“Fallout: New Vegas” is the latest iteration of the increasingly-popular role-playing franchise set in a devastated, post-apocalyptic America. Infamous for an open-world environment with seemingly inexhaustible range (players have been known to spend over 200 hours exploring everything), the series gives the player the part of some malleable person with an appropriately vague background.
This gives the player the all-important agency to sculpt whatever story for their character that they please. There are many, many more chances to use your conversational skills to solve problems between the various characters in the game rather than merely shooting them in the face—a valuable aspect of the genre. At more than one point I was able to neutralize a volatile situation with my speech or barter skill.
A much-lauded feature to the new game is the Hardcore mode, which requires the player to act on survival instincts like hunger, thirst and the need to sleep now and then. Making these a necessary part of the gaming experience—among the other tweaks added for greater sense of realism—allows surviving the post-apocalypse to be a much more enjoyable affair.
“New Vegas” comes from developer Obsidian, a studio well known for its top-notch writing. New Vegas, and the area around it, is crafted with considerable care and precision. The events in one location, at one time, can have effects in places you would not really expect. This kind of interwoven interaction creates a much more convincing world, wherein you never really know how far-reaching the consequences of your actions might be. Shot a man who badgered you earlier? Oh dear, it turns out that he was an important man to this other group of people, and now they’re rather upset at you.
And, as mentioned before, there’s a lot of everything. From the fancy lights and vices of the Strip to the run-down towns and settlements run by tribes in the wastes, there are more than plenty of things to see. Between the zombies, giant mutants, finky men who claim to not be finks and two-headed cows and other, there’s a great pile of interesting characters here as well.
Obsidian is also notorious for releasing games that are only close to done, but get rushed out the door by the publishers or just aren’t tested with anything remotely near to thoroughness. Prior to the release of the game, there was stipulation that the game would be a bit buggy.
New Vegas proved these stipulations completely right. There are bugs ranging from humorous glitches to the horribly frustrating. Bugs that destroy your saved files. Bugs that lock the game up at loading screens. One of the more ghastly incidents that I’ve seen in videos online caused the heads of every character in the game to twist around erratically, their bodies locked in a sitting position even while wandering around, fighting, or doing various other tasks.
Despite its flaws, New Vegas is an good game. The post-apocalyptic setting is usually interesting. And it improves the writing, combat and overall game mechanics of “Fallout 3.” If you can stand some glitches and bugs, and have enjoyed the series, go for it.