Fallout: New Vegas is a big game and reviews keep streaming in as reviewers finally wrestle through enough of it to feel they can formulate an opinion (65 hours in I don't feel completely ready to write a review). No Mutants Allowed, impression piece.
When compared to returning factions, new ones don't feel out of place or insignificant. Even the biggest and most controversial one - the Caesar's Legion - fits right in, thanks to the fact that its leader explains in detail why he chose to emulate ancient Rome and what his motivations are. This is true for others as well. From the Van Graffs to Powder Gangers, new factions are provided with adequate context for their presence in the Mojave and a backstory explaining how they came to be. Gaming Blend, 4.5/5.
There is something very odd about the way Fallout: New Vegas' world is designed. Odd, but easy to explain. Unlike its Oblivion engine predecessors, New Vegas doesn't really try to get away with presenting (large) settlements in disproportionally tiny maps. This is good in that it provides a much more convincing game world, but it is bad in that this is the wrong engine to do it in. With its limitations, noticeably on how many NPCs can be present on the map, New Vegas ends up giving us large but eerily empty towns and areas. It makes some sense for a post-apocalyptic game to do so, but as mentioned, this is more of a post-post-apocalyptic game. Furthermore, it is a deterrent to gameplay.
As a Fallout fan, you'll mostly notice New Vegas combines a less nonsensical take on Fallout lore with a kind of light-hearted post-post-apocalypse similar to Fallout 2. The writing is miles beyond Fallout 3 and that's a saving grace for many fans, as is its increased dedication to RPG mechanics. I feel the mechanics and engine's shortcomings keep it from being (the Fallout 3 that was supposed to be), but it's certainly a lot better than Fallout 3, and quite probably the best thing that could happen to the franchise after Bethesda purchased it.
Bethesda and Obsidian took note of many gamers' complaints about FO3's difficulty, and so they have now added a brand-new gaming mode: Hardcore Mode. And when they say Hardcore, they're not kidding around. The biggest difference here is that you MUST eat, drink and sleep in order to keep your character healthy and up-to-par. You also cannot fast travel if your character would need to eat or drink within the time it would take to fast travel there. Limbs also cannot be healed by sleeping or applying a Stimpak to them and can only be fixed by either using a Doctor's Bag or by seeing a doctor yourself. If you're like me, then you probably enjoy carrying a large assortment of weapons and armor on you at all times, because certain situations call for a particular gear set. This, however, will simply not work in Hardcore. Ammo also adds weight to your backpack so a lot more strategy is needed in order to survive. Also, if your companions fall in battle don't expect them to pull a (Great J.C.) and rise on the third day. Once they're dead, consider them Bighorn grub. With only a few hours of gaming with the Hardcore Mode, I can tell you it's not for the meek. While it's frustrating, it does offer up a great opportunity to really challenge yourself after your initial play-through in Normal Mode to see if you can survive the Wasteland with limited resources. Big Download, Wait.
At first glance, the game has everything it needs: a fantastic open world with a multilayered story where the players free to determine how they fit into the grand scheme of things. However, as one might expect from a game with this content, New Vegas is plagued by some very serious bugs - and we're not just talking about the giant mutant variety. We experienced frequent game crashes in the course of playing, which made hitting the quicksave button every few minutes an absolute necessity. Furthermore, there were severe performance drops at different points of the game, and it didn't seem to matter if we was high action, or if we were indoors or out. Companions that vanish after being dismissed to a common meeting place, sometimes they don't follow you on quick travel, and some locations don't show up as discovered despite walking into the area and talking to the characters. Less game breaking problems include creatures that seem to walk on their heads, companions that suddenly start unprovoked attacks against neutral characters, and a few minor missions that don't show up in the quest journal or Pip-Boy notes. In one instance, we were given a hotel room to keep to thank us for all the favors, but taking any of the items from the room counted as stealing.Gaming Age, B.
Character interactions still works out by approaching characters, pressing A, and then cycling through the dialogue options. It feels like the dialogue offers up more options for people that pour points into Speech and Barter for their skills, which was nice to see (I love manipulating quests through Speech). Another big change for New Vegas comes in the form of the reputation system, something that's probably a bit more familiar to old school Fallout fans. There are a number of different factions in New Vegas, none of which are completely clear cut as just being "the good guys", which you can do quests for and build up your reputation. Some factions will pit you against others, and there's some definite risk and reward involved depending on who you side with. Most of these faction associations come into play during the end game, so it makes it worthwhile to see how different scenarios can play out.NXT Gamer, 9/10.
But you'll take your time doing so. The Mojave Wasteland, like Fallout 3's Capital Wasteland before it, is dense with places to go, people to meet and things to do. Getting anywhere can take hours. Not because movement is slow you can teleport to any visited location. It's because you'll be struggling to resist the urge to step away from your path to investigate that unusual building in the distance, or because your compass is showing an undiscovered location nearby. Visiting these locations often results in a new quest or some valuable loot few games make exploration as exciting and gratifying as Fallout: New Vegas.God Is A Geek, 8/10.
Morality is another grey area in New Vegas. A quest might require you to do something that will give you negative Karma, but serves the greater good. Whilst this sounds sensible, it doesn't really work quite as well in practice and being given negative Karma for looting someone you've been instructed to kill feels a bit silly. It's only a minor niggle in the grand scheme of things though as morality doesn't really seem to play much of a part in the game most of the time, giving way to the factions instead, which makes you wonder why it wasn't dropped altogether.Pixel Jumpers, 4.5/5.
The AI leaves a little to be desired at times as well. The enemy seems to have very few ideas that don't involve rushing and attacking you. It can be funny at times to be running backwards reloading whilst they run at you swinging or shooting, but it does feel a bit silly and at times you might expect the Benny Hill theme to start playing. Worse still, the difficulty seems rather unbalanced at times and you can expect high difficulty spikes at times that may frustrate you, but you can always drop the overall difficuly level via the options menu if need be.
Taking post war nuclear limitations and adding the elements of big city and big money making, sounds good but in a way it ends up breaking the game. You are given way too many opportunities to make money in New Vegas. During the early game, if you learn how to play caravan well, it is very easy to make a few thousands caps in a very short amount of time. In a post apocalyptic world of desolation and shortage, supplies are supposed to be hard to come by, but when you have the ability to easily make money, it ends up not being the case. You will quickly fill your inventory with stimpacks, ammo and a variety of guns without even worrying about your wallet.Me Gamers, 8.6/10.
The characters at times look like they are saying something completely different from the text you see. This might not be a huge issue that will certainly not limit how much you enjoy this game, but a little more attention to these things would have made this game better. The final problem we had with Fallout: NW is the ending. Right after you finish the game you will not be allowed to continue with your quests and missions. That is a big disappointment considering Fallout 3 had the same issue early on. Fallout 3 even got a patch later on to fix this problem and allowed gamers to play on. Hopefully New Vegas will get a similar patch in the very near future.
Graphically this game follows Fallout 3 too. Those very same graphics that impressed only a couple years ago are not that good enough this time around. Everything surrounding you is still highly detailed but the graphics will let you down when coming across a town or a site for example. I came across an interview with one of the developers of this game and he mentioned how the graphics power had to be limited to allow such a big world to run smoothly. First of all, the world is not running as smoothly as you would want, and secondly games like Just Cause 2 thrived in great graphics and a massive world to explore. No excuses here.