Fallout: New Vegas
Review by badabup
"Like the old days, but a little more complicated"
Fallout: Vegas brings the open ended adventure and classy dark humor of the first two games back to the series. Whether it's simple things like wisecracking companions or a questline involving a sexbot, there are many amusing interactions and dialog that keep you playing when the tedium of walking across the wastes start to feel overbearing.
In almost every quest in Vegas you have a chance to use skill checks or stat checks to push the situation in your favor. The presence of the new skill magazines helps this along greatly as you can get a significant temporary bonus to particular skills to help you meet the minimum skill you need to pass a check. This allows for a much more varied experience that allows you to avoid combat or come out with a fatter wallet/reputation from a situation rather than be a binary gimmick.
Your companions are also better fleshed out than their counterparts in Fallout 3, having backstories fleshed out in quests and interactions with your character. Fully exploring their own idiosyncrasies and reactions during the course of the game, and how they interact with characters that they know could be impetus enough to replay the game just to see how different characters remark or have history with your quests and objectives.
The new crafting mechanic for bullets and campfire recipes, while certain to appeal to realist survivors of a postapocalyptic wasteland, is unnecessarily convoluted. Most bullet components you can get from deconstructing existing bullets, but while some parts are shared among similar types, there are certain components you can only get from the ammo you want to make or from certain vendors that carry that stock. Recipies for the campfire also require up to several items, of which many will be from plants you pick while traversing the wasteland. It is not unbelievable that doing these things should require lots of materials, but some materials are not consistently acquirable to the point where you can actually make a bunch of Wasteland Omelettes or upgrade more than a handful of drugs or tan all those gecko hides you have stashed away. Limiting campfire recipies to campfires also seems incredibly counterintuitive considering almost every house with four walls (and some with less) in the wasteland has a working oven with food in it.
Finally, hardcore mode is at best a gimmick aimed to make you save more often in case your companions die to carelessness either because you stumbled upon enemies of much higher level or neglect to heal them during prolonged firefights. Dehydration and hunger are rather minor concerns that can be taken care of with just a few pounds of inventory space and do not require much attention to remedy.
Fallout: Vegas is a strong game and a great spiritual successor to the first two iterations of the Fallout series. It improves on the gameplay style introduced by Fallout 3 while bringing back the dark and wacky humor from Fallout and Fallout 2. Deeper dialog trees and various factions to build interactions with for also bring a greater open-ended depth to the game that was not as prevalent in the more story-driven Fallout 3. The game does however harbor the graphic and crashing issues that were present in Fallout 3, but the degree to which this inconveniences a person will vary.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/27/10
Game Release: Fallout: New Vegas (US, 10/19/10)
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