Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Video Game Assessment: Fallout: New Vegas (2010)

Okay, yes, I am a fan of the Fallout video game series. I love the post-apocalyptic wasteland scenario, as I'm sure many of my fellow male specimens do. It has a certain very neat feeling to it. There's something about wandering around, surviving, and shooting things that makes men feel like they're in their element. Very interesting. Even some of my friends who are the least-likely-to-survive-the-apocalypse kind of people, still tend to be very much for an apocalyptic wasteland. Interesting, methinks.

Anyway, Fallout: New Vegas is the follow-up video game to Bethesda's behemoth of a game Fallout 3, but does it surpass it, or is it merely more of the same? Well, I'll tell you.

I actually really loved this game and I didn't love Fallout 3. That should automatically make you think that this game is a better game... well, not so fast, partner. You're getting ahead of yourself making conclusions like that.

I think that Fallout 3 has many flaws. I didn't mention this in my review of Fallout 3, because I really did want to focus on the horror aspects of the game in that review, but to review Fallout: New Vegas, one must really understand Fallout 3. Fallout 3 is a huge game, with a ton of sidequests and main quests and everything. It has a ton of weapons and enemies... but it only has about two or three different environments not including the DLC. It either has the DC Wasteland or the DC ruins. There are very few other kinds of environments other than Rivet City, and the underground and broken down subway tunnels. The environments have no variability, and that's not a good thing. Fallout: New Vegas on the other hand, has a ton of environments. It goes from New Vegas itself to wasteland, to mountains, to forests, all the way to small settlements and canyons. There are a variety of enemies in all these environments, many more than Fallout 3 supported, and the enemies in this game can be frustratingly hard, unlike Fallout 3, where no enemy really posed a threat past a certain point.

Fallout: New Vegas has the added threat of not really having a ton of ammo or healing packs (called stimpacks in the game) just lying around. It makes the game really hard when there are no easy ways to shoot guns or heal, and I found myself focusing more and more on unarmed or melee weapons as I forged on in the game, simply because of the scarcity of ammo. Fallout 3 had tons of ammo and stimpacks. I never had any problem with that at all. So, Fallout: New Vegas is a much more difficult game.

Now, I'm going to talk about characters. Fallout: New Vegas has some stunning and interesting characters. It really fleshes out companion characters and gives them their own quests and stories and such, whereas Fallout 3 had very little characterizations outside of Vault 101, where the main character came from. I had trouble becoming immersed in the game because the characters didn't feel real. They had no personality, no real emotions and it really took away from the game itself.

Then there's the plot. Fallout 3 had this plot about bringing clean water to the DC Wasteland. They needed clean water because most of the water was heavily irradiated. It was an interesting plot, but the sidequests really had nothing to do with the main plot. Honestly the entire game felt like two very different games. First there was a very serious main plot storyline, and then there were sidequests that were silly and kind of ridiculous. It was jarring. Fallout: New Vegas really fixed that issue by making most of the quests tie into the main plot, and it works really well. I actually liked the plot of Fallout: New Vegas which was simply to choose what to do with New Vegas, if it should be independent, under the leadership of who was in charge before the game started, under the leadership of the big "country" the NCR (New California Republic) to the west, or if it should be given over to Caesar's Legion (a large group of raiders styling themselves after Ancient Rome) from the east. It makes the game interesting because almost all of the sidequests deal with the main plot, and it really immerses the player into the game. It's pretty awesome is what I'm really saying.

I loved Fallout: New Vegas, but I do want to say another thing very quickly. The developer of this game is Obsidian Entertainment, by far my favorite video game developer. They also made Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (which happens to be my favorite video game OF ALL TIME), and Alpha Protocol (which I reviewed and also really liked). I have a hard time disliking Obsidian's video games... so, I might be a little biased here... I hope not. I really did enjoy the game. I had a lot of fun. It isn't necessarily a better game than Fallout 3, but I really do like it. It's nowhere near as long, but the tighter story is kind of nice compared to the behemoth of Fallout 3.

Anyway, if you have the time and a love of video games, go and check out Fallout: New Vegas. I doubt you'll be disappointed.

Post Script: One more thing: the game is pretty buggy right now. I mean, I ran into some very strange glitches all around. They'll probably be fixed soon, but until then, it really shouldn't be played with those glitches in the game.

1 comment:

  1. This does not have anything to do with Fallout, but your last post.

    If you do a King month, I'd be interested in what you have to say about 'Full Dark, No Stars', which I haven't read and may need the motivation to do so.

    Maybe as a complement to a Hitchcock month, I'd be curious about your reaction to anything by Claude Chabrol (the 'French Hitchcock'). I'd seek out Le Boucher and La Femme infidèle, but only if it strikes your fancy.