* Prices may differ from that shown
I loved Fallout 3. Elder scrolls developer Bethesda had taken a much loved series in an even more positive direction. Isometric viewed CRPGs were, if not dead, then certainly unwell. Long live the 1st person CRPG. When New Vegas was announced, I had extremely high hopes for a "Fallout 3.5" that would take the best of its predecessor and add enough skin in the game in the way of new features, plot and enemies that I would be playing it for more than the eighty or so hours I have invested in Fallout 3. It was finally released. The ads were on telly. The reviews were not glowing, but they were positive. And so I bought it, and was quickly brought back down to earth.
This game is less Fallout 3.5, and more Fallout 126.96.36.199. Yes, there are some tweaks in terms of gameplay, and there are new enemies and a new plot, and a new feature of two. But there are a number of reasons why as a sequel, Fallout: New Vegas turned out to be a vastly inferior game. I hope Bethesda learns from its mistakes.
It's all gone a bit Pete Tong
Graphics - Not only are the graphics no better than Fallout 3, a game released two years prior to this one, at times they seem to be even worse. As if a decision was made at some point to cut their losses and just take the product to market, as was. And it shows.
Setting - One of the best aspects of Fallout 3 was the setting. Seeing a famous city and attendant landmarks in post-apocalyptic ruin. A world of drifting, radioactive boulevards, deserted train stations and general decay. I knew in advance that New Vegas was going to be a setting untouched by nuclear bombs, but the designers decided the vast bulk of this new gaming world would be arid desert.
And here's the dirty little secret about arid desert. IT'S BORING. Mostly flat, almost completely empty, and looking same, same, same, it made travelling about a chore. A god - I've - got - to - walk - way - over - there approach replaced genuine expectation. When you do finally reach Las Vegas, it manages to be as dreary and drab as everywhere else. No matter whether you are in the part ruins outside, or in the strip itself. How do you make a casino tedious? Let New Vegas show you the way.
Another fail when travelling anywhere in Las Vegas results in oft-repeated loading screens. This is really, really poor level design. The greenest of mistakes. For example, there's a military base split into a number of regions that are largely fluff. Nothing to do, cluttered with crap you have to navigate around in order to get to one area of interest on the other side. And there are other locations just as bad.
Plot - Fallout 3 started with you being born and raised by a loving father forced to reluctantly leave you behind for reasons you fight to uncover. T-Dog broadcasted tales of your journey far and wide. Everything felt linked in the main plotline. You felt an integral part of the world, and what was happening in it. By comparison, New Vegas has you as a courier, double crossed. And that's it. That's your motivation. There's no information on who you really were, no family to look in on, nothing to flesh out who you are supposed to be playing. This is a not just a huge step back, it is a giant leap back.
As the game progresses, the main plot really doesn't get more interesting. Yes, there are some side plots which can be diverting, but they are few and far between. Much of the innumerable side missions are mind-numbingly repetitive and tiresome. And with the whole post apocalyptic world in ruins concept missing, what's left feels threadbare. There's no real pizzazz. Nothing excites like it should. There is a very good mission early on involving a rocket and a tribe of Ghouls, but it is over far too quickly and nothing gets as good again.
The one decent part of the side plot is the addition of Caesar's Legion, a slave organisation that tries to mirror the Ancient Roman army in dress, weapons and mannerisms. You can fight for them or against them. And that's it. It is also nice to see different types of bandits, including an American Indian type, but it adds nothing much at the end of the day. Another positive which doesn't manage to balance the large amount of negatives are the companions in New Vegas. They do have more of a backstory than Fallout 3, you do share XP kills with them and even care for them. To a certain degree.
Gameplay - There are some "improvements". You now get to craft items and ammo, but the time spent getting ingredients and investing skill points is wholly offset by the ability to just buy what you want. Yes, it costs more - but you don't have to faff around and you get to invest skill points in areas that will actually keep you alive.
You can use a weapon's iron sights, but that's hardly a game changer. You do get to mod weapons now, which is a nice touch, but generally speaking it's all very familiar. And that's a problem that repeats until it grates. There are improved criticals, but it doesn't so much add to the game engine as detract from it.
In summary, New Vegas was a huge disappointment for me. It doesn't feel like a new game at all. It feels like an uninspired expansion pack, and that is why the price was quickly slashed from launch in an attempt to shift more units. Why it sells now for about or under the cost of its predecessor.
I mentioned that the graphics often seem worse than Fallout 3. Sometimes they are downright ugly. Yes, there are loads and loads of possible side quests, but as pointed out, they are boring. And all set in a huge, bland environment. This is a rare fail from Bethesda for me. It feels as though I played (and was blown away by) Skyrim, and several years later got Oblivion and a whole bunch of empty promises. I cannot in all good conscience recommend this.
In my opinion Fallout New Vegas is a superb game. Set in a 1950's styled nuclear wasteland, Fallout New Vegas puts you in the shoes of "The Courier" the unnamed protagonist who travels around New Vegas and the surrounding deserts fighting psychotic raiders, hideous mutants and malfunctioning robots in an attempt to make a living in this vast, unforgiving setting.
