You say I was a currier tasked with taking some poker chip through the Wasteland but then along the way I got shot in the head? Some random robot dug me out of the ground? Wait, why did they even bother to bury me if they just wanted the chip? Oh well, thanks for patching me up doc!
If you enjoyed Fallout 3 then you should know exactly what you’re in for here. Fallout: New Vegas is more of the same, but is that a good or a bad thing? For players new to the series you shouldn’t have any problem jumping right into the game because it does a good job of explaining exactly what you need to be doing and how to achieve your goals. So what’s so darn good about this “New” Vegas? Exploration of course!
The Wasteland is a fun place to explore because you never know what could happen next. In one play through I ran into a correctional facility and since I chose to do the starting quests a certain way I was fired at on site. On a second play through I was allied with the facility and that’s exactly what the game is about! You choose who you want to ally yourself with and play the game the way you want to play it. You can literally run through the entire game killing everything you run into and still complete the main story line. Of course, you could also pretend to be on someone’s side only to backstab them later when something better comes along. How about going through the game never firing a single shot? It’s your choice.
So how exactly do these factions work? Unlike in Fallout 3 where you were strictly on a Karma based system indicating whether your character was ‘good’ or ‘evil’, New Vegas improves on this by using a new reputation system that makes one of the many factions like or dislike you. There are many ways to raise or lower your standing with these factions which include doing quests for them to improve it or killing their members to reduce it.
There are 3 major factions in New Vegas which are trying to take control of the strip and you can choose to side with or betray any of them. You can also just choose to take over the strip yourself and eliminate every faction in the game. Along with the 3 major factions there are many “minor” factions, which include The Brotherhood of Steel, which you can also help out along the way. The game does a good job making you feel like your actions really help mold the virtual world around you.
The bugs! Within 48 hours of the release of New Vegas 2 patches were released that dealt with an enormous amount of bugs. Keep in mind that this game was developed by Obsidian which is a company that doesn’t have the best track record for keeping their games up to date or even releasing them finished (see Kotor 2). Even with the already released patches, the game still suffers from major quest bugs including those that can and will be game breaking. In the game’s defense however, Fallout 3 was also really buggy on its initial release. The only thing that bothers me is that 2 years later these issues should’ve been corrected especially since its running on the same engine.
If you can get past the bugs or at least wait for a patch that corrects them, there are still other issues to consider that include lacking voice overs and graphics, invisible walls in a game that’s supposed to be wide open to the player, a repetitive music track due to the lack of songs available in the game, an ending that halts gameplay after the final mission (they didn’t learn after Fallout 3) and last but not least (and my personal favorite) having many areas literally closed off to lower levels. So what happens when you wander into an area that you’re not intended to explore until you’re a higher level? 5-10 Deathclaws literally rip you to shreds. At least the bridge isn’t broken right?
Fallout: New Vegas doesn’t really do anything new or spectacular. It’s more of what we’ve become accustomed to during our 2 years of playing Fallout 3 and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The bugs are what literally cripple New Vegas especially when they’re so game breaking.
The PC version is by far the best running of the 3 versions available (PC, Xbox 360, and PS3). While it still has its fair share of bugs, you can expect higher FPS and less overall issues. The Xbox 360 version will be getting DLC earlier, but keep in mind the hundreds of mods that are already available through sites like http://www.newvegasnexus.com for the PC version.
So what’s my verdict? The game has the potential to be just as good as Fallout 3 was and is, but it’s going to need to be patched which could happen tomorrow, 2 years from now, or never.