Fallout: New Vegas

November 19th, 2010

Ah, good stuff, good stuff.  If it weren’t for Red Dead Redemption I think this would be my game of the year.  I’ve always been a fan of the Fallout series and its post-apocalyptic roleplaying stylings, leavened with a rare sense of ironic humour.  I thought the direct precursor to this, Fallout 3, was a crashing success, and New Vegas is very much the same recipe, all in all, but moved from post-nuclear Washington and surrounds to post-nuclear Vegas and surrounds.

Initially, I’ve got to say, I wasn’t sure it would really satisfy.  The opening is a little underwhelming compared to the iconic emergence from the Vault in Fallout 3.  The wildey westey feel they’ve given this outing seemed a little jarring, and I’m still not sure that was necessarily a great move.  But the more you play it, the more you realise they’ve made a lot of improvements.  The system is very much the same but seems sharper, more responsive.  I couldn’t really play Fallout 3 as a First Person Shooter, New Vegas I just about can.   The array of weaponry is considerably bigger than ever, with all manner of modifications and ammo types available.  They’ve added an interesting hardcore mode which makes things more ‘realistic’, with ammo having weight, water and food levels needing constant attention and wounds healing only gradually.

But it’s the game world that has really been fine-tuned.  Things are a good deal more civilised and organised than in Fallout 3, with many more people around and those people organised into a range of factions which you can support or oppose as suits you, the central plot moving in different directions according to the friends you make.  It’s by no means perfect, and some of the desperate feel of the end of the world which was so great about previous outings has been lost, but it’s probably the best effort I’ve seen at making a living, developing world in an RPG.

It’s also absolutely massive.  I mean, Fallout 3 was big but this feels a lot bigger, and with its many different factions and play styles you can imagine there’s heaps of replay potential if you really wanted it.  I think I logged somewhere around 75 hours on it, and didn’t pick the bones by any means.  That’s BIG.

On the downside, it’s also pretty buggy.  Occasional mismatched bits of dialogue and broken quests are probably inevitable and certainly forgivable in a game so big and with so many different possibilities.  The frequent hangings and loading flops are less forgivable.  The difficulty level also seems a little patchy – you can recruit suprisingly effective companions to greatly increase your firepower, and after a certain point I was rarely finding myself in trouble.  Probably should have had the guts to try that hardcore mode.  Maybe the next time I have 75 hours spare I’ll run through it again.  I sure can think of worse ways to spend the time…

Posted in games by Joe Abercrombie on November 19th, 2010.

16 comments so far

  • mus says:

    I concur. F3 definitely had more of an end of the world as we know it feeling, however NV seems to be more light hearted and fun, which isn’t a bad thing.

    I really hope Bethesda make a Fallout 4 with a new engine though. The current one is beginning to look tired.

  • ColinJ says:

    Joe, have you played the RED DEAD REDEMPTION zombie DLC yet? I bought it, played about two hours of it then my 360 red-ringed on me. But what I got to play of it was fun.

  • Eddwigg says:

    Ouch! Last time I got a red-ring was due to a dodgy curry.

  • Laraqua says:

    Well, well, well. First I pick up your book at my local library, then I fall so in love with it in the first few pages that I just had to see if you had a web-site, then what do I find on the first blog post I read? I find that you share my taste in videogames!

    So now I am done fangirl squeeing at your book, your blog, and your taste in games I’m going to settle down and read some more of ‘Best Served Cold’, which even after the first few pages, I’d have to dub my favorite book of the year!

  • Tim H says:

    Thanks for the review, Joe. I’m over 100 hours in and trying to everything I can along the way — I imagine another 100 hours should get me there. There are bugs (my 7000+ cap anti-materiel rifle disappeared off ED-E), but this is still an amazing game despite the flaws. Add some Hank Williams music and some of the more soulful Elvis songs to the soundtrack to increase the spine-tingliness of it all. And plus I can enrage my wife now just by humming “I’ve got spurs that jingle jangle jingle.”

  • Nick Sharps says:

    I’m enjoying the game but the bugs are somewhat irritating. Sometimes VATS takes way too long to come up. I think I prefer Fallout 3 but New Vegas is still a fun time. When are we going to get a First Law RPG huh?

  • Michael Gibbons says:

    I bought Fallout: New Vegas but haven’t had a chance to play it yet. More appropriately, I have avoided playing it because I know I will get sucked in and don’t have the time to spare right now. Looking forward to playing the Red Dead zombie DLC as well. I have heard good things about it.

