So after their owner ended up losing almost all their money, Black Isle reestablished itself as Obsidian Entertainment. Working on sequels to games that fit their specialties, only to eventually be able to pick up the license they had been working with before Black Isle got the axe? With the countermeasure likely involving them having a fraction of the budget to a game they were essentially modding in hopes of using up ideas gathered over the years. Which is essentially the backstory for New Vegas’ development, or so I believe.
Fallout: New Vegas Review
Release Date: 19/10/2010
Platforms: PC(Reviewed), Xbox 360, Playstation 3
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Bethesda Studios
Rig: AMD FX-8320, 8GB of RAM, Radeon HD 7770, Windows 7 64-bit (Xbox 360 controller)
Keeping the setting of a post-apocalyptic technologically advance 1950s America as cemented by the previous games in the series. New Vegas is not so much about exploring a whole new world as it’s predecessors, as it involves a user crafted courier sent to deliver a platinum casino chip. At least until they got not one, but two bullets placed in their head, with nothing to do but take revenge on the man in a checkered suit who robbed them. Or if you’re like me, avoid the main quest that would take under 10 hours to make a “J” up to the weasel, and instead choose to find other smaller narratives to invest time into. As is the nature with Bethesda’s in-house games.
An idea that might imply that the overarching narrative is somehow lacking, as the side stories end up flooding in with the tales of sending mutants to the moon, exploring lost metal caverns of the pre-apocalyptic world, and finding the best sexual partners for a nightclub. All of which was very well balanced along with the traditional run off into a random direction and see what you can find aside from ferocious incest that were only made mightier by a century of radiation. Although that can partially be blamed on the regular shopping trips to sell off scorpion stingers and miniguns you got from raiding a radioactive mountain of mutants.
Not that the game lacks a far more urbanized sensation than the post apocalyptic scenario normally applies, as the title suggests a successor to Las Vegas. Which ideally serves as the central hub, while being something I never actually set foot in until the forty hour mark, as the city acts more as a central goal point than your base of operations. Which is where the dilemmas start rolling on in.
New Vegas’ story is one that seems very hypocritical given its stance as an open world title with a lot of character building and inventory management. In short, after you kill the man who shot you in the brain, you are more or less approached with four options on how the rest of the main story can go. Choosing your alliance between a mysterious owner of New Vegas, Mr. House. The Western based and slightly questionable military group, NCR. A group of people who you are introduced to by having Yuri Lowenthal shout at your face about how he won the lottery. Only to learn the lottery was to not be nailed to a cross. Or listen to a robot who was the assistant to your attempted assassin, called the Yes Man, who will help you, the Courier, in taking over New Vegas with the help of a robot army.
I am a bit confused as to why such an emphasis is placed on a choice I originally thought was mandatory, because who wouldn’t want to team up with run a police state of robots? But my biggest gripe is how the game ends after the choice, only to start you off before the final battle, effectively making your choice between the four seem like something that should only ever be done at the very end of your playthrough. Especially if you want to see every way the final missions play out, not that there is much fun in choosing a path you had no desire in purusing.
Especially when the game goes as far as to include a cast of companion characters who will follow the courier around and eventually offer a side quest after certain prerequisites are met, leading them to unlock one of two abilities based on what you recommend for them to do. It is actually a pretty cool idea, except for how all eight of them are scattered over the map, instead of being placed at a hub until the sixty-two hour mark in my game. Even then, you cannot do something as simple as radio for one to come out and help you, so you would likely miss the hidden away development for most of the characters. Or at least I did, as I was golden when I had a flying fish bowl with a laser gun, and a girl with a fist that made people’s heads explode.
New Vegas is still very good at detailing the existence of many of its quests, as there are about as many “unlisted” and easy to ignore quests as there are regular quests. Instead, you are just given a note, if that detailing a side objective that one designer seemed to include if only for the ability to have more content, when the game has a rather plentiful amount as it is given its very large world. Which itself deserves plenty of compliments, namely how every area feels to be unique in its own way, and not just a rapid recycling of pre used assets.
Yet they better not need to, seeing as how from a general mechanics perspective, the game is still Fallout 3. You have an invisible sack of food, weapons, and trinkets with a great big world to travel along with a plethora of stats to raise and manage after being more or less kicked into what can best be described as a strategic FPS. With the stats coming into play not only in general weapon use, but in an aiming system known as VATS. Which allows you to pick off what enemy body parts you want to shoot off, which sounds a bit unnecessary, but it sorta is given the combat.
With a small reticle and upwards of half a dozen baddies, the actual gameplay would feel very clunky without such a feature, especially when taking its damage system into consideration. Which relies on stuffing your face for most injuries, but it only takes one good grenade or landmine to cripple a limb and make your respective abilities comparatively terrible. Though most would likely juggle an avalanche of save slots to make sure that they don’t need to hobble across the wastes on one leg.
Something that will undoubtedly happen one way or another, especially when considering the inventory management that has become a staple, at least for me. Where everything aside from travel, exploration, and combat is trying to find the best things to shove into your invisible backpack by dividing the worth by the object’s listed weight, and then hopefully sell it. Seeing as how easy it is to cause a merchant to run out of Caps and possibly be stuck like that for a couple in-game days while the backpack stays heavy, despite how you can very easily get more money than you could ever spend.
Instead, I couldn’t help but feel like a permanent storage facility would be more appreciated, as my companion robot who I treated like a pack mule apparently threw out several toys I placed within its circuitry. Which in terms of glitches after about 658 patches, seems a bit inexcusable, but more so than the amount of times the game crashed on me. Particularly during loading screens, and primarily in the region of Freeside, where I lost track of how many times the game kicked it right before the rudimentary post-loading screen auto-save after 40. With the worst offender being one time when I apparently bought too many items for the game to keep up with the listing of my inventory.
I suppose the game is also messy when looked at it from the perspective, but no more so than when looked from the visual one. No matter what I say about the overall art direction and at times keen looking locals, the game is very brown, and the character models could warrant a less uncanny appearance. However, given the post apocalyptic scenario that the game is oddly about 200 years post for, I guess anything else would’ve felt a bit too cheery. Despite how I can say this game has a sexbot named Fisto and fungus monkeys
Though I suppose it would be the most easy art style to use when making more content, a notion that could be very much applied to this game’s voice acting. With 65,000 lines of dialog in the game, it’s about as much of a surprise as hearing Yuri Lowenthal, April Stewart, or Liam O’Brien, as there are only a handful of voice actors to handle the bulk of those lines, resulting in most of the dead eye look-at-our-facial-animation-tech instances being very routine, as there are only so many voices a VA can do on the fly. With the music taking this to the most extreme of levels, as I doubt there are even twenty-five songs on the limited radio, despite how licensing the 1950s tunes would cost next to nothing.
New Vegas as a whole is a series of highs and lows for me. Despite my criticism, there is a certain allure to exploring a big open world and growing to be more of a BAM. However, the mold of Fallout 3 seems a bit misplaced for many of the ideas the game implements, with the lesser quests and areas being something else added in the name of content. I do appreciate its off kilter style, hell, I downright adore it when thrown into a more bleak world. Fallout New Vegas ultimately feels like a very compromised product, while also being one I’d wholeheartedly recommend. It’s DLC though? I’ll save that for next time.
An impressive product, but won’t always astound due to a fair number of flaws that are difficult to ignore. Still worth your cash and a few hours of your time.