Patrolling the Mojave almost makes you wish for a nuclear winter

Posted by natetodamax (19167 posts) -

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. 
 
 See those mountains in the back? Yep, you get to walk all the way around those!
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 Desert

New 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? 
 
  •  Sadly, this glitch has not happened to me. Crossing fingers!
    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't

This 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.
 

It Ain't All That Bad Though

Lockups, invisible walls, and ants that can handstand aside, New Vegas is still a game I would recommend to those that enjoyed Fallout 3. The plethora of new weapons, some really interesting new quests, great music, and a story that is far more interesting than Fallout 3's are some of the things you can expect should you decide (and you should) to take the plunge into the Mojave. Be careful, though, for patrolling the Mojave just might make a nuclear winter seem like a pleasurable thing.
#1 Posted by natetodamax (19167 posts) -

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. 
 
 See those mountains in the back? Yep, you get to walk all the way around those!
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 Desert

New 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? 
 
  •  Sadly, this glitch has not happened to me. Crossing fingers!
    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't

This 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.
 

It Ain't All That Bad Though

Lockups, invisible walls, and ants that can handstand aside, New Vegas is still a game I would recommend to those that enjoyed Fallout 3. The plethora of new weapons, some really interesting new quests, great music, and a story that is far more interesting than Fallout 3's are some of the things you can expect should you decide (and you should) to take the plunge into the Mojave. Be careful, though, for patrolling the Mojave just might make a nuclear winter seem like a pleasurable thing.
#2 Posted by TheSeductiveMoose (3617 posts) -

Get the PC version, and most if not all of your problems will be solved!
 
I liked New Vegas a helluva lot more than I did like FO3, still not nearly as much as the 2 first games though.

#3 Posted by natetodamax (19167 posts) -
@TheSeductiveMoose: You say that as if it is something I can easily do!
#4 Posted by TheSeductiveMoose (3617 posts) -
@natetodamax said:
" @TheSeductiveMoose: You say that as if it is something I can easily do! "
Yeah, I do! It was more to point out that I did not share your experience with the game.
#5 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5796 posts) -

I agree with you for the most part, except that I think the Mojave Wasteland is more interesting than DC.

#6 Posted by Jimbo (9769 posts) -

It was ambitious enough to forgive it the bugs I encountered tbh.  Better a rough diamond than a polished turd.

#7 Posted by eagles_band (159 posts) -

Big surprise, another topic bitching about FNV bugs. It's a massive open world game, every one of those has bugs, it's not gonna be as polished as Uncharted dumbass. 

#8 Posted by natetodamax (19167 posts) -
@eagles_band: I think it would be incredibly silly for someone to expect Fallout New Vegas to be as polished as Uncharted!
#9 Posted by WatanabeKazuma (989 posts) -

This has brought on horrible flashbacks of having to travel all the way around the mountains trying to get to the NCR camps. I prefer the Mojave over the Capital wastes but I don't remember that having this many invisible walls. 
 
Hardcore is a breeze, it just gets a little annoying when you fast travel lots and have to use water and food every time the game loads you in to a new location. Cazadors are an absolute pain though like you said.

#10 Posted by natetodamax (19167 posts) -
@WatanabeKazuma: I avoid cazadors like I avoid the Will-O-The-Wisps in Oblivion. I am literally scared of them.
#11 Posted by WatanabeKazuma (989 posts) -
@natetodamax said:
" @WatanabeKazuma: I avoid cazadors like I avoid the Will-O-The-Wisps in Oblivion. I am literally scared of them. "
If Hardcore taught me anything it was that Companions are awful against melee enemies, except maybe Veronica and her Powerfist of doom. 
#12 Posted by natetodamax (19167 posts) -
@WatanabeKazuma: When I got Veronica, we walked about 300 yards and she got killed by a deathclaw in one hit.
#13 Posted by WatanabeKazuma (989 posts) -
@natetodamax said:
" @WatanabeKazuma: When I got Veronica, we walked about 300 yards and she got killed by a deathclaw in one hit. "
Yeah but that's a Deathclaw! 
 
And the stuff about Blind Deathclaws, complete lies, they see everything!
#14 Posted by Everyones_A_Critic (6285 posts) -

I've played a good 50+ hours of New Vegas over the past few weeks (sad, I know). I played Fallout 3 even more, but the DC metro system in that game drove me up the fucking wall. The mountains in New Vegas are a pain in the ass, let me assure you, but I highly recommend checking out this site for any Fallout questions you may have. You can search any location in that wiki, and there will be a page on it with instructions on how to access them. I used it to discover every location in the game. Personally, I'd rather navigate a series of cliffs than having to go through those terrible labyrinthine train stations from the previous game. 
 
As for the bugs, the game has locked on me twice during my playthroughs. It sucks that you encountered so many problems, I suppose I was lucky, for the most part anyway. I have encountered that fucking freezeframe glitch you describe, and I feel your pain. I spat many a curse at my TV whenever that happened. Aside from those bugs, my only other two beefs with the game are Dead Money in general (I mostly bought it for the extra levels, but OH MY GOD DO THE QUESTS SUCK DICK!!)  and the fact that you still have to hard save all the time. The hard save thing just feels so archaic and out of place in 2010 (or, now, 2011) and while the game autosaves quite a bit, it doesn't do it enough in my book.

#15 Posted by LackingSaint (1764 posts) -

I'd probably say it's saved by the feel and story being a hundred times better than Fallout 3. Hey remember the companions in Fallout 3? Where you liked Dogmeat since he was a dog, and Fawkes was like pretty cool I guess? Well in Fallout: New Vegas, i'd argue almost every companion has a great sense of endearing quality for the player to just feel good having them around, and sad when they're not. I'd also probably say the wasteland felt more like an actual wasteland; I really REALLY couldn't just wonder out to whatever tickled my fancy (Without companions at least) without being ravaged by the critters.

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