1528 negative votes VS. 1230 positive votes!).
Also, if you compare the current Fallout 4's ratings to the ones of Fallout 3, it also indicates a major drop in fans satisfaction rate. And we are comparing Fallout 4, the game which is similar to it's predecessor in most aspects - to Fallout 3, which was more controversial per se, because it changed the whole core game play compared to it's predecessor Fallout 2, thus probably receiving more "rough treatment" by older fans of the series, than what Fallout 4 should had. Way or another, Fallout 3's user rating scores seem superior in any aspect.
Some POSITIVE critic game reviews state following:
"If you’ve been waiting for Fallout 4, it will simultaneously meet your expectations and exceed them in others. Who would have thought a Fallout game would convince us of Bethesda’s storytelling and shooter credentials? In a year full of brilliant open-world games like The Witcher 3, it manages to stand apart from the crowd and deliver something that feels fresh, despite its familiar foundations."
"Graphical niggles aside, Fallout 4 feels like a culmination of the fantastic work Bethesda did on Fallout 3, New Vegas and Skyrim, surpassing them all in terms of scope and scale."
"A huge game that's anything you want it to be. An immense RPG, shooter, and world to explore that is only constrained by your imagination and desire to explore."
"Fallout 3 was seven years ago. Fallout 4 is one you can play, off and on, for the next seven. Congratulations, Bethesda: You’ve outdone yourselves again. You’ve made the Wasteland more beautiful, ugly, open ended, funneled down, thoughtful, and frantic than ever."
"Great new reasons to obsessively gather and hoard relics of happier times, strong companions, and sympathetic villains driving tough decisions make it an adventure I’ll definitely replay and revisit. Even the technical shakiness that crops up here and there can’t even begin to slow down its momentum."
"Fallout 4 is an engrossing game that lures you in with mystery and the promise of adventure. Its wretched wasteland can be captivating, and you never know what odd person or settlement lies around the next bend."
But then there's a lot of NEGATIVE user reviews with current metacritic avg. score of ~6.0 for PS4 and ~5.0 for PC:
1. The gun play is the improvement every Fallout player was hoping for. Its still not a perfect system, but its leaps and bounds from the last iterations of the franchise.
2. The character creation is pretty fantastic, though the graphics dont allow this to shine as much as a graphically more impressive game would.
3. The settlement feature is fun and adds quite a bit whilst being completely optional.
4. Voice acting is much improved in terms of voice variations. Some of it still sounds poorly read.
5. Animations all round are better (but again, not perfect or anywhere near) which leads to more interesting fights, different enemies have much more varied attacks than before.
Those are what i believe to be the improvements. Now the important stuff. What did Bethesda do to absolutely ruin this game. Here goes:
1. Dialog wheel, dialog wheel, dialog wheel. When. Will. RPG Devs. Learn. I dont understand how this idea got past in a meeting. There have been numerous RPG's which have implemented this along with voice acting from a more traditional system and precisely ZERO have gotten better because of it. Did no one learn from the travesty which is now the Dragon age series? It limits what you are able to say/ask. You get limited information on what you're going to say which can lead to ridiculous encounters where you're blurting out stuff that is completely different to what you thought. And to implement it into a game the WHOLE dialog system has to be dumbed down, no skill related conversation options - what replaced it is pitiful and not fit for purpose.
2. The environment is very boring from my experience. The major city in this game is ludicrously small and the map is not much better. There are a lot of side quests and encounters but im talking just the general environment, it all looks very similar and dull to the eye. Boston is the weakest setting so far.
3. You dont appear to have much of an impact on the world, much like Skyrim. This is no Witcher 3 ladies and gents, Bethesda got this completely wrong and makes major decisions seem trivial.
4. A very black or white morality with no reputation system or karma. IMO a step backwards for the series as it could have been improved upon from that last games and been made into a really enjoyable and in depth mechanic. Bethesda decided to scrap it instead.
5. The perks...lord, the perks are terrible. Not that what they offer is bad, or even that there isnt variety. Just that without a skill system it all seems rather empty and shallow. Again, instead of improving upon a mechanic that people liked that just scrapped it to make it simpler.
6. Your companions are just as dumb as the were before if not more this time. I swear dog meat spends more time in front of me in doorways than he does following. Again, you cant switch them from ranged to melee anymore, you can change how they fight. Another mechanic which could of been improved upon and made brilliant but instead was scrapped for a simpler less satisfying and frankly annoying system.
