Fallout: New Vegas – Review

Title   Fallout: New Vegas
Developer  Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher  Bethesda Softworks
Platform  Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre  Action RPG, First-person shooter
Release Date  October 22nd 2010

I tried persuading Jeannie May to let me live in the dinosaur, but she wasn't having it.

A rather tall, fiery tempered, Scottish progressive rocker once sang “Call it synchronicity, call it déjà vu” and that’s precisely what sprung to mind in the first ten to fifteen minutes of my relationship with Fallout: New Vegas. It was an experience that I wasn’t really looking forward to as much I perhaps should have, given that I enjoyed Fallout 3 immensely, because my mind was naturally turning over those cynical thoughts where Obsidian would perhaps grab the ball and, rather than running purposely ahead, fumble and drop it. Would they do to the Batman movie franchise what Joel Schumacher did by over saturating the colour palette and sanitising it to the point where it was ultimately unwatchable, or would they step in as the Christopher Nolan and bring with them a darker edge and deeper storyline. While my friends and colleagues all looked forward to the release of New Vegas, I couldn’t help but approach the whole situation with more trepidation than excitement.

From the moment where the broody fanfare rumbled through the speakers, my excitement was rekindled and I started to imagine what I’d have to look forward to from this new game and what aspects would be carried over from Fallout 3. This is where I again come back to the subject of déjà vu from my opening line. The opening tutorial for Fallout: New Vegas did, to all intents and purposes, look and feel like it was more of an add-on than a new release. Given that it was widely known that Obsidian were using the same engine as Oblivion and Fallout 3, it stood to reason that there would at least be striking similarities but everything about the first fifteen minutes felt like it was an extremely overpriced add-on and I was torn between a sense of relief that it wasn’t going to be a bastardisation but also disappointed that it appeared to be more of the same with nothing to get excited over.

The problem I have at this point is that I’d much rather review Fallout: New Vegas as a standalone entity rather than taking the comparative stance and play both this and Fallout 3 against each other but, the fact remains, there is absolutely no way to ignore the existence of Fallout 3 when playing New Vegas. It is also fair to say that most people interested in the game would already have been exposed to its predecessor and have seen enough to know that screen shots from one are almost identical to those from the other. Aesthetically speaking, there is no difference between the two and so the comparisons will be made, regardless.

By the time I had taken my character out in to the wastelands of the New Californian republic, however, I began to notice differences between Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas – some very subtle, and some not. The HUD is identical, from the dialogue options through to the aesthetics of the PipBoy 3000 and the sections therein, but you very quickly realise that all is not as you’d think when you suddenly have spent shell casings in your inventory and your first encounters in Goodsprings lead you to a Workbench requiring no blueprints and a Reloading Bench that we’ll cover in more depth later.

The fact of the matter is that, no sooner do you start to immerse yourself in the game, it becomes very clear that this isn’t so much déjà vu where Obsidian have taken the existing game structure and simply tagged on a bunch of new quests, it’s more a case of synchronicity as they have instead put themselves into the mindset of Bethesda and expanded their world beyond belief. The result is the game that Fallout 3 could have been, were it not held back by some rather lacklustre scripting and shallow dialogue.

Much of the landscape is as you'd expect

I have said in previous articles that the story of the Capital Wasteland in Fallout 3 was wherever you chose to look for it, but rarely was it ever delivered to you by the voice actors themselves. As someone who doesn’t favour cut scenes and pointless dialogue, I found myself skipping a lot of the conversations in Fallout 3 because I knew that anything detrimental to the quest would be found in my journal and that anything I wanted to know about the Capital Wasteland could be found by simply having my eyes open to all of the subtle echoes around me. While the same can be said of Fallout: New Vegas for finding clues to back story within your surroundings, the dialogue has noticeably more depth than its predecessor and it makes it difficult to skip any dialogue prompts because so much is often said in silence, and reading between the lines of dialogue creates an entirely new direction for the character holding the conversation.

The level of conversation in Fallout: New Vegas can be typical of Fallout 3 at times but also has the ability to take you by surprise and none moreso than when my companion, Veronica, suddenly erupted into a tale of her life when all I wanted to do was to ask for her help to craft a Weapon Repair Kit. I had exhausted her dialogue options some fifteen hours prior to this and expected to access the new companion wheel as I clicked the A button but was instead met with a rather melancholy musing of her life growing up, lost love and her concern for the Elder that became a surrogate father to her. To say that Obsidian have added more conversation would be doing them a huge disservice on every level.

