Old Game, New Review – Fallout: New Vegas
“Wonderful,” I thought to myself as I stood in the clinic, in front of the man who rescued me. “More brown.” A negative sentiment toward a game before you’re even past the character creator is always a wonderful sign. Truth be told, I should have known what I was getting myself into with Fallout: New Vegas. Having had issues with the bland colour palate in Fallout 3, the dusty brown tint of the Mojave Wasteland should have come as no surprise. With that in mind, you might be wondering why I picked up a game that, gameplay-wise, is near identical to its predecessor, and the answer is: peer pressure. My friends can’t stop raving about this game. That, and the Ultimate Edition of Fallout: New Vegas will be hitting stores in February 2012, complete with DLC, so it seemed timely to review this game.
I know I have referenced my dislike for Fallout 3 in this review, and perhaps I should be basing the game on its own merit. But I feel it’s important: my experience with Fallout 3’s gameplay was so frustrating that I nearly passed this game by. Despite that, and my initial impressions toward New Vegas, I persevered. I defeated Powder Gangers in and around Primm. I talked with the townsfolk who would give me quests. I turned the difficulty level down to easy. Correction: *really* easy. Surprisingly enough, it lives up to that level. I still die, more often than not, but I actually get somewhere before succumbing to illness. I actually find items to heal myself with. I managed to overtake the hotel filled with convicts in Primm, collect cash, and get an awesome flame-thrower. People live in this environment. There are colour variations in the landscape. Food is not impossible to come by, but it is rare enough that I need to ration and/or find a bed if I don’t want to consume it. I’m not just surviving in this game. It seems I’m discovering landmarks and places to go every few minutes. The game is filled with lore and character stories. Although the voices can be quite monotone and redundant, I was still interested in getting to know the various characters in the Mojave Wasteland.
In short? I’m actually having *fun* while exploring a post-apocalyptic desert.
I found gameplay to essentially be the same as Fallout 3, but it has a few differences. First of all, there is a small indicator in the middle of your screen—there, but just barely—that gives you the capability to actually shoot your enemies accurately. Yes, I still missed, but I was a hell of a lot more accurate than I was in Fallout 3. Enemies actually died before they were able to take swipes at my health.
Your reputation with certain factions around the Mojave is perhaps one of the most significant additions to New Vegas. Different factions and citizens will reside in specific towns, and depending on your actions, you can either move up no the reputation list or down. People will help you if you have a neutral or good rating, and will outright start to kill you if you’re not in their good books. For example, when I killed a King member (a gang in the town of Freeside) for trying to charge me for water, I ended up being shunned by all the townsfolk. Most would flee my presence when I went up to them to ask a question. I stole from one other Kings member, and the whole building I was in started shooting at me. It’s a nice way to add variety to the gameplay.
Another aspect is the perks. Every second level or so, you get the ability to choose a perk, which further enhances your gameplay. This is not as frequent as it was in Fallout 3, but it still enhances the gameplay. There are various ones, such as the ability to gain special dialogue with different genders, or to have more guts and blood spew out when you kill enemies.
Bugs were a huge issue with New Vegas when it was first released. My first encounter with one was when my game froze, just I left Doc Mitchell’s office. I originally dismissed this as an issue with my Xbox, as it’s not exactly new. But when I was beating some Powder Ganger and the camera kept jerking around when I was admiring my critical hit, done in slow motion, I realized that this game actually is buggy. Quite buggy. More than once, enemies would magically sink into the ground after I pummeled them with bullets. Some are amusing, some are frustrating. But none made me want to cease and desist my playthrough.
After my rental was done, I felt kind of disappointed that I didn’t have the time to finish the game. I didn’t even get to fully explore the companion option, which is another highlight of the game, so I hear.
Playing Fallout: New Vegas was a lesson for me to not judge a game based on its predecessor. Even if there are many identical aspects, then there might just be enough difference for me to merit a try.
The Ultimate Edition is scheduled for release in early February. It comes with previously released DLC, and an increase of level caps. And based on my feelings toward the game during the week I had it in my hands, I might actually end up buying it.