Fallout New Vegas is a game that is almost perfect. Almost. Unfortunately there are a few mistakes with the game that you just cannot ignore.
The atmosphere in the game is amazing. Strolling through a nuclear wasteland while listening to Frank Sinatra is something you can do in no other series of game apart from Fallout. It really does give you the feeling of being alone in this massive world, with nothing to protect you apart from your trusty revolver. Or Laser Gun. However the same cannot be said when you reach the only significant remnant of pre-apocalyptic America, New Vegas. When you go into the various casinos or bars you will find them practically empty aside from a few loyal patrons sucking on a Nuka Cola. Its not that impressive for a city that people from all over post-apocalyptic America try to reach.
The gameplay is great. If you have ever played a First Person Shooter (FPS) or a Roleplaying game (RPG) before, it should be simple to pick up. If you haven't, I suggest trying to play it on a lower difficulty. The combat gameplay is essentially an FPS, you aim at the enemy, shoot and with enough hits they should die. But the underlying RPG elements make it more interesting. While it might not complex enough for hardcore RPG fans, it is simple enough for someone new to RPG's to pick up while indepth enough for most RPG fans not to get bored. The missions given to you by various Non Player Characters (NPCs) are varied and interesting, so you won't get bored. There are also various factions that you can side with in New Vegas, but if you side with one to unlock new missions, others will stop talking to you and may even become hostile. This adds replay value, so each time you can try playing again but this time making different choices.
While the storyline isn't as good as some games, its the characters that really make this game memorable. From a mexican gun-totting ghoul (A human with its skin melted off by radiation), to a 8 foot muscled mutant with the mind of a loving grandma, to a gang of thugs who all dress like Elvis out of respect for "The King", New Vegas really is full of weird, wonderfull and downright insane characters.
The Graphics are an issue for me. While the terrain looks amazing, the weapons look original and the buildings look great, the Character Models and the animations for them really do let the whole game down. Don't get me wrong, they don't look terrible but there is just something not right about their faces. This is just my opinion, but I really do think Bethesda (Developers and Publishers of Fallout New Vegas) really do need to work on it. The animations also look stiff sometimes.
New Vegas also suffers from a fair amount of glitches, some are harmless such as dead bodies flailing around because they are stuck to a rock, but some are game breaking, such as falling through the ground. I also encountered one that ruined my save. About half a minute after I saved, my reputation for a faction turned from friendly to hostile. I was in their head quarters at the time, surrounded by them. Needless to say they slaughtered me. When I reloaded, it happened again, there was no way to stop it. So I had to start again. But this is a rare occasion, and most glitches have probably been fixed by now.
Seeing this is the PC version, Mods are a definite must if you get this game. Not only can they fix any glitches that were not fixed by Bethesda, you can also dramatically change the game with them. From adding new weapons and armour, to making a farting rainbow unicorn follow you around the wasteland as a pet.
Note : Mods are made by the public and not by the developer. There are some mods that are not 100% bug free and there are some mods that are not suitable for sensitive people.
The scorching Mojave Wasteland is the new setting for the latest of the Fallout series. As I have mentioned in my previous reviews, I have always been a fan of Bethesda's work, and when I heard they were bring out Fallout 3 I wasn't too thrilled. To me it was described as 'Oblivion with guns'. That statement alone put me off. However I decided to buy the game after seeing how well the critics gave it. It was way worth the £40 I paid, and New Vegas is no different.
After playing Fallout 3 I became obsessed with the style of gameplay and the post-apocalyptic setting. (the two aspects which make Fallout so great). Fallout New Vegas begins with you in the eyes of a bound man in a cemetery. Two thugs and a man in a checker suit stand over you, until the suit decides to pull a gun and shoot you. You wake up in a house in the town of Goodsprings, with a Doctor Mitchell who has nursed you back to health. In the previous Fallout you choose your character stats with a children's book and an exam in the vault. In New Vegas it is different, you use what seems like a carnival game to determine your stats as well as a psychiatry exam where you decide what you would do in certain situations as well as taking part in a Rorschach inkblot test. After this you set out to learn who attempted to kill you, to settle the score and find answers.
The gameplay in Fallout New Vegas is very similar to that of Fallout 3 other than improved stealth mechanics, iron-sights and improved melee. The famous V.A.T.S system is back in New Vegas. This is a system where you are able to pause time and choose which parts of a body you can shoot or shooting multiple targets. The accuracy of your shot is based on one of the seven stats your player has, in this case Agility, Perception and Luck are all factors. There is also a limit on how much you can do this, the more 'Action Points' you have, the more you can use V.A.T.S. There is now also the option of gambling! What would Vegas be like if you couldn't gamble? And so they put this option in. You can enter a casino, swap your preferred currency (bottle caps, Legionnaire money, NCR money etc), for chips and choose between blackjack, the slots or roulette. These casinos offer prizes for each time you rack up a lot of chips from gambling, this can include food, drink, armour and finally a penthouse suite. However there is a limit to how much you can win before the casino will ban you.
