Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Bethesda Game Studios
Fallout games never held a huge place in my heart. I know plenty of gamers who have a deep affection for the games. I played both Fallout 3 and 4 and enjoyed both. However, I did miss out on what has been considered the pinnacle of the Fallout series, Fallout: New Vegas. I don’t know why it took so long especially with Obsidian Entertainment being the developers behind the game, whom I love as developer. Their games have always had great mechanics and excellent stories. I’m an absolute fan of the other work Obsidian has done. After playing the game you can totally add me to the group of people who see this as the best Fallout game.
You take the role of a mysterious person left for dead in the Nevada wasteland. The only name you’re left with is the “courier”. This is a refreshing change in Fallout: New Vegas, from almost every other Fallout game in which you take the role of a vault dweller. It leaves your character open to your own creation and design without being hindered to restrictions. It’s also one of the first times where you are not someone directly connected to the vaults.
The gameplay in Fallout: New Vegas is very akin to its predecessor Fallout 3. You get a pipboy to manage your items, quests and map access. The world is open and explorable. Your character is a blank slate and customizable. Crafting and exploring are essential to your experiences and surviving in the desert wastes. Standard faire Fallout mechanics we’ve all come to expect from the series.
You’ll have quests from a main storyline and more than enough NPCs to gather 100s of side quests from. There is plenty of content to explore here. But the most interesting aspect Fallout: New Vegas fleshes out and focuses on is its factions. Right at the opening the games several NPCs establish the importance of factions. Depending on the ways you interact with these factions you will gain favor with them. Gaining favor means deals at shops, gaining help from factions and just simply having your actions noticed and appreciated.
However, you can also gain infamy with factions as well. Much like gaining fame you can gain infamy by simple interactions in the world such as questing and hindering or attacking a faction. Most often you’ll find yourself gaining infamy in a faction by simply by helping another one. Factions will often be opposing one another so depending on whose side you choose you’ll be gaining favor with one and infamy with the other.
In typical Bethesda fashion, even with all the bug fixes and updates, Fallout: New Vegas is still clunky and wonky. Character animations still have that robotic feeling as nearly all Fallout games do.
Even for coming from the era of the Xbox 360, Fallout: New Vegas’s visuals and graphics are still incredibly stunning. I was more impressed by how fleshed out and alive Obsidian was able to make the Nevada desert wastes. Far livelier than the nuked out wastelands of Fallout 3. I always thought Fallout 3’s world was incredibly dull colored and drab. Yes, I understand it’s a nuclear apocalyptic wasteland, but there still could have been some slight variety in the environment to make it more eye appealing at times.
Fallout: New Vegas manages to make its world seem lived in where there’s civilization, wild when you’re exploring the wastes, and a pleasure to look at its wide, beautiful and expansive landscape. Cacti and other arid plants dot the land scape. Even the smallest towns have some personality even as they try to exist in the post-apocalyptic desert. A saloon will still feature neon signs that say “Open” and even the rundown gas station will maintain some of the buildings past hues. But destruction is also well rendered with burnt out houses, ruined towns and decaying civilization everywhere.
Like many of that Fallout games Fallout: New Vegas’s world is well complemented by great music. Especially, in this game. It features classic 50’s songs like most of the recent Fallouts, but with taking place in Nevada, there is a lot more country/western style music. The ambient sound as you explore features chill and lonely guitars, which can very rapidly become intense action pieces as combat ramps up. I love the balance of music to fit the mood.
The games FX sounds are mostly well executed. None of it is bad, but it’s what you would expect from a Fallout game. Guns fire with a bang, blunt weapons create a crunch and slashing your enemies comes with a nice slicing noise. Creatures of the Mojave wasteland have their own unique sounds and noises. Hearing the croak of a gecko puts you on guard the moment you hear it.
The voice acting is a little hit or miss. Some offer convincing dialogue, while others can be a little stunted. The doctor you meet at the beginning of the game feels like an old soul who has seen a lot and dealt his own hardships. While the town barkeep try’s to sound like she is tough as nails, but her voice acting just felt so forced and unenthused.
Fallout: New Vegas accomplishes everything that the other Bethesda Fallout games do, but Obsidian was able to flesh out several of the older games mechanics and manages to inject some personality into Fallout: New Vegas. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the games world and incredibly immersive mechanics. If you personally haven’t had the chance to play Fallout: New Vegas either, then I highly recommend that you do. The fans are right, and it does contain some of the best of what the series has to offer.