June 09, 2014

Let's Talk About Fallout: New Vegas

When Black Isle shuttled off this mortal coil, some of the members, including series creator Joshua Sawyer, created a new studio dubbed Obsidian. Their history record is a bit...spotty *cough* Alpha Protocol *cough*, but when Bethesda had them make a Fallout spinoff game, it was like a reunion long overdue. Fallout: New Vegas is, in my mind, the true sequel to the original games.

It takes place in the same area many years after the second game, and not only are the old factions back, they actually act like they are meant to act, with the Brotherhood of Steel reduced once more to a small isolationist unit of stubborn jerks, and the Followers make their triumphant return (I do love The Followers, favorite faction.). Fallout: New Vegas also improved heavily on Fallout 3's design, incorporating iron sights, restructuring the leveling system, and finally reintroducing proper Faction and Reputation systems. In my mind, New Vegas is the glorious and long overdue wedding of the old games and the new ones. The strengths of both, the weaknesses of neither. So yeah, in case I hadn't already made it super clear, this is my favorite Fallout game to date. I could fill about 10 pages with just love and praise for this game, but instead I'll just settle for going over what makes this game such a vast improvement over the third one. I'm doing this because I hear all too often that people debate over which is better, when New Vegas is so obviously superior I cannot even believe people would do such a thing.

Not a very pretty union, but still...
Fallout: New Vegas takes place in the Mojave Wasteland, where you play a common delivery man swept up in a climactic battle that will determine the entire region's fate. The Courier, as you are called in this one, has been mugged and buried alive. With the bullet effectively scrambling your brains, you are left with only one viable option: Epic Revenge Quest! So naturally you trek all the way across the world, eventually making your way to the eponymous New Vegas, all in name of getting back at the jerk who shot you in the face. Of course, when you DO finally deal with him, the game really opens up, now giving you no less than 4 different paths to walk to the endgame. It's almost silly, but the Old Western motif it evokes mixed into Fallout's world makes it deeply engrossing, especially with all the fun along the way. See, unlike FO3, we have many towns and settlements, meaning alot more people to talk to, and alot more quests to burn away life with.

I'd like to personally thank the man who wrote No-bark. Thank you.
The game also boasts a ridiculously huge arsenal of weapons, and big improvements to combat (I already mentioned the game's inclusion of Iron Sights.), not the least of which is the massive improvement to the Melee and Unarmed skills. . Now you can perform special moves after getting proficient enough in them, as well as learn special fighting techniques, and that's not even touching up on the new weapon modifications. Now combat is wildly diverse and you'll often have a hard time picking what weapons to carry with you on your journeys into the wastes, which usually entail finding even more weapons.

You can even get the Mysterious Stranger's Revolver if you know where to look.
Playing your way was always a sticking point in Fallout, and never has it been more true in New Vegas. I have played through this game about 10 times and would gladly do it again in a heartbeat, because there is always a new way to play through. Perhaps someday I will attempt the Pacifist run...Meh. No bullshit tutorial, no unavoidable battles, just pick up, make your character, and let loose. The best improvement in this aspect is Companions. Companions have always been an integral part of Fallout, but a big problem FO3 had was that A) Companions often had no backstory to learn about, and therefore felt impersonal, and B) Fawkes was OP as shit. Seriously, why would you ever use anyone else but Fawkes? Dude's got like a million health and a Gatling Laser! Companions this time around take a step in the right direction; Literally every one of them, even the dog, has a backstory that you can explore, and even a special personal quest that will unlock some special perk for them.

The Legion are still basically assholes, though.
Factions are not only properly set up, they are an integral part of the game. See, this time around you get to choose who wins. It's not the usual lone man vs evil empire setup, this time it's you, the all powerful and godlike mailman who gets to choose who wins everything. All the Factions that could win are properly presented, given pros and cons, and offer multiple playthroughs just to see how things end up when each wins. Of course, you could be a total dick and take it all for yourself, but it's nice to see that there's actual moral choice in this game, and not the usual Messiah/Monster setup. There's also alot of minor Factions, and one of the cooler things is becoming beloved by one will make another that's their enemy despise you, and the Faction that loves you will reward you with gear, while the Faction that hates you will try very hard to murder your ass. One more thing to mention is Hardcore mode, a special option that adds the need to regularly eat, sleep, and drink to live, as well as make resting in a bed or pausing to take stimpaks midfight no longer viable. It adds a layer of depth and challenge to the game, and I can't play the game regularly anymore since now it's too easy.
It's like Mass Effect! They even got a blue chick!
I suppose I'm done gushing now. Just get New Vegas if you haven't and play it. It's really freaking great, and I love it to pieces. I love it so much, and I haven't even scraped the surface of all the content that's offered within. But here we are, I've done all the Fallout games currently released. What's next? DLC's! Yep, next time on Let's Talk About, I explore the downloadable adventures of both 3 and NV. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading.

More Let's Talk about:

Fallout 1, 2 Tactics, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4