“Always bet on black” – Wesley Snipes, Passenger 57
With the words of the tax dodging thespian never more pertinent and the adventures ahead of me in New Vegas there could be no other option – SDG_LM was all in.
Fallout New Vegas immediately strikes out to differentiate itself from Fallout 3 by starting you in what appears to be the exact opposite of how three started. Getting robbed, shot in the head and then buried in a shallow grave is never the nicest start to your adventures but luckily you survived and now you’re out for revenge. Which in the Mojave Desert will be served hot, sweaty and with sand in your shoes.
You start off in the backwater town of Goodsprings and after an especially contrived character creation sequence you emerge squinting into the Mojave Desert wasteland. This lacks the punch of the previous fallout games escape from the vault and Oblivion’s outdoor emergence but then we’ve been in this world before and wasteland, like war, never changes.
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The More Things Stay The Same
Goodsprings sets the Wild West tone of the game but once out in the Wasteland you’ll soon settle into the usual Fallout3/Oblivion wanderings. The main quest to find your would-be killer leads you on a tour around the Mojave and the varied side quests along the way provide the real meat to the desolate bones of civilization. From helping a cult of Ghouls to deciding the fate of some particularly unfortunate vault dwellers the side quests can provide both comic relief and sometime genuinely tough decisions.
The main quest is an improvement on the first game and there isn’t a ball-achingly absurd conclusion to spoil things. The New Vegas setting also allows Obsidian to jazz things up a bit with The Strip, here you’ll find casinos to waste away all your profits and also see another side to wasteland living.
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You Want to be in My Gang
New Vegas does have a few new cards up it’s sleeve and the introduction of factions is a welcome one. Most actions you take on quests will affect one group in one way or another and now that will dictate how that group responds to you in the Mojave. Quests difficulty can be completely altered by how lovely a faction thinks you are and some quest will have multiple conclusions where the easiest path may be to avoid your enemies even if it doesn’t provide the resolution you would like. While these factions do add to the game, the ability to don a disguise to infiltrate enemy camps or wander unobstructed through the wasteland is a bonus however on several occasions these disguises wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference so you quickly resort to shooting first whenever possible.
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Unfortunately you can’t talk about New Vegas without mentioning the myriad of bugs that the release version contained. By now we’ve all seen the numerous videos of invisible computers and bulging eyes but patches have been released and the game was very stable when I played it, only once did I have a game breaking issue that had me reloading a previous save game.
While it easy to overlook these issues when not affected by them, this is a major worry that more and more developers are releasing games that are effectively broken and is sure to cost the company sales in future releases.
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Luckily the PC is a few levels above the consoles and includes 2 perks that the console versions don’t have and that is the MOD tools and the community. Already there are numerous MODS and fixes released by the superb community that both improve performance and de-consilificationallyfy the user interface. A list of the best of these can be found over at PC Gamer.
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The End is Nigh
New Vegas hasn’t been billed as Fallout 4, however the team at Obsidian have taken us back for more adventures in the wasteland and bugs aside have done a very good job. The dark humour of previous Fallout games is preserved and Obsidian have been able to use their knack to spin a tale to create a game that while retreading a lot of the same ground is better than its predecessor which means it’s very good.
9 out of 10