When I wrote this blog, I was hoping there would be more gambling. So says Mr. NCR Trooper.
Likewise, when I played Fallout: New Vegas, I was hoping there wouldn't be crazy amounts of dialog repetition. But alas, I guess I was expecting too much. Nevertheless, strange dialog repetition is a very minor issue when compared to some of the game's more egregious and flagrant issues, which I'll address soon enough. Still, New Vegas is quite an entertaining game, which pleases me and disappoints me at the same time. Shouldn't broken games be looked down upon? I guess New Vegas is a sort of special exception. It still has that addictive open-world gameplay we've come to expect, and it's surprisingly easy to look past the numerous flaws that it does have to have a grand ol' time searching through busted houses, taking all of the junk inside, and then selling it all for bottle caps.
But this isn't about what makes New Vegas a game worth playing. Rather, I want to take a look at the things that keep New Vegas from truly being better than Fallout 3. The things that drag down the experience in some parts, but aren't game-breaking enough to ruin the entire experience.
The Mojave Wasteland [& The Things It Makes Us Wish For]Read a review for New Vegas and you are almost certain to see the reviewer lamenting the large amount of bugs and glitches that occur at random during the game. However, you are less likely to read about the absolutely ridiculous use of invisible walls, which is one of my biggest issues with the game.
The Capital Wasteland in Fallout 3 was, for the most part, relatively flat. There were certainly some areas of the region that could be considered mountainous, but for the most part there wasn't much in your way. New Vegas is basically the exact opposite; the geography is littered with cliffs, gigundus (not a word) piles of rocks, and bumpy hills. I might have accepted this change of scenery more easily if it weren't for the fact that almost all of these cliffs and hills cannot be climbed over. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I've been forced to hoof it around a seemingly small incline simply because an arbitrary barrier blocked me from getting over. There was one occasion where I needed to get to a facility that was basically located inside a ring of rocks. As I came to this wall of rocks, I managed to find a path up. I got to the point where I was on top of the pile, and I could see the facility, but an invisible wall prevented me from dropping down. Instead, I had to go back and walk all the way around until I found a road that went to the facility.
I shouldn't have to tell you that invisible walls are frustrating, but they are even more annoying in open world games like this. It's weird to say, but some parts of this game just feel strangely linear due to the layout of the geography and the stupid barriers placed all over the place that you can't see.
Ants And Cazadors Aren't The Only Bugs In This DesertNew Vegas shipped with over 200 script and quest bugs. Two hundred. That is way too much to be acceptable. But even after a patch that supposedly fixed all those, there are still some issues that you will likely run into.
I'm not even going to write a paragraph on these bugs. Instead, let's do a bullet point list of bugs I've experienced off the top of my head, shall we?
- Clipping issues and ant problems abound! It's very rare that I see a Giant Ant that isn't hilariously glitched in some way. On one occasion, I was crossing a dry lake and spotted at least 5 Giant Ants crossing to my right. At least 2 of them were standing vertically on their heads and moving across the sand, their legs twitching curiously in the air. On several other occasions, I've run across Ants and even Radscorpions that were stuck under the ground with only a stinger or a leg above ground signaling their presence.
- Hey there, friend! NOW DIE! One day, I found myself conversing with an old lady at her garage who had lots of dogs. After finishing the conversation, I started walking away. I got about 5 feet before her and her dogs suddenly hopped up and attacked me! I didn't even do anything! This has only happened to me once, thankfully, but my god was it weird and startling at the same time.
- PIP-Boy doesn't believe that I finished this quest! Upon completing a quest one time, I saw that all the steps were grayed out but it didn't register as finished. Come on!
- Locked Up [They Won't Let Me Out]! New Vegas has frozen on me a grand total of three times. The third time, which happened a few days ago, was preceded by a drop in the framerate that was so low I could count the frames. It lasted for about 10 seconds before it all just died on me, tragically.
- Freezeframe! I'm almost afraid to go into VATS. Much like the invisible walls, I cannot begin to tell you how many times I've activated VATS and watched in amazement as my character literally just stood there without attacking. Thankfully, VATS does end after a certain amount of seconds, but apparently you can now take damage while in VATS. Because of this, I've died on a few occasions because my character stood there and soaked up bullets like he was enjoying it.
Hardcore Isn'tThis isn't really a flaw, but it's something that stood out to me that was disappointing. For my second playthrough, I chose to play through the game on the all-new Hardcore mode. This mode was supposed to make the game harder with the introduction of dehydration, starvation, and sleep deprivation meters. The thing is, these handicaps really don't mean anything. Food and liquids are so darn prevalent that it's practically impossible for your character to get so thirsty or hunger that your stats are affected. When my dehydration meter hits 100 after a while(it takes 1000 to die), all I need to do is open up my PIP-Boy 3000 and drink a water, of which I have dozens. When my starvation level starts getting relatively high, I can easily correct that by eating a piece of fruit I scavenged off the body of a stupid guy I killed a few hours earlier. What about sleep deprivation? That meter actually goes up so slow compared to the others that it might as well not even be there.
I was expecting a real challenge in hardcore mode, but sadly I was not presented with one. The only real drastic change in hardcore mode involves crippled limbs. If you get crippled, you must see a doctor or use a doctor's bag. This can make the game pretty rough for the first few hours, but once you get stronger and obtain better armor, the fear of breaking a leg diminishes.