Review | Fallout: New Vegas
Format: Xbox 360/ PS3/ PC | Genre: RPG | Publisher: Bethesda | Developer: Obsidian Entertainment | Release Date: 22/10/10 | RRP: £49.99
War never changes, which is handy for Greg Giddens because he really enjoys his wars and the wasteland of FALLOUT NEW VEGAS is the perfect battleground.
TWO YEARS after Bethesda revive and reinvigorate the series with Fallout 3, Obsidian now take the reins with Fallout New Vegas, bringing along some of the development team from the original titles for the ride. What the new team bring to the table is a stronger focus on the RPG mechanics and the game thrives on them. This could well prove to be another game of the year entry for the Fallout series.
Role playing genius
Your journey through Fallout New Vegas is one of revenge and curiosity that is heavily dependent on your participation. It’s role playing at its best, with vast side mission all contributing in some way to the big picture, your actions having long lasting effects throughout the Mojave wasteland. The New California Republic and Caesar’s Legion vie for control of the region, in particular Hoover Dam which is still operational and provides precious electricity. The new setting of the Mojave Desert – or old setting if you played the original titles – is a dangerous place. In addition to the two main factions, a couple of smaller ones are set on carving out their own little corner of civilisation – or as close to civilisation as they understand – and with you shot in the head and mugged for a mysterious item you were tasked with delivering to the city of New Vegas, It’s now down to you to choose your path in this treacherous region and hunt down those responsible for the headache.
There really is a sense of choice out there in the wasteland. Choosing to fight back in certain situations and forging relationships with factions and settlements through actions truly dictates the way the world sees you, and presents the same risk/reward feedback of real life decisions. The reputation gained through these actions becomes your driving force for the story, ultimately aligning you with your chosen friends and enemies. It’s a great system that encourages multiple playthroughs to see everything on offer. It also makes the journey more personal and this is reflected in the dialogue options as well.
Talk the talk
Conversations are vastly improved over Fallout 3 and cover a much more diverse spectrum. Voice work is also excellent and seemingly includes far more actors than its sister-game. You’re provided with multiple opportunities to show off your oratory skills and – If your stats are high enough – this allows you to pull off feats like avoiding combat or fooling factions into thinking you’re with them. It makes for more interesting conversation trees and a more tangible set of characters that deliver the trademark Fallout subtle humour on all the right notes. Additionally this new focus on the charisma and speech skills makes them far more balanced against the favoured combat ones. In fact there’s a great balance with skills throughout. No matter what kind of character you want to build you can do so without compromising the difficulty. It really is all about choice and you’re free to explore it to your heart’s content.
As with Fallout 3, exploration is a rewarding experience, and not just in stat distribution. The Mojave Desert is full of scattered abandoned and hostile occupied buildings, military camps, and villages. However, in contrast to Fallout 3’s several large settlements, New Vegas has much smaller communities and it’s a fitting difference. It feels more like a wasteland, and with Vegas in the centre it makes sense that the majority would be living near or within this remnant of civilisation. Like with the conversations, these details form a more tangible world, and it all helps to pull you in.
New Vegas itself is an interesting place. The mysterious Mr. House runs things and has helped to revive and maintain many of the virtues the city once had, so bright lights, flowing alcohol, prostitution and gambling is rife. It’s a very unique city for the Fallout experience and absolutely worth the time and effort to visit.
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