Viva ‘New Vegas’: sequel to acclaimed ‘Fallout’

By Zach Walton

Las Vegas is a great vacation destination, even in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

The sequel to the 2008 game of the year “Fallout 3,” “Fallout: New Vegas” is a side-story that’s as big as a full retail game but feels like an expansion in some ways.

“New Vegas” opens in a graveyard, as the player character is shot in the head and left for dead. Let’s just say this leads to a mystery as to who shot you and why.

This mystery leads to the main quest line that can take the average player about 20 hours to complete. The length is extended by side quests that can easily make the game last over 100 hours.

“New Vegas” is so similar to “Fallout 3” that accusations of it being an expansion are not unfounded. “New Vegas” was harder to get into than “Fallout 3” due to the familiarity caused by the gameplay being too similar. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make “New” Vegas feel tired.

This is made up for by the side quests, which are always the main selling point of “Fallout” games. While the main quest can be melodramatic and heavy-handed, the side quests bring humor to the post-apocalyptic setting that truly makes the game memorable.

Many players of “Fallout 3” will remember the karma system which is still intact in “New Vegas.” The karma system is not as important in “New Vegas” due to the reputation system. Various factions of “New Vegas” all vie for the player’s support. How these different factions view the player will determine the outcome of the game’s ending. This leads to numerous endings encouraging multiple playthroughs.

“New Vegas” has one major flaw though: It’s too big. There are a lot of games where being too big would be a good thing. “Fallout 3” was big but it had a lot of interesting places to see and things to do to keep the player occupied. “New Vegas” is like the “Mojave Wasteland” it takes place in. It’s expansive but in a bad way. There’s not enough content to pad out the size of the map. The player will be walking a lot at the beginning without a lot of things to do.

Beyond the somewhat boring first few hours, “New Vegas” opens to some exciting missions and interesting characters. “Fallout” always does this. It manages to pull through at the end with the atmosphere and the story. “New Vegas” is no different.

On an unfortunate note, all the bugs from “Fallout 3” and more are present in “New Vegas.” The gamebryo engine that powers all of Bethesda’s games, like “Oblivion,” is great for open world games but is always full of the most peculiar and annoying bugs. “New Vegas” was fine for the first 15 hours, but then random game crashing and various bugs began to occur. Near the end of the game, I was getting a game crash at least every 30 minutes.

In most games, this would be a bad thing. “New Vegas” has the addicting gameplay and interesting enough world to keep the player interested past all the bugs and crashes. While some may not be able to excuse “New Vegas” being somewhat broken technically, the dedicated will find a game worth putting up with the odd bug and game crash.

“Fallout: New Vegas” is a game that rewards patience. I ended up having over 80 hours put into the game with a multitude of crashes. I never gave up because the game is just that much fun. A game is truly good when it can outshine the technical mess that it’s packaged in. Besides, game patches can fix everything, right?