Saturday, October 15, 2011
Video Game Assessment: Fallout New Vegas (2010): A Retrospect
Well, it hasn't declined. This game, Fallout: New Vegas, developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Bethesda Softworks, is easily one of the best games I have ever played. I have such a hard time saying anything terrible about it because there really is nothing terrible about it. It is a ridiculously good game for what it is, and to me, is probably one of the best video games of all time. Oh, jeez, I'm praising this game so much...
I know the comparisons will be made to Fallout 3, and yeah those comparisons exist. Both games have the same game engine. Both games have similar kinds of characters and environments, and both games feature staples of the Fallout universe. But only this game feels right. Now, I liked Fallout 3. I liked it a lot even, but it didn't have a heart and soul to it. It felt like a world half-empty, which, yes, I understand, it's the nuclear apocalypse, but it is full of people. They're all over the place. What I mean is that the characters and situations aren't really fleshed out while it was obviously attempted for them to be.
Fallout: New Vegas, on the other hand, does the fleshing out superbly, mostly thanks to Obsidian, who are my favorite game developer out there. I love those guys. Amazing writing, characters, plots, settings, and everything else. Read my other review if you want me to praise this game even more, but... well, this review is going to be focused on the other aspects of the game, namely the DLC.
Fallout: New Vegas can be absolutely terrifying. Deathclaws (exactly what they sound like, huge skulking yellow things with gigantic claws) and cazadors (mutated spider-wasps) are the main absolutely terrifying enemies around, but I've also heard that Night-Stalkers (a cross between wolves and snakes, I believe) are terrifying too. So, yes, weird creatures are scary, but the stories themselves can be scary too.
Dead Money was the first DLC released, and, to me, it was the best. It is basically survival horror at its finest, and terrifies the player to no end. There is a ton of suspense, a wonderfully deep story as to why it's so terrifying, and a bunch of terrifying thoughts that enter your mind while playing it. The creatures inside the Haz-Mat suits for instance, the Ghost People. They just do not belong on this earth, seeming more like some awful urban legend than anything that could ever exist. The bell tower scene in the game will stick with me for a long time as one of the most terrifying times I've ever had video-gaming, and the Sierra Madre Hotel and Casino getting overwhelmed by Ghost People is one of the scariest and suspenseful things I've seen in a video game in a long time. I loved it, is what I'm saying. The characters are fantastic, from a DID Night Kin named either Dog or God (with personalities to fit those names as well) to a Brotherhood of Steel woman who had a lobotomy performed on her. It's fantastic from beginning to end and needs to be played to be believed.
The next DLC was Honest Hearts, which takes place in the beautiful Zion National Park with three different tribes of natives fighting for control of the park itself. The horror here comes from the creatures within the park, and also from the idea of what Caesar's Legion really does and represents. It does not endear me to them. The DLC is not as good as Dead Money, but Joshua Graham, the Burned Man, the fallen legate from Caesar's Legion, makes this extra, a game not to miss.
Then came out Old World Blues, which is basically an old science fiction movie. It has robots, a ton of big and boisterous hyperbolic and hammy acting, and some of the hardest enemies to defeat in any of the game. the robo-scorpions are just... they are insane... and the lobotomites are not much better in terms of being terrified when they are around. This DLC ties in really well to Dead Money and has some of the same kinds of horror elements to it, but rather than being survival horror, it tends to be more science fiction 1950s kind of horror, which I tend to love for its absolutely lack of being scary at all.
The last, and easily the most serious, DLC is Lonesome Road, which combines the horror of creatures with the horror of the unknown exploration and the nuclear bombs themselves. It shows what happens when a civilization crumbles and when nothing is left. It is perhaps the most lasting type of horror within the game, the realistic horror of what could happen rather than the game horror of what already fictional has. Neither this DLC nor Old World Blues quite has the amazing punch that the first two DLCs had, but I liked them all the same.
All of the DLCs added a ton to the regular game of Fallout: New Vegas making the game feel much more like a completed product. It still holds as one of the best games I've ever played and has the horror within it to easily become a review on these... October Nights. (Hey, I needed a game that had horror in it, I wanted to review this game again with the DLCs, and, frankly, it was terrifying at points.)