Fallout: New Vegas Review
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Fallout: New Vegas needed more time in the oven to work out all the kinks and bugs, but it is still a terrific experience for anyone interested in re-experiencing one of the greatest action-RPG series of our time.
- The enormous and detailed world to explore
- The player choice is front and center
- The heaps of side missions to tackle
- The crippling glitches and bugs
- The long load times
- The dated graphics and poor voice-synching
Creating a worthy sequel to a critically acclaimed and commercially successful game is often more than a developer can chew. Many sequels have fallen short, while others, like Uncharted 2 or Red Dead Redemption, clearly utilized what worked in the original entry and improved upon them on nearly every level. So when news surfaced that a sequel, of sorts, to 2008’s Fallout 3 was in the works, we were inevitably excited, yet cautious at having overly high expectations. Now that Fallout: New Vegas is out and we’ve had our time with it, we think we were right to be cautiously optimistic.
What is inevitably clear with New Vegas is that it isn’t really new, and little is done by Bethesda Softworks or Obsidian to give players something truly unique. New Vegas feels and plays like a giant expansion to Fallout 3. While that certainly isn’t a bad thing seeing as we really enjoyed 2008’s mammoth RPG outing, we were hoping for something fresh and captivating in New Vegas. Indeed, while there are some minor tweaks to the gameplay, some interesting additions (like Hardcore Mode), and tons of new things to do and see, overall you will find that if you haven’t played Fallout 3 in a while, you’ll quickly remember why you either loved it or hated it.
Like all the other Fallout games, New Vegas questions what would happen after a nuclear apocalypse ravages the United States of America. However, instead of crawling around the remnants of Washington, D.C. like we did Fallout 3, New Vegas starts players in the wasteland surrounding New Vegas. As the name describes, New Vegas is essentially an attempt at rebuilding the Vegas Strip following the atomic war of 2077. The city is unique to the country because of the Hoover Dam, which remains mostly intact following the war. Several factions, or groups of organized militias, form to try and reclaim power. Those who support the old government call themselves the New California Republic, known as NCR throughout most of the game. This large organized group attempts to keep order around Vegas with an iron fist. In opposition to NCR is the Legion, led by Caesar, a group that has a knack for enslaving small groups of people in the wasteland. The tension between the two groups is palpable, and throughout the game you’ll be faced with decisions about which side to trust and which side to oppose—then again, you can just play as your own force and choose a self-serving approach. At the end, you’ll have to use the groups to your advantage, but you have the whole game to play before you get that far.
The game introduces a heavy influence on faction support. You gain and lose reputation based on your actions in towns and groups throughout the land. As with all Fallout games, player decisions are crucial, and which group you decide to help or hurt will have an impact on your game. Fallout has always done this well, and New Vegas ups the ante with more subtle approaches. For instance, you may lose some credibility with a certain group, and its supporters may not openly attack you in the town or on the Strip (they can’t, anyway), but out on the wasteland they may take a few shots at you. In addition to the radio on you PipBoy keeping you well informed on the latest news, NPC residents like to jabber about your reputation across the wasteland.
The game opens with a bang, quite literally. Your character is shot by a man in a checkered suit, and after being left for dead, a robot digs you up and brings you to a nearby doctor. It’s in this little town on the Mojave Desert that sets the game in motion. You’ll learn all the basics here, including combat and VATS (Vault-Tec Automated Targeting System), harvesting raw materials for crafting, tweaking your weapons, and more. The starting quests are quite dry, but after a few hours into the game, the pace finally picks up and you start piecing your life together. As a whole, the main narrative and quest line is not nearly as interesting as Fallout 3’s story, but it’s still good enough to drive us to the The Strip and ... (continued on next page)