Let me begin by saying: I hate Fallout 3.
I found it to be an incredibly dull game that was even boring to look at. A game that consisted of tiny bits of bad dialogue and genuine questing, wedged between bland hours of killing raiders or mutants in sewers and subways and other boring copy/paste dungeons. Bethesda had even removed everything that made Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion enjoyable.
The weird part is that I seem to be the only one. Even a good chunk of the die-hard original Fallout fans (who decried how the Bethesda-made Fallout 3 wasn’t like the old games and didn’t mesh story-wise) praised the game as a standalone gaming experience.
Personally, I didn’t play the original Fallout games until after Fallout 3, and I still enjoyed them more their younger brother from another mother.
Then Obsidian comes along to make Fallout: New Vegas. My interest was sustained entirely by the connections (Marcus the super mutant is in it!) to Fallout 2. It certainly didn’t help that Obsidian were responsible for Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords – one of the worst games I have ever played.
Then, given the reputation of Obsidian for developing badly designed, downright broken games (Alpha Protocol, etc.) and only having a few good story ideas to their name…Combing this with Fallout 3 could only end badly, right?
Well, Fallout: New Vegas is a mess of a game.
It’s already infamously glitchy – the un-patched PC version would delete saves! The shooting mechanics have improved, but are still just not good. Areas are poorly designed and are needlessly labyrinthine or waste too much space. Try finding Cerulean Robotics in Freeside. Go on. I’ll wait.
Most of the writing is solid or even good, but some of it worse than Bethesda’s standards. The ambient music is better than it was in Fallout 3 (the game even includes a tune from Fallout 2), but the licensed songs are seared into your brain by the looping radios everywhere.
The voice acting is half good – Ron Perlman nails it, Felicia Day is great once you stop picturing Cyd Sherman, etc. But on the other hand you have the presumable non-actors of characters like Sunny Smiles. Not to mention two very disappointing performances from Zachary Levi and Matthew Perry.
Everything about it is sloppy and all over the place. Yet…I can’t help but like it.
There are very few ‘dungeon’ segments, there’s a lot more interaction with the world and characters. It has useful Speech options. There are some good quests. It’s much more interesting to look at and has a more cohesive world. With it’s sprawling messiness, it’s got a very Fallout 2 vibe to it.
Maybe it was my sheer lack of expectation, or seeing such an improvement over a game I wanted to like. But I enjoyed Fallout: New Vegas and cautiously recommend this addictive timesink.
P.S. A note on the PC version
This is Smashyladyevil, my melee-focused, generic evil female for a second playthrough of the game. Her S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats are:
10. In everything.
How, you might ask? Well, I rented and played through the Playstation 3 version of Fallout: New Vegas, but I bought the PC version. It allows useful cheats and that happens to be the first point in this random and obligatory list of pros and cons of the PC version.
- Console command cheats.
- Looks better.
- Runs faster. (Well, this is specific to my seven month old computer)
- Loads faster.
- Potential for mods.
- Costs less.
- Play without a disc via Steam.
- Mouse aim.
- License agreement faffing.
- CD key.
- Need an internet connection because it has to go through Steam.
- Seemingly harder lockpicking minigame.