Fallout: New Vegas
Posted 2 years ago By kingquagmire - David Collins
When Bethesda picked up the rights to the Fallout IP, many were skeptical. The original offerings were RPG darlings on the PC and a lot of fans were not certain how Bethesda would handle their beloved franchise. Although I think manhandling would be a more appropriate term as the venerable RPG was tossed into a blender with an FPS and someone up in Maryland hit the puree button, creating an amalgam that many didn’t expect nor want...until they played it. The end result was a fresh take on a classic franchise that introduced console gamers to a universe that was previously only available to PC players. Bethesda’s post launch support for Fallout 3 was more extensive then just about any other game up to that point; enriching the experience that much more. In order to satiate gamers continuous desire for all things post-apocalyptic, they decided to make a whole new adventure; only this time moving things out West to the deserts of Nevada, centering on New Vegas.
My love of Fallout 3 is no secret, so to say I was anticipating New Vegas would be an understatement. Taking the same engine that Fallout 3 used and thrusting it into the capable hands of Obsidian (see KotOR 2 and Neverwinter Nights 2), I was certain we would have another fabulous journey across the Wastelands, circa 2281. Especially when you consider the fact that some of those same individuals came over from the now defunct Black Isle, the developer behind the original two titles. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite the home run I was looking for.
The issues began with the engine itself. The story in Fallout 3 combined with the unique vibe it brought to the table made it easy to overlook the minor glitches and oddities. But that was 2008. Today, in 2010, those issues are more glaring than ever. I’m not talking about texture clipping or solid objects moving through other solid objects (which are still prevalent by the way). No, I’m talking about characters randomly appearing in locations they had no business being in. Or people walking backwards or enemies just standing in one place, as if hit with some sort of time stopping mechanism - all the while I’m standing there blasting away at them. Or worse yet, randomly running away, as if I was a perceived threat when clearly I wasn’t. That last one even had me double checking to make sure I was on good terms with whatever faction those folks belonged to (which I was) and making sure I had good Karma (which I did). Seriously, these issues just shouldn’t be happening in this day and age. I wasn’t the only one who came across them neither, as many other gamers had the same complaints. Keep in mind that I didn’t even begin my playthrough until AFTER the first patch was released. It really begs the question about how much budget is allotted for QA testing. But I digress...
The visuals also took a hit as what looked pretty good a couple of years ago is looking pretty wrinkly now. Even with new character models and new enemies (though some do return), a ton of the assets have been directly ported over from Fallout 3. The environments may have been created to represent the western Wasteland, but I couldn’t help feeling a sense of sameness and deja vu. Even the Strip itself was a bit underwhelming, containing only a smattering of casinos that were barely populated. While I would love to have had the glitz and glamor of today’s South Las Vegas Blvd, I did at least expect a bit more life both in the casinos and out on the streets.
Despite that, I still trudged through, hoping to find enough that I liked to ignore some of the technical annoyances. And I did, to an extent. The story - while pretty flat - had an odd pacing that intertwined among the many of the side missions. Things begin with you, dead in the dirt. Well, sort of. The main character is a courier who was en-route to deliver his package when a smartly dressed fellow flanked by a couple of goons shoot him in the head, bury him in a shallow grave and make off with the goods. Shorty after they leave, a robot comes and digs him up and takes him to the local doc to get patched up. Here’s where the player steps in. During the initial recovery, players will have the chance to determine the various beginning stats using the familiar S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system and also physical features such as facial and hair designs. Then it’s nothing but the open desert as you try to figure out who popped you, why they did it, and locate the missing package.
It won’t take long to discover the major crisis plaguing the West. For Fallout 3, we were in search of our father, all the while a massive issue with clean water was always playing out in the background and eventually tying directly in with our own agenda. The same thing is happening here, as while we are in search of our murderer, the conflict between the two major entities on this side of the country - Caesar Legion and the New California Republic - is happening at the same time.
The first half of the game has just a single primary objective, as trailing the perpetrators across the land will lead through many townships offering lots of side quests. Completing these quests introduces a new feature: Factions. Each area has it’s own specific residents and helping them out will gain you fame. Fame translates to discounts at shops and more importantly, allies. The Nevada Wastelands is a harsh place, so having friends is a huge help. However, the inverse is true as well. Do wrong to any of these groups and they will increasingly dislike you. This will make things difficult as the more notorious you become, the more likely they will attack on site. It will ultimately end up locking you out of certain areas since people who don’t like you will no longer talk to you, unless you enjoy a hearty conversation with nothing but lead or plasma. Be aware that a lot of the objectives of these groups present will contradict with others, thereby forcing choices upon the player. Should you be buddies with the Powder Gangers? If so, the residents of Primm will remain paralyzed, shutting you out of any potential quests they may have.
