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  1. #1

    The Dust Has Settled - Thoughts On Fallout: New Vegas

    So, a year and a bit ago, Quinns wrote a review of the game for RPS. He really didn't like the game much. It was very controversial. Based on that, and general hearsay about terrible bugs, I put off buying the game until a Goaty edition was available. During the Steam sale, the game + all the DLC came up to about £10, so my girlfriend bought it for me, because she's brill. I finally got round to trying it last week.

    So far, I've seen *an* ending, but only scratched the surface in terms of content. I ended the game at a mere level 17, having not touched any of the faction quests or the DLC packs, and I've already jumped back into the Mojave for another try, rolling back to a save I made at Lv13, before I tried (and succeeded) in wrenching the game off the rails.

    So, my first and foremost thought on the game is: This is the real Fallout 3. The story continues on directly from where Fallout 2 left off - unsurprising, given that a lot of the original writers and designers are back on board. It's drier and dustier in a lot of ways, but that's very much intentional. While Fallout 3 was a theme park dressed up as a post-apocalyptic adventure, it could easily pass for a prototype Skyrim if you replaced 'Vertibirds' with 'Dragons'. New Vegas drops you - confused, wounded and vengeful - into the middle of a complex three-way power struggle over an independent state, while a dozen or so minor factions try to carve out their niches in the chaos.

    The setting in general feels so much more convincing than it's predecessor. Yes, there are huge empty spaces of nothing - rolling sand dunes punctuated with occasional giant scorpions and (if you're lucky) a bleached corpse dragged under a rock. That's because it's a desert. You're not constantly patted on the head with loot and rare encounters over every hill - you'll often find an abandoned house and discover that it's already been picked clean by someone. You can tell that people have passed through, even - empty cans lie around a campfire, and boxes indoors lay upturned. It makes finding something still unopened all that more special.

    While the desert feels bleaker and more hostile, the settlements feel much larger and more convincing, though. While the number of people on the streets is limited due to the engine being fairly old and creaky, you've got multiple large farmsteads and fields surrounding each major town, providing a clear food-source, and people genuinely seem to struggle to maintain clean water supplies, wheras in Fallout 3, the only guy who seemed to care was the perpetually thirsty old guy outside of Megaton. They put a lot more thought into world-building here, and while it all adheres to B-movie logic, there's nothing as implausible as Little Lamplight.

    Yes, it's a lot less vivid and cartoonish. Characters talk more, have more depth and thoughts to share on pretty much everyone and everything in the region. They're also more expendable - outside of two unique NPCs (who are immortal for actual plot reasons, which is clever), EVERYONE can die and you'll still be able to reach a proper end to the story. You can literally murder every single named NPC in Nevada and the game will keep on trucking. You can ally with or betray any faction, and generally do things to the beat of your own drum. There's a bare minimum of two solutions to almost everything (and it seldom feels like a binary good/evil decision - Karma is an invisible stat in this game, anyway) - it's this which allowed me to skip most of the story and launch straight into the endgame on a whim.

    In short, it feels a lot more like an old-school RPG. It feels a lot more like Fallout. Mod-wise, all I ran for my first playthrough was a couple of fan-patches which fix things like navigation meshes and floating items, and the Project Nevada pack, which tweaks the gameplay (effortlessly and seamlessly - the entire design doc for it is basically 'this shouldn't feel like a mod') to be a little more like STALKER, making gunplay more interesting and less VATS-dependent. Oh, and a little tweak to make the DLC stuff not trigger until you wander into the appropriate area at the right level.

    So, yeah - this is one of the better RPGs I've played in ages, and dragged me away from Skyrim pretty effortlessly. I've still only scratched the surface, and probably have another 30-40 hours worth of wandering and questing to do before I even start looking at content mods, too. So, now the dust has settled, what are your thoughts on New Vegas?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dominic Tarason View Post
    In short, it feels a lot more like an old-school RPG.
    Hmm. Interesting.

  3. #3
    Lesser Hivemind Node apricotsoup's Avatar
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    Nicely written.

    I approached New vegas with a sense of foreboding after not getting on that well with fallout 3 but I found new vegas to pull me in in ways that fallout 3 completely failed.

