I recently bought Fallout: New Vegas for PC and played as a female character, who, as it turned out, was quite adept at melee combat. I played for ~130 hours, exploring over 60% of “New” Vegas, and finished at the level cap of 30. I used a rusted version of the venerable Super Sledge called “Oh Baby!” for for much of the campaign and, with few exceptions, my traveling NPC companions included Boone (a sniper with a chip on his shoulder) and Ed-E (a flying robot with a keen appreciation for LASER technology). Here are my quick thoughts on the game overall.
After the bombs – I’m a sucker for any game, movie, etc. that takes place in a post-apocalyptic dystopian world. While there is plenty to do and see and plenty of characters to interact with, Fallout: New Vegas retains that feeling of loneliness you’d expect in a world gone radioactive.
Don’t get lost – Wide expanses? Um… yeah. One of my favorite aspects of the game is just how open it is. This game, even more so than it’s predecessor Fallout 3, has so many places to visit. It absolutely demands you explore it – all of it.
Now where was I? – If you pursued only the main quest line this would be a ~30 hour game and you’d miss 75% of it. That’s a bit like going to Disney World and only riding the Monorail. Boring. One of the more satisfying aspects of the game is the sheer number of side quests this game offers. You can’t sling a dead mutant Gecko without running into some faction that has a problem only you can solve.
Have I met you before? – If you do a lot of exploring in this game you’ll soon find that places start to look mighty familiar. I guess with a game this size it should be expected that Obsidian would reused game assets occasionally. But many were used a lot – caverns, caves and vaults come to mind. Also, some of the outdoor areas looked so much like Fallout 3 you’d swear that any moment you would crest a hill and gaze upon the Pentagon.
God mode – Bethesda took a quite a bit of heat when Oblivion players found that the creature levels scaled with their character’s level. Gone was that feeling that you were the biggest bad ass in the land when you got to higher levels. In Fallout: New Vegas however, that is not the case. In fact, the balance seems to have tilted decidedly the other way. At around level 17, for example, there wasn’t anything, save for the Deathclaws, that I couldn’t absolutely destroy. It became very unchallenging.
But wait, there’s (not) more – One of the things I enjoyed most about Oblivion, Bethesda’s other open world RPG franchise, was the ability to continue to play even after the main quest line was concluded. I probably spent another 75 hours in the game exploring all of the nooks and crannies I missed. Be forewarned that is not the case in Fallout: New Vegas. Once you settle the ending one way or the other, the credits will role and you are booted unceremoniously back to the launcher. Fortunately, the game does provide a warning… sort of… towards the latter stages of the game. Problem is, that warning is anything but intuitive – it’s deceptively subtle, nothing truly indicating that *this* is the point of no return.
Stop bugging me – Seeing NPCs walking like zombies through bar counters or creatures floating in air is nothing new to those of us that have played Oblivion, Fallout 3 or any other game that uses Bethesda’s infamous Gamebryo engine. However Fallout: New Vegas brings buggyness to a whole new level, plaguing an otherwise stellar game. PC gamers especially are used to dealing with a certain amount of “issues” – a price we play for a superior gaming experience. But Fallout: New Vegas seemed to excel at frequent stuttering, slow downs, and freezing, and those were the not-so-bad glitches. There were quests in this game that I absolutely could not complete because the game would crash to the desktop at the same point every time. Several times I actually wondered if I should give up on it entirely.
I love you man – If you’re going to play as a melee character, and let’s face it, who doesn’t enjoy swinging a big-ass maul made out of rebar and cement, or a sword made from a guard rail, then I strongly endorse Boone and Ed-E as your traveling companions. Boone’s awesome sniper abilities will compliment you well, and Ed-E will hover near you until blaring his battle anthem and blasting any enemies with his LASER.
Magellen – If you only pursue the main story line you’re really doing yourself a bad. As soon as you leave Doc Mitchell’s house, solve Goodsprings’ problems then hit the road.