Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fallout: New Vegas (Games)

So anyways, Fallout: New Vegas. It's been about 4 months since it was released but I got it late. Also it doesn't help that it doesn't get bloody over. It may not be as good looking as Mass Effect 2 or Crysis, and it may not be as focused or as smooth either, but the amount of options available when playing it more than make up for these tiny drawbacks.

Fallout: New Vegas is an old fashioned Action RPG. Complicated inventory(more like unsimplified), HUGE expansive environments, lots of guns, and an array of very rich and interesting characters, really nice writing, AND OH MY BLOODY HELL it's LONG. The total playtime (hours of play if you're "grown up") is +150 hours, notice the "+". But more on that later.

Fallout 3 was a brilliant game. It had an amazing storyline and it was mature. There wasn't even a single bit of nudity in it and profanity was hardly used, but it was one of those games that I'll snatch away from a 13 year old if I see it in his hands and give him Gears of War instead(we all know how gory that game is.) Even if the kid has seen the goriest movies or the most inappropriate content, Fallout 3 is NOT for children. It had very scary implications, I mean in one part you played a kid murdering people in the virtual simulation as a clown faced serial killer, and it was presented in ways that were horribly scary. I don't know what other people think but those few moments was just a reminder how very grown-up gaming was starting to become. I really don't understand why the Mass Effect series got so much heat for showing content that a kid can see in a James Bond movie(even lesser in ME2), and how Fallout 3 slipped under the radar so effortlessly.

Lets start off with the story. Now, Fallout New Vegas borrows heavily from Fallout 3, and upgrades alot of them. But one thing is clear, it does not compare to Fallout 3 in terms of plot. Presentation is good, the new features added are interesting to say the least but it still lacks that particular drive and ability to inspire that Fallout 3 had. The plot's still good mind you, just not as developed. But there is an excuse for that.
As much as Fallout 3 was great, it was very linear. The whole thing about "big choices" didnt really come into play till about 3 hours before the end of the game. But New Vegas is different, it's much more branched out and there are alot of new varied possibilities now.

The Fallout: New Vegas story is like all other fallout games, based in an alternate history where there was a great resource war leading to nuclear apocalypse. You play a courier in the Mojave Express a courier company which act as a mode of transport between the small pockets of civilization still left after Nuclear war. As all other games there is radiation everywhere, mutants evolved due to said radiation and small packets of civilization with each party having their own survival being top priority.

This puts in a very intriguing mechanism,  "faction reputation" in parallel with the old "karma". Reputation plays a much more central role within the game and karma doesn't really matter as much as it did in Fallout 3. If you are friends with a faction you get benefits, not if you helped someone in another part of the game world. It makes much more sense and I liked it quite alot. It removed another hurdle of the "this is good, that is bad" style of linear gameplay. Most games favor the player who is either very good or very bad (Mass Effect I'm hinting towards you) but fallout understands that with an open world, with lots of factions, there is a much greater possibility for moral dynamics.
Stay in touch with The Pip-Boy, the best post-apocalyptic PDA. Ever.
 Another core aspect is the 150+ hours of playability, but truthfully speaking, most wont go above 50, because most of the hours are side quests. The story itself lasts about 30 hours. Although one thing which was certainly a step back. NOT being able to continue with characters after the story is over. I mean whats with that?? Fallout 3 had that option.(but you can always reload from a previous save.)
Gameplay is similar to Fallout 3 with a few frills added on. The pip-boy is back, and along with it comes VATS ,a way to convert real time shooting into precise turn based strategy(primarily a method to pause the game for those who cant play shooters too well) returns, with certain add-ons for melee weapons. But it's still the same, showing a very cinematic view of every shot you fire and every successful kill. Weapons can now have scopes added on or have extended magazines(Not really a surprise, Everyone's doing it after Crysis)

You'll see alot of this screen if you're bad at shooters.

There are skills and special traits that are added to the character as he(or she) levels up. With alot of new ones added on. Skills have a more prominent effect on conversations too. Something missed in the original Fallout 3.

There's "hardcore" mode, in which makes gameplay quite interesting. In Fallout 3 you needed to keep an eye on 3 things,
1.Health(including limbs)
2.Radiation Poisoning
3.Addiction to drugs
It was very good and I quite liked it, but New Vegas adds a whole new level with hardcore mode wherein you now need to control and ration your food and fluid intake as well. Also you need to sleep at proper intervals. Failing to do so will have a negative effect on stats, increasing with greater ignorance.(Not drinking enough water = -1 endurance and so on.) Ammunition has weight, and crippled limbs need special tools to treat them.
 The 'workbench' concept is now added to food and ammunition too, adding a new line of customization.

The AI is a little dumb though. Overpowering(sometimes) you with insane health and stats rather than actual tactics.
 The game is definitely buggy, but that seems to differ from platform to platform, so it depends on what you play on.(I had about 3 in game crashes personally)

Graphics and Sound
Now I have to be honest, I really didnt like Fallout 3's graphics, it's not that it looked bad, it just looked bland... which is understandable cause well... it was a wasteland... but in New Vegas there's as supposed to be electricity and power so i expected it to be abit more well... less bland. But the only major addition seems to be the lighting effects in New Vegas, which even though I had a pretty good PC running the game pretty well, made the game stutter for the first few moments every time I entered the strip. Textures are sharp and particle effects are good.

I like games which are abit shiny I guess, maybe I'm shallow, but graphics do matter to me in a game, and Fallout:New Vegas though good doesn't compare with the more modern titles.
 But this is fine because the game world is truly humongous and that is a valid enough reason for it not to have high def graphics. Im amazed at how well it can run on comps with lower specs.
 All in all the graphics fit perfectly in the game, with alot of very original content in the artwork and design(not comparing with other fallout games)

The usual 1940's to 1950's background music is still there, drawing you into the game world and adds a nice effect during the long walks through the wasteland.
 Oh, and on a side note, I really don't like fallout's character models, some faces look down right animatronic, but usually the dialogue is good enough to look over that.

Bland? Maybe. Rich? Definitely.

Fallout New Vegas is a very good game, it has alot more stuff than Fallout 3, and gameplay wise its pretty much the same with quite a few small add-ons. What it lacks(only slightly) in story it more than makes up for in variance. It may not be as ground breaking as the first, but it's still a step up from the original, and a must play for role playing fans or even action fans for that matter.

Post your experiences in the nuclear desert in the comments below.


  1. I got this game for my birthday. Still have to try it though. Rather addicted to Mass Effect 2 at the moment.

  2. Dont blame you. Mass Effect 2 will always be a great game.


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