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Fallout New Vegas: Review

by | @AttackFanboy | on October 18, 2010

Welcome to Vegas. New Vegas.  It’s the kind of town where you dig your own grave prior to being shot in the head and left for dead…and that’s before things really get ugly. It’s a town of dreamers and desperado’s being torn apart by warring factions vying for complete control of this desert oasis. It’s a place where the right kind of person with the right kind of weaponry can really make a name for themselves, and make more than an enemy or two along the way.

As you battle your way across the heat-blasted Mojave Wasteland, the colossal Hoover Dam, and the neon drenched Vegas Strip, you’ll be introduced to a colorful cast of characters, power-hungry factions, special weapons, mutated creatures and much more. Choose sides in the upcoming war or declare “winner takes all” and crown yourself the King of New Vegas in this follow-up to the 2008 video game of the year, Fallout 3.  Enjoy your stay. [Bethesda]

More of what was good about Fallout 3 – You know that old saying if it ain’t broke don’t fix it?  Obsidian, the developer in charge of Fallout New Vegas took this and ran with it.  Much if not all of what made Fallout 3 great remains intact in this latest tale from the wasteland.  The games craftsmanship is an art in itself as the new locale, The Mojave Wasteland, gives the gamer as much a sense of place as Fallout 3 did(if you can forget for a second all about Fallout 3).  The game’s main story line is accompanied by obscure yet intriguing side quests and subplots.

Nice to see you again PipBoy -The ease of management of your quests and inventory are back, your trusty pip boy returns to guide you on your way.  In fact, it’s all pretty much the same as Fallout 3.  So what’s not to love?  As someone who did enjoy Fallout 3 very much, it was nice to see some improvements made on the core elements of the game.  Crafting for one, a system where medicine or weapons can be created adds a little bit of depth to the gameplay.  The V.A.T.S. combat system also returns and continues to deliver the brutal satisfaction that it did in Fallout 3.

Another vast open world to explore -The general freedom that the game delivers in allowing players to roam the wasteland looking for sidequests, or just allowing you to march straight through the campaign is something to be expected.  There’s no shortage of things to do, people to talk to, and ways to go about your time in Fallout New Vegas.  And there’s something magical about the sun going down in the wasteland as you continue on your quest, whatever you choose that to be.

Hardcore -The differences are so small between Fallout 3 and New Vegas aside from the setting of course, that it’s hard to really appreciate any changes to the structure of the game because they are fairly minuscule.  One that stands out when you start your quest is the addition of the “Hardcore Mode” .  Which forces you to choose whether you would like to have the added realism of the harsh life of a wasteland adventurer.  In this mode Stimpacks heal over time and cannot mend broken limbs, Rad-Away removes radiation over time, ammunition has weight, and dehydration is a constant concern.  This added challenge makes the game a bit more fun, and a bit more frustrating in one neat little package.  A little added enticement to try your luck in New Vegas on hardcore is a “special reward” which you will unlock once completed.

Graphics are starting to feel dated – I swear there were six or seven times when playing New Vegas when I looked around and couldn’t tell you if I was playing Fallout 3.  The graphics in New Vegas don’t seem to be much of an overhaul for a game that is now a couple years old, it would have been nice to see improvements made to better the franchise for the fans.  Don’t get me wrong, New Vegas looks amazing at times.  New Vegas itself is actually pretty interesting, colorful, and distinguishes itself in a stark contrast to the rest of the game.  But, everything else looks pretty much the same.  It is almost as if the developers just used the assets from Fallout 3, made a few new areas to turn the capital wasteland into the Mojave wasteland, and called it a game.

In addition to the graphics feeling a bit dated, Fallout New Vegas’ story just never hit home with me the way that Fallout 3’s did.  Maybe it was the fact that Fallout 3 was my first title in the series to have ever played so I didn’t really know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised.  This one not so much.

Archaic Controls – Alongside the dated graphics the overall controls and presentation of the game feel dated as well.  This game feels like Oblivion with guns, which was not a completely bad thing , but with such an awesome premise and huge following, you would think that a little more investment would be made in bringing a new and improved experience.   Sadly, this is not the case.  Your character still has that really floaty feeling, and camera angles can be changed from first person to third.  Though your character looks so gangly and awkward that you may not ever use the third person perspective.   Not to mention the fact that playing from the third person also makes it almost impossible to aim or pick up items.  It’s not all bad though.  The game has some great scenic moments where the good balances out the bad.

Those Glitches – After Fallout 3 I had grown accustomed to the glitches from the game. In New Vegas, I had to restart quite a few times due to the game locking up in certain situations.  Trying to climb mountains where maybe I shouldn’t have, I have gotten glitched inbetween rocks where I couldnt get out of.  It doesn’t happen often but it will most likely happen to others as early reports in forums are that others have been experiencing the same glitches.  A patch may be neccesary after release.

The Verdict: Original Score “Meh” – Fallout New Vegas is a good game, but it plays second fiddle to Fallout 3.  As for long time fans of the series it may play second fiddle to even the previous entries before that.  It takes nearly everything about its previous title, while only making minor adjustments to the gameplay,  graphics and infrastructure of the game which ultimately makes Fallout New Vegas feel like an old shoe.  It’s kinda of comfortable but deep down it stinks.    The shoe that is, I wouldn’t say Fallout: New Vegas stinks it just not as easy to overlook the flaws of the game as it was in Fallout 3. Perhaps it was the less interesting story, or the graphics that feel a tad dated, or the loose and sloppy controls, but I certainly didn’t have as much fun with this game as I had with it’s predecessor. Though at least there was some fun to be had.

I replayed this title on the PC and enjoyed it much more than on the Xbox 360, which this review was based on.  So, for anyone trying to decide on which platform to purchase Fallout: New Vegas, the PC seems like the clear winner to me.  The graphics are crisper, it controls better, there were less noticeable bugs,  and the experience is geared more towards the PC gamer anyway. I still recommend that you avoid it on console until the bugs are fixed, I enjoyed the game much more the second time around, on the PC.

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