Fallout: New Vegas shines through all the muck.
Just like the great, but flawed, Fallout 3 and Oblivion before it New Vegas has a wide array of technical issues. But that is by no means a valid reason to not play this game. It can freeze out of nowhere and leave you holding the bag on a chunk of the game that you had forgotten to save, making you replay it. It also has a tendency to glitch in the same manner as its predecessors and when too much is going on it will slow down the frame-rate and make you feel like you're back to playing Morrowind all over again. With all of the technical issues aside this game stands alone as a wonderful experience.
This time around you are set in the fictional city of New Vegas, and of course the surrounding areas. This time around it seems like they decided to put things slightly closer together, and the fact you won’t be wading through sewers in the DC Metro area for endless hours is a massive turn in the right direction. Once you begin your journey you’ll start to notice right away that a lot of the character models from the last game are recycled and used to form new identities for character faces you’ve come to know from Fallout 3.
All of the aspects that made Fallout 3 such a wonderful experience are present once again as you run rampant through the streets of run down towns and tear a path across New Vegas. A new aspect of the game is the introduction of the faction system, which I believe was present in some of the earlier games. People will no longer run from you just because you’re a sadistic piece of work that enjoyed slaughtering their neighboring town. One small town may hate you and cast you out as a monster and leper, while the town right down the way will welcome you with open arms and a clean slate. Leaving you to decide what you want to do in each ‘shanty town’ you come to.
As far as the engine for the game goes, the same one from previous games is here. The graphics are nearly indistinguishable from those of Fallout 3. As I’ve said before you’ll find yourself seeing the same faces as Fallout 3 before it. One disappointing factor I found was when they stated you’ll have more customization in this installment then its predecessor when it comes to creating your character, “the courier”. This is by no means true; I didn’t see anything different between the character creation in this, and that of Fallout 3.
New Vegas differs in what happens after that. You get to choose traits, up to two at the start of the game, which will enhance your character in one facet, while hampering them in another. This is besides the Wild Wasteland trait, which just offers some very interesting and sometimes absurd special encounters. The stats are mostly the same, no more distinguished points for big guns or small guns, now it’s just Guns. A new stat which offers a new element to the game, especially for Hardcore Mode, is the Survival Stat.
Once you begin your journey and get that first level up you’ll also notice that the perks have changed somewhat. Certain perks are back while others have seemed to be melded together or taken out. Which is nice considering some perks were completely useless from the get go. Speaking of the Hardcore Mode, which means Ammo has weight, you have to drink and sleep regularly adds a deeper interest to the game. Your levels actually matter, and you need to choose what you want to use for the game and stick with it.
When it comes to new factions the game has a lot to offer. It has a colorful cast of new people to meet. New enemies to make; But the new faction system allows you to choose if friends are enemies and enemies are friends. These factions can ultimately affect the outcome your game has, something the Fallout 3 did not offer you on the level it does in this installment.
All in all Fallout: New Vegas does a lot of things right, but at the same time you need to be able to look over all the issues that hinder this game; weather that be the technical ones or the recycled graphics and overall feel of the game. Fallout: New Vegas was one of the most anticipated games of this year but does it live up to the hype? Sadly I have to say the answer to that question is No. If you loved Fallout 3 you will love this game, but if not you may be better off steering clear and waiting for them to correct some of these issues that have been plaguing the company since it started thinking about Morrowind over a decade ago.