Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sometimes war changes (Fallout: New Vegas)

I remember when I had first heard that Bethesda was working on the third installment of the ever popular series, Fallout (Started by Black Isle in September of 1997). Looking back at how much time I gleefully spent exploring the immersive world that Oblivion offered, I couldn't help but be excited at the thought of Bethesda bringing a post apocalyptic DC into my living room for hours upon hours (upon hours) of exploration. From the moment I fired up this fantastic title, i was in love. I had spent an easy 140+ hours on Fallout 3 and thinking back to the wonderful hours spent blowing off the heads of super mutants, it almost makes me want to go back and do it all over again. So when it came time for me to hear of a new fallout (New Vegas) being in the works, obviously I was ecstatic. Then I found out the unfortunate news that Obsidian was working on this title... Look I'm going to be frank here as I usually am and go ahead and say it. Obsidian is known for finding a good series, buying into it, and making a half assed addition to the series, that usually doesn't end up anywhere near as good as the game released before it in hopes of raking in some cash. Now, now, I know what some of you are thinking.
"But, but KOTOR 2!"
No.
"But, but NWN 2!"
Again... no.
Look I'm not saying Obsidian makes the worst games I've ever played, I'm just saying that when they decide to work on another teams project ( i don't even care to hear "Obsidian IS Black Isle"), it tends to not hold a candle to the previous teams work. This team is not just any team folks. We're talking Bethesda here. Obsidian aside, when it came time for the release of the new Fallout Spin off, I had to buy it and of
course i did.


WELCOME TO NEW VEGAS:
Starting on a brighter note - though I found the beginning segment of Fallout 3 to be a bit more immersive, I would like to mention that New Vegas has its own interesting beginning. I certainly wouldn't call it "better" by any means, but I was very pleased to find that Obsidian had decided to go their own route of introduction as opposed to copying Bethesda's. I found that the beginning of New Vegas was refreshing and did a good job of setting the mood for the player.




SO, WHATS NEW?:
another thing I was pleased to discover was that New Vegas brought a lot of new and interesting game mechanics to the table. I really took a liking to the vast amount of factions in the game as well as the degree to which they could like or dislike you. New Vegas also has an ammunition recycling system which works similar to the way you would create items in fallout 3. Personally I found this to be more annoying then it was worth. But the biggest addition to the game is probably the new hardcore mode that Obsidian added. This mode is for players that want a bit more of a realistic experience while scouring the wastes. In hardcore mode players have to eat, drink and sleep in order to stay alive and fast travel will be disabled if the player will be affected by the lack of one of these things. In addition, stimpacks in hardcore mode will heal you over time as opposed to instantly. I personally have not tried this myself, but i find the idea to be interesting enough and may have to give it a go if I decide to make my way through New Vegas once again. Of course New Vegas also offers a bunch of new weapons, enemies, a new map, perks, interesting characters and much more. In addition New Vegas starts with a level cap of 30 instead of Fallout 3's level cap of 20. Purchasing the new DLC for the game will raise the level cap to 25 and I can only hope it will be raised again in the future.




WHAT IT ALL COMES DOWN TO:
Exploration. It made Fallout 3.Oblivion and Morrowind as well. That nagging thought of, whats around the next corner. The sweet victory of coming across a new and interesting area. The only problem is this is what  New Vegas is lacking, and considerably so. DC has its familiar land marks and Bethesda did such a good job of making the down town area dense and appealing, and the Mojave wastes... well... its a desert. sure there are cool sights at the core of Vegas but even that area is far too small and compact. it seems like you wander through endless amount of nothing to come across something of interest and even then its usually just a small shack with a couple of ammo boxes. The new map that Obsidian brings to the table did not take long to disappoint and of course this was the greatest disappointment of all. When playing Fallout 3 I could easily spend hour after hour wandering from place to place, ignoring quests and doing my own thing, destroying everything that crosses my path. In New Vegas I find it to almost be a chore to go out of your way and explore some of the places the world has to offer.




BUY IT OR SKIP IT?:
Over all I don't think New Vegas is necessarily a bad game. Obsidian did a fine job at bringing some new things to the table and I found the story with its multiple endings to be quite enjoyable. But is Obsidian's New Vegas as good Bethesda's Fallout 3? In my opinion, not even close. If you have played neither I would pick up Fallout 3 first and go from there. If you have put countless hours into Fallout 3 and enjoyed it as much as I did then I would recommend giving New Vegas a try. Obsidian has taken a step in the right direction with this one but Fallout: New Vegas is still the same as most of Obsidian's titles, a decent sequel to a fantastic game. With the new Elder Scrolls title on the way and hopefully a Fallout 4 after that, Its only a matter of time before New Vegas get buried beneath new titles by the amazing company known as Bethesda.

SCORE:

7.7 / 10