It’s not just an overhauled dialogue that lies beneath the surface, should you wish to scratch away at it, but the whole premise of post apocalyptic survival has been embraced and brought to the forefront. Rather than having to scavenge for ammunition in whatever crates are conveniently left untouched throughout the wasteland, this new breed of wanderer has adopted the sort of approach you’d expect from someone in such unforgiving circumstances – the MacGyver Syndrome. The addition of the Reloading Bench allows the character to not only create their own ammunition from component parts found strewn around the wasteland such as shell casings, primer and powder but the functionality is there to break down existing ammunition in to separate elements to be reconstructed in a more suitable manner. An inventory full of unwanted ammo can therefore become an easy way to replenish a diminishing stock of a more favoured calibre, providing you have enough empty shell casings. It’s also important to point out that empty shell cases do not carry any value, so picking them up from vendors or merchants is possible even if you have no caps at your disposal.

If you’re lucky enough to have a companion with built in crafting abilities, this aspect of the game can literally save your life when you’re in an area that you can’t fast travel from and you have expended all ammo from your weapon of choice. A quick jump in to the conversation area of the companion wheel opens up the crafting option and you’re then able to take another similar round and break it down to reconstruct as your chosen ammo. This is particularly useful when using the Sniper Rifle as .308 rounds aren’t as common as most other ammo types.

Perhaps the most drastic introduction to New Vegas is the option of Hardcore mode. The premise is clearly to emphasise that the game is primarily based on surviving a post nuclear wasteland with very little in the way of supplies or sustenance, where there is still no free flowing clean water source. Rather than having to monitor the previous personal statistics of CND, your overall health condition; RAD, the current level of radiation sickness; and EFF, the effect that any sickness or armour attribute is having on the character’s abilities, you also have to ensure that the character remains hydrated, well nourished and sleeps often to maintain a healthy disposition. The Hardcore mode also affects the way that Stimpaks and Rad-Away works, with both taking some time to work through the system rather than immediate healing, and Stimpaks being unable to heal damaged limbs, which are instead covered exclusively by a Doctor’s Bag. Adding insult to injury, all ammunition carries its own weight… so say goodbye to an inventory stacked full of “just in case” ammunition, because your encumbrance won’t allow it. As most people prefer to play the game solo, the introduction to Hardcore mode of a companion that actually dies rather than merely losing consciousness won’t have much impact on gameplay. Having said that, as much as Fawkes irritated the hell out of me in Fallout 3, I have grown rather fond of Veronica and her fantastic grasp of sarcasm.

Weapons. So... many... weapons!

While Hardcore mode does bring a whole new level of realism and finality to the game, it is also more distracting than I had originally considered. After less than an hour of playing in Hardcore mode, I found myself wishing that I didn’t want to max out the game because no achievement is worth reducing the game to a distracting level where you’re spending more time maintaining your character’s health and carefully speculating the need for every round of ammo you come across which, in turn, takes all the emphasis away from actually completing quests. Perhaps this annoyance would lift in time but, for me, it was too much to contend with when struggling to stay alive at the same time as trying to fend off an adult Deathclaw using a Varmint Rifle, and so I switched back to regular mode.

Another minor irritation in Fallout: New Vegas is that the “Very Hard” difficulty level has no bearing on how much XP is gained from each kill. In Fallout 3, I quickly found that “Normal” difficulty was much too easy by the time I’d reached level five, and so I kicked the gear up by moving to “Hard” and, not long after, to “Very Hard”. This meant that progressing through the levels was much quicker than before, with each kill awarding more XP as a multiplier based on the current difficulty level. With New Vegas, I immediately started playing in “Very Hard” mode and was disappointed to see that the XP was as you’d expect with “Very Easy” and, sure enough, reverting to a save and killing the same creature in the easiest mode awarded me with the same XP as the most difficult. This is, undoubtedly, to ensure more longevity with the game rather than being able to forge through each level from XP farming, but it would also have been preferred if raising the difficulty resulted in at least some sort of acknowledgement when it came to the experience points.

