Bethesda was obviously not skimpy on the review copies, as Fallout: New Vegas' release and thus lifting of the review embargo has opened up a veritable floodgate. Here's the first of many roundups. Joystiq, 3.5/5.
How could I hope to evaluate the worth of Fallout: New Vegas, a full-price game that's graphically and mechanically practically identical to another game that was released two years ago? How could I tell you whether or not it's an insult that you're being asked to pay $60 for a game that's so technically deficient that it scarcely feels past the beta stage?
Giant Bomb, 4/5.
Luckily, we're talking about the experience, and that's easy enough. If you loved Fallout 3, you're going to love this. If you hated it or weren't interested enough to give it a shot, you're going to be more confused than ever what all the fuss is about.
Let's talk about that engine. New Vegas runs on the same basic framework that powered Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and it brings a lot of technical weirdness up from those games. Less than an hour in, I was staring at a guard, pacing back and forth to guard his post... 20 feet off the ground. Enemies clip into the ground with an alarming frequency, often making them impossible to shoot. The game--a retail disc running on a new-model Xbox 360--crashed on me about a dozen times over the 33 hours I spent playing, often taking a significant amount of progress with it. The load times and frame rate seemed to get randomly worse as I continued to play the game, with some simple scene transitions taking 20 seconds or more. The technical hurdles you'll have to make to stay interested in New Vegas are meaner and more frustrating than any Deathclaw or Nightkin you'll face in the game. If you're the type of person who likes to watch for a patch or two before settling into a game, know this now: you probably don't want to play Fallout: New Vegas right away.
Feed Your Console, 10/10.
When I made my 1st impressions review yesterday, I still hadn't made it into Vegas I could see and was even just outside the gates but (Beef-Hooked) if i couldn't get into the Sin City. If there's one piece of advice I can give everyone.Pay close attention to your speech skill. This isn't the Capital Wasteland I've had to do some things so ass backwards because my speech skills were so shitty. I'm just not used to needing it so much. That also brings me to another point I'm having one hell of a time finding any good armour that doesn't completely suck the ass of a dead donkey. Same with Caps and Stimpaks. For some reason, they seem to be hiding very well from me because I'm always broke or in dire need of health Go to the nearest travelling trader you say? Ya I did that.they're sold out.
Players take control of a courier who has been tasked with bringing a platinum chip to Primm, a small city on the border of California and Nevada. Trouble is, some goons from a New Vegas gang think that they should relieve you of said chip the hard way. You end up being shot and buried, but not quite dead. Saved by Victor, a Securitron robot with a cowboy image on his screen, and patched up by Doctor Mitchell in the tiny town of Goodsprings, the Courier slowly gets his bearings and starts trying to find the man that killed him. It's important to note that the Courier is not a Vault Dweller or a descendant of one, unlike the main characters of the first three games. The Courier gets his Pip-Boy 3000 and Vault 21 jumpsuit from Doctor Mitchell, who grew up in said vault. The basic story itself is fairly unimpressive, although the use of the new faction systems, explained in greater detail below, is great. I can't say that there are any memorable characters along the lines of Moira, the denizens of the Republic of Dave, or any of the Garys. The characters aren't bad by any stretch of the imagination, but aside from a cyborg-dog companion named Rex, I had no emotional attachment to anyone in the Vegas Valley.
Planet Xbox360, 8.8/10.
It dropped from somewhere around 30, into the teens and even locked up for a few seconds a few times. Everywhere you go in Novac the game engine has a problem drawing what's on screen, and it feels as if it could lock up for good at any moment, and while it never did for me, knowing the problems of Fallout 3 freezing, my experience in Novac was cringe worthy and completely took me out of the game experience. Sound design on the other hand is great, the score is properly menacing and does a great job of alerting you to changing situations in the game without bombarding you with on screen information. The same great sound effects are back from Fallout 3, meaning that blowing a guys head into chunks is as satisfying as it ever could be. The soundtrack is also worthy of the Fallout universe and is appropriate for this Vegas setting. Sinatra and the Rat Pack come to mind often. Something needs to be said of the controls. If Bethesda and Obsidian are going to parade the Fallout franchise around as any sort of FPS, they need to implement some decent FPS controls, as what is in place in Fallout: New Vegas doesn't amount to anything worthy of even a mediocre FPS control scheme.
Game Informer, 8.5/10.
Obsidian's writing is top notch (especially the dialogue), and I wanted to see more from most of the characters I met, but none of the scripted moments deliver the nuclear bang that Bethesda achieved. Nothing is on the same level as the black and white VR sequence or the communist robot.
