Fallout: New Vegas

Welcome to New Vegas

Status: Completed three endings, working on the last
Achievements: 38 of 55
Gamerscore: 690/1140
DLC Purchased: None

After the extreme disappointment that was Fable 3, I needed something to get me back on my 360. And even though I had a difficult time with Fallout 3 (mainly the DLC and it’s release day issues), I was pumped to sink my teeth into Fallout New Vegas. I love the open exploration that Fallout offers, and the addition of Factions you could choose to side with meant there would be more variety in the story. Throw in casinos and gambling and I was all psyched up for another trip through a post-apocalyptic USA.

After waking up in a small Mojave wasteland town, my female courier set out to find the man responsible for putting a bullet in her. Obviously, he wasn’t that great of a shot since she was saved by a Securitron, and his flashy clothes meant he could be found in New Vegas. But going straight to New Vegas wasn’t something I wanted to do. Instead I spent a lot of time discovering areas along the major roads, killing escaped convicts and looting whatever I could. I am a hoarder in games like these, and as soon as I had my own place to stash the copious amounts of weapons, food and other gear I was hauling around, I would dump a load and go back out there for more.

Wandering the wastes and weeding out side quests is always a great way to gain experience, as opposed to running headfirst through the main story and getting incredibly stuck. I spent a good 40 to 50 hours roaming the streets of long deserted towns, hills overrun with scavengers and mutated insects before setting foot on the New Vegas Strip. The sheer amount of time I can waste in Fallout and Elder Scrolls games is the big reason I come back to these Bethesda franchises time and time again.

Also during this time, I located several of the Companion characters available in Fallout New Vegas. Unlike the companions in Fallout 3, these ones were much more personable, had back stories and side quests of their own, and could carry equipment for you. That last part was very important to me and I loaded my companions up like camels most of the time. Hey, if they are there and can carry and use things they give you, you should take advantage of it. Another bonus with Companion characters was the bonus perks they brought to the party. Bringing along your trusty robot friend ED-E and emo sniper Boone meant awesome ranged damage particularly useful when you finally think you are ready to clear Deathclaws out of the Quarry. Veronica provides a portable work bench perfect for recycling drained energy and microfusion cells on the go. In a sense, Companions are like a New Vegas style Pokemon – you gotta find ’em all! Well, you don’t really, but if you do it makes the game much more interesting.

Micromanage your Companions’ actions in the game

What you think is a simple story of revenge changes gears early on in the main quest and soon you discover that the people you’ve helped, killed and left alone so far are all after one thing – and they all want your help. By now you have reached the New Vegas Strip and been approached by several different people, each one representing a major Faction. These Factions are fighting for control in the Mojave and believe that with you assisting them, their victory will be secured. You may also find minor Factions in the Wasteland who will offer their support to whomever you back so long as you help them first. Figuring out who to recruit and which side to put your chips with is up to you and can be done in a variety of ways, meaning there are numerous ways in which you can complete this game.

While I found Fallout New Vegas to be entertaining with solid story-telling and some very unique characters, this excursion on the Strip is not without it’s flaws. Graphically, not much has changed since Fallout 3. The textures, character models and all around art style are exactly the same as they were in DC. Even the Strip, which yes, did have very few casinos, should have been brighter, lighting up the skyline for miles and miles, but felt too muted and washed out for what was there. If you were looking for more detailing in the faces around you, then prepare to be disappointed.

And the voice acting! Oh, what could have been. With a list of primo celebrities like personal favourites Danny Trejo and Zach Levi who are great on-screen personalities, the voice overs for Fallout New Vegas should have been knocked out of the park. Sadly, almost every major character fell flat. It was as if the actors had only a couple of days with the script before recording their lines. There was only a handful of real shining moments in the voice acting, which is why I am disappointed with all these studios neglecting true voice actors and wasting oodles of money on A-list performers who just don’t seem to translate well to voice acting.

The Wild Wild West (*wiki wiki*)

The only other issue I have with the game is the glitches. I began my journey through the Mojave after Bethsoft released the major patch, so I haven’t had nearly as many issues as some people did. There have been weird things happening to me like my companions not being with me after I fast traveled to a new location or enemies that should be dead still running around after I killed them. I did have an entire side quest ruined by another issues that didn’t allow me to access a room I should have been able to go into. I did notice that my 360 started to freeze up a lot more once I began playing Fallout New Vegas, not just on this game but on DeathSpank and XBLA titles as well. While I can’t say it is Fallout’s fault, I will say that it is extremely irritating to only get in an hour or so at a time before the whole thing freezes during very important gun fights.

Overall Opinion

Fallout New Vegas is a great “continuation” from Fallout 3, but aside from the new story, addition of Factions and better Companions, it’s not all that much different. Fans of Fallout 3 will most likely enjoy life in the Mojave and the familiarity of it all. If you weren’t satisfied with Fallout 3, then you should make a pass on this one.

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