The introduction of factions makes for some interesting gameplay as certain quest lines will close off if allegiance is formed with a particular faction that has a detrimental effect on the story. Similarly, there are areas of the story which won’t become fully apparent until the character has a particular political leaning. This aspect of the game is further reinforced by allowing your character to don a disguise and pose as a member of a particular group whether there is an allegiance or not. This, as you can imagine, is beneficial if wearing the appropriate clothing to gain entry to an area controlled by one particular group but can also work against you if you forget to switch the clothing back to neutral apparel as anyone on an opposing side will naturally shoot first and ask questions later. Thankfully, an on-screen prompt pops up periodically to remind you that you’re wearing clothing from a specific faction.

In terms of the story itself, Fallout: New Vegas has done what Fallout 3 failed to achieve: to make you care about the outcome. There have been times where I have literally pondered and speculated for ten or fifteen minutes before deciding which decision to make during an important dialogue. Where the choices were very obvious before, with a clear balance between right and wrong, New Vegas has somewhat more ambiguous options and it’s impossible to know whether a decision made now will be the right one for further down the line, even if it seems like you’re making the correct choice at that moment in time. Similarly, most of the choices have no obvious leanings so the tried and tested RPG route of “Be the bad guy and make people suffer” or “Be the saviour and change everything for the better” are not present, and every choice has its own levels of ambiguity.

The individual stories of the previous Wasteland inhabitants, or the echoes as I call them, are more hard hitting than before. In one particular instance you find yourself reading computer logs in a local radio station where the journals tell how the first missile has been fired and that they expect the first impact in two minutes. It was, as you’d expect, the last entry for that person and it’s the first time I recall there being any talk of the initial impact. As morose as it is, it also serves to demonstrate the importance of subtext within the game, rather than taking everything at face value based on what someone has imparted to you in dialogue.

For every harsh reality being thrust in your face, there is also that trademark Fallout humour. While Fallout 3 was criticised for having all but ignored the humour of Fallout and Fallout 2 in favour for a dark and gritty first person shooter style role playing game, New Vegas has humour in abundance. The cynical and sarcastic attitude from certain NPCs in the game is perfectly placed to show how a life of abject poverty and destitution can become farcical when all those around are in the same position. When a world has been turned upside down to the point where you no longer covet your neighbour’s fancy car, but yearn for their bottle of irradiated pond water, it’s undeniable that the humour of the situation would eventually overtake the harshness and this game captures that cynicism perfectly.

Anyone disputing the existence of humour need only upload the specially crafted Holotape to a dormant Protectron to have it become FISTO the sexbot, demanding that your character “assume the position” if you want to test the effectiveness, resulting in your character disclosing that they’re unable to feel their legs. This is by no means the funniest encounter thus far, but one which I thought I’d share with you regardless. Other subtle touches include the charred remains of “Owen” and “Beru” outside a house in Nipton, clearly direct references to Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru from Star Wars and a much welcomed departure from the desolate and barbaric surroundings.

Meet FISTO, my willing and obedient servant. Also the world's largest sex toy, I believe.

It’s also quote poignant that, in a world devoid of colour and any sort of flourish, the one area that remains standing after the missiles and resulting devastation is what’s left of Las Vegas. From certain areas of the map, New Vegas is a glowing beacon of hope that fills the night sky and calls travellers towards it like moths to a flame, in the hope of a better and brighter future. They yearn to escape the cruel and sadistic world to this desert oasis and forget about how bad life is outside of the walled city of neon lights. The truth is that the families which control New Vegas are as unscrupulous as they come and have no problems shooting first and asking questions later, bringing more corruption and negative influence than those outside, and so the reality is that to those dragged in to the seedy underbelly of New Vegas, the barren wasteland outside is more of an escape to them than the bright lights are to those who seek to gain entry.

While the map itself doesn’t appear to be much bigger than that of Fallout 3, there is considerably more to do and any idle wanderings tend to have plenty to explore, whether it’s a ruined house, a makeshift shack, gecko cave or even an abandoned gas station. Considering its desert location, there is a lot less time spent in uneventful wanderings from one place to another and the contrast between this and the previous game is obvious, with the inclusion of the odd areas of vegetation and clusters of cacti offering a daub of colour in an otherwise sepia world. Overall, however, there is a considerable amount of colour in Fallout: New Vegas with any posters and billboards being considerably more saturated and with a more positive slant than Fallout 3.

