The exciting conclusion to Fallout: New Vegas was finally within my grasp last night. Be warned: there be spoilers abound.
THE FATE OF NEW VEGAS
For the record, I played on Normal difficulty, Hardcore mode. Most of my time was spent with Rex and Veronica as companions (halfway through until end), and I was more or less Morally Good (except to the NCR and Legion, whom I slaughtered with reckless abandon in the finale).
Once you reach the actual city of New Vegas, only after a long, enjoyable jaunt throughout the Mojave desert and its various settlements and denizens, you find there’s a power struggle going on. Sure, you’re already privy to the general rivalry between NCR and Caesar’s Legion for the Hoover Dam by the time you get there, but the factions involved in ruling this post-apocalyptic land are even more numerous than you once knew.
I had already logged about 40-50 hours into the game by the time I reached the Strip, but I ended up having another 30 or so to go once I started on New Vegas itself. The Boomers, Great Khans, Omertas, White Glove Society, and the Brotherhood of Steel all had their own quest lines to accomplish in addition to the main Mr. House one.
Unlike Fallout 3, it wasn’t as straightforward as finding your dad and helping save the land from an evil force. Instead, it was all about power. The power to rule New Vegas. All of these factions are vying for some kind of control and as a wronged courier mixed up in all of it, you can find a way to potentially turn the tide and take that control for yourself. The fates of the other factions are up to you.
In the end, I went for an independent New Vegas. After catching up to Benny, the guy who shoots you in the very beginning and a rogue casino employee bent on taking away power from the current ruler of The Strip, Mr. House, I initially start helping Mr. House exact revenge on the defector. He eventually runs away to Caesar’s Legion, whom I help long enough to get my revenge against him. After visiting all of the remaining factions to gauge their level of support or impedance, I team up with a very helpful robot, called Yes Man, that Benny used to further his cause. However, Yes Man ends up being quite amenable to helping your character go on a different path. With my help, Yes Man takes over Mr. House’s security robots so that I can use them as my own personal army. The NCR and Caesar’s Legion commence a semi-epic battle over Hoover Dam while I roll in pick them all off myself. In the end, I overthrow the leading general of the NCR and convince the Legion to retreat.
Now, I’m in control. And the credits roll, detailing the fate of all known significant players.
WOT I THINK
The header is stolen from Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but the conclusion is my own :-)
In the end, I enjoyed Fallout: New Vegas at least as much as Fallout 3, if not a little more. This was due mainly to all the advances and improvements between the two, like new items/weapons, addition of factions, Hardcore mode, and less running around in miles and miles of confusing underground sewers, which kind of plagued the former. The gameplay was largely the same, so it’s an even tie. The ending was exhilarating, and the many paths I could’ve taken yet leaves me wanting to replay it. Most likely due to my high Speech skill, I was able to talk my through a lot more battles, making the whole game seem more pacifistic than it probably defaults to. In fact, I talked my way through the final battle with the Legion, which can be, reportedly, very tough.
My gripes with the game are few, but significant. Despite the widely-held belief that the game is one of the buggiest ever, I did not experience this much. In 70 hours of playing, the game crashed my 360 twice. However, in the last 10 hours, it crashed three times, including once during the final quest. Annoying, but not game-breaking. I barely used any crafting, despite it being fairly deep, because either a) items that are comparable are too easy to get, or b) nothing you can craft is really worth it. In addition, there is just waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much stuff to pick up that you’ll never run out of anything.
Hardcore mode is pretty much a joke, as well. The nomenclature chosen does not mean what you think it might mean. Having to eat and drink fairly constantly did have an effect on the game, but it was minor. I still almost never slept. Broken limbs needing doctor’s bags or doctors was somewhat significant, but still minor (a perk gotten later lessened its effects even more). As predicted early on the only significant change in hardcore mode that changed my play style a bit was that Stimpacks (which you would spam like crazy in Fallout 3 while being shot at) don’t affect your HP immediately. Hit-and-run tactics needed to be employed a lot more than usual just to keep from being killed by certain enemies. Finally, I almost never sneaked except to steal some items (notably in one mission, detailed in a previous post), so Ramboing still works pretty well. The sniper rifle is still the best gun, though.
One thing that bothered me about both this game and its immediate predecessor are the words. You know, the text spoken by characters you meet and interact with constantly. In general, dialogue was fine, as lines are recorded clearly and the writing is tight, wasting few words. The voice acting was satisfactory for the most part, but also really inconsistent. Some people, like Felicia Day, did great and seemed to have fun recording her lines. Lots of NPCs just seemed bored and had flat readings. I hate seeing a line that ends with an exclamation mark and not hearing any exclamation. Very few voice actors for NPCs were used so you hear the same actor a lot, even for named characters that are supposed to be unique. Also, the writers continue to use a lot of swearing that just seems immature and unnecessary. I have no problem with swearing itself, but it’s a tool that needs to be used effectively.
Wow. I’ve been on-and-off playing this game since late October 2010. I didn’t reach the level cap, I didn’t visit every location, and I didn’t do all quests. There’s a lot of game I didn’t touch. And it still took me 2.5 months and 80 game hours to play. Thus, this is a deep game. With such a deep, complex game, there’s bound to be some inconsistency and bugs, and F:NV has those. But it’s also extremely engrossing to me, and I love just being in its world. I was sad to finish it, because it meant my initial experience was now shaped and now that experience can only be added to or amended, but never truly relived.
Oh, well. There’s always DLC.