7. The story has MAJOR pacing issues. Its all over the place, gets good after a few hours in but Bethesda needs to hire some better writers because it doesnt hold up with other game of the same genre. Not even close.
8. New legendary monsters. This one might be just me because what they've chosen to do is a creative choice rather than just a bad decision. But basically its like borderlands. You get random really strong monsters on side quests or when you're exploring and they drop better loot. But calling them legendary really waters down the experience of fighting them. After fighting 'legendary' mongrels that are less than two feet tall and somehow take twenty bullets on normal difficulty the system just seems really stupid and arcadey. It doesnt suit fallout at all. I hope to god they take it out i feel like im playing some god awful MMO. In other Fallouts named raiders etc would be exciting, because they're characters, and they might have a story behind them. But now they just fade into the abyss of endless slain legendary enemies who sponge bullets. It waters it down.
The whole game just feels watered down. For every step forward they took two steps backward. Fallout 4 is an average game whilst being a TERRIBLE RPG and an even worse sequel. I hope these reviews get noticed by someone in Bethesda 2.0/10" -Vadernator
"Quite disappointing. Don't believe the positive "professional" reviewers. This game, again, showed what a bunch of paid-off hacks they are.
A lot of the things that made the previous Fallouts so fun are just dumbed down or broken in this latest instalment. The dialogue system is just pure garbage. I don't see any point in RPG style charisma play through what-so-ever, which is something I did in all previous Fallouts.
The S.P.E.C.I.A.L. is also dumbed down to a point where your choices don't even matter. You can just upgrade your base stats at level-up, so your initial "character" does not affect your play style at all. Not that it would anyway, because I don't see any effect of the stats on the game play apart from being able to carry more ****
The story so far, well, it's the same beginning as in every other Fallout really. However, the story progression and the NPC's you meet are extremely one dimensional and I actually feel like murdering them all rather than having to suffer through the painfully uninspiring dialogues.
I personally do not care for the graphics that much, which seems to be a major gripe for a lot of people, but this game is just not up to par in next gen gaming. What's worse is that it is actually VERY difficult to spot enemies without using VATS due to the "improved" graphics, particularly when compared to New Vegas.
At launch, it is filled with bugs and **** The framerate is at times abysmal. The character gets stuck on invisible obstacles, and so forth. If it wasn't a Fallout game, I would have quite playing after the first 4 hours.
Final word: Am I going to finish the game? Abso-fcking-lutely. Am I going to replay it? No. Is this the GOTY? NO! (Hopefully there will be patches lined up pretty soon or the broken game play and engine might force me to put this on the shelf until I'm tired of SW:BW) 4.0/10" -JackKasket
"This hurts..but..Fallout 4 feels unfinished and poorly done. The graphics, characters and interface are off and it's bugged like hell. It's just fallout 3 one more time, and that's not good enough for me anymore - not with other massive games like witcher 3 and phantom pain around. I think I'm gonna sell this off right away -what a massive disappointment (and I love the other games in the franchise). 5.0/10" -Rammy
"Heavily streamlined and simplified version of FO3, which is already a heavily streamlined and simplified version of FO1,2. Characters are one-dimensional, decisions made by you never carry the weight of Witcher 3 decisions. Moreover, plot is very bland and slow. AI shoots nukes towards walls near it, conversations are unpredictable and the UI is broken, disappears constantly. Graphics are so bad you'd think it's an HD remaster of FO3. Settlements system is redundant and it's interface is counter-intuitive. The only saving grace of the game is the amount of artistically well done content and sound. In the absence of other high profile RPGs around, this game can take your next 100-200 hours easily to discover everything. Bottomline - hard to recommend buying it in the post Witcher 3 world, but if you're already done with it and have spare 60 bucks - why not. 0.0/10" Morphine_OD
"[...] Overall, Fallout 4 plays, looks and feels familiar and if it wasn´t for the engaging premise of the nuclear wasteland per se, it would be a standard open world. Furthermore, technical issues pile up and thus drag the game down. 65/100" -Noiseblock
As we can see, the early opinions fluctuate a lot. Debate and controversy is in the air, more than than when Skyrim, Oblivion, or even Fallout 3 was released. There's a lot of disappointment in the air, too, looking not by the above examples of reviews, but by average scores. Critics still favor the game so far, though. Why not buy it yourself and find out? Order Fallout 4 here. Just know, that you might be one of those disappointed fans, since there seems to be many.