    Not going to go into more than to say I agree.

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    Lesser Hivemind Node Flint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dominic Tarason View Post
    So, now the dust has settled, what are your thoughts on New Vegas?
    You've basically saved me the trouble of telling mine, because I agree with more or less everything in your post.

    A brilliant game that should have been released as the primary Fallout continuation in the first place instead of Bethesda's F3.
    Give me steam and how you feel to make it real.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    I'm totally playing this over my fiancée's shoulder, she's passed level 30, has literally 30 or so unfinished quests and they are not letting up. Only bothered getting one DLC (old world blues) and she hasn't touched it yet after stumbling across its start early on and being warned she should try and be level 15.

    She unlocked power armour at my request but she is sticking to a green summer dress and a straw hat, a machete thing and grenades/TNT and the occasional landmine. Legitimate moments of elation and horror, not horror as in fear(but the occasional surprise deathclaw did a good impression of that kind of horror), or a jump but horror at the dreadfulness of people represented by the game. Its broached mature themes, hope and sacrifice but never taking the gun out of your hand. I'm sure there are people the game wont let her kill, but whenever she felted she could right a wrong or save a victim the game has offered a chance. 2 stand out moments were a bomb on a [barely even a spoiler]metro bomb and masufabish[barely even a spoiler] Which left her wanted more choice than she seemed to have, but overall thats a good score.

    The voice work seems endless and its all been good enough to hold the theme, I cannot fault its graphics except old peoples faces look like they have been gotten wet and been left folded up to dry and the utter lack of grass anywhere except these grey weeds (really now, grass as hardy, it would be everywhere but straight desert). So yeah, and considerations of game play have to wait until; i play it but I'll say this, Morrowind had these oppressive environments, Oblivion lost that you were a powerhouse, but again many places in new vegas are unwelcoming, death comes quickly and safe places are few, and without magic healing an injury is a lot more menacing. It is not a game that wants you to see it all without working for it, maybe I respect it more for that.
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    I'm sure there are people the game wont let her kill
    Aside from children? (And that can be fixed - it makes them running around Freeside in the middle of a gang battle all that more nerve-wracking to see), the game puts a magical 'gets up after a while' tag on just one single character, and it's not who you'd think at first, either [spoiler - highlight to see]Victor[/spoiler]. A second - [spoiler]Yes Man[/spoiler] has another, more clever kind of story-based immortality.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    New Vegas is pretty great, and it's definitely a better Fallout game than FO3, but I think I prefer FO3 anyway. Maybe that's because, while I liked FO1, I bounced off FO2 and never really cared that much about the world. As later games in the series have become more and more populated and quest heavy (New Vegas being the ultimate expression of this) they've lost the qualities I value most in a post-apocalyptic setting: Isolation and desperation.

    FO3 with FWE is a game about survival, about scrounging and scratching out an existance in a hostile wasteland with minimal population. It's entirely about exploring, and the plot is something that's best ignored. New Vegas is so bound to its quests, its plots, and its characters that it can never convey that same sense of lonely, desperate clinging to existence. Then again, it's not trying to, and it certainly IS good at what it IS trying to do. I just personally like what FWE is trying to do more, that's all.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Drake Sigar's Avatar
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    I've been checking around RPS for opinions on this game for the past few days because the complete edition is coming up. Reading the official RPS Wot I Think initially caused me to think twice about purchasing the game. That hasty opinion was soon contested when I glanced at the comment section at Wulf's passionate 42 page essay on why the author is wrong. Plus the feedback on the forums has been generally positive s-

    Quote Originally Posted by Dominic Tarason View Post
    The story continues on directly from where Fallout 2 left off
    *Orders New Vegas*

