Saturday, 23 July 2011
REVIEW: Fallout New Vegas
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Release Date: 19th August 2010
Platform: Xbox 360
IGN's '#1 Most Anticipated Game of 2010' and also the winner of IGN's 'Best of E3 2010' it's not hard to see that Fallout: New Vegas had a lot of hype built up around it from the get go and it's predecessor Fallout 3 was such a prestigious game with such a hardcore following that New Vegas was apparently only going to be bound for greatness. Or so one would think.
I got this game off a reduced shelf from my father for Christmas one year after he was duped into buying the game by the front cover which does make New Vegas look like an FPS my army nut Dad craves. However, he lost interest when I finally started playing. He's not a massive RPG fan but I myself count myself as a massive RPG/ JRPG gamer. So, Fallout looked right up my street.
From the opening sequence I was quite excited with a visual of the Neon lit Vegas strip set inside a Post-Apocalyptic Mojave Desert; with that as well as the action packed sequence that followed which resulted in a rather surprise result in terms of starting a game. I was ready, eager and hungry to start playing the game. Then I actually started playing. The thing is with RPGs is that they can in fact be a long drawn out process and especially with the level of customisation available in both Fallout games; I could tell that for someone as impatient as me, me and this game were about to have a long and complicated relationship. Not much unlike the game itself really.
Starting the game, I found was painstaking and thanks to being a complete and utter newbie to the world of Fallout (for even though I recognised Fallout 3 I had never played it) an unforgiving process. That was my fault however; I knew that. I mean, who would decide to make a Melee fighter character in a world filled with not just normal guns but lasers and plasma weapons too? I did and I paid the price. As well as the choices at the beginning of the game resulting to me making such a moronic character; I also due to growing impatience with the long process of starting the game skipped over most the tutorials and actually did not learn how to do... anything. Hacking and lock-picking were now so out my reach when they were actually monumentally important parts of the game.
This flow of consequences through my total disregard of care continued as it started all through out the game to the point where as one of my friends put it quite mildly: "Everyone hated me". I was unable to finish quests due to people dying whom I failed to defends, I had to serious correct my own STAT unbalance as I continually failed to survive the harsh and chaotic conditions of the Mojave Wasteland. Yet, once I did get over these exceptionally large hurdles of correcting myself and learning what I should have learnt at the beginning of the game: I actually began to enjoy myself.
The Fallout system is indeed great. I liked the visual aspects and the exploration element of the game to the point where it actually felt like I, myself, was wondering the desert (most of the time lost for another skill I forgot to learn was how to use my compass) if I stayed in first person view mode enough. I also like the fact I could change from first to third person view modes at a whim; which is pretty cool if you want to be vein or get a better view of just how big the game is compared to your tiny, tiny character. Not only are these engines great but the massive amount of customisation within the Wasteland is also very impressive; in true RPG style you could take your character in any direction you dared choose (but choose wrong and suffer the consequences), have any sort of perks that support your characters style and also align yourselves with any faction that you thought best reflected your interests. As a talkative character I rather enjoyed manipulating people to give me stuff or into doing my dirty work so if I could give you any piece of advice on this game: DEVELOP YOUR SPEECH SKILL IT WILL BE VERY SATISFYING!
So game play wise once you get your head around it, New Vegas is a pretty nice game great feel to it and the storyline also has this. It is a nice tale about lessons learnt, betrayal and vengeance but also if you wish retribution and morality as well as nice feeling as you can abandon the main quest line to do what seems to be an unlimited number of side quests to earn more experience and also learn a lot more about the Fallout universe. One of my favourite things about the storyline is the unlimited potential to throw it down any path you choose as well as gaining companions whom can aid you on your quest and who can be very useful. Yet, nothing compares to my favourite experience in Fallout which is indeed the V.A.T.S system.
The V.A,T.S or Valut-Tec Assisted Targeting System is a handy tool which allows you to stop time and aim at certain points on any enemy in range; not just displaying health, body part health and the enemies themselves but also the probability of hitting said opponent. Th higher the percentage, the more the damage and less chance of a miss. With this system after targeting what you wish you will enter a slow motion cinematic experience which is quite satisfying in itself especially when in slow motion you can follow the travel of your bullet through the air, on impact and on exit from the poor drug frenzied crazy person's head. Nothing like maiming, crippling, disarming or decapitating a person in slow-mo is there?
Even though me and Fallout had a complex relationship it is a pretty good game and with so many alternative endings I am in need of replaying through the story, making different decisions and this time paying attention. What the game also offers in terms of DLC is actually quite astonishing, so I can't knock it. All I can say is that Fallout: New Vegas is a solid game way above average in ways but the reason for my rating is that: one, I am poor so will not be able to obtain the masses of downloadable content for it and two, the fact that my stupidity led to me not enjying the game as much. Upon replaying the game though with a sense of purpose, direction and of what I'm doing; this second character is already a huge success. The only problem I face now is whether to play the game on the infamous HARDCORE MODE; which requires me to eat, drink and sleep as well as everything else I have to do during my adventure. So, whether or not I do that I'll let you know! But I will continue to play New Vegas until I have completed all four endings.
Also, if Fallout: New Vegas does get your taste buds tingling I'd also recommend Fallout 3 and another Bethesda game called Oblivin which is the same sort of idea but more fantasy then sci-fi based. I'm really enjoying Oblivion at the moment and as Oblivion came first you can observe trends from Oblivion to New Vegas which is quite refreshing and shows that Bethesda pay attention to what works and keep developing it to make it better.