Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fallout: New Vegas [Game][PC]

Amount Completed: One play through the main storyline and many of the side quests (no DLC yet)

Story: The story of Fallout: New Vegas follows a courier that has been shot and assumed dead. Your journey is first to find out why and what exactly happened. Along the way there are plenty of distractions in the way of side-stories to be drawn into. For the most part the narrative is open ended in that you can make your own decision on how to proceed. There are multiple endings/outcomes related to the interactions you have with various groups of characters. You can also take along one robotic and one humanoid follower to help out in battle. On occasion the followers also impact your choices, but that can easily be averted by leaving them temporarily.

The major players in the game are two warring factions: The Legion and the NCR. Both groups are vying for control of Hoover Dam and potentially New Vegas itself. As you play through the game you are introduced to both groups and allowed to support, attack, or ignore them accordingly. Unfortunately there is little grey area when it comes to which side to support morally. The Legion is way too savage to be a viable option if you are trying to play through in a remotely "kind" way. The NCR comes across as a sad, corrupt democracy that is spineless and exhausted. While not a major player from the start, New Vegas itself also presents an option but it comes off as too ego-maniacal.

The story is really up to you to create. There are many groups to meet and events to play through. While I found the overall story experience more interesting than Fallout 3 I still felt a bit disappointed because by the time I made it to New Vegas (playing through many of the side missions) it turned out I was only a few steps from the end of the game! Once the roller coaster of a conclusion started things spiraled out of control and my choices were more limited than I would have liked.

One section of the plot in particular left me with no choice but to break out and force the failure of a number of missions. Shortly after entering New Vegas I was given the opportunity to travel to The Legion camp to perform a task (that The Legion could have done themselves in a heartbeat). They removed my weapons upon entry to the camp but then returned them when it was time to perform the task (avoiding the spoiler). At the time I had powerful weapons and allies and had the strong urge to simply destroy The Legion (as they had been less than nice to me previously). I did. I crushed/razed the Legion camp and Caesar (the leader) as well. This had almost no impact on the game but it felt like the right thing to do.

Art: Like Fallout 3 everything is dingy and gross. Even New Vegas looked nowhere near as nice as I would have expected. New Vegas should have looked even better to really remind the player just how awful the world outside is. 

Sound: The music for New Vegas (theme in particular) definitely got stuck in my head. I had to turn off the radio stations though because they were too repetitive. There were some problems with the audio for Boone (a follower). It would crackle and seemed like it wasn't recorded correctly.

Gameplay: The gameplay of New Vegas is exactly like Fallout 3. It seems like there were no changes made at all. You run around a huge wasteland exploring and collecting junk to buy more junk to make it easier to defeat people to get more junk and in turn finish missions. With a few exceptions you are always in a combat capable mode. If you so feel you can turn on the people who have no hostility towards you any time you want. Unfortunately the reverse is not true. It is a lot harder to convince people who want you dead to suddenly not want you dead.

I spent much of my time making supply runs because The Legion assassin squad attacks were so brutal and inventory filling. I racked up a lot of money from their failed attempts! After a while I realized that I would not need as much money as I was hoarding. I never really used the 65,000 caps I ended up saving.

The one follower I always made sure to keep with me was Ed-E (with the exception of when I took Rex to get a new brain). Ed-E is a floating eyeball that shoots lasers. Ed-E is awesome that way.

When a game allows it I always put as much attention on being able to have the most options in conversations. Speech/charisma was champion again like with Fallout 3. My experience was a bit less rocky and resulted in a lot fewer deaths thanks to talking through issues.

Gut: Fallout: New Vegas is fun. I liked it more than Fallout 3 primarily because I spent less time roaming the same looking 4 billion square miles of subway tunnels. I look forward to playing the DLC in the future and likely replaying the game with a bit more knowledge of what is to come (ie. better use of stats).

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