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Fallout: New Vegas, Old Obsidian

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I’m only about four hours into Fallout: New Vegas, and while I’m enjoying myself, I’ve already come to one saddening conclusion. It’s a bit broke.

Below you’ll find a list of all the mysterious happenings and straight-up bugs I’ve encountered so far, a list Jim suggests I call “Getting Glitched In Vegas”. He’s good, that Jim.

  • By far the most annoying and prevalent oddity is that the NPCs you encounter in towns and stationed around the wasteland have strange, hairpin senses of danger, and simply walking past them can be enough to trigger some kind of evasive AI routine. The result is that you’ll walk into a town, and four or five NPCs will abruptly start sprinting away from you in endless circles. “WELCOME, STRANGER,” they’ll shout while rubbing themselves against burnt-out trucks and walls. Sound annoying? Now imagine you have to talk to one of them for a quest, so you end up chasing them all around town. Yeah.
  • Above you can see a woman at a desk. She’s typing at a computer. You can see her fingers moving, and hear the noise of the keys clattering. There’s just… no computer. Call me a stickler for detail, but that’s, I mean, she should have a computer.
  • The Oblivion engine’s back! Now, the thing about the Oblivion engine is that it’s a bit of a charisma vacuum, and you have to work quite hard to make people not come across as stocky puppets. New Vegas doesn’t try very hard. In fact it tries so little that I’ve been having shootouts with people who maintain the same lazy smile or expression of doped boredom that they wear before the fighting starts.
  • In four hours, the game’s crashed on me twice.
  • I’ve also had a couple of encounters with that strange ragdoll rubberman glitch where somebody falls over, and their body elongates until it becomes an intangible sheet that divides the level. I later died when some enemies happened to ambush me by attacking from the other side of the glitch. True story.
  • The new “Hardcore” mode on offer that means your character has to eat, drink and sleep is a touch nonsensical. After 48 in-game hours where I did nothing but walk and fight, I checked my FOD, SLP and H20 meters in the nick of time, because they all showed that I only had about 50 points out of 1000 left. I drank some water, ate some fruit, and checked the meters again. They now read 0. As in, after 48 hours they hadn’t ticked from 1000 to 50. They’d ticked from 0 to 50. I could go without drinking or sleeping for weeks. Also, in Hardcore mode food still heals damage you’ve taken, it just takes a few seconds instead of being instantaneous. So you still have the ability to get shot, bring up the Pip Boy, devour 40 packets of instant mash, exit the Pip Boy and keep fighting.
  • I played Fallout 3 on my console toy so I’m not sure how bad Fallout 3’s controls were on PC, but I can tell you that New Vegas definitely does have the controls of a lazy port. It’s impossible to assign hotkeys for anything in the Pip Boy menu, so if you want to check your map, quests, inventory or even turn off the radio, you bring up the Pip Boy with tab and navigate to that specific submenu with a series of clicks. Clicking your way through multiple choice conversations is almost as bad- it’s just that so few buttons do what you’d expect them to, and masses of obvious shortcuts are ignored.

So, yeah. My time with New Vegas is off to a bit of a bad start. If you’re after a more full-bodied conclusion instead of just me whinging, fear not. I’ll be posting my Wot I Think in the next few days.

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