It’s hard to improve on such a great game like Fallout 3 , yet in some areas Fallout New Vegas actually does. Essentially a glorified stand alone expansion to Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas places you in the role of a Mojave Express Courier tasked with delivering a platinum chip to the mysterious Mr. House. Things take a turn for the worst when you are shot in the head and buried. It seems a bullet to your noggin just wasn’t enough as you are dug up by a robot named Victor and brought back onto your feet by Doc Mitchell. After you get your bearings and your handy dandy Pip-Boy you set out on a journey to find the man who left you for dead. Along the way you will have to choose which side you stand with, the New California Republic or Caesar’s Legion. They both have their upsides and downsides and they both want control over the Hoover Dam. There are also other factions you will meet. The game adds a reputation system. Each time you complete a quest for a faction you will gain fame, when you kill a faction member or do something against them, you will gain infamy. If you gain enough infamy with the big dogs, they will send people to take care of you. The main quest will have you make a choice of which side to choose and will lead to a giant war for the dam.

I should've known those weren't trash cans...

The gameplay is left virtually unchanged, save the ability to now use ‘True Iron Sights’. Which instead of just zooming in a little actually looks through the iron sights of the weapon you have. Even though you now can use iron sights you will find yourself using VATS the majority of the time, except maybe when sniping. The game plays fairly smooth with almost no bumps along the way. The only real thing that you will most likely encounter at least once is a bug that after you reload a lever-action or revolver weapon you will not be able to attack, activate or really do anything for a short period. Another is sometimes in VATS your character will just stand there and not attack leaving you vulnerable. Luckily I had companions to help. This only happened twice for me though. For the first couple hours be prepared to walk as you must visit places to fast travel as in the previous game. This wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t so boring as you walk through the barren desert.

FOUR!!

Fallout New Vegas uses the same engine as Fallout 3 so don’t expect a vast number of improvements in the way of graphics. That is not to say the game isn’t good looking by any means. The character models are decent and some of the vistas are very well done but other things like the very short draw distance and the continued ugliness of the women in Bethesda’s games are disappointing. The gun models and lighting effects are well done. The effects of injury such as blurred vision and a broken leg are also very well portrayed.

A couple of new things to expect are some very sweet new guns, most of which are western inspired like the Cowboy Repeater and the .357 Magnum. Some of the more modern weapons are the automatic grenade launcher and the Tommy Gun look alike, Laser RCW. There are some new additions that players will appreciate though. First off is that the level cap is at 30 to boot, none of that DLC nonsense like in Fallout 3. The other is the perks and skills. There have been a bunch of new perks ranging from the new Confirmed Bachelor for males, theequivalent to the Black Widow perk for females which gives you +10% damage to males and gives unique dialogue when talking to them, to the Wild Wasteland which unleashes strange and random events that you would otherwise not encounter. There is also new challenges similar to something Borderlands had, challenges require you to do something like say kill 40 mutated animals. Once you do this you unlock a new perk. This perk usually relates to what you have to do to obtain it. Most of these have multiple tiers to acquire. There is also a new Survival skill which is used with one of the cool new feature which is a campfire, allowing you to combine items to make food. Also the work bench returns and the ammo press for making your own ammo. Perhaps the most rewarding is the new Hardcore Mode. This mode changes the game by adding your need for sleep, water and food. It also gives ammo weight and other things weight that wouldn’t weigh anything in the normal game. The game tells you in the beginning that if you beat the main questline on Hardcore you will get a reward. Doesn’t that just make you want to beat it? Along with new weapons and gear expect to find a great amount of quests, each with a great story behind it. I put in about 36 hours and was only on the 3rd storyline quests since I spent all my time on the sidequests. There are new characters and companions some you will like to have with you a lot maybe because of their witty attitude and some you can’t stand because of arrogance. Either way there is no denying the depth of characters within the Wasteland.

Grenade..Machine gun... F@#&ING AWESOME!

Though with the game’s great many additions comes it’s faults, and New Vegas has many. In my many hours playing I have experienced the ungodly long load times, screen tearing, enemies falling through the map, my character locking up and not moving in VATS, not being able to do anything after I reload, getting locked out of the strip and 4 game lock ups. I’m sure you’ve all seen the videos on youtube of getting locked in a room and the hilarious spinning head. There was a patch to fix most, though I’m not sure if it did a lot since I got the patch first thing.

The game was rigged from the start.

Probably one of the best things about the game is the sound. The game uses a lot of the music from Fallout 3 with a couple new tunes but there is nothing wrong with the old ones. The thing I loved was the voicework. The overall voicework for the random people in the game is good but when you add actors like Matthew Perry,Kris Kristofferson, Wayne Newton and of course Ron Pearlman, you know your going to have awesome voiceovers. I liked the new music in the game but missed some of the classics from 3. I found Wayne Newton to be rather funny when he does his bits on the radio.

What if I say an ink blotch?

The game is a good choice for fans of RPGs and fans of Fallout 3. There is a great game here even if it does have a few bugs. The story is great with all it’s mystery and is enough to drive the player deeper to solve it. With all the quests to do and places to visit you will have no problem clocking over 60 hours in to this post apocalyptic playground not to mention all the replay value. Just be sure to save often.

* Title : Fallout: New Vegas
* Format : Xbox 360
* Developer : Obsidian Entertainment
* Publisher : Bethesda
* Release Date : 10/19/10

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