NMA Fallout: New Vegas Review

Discussion in 'NMA News and Information' started by Brother None, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. Ausir

    Ausir Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Apr 20, 2003
    Starting with Fallout 2, though, the world is pretty much a post-post-apocalyptic one. And the level standards in the NCR proper are pretty high.

    They do seem to favor melee weapons over guns. And aside from Caesar himself, they seem to rely on tribal level of medicine - only healing powder instead of the abundant stimpaks.

    And after Caesar's death, the Legion is bound to become just another band of bloodthirsty tribals, particularly if led by the psychopathic Lanius, whom Caesar designated as his successor for some reason.
     
  2. Faceless Stranger

    Faceless Stranger Board Drifter

    Aug 19, 2010
    Exactly why the Brotherhood of Steel would wipe them out 8-)
     
  3. Nark

    Nark Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Dec 6, 2008
    [spoiler:0e86048fc7]Ummm, Lanius really isn't as psychopathic as people make him out to be. He's a sort-of poetic villain, if you've had the 100/100 Speech conversation with him at the end (from NCR side) he's a lot more caring about the Legion than willing to risk his whole army just to take Hoover Dam, and retreats knowing he can defend what the Legion has already conquered.[/spoiler:0e86048fc7]
     
  4. VDweller

    VDweller Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Oct 31, 2005
    Which locations?

    Arroyo is a tribal village. Klamath is a small trapper town where people live in ruined pre-war buildings. The Den is a slightly bigger town, but still set in ruins (i.e. people haven't even reached a point where they start building towns - for example settle in ruins, then start cleaning things up and adding new buildings). Modoc is a farming community. Redding and Broken Hills are small mining towns. New Reno - ruins. So far so good. Appropriately post-apocalyptic and more or less in the spirit of the original.

    Then we have the Vault City and the NCR? The latter felt like a fragment of a different game. I know it's canon and all, because MCA said so, but I have my doubts.

    Even if we accept that the Shady Sands -> NCR transformation makes sense, how do you explain that the majority of people still live in pre-war ruins and haven't even moved to "let's start building proper towns" phase?
     
  5. Little Robot

    Little Robot sup Orderite

    Sep 29, 2010
    If I were living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and I had the choice to work to get an old building livable-- where it already had a backbone and structure, but might require some work to fix up-- versus the choice of building a completely new city, I would probably choose to settle in the old building. This can explain most of the independent cities/settlers, I'd say.

    As for the NCR in NV, they are still expanding east and have not even captured the land. They are using their resources for preparing to battle Caesar's legion, not to build new cities. Perhaps once the war is over and they have taken the land successfully they will start to rebuild as they did with Shady Sands.

    Post-post-apocalyptic, I feel, (although this may differ from Ausir's definition) is more about society rebuilding itself than about new construction. And FO2 had much more societal development-- comparing the settlements in FO1 and 2 shows considerable expansion and development. Small settlements went from a place like Shady Sands to a place like Broken Hills-- expansion, trade routes with other villages, etc. I'd say that civilization is clearly starting to get back on its feet with FO2, although it's not as "in your face" as New Vegas, perhaps.

    As to standard of living prerequisites, etc, I'd say that there may be a difference between now and then. When creating a system of government once all governments have been destroyed, there's probably a natural tendency to mimic older forms of government which "worked," even if people don't really understand the original development of those governments. Caesar's Legion == Rome, NCR == America or something.
     
  6. Macky

    Macky First time out of the vault

    May 30, 2007
    I had been waiting for this review and was very impressed with Vince's critique of Fallout: New Vegas. The overall areas of mention that Vince addresses proves to me that he's played the game longer and more thoroughly than most (if not all) of the other reviewers who have 'assessed' the newest Fallout game (not the 2nd Fallout title, you see...). I feel personally validated that the game's (lack of) difficulty was brought up at so many junctions as I find it to be central to the playability of any self-labeled post-apocalyptic title.