The story (and setting) for New Vegas is, in my opinion, better than Fallout 3. It seems to have much more incentive. In Fallout 3 you try to give clean water to the city of Washington D.C. In New Vegas you are trying to discover why someone wanted you dead, what was stolen from you, and joining different factions as a all-out war is in motion. The setting is also much better. In Fallout 3 you could explore the Wasteland of D.C. and the surrounding areas. It was decent enough but New Vegas seems much more alive with numerous towns and communities surrounding the centre of Vegas, the strip. Each character has a different personality and overall it seems much more real.
Graphics and sound have always been a huge feature of Bethesda's games. With Skyrim recently hitting stores, Fallout's graphics (despite being a good 4 years old) still look amazing. The only qualms I have about the graphics are that they have barely improved in comparison to Fallout 3. The lighting of the Vegas skyline seems very different to Fallout 3 but that's pretty much it. The gun, armour and monster design looks good enough but still seems to use the old textures of Fallout 3. If you're thinking "oh well Fallout 3 had A LOT of graphical bugs, maybe this isn't the case in Fallout: New Vegas", you're wrong. Unfortunately Bethesda games have always come with a ton of bugs, graphical bugs are just a portion of the list. However Steam has released quite large updates for the game, which is probably the case with Xbox Live and PSN for example. Luckily the soundtrack makes up for this. We experienced the use of the Pip-Boy and it's radio features in the previous game, in New Vegas this is brought back with a whole new set of songs. Unfortunately the radio presenter is not half as charismatic as Three Dog, the presenter for GNR. The voice acting seems to have improved, giving the player an idea of a 'real atmosphere' within the game. Every player seems to have a completely different personality, causing us to actually feel emotion, whether it's love, hate or even sadness.
There are many features in the game improving from Fallout 3. Bringing back the companion idea pleased me a great deal, each of these companions offers different perks that become available to the player when the companion is following them. Other perks within the game seem to have improved, giving the player a much wider choice. There are around four DLCs for the game, unfortunately for me I have not been able to purchase them yet, but since I bought all of the Fallout DLCs and enjoyed them a great deal, I'm sure the New Vegas DLCs will not disappoint.
In conclusion the game was amazing. With hundreds of hours of gameplay it's definitely worth the £15 I paid. If I'd have had money earlier when it first came out, I'd have forked out the £35 for it too. It's a huge improvement on Fallout 3 and after this I cannot wait till Fallout 4 is developed. I'd definitely recommend it to any fan of RPG, FPS or Bethesda. Even if you're a casual gamer this will draw you in. It's an experience.
With stunning graphics and sound, this game is at least a 8.5-9 out of 10. Unfortunately there are no multiplayer aspects and numerous bugs which is why I have no given it the 10 it probably deserves. It's not for everyone but most gamers should be happy to own this.
Before I start, I have noticed a tendency among others to class this as just an extension to the previous game. While it is true that uses the same engine as the critically acclaimed Fallout 3 it truly deserves to be recognised as a standout game in its own right.
In this edition of the groundbreaking post-apocalyptic role-playing game you play a courier I had to transport a precious item across the Mojave Desert but as you would expect things don't go according to plan and it is your job to seek out those who wronged you. Along the way you have interaction with 100's of characters across a variety of different factions.
The sheer expanse of the game his stunning and you could easily spend over 40 hours before you have seen it all. The combat is fresh and exciting and the aforementioned interactions can range from emotional to out and out humorous.
It also boasts a pitch perfect pitch soundtrack which has become a staple of the series. A couple of annoyances and slightly dated graphics attract nothing from the overall enjoyment of this fantastic game and with six downloadable content packages available at time of writing you may never be bored again.
Fallout: New Vegas is a first/third person RPG set in Nevada 270 years in the future after a nuclear war. The player creates a character choosing skills, perks and appearance and then is thrown into a huge and fascinating apocalyptic world. With the city of New Vegas at the centre the desert is full of interesting people and places, from the giant Hoover Dam to tiny motels.
The setting has always been the best bit about the Fallout games. Before the war everything was a sort of 1950s nuclear-powered alternative reality, and it really shows in what remains of the decor and design.
The main quest and a lot of the side quests revolve around the struggle for power in New Vegas. There are three major factions - Mr. House (reminiscent of Howard Hughes), Caesar's Legion (psychos pretending to be Romans and The New California Republic (basic army).
Like any good RPG there are multiple ways to approach a quest. You can sneak around, go in guns blazing and more often than not use diplomacy to be successful. It all depends on how you build your character. There is a targeting system included for the reflex-averse RPG purists, so combat can be either reflexive or statistical depending on your play style.
Other game mechanics include faction ratings (this affects the friendliness of the faction members) and karma (some people respond postively to either a good or bad karma rating).
Using the aging Gamebryo engine the graphics are good enough in New Vegas, although most character animation is pretty poor. Swirling dust clouds, good lighting effects and other well-rendered atmospherics help make up for the lack of animated fluidity. There's a huge amount of voiceover work as well, and the musical swells and atmospheric sounds help with immersion.
The major drawbacks revolve around the bugs that infest the game. On my first playthrough I found the main quest line broken towards the end, and I also wasn't able to hand in some other quests as well. This is very frustrating. I had to use the consolse to reset the quest line.