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drake Sigar View Post
    Reading the official RPS Wot I Think initially caused me to think twice about purchasing the game.
    Nothing against Quinns, but that was the worst WIT they've ever published. It was riddled with factual inaccuracies, and read like something of a hatchet job. To this day I don't know what was going on there, maybe the game just rubbed him the wrong way or maybe he was just in a shit mood. Either way, if you liked the original Fallouts (and don't mind the transition to first person action from isometric turn based) you'd be remiss not to give NV a chance.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Drake Sigar View Post
    *Orders New Vegas*
    To be specific, it carries on a couple generations later. The New California Republic has expanded into the largest government in America and is gradually annexing everything in it's path. Oh, and Marcus is back, still up to his neck in super-mutant problems. Dude never catches a break.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinraith View Post
    FO3 with FWE is a game about survival, about scrounging and scratching out an existance in a hostile wasteland with minimal population.
    Oddly enough, I've actually found there to be a much more survivalist atmosphere in this one compared to Fallout 3, especially when you combine the game's own Hardcore mode (you need food, water and sleep) with Project Nevada, which is FWE V2.0 and similarly lowers the amount of stuff you'll find just casually laying about. The 'survival' skill is pretty useful, as being able to kill stuff, then cure it's hide to sell and roast its meat to eat and get buffs is super handy.

    The pockets of civilization in Vegas are larger, but they're more spread out, too. There's a lot of wasteland between them.

    And yeah, after playing through New Vegas (at least in part) to get a good feel for it, I went and re-read Quinns' review and really disagreed with pretty much everything. He even moaned that there were too many characters that talked about too many things.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dominic Tarason View Post
    Oddly enough, I've actually found there to be a much more survivalist atmosphere in this one compared to Fallout 3, especially when you combine the game's own Hardcore mode (you need food, water and sleep) with Project Nevada, which is FWE V2.0 and similarly lowers the amount of stuff you'll find just casually laying about. The 'survival' skill is pretty useful, as being able to kill stuff, then cure it's hide to sell and roast its meat to eat and get buffs is super handy.

    The pockets of civilization in Vegas are larger, but they're more spread out, too. There's a lot of wasteland between them.
    I've never even tried to play it without Project Nevada, to be clear. While I agree that the survival elements in PN are well done, and that the survival skill is quite useful, I still don't get the same sense of desperation and isolation I did in FO3. Maybe it's because, having played less of FNV, I've never gotten much outside the "civilized" areas (which don't seem at all spread out to me).

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dominic Tarason View Post
    So, my first and foremost thought on the game is: This is the real Fallout 3.
    Pretty much, yeah. But did we really need a year's hindsight to come to that conclusion?
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Althea's Avatar
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    My thoughts on New Vegas:

    Good for what it is, but like vinraith I preferred FO3, although likely for different reasons.

    I found New Vegas to be perhaps too big and same-y. The gameplay itself was little different to what I'd done for many hours in Fallout 3 before it, and the mechanics - whilst slightly refreshed by Obsidian - felt a bit clunky. The weapon selection was way too large for my liking and I didn't feel it was as friendly to multi-purpose characters as FO3 had been (also a complaint I have of Skyrim). I also wasn't impressed by the story, but that's because I have a dislike of multi-faction narratives and I didn't feel New Vegas was particularly clear about it, especially with the Wild Cards section, which I managed to balls up.

    On top of that, it inherited flaws from Oblivion and Fallout 3. Ugly characters, ugly landscapes, ugly buildings, bad lighting and so forth, and on top of that it brought its own flaws. The balance of enemies was one that really got my goat. I played on the lowest setting as I prefer to just wander, explore and so on, and I felt the balance rocketed at some points. The assassins which Caesar sent after me time and time again did my head in as they were bullet sponges, and I found the Deathclaws to be disproportionately hard compared to other enemies. Now, if I was playing on Normal or higher, fine, but I was playing on Very Easy.

    I guess that New Vegas was worth the money, even for the DLC - I've spent about 100hrs in New Vegas. But it's not a game I'm likely to go back to. It didn't grab me as much as I'd hoped, and all things considered it felt like a more complex Fallout 3, but one I couldn't get into as easily.


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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Drake Sigar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dominic Tarason View Post
    To be specific, it carries on a couple generations later. The New California Republic has expanded into the largest government in America and is gradually annexing everything in it's path. Oh, and Marcus is back, still up to his neck in super-mutant problems. Dude never catches a break.
    Please tell me the PC in New Vegas is related to the Chosen one from Fallout 2, who was the grandson of the Vault 13 Dweller from Fallout 1. I eat that shit up.

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    Lesser Hivemind Node Flint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drake Sigar View Post
    Please tell me the PC in New Vegas is related to the Chosen one from Fallout 2, who was the grandson of the Vault 13 Dweller from Fallout 1..
    No, but one of the NPCs you can have in your party is the daughter of [notreallyaspoilerbutjustincase]Cassidy.[nrasbjic] (and in general the game has quite a number of relatives/direct references of F1/F2 people and even a couple who come straight from those games).
    Give me steam and how you feel to make it real.

  16. #16
    One thing I quite like is that the player character is hinted to have a history, but is a newcomer to the region. All you know about your own character at first is that you were hired to deliver something, got screwed over and shot in the head, but there's various (optional) dialogue bits to suggest that you've been all over America and seen a whole lot over the years. Beyond that, you get to decide for yourself what your origins are. In fact, with all the DLC, you get starting equipment packages for Merc, Trader, Tribal and Vault-born origins.

    The general vagueness on that front lends itself pretty well to playing a Man With No Name type wanderer-badass.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    Quinns' WIT is an abomination. There's no other way to put it.

    I broke the main quest. I know which is the point where I fucked up and the game doesn't know how to respond to my schizophrenic choices. However I have no save even remotely close to it. I think I'll restart the game with Sawyer's mod.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Althea View Post
    The balance of enemies was one that really got my goat. I played on the lowest setting as I prefer to just wander, explore and so on, and I felt the balance rocketed at some points. The assassins which Caesar sent after me time and time again did my head in as they were bullet sponges, and I found the Deathclaws to be disproportionately hard compared to other enemies. Now, if I was playing on Normal or higher, fine, but I was playing on Very Easy.
    I'll agree with you on that point. Deathclaws are quite nasty compared with everything else, at every level, although there's nothing I found as annoying as those redneck guys from FO3's Point Lookout.

    My big problem with balance was that it tended to be very easy to run out of ammo and some of the unique equipment was inordinately hard to repair because of compatibility differences (Old World Blues' stealth suit being a good example). You could never really tell beforehand what kinds of ammo would be available in an area (the DLCs in particular were very bad about making you jump through hoops to get even a little ammo should you not be skilled in whatever weapon type they favored), and it made it hard to properly prepare ahead of time. Also, I never really understood the armor system. There's Damage Reduction--which directly removes damage from an attack--and then...DT? AV? Something, it's been awhile, but the point is that there were two different values that never made sense to me (and I played through the game about 3 times).

    Oh, and the ammo system was convoluted and I found it too difficult to keep track of what kind of ammo was in my gun at any given time (though I generally didn't have any ammo other than the basic type, since the crafting was cumbersome).

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    I was rather unimpressed with new vegas. My biggest gripe is that your character has no connection to the overall plot. It starts out as a revenge story, which is great, travelling from town to town getting a feel for the world your in. And the when you get to vegas you get your revenge and then it just falls apart.

    The rest of the game is you playing king maker. You select who will win, then its a question of how many side quests you will to go through in order to make your ending more awesome.

    F3 atleast did this ok, with the late game being you on a quest to finish your fathers work.

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    Lesser Hivemind Node Drinking with Skeletons's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inverselaw View Post
    I was rather unimpressed with new vegas. My biggest gripe is that your character has no connection to the overall plot. It starts out as a revenge story, which is great, travelling from town to town getting a feel for the world your in. And the when you get to vegas you get your revenge and then it just falls apart.

    The rest of the game is you playing king maker. You select who will win, then its a question of how many side quests you will to go through in order to make your ending more awesome.

    F3 atleast did this ok, with the late game being you on a quest to finish your fathers work.
    See, I thought that the dynamics of the Mojave Wasteland were far more interesting than the revenge portion. Benny had no connection to me, the murder attempt wasn't personal, so why should I care about finding the guy? I was curious to find out what was so special about that chip, and after wandering around so much I was very happy to be asked to try to shape the Mojave's future in the best way I could.

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