It is time yet again to venture out into the barren wastelands of what was once the United States, armed to the teeth and ready to make some explosions happen–or help out the common people, whatever tickles your fancy.
Obsidian Entertainment and Bethesda are kickin’ it old school in this newest installment to the Fallout franchise. Before there was Fallout 3, and the rise of popularity for post-apocalyptic gaming tinged with radioactivity and sepia tones, there was a set of games for the computer. These humble RPG’s known as Fallout and Fallout 2 made their start in the desert wastes of the West, most notably in the ruins of Los Angeles and outward (the spin-offs will not be named in this review). Fallout: New Vegas returns to the west, but this time, the unnamed wanderer of this game is having some fun in Sin City.
The formula from Fallout 3 was taken and revamped for New Vegas, down to the atmosphere. However, New Vegas isn’t a completely new game. Gamers who played Fallout 3 will feel very much at home when loading up the game, and unfortunately, the same glitches found in Fallout 3 can be found in New Vegas; lag might ensue, the game freezing or very weird A.I. behavior. Despite these nuances, New Vegas delivers another romp for the nuclear-minded.
S.P.E.C.I.A.L. has returned, but, the Perks set-up has been changed just slightly. You assign Perks double the level up, meaning every two levels you gain. As for Karma, New Vegas takes a new direction with this. Instead of being considered “good” or “bad” as a character, your standing with the various groups and gangs and clans in the game can differ from your interactions with them. All of these tweaks are nice breathers, since the leveling system was a little easier to cheat in Fallout 3, while New Vegas might make you work for your points.
The biggest re-do from the third installment, however, has got to be the companion option. I don’t know how many companions I went through before giving up altogether on it, and I’m sure a lot of other gamers went through the same scenario. Those Deathclaws come out of nowhere! This time around, the developers give you a lot more control in how long your companion can survive with the introduction of the “Companion Wheel,” which enables you to provide weapons, stimpaks and whatnot a lot easier.
In Fallout 3, attention to detail was freakishly good. Washington D.C. and the outlying areas of Maryland and Virginia were almost near identical to present day maps, even down to the metro lines in D.C. and that same careful precision was given to New Vegas, both as a game as a whole and the actual city New Vegas. The lights, the sounds, the people and the atmosphere of New Vegas is very much what I would imagine Sin City to be like after a huge nuclear war lays waste to most of America.
Then, there is the music. Both the music provided from the local radio station and the ambient background music if you should decide to shut off the bebop and big band jazz. Inon Zur returns to compose the original soundtrack, implementing “old West” with “apocalyptic Mojave Wasteland”. Give it a listen as a stand-alone piece for a bit to appreciate the awe that is Inon Zur.
Fallout: New Vegas deals with the same technical issues as its predecessor, Fallout 3. The game can have long loading times, screen freezes, lags and idiot-worthy A.I.–and as with Fallout 3, the bigger your saved game, the worse these difficulties can become. However, not everyone will experience the same result. Meaning, your game might not even glitch once while others might. It can be a grab-bag.
Regardless of these problems, Fallout: New Vegas is well worth the money and time put into it if you want another romp in the Fallout universe, instead of constantly replaying the third installment and it’s Downloadable Content. You will be entertained for hours and hours on end, what with the main storyline and the huge world to explore and the side quests.
Whether you are a XBox 360 or PlayStation 3 fan, get this game. And have a pleasant stay in New Vegas!
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