Published on November 9th, 2010 | by Hubert McReed0
Fallout: New Vegas – Review
Summary: An addictive and rewarding experience
Confession time: I’ve never been to Las Vegas; I’ve never rolled a snake eyes in Caesar’s Palace; I’ve never spun a roulette wheel and watched as the ball dances between the red and black squares. I’ve never been on a winning streak only to lose it all on a 24-hour gambling binge… However, I have joined a gang of Elvis lookalikes in an effort to gain access to the nicer parts of Vegas. I’ve gone debt collecting in the wrong parts of town and I’ve helped a cult of ghouls complete their voyage to the stars by clearing out the basement.
These are just handful of the things that happened during my recent stay in Fallout’s latest post- apocalyptic shooter, New Vegas. A follow-up to 2008’s reboot, don’t expect this new installment to accomplish quite the same significant jump. Instead, what’s on offer here is a new story in a new setting with pinched cheeks and some minor tweaks here and there. To put it into simpler terms: New Vegas is to Fallout 3 what Vice City was to Grand Theft Auto III.
You play an unlucky courier who, while delivering a platinum poker chip, ends up in a shallow grave with a hole in the head. Rescued by a robot named Victor, a quick fix up from a doctor in Goodsprings and a brief tutorial sees you on your way to finding the culprits who robbed you.
From here, the Nevada desert is your oyster. You have the freedom to do as you please, although you won’t survive very long in the desolate wilds if you don’t prepare yourself and take on a few quests to earn some experience and caps.
Luckily jobs aren’t that hard to come by in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. With factions in awry causing problems for each other and locals alike, you’ll find that jobs come in all shapes and sizes – clearing convicts from a casino, collecting unpaid debts or investigating some strange goings on about town.
While some are merely your bread and butter for gathering cash and experience points, they’re also a chance to meet some of the more interesting residents of New Vegas.
Like Fallout 3, you’ll be forced to make decisions that affect your karma. Stealing objects or shooting innocent civilians is an easy way to get on the rap sheet, but the way you handle each mission can also affect your reputation, a new feature to New Vegas that affects how factions and towns greet you. If you perform good deeds consistently then townsfolk will treat you well with discounts on their wares, whereas bad actions will see certain groups greet you with hostility or fear.
Depending on how you level up each of your attributes through Fallout’s point allocation system, players can benefit from excelling in particular areas. For example, level up your speech and you can deliver powerful speeches that sway minds, improve your bartering skills and you may be able to get yourself a better cut of out of a fetch quest.
If this sounds a little too familiar to Fallout 3 players, then it should, but in particular seasoned gamers should appreciate some of the changes and improvements made to the action side of New Vegas. While the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System (aka V.A.T.S) returns for a more RPG-based combat system, New Vegas introduces significantly improved aiming for each weapon, allowing you to move back and forth between real-time and turn-based combat seamlessly. That’s not all, as weapons can now be modified from items collected on your journey to be put together at workbenches.
If that’s not enough, a new Hardcore mode will test the limits of the true Fallout fan. Essentially, a ‘realistic’mode, players will have to eat, drink and sleep on a regular basis to avoid deprivation, your ammunition counts towards your overall weight, and recovering from limb loss will require some serious medical skill. Not for the faint of heart.
It’s a little disappointing to see New Vegas still suffers from the same lacklustre animations visual finesse that plagued the last installment. However, the saving grace is the aesthetic style inspired by 1950’s advertising and propaganda. Whistling along to Blue Moon played through your Pip-Boy will become a regular habit, and after trotting for miles through the Mojave Desert, seeing the New Vegas Strip for the first time is a Technicolor spectacle.
There’s a lot to see and do in New Vegas, and overall play time can easily put you into weeks of running errands, though sticking solely to the core campaign missions is not recommended. New Vegas proves once again that the Fallout universe is an absorbing one filled with interesting characters and complex gameplay that makes each minor accomplishment mean so much more to the player.
So I’ve never been to Vegas, so what? I can still gamble away my fortune on the Vegas strip with a mutated Lady Luck by my side.