Monday, October 25, 2010

Fallout New Vegas | A Review

As I began to boot up Bethesda's latest in the Fallout series, I couldn't help but stave off a grand sense of deja vu.  Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?  Well, that really depends on how you felt about the previous installment in the beloved franchise.

If you've played Fallout 3, you'll be immediately at home with the newest version.  This time the backdrop is different (Las Vegas and surrounding desert), and your character is different (you play a courier who narrowly escapes death trying to uncover why), but the gameplay has hardly changed.
Who doesn't love a hero in a cowboy hat?
Before we get into gameplay, lets talk play the role of a courier sent to deliver a package.  On your way you're picked up by a man, one Benny Gecko, dressed in a checkered suit, with two of his goons.  They want what you're delivering, and leave you for dead in a shallow-grave in the Mojave desert. This is all in the first 3 minutes of game, so are you really dead?  No, you're found by a robot (you'll encounter many in the Mojave Wasteland), who takes you to a nearby town, and upon your recovery, you'll create your character and attributes, much in the same way you did in Fallout 3.  By answering questions a certain way, viewing a few ink-blot tests, the game will create a "best-fit" that you can fine-tune as you see fit.  Now it's on to finding out who shot you, and all of the fun that comes along the way.
Part of the clever ways to define your character and stats

Interesting enough, the location of New Vegas didn't actually suffer a direct nuclear attack (like the Capital Wasteland did from Fallout 3), so the action actually comes from two rival factions.  First, there's the New California Republic, and then the Caesar's Legion, who have been fighting each other for some time.  As you play through, you'll encounter other groups as well, like the Powder Ganger's, the Great Kahns, and of course the Brotherhood of Steel (wouldn't be a Fallout game without them) and depending on who you decide to partner with, your experience (and subsequently, your missions) will vary.  Fallout has never been one to shy away from a ton of content, and you won't go hungry here, there's so many missions, side-missions and locations to find, you'll likely easily clock in 40-60 hours relatively quickly, and depending on how you play, if you really try to explore everything you'll likely be able to put in over 100 hours without blinking. 

Gameplay here hasn't changed much since the last time you charted out.  You'll still find plenty to love exploring the terrain, and "finding" new places, and adding to your ever-growing list of quests/side-quests.  Though shooting without the V.A.T.S. system is a little more forgiving this time around, you'll still find yourself using it as accuracy and efficiency are much better in that mode than free-shooting.  If you've played any of Gearbox's Borderlands, you'll have a little bit of a transition back to the more stats based shooting.  I long for a shooting engine more akin to Borderlands myself, but hey, you can't have it all.

Of course this all sounds pretty swell, right?  Well, it is, unless you didn't like Fallout 3.  If you did, not only will you enjoy this one as well, you'll be right at home with the mechanics, as playing the previous title will ensure the learning curve is little to none.  Sometimes you'll feel like you're playing a really large add-on/DLC pack, but if you were one who couldn't get enough of the 5 DLC packs they released for Fallout 3, this one's for you.

Graphics get a bit of a bump here, but mostly in the sharpness, as seems they borrow alot of the textures from the previous game.  Sound is good, and voice acting is pretty great, considering all the voice-talent behind it (Matthew Perry, Ron Perlman and Danny Trejo to name a few).

Overall gives Fallout: New Vegas an 8.5 out of 10.  Once again, you will find a solid RPG package, delivering some of the best bang for your buck value anywhere.  Available now for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Games for Windows PC.

*Note: Fallout: New Vegas was provided by Bethesda Softworks for our editorial consideration.

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