If the wilds get too tough, there are up to eight companions to discover and choose from. They’ve been modified a bit though, this time carrying their own quests and unlockable Perks. One in particular, ED-E, was invaluable as far as I was concerned. He is the first one to be found and between his Perk and the added storage, I ended up keeping him until the end. As a bonus, companions don’t die in New Vegas, they just get knocked out. A huge help for me as more often than not, my buddies would die shortly after joining me in Fallout 3.
The reason storage was a big factor for me was because the means to increase one’s attributes has been adjusted. Books that permanently increase your skills are still scattered about, but they are much fewer this time. Stat bumping magazines have been added to the laundry list of available items to scavenge, discover or steal, but the changes they make are temporary. Don’t knock them though as many times I was able to one to find success in a Barter or Speech dialog choice that I normally would have failed at. Gone are the Bobbleheads of old and it it’s place are Snowglobes, although finding them doesn’t make the same impact. I won’t explain why as I’d be crossing minor spoiler territory, but trust me, they aren’t anywhere near as useful as the Bobbleheads were.
Other changes include a crafting system (which greatly expands beyond the blueprints of Fallout 3), distinct bullet types (addressing damage along with wear and tear on the weapon), gun mods (changing the attributes of a weapon by adding a new stocks or barrels) and even two different degrees of damage (armored vs non-armored). While the concepts do add more depth to the game, I found it more of an inconvenience. I had my hands full enough just dealing with the massive amount of quests and the faction relationships.
As I mentioned before, the game had an odd pacing as far as the missions went. There are half as many more quests and twice as many locations in New Vegas as there was in Fallout 3. Great for the explorers in the world but if someone wants to just blow through the main story, they will get overwhelmed about halfway through. Once the first primary objective is completed (i.e. finding the man who shot you), tons of new missions will be unlocked and it will be tough to figure out which ones to go after to progress the story. Add in all the interweaving - which is what leads to the various endings - and the bite-sized pieces soon become massive chunks to ingest. After completing one of the endings, I will say that I feel a lot better prepared for my next run through New Vegas. Trust me when I say that you have no idea how many of your actions during the campaign will directly impact the endgame.
And that is the biggest asset for New Vegas. What it lacks in the ‘new and improved’ department, it makes up for in sheer size. The game truly is a massive beast that is sure to keep players exploring for quite some time. The audio wasn’t quite as good as before, sporting a song selection that, while appropriate, quickly grew tiresome and a DJ (Mr New Vegas) that couldn’t shine Three Dog’s shoes. The story was not quite as engaging as the tale created by the Vault 101 escapee. The visuals and the gameplay were simply on par with Fallout 3. But the overall content? It’s as if we were playing through Fallout 3 AND all the DLC combined.
From the new crafting and weapon options to the massive amount of quests, the game turned into a Jack of all Trades, but master of none. There’s a lot within the package, but none of it was done particularly well. The story was a bit lackluster, the environments, while somewhat new, had a ‘been there, done that’ feel to them. And the glitches were difficult to turn a blind eye to because of it. Is New Vegas bad? No, not really. It just doesn’t reach the same heights as it’s predecessor. If you loved Fallout 3 and are looking for more 23rd century action, then New Vegas should satisfy you to no end. If not, then you might want to pass since the new variances implemented here are not enough to change anyone’s mind.
+ Faction system pushes the strategy
+ Crafting and gun mods add a layer of depth
+ It’s Fallout 3 - revisited
- Glitchy and buggy
- Story, while very involved, ends up fairly uninteresting
- Most aspects fall equal to or below Fallout 3
1 week ago :: Injustice: Gods Among Us
1 week ago :: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14
2 weeks ago :: BioShock Infinite
4 weeks ago :: Gears of War Judgment
1 month ago :: (Kinect) The Hip Hop Dance Experience
1 month ago :: Tomb Raider
1 month ago :: Crysis 3
2 months ago :: DmC Devil May Cry
2 months ago :: (XBLA) Serious Sam Double D XXL
Download us here!
Game Junkies podcast and audio interviews
Release Date : 2010/10/19
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Bethesda Softworks
Developer : Obsidian Entertainment
Category : Role Playing Game
ESRB : M
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10