Four years after the events of Fallout 3, the game takes place out in the west, away from the desolation and corruption of the Washington DC and into a whole other type of wilderness… the Mojave Wasteland. You take the role of a courier, who was delivering a package to New Vegas but instead got ambushed by a mysterious gang of raiders, and a man in a checkered suit. After taking your package, you are shot in the head and thrown into a shallow grave. You are then dug up by a mysterious robot named Victor, and patched together by the local doctor Mitchell. Gifted with a second chance at life, you now want to seek the man who killed you… and why.
I know this might seemed alittle snobbish or even abit elitist, but to me, THIS is Fallout 3. Cause to me, this feels and plays a lot like Fallout 1 & 2 more than Fallout 3 ever did. From even just a general gameplay stance (instead of a fanboy one..) it’s quite a improvement over many aspects of Fallout 3.
It almost feels like everything has returned to status quo within the series. The Super Mutants return as a frightening force, not some pushover tank enemies that you can easily beat at Level 4. Conversations and their progression are based around stats now, instead of the Speech skill. There’s also a sense of non-linearity in the game, allowing the player to do things how he pleases. You can achieve your goals through various methods, be it the stealthy option, diplomatic, or a more… aggressive approach. Even some new features deput in this title, such as a very useful crafting system and Hardcore Mode.
Hardcore Mode is basically the normal version of the game, but taking on a more realistic approach. Needing to eat, sleep, and drink water every so often, otherwise you’ll die. Even ammo has weight to it. This mode to me felt alittle more tedious than fun. It doesn’t add any sort of real difficulty to it when it comes to combat, it instead forces restrictions on you, the player.
One thing I loved is how the combat got a nice makeover. Things aren’t as simple as going into VATS and selecting HEAD, HEAD, HEAD, HEAD. While firing in first person, the bullets seem to have less spread, and the ability to use iron sights in the game is a nice added bonus. It adds a nice feeling of immersion, and doesn’t feel like you need to spam VATS at every encounter. The weapon mods and various different types of ammo were welcome additions, they actually feel like they have a use for them, be it taking out armored opponents, or adding that night-vision scope you always wanted for your rifle.
Something else I loved is the factions in this game. The New California Republic, Caeser’s Legion, and Mr. House. All of them feel different in their own respects, yet all of them impose a moral dilemma on the player. Things aren’t as painted as black n’ white in this game. The New California Republic, while their intentions and motivations are inherently good, they just don’t have the man power or resources to take continue their little crusade across the West coast. Caeser’s Legion has a very strict and ideal version of justice.. albeit a very cruel one, they won’t think twice about wiping a entire town off the map if they see the residents as vile and corrupt. Yet they do not attack innocents. They only kill people who fall under their ideals of ‘evil’, even if they do take a Punisher like approach. The third faction is Mr. House, a man bent on the progression and preservation of mankind, by using his armies of robots (ironic) he wants to return the wasteland to it’s former glory… and isn’t afraid of wiping out anyone who stands in his way. Like I said earlier, this imposes a hard choice on the player, you WANT to like these people, you WANT them to succeed, but sometimes, their actions feel like they have weight on your emotions, even if it is for the Greater Good.
Though, while I loved everything this game had to offer me. I won’t lie… it does have it’s share of problems.
There are PLENTY of quests in this game, maybe alittle too much for my liking. It almost feels overwhelming at times, almost like you’re doing a juggling act between them. It’s even harder when most of the side-quests tend to boil down to “Get [insert item here]“, “Go Kill [insert name here]“, “Go Talk To [insert name here]”. They feel more like a chore and a time sink. This is where I might have to say that Fallout 3 is better in some respects, because of the small number of quests, they are allowed to become larger in scale. Though, on a shallow upside, this does increase the game’s length quite abit. I pushed over the 60 hour mark on my first playthrough, and I didn’t even complete half of the games available side-quests.
Though, while this might seem like a personal thing more than a gameplay complaint, but I was alittle disappointed in the scale of New Vegas. Here I thought it would be this giant sprawling town… turns out it’s three small segments.
The voice acting and the music feels alittle recycled. They loop the same 5 songs, despite having 3 radio stations, and you’ll hear the same two male voices for all the characters.
Also, this game is developed by Obsidian Entertainment, the developers of the original 2 Fallout games. They are a great company that I have nothing but respect for, their games have daring concepts and push the boundaries on what ROLEPLAYING actually is in a videogame, though their products come out abit… unpolished.
This game has it’s fair share of glitches, maybe even more so than Fallout 3. While this may seem off putting to some people, the extent that they go is enemies spawning stuck in the ground or in different objects of the scenery, sound delays, clipping issues with the NPCs, or pieces of the landscape missing. These happen alittle too frequently for my taste, and while it doesn’t bother me and doesn’t make me love the game any less, it will get annoying after you encounter it numerous times during a play through.
Though, when it comes to recommending this game, it pulls a weird balancing act. For me, what the game offers far outweighs most issues. It’s one of the few RPGs out there at the moment where I feel like it gets the idea of roleplaying right. Not to mention, it was a rollercoaster ride experience. I laughed, I cried, I shit my pants seeing a carrier for the first time.