4 November 2011 | bob the moo
Yet another great gaming experience with a better story and a fuller feel than FO3
When this game came out I had never played Fallout before, but a lot of people I knew (IRL or internet) were excited for it and I started listening to them talk. What I heard was a lot of positive but also lots about bugs, glitches, freezing and just how much time it consumes – ie similar to what I had heard about Fallout 3. Since then I picked up FO3 for tiny money and loved it despite the very occasional freeze-up in my 100 hours or so playing! Despite this, I let the negative things about NV put me off picking it up for a while before eventually getting it.
As before I find that Fallout delivers me a massive gaming experience with so much to explore and do that I get totally immersed in this world despite me not really being a big RPG fan. At time of writing I have played the game for around 130 hours and still have a couple of the DLC sections I want to do. It is also worth saying that this time is with one character. As with FO3, you have a main storyline but you also have endless little side questions, many of which are linked to the story but a lot of which are simply optional. In terms of the story, it is much better than the previous game and I did find it interesting to follow along, although not so interesting that I tried to rush it – having played the previous game I knew that the story would wait for me to progress it. I also benefited from knowing that there was a specific point in the story where you do have to make a decision to align yourself definitively with one of four factions – so I put this point off for as long as possible so that I can make a save here (as the exploring and discovering is a massive part of the game for me, repeating 80 hours for the sake of a different ending doesn't appeal).
However I did like the way that different factions do treat you different. In FO3, the karma thing makes a difference but not a massive difference. In NV it makes things much more engaging that, if you decide to attack NCR for fun, then don't expect them to keep giving you missions and smiling at you – they will attack and you may find you go so far that you remain enemies throughout. I enjoyed this and, as I play middle-of-the-road, it was fun keeping everyone more or less onside by doing side-quests etc. As before, exploring may not look fun to someone watching you play, but it is fun to never know what is coming and find locations that might just be a burnt out car with some stuff – or come over the hill to find the city of New Vegas illuminating the skyline. Indeed I enjoyed the side quests so much that I had done 80 hours and the majority of them before I even went to Boulder City (which is early in the main story).
The game looks and feels the same as FO3 and it is a little disappointing that graphics haven't moved on since then, but only a little – the game quickly makes you forget superficial details like that with how enjoyable the gameplay and world is. Those that were excited about the strip will have been disappointed to find that it is quite a small settlement with only a small number of buildings, but personally I liked it as it was only ever going to be an oasis in the desert and not a massive city. I also very much liked seeing it from afar at night and its location was perfect for that. The audio design was improved from FO3. OK we have more star voices in small roles, but for me the main thing was that more voices were used for characters you don't interact with, whereas in FO3 all males had the same voice and phrase.
I didn't dare play hardcore, but this game was enjoyably tough even in the normal mode. Enemies seemed harder and some of the tougher ones were scattered around nicely – although I missed my dartgun at first, I was glad that the Deathclaws remained a challenge throughout, and couldn't just be slowed down with one dart. The only downside of playing for so long and doing all the side quests before advancing the story was that, by the time I did finally get around to choosing a side and fighting at Hoover Dam, I was such a high level that I was pretty hard to stop; but personally the handful of actual story missions were just a small part of the game when you consider the wider world.
Overall Fallout New Vegas did it for me again. A huge world with so much to do – yes visually it is essentially a mod of FO3 but this only bothered me for the first few seconds; after that I was off out into the wasteland, making moral decisions, exploring, helping out towns, setting up murderous old women, leading a cult to their salvation and keeping all factions on my side. Crashes and glitches for me were probably 1 in 15 hours, which I can happily live with in exchange for such a great game.