Fallout: New Vegas
Obsidian Entertainment take Fallout for a spin in Sin City. Read our verdict...
As the saying goes, “It’s the little things that count” and Fallout: New Vegas has certainly taken this to heart.
- Nice and familiar gameplay mechanics, immersive side quests, stellar voice acting, it's Fallout!
- Character models are a bit ropy, Hardcore Mode can get tedious, story lacks the 'oomph' and urgency of Fallout 3
Fallout: New Vegas is another slice of the same radioactive pie -- which is exactly what fans ordered. If you loved Fallout 3, you will not be disappointed by this familar expansion.
The newest progeny of the Fallout series is a standalone expansion to the critically acclaimed Fallout 3; although this time around the developer duties have changed hands.
Obsidian Entertainment, which cut its teeth on the first two Fallout games, has taken over the reigns from Bethesda Softworks. So how could Obsidian build on the success of Fallout 3? Simple. Don’t tamper with the formula.
Set in the Mojave Wasteland (West Coast pride…), you play a courier who has survived a murder attempt. You are revived by Doc Mitchell, a resident of the Plain Jane town of Goodsprings. A mysterious package you were ordered to deliver has been stolen, which sets you on a quest to find your attackers as well and the truth behind the nicked swag.
To put things in perspective, Fallout 3 was set four years earlier in the East Coast’s Capital Wasteland around Washington DC. Having escaped the worst of the infamous Nuclear War, New Vegas is less desolate than Washington DC – but you’ll have to venture to the major towns to see some buildings that are still standing.
If you have watched the trailers for New Vegas, you may be expecting Wild West shootouts and decadent Sin City themes – but they are less pervasive in the actual game. Perhaps it's because I'm not well-versed in the Western genre but for the most part, you are visiting small towns that look like they were pulled straight out of Fallout 3, with no discernible allusions to either cowboy or casino culture (other than the odd “howdie” or random roulette table).
(Author's Note: A GamePro staffer is now committed to making me sit through The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...)
It is only when you hit the big city that you get the real Las Vegas feel.
The anachronistic Caesar’s Legions, The Great Khans and The New California Republic (NCR) are the main factions you will come across on your endeavours. As for Fallout 3 factions, The Brotherhood of Steel is still around in a very small capacity, while the Enclave is virtually non-existent.
As a standalone expansion, the style and base gameplay system remains the same, save for a few tweaks and nice little additions here and there. Obsidian, perhaps unwilling to ruffle too many fanboy feathers, has not strayed too far off the beaten path.
Players of Fallout 3 will feel right at home as soon as they turn on New Vegas. The Pipboy 3000, which functions as a personal organiser for items, quests and so on, has remained relatively the same save for a few superficial changes. The glorious V.A.T.S. system is intact and so are the gratuitously gory slow-motion death sequences. Melee weapons are now equipped with a special attack in this mode.
The addition of an ironsight is a present to FPS lovers, but if you are really looking for a robust shooter experience, you should turn elsewhere. With ammo rather limited in the game, you will find yourself beating your head against the wall for pumping 10 bullets into a Powder Gangster when you could have killed him with a double tap to the head using V.A.T.S. (It’s not just me. Other Fallout fans also share this sentiment.) The bottom-line is: V.A.T.S. equals ammo conservation equals survival. Or to put it another way; if you aren’t abusing the V.A.T.S. system, you might as well go off and play Halo: Reach.
You can mod weapons and customise ammo to your heart's content, but I made do with what I was given for the most part. That said, mods like the silencing scope and armour piercing rounds do make life a lot easier in the long run.
One of biggest additions to New Vegas is Hardcore Mode. Not for the faint-hearted, this mode takes away everything you take for granted when surviving in normal gameplay. Just like in real-life, your character needs to eat, drink and sleep to live (old school RPG players should be familiar with this scenario). This doesn't sound too bad, until you realise how tedious it becomes. In addition, Skimpaks does not provide instant healing and ammo will weigh your bag down. Personally, I think this takes the realism angle a bit too far – particularly for a game that includes fish men who shoot sonic death beams out of their mouths.
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