Just Push Start, 4.5/5.
Despite being set in the glitz of Sin City, this part of the world didn't hold my interest. The casinos, as ridiculously colorful as they are, are overly cavernous, mostly vacant, and lacking that over-the-top Vegas charm. The Mojave Desert is, well.it's a desert. While it delivers that sense of helplessness that all Fallout games should, the locales spread across it are pedestrian. The most notable find is a large dinosaur giftshop. Everything else screams rural Nevada.
The graphics of New Vegas didn't improve from the previous game. Comparing it to the graphics of Fallout 3, everyone can conclude that Obsidian Entertainment has reused the graphics of Fallout 3 and just added new perks, story, setting, and weapons. Reusing it is not a bad thing because the graphics of Fallout 3 are indeed beautiful. However, the graphics could have been improved, as the engine used for Fallout 3 is several years old already.
Ars Technica, Buy.
There also doesn't appear to be many new enemies. At least, few were encountered during my time with the game. So you'll be fighting against the usual assortment of feral ghouls, super mutants, and mutated animals like radscorpions and giant fire ants, as well as more rare foes like the Nightkin who, despite their large size, are able to sneak up on you thanks to their ability to turn invisible. What is new though, is some of your human opponents. The Legion soldiers are tough and specialize in a purely offensive style of melee combat, and they're almost always accompanied by an attack dog. Also new are the Great Khans, an offshoot of the Khans form the first two Fallout games. These mercenary gang members are incredibly tough and are especially hard to take down in groups. You'll also encounter plenty of Securitron robots, who serve as Mr. House's very own personal army. Though they may look goofy with their cartoon character faces, as security bots they're tough and pack quite a bit of firepower.
As luck would have it, I serendipitously stumbled upon the endgame path late Sunday night, minutes away from the 1:00AM cutoff I had instituted for myself. It was a fortuitous turn because I was given a glimpse of how the whole thing might play out, and who would be involved, and what their eventual fate might be. The next thing I knew, all the major players were sending envoys with invitations for meetings; they knew that I was eventually going to end up holding all the cards, and they all wanted to have a say in how I chose to play my hand.
Gaming Nexus, B.
That's when I realized finishing the game was no longer a concern; that moment was enough to seal my perceptions of the game, and I felt confident enough to write my review. On top of that, I knew I could go back and visit all the locations I hadn't yet discovered, and finish all the quests I had sitting in my PIP-Boy. In short, I could finally start to play the game the way it was intended.
Combat's similar to Fallout 3 with the addition of iron sights aiming added in. The addition though still makes it tough to play as a first person shooter and I found myself spending most of my time in VATS unless I was out of action points. It was just too hard to aim and I never felt comfortable playing this way. I just don't think the engine is conducive to making combat through a first person view any fun. Those kill cams that were only present in VATS in Fallout 3 does appear randomly in Fallout: New Vegas on regular non-VAT kills so you can at least experience the carnage that can happen if you don't go into VATs. Also, melee weapons get some special moves so this might entice you to use some more melee attacks.
Straight, no score.
The problem with more is that at some point it becomes too much, and New Vegas comes perilously close to this limit.
Charleston Gazette, 9.5/10.
The inventory management, for one, has become troublesome because there are so many more items to keep track of. And the Xbox 360 version I played was plagued with long load times and graphical hiccups. Moving from the Mojave Wasteland into New Vegas, for example, or even between sections of the Strip, required a pause of minutes in some cases. And after I'd been playing for a few hours, the game would just freeze for a few seconds as I was walking through the desert.
Early on, I got on the wrong side of a group of bandits known as the Powder Gangers. Apparently, they didn't take too kindly to me blasting a handful of their members while protecting Goodsprings, and immediately I became hated by the whole lot. Whenever I would encounter a Powder Ganger in the world, they would shoot first and ask questions never. As I continued to lay waste to the Powder Gangers, their disdain for me grew to the point that I became infamous among the group. At this point, instead of being attacked I was given the freedom to go wherever I pleased within their territory and help myself to any of their goods and supplies. Apparently fear has its advantages. A few hours of game time later, I happened upon an injured gang member who referred to me as "the Powder Gangers' Grim Reaper." How cool is that! It is that type of moment, and knowing that if I had made different choices along the way that exchange would have never happened, that makes me love "New Vegas."
Hooked Gamers, 9/10.