The voice casting in New Vegas is much better than expected, in terms of characterisation and the overall audio quality. Rather than hearing the same voices coming from countless NPCs throughout the game, most key characters have their own distinct voices and are easily recognisable. The days of the overused “well met” sampled phrase from Oblivion are nowhere to be found in New Vegas, thankfully. Felicia Day brightens up the journey as Veronica, complete with a quirky yet wry humour that radiates and never fails to raise a smile while Dave Foley from the much missed Kids In The Hall plays the outrageous Yes Man.

One thing I will say in favour of Fallout 3 over New Vegas is that Three Dog may have been a little too excitable at times, to the point where I’d often considered killing him to shut him up anyway, but at least he had personality. Wayne Newton as Mr New Vegas, on the other hand, plays his part devoid of any personality whatsoever. This may, of course, be primarily down to his scripting but I fear it’s more to do with lack of effort on his part and that made his presence on the radio more than I could bear. Another pat on the back for Fallout 3 where the actual licensed soundtrack is concerned because it was, as I’ve said before, a veritable masterpiece… a clutch of period songs perfectly woven together to carry the atmosphere and deliver a strong sense of irony to the listener, but the soundtrack of New Vegas is mediocre at best. There are sixteen tracks listed in New Vegas, only four shy of the twenty on offer from Fallout 3, yet I only ever remember hearing the same five songs whenever I happened upon a radio. It could be that I’ve been unlucky but, either way, the songs were far less memorable than before. This doesn’t affect the enjoyment of the game, but it does make me wonder why there appears to be less effort put in to the soundtrack this time around.

As far as the mechanics of the game are concerned, there’s not really that much to say other than it’s more or less the same as Fallout 3, with the exception of the Companion Wheel for easy control over your travelling companions. One thing I will touch on, however, are the glitches that are being widely reported across the ‘net. Thankfully, after 52 hours of playing so far, I haven’t encountered a single glitch apart from having the game on pause too long and coming back to find out that it had hung, although I would blame the XBox for this as it’s not something that I’ve ever found to be exclusive to Fallout New Vegas.

  • Companion Wheel is a fantastic addition to the game, and makes for easy interaction with fellow travellers.
  • Ability to create ammunition from unwanted rounds is a life saver.
  • Storyline is incredibly deep, both overall and on an individual basis.
  • Excellent humour running throughout, much more akin to the original Fallout.
  • Hardcore mode adds a harsh sense of realism.
  • Voice acting is excellent, and with excellent production.
  • Plenty to do and see across an extensive map.
  • Hardcore mode detracts too much from the quests.
  • Levelling up perks takes longer.
  • Where are all the skill books?
  • Mr New Vegas' radio show isn't as "Vegas" as it could be.
  • Amount of XP doesn't alter on higher difficulty.

There was always a risk that this would take the Fallout franchise and either bastardise it beyond recognition or do nothing more than churn out an extended version of a DLC but, thankfully, New Vegas is neither. While the Fallout community turned on Fallout 3 for losing the heart of the franchise and turning it in to a gritty first person shooter, seemingly ignoring the humour from the original games, Fallout: New Vegas succeeds in injecting an incredible amount of humour to what would ordinarily be a very bleak journey. The depth and immersion on offer with the main storyline and the individuals you'd meet along the way serve to provide moments of poignancy along with a strong sense of real characterisation and Obsidian have created an exceptional script, especially when the Speech skill has been taken up to full capacity.

The ambiguity running through all choices leaves the player in a position of perpetual contemplation, wondering what eventual repercussions each decision will bring at the end of the game, so there is never any clear path between right and wrong. Obsidian have taken a great game, made it considerably harder and yet much more enjoyable to play and handed it back as an entirely new release... but it DOES work as a standalone. It may look and feel very much like Fallout 3, thanks to using the same engine, but that is where the comparison ends. If Fallout 3 was capable of taking 230 hours of my life with five separate DLCs I can safely say that, with 52 hours gone already and still so many side quests unfinished (and undiscovered) along with the main quest, New Vegas will certainly offer more longevity. It's still not the perfect game, and I doubt such a thing will ever exist, but it's definitely worth the time and effort and I hope Bethesda/Obsidian are on track to release enough DLC to keep this one going for a good while longer.

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  1. Kat says:

    Don’t hit me but I didnt get into Oblivion and Fallout 3 looked boring when I saw some played. However, I’ve been really tempted to purchase NV and try it anyway. I love how friends speak so passionately on these kind of games and feel like I’m missing out. I like apocalyptic settings in films and novels so perhaps that’s what sells it to me. Very tempted to purchase!

  2. Greg Greg says:

    Great review Mark, really enjoyed this. Watching this pop up on everyones playlist made me finally get my arse in gear and start playing the copy of fallout 3 goty that’s been sitting unloved on my shelf for too long and I’m loving it so far. Based on this review, looks like new Vegas is going on my list for the future.

  3. Lorna Lorna says:

    Very enjoyable review. I didn’t get far into Fallout 3, quickly realising that it didn’t grab me the way Oblivion had and then drifting onto another game which became my obsession for a long time. This does look gorgeous; the added colour seems to be a welcome relief to the usual palette and, for a while, I actually considered playing it, though don’t see it as likely for a long while, given my back catalogue. One thing I enjoy in games is humor and while I wouldn’t be perv enough to play for the sexbot alone (okay, I may be), the humourous element is certainly a big draw. You’ll be seeing tumbleweeds and Rad Scorpions in your sleep now ;)

  4. Stu Etherfiend says:

    Nice review, I tend to agree with most of what you’ve said. Thus far I’ve been playing purely on hardcore mode and am really enjoying it. It has it’s down points, of course, but overall I prefer the more strategic emphasis it adds.

  5. Adam Adam says:

    Really good stuff here Mark. I’m loving NV much more than I did 3. I was struggling a bit at first because of my choice to abstain as much from combat as possible. With 3 and Oblivion, I just wound it down to the easiest setting because it made for 1 shot kills but I’ve left it at the default this time and having not taken any combat skills, I was getting battered :S

    I did Boones sidequest though and picked him up as a companion and ever since it’s been a breeze, I’m managing to stand well at the back and let the AI do the rest. I’m sure I’ll replace him but the mechanics alone have overjoyed me, it’s freed up so much more of my skill allocation not having to waste it on combat :D

    Gamebryo is looking pretty tired I must say but theres so much more colour in this one that I’m more than happy with the visuals. The voice acting is superb and the dialogue so much better this time around I’m really looking forward to a lot of time with this.

    My only complaint (and man this is small time) is the Games for Windows Live branding on the PC version. It’s misleading in my eyes because of the complete absence of GFW features with it having been entirely transposed to Steam. Whilst its great that the retail copies are instantly backed up to my Steam Library for whenever I want it, I was still hoping for XBL achievements with it and my friends list too. Party Chat and Fallout is fantastic fun, I find the whole thing very odd given that next week they’re relaunching GFW ‘again’ that they didn’t have this as a flagship title?

    Still, Great, solid review Mark

  6. Samuel Samuel says:

    You know already dood that I loved Fallout 3 (so much I bought it twice, on the Xbox and the PC), and spent a large chunk of the last two years playing it, so New Vegas was always going to be a day one purchase for me. But I did feel some trepidation just as I stuck the disk into my console. It could have gone so badly wrong. I was a little bit leery of the fact that I felt that Obsidian had done inferior sequels to Baldur’s Gate and Knights of the Old Republic. So I did pause for a few minutes before continuing with the install. Hearing that brief reprise of Inon Zur’s Fallout 3 theme on the opening menu though very quickly got me excited again.

    I agree entirely that so far New Vegas has much more depth, and character. It first struck me just how much better the dialogue was when I bumped into a caravan boss named Cass getting drunk in a bar on an NCR base – I loved her character instantly, the wry sarcasm, the venom, the cursing… the melancholy underneath it. It surprised me to find I was grinning at this woman, because I’d been expecting more of what we’ve seen in the past with somewhat tepid writing and acting. That was the start of it, and I’ve found many more really great characters since. I never skipped conversations before, but now I look forward to them instead of going through the motions.

    I quite like hardcore mode. I’ve not turned it off. It enforces some of what I used to do voluntarily in Fallout 3, out of some strange masochistic need for authenticity in my apocalypse. And the increased difficulty is welcome, though I am similarly peeved about the XP changes, as well as the fact that I only get a perk every other level up now.

    The soundtrack is a bit shit and forgettable, and that irks me to the point that I’ve turned the music off in the audio menu. About the only thing I’d say would really make this game more enjoyable for me would be if it included the Marillion track you referenced, instead of the rather bland country and western shit they have on the disk. I’ve taken to playing the Fallout 3 soundtrack from my iPod whilst playing.

    This is a great review, detailed as ever, dood, and I hope you’ll do a follow up when you finish the game. I have a funny feeling this game has still got a lot more to show off than what we’ve been able to see so far, so soon after release.

  7. Edward Edward says:

    A fantastic review that only cements how badly I need this and to actually beat the Fallout 3 DLCs. Some amazing screenshots, a great sense of perspective and the writing really drew me in.
    It’s a shame hardcore mode is such a letdown though.

  8. Rook says:

    I’ll come back to this when I beat the game.

  9. AlmightyOtter says:

    22 hours in and I’m not bored at all. It did feel a little like extra content for fallout 3 at the beginning but then later on it got interesting.
    I agree with Samuel about they music, there is the odd one or two that stand out as listenavle but te rest is really disappointing til now.
    It’s crashed on me 3 times and there’s been some really effed up glitches which I should have took a photo of.
    As always the Deathclaws scare the hell out of me too.
    Awesome review dood.

  10. Coroidan says:

    Overall a very good review, although I feel I gotta mention that when Black Isle Studios (creators of the original Fallout games) went under, many of them wandered off and created Obsidian. The ball hasn’t been passed on, so much as it’s been given back.

    And it’s not Bethesda’s world, they just bought it and bolted in a story…
    [/end crotchety old man whinge]

    Other than this, very nice review indeed! I am enjoying NV much more than 3.

  11. Richie Rich says:

    I will never know why but I just couldn’t get into F3 at all. I loved Oblivion in the gob and even finished it twice.

    Good review though. Substantially wordy!

  12. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    Thanks for the comments, everyone… always appreciated!

    @Kat – really, there’s no point trying to play something if it’s really not your cup of tea. As much as I’d love to say “damn girl, give it a shot, you’ll love it” I don’t think you will. For a start, there are no zombies and the only people wearing cowboy hats are female ghouls into necrophilia… but seriously, we like what we like and I don’t think you’d get in to it. It’s not so different from Fallout 3 that you’d take more notice and enjoy it. Story is better, dialogue is better, but it’s still “go here” then “go here instead” and “tell this person you’ve gone here” so if you’re not used to that sort of gameplay then you won’t enjoy it.

    @Greg – saw you playing Fallout 3 the other night… if only it had co-op in it, I’d have jumped in with you as I’d love to go exploring the wastelands with a mate. I know it sort of defeats the purpose of being the Lone Wanderer but hey… if you can have an NPC companion then why not a friend? If you end up enjoying F3 then I highly recommend playing NV as it’s a very similar, yet altogether different, beast.

    @Lorna – the palette is VERY different, that’s true. There are times when it’s still the same undersaturated sepia world that Fallout 3 was but the skies are generally blue, the posters around the place are more colourful… there’s HOPE in this game where there really wasn’t much hope going around in Fallout 3. It was more like prolonging the inevitable, that some day mankind would cease because of everything that had occurred, but New Vegas is the opposite… it’s about growth and development. I’m loving it.

    @etherfiend – yeah, saw that you’d completed it on hardcore the other day on Twitter… major snaps to you dood! I just couldn’t get in to it on hardcore at all, I wanted to play the game rather than monitor my own health levels constantly. I’ve got the Vault 13 canteen now though, so I may go back through and play it on hardcore once I complete it on regular. Well done – first person I know to complete it on hardcore!

    @Adam – how the hell do you abstain from combat if you happen upon a Deathclaw or a sting of Giant Radscorpions (I dunno if that’s their collective noun or not, but it is now!) and survive? I have the Anti-Material rifle and boy does that thing do some damage… but it still takes three headshots to kill a Deathclaw without a critical hit. Snaps to you for trying that, you’re a braver man than I sir. Glad you’re enjoying it more than Fallout 3… I am too, which is a genuine surprise!

    @Samuel – Cass is awesome, I just met her last night actually! Hadn’t gone up to the Mojave Outpost before then as I’d ended up at the other end of the map entirely. She’d also gettit. I may go back and pick her up as a companion after Veronica moves on, even just for the banter!

    @Edward – thank you sir, I spent HOURS creating save points every time I happened upon something that I thought would look great in the review, and when I’d decided “now is the time to review it” I went back to all those save points and captured a screenshot so that the review was about MY journey and not stock shots. Only the two middle images from the last gallery of six (the beam from above and the Companion Wheel) were stock shots. It’s not something I’d normally do but this time around I wanted the photos to tell MY story. Glad you liked them!

    @Rook – no worries dood, there are no spoilers (I hope) but I totally understand your ways now!!

    @Otter – that’s exactly what I thought originally “oh joy, some overpriced DLC” but yeah… once you realise what you’ve actually stepped in to, that whole approach changes and you concede to the fact that this IS a standalone game with some awesome back story going on. I tried tuning in to Mr New Vegas last night, and played for three hours with him yammering away at me and playing the same handful of songs over and over… so I won’t be doing that again. That, for me, is the biggest let down of the game… or the ONLY let down so far. We’ll see what the second look brings!

    @Coroidan – I still see Fallout 3 as being an entirely different entity to Fallout and Fallout 2, primarily because it turned the whole thing on its head and took a first person approach rather than a strategic approach. I never thought that it would end up being anything like the first two games anyway so, for me, the comparison would always be with Fallout 3. I do like that they’ve brought their trademark humour back in to the game though… those who disliked Fallout 3 because it lacked the original Black Isle humour were clearly disappointed by Fallout 3, but I thought Bethesda did a pretty good job on the humour… until now… and now I realise just how much the humour was lacking. Perhaps I should have made that more clear in the review, so I apologise if you think I was overlooking the original games. Glad you’re enjoying NV more than F3 too, it’s still a surprise to me that I am. I was dreading it.

    @Rich – I think it’s an acquired taste really. The landscape being so desolate really puts people off I think. Some see it as ugly and monotone whereas I found it beautiful in a morose way. It may have been all corrugated shacks and rusted campers but it was still beautiful… if you like that sort of thing. Oblivion kicked serious ass, and I’ve started playing it through on the PC again, and I can’t wait for Elder Scrolls V… damn that better be good. Would be interesting to hand that one over to Obsidian and see what they do with it.

    Again.. thanks guys!

  13. Rook says:

    I had wondered if I’d get bored playing this because I too spent well over 200 hours playing Fallout 3 and the DLC that I thought game fatgue might set in but a number of I “should find a place to stop and go to bed” nights have confirmed that I can settle in and play this; poor Fable 3 is left sittng aside. I have unlocked the world explorer perk so I have all the locations on the map and they do seem alot closer together on the map overall but somestimes I am searching the map trying to find Novac again. There’s alot of exploring to do once I beat the game.

    What I am not liking about NV though is the way your skills have to be the right level before you can complete certain quests. I understand you have to develop your abilities as you progress through the game but there have been a number of quests that I have had to abandon because of needing to increase certain skills. What’s the point in giving you the freedom to develop your character how you want but then throw in conditions that require you to have developed another way.

    I’m at a pivotal point now that my choices are going to effect my allegiances and cut off certain quests so I was trying to complete some of the side quests and I needed to level up so I could advance two particular skills. I wasn’t far off reaching level 24 so had to do some roamng and picked an unexplored location from my map and off I went. I discovered a random sidequest and got all the way to completing it until I discovered to complete it I will now neeed to throw an additional 41 points into a skill I have not used before. I can complete the mission another way but it’s contrary to have I’ve been progressing my ‘doing the right thing’ development; so ANOTHER mission has to be left currently unfulfilled.

    It has irked me some as you can probably tell and I have other examples of this too. I am enjoying the game but for me F3 is the better game. Looking at the Cons – I have currently found only one skill book in the game so far; plenty of magazines but only one book.

  14. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    That’s just called being realistic though dood… were you to go through life never learning how to speak French then you’d never be able to do something for a person who speaks only French, as you’d never be able to understand them. Similarly, if you’re asked to do something involving complex electronics and you’ve only ever managed to wire a plug, then you wouldn’t be able to do it. That’s what I actually LIKE about New Vegas… it’s not saccharine and appealing to the people who just want to start the game and finish it in one sitting, it has consequence, and you have to seriously ponder these consequences before making a decision.

    Like last night while I was playing, I had taken the whole Mr House quest to the point where I had to decide whether to hand over the Platinum Chip or keep it for myself. I knew that by doing it one way, a shitload of quests would close off for me but by doing it the other I’d also end up with quests closing off. It’s just how reality works, if you side with one person then you’ll likely have to sever ties with another… there are only a few people I know who manage to get through life by sitting on the fence. People take sides, and doing so has consequence. It’s the same with if you develop yourself towards a particular leaning, you’ll not fit in to certain circles. By not being religious, there are a bunch of people that will never invite me to any of their get togethers, because I wouldn’t be welcome so whatever opportunities may be afforded to me through those events would just pass me by.

    It’s also for longevity… if you know that you can’t pop all your achievements and complete all quests in your first playthrough then you can take a different approach in a second playthrough, thereby lengthening the gameplay.

    Two Worlds was the same… you screw with one lot, or don’t advance a particular skill, then you can’t complete a particular quest. I like that sort of reality being injected, otherwise it’s just pretty basic “beginning, middle, end” gameplay and your choices don’t affect the outcome so much.

    I’ve picked up most of the skill books now, they’re just heavily scattered around and not readily available like they were in Fallout 3. As I’ll be saying (in more detail) in my fresh look, Fallout 3 played like it had stabilisers compared to how New Vegas plays. There were no consequences in Fallout 3 really, and you could very easily max everything up if you picked the right perk early on, based on the number of skill books polluting the wasteland. This is far more apocalyptic, with everything scattered around.

    It’s horses for courses though! You want a game where you can complete every quest in one playthrough whereas I want a game where I feel like I AM actually affecting the outcome and dealing with consequence. It’s why I prefer it to Fallout 3 thus far.

  15. Rook says:

    I’m at the same point with the Platinum Chip too, If I talk to NCR, Yes Man or Mr House I am now effecting the quests for Caesar and that is fine for having a branching story line but I like to be able to complete the side quests that have nothing to do with the main story.. While I can understand your french/electronics analogy the side mission I was on did not tell me I would require a high explosives skill to fulfill one of the conditions. I would have preferred the mission be unavailable to me at the start rather than letting me know at the end that I don’t have all the necessary skills to complete it to my satisfaction.

    As you say though, different strokes for different folks.

    I know you like living with the consequenes of your actions and just yesterday I heard of one in gmae that made me think of you. Stell Battilion is a mech game and it has a custom controller, which had two joysticks, panels of buttons and foot pedals; one on the buttons on the control panel was an eject button (housed in a plastic casing so you didn’t accidently press it) if your mech was about to explode. If you didn’t press the eject button in time the game would wipe your save.

  16. herfderf says:

    I get the feeling MarkuzR knows nothing about Las Vegas and has never been there, because Mr. New Vegas IS Mr. Las Vegas, Wayne Newton. Mr. New Vegas is 100% Vegas, from reminiscing about the old days with Dean Martin and the Rat Pack to always turning on the charm for all the ladies listening out there in the Mojave.

    I also get the feeling he’s never played Fallout 1 or 2, because most of his Cons are improvements made by Obsidian (a team which includes many veterans of the original Fallout titles, who know the game world better than any Bethesda staffer,) to game balance. Fallout 3′s abundance of skill books and the ability to quickly and easily max out every skill was a flaw that flew in the face of classic Fallout balancing. Obsidian’s classic Fallout veterans just brought back a semblence of balance to the levelling system.

  17. Russellama says:

    Hey look a fanboy getting angry!

  18. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I have absolutely no desire to ever visit Las Vegas – correct! I also never said that “Mr New Vegas” had nothing to do with Las Vegas and didn’t embody Las Vegas, I simply said that I found him bland, monotonous and dull to the point where I had no interest in listening to him. I know who Wayne Newton is, know his history, respect him as a crooner… but didn’t enjoy him as the DJ in Fallout: New Vegas. Why must everyone who disagrees with an opinion on the internet automatically assume that it’s out of ignorance rather than mere differences in taste? Must we always be so infantile as to judge someone for having a differing opinion? You may have liked Newton’s role, but I didn’t. Simple as that I’m afraid.

    I also don’t understand why disliking certain aspects of the game immediately means that I know nothing of the franchise, rather than having a preference as to how I level up in a game. What does that have to do with Fallout 1 & 2? It’s a commentary on what I personally prefer when levelling up in an RPG game – to know that my hard work will pay off as my level increases, rather than every second level up. That has nothing to do with Fallout 1 & 2, as I wasn’t reviewing those games. Were I comparing the game to the original top-downs, then I would perhaps have mentioned that aspect, but I wasn’t.

    We just disagree on certain aspects but this was still a very positive review.

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