Fallout: New Vegas is new installment to the world of Fallout, published 2010. This time the game was developed by Obsidian, which means that few original Fallout developers (developing either Fallout 1 or Fallout 2 or both) are back. Now, Fallout: New Vegas (F:NV from now on) can not be considered as Fallout 4, as it's more like standalone expansion. The place where the game is situated is different than in Fallout 3, some game mechanisms has been altered, but in many ways the game is identical to the prequel. Unlike my review of Fallout 3, which was made basing on the XBox 360 version, this time I'm using the PC version. My computer is more than capable of running the game with highest settings, which will lead me to the first section of the review. Also, be warned that this review does contain spoilers, though I try to avoid any major ones. Graphics 7/10 Even though I'm not one of those who worship graphics over everything else, I must say I'm a bit disappointed in F:NV. The game uses same engine as Fallout 3, which means that the graphics are definitely outdated. A bit polishing can be seen at times, and some landscapes actually look beautiful. The Strip is one of those places where the graphics shine. The game also contains some bugs regarding graphics: Flash of lights from location where such thing should not come, characters partially melting inside objects and walls and some texture oddnesses. The most serious one is the character textures melting inside objects, as that one really breaks the immersion. How could I take the game serious if I'm talking to head sticking out from table? Aside from being clearly outdated and some bugs, graphics still looks fine. Sound 9/10 The sound system in the game is good. The only complain I have is that some voice are used too often, although the problem is not as bad as in for example Oblivion. Still, it's clear that a lot of reusing has been done. Otherwise, the sounds are good enough for me. Gameplay 9/10 Basic playing mechanisms have not changed since Fallout 3. We still have similar compass, world map, V.A.T.S. and PipBoy. The PC version of PipBoy and V.A.T.S. works much better than in console version, mostly due the mouse. If I were using console version I would still count PipBoy and V.A.T.S. too confusing to not alter the score, but in PC version they work well enough for me. One of the biggest changes in F:NV is the skill system. There is one new skill called Survival, which allows the player to create stuff ranging from bullets to guns to food and healing stuff. The most interesting aspect in this is the bullet making. Player is allowed to create new bullets from the components either scavenged around the world or got from other bullets. Of course the bullets made by this way are either worse in case of damage or they wear down the weapons faster. Making food with survival skill does not affect much to the normal play, but if player chooses to play in Hardcore mode, which is also new feature in F:NV, the food has much more effect. The usefulness of most skills have been altered as well. For example, while in Fallout 3 Lockpicking and Science were mandatory to gain access to most places, now there no big need to get them to full early in the game. Well, Science should be maxed, but not for the reasons mentioned early, but more because the possibilities it offers in dialogues. Due this reason few other skills have become important in the game, like Barter and Speech. This makes the character creation more interesting, as it's possible to actually make a character who solves nearly everything either by using force or by talking. This on the other hand means that the game stays interesting through more than one or two plays, as there are different ways to solve nearly every situation. The Repairing skill has also been overhauled. Yes, the player still needs to carry weapons or armor of the similar type to do any repairing, but now the skill doesn't affect the maximum condition you can repair, but instead how much the condition raises with each repair done. This is good thing, as now even low skill allows the player to repair everything to full condition, it just requires more items. This is definitely good improvement. The new difficulty, Hardcore, can be turned on at the beginning of the game, and can be toggled on and off later as well. Some achievements can only be gained if the player plays in the mode all the time without turning it off since the possibility to set it on arrives. The changes this mode brings make the game much more difficult, and interesting as well. In Hardcore mode, everything has weight. No more carrying tons of ammo or money. Player must actually choose what to bring along when travelling. Also, player can die to hunger or thirst. Thirst especially can become a problem, often forcing on drinking radiated water. Finally, last big change is that stimpaks and other healing items no more instantly heals the player, but instead uses healing of time. So no more rushing in middle of combat, waiting for health to drop near death then pausing the game by going to PipBoy and magically being back on full health. Companion system has also changed a bit. Now the interaction with the followers, mostly giving orders or initiating dialogue, is done by using so-called "Companion Wheel". The wheel itself is quite simple to use and offers access to every aspect of companion management you can think of. It also show the health of the companion or the carrying capacity when the cursor is over the corresponding option. Last improvement in game mechanism comes in relation between shooting in real time and using V.A.T.S. While in Fallout 3 I saw it necessary to use V.A.T.S. to actually kill anything that's even remotely tougher, now it's much easier to kill things in real time. Just aim in the head, and if you are accurate enough and the opponent has not noticed you critical hit is almost certain. Story 9/10 If you don't want to get spoiled, please skip everything in this part this part. I try to avoid any major spoilers, but some minor ones still remains. The game begins in small town called Goodsprings. You wake up in the house of local doctor, who has patched you up after group of stranger tried to kill you near local cemetery. The character creation is done by the doctor in forms of small tasks related on his examination of how the healing has affected you. The main quest follows the task of finding out who tried to kill you and why, and while trying to discover that the player reveals the history of the area, the battle between NCR and Legion, and how the town of New Vegas fits in that struggle. The story starts a bit slow, which is small minus, but after it really gets going it's interesting. In the end the player is forced to take a side in the battle, either by joining NCR or fighting against them. The sidequests are better than in Fallout 3. In F:NV many quests have another quest following, revealing more about the story of the area and offering the player to decide the side he/she is going to take. For example, on certain location offers the player to fix solar arrays, and thus allowing to redirect the power to either certain locations wanted by certain groups, or redirect the power evenly to everywhere, or even redirect the power to arm certain weapon wipe all the NCR troops in near vicinity. The player makes the choice. Or, in certain section of the game, the player is allowed to decide which groups should be left alone and which one should be the target of aggressive actions. There is one bad feature regarding companions: they prefer to initiate combat too frequently. Several times I tried to sneak bast groups of deathclaws, but if I stopped my movement even for a second one of my companions decides to initiate combat with them, resulting the death of mine. The deathclaws didn't see me nor my companions before the combat begins, and without the my followers attacking we would have slipped past the creatures without any problems. So, they AI is at time too aggressive if they see an enemy and they can hit it. Some background stories are not as good as in Fallout 3. For example, in the prequel, you could find old factory, and while exploring it find out the history of the building and what has happened there. In F:NV, such locations are much rarer, and usually the background is not as detailed. On the other hand, if the location has any importance in main story or side quests, the history is immediately more detailed.