Product Type: Bethesda Xbox 360 games
Newest Review: ... and their battles across the Mojave desert, as well as all the other factions and locations, is mind boggling. The world is expansive... more
Join me in the Nevada wastes...
Fallout: New Vegas (Xbox 360)
Member Name: kojak123
Fallout: New Vegas (Xbox 360)
Advantages: Huge, fun, fantastic value for money
Disadvantages: Early versions are a bit glitchy
Probably one of the most anticipated releases in the x-box 360's short life.
Another collaboration between game programmers Obsidian and Black Isle (who produced the original RPG games on the PC many years back!), this was released under the same Bethesda Studios banner as the previous game. Indeed, the same open game engine from Fallout 3 was used in New Vegas, with slightly better rendering and improved AI.
New Vegas was originally thought to be a mere add-on to Fallout 3.
Fallout 4 was already in development (expected early 2013) and there had already been a handful of add-on games to F3. This looked like an 'extra mission' pack until reviewers got the first playable demo copy in 2009. The excitement built from there and never died down!
We were treated to a huge new open-world RPG on a similar scale to Fallout three with an entirely new character, story, armoury and skill set!
The game takes place 4 years after Fallout Three, in 2281, and while it is stressed that this is NOT a sequel there are several references to the struggle out East.
We play Courier six. The story begins with us regaining conscious in a doctors surgery in the town of GoodSprings. It is learned that we have little or no memory of events leading there, but have been pulled out of a shallow grave by a mysterious robot (Victor) following a none fatal shooting where we were liberated of the package being transported across the Mojave wastelands to the New Vegas strip.
The story unfolds from there, stretching across Nevada and culminating with us meeting the rather shy Mr House, casino owner and would-be controller of New Vegas.
The surgery scene is the basic tutorial fare where we learn about the surrounding area from Dr Mitchell, and choose the basic skills we wish to carry through the game (gun handling, lockpick skill, medical skills etc). Of course, these skills can be increased and added to as we progress, but there are a set amount of 'points' to allocate from the beginning to shape our character.
After leaving the surgery there is a small town to explore. There are several small tasks and quests to complete should we wish, which will help add a level or two to our experience. There are 30 experience levels, each awarding another haul of skill points to allocate and every other one allowing us to choose a 'perk'. These can vary from reducing the weight of our items, to increasing our skill levels, to improving our reputation with different factions....
I always do the initial Goodsprings missions. They are time consuming, but very easy and worth the time spent to add a few extra skill points before hitting the highway and facing some pretty tough folks!
Choosing a path:
Of course, as with all Fallout games we have a wide choice of paths to take. I've played the game through half a dozen times now, each time swapping between a good and evil character. The various factions are at war with each other, so favouring one will usually mean hostilities with another! Wearing certain clothes will mean you're open to attack, for example wearing NCR (military) armour will mean the Legion will attack when they see you. I usually opt for neutral armour!
Choosing a literal path isn't easy either. On leaving goodsprings, the bright lights and casino's of the New Vegas Strip are visible on the horizon. My first instinct was to ignore the map markers pointing me South towards the first level of 'Story Mode' and instead wander North on my own, exploring the wastelands. Sadly, the direct route to the Strip had me wandering through a quarry full of DeathClaws (the most powerful creatures in the game and brown-trousers for even a hardened character)! Naturally I was torn to shreds and had to start over. Ooops.
This is fairly basic stuff; we set out to find who it was that shot and left us for dead. It doesn't take long to get a name and location of our attacker, and then follows the why and how etc. The story mode alone is fairly short and even with the faction choices it can be hammered out in 10-12 hours.
What really makes this game is the side missions, of which there are hundreds! There are a couple of dozen towns, settlements, villages etc, each with characters to interact with and most with their own agenda and mission set. To complete the game fully will take weeks, and even then there is the option of going back to the start and playing through again with a different plan of action.
Set in the American South West it's hot, dusty and dry. Most of our terrain is either mountain or desert, which means that despite the free-roaming environment not everything is easily accessible.
The hills and mountains are home to lots of caves and hidden valleys and outposts which make exploring good fun. After a couple of years I'm still finding things I've never seen before!
What I did like about this over Fallout 3 was the lack of radiation. It is still there in certain areas, but swimming is rad free for instance, as is drinking the water (mostly). In The Capital Wasteland of F3 it was everywhere, and swimming was no fun at all.
As well as a few human gangs and factions the Mojave is home to all sorts of creatures. A new arrival to the game series are Cadazores, which are like oversized dragonflies which can paralyse and kill with a sting of venom. They are a challenge - difficult for a low level player to defeat at all and appearing in numbers which often makes it a struggle for a level 30 pro to get away from unhurt.
There are all manner of Gecko's, some which breathe fire, some high in radiation; usually easy to kill, but again, if they appear in numbers it can get hairy.
Thankfully, the game is padded with MoleRats, Bloat Fly, Coyote's and other easy to kill enemies, but beware the two or three areas that Deathclaws roam! These things are huge, fearsome and damned hard to kill! I steer clear of them until I've got a companion, a lot of health and a heck of a powerful weapon!
There are loads of friendly factions around. Trading posts and roaming traders are thankfully plentiful and we encounter quite a lot of strangers around the place, unlike the oft deserted Capital Wasteland.
Throughout the game we can add various companions to our journey, only one at a time and from a choice of 6 or so, but it makes things a lot easier - I would always recommend keeping some company.
A fantastic feature introduced in this game was the ability to 'craft' items at campfires. Previously we could buy weapon schematics and (provided we could find the list of items required!) create a new weapon. In this game it's taken to a whole new level whereby food, medicine, clothes, weapons and ammunition can be crafted if you have a suitably high 'survival' level. It's a great addition to the game in my opinion, just one of the small garnishes which makes this superior to its predecessor.
There is a great DLC (downloadable content) package for this game which now includes 4 extra areas to explore, each a game in itself and each allowing for the level 30 experience cap to be increased (level 50 is possible with all DLC's). Dead Money, Honest Hearts, Lonesome Road and Old World Blues are the extra add-ons.
I have never downloaded the add-ons, however I have just bought the 'Ultimate Edition' game which has them all included. So far they are very good, certainly Dead Money and Lonesome Road have lent an extra dimension to an already superb game, I'll update when I've tried the other two!
It's interesting that the Fallout Three game with all downloads added was a 'Game Of The Year' or GOTY version after picking up a raft of gaming awards. This game is in my opinion better, yet never won a GOTY award meaning that this package is simply an 'Ultimate' compilation, sadly lacking the game of the year sticker.
I adore this game.
As a retro game fan my x-box 360 doesn't get much of a hammering, but after this disc went in the slot for the first time it stayed there for weeks! In fact, I clocked up 30 odd hours gameplay in the first week!
I have completed with each faction, and am on my 5th or 6th runthrough now trying to max-out all of my statisticss and complete the last couple of achievements.
Even after completing the game so many times, I'm not bored of it! It can be relied on to fill an afternoon any day of the week.
My wife bought me the game on launch week (I seem to recall Tesco having it for just under £30, which was a very good price) and regretted it for a good month afterwards!
The first release of the game was a little glitchy - there are always bugs to iron out in these games - but I have to say it didn't make it unplayable as they can often be, it just crashed every so often and re-loaded from the last save point.
Thankfully 99% of the bugs are gone on the new 'Ultimate' version, so that's the one I'd recommend buying if you're in the market. It costs a little more, but even so it can be picked up for £12-£15 and you won't get this level of entertainment anywhere else for that money!
The level of immersion is something you have to experience yourself. The smallest details can take serious thought, and you'll find yourself genuinely caring how you are viewed by the various factions!
This is probably the best game I've ever played. Aside from Fallout 3 I don't think I've clocked this many hours on a game in my life!
I'd definitely recommend buying it for the gamer in your life, especially if you don't want to see them for a while!
Summary: The best game I've ever played