You know, I, as a Fallout 3 fan think I feel about Fallout: New Vegas something like fans of Twilight must have felt when that film adaption came out a few years back. At first you feel a bit euphoric and generally forgiving; happy since new life is being forcefully injected into a property you love. But then as time passes and cruel reality sets in you start to wonder ‘wait, wasn’t that actually pretty bad?’. In the case of New Vegas, it was good, not great. The Twilight movie was actually pretty bad, but then the original novel wasn’t actually that great to begin with so I think my comparison holds. In both cases though I think the honeymoon period has ended and it’s time the record was set straight on this disappointing release.
In the first few weeks I was willing to let New Vegas coast along in my good graces. Bugs aside, because, hell, if I were to pull the game on its game-breaking issues and generally poor performance it’d be a much longer rant. Most of that got patched out anyway so we can forget about those painful first couple of months for now. I’d name the third Fallout on any ‘top 10′ list I’d ever compile, along with Oblivion, both of which share the annoying tendency toward bugginess with this game but its an order of magnitude difference. Anyway I slogged through the game, initially buddying up with Mr. House, and when it was done left it alone for a while. As is customary with me, at least.
Now it’s January and I have no inclination to return to the post-apocalyptic Vegas strip. In fact I’d more readily return to the Capital Wasteland or even the Shivering Isles, and have done in the time since. The fact is those bugs have left a bad impression in the back of my mind. I can confidently fire up my M11x and HDMI out 720P at 60fps for those games, while I’m left with a lingering question mark over New Vegas. More importantly though I have no reason to go back. Replayability was a major draw in those other Bethesda RPGs – both in exploring everywhere there is to explore and doing everything there is to do but also in revisiting the main narrative to make other decisions and explore other trees of consequences. NV has no DLC released to date and despite what I might have said late last year, the story wasn’t even that great. It wasn’t compelling, no NPC (or faction for that matter) was very interesting and it seemed like at every turn the game was undermining my choices. Killed all those Caesar’s Legion Legates earlier? Taken Boone to town on their camps and generally pissed on them whenever possible? Who cares. Later in the game Caesar is willing to forgive you. Did anything I do in my playthrough actually matter?
While New Vegas was more than happy to stand on the shoulders of its extraordinary predecessor, it made very little effort to stand up straight. In fact, I can’t think of a single merit to attribute to this pseudo-sequel except that Fallout 3 was good, and this doesn’t deviate too far from that game’s formula. But as time passes that little achievement seems less and less worth defending. And as this happens the little inconsistencies in narrative, the minor texture bugs and overall lack of polish seem to carry more and more weight. Those factional problems are highlighted by the fact that NV was meant to introduce more thorough reputation systems. My ass they did.
Speaking of systems either raped or squandered, what happened to VATS? Did it suddenly get relegated to uselessness for a particular reason? Between the amount of points things cost and the loss of some very useful perks, I never used the damned thing. Which is a shame since headshotting raiders with a plasma rifle and getting all my AP back for chain plasma carnage was one of the most memorable things about Fallout 3.
I feel a tad guilty about saying all this seeing as New Vegas was developed by the geniuses behind Fallout and Fallout 2. It brought back the NCR and introduced the Legion, but were they meant to be so boring? Neither was a fitting substitute for the Brotherhood on the other side of the US. And did you guys think about weapons or balancing or anything like that? And, hell, did you Q&A the thing?
There’s that cinema parlance that sequels are never good. Wisdom is that game sequels should always be better than the originals. Technically speaking, it’s like a craft. And why shouldn’t you do something better the second time? Sure it’s hard to write a great followup story but Fallout is about open-ended, free flowing and non-linear narrative. It’s about a world and populating it with meaning and fun gameplay. And in that sense it’s like a craft too. However you slice it, Fallout: New Vegas was not better than Fallout 3 and despite the expectations heaped on it, does not even stand equal to its forebear.
As the malaise wears off, the stream of DLC trickles out, and the graphics age with time, people will likely remember Fallout: New Vegas for what it was; an expansion billed as a full game that coasted on the name and the success of the game before it. You know what it really feels like? One of those hackneyed farmed-out expansion packs from the 90’s like Hellfire for Diablo. They lack polish, are buggy and categorically inferior. But they fill a void until a true sequel comes out. Blizzard released Diablo II a year and a half after Hellfire and put that Siera-developed title to shame, relegating it to the anals of history where few whisper about it and no one counts it as canon. Let’s see how long it takes for Bethesda to take the reigns again and show how a sequel to the now-legendary Fallout 3 should be done. I think when that time comes, New Vegas will slink off into the background where it belongs.
Steam, that digital delivery system for games from Valve that I have this curious love / hate relationship with, rolled out a new feature overnight – recommendations. Now you, and the rest of the defenceless internet, are set to be subjected to my unadulterated thoughts on games new & old and potentially in such a barrage that you’d think I was on Valve’s payroll. And hey, wouldn’t that be nice?
What I like about this system is that there is a character limit of about a 1000, which demands brevity. It also allows me to be shit lazy and not bother writing real reviews. If you’re a glutton for more punishment visit My Recommendations Page. I’ve decided to start off with two new games Steam prompted me with
Black Ops is an odd beast in that it takes steps forward and steps back from last year’s Call of Duty: Modern Warefare 2, all with the haughty confidence of a title guaranteed to ship 5 million or more without much effort. However when you have half the internet playing something online how can you pass it up?
The campaign still provides a high you just don’t get from other shooters. The story is ambitiously different, but I’m still deciding whether that difference paid off in the end. Technology wise, the game used 2008’s CoD: World at War as a codebase instead of the more recent MW2. Odd choice. It looks good, but not great.
Multiplayer is a winner for one reason: Dedicated Servers. 20-50ms pings instead of 60, 70, 80 upto 200 or so in MW2? Hell yes. So far weapons aren’t memorable like those in WaW and MW2, but we’re still in early days.
Sad that I have to mention this but hardware performance on PC is not fantastic. In fact it was practically unplayable at launch. Black Ops is too CPU intensive and if you’re not packing a Core i5 or i7, expect 2-5 second stutters, and a generally frustrating experience ahead.
Not as good as Fallout 3. That out of the way, buy this game. Fallout: New Vegas is probably the world’s most bloated expansion pack – most every asset here is recycled from its predecessor. Not to say it doesn’t excel in any areas- gunplay, writing and party interaction are all done better here. At the same time VATS, Special and general balancing are done worse.
If it weren’t for all the bugs in the game this would be easier to recommend as a follow up to 2008’s masterpiece. As it stands the game is a lot of fun, but a lot of patching is in order.
Of course if you haven’t played FO3 yet, get the GOTY of that before you try New Vegas. More content, less bugs… is there really much of a choice to make?
Obsidian Entertainment is well known for making the sequels to high profile RPGs. However unlike Neverwinter Nights 2 or Knights of the Old Republic 2, Fallout: New Vegas is not the sequel to somebody else’s game. Obsidian started the Fallout series, back when they worked at Black Isle Studios, so this is essentially a dev retaking the reigns of the franchise they created. Question is; how did they do?
Fallout: New Vegas is simultaneously one of the best RPGs I’ve ever played while also being one of the buggiest and worst presented products I’ve ever had the misfortune of experiencing. This is the dichotomy presented in most reviews; the game does not disappoint the lofty expectations of Fallout 3 fans and is in many ways better than that game, but also brings along for the ride Gamebryo Engine bugginess many times worse than what we saw in FO3 or even Oblivion.
So it’s ultimately a mixed bag. On the one hand I love this game to bits, but find it hard to recommend due to the sheer disregard for the player with which it has been released. Did anyone test this mess? Is there a QA department at Bethesda Softworks at all? No doubt this will be polished to a fine sheen many patches and DLC packs down the track, but even then why should anyone buy it now if they can get a more complete and more stable version in the inevitable GOTY edition a year or so from now?
Me? I caved and bought it. Obviously.
But if you suspend your disbelief and ignore the game’s technical shortcomings, New Vegas is still full of stand-out moments. Discovering the Brotherhood Of Steel’s underground hideout and getting embroiled in the sinister political inner-workings of their organisation is a quest on a par with Fallout 3’s best, with dozens of potential outcomes. – T3
Like Obsidian’s other big-name sequel – KOTOR 2 – Fallout: New Vegas is a divisive game. So much remains of what made Fallout 3 special, from the ridiculous cast to the joy of exploration, that there will be many willing to overlook all the bugs and glitches in favour of the weight of content that lies beneath. Those who were hoping for more than a mission pack to a 2008 game built on a busted 2006 engine, however, may find new Vegas to be quite literally a wasteland. – Kotaku
It doesn’t look as good as Fallout 3 did, and perhaps that’s down to internal support at Bethesda knowing the engine better than their outsourced pals, but it shows, and doesn’t help when Obsidian are known for lacking in the polish department. I was lucky enough to avoid any full crashes (though my house-mates have suffered these), but dodgy texture load-ins, massive frame-rate drops, out of sync voice work and alarmingly close pop-up have actually marred the experience for me. It is a detriment when you invest so much into the world, lore and characters and I’m hoping some serious patch work is released as soon as possible. – Ausgamers
If New Vegas were being reviewed as a piece of software, as a technical product, the judgement would be absolutely appalling. These are games, however, and deserve to be reviewed for the experiences they provide. The experience of New Vegas is sublime and so incredibly big that the ratio between getting annoyed by freezes and getting excited by the game’s wonderfully engaging world firmly favors a positive outlook. Very few games could be good enough to make up for serious technical errors. In fact, I could count them on one hand. – Destructoid
Fallout: New Vegas is still a fantastic game, only slightly held back by its increasingly outdated tech. Obsidian has created a totally compelling world and its frustrations pale into insignificance compared to the immersive, obsessive experience on offer. Just like the scorched scenery that provides its epic backdrop, New Vegas is huge and sprawling, sometimes gaudy, even downright ugly at times – but always effortlessly, shamelessly entertaining. – Eurogamer