    In fact I played New Vegas on Hardcore mode (I kind of laugh at this misappropriation of terminology) and just finished the game last week.

    My reaction to the abundance of resources, from ammo to ingestibles, was that there needed to be a far greater scarcity. Indeed Vince was right on the money with his critique of this. Keeping in mind that I played on Hardcore mode, I never needed to manufacture my own ammo or medicinal aides to stay alive or complete certain objectives requiring additional quantities that I could not supply through other means.

    I must mention however that there was one point in my journey where I forgot to carry food with me and I began to suffer the effects of starvation, the first of which was becoming over-encumbered as I had already been at my carrying limit. For the life of me I could not find anything that I could part with to fast travel back home. So there I was, at Bitter Springs, stealing food from a local refugee to bring my Strength stat back up a point. This was the only time in the game where I really felt the survivalist sensibility (and charm ;) ) It only lasted a few minutes but I couldn't help but wish that the entire game could be like this. Unfortunately, as soon as I went back to my apartment I was confronted with loads of mindlessly strewn-about Blacmo Mac 'n Cheese.


    There are 10 additional areas of interest during my play-through of Fallout: New Vegas that I did not spot in Vince's review that I thought deserved a mention.

    (1) Weapon modifications - a simply brilliant addition, or transfer from Fallout 2, that deserved a mention. It wasn't perfect in its execution (e.g., uneven/random availability meant that I couldn't find any mods for my hunting rifle until I already had a more powerful and effective replacement weapon).

    (2) The Vaults and the writing for the vaults was, for the most part, fantastic. They were essentially rabbit holes within the larger world that became enacted short stories - always involving you as a sort of detective. Vault 11 deserves its own mention among the lot as the standout.

    (3) True Iron Sight may seem like a remedial addition to an already archaic, wonky, and unnatural combat system, but it actually did make combat outside of VATS a plausible option compared to Fallout 3... and it was actually pretty entertaining because of this basic workability. Vince did mention this.

    (4) Gambling was integrated successfully and meaningfully in the game world and wasteland economy (e.g., useful means of attaining/loosing wealth). The casino's are limited in nature but hey - it's not so bad playing the tables that are available. Caravan is actually great fun. Although far too easy against NPC's. I accumulated over 20,000 caps at level 10 because I found Lacy @ Mojave Outpost who remains a high roller every time you visit. Near the end of my adventure she would put up a starting bid of nearly 4,000 caps.

    (5) Fallout 3 had one excellent consideration for gamers with the 'post-game completion' achievements that led your character to the discovery of nearly the entire map. The closest New Vegas comes to this is the snow globe challenge which does not require the character to travel to the obscure locations Fallout 3's 20 bubbleheads did. Hence when you are level 30 in New Vegas and still have 40-50 undiscovered locations on the map, there are no incentives to explore them.

    (6) This may seem petty but much like the abundance of ammo and aide that destroyed any sense of survivalism and subsequent emersion in a post (post) apocalyptic world, there were far too many 'home bases' provided for the player. After learning that all companions can converge at Lucky 38, did anyone go back to the presidential suite at The Tops? I was rewarded with a room at the Atomic Wrangler at one point and didn't use it once (simply out of lack of necessity to do so).

    (7) Again, Vince's comments on companions for use in times of combat support and assistance were right on point. It would be complimentary or compensatory for certain character builds (e.g., smooth talker, high sneak, high melee, low guns, low endurance) but was ultimately unneeded (and therefore in my case, unused) due to the games lack of difficulty.

    (8) (needlessly) invisible walls: They are perhaps the worst part within the game engine design in terms of practical nuisance and frequency of occurrence. Fallout 3 has nothing on New Vegas when it comes to being stopped while walking up an ant hill.

    (9) With the amount of freedom in the rest of the game (so much so that I felt as if only I knew what I was going to do regarding The Strip) the overarching narrative becomes stubbornly rigid once you reach a very specific point within the story.

    In Fallