Throughout October, I reviewed a number of games in preparation for the late releases this year. Now it's time to actually review one of these games. I held off posting this review until I got what I felt was a fair perspective of the game This is the followup to Fallout 3. This is The Illusive One's Fallout: New Vegas Review.
Unlike Fallout 3, the plot of this game was fairly straight forward. A new democracy has emerged in California, calling itself the New California Republic and has quickly become the dominant power on the west coast. As the Republic expanded it stumbled upon Hoover Dam intact and usable. Not far from it, they also discovered a city untouched by the nuclear fire of the Great War called New Vegas, (formally Las Vegas), run by the mysterious and reclusive Mr. House with his private army of robots and rehabilitated tribals.
However, another power had emerged east of the Colorado River calling itself Caesar's Legion and the two great factions went to war over Hoover Dam with the NCR only just emerging victorious. The Legion's defeat, however, was not decisive and across the Colorado river they prepare for another attack. Four years have passed since the Battle of Hoover Dam and the New Vegas Strip has remain open for business.
You play as a courier who is hired to deliver a platinum poker chip to the strip only to be ambushed and shot in the head by a mysterious man in a checkered suit. Somehow you survive and peruse him to New Vegas and learn of the increasing hostilities between the NCR and the Legion and ultimately decide who will rule New Vegas, Hoover Dam, and the Mojave Wastelands.
The Game Play
The basic game play was nearly identical to that of Fallout 3 with the same leveling upgrades and the same controls. The only significant difference is the ability to look down the irons of the gun whereas in Fallout 3 it only zoomed in. One of the major differences of these two games is your Fame Meter. Different towns and different factions have different opinions of you based on your actions for or against the town. For example, working for the NCR against the Legion gives you fame, (they like you), for the NCR but infamy (they hate you) for the Legion.
The game offers nearly identical sets of armor as Fallout 3 other then the Legion and NCR armor. Wearing the armor of either of these factions makes them think you're one of them and will allow you to go places that would normally be forbidden. However, this will make the opposing faction shoot at you on sight as long as your dressed in that armor. Depending on the armor your enemy is wearing can determine how difficult it will be to kill it. Wearing armor, for example makes it far harder to kill an enemy then it did in Fallout 3 and requires you to buy a variety of different ammo types such as armor piercing bullets or hollow points to kill different targets.
The guns, however, are of a much larger variety in this game. It has has the guns from Fallout 3 but also offers weapons such as a variety of Assault Carbines that resemble M16s. There are also other familiar weapons such as 9mm pistols, light machine guns, and grenade launchers. Additional mods can be bought for these weapons such as sights and handles for improved accuracy.
There is also a huge number of quests in this game. By my count there are over 200 and most don't offer Trophies or Achievements. These quests usually involve the main factions and the independent towns throughout the Mojave and determining their fate. Getting sidetracked from the main storyline is easy as a result and you could spend twenty hours on the game before even getting to New Vegas.
You are also able to recruit a number of companions in this game and much easier to control then in Fallout 3. For one thing, they don't die unless you kill them or if the game is in hardcore mode. They just get knocked out. There is also the Companion Wheel, that enables you better command your troops such as telling them to wait, be aggressive, to watch your back or to keep your distance. Each of these companions also has a personal quest that involves their past, culture, or family. Sometimes these quests improve your characters or have the opposite effect depending on the results of the quest.
Another noteworthy part of the game play is Hardcore Mode. This is a mode that requires you to eat, drink, sleep in order to survive and makes for a much more challenging game. Failure to do these things will result in death. Ammo is also given weight, limiting the amount you can carry. Healing items, such as stimpaks, heal over time, rather then immediately and broken limbs can only be healed by a doctor or a doctor bag.
If there is one bad thing to say about the game play it's that it is glitchy as shit! These glitches include but are not limited to enemies falling through the ground, problems loading, frequent freezing, and delays in pressing buttons and the reaction of your character and nearly make the game unplayable. Maybe this was due to the programer laziness, to a tight budget, or due to the changing of people who hate you but who can say. A lot of these glitches are being fixed by downloadable patches for the game that have already come out or are going to come out in the near future. Regardless, the glitches are their and it's nearly a fatal flaw in the game play.
Unlike its predecessor, Fallout: New Vegas did not have a great cast of characters. While your companions and their quests are interesting the rest of the characters often come off as wooden and cliched. Mr. House tends to come off as your typical mafia/CEO overlord, Caesar as an insane but driven leader, and Oliver as your typical pencil pushing officer. Ron Perelman reprises his role as the game's narrator and Mathew Perry does the voice of Benny or the man in the checkered suit. Kris Kerstofferson also has a role in this game but it's so obscure that its actually possible not to encounter his character throughout the game.
Danny Trejo and Zackery Levi provide their voices for companion characters, but are also obscure and missable as are most of the companions in this game. The companion quests are interesting and it's cool to see how a lot of these characters started out and to help determine where they go.
All around this game was decent. It was everything I expected but nothing more. It was incredibly distant from Fallout 3 in the way they took its plot. Their was no Enclave, the Brotherhood of Steel's involvement is minor, and Super-Mutants and Gouls are rare. In this game, the true horrors of the wastelands are the people around you where there are no true villains, only the lesser of a number of evils and is more about prospering in the waistlands rather then just surviving in it. It show guts on the part of the developers that they were willing to take a different approach to this game whereas the plot of Fallout 3 sometimes just felt like a remake of the first two. But unfortunately the plot just wasn't as compelling as it was in 3.
The game suffered from flat characters and a huge number of glitches and sometimes seemed like it borrowed to much in game play from 3. The environment, however, was great and was truly a unique thing to bring to the gaming world.
If you liked Fallout 3 I say give this one a play but just don't be expected to be blown away the same way you were with the last game.