Fallout New Vegas

7 / 10 banzai!s

The Game:

Developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Bethesda Software, Fallout: New Vegas was released in North America, Europe and Australia in October of 2010.  A first-person action RPG, it continues the Fallout series in its post-apocalyptic world, this one set in and around Las Vegas, Nevada.

Like other Fallout games, players can customize their character, find places to live where they can store their gear, battle robots and super mutants, hack computers, pick locks, and use V.A.T.S. to target their enemies.  Fallout: New Vegas includes a Hardcore Mode, which requires the player to eat, drink and sleep to ward off starvation, thirst and exhaustion, among other new challenges.

Unlike other Fallout games, the player character is not a Vault-dweller.  Rather, you are a courier who has been shot and left for dead by a man named Benny (voiced by Friends’ Mathew Perry).  After being rescued by a robot named Victor and taken to a nearby town to be healed, your quest is to search out Benny and take back the casino chip he’s stolen from you.  Along the way, you’ll eventually be forced to either make an alliance with one of three factions: the New California Republic, a military force posing as what remains of the American government; Ceaser’s Legion, slavers who follow the customs of the Roman Empire; or Mr. House, a mysterious controller of the Vegas strip.  Or, you can discard all three options, and attempt to rule Hoover Dam’s power all to yourself.  The choice is yours, thereby creating four possible endings.

What I Liked About The Game:

Having been released so shortly after Fallout 3 (the last DLC – Operation: Anchorage – was just released on the PSN only 8 months earlier) the developers decided to add some changes and twists to the game, which I applaud them for trying something new and keeping the series fresh.  Besides the Hardcore Mode – which was a new, yet challenging way to add realism to the game – the three factions narrow the gameplay to specific choices which must be made during the second half of the game, creating more reason to load back after completing the story to try a new path.  None of the four possible choices are purely selfless, with endings somewhere in the grey area, rather than a good or evil decision.

Unlike other areas left in ruin after the war, the Vegas Strip is powered by the Hoover Dam, filling the setting with bright lights and attractive colours as you play roulette, black jack, slot machines, or watch some of their entertaining shows – as entertaining as they’ll get in a video game, anyway.  Again, the developers were trying to keep things new and fresh from their previous game, and the changes in setting added to that freshness.

The characters are interesting and colourful.  You’ve got Victor, the robot with a friendly, Roy Rogers like voice who is either following you for protection or spying on your actions.  The King, who started a cult-like group in worship of Elvis Presely.  And Mr. House himself, a mysterious, behind-the-scenes person who may or may not even be human.  And like the previous Fallout 3, all the quests and side-quests are filled with interesting twists and turns.  The story is never linear nor boring in Fallout: New Vegas.

What I Didn’t Like About The Game:

The bugs.  This game had so many problems that, if not for the bugs, I probably would have awarded an 8.5 or 9 banzai!s out of 10.  The game froze, on average, at least once every hour – sometimes even just shutting down the Playstation 3 completely, and restarting the whole system all on its own.  The DLC for Fallout 3 has been criticized for freezing at times, but I found Fallout: New Vegas to be far worse, forcing me to save the game every 10 minutes for fear that it would crash on me at any moment.  This game was NOT ready to be released on the shelves – but for whatever reason, Bethesda did anyway.  Fallout: New Vegas also lacked the feeling of an “open world” in comparison to previous Fallout games.  Unlike Fallout 3, where you were free to roam from one end of the map to the other and explore new areas, New Vegas was filled with mountains, trenches and large bodies of water which restricted your movement, almost as though setting you on pre-determined paths.

Overall:

Fallout: New Vegas is a fun game for fans of the post-apocalyptic series – provided that you have the patience to get past the constant freezes and crashes and not toss the game out the window in frustration.  It offers fresh new settings and a different way of storytelling, enough so you don’t feel like you’re simply playing one of Fallout 3’s DLCs.  Though not as grand as its predecessor, and despite containing far, far more bugs than any game I’ve ever played (including Terminator: Salvation) it’s still worth checking out.  Those new to the series, may want to pick up Fallout 3, first.

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