Published on November 5th, 2010 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor
Fallout: New Vegas Review
Fallout: New Vegas
Release Date: Oct. 19, 2010
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Genre: RPG / Shooter
Platforms: Xbox 360 [Reviewed], PS3, PC
To call Fallout: New Vegas a clone of Fallout 3 would be an understatement. New Vegas felt so much like Fallout 3 that I, still to this day, refer to New Vegas as Fallout 3. The question was looming though, as to whether this was a full sequel, or if this could be looked at as just an expansion pack in a whole new area. Even though there is enough in the boxed product to give it the sequel feel, there is still much to be expected from a $60 game that feels much like a “BIG” expansion pack.
If you have played Fallout you are very well aware that the series takes place after a nuclear war, and all of the United States is in shambles. Vegas, however was left standing, with some damage of course. Humanity rises from the ashes and fights over control of territories and power. A group of fighters band together forming what is known as the NCR, which fight over control of the “Hoover Damn”, which they believe will generate the power they need to move forward in life. The NCR try to also restore balance, proposing many government laws and stipulations, and in the wake of a nuclear war, you can only imagine that the rest of the world does not feel the same way. At war with the NCR are a group of mercenaries that call themselves “The Legion.” The two factions face each other time and time again over control of the land and control of the “Hoover Dam.”
You wake up in a mans house who is tending to your wounds, who is the town doctor. You begin to piece your story together little by little. You were asked to return a package to the Vegas strip, but was ambushed by a team of mercenaries. Throughout the course of the game you try to piece the story together on who ambushed you and what they were after. New Vegas has 3 different outcomes to your game, and much like Fallout 3, if you want to explore the wasteland when finished, you will have to restart. I have seen all three endings to Fallout: New Vegas, and I have to admit that the ending by helping the mercenary group and going through the game evil is the most interesting to watch.
You will encounter many different landmarks of Vegas. The Mojave Desert. Primm, and the Vegas Strip are all examples of some of the towns and monuments you will explore. You will also notice that new to Vegas is plants and fruit. You can harvest different fruits and plants to create mixtures for health restore or other viable resources. You learn how to mix and harvest in your first mission after entering the Mojave. A bit of advice, mix as much as you can, because even if you don’t use all the mixtures, they sell for a decent amount, especially if the town has high praise for you. Sadly, the environments look to similar to Fallout 3. In some spots I though I was back in DC when in fact I was just on the outskirts of Vegas. It is better for you to choose whichever suits you best. If you were wondering, what would Vegas be without gambling, free spins and casinos no deposit? Keep wondering, because if you need more caps, your can always plays mini games in casinos and hotels, such as card games, slots, etc.
The main quest line is a bit on the down side. Although there are a ton of side missions, the game’s main story line was a let down, and not to mention short. Like in Fallout 3, you can blow through a Fallout campaign in no time, if you strictly play the story line and forget about side missions, and even though Vegas had a shorter story line that Fallout 3, the side mission were more epic in conclusion. Some of the side missions even felt like they should have been attached to the main central quest. Blowing past the main story will take you around 10 – 15 hours , but expect well over 100 hours of gameplay to see all of what Vegas has to offer. If you want to see what Fallout truly has up it’s sleeve, the side mission are it.
Another solid upgrade from Fallout 3, is throughout the campaign you will run into other people that need specific help, to fulfill a personal problem they are dealing with. If you help them out, you will have the option of having them join your group. In Fallout 3 you were able to gain a companion later in the game, but in New Vegas its within the first couple hours. You can also have up to 2 companions at one time. They become especially useful when infiltrating towns where you are not idolized at all.
Building your character in Vegas is the same as it was in Fallout 3. Even the perks and leveling systems are named the same. If you want to level your character how you did in Fallout 3, you can without skipping a beat. S.P.E.C.I.A.L. is the basic stat progression where the perks are back in the exact way Fallout 3 brought them in. In fact the levels that they become available for use is the same as well. You can also add customization to your weapons or armor with pieces you find throughout the wasteland. I found it easier to do this by leveling up your science skills quickly, and apply the appropriate perks and skills. The V.A.T. system returns as well, making New Vegas a first or third person shooter, again much like Fallout 3. This time around you can actually aim down your gun sights more accurately, for a more traditional first person shooter feel. Every V.A.T. shot, again uses action points to help balance the over use of the system and to keep you on your toes as you fire.
The biggest addition we saw to the franchise, that was introduced in this game, was the new game mode called “Hardcore”. I will be honest, that I never completed New Vegas in Hardcore, even though I am about 50% through on that difficulty. Hardcore is a new way to play, that adds a major sense of realism to the genre. No, it doesn’t make enemies harder, or throw more enemies that in other game modes, instead turns you as the player into a survivalist. You have to keep your character hydrated, well rested, and fed to keep him on his feet throughout the journey. Also ammo and stimpacks, which never added weight to your cargo before, now has it’s own individual weight, so you will have to be more cautious about what you carry on you.
Fallout New Vegas is a wasteland worth exploring, however the game did ship with a lot of bugs. I’m not talking about bugs that can easily be looked past, but bugs that will end your progression, force you to restart or even freeze your system. We have all seen slow down when in combat, and we have all seen character walk through certain environment set pieces, but when the bugs become problematic to the progression of the story line, that is critical. There are already some patches out for New Vegas now that address some of these issues, but 360 and PS3 players will have to wait a bit longer for the patches to pass certification.
If you enjoy the franchise, by all means this is a title to play through. There are many things that keep this from feeling like a big expansion, and there are some things that make it feel like an expansion. This is a wasteland worth exploring and offers a wide variety of side quests for you to enjoy. You may feel disappointed by the ending, but with the promise of expansions coming, I’m sure that will open a whole new world of possibilities. This is a worth while game and will keep you playing well into next year.
[xrr label=”Rating: 8/10″ rating=8/10]
+ Wide variety of Side Missions
+ Hardcore mode was a nice addition
+ Weapon customization
+ Shooting has been improved
+ Over 100 hours of gameplay
– A Large amount of Bugs
– Disappointing ending