Product Type: Bethesda PC games
Newest Review: ... Fallout 3. Sometimes they are downright ugly. Yes, there are loads and loads of possible side quests, but as pointed out, they are boring. ... more
What happens in Vegas can stay in Vegas, because it's pants.
Fallout: New Vegas (PC)
Member Name: Danscomp
Fallout: New Vegas (PC)
Advantages: For the completists among you, there's a lot of game to be had
Disadvantages: It's boring.
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.
Summary: Inferior pseudo-sequel