A lot of games are scheduled to come out as we take the forward plunge into the holiday season, but for some reason the one about the horrific, irradiated desert surrounding the ruins of the sleaziest city in the United States was the one that caught my interest the most. Fallout: New Vegas puts a bit of a western spin on the established franchise and gives us yet another look into how the rest of the country is surviving the apocalypse. Sure Washington DC has seen better days, and man California is a total wasteland, but seriously who cares about that? Did all the prostitutes survive? Oh god let Vegas be okay.
Instead of once again placing you in the shoes of the devious/golden wanderer from Vault 101 from Fallout 3, New Vegas gives you a new character to play with, complete with a new set of goals, aspirations and problems. This time around, you’ve been living in the wasteland for quite some time, earning some caps by working as a courier for the New Vegas freight system. It’s actually not that glamorous, and looks a bit more like a pony express without, you know, ponies, but hey, caps are hard to come by in the wasteland, so who are you to complain?
Within the first three minutes of the game’s start you’re handed a package containing a simple, platinum poker chip and sent out on your way to go make the drop. You’re promptly intercepted, robbed and then shot in the head by some guy in a checkered suit. Spoiler alert: You survive somehow.
So then it’s off you go into the wilderness outside of New Vegas to track down the douchebag who tried to kill you. Whether it’s out of a sense of duty, revenge or curiosity is really up to how you play the game.
But here’s where New Vegas hits its biggest snag. At the beginning of the game, when you finally get control of your wastelander, you’re automatically struck with one major fact: the game is identical to Fallout 3. Some of the skills and perks have been tweaked to give you a bit more variety (I’ll touch on that in a bit), but it’s the same old kill-and-loot system we’ve come to know and love from FO3 and Oblivion. But hey, I like the leveling system in Fallout so that’s not too big of an issue. But when you couple this along with a pretty cliché game beginning, the entire experience feels like an over glorified piece of downloadable content.
So, for a good few hours of the game you’re stuck in the same RPG format that most games have: enter town, solve their problems, continue. And for a while, the quests are a little on the uninspired side, interspersed with little moments where you have the possibility to kill or save large groups of people.
I kept plugging away at the game, however, exploring side locations as I could find them and getting mauled by deathclaws more often than not. Eventually, however, the game leads you into the neon strip of Vegas, and the game truly begins to… dammit, I refuse to say it shines. That’s like an Enosh level pun. The game starts to… be… awesome. I guess.
The first thing you’ll be hit by is a plethora of quests, utterly filling your pip boy quest log and giving you options on how to proceed. Couple this with how tense the political situation is in New Vegas, with two warring groups of soldiers on the verge battling it out at the Hoover Dam, and the infighting of blahbitty bloo blahbitty blah, and then… wait a moment… is that…?
Is that a super sweet CYBORG DOG?
THIS. This is the moment when the game changed from mediocre to amazing for me. It is an honest to god CYBERNETIC DOG and he WANTS TO BE MY BEST BUDDY FOREVER. Oh, the adventures you will have. The magic you will see. It is amazing, purely amazing times. I will not divulge information of where and when you will encounter this stalwart companion. It is up to you to create your own man/cyber dog legend. It’s you. You’re the star.
Okay, that’s enough of my crappy Microsoft Paint skills. Though this would be a good point to talk about some of the additions the tried and true Fallout system. First off is the companions system. If you played Fallout 3, and to be honest, if you didn’t you’re probably not getting Fallout: New Vegas, you probably ran across some companions and opted not to bring them with you because, y’know, they die awfully fast. This time around that’s not an issue. If a companion takes too much damage, they fall unconscious. They’ll stay that way until you’ve defeated each and every enemy in the area. Still, they might be able to take down a few fools before they topple, and they give you a unique perk if you bring them along, so it’s totally worth it to have some friends with you.
You can change your friends’ tactics, give them stimpacks, or simply talk to them. Some of them might even have specific quests for you to complete. It’s a harsh world out there, and it’s always better to face it with a pal, buddy, or sweet robot canine companion.
The second major tweak is in crafting recipes. There’s two kinds of work benches in the game, allowing you to either craft useful items, drugs and weapons, or to recycle your ammo or produce new kinds. That’s right! New ammo types! Are you fighting someone with some armor? Switch your ammo type and shred right through them. Ammo is easily selected by the D-pad eliminating the need to go through your pip boy menus. Also: You can now cook. Yeah!
Anyway, Fallout: New Vegas plays a lot like Fallout 3, but there’s nothing wrong with having a little more Fallout in our lives. While the game starts a little on the clichéd western side, where it ends is in a serious, multiple path branching epic journey through the city of booze, money and whores. America may have been nuked into oblivion, but the American dream? That lives on.
Filed under: Games Tagged: | courier, cyber dog, cybernetic dog, deathclaws, Fallout, Fallout New Vegas, ghouls, microsoft paint, nuke, pip boy, poker, post-apocalypse, prostitutes, radiation, rads, stimpacks, tophat, Vegas, whores