  • Tim H says:

    Joe, you seem to like RPGs, so just curious if you’ve played World of Warcraft. Don’t see a review, so I assume not. Are you just not a fan of MMORPGs or are you avoiding it like you’d avoid crack?

  • Kreso Dokaza says:

    Haven’t tried Las Vegas yet, but I’ve been so completely blown out by Assassin’s Creed 2 and now Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood that most other games now look like Tetris or Pacman – expectations go up.

    Similar to watching TV shows after The Wire, or reading fantasy books after Joe/GRRM/some other select few….
    The rest seem like children books.

  • cmi says:

    When you play, DON’T MISS VAULT 11!!!!!1111oneeleven – Seriously this vault has the most intense atmosphere I had in a game for a very, very long time. Some more polishing and informations here and there (but maybe I missed a terminal or two, but looked really hard – this said, read everything you find there) could make it even more incredible, but hell… this one was a blast as it is. And no, I don’t care or talk about monsters or loot. Just go there. And don’t read the spoilers at fo-wiki!

    About the companions – the ones I tried (the sniper and veronica) feel pretty much overpowered.

    And the bugs.. but hey, it wouldn’t be a Obsidian game without them 😉

    I totally agree, it’s a very, very good game – and I can’t believe this is supposed to be a “standalone add-on” with all this content. A must buy (imho).

  • sleeloy says:

    So please don’t hate on me but…..

    New Vegas in comparison to Fallout3 is like McDonald’s hamburger to a gourmet meal.

    Where are the desolate vistas, the compelling story & the awesome soundtrack (which serves as a kind of chorus)

    play the guitar
    play it again my johnny
    (I’d rather eat glass than listen to that shiite one more time… Thank you that’s enuff Ms Peggy Lee)

    & the whole concept of the ‘legion’ just doesn’t make any sense … why are they one of the larger powers vying for the region….(bullets beat sharp swords everytime)

    I was also hoping Mr House was something more interesting than a guy with a bunch of computers.

    Just as an aside … the White Glove Society… sent 2 assassins & when I killed them the entire casino attacked me. Fended them all off with a cane (was a blood bath).

    I dunno ..is it the recession? Could they not afford some decent ideas for quests, NPC’s & setting?

    New Vegas = 6 GiG of buggy crap on my hard drive….
    (Im sorry to say)

    Once again… no haters please…..

    Joe .. love [LOVE] .. & did i mention how much I love… the books…. REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THE HEROES

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    I think you’re over harsh, but I wouldn’t say you’re wrong. It’s less desolate and therefore less atmospheric than 3, and feels less believable, somehow – I actually thought the NCR were more unconvincing than the legion, if anything. I’m not sure it’s much buggier though – 3 had a fair few bodies shooting into the sky and flying around all over the wasteland, as I recall, eternally rattling tin cans and so on. I’d say fallout 3 may well live longer in my imagination than this outing, except that I pretty much regard them as two episodes of the same game, really. Certainly my enjoyment of this episode was an awfully long way from being spoiled by its drawbacks…

  • John Needham says:

    Ever play the Fable series Joe? Fable II is my favorite but Fable III is pretty good as well. I only ask but its a pretty gritty RPG with sex and much blood letting…kind of like some fantasy books I love from this author who lives in Bath… 😉

  • Graeme says:

    Hmm, I’ve yet to get round to the Fallout series. I liked Oblivion (although I know you weren’t impressed) but I think I might still be too old fashioned for all this RPG/FPS nonsense.

    Dragon Age 2 is already ordered, however, which is very exciting. Doubly so after the girlfriend hid my copy of Football Manager…

  • Bruce says:

    I have been a fan of the Fallout series since before F3 but was a bigger fan after. That being said, New Vegas takes that campy feel and turns it up a notch (or two). It also seems to have taken a few steps closer to “A Boy and His Dog” making the game feel as if I’ve been there before while playing. Maybe it’s the landscape… I dunno. I do like the game though. Enough so that I made a bunch of t-shirt designs (again) for myself and put them up on spreadshirt. What it has REALLY done for me though, is make me look forward to Fallout Online even more. If they can do it right (ala WoW style) imagine how huge it could be.. and how totally cool!

  • David Montgomery says:

    I picked up Fallout3/Fallout NV late in the game as it were. I started FO3 back in February. I am still playing Fallout NV and I love it – I love the Raygun Gothic/Cowboy vs Aliens shtick. I hope there is more to come.

    I should finish just in time for Skyrim.

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