Sure, Fallout 3 had a good amount of exploration and a good number of people to meet. But New Vegas takes it to a new level with all of its factions. You have the Great Khans, raiders that have adopted the nomadic lifestyle of Mongolians from the time of Genghis Khan even though they have nothing to herd. And then there are the Kings, a gang comprised of Elvis impersonators that runs Freeside, the poorer outskirts of the Vegas Strip. There are several more - some major, others minor - but they all have rich histories and cultures of their own.
Above is a picture of the new companion wheel, which is your new way of easily telling companions what to do. It takes a few minutes to get used to, but after the initial learning period, it works VERY nicely. Also, for those looking for a NIGHTMARE challenge, there's HARDCORE mode. In Hardcore mode, EVERYTHING has weight, including all of your ammo. Add to that you have to eat and drink, or you die of starvation/dehydration. Oh yeah and you can't fast travel far either, because you'd die of hunger/thirst. Brutal. Gamer's Hell, 7/10.
Hidden beneath the game's numerous bugs, to-and-fro pacing issues, and overall unattractiveness lays an intriguing adventure full of twisting and crisscrossing possibilities but as you decide whom you'd like to be buddy-buddy with, in order to extrapolate your character's real contribution to the game, you're often forced to watch more than play. Like 2008's hit, New Vegas is an action-RPG, but most of your time is spent walking around: to NPCs to initiate a mission; to somewhere directed in order to flip a switch or talk to someone else; and to get back to the mission giver so you can reap your experience points. It's not an unusual formula, but the actual action part is lighter fare; there's more town crawling than dungeon. At times, you'll see more of the loading screens than enemies as you travel to your destination. G4 TV, 4/5.
The game starts abruptly, however, lacking the measured process of your birth and childhood in Fallout 3's Vault 101. As a consequence, you're thrust into the desert with no real sense of purpose or connection other than to find the man who put the bullet so gingerly in your dome. Some players will no doubt appreciate this expedience while others, such as myself, will feel a lack of emotional development or discovery. There's no emerging moment. There's no point when you climb up from the darkness into a massive, sun-baked landscape with a single, emotional goal. In Fallout 3, it was finding your father. Rather, New Vegas starts with a literal bang, pats you carelessly on the backside and says, (You're on your own.) AVault, 5/5.
Fallout: New Vegas hails from the philosophy: (if it ain't broke, don't fix it!) From my perspective, this works extremely well here, as the game retains everything that was interesting about its predecessor, and only makes updates that add either depth or breadth. For example, there are new variables that must be considered, such as one's reputation among different groups of people and choice of attire. The weapon choices and variation are also more expansive, with players having the ability to literally break down their inventory into core materials in order to build new items. The graphics, music, and storyline are all at the level of exceptional we've come expect in this franchise. FileFront, 91/100.
For a title called '˜New Vegas,' a surprising amount of the action takes place outside Vegas, in the Mojave Wasteland itself. That's not a bad thing, as the Mojave, much like the Capital Wasteland, is a weirdly beautiful place to hang out. Yes, the graphics engine looks a lot like Fallout 3, albeit with some upgraded textures. Even so, the landscape retains the same strange allure that Fallout 3 possessed. Atomic Gamer, 9/10.
Unfortunately, the Fallout: New Vegas experience is fraught with a pretty large range of bugs, some of which are hilarious and fun, and others which will just lock up the game. I found several crash bugs in both the 360 and PS3 versions, problems with the Caravan card game not starting properly, and plenty of issues with NPC pathing and animations (which, admittedly, that is pretty much par for the course for anything running on Gamebryo tech). On the PS3, I saw some serious ragdoll physics freakouts, one of which sent a headless body flying about a mile off into the distancet. Beyond that, it seemed like the 360 version was still superior, as it had antialiasing enabled for smoother visuals and seemed to be at least a little less prone to crash - and, according to a Bethesda press release, it'll get new downloadable content first, too. One thing I want to note is that while I have found a lot of bugs, I haven't found one yet that ruined my save game or broke progress on a vital quest, but I would still recommend that when you play, you keep multiple save games just in case. A tip of the hat to NMA, who are live-tracking the reviews as they come in.
The PC version of New Vegas is, from a technical standpoint, the best one you can get and it even costs $10 less, but it's got its fair share of problems as well. It's got built-in mod support, higher-resolution textures and better visuals (on a well-enough equipped PC - the system requirements haven't changed much since Fallout 3) and precise mouse-and-keyboard controls that free you up from leaning on the auto-aim found in VATS. It's also got most of the issues and crash bugs that the console versions do, but at least on the PC you have a quicksave key to make saving your progress at any time pretty much instant.