By Sparky_Buzzsaw 48 Comments
Like with all popular games, movies, TV shows, and all things nerd-tacular, Fallout: New Vegas has become the latest game for Giant Bombers and the Internet in general to rip on, even if they haven't played it or haven't given it a fair shake. The Giant Bomb crew ripped on it a bit in the Bombcast, the review pointed out in great detail the many technical flaws of the game, and the Giant Bomb forumverse exploded with, "Man, this game suckzors, totally epidicedimal fail broseph." It's the sort of thing that pisses me off about the Internet in general, and there's a term for it - it's called dick-riding. If you've ripped on this game or any other game just because the Giant Bomb crew ripped on it? You're dick-riding. Sucking up to the rip-on-the-popular-game-of-the-month club without having actually watched the Quick Look or any other real preview of the game, or (God forbid) trying it yourself? Dick riding. But if you've seriously done your homework or played this game and determined that you don't like it, congratulations. You're not dick-riding. We just have wildly different opinions.
The reviews of New Vegas are right on one thing - this game is buggy as all get-out. I just finished my first playthrough. New Vegas crashed on me three times. I had a few instances when I had to load up my quicksave because of weird technical glitches. The factions, while adding a breath of fresh air to the karma system in general, create some frustrating moments of confusion.
But if you're willing to actually play the game, Fallout: New Vegas is a fucking masterpiece.
On a technical level, the fact that this game exists at all in a playable form is mind-boggling. Without any hyperbole, the game world is huge. I'm going to be discovering new quests, weapons, snow globes, and other goodies a year from now, There are an insane number of NPC's to interact with. This is without a doubt the single best example of how far current technology can go to creating worlds, not just games. At no point did I feel like the game had been shipped broken, as so many people on these forums and others have claimed. The game is far from broken. Bug-ridden, yes. Hiccuping, yes. But broken, no.
That isn't to say that the game is perfect. There are a lot of areas that can be worked on besides the technical errors. Options to sort quests and narrow down multiple area quests should be a priority. Allies should return to the Lucky 38 after a set amount of time if told to "wait" somewhere (I have no freakin' clue where the hell I left my robot). If radio DJ's continue to be used, they need quantity as well as quality in the music and the speeches given, perhaps with new bits being available via patches or downloads, even if that means celebrities can't do the voices. New body and weapon models look good, but some variety in body sizes would go a long way. Clear definitions of which quests will affect each faction should be laid out, especially in regards to the main quest, which can be super confusing.
Now for the good. Massive world aside, the writing in New Vegas is top-notch. The characters felt more human, the choices I could make as a player were often morally muddled and therefore fun to play out, and the followers are all excellent. The same rock-solid gameplay of Fallout 3 is here, and smartly keeps most of the systems already established while expanding upon the universe. There are a lot of throwbacks to the classic Fallout games. There are no clear-cut good guys, as everyone in the game has an agenda. There are benefits to all the skill branches, with speech rolls not just affected by your speech skill anymore. There's an amazing richness to the new areas, while still maintaining a large amount of the charm from the original games. And overall, the game is just flat-out fun as all hell. I found myself genuinely wanting to explore the wastes and the hundred-plus areas within.
If, for any reason, you're not playing this game because you've heard about how flawed it is, your fears are for nothing. Yes, New Vegas is riddled with bugs, but that shouldn't stop anyone from giving this game a go. And if you're not playing it just because it's popular to rip on it, well... have fun with that.