Developed by Obsidian (2010)
Reviewed by Mat, added on Nov 20 2010
Fallout 3 is one of my two favorite games ever (the other being Civilization IV). I spent over 100 hours playing it and all of its expansions. I did pretty much everything you could do with it. I loved almost everything about it. So my anticipation level for New Vegas, a non-sequel followup, was higher than the mushroom clouds that dropped on the US during their war with China. Not even the declarations of respected game sites that the game was bug riddled and broken could lessen my excitement (well, only slightly)!
The story of New Vegas starts with you playing as a mail courier in the Mojave wasteland. You get gunned down and left for dead. Nursed back to health by a kind stranger, you set off on multiple quests to figure out who wanted you dead, why, and what theyíre gonna do about it when they find out you arenít. Along the way youíll find all sorts of factions attempting to stake a claim to control of the Mojave wasteland. Caesarís Legion is exactly like you think they are. They take all of their dress, structure, and brutality from the history. They enslave surrounding factions and have no qualms about crucifying entire towns to make a point. Other factions include the NCR, the Great Khans, and the enigmatic Mr. House, who runs New Vegas. Youíll also see friendly, and not so friendly faces, such as the Brotherhood of Steel and Super Mutants, although their inclusion feels kind of forced since Fallout 3 took place on the east coast, itís kind of hard to believe that both groups were a nationwide thing. Being a desert, youíll see new monsters roaming the wasteland, such as Praying Mantisís and mutated rats. All of the different factions, gangsters, and whatnot branch off and youíll eventually choose sides and allow the game to play out culminating in a battle for Hoover Dam.
Iím going to probably go against the grain here, but I find New Vegas to be far more enjoyable than Fallout 3, and thatís saying something considering the pedestal I place that game on. For one, I find the main storyline far more interesting. Fallout 3, for me anyway, was about exploration and side quests. I didnít really care about the main mission and honestly, I thought it was pretty dull. New Vegas hits you with multiple stories and ways to play that I just liked a lot better. The wealth of options is superior to the previous game. The world itself is pretty much the same as Fallout 3, even down to Obsidian using the exact same skins, but they do one thing that Bethesda didnít really do: varied locations. Here youíll find snow covered mountains, vaults overgrown with vegetation, giant lakes with bombers sunk at the bottom, night sand storms as you travel the wastes, and of couse, the bright lights and casinos of New Vegas itself. The environment looks very similar, but there is so much more variety and just enough new stuff to make it feel fresh. New Vegas also offers companions which follow you around and help kill monsters with you. Itís another added layer of depth that I appreciated and eliminates those lonely hours of wandering the wastes by yourself, as theyíll often speak dialogue. It just makes the world feel more populated and intimate.
The elephant in the room is the gameís notorious bugs and glitches. Iím going to be totally honest here, Iíve played the game for 30+ hours so far and Iíve only witnessed two glitches, and they were incredibly minor. One was The King not appearing. I had to start another quest and then go back to the Kingís quest before he showed up. Simple fix. The other was a caravan. The traders were stuck in a rock, but I could still trade with them, so that wasnít a big deal at all. Thatís it. But the best part of New Vegas? And I canít stress this enough: I have not had a single lockup. Fallout 3 was notorious for freezing. Youíd just be wandering the wastes and the game would freeze causing you to have to restart the XBOX. It was the most annoying goddamn bullshit ever. It probably happened about 40 times for me in Fallout 3. Iíve read that New Vegas freezes for people, but I have yet to experience it at all. This alone makes New Vegas so much more appealing for me knowing that I donít have to be a save fiend because Iím scared Iím going to lose my progress. I picked up the game after the XBOX update was released for it, so maybe thatís why.
New Vegas isnít perfect. Three Dog is gone, in place of Wayne Newton. And he sucks. He has zero personality. The oldies songs that were such a big part of the Fallout 3 experience are here again. Theyíre all new but most of them donít strike you as particularly memorable. In other words, there is no Butcher Pete type stuff. The songs are still good, but theyíre mostly just background music and wonít make you want to sing along. Even though I like the different paths you can take, unlike Fallout 3, you canít really explore all of them ďat onceĒ. When you choose one branch, it locks out certain quests, so to really get the full scope of the game, youíll have to play it 3 or 4 more times. Since the main choice comes early in the game, you should be sure to keep your early save games so as to revisit them in order to choose a different path. I also would have enjoyed some weather effects in this one. Why canít their be acid rain? or snow? or lightning? I did appreciate the dust storms. Those were cool. Thereís also a hardcore mode on New Vegas, that forces you to have to eat, drink, and sleep regularly in order to not die. Itís essentially a ďrealismĒ mode. I suppose itís cool to have that feature, but reallyÖ.is anyone going to do that other than extreme achievement fiends?
All in all, I love New Vegas. It doesnít lock up on me, the characters are more interesting, the environments more varied, there are more locations and quests, and did I mention, it doesnít lock up on me. Essentially, Iíve had no problems with bugs or glitches and have been having crazy fun. I plan on going back and playing all the different paths. Definitely ask for this for Christmas.