Review by Blk_Mage_Ctype

"An excellent 9/10 game, completely ruined by inadequate bug testing..."

Fallout New Vegas is almost everything I'd hoped it would be, it had a great story, excellent atmosphere, haunting music, and in my opinion was (game-play wise) in every way an improvement over Fallout 3. So why am I giving the game such a low score? Well, let's explore that in my review...

Story

The Story involves the tale of The Courier, (your avatar, which I shall hence forth be referring to as "You") a courier for the Mojave Express parcel service and a mission to track down the man who shot you in the head, buried your body, left you for dead, and took the mysterious Platinum Chip you were tasked to deliver. However, this is not your typical revenge story. As you travel throughout the Mojave Wasteland more details to the story will be revealed, and whether or not you get revenge on this man or let him live is completely up to you. I don't want to spoil anything about the story, but I will say that in my opinion it was much better than Fallout 3.

Graphics

Fallout New Vegas runs on the same engine as Fallout 3, so don't expect a huge graphical overhaul. The visuals are virtually unchanged from Fallout 3, but do feature a much brighter, more colorful array of colors that bring the Mojave Wasteland to life quite nicely, and improved textures that give everything a cleaner look.

Sound

All the familiar clicks, beeps, whirs, whistles, and booms are all here, along with a great mix of familiar tunes from the last 3 Fallout games, which I thought was a nice touch. In addition, Fallout New Vegas features a new cast of voice actors and new classic songs on the radio. However, this is one of the ways the game falls short... Obsidian made the same mistake that Bethesda did with Fallout 3, hiring a bunch of celebrity voice actors to represent the principal characters in the game, leaving their cast of ordinary voice actors for less important characters slim and unimpressive. The voice acting for the principal characters is fantastic, but it really breaks immersion when every other guy in the Mojave Wasteland is voiced by Yuri Lowenthal & Liam O'Brian from Persona 3. Furthermore, the selection of classic music in Fallout New Vegas is underwhelming. (For one thing, I was really hoping for some Elvis Presley music to make it's way into the game, but sadly it didn't.) There are far less songs present in New Vegas than there were in Fallout 3, and none of them are as good as the music in Fallout 3, in my opinion. To be honest, I only listened to the radio once in Fallout New Vegas before turning it off for good.

Gameplay

The gameplay is pretty much exactly the same as Fallout 3, but little tweaks have been made. V.A.T.S. has been toned down in New Vegas to encourage players to aim and fire their guns on their own. In Fallout 3, V.A.T.S. was so good that it's basically all you'd use when it came to projectile weapons. However, in Fallout New Vegas, V.A.T.S. has been toned down and the free aim has been improved in an attempt to provide a more balanced experience. V.A.T.S. is now far less accurate than it was in Fallout 3, has less range, and your Action Points don't recharge as quickly. The aiming controls have been refined and are now far more smooth than they were in Fallout 3, plus the addition of Iron Sights makes them far more accurate. But does it succeed in providing a more balanced experience? In my opinion, yes. While V.A.T.S. isn't anywhere near as good as it was in Fallout 3, and you'll probably spend more time aiming and firing your weapons on your own, V.A.T.S. is still useful for taking out more powerful enemies in a firefight where you're surrounded by many weak enemies and one or two strong ones.

The Level Up System is the same as Fallout 3, you gain XP by killing enemies, picking locks, hacking computer terminals, or completing story based missions. However, this time around you only gain 1 perk every 2 level ups, v.s. the 1 perk per level up you gaining in Fallout 3. Furthermore, the Level Cap in Fallout New Vegas is 30 rather than 20. Additional perks can be gained in game through killing a certain amount of enemies a certain way and through in game events. While some people may not like this new system, I personally feel that it adds more challenge to the game and makes you have to think more carefully about which perk you choose each time.

Fallout New Vegas also features a more in depth companion system like in many other popular WRPGs this generation. Throughout the game you'll encounter certain characters that you can recruit to follow you and assist you throughout the game. As you travel together, you and your companion will grow closer which opens up more dialog options, deeper questions, and even special quests. Each companion has their own unique story and mission that will be revealed as you travel together and visit certain locations. Some companions can be easily recruited as soon as you meet them, others require you to complete certain tasks, clear a certain mission, or have a high Speech Skill before they'll join you. By recruiting a companion, you gain access to a unique perk which you will retain for the duration of the time that you travel together. You can only have a maximum of 2 companions with you at a time, (1 humanoid companion and 1 robot companion) but you have the option to dismiss a companion if you want to recruit a new one. Dismissed Companions will return to the place you first met, and will remain there if you ever wish to return and have them join you again. Companions each have a detailed set of commands they can be given by talking to them and accessing their command wheel and selecting a task. In the companion's command wheel, you can command your companion to be passive or aggressive, back up, use ranged or Melee/Unarmed weapons, access their inventory, and many other functions. I really liked the companion system and it's implementation in Fallout New Vegas.
Besides just companions, Fallout New Vegas also features many Factions that you can side with during the course of the game, which can open certain quests, but at the same time can bar your from others. Furthermore, Fallout New Vegas features a Reputation System, which will effect your standing with different Factions and communities depending on your actions in the game, as well as alter your ending. (Needless to say, all of these variables add a lot of replay value to the overall experience.)

In addition, Fallout New Vegas features Weapon Mods such as, scopes, silencers, extended clips, laser sights, and special ammo which adds yet another layer of customization to an already beefy game.

However, that's not to say that the whole experience is balanced... For one thing, Melee & Unarmed weapons are WAY overpowered in Fallout New Vegas. Even if you haven't necessarily be devoting any Skill Points towards Melee/Unarmed Skills, Melee & Unarmed attacks still deal a lot of damage to enemies.

(Bugs/Glitches)

Finally, (and this is the reason for the low score I've given the game) is the bugs... Granted that not everyone experiences all the same bugs, and some are luckier than others, but this review is based solely on my own experience with the game, and your results may vary...
Throughout the course of the game, I experienced many bugs. (Freezes, Framerate chugging, Key Items not appearing where they should, doors that won't unlock even if you have the key, V.A.T.S. not opening, important quest-related NPCs not spawning/falling through the map, companions disappearing, and more) At first it wasn't so bad, it took me 16 hours before I got my first freeze, but it all went downhill from there... By the time I reached the end of the game, I lived in constant fear of freezes or other gameplay-halting bugs occurring, which really hurt the overall experience. The last straw finally came the other night, when for the 2nd time in the game, an important character had fallen through the map, preventing me from completing a quest. At that point, I just decided that I was done... I don't know about you, but for me playing games is about having fun, and when a game bug makes a roadblock that prevents me from completing a quest, and I play in constant fear that my game may freeze during a Quick Save and corrupt my Save File, or an NPC that's crucial to completing the game could just as easily fall through the map as any other NPC, I'm not having fun anymore... And so, an otherwise fantastic game that I would have given a 9/10 and experienced nothing but enjoyment with, gets bumped down to a 2/10 game that brought me mostly grief.

Overall

This game gets a 2/10. I'd love nothing more than to give Fallout New Vegas a 9/10 score, but the bugs prevented me from enjoying the game. Obsidian & Bethesda should have taken the time to iron out all the bugs and glitches, or at least the more commonly occurring ones that they simply could not have missed during the QA Testing like Random Freezes and characters falling through the map. Bethesda has released a Patch for the game, but all the 1.01 Patch does is disable some beneficial glitches that the player can exploit to gain Infinite Caps/XP, and makes the game freeze more often!

Final Recommendation

Hold off on buying this game until all the major bugs are squashed. Obsidian & Bethesda don't deserve to make money off of an incomplete game, and you don't deserve to suffer through all the bugs & glitches that dampen the experience of what would otherwise be a 9/10 game.


Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 11/02/10, Updated 11/19/10

Game Release: Fallout: New Vegas (US, 10/19/10)


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