Project Brazil is a new full game modification for Fallout New Vegas created by Brandan Lee. Four years in the making, it doesn’t just put a new shine on the Mojave, but is, effectively, a completely new game set in California. To run the mod you have to start a new game and the intro movie sets a great tone familiar to anyone who played the original Fallout. Things started to become ominous pretty quickly, though, when the opening credits listed a handful of “writters”.
The opening monologue was decent (in that the acting and quality did not offend), but the animation was super choppy and distracting. When all of this introductory material is setting the tone and conveying to the player, not only the story and setting, but attempting to convince them that this mod is worth their time, it is surprising they left the opening animations like that. In the long run, not terribly important, but perhaps evidence of a more general problem, especially when you combine it with what was the most depressing for me: the audio quality and voice acting.
Let me start with a quote from Lee: “It contains nearly 5000 lines of professional quality voice acting recorded in my media studio with friends from the local film, TV, radio & live theatre industries.” It sure as fuck doesn’t sound like it.
In the first ten minutes I encountered 5 characters; all sounded like they were recorded on different microphones in different spaces. The opening intro by Coach Bragg (voiced by Roger Owen) sounded, as I said, decent but quiet. The second person I encountered was Dr. Kevin Rossman (Duke Standberry) and, while well acted, the audio quality was poor, like he was speaking into a $20 computer microphone, and he was also too quiet.
At this point, I turned up the voice settings and turned down all the others.
Next, I met Johnny Matheson (Dan Ziffer) and, wow, he…should not act. Along with the terrible performance, my isolation and amplification of the voice audio quickly revealed why Lee chose to keep their audio so low. When you turn the volume up to something like you would expect from the original game, the background “studio” noise and other unpleasant artifacts are overwhelming. And, while the voice audio was uniformly low, there was still a distracting amount of variance, with some lines being louder or softer than the previous line.
And this is the first ten minutes. The game may be wonderful, but players can’t immerse themselves when the spell is constantly being broken by bad animation, acting, and audio quality. I’m going to continue, but I’ll be turning the voices off and going all text if it doesn’t get better quick.
I feel bad about critiquing something this guy and his friends probably spent thousands of hours on, but…just putting time into something doesn’t make it good, unfortunately. Ask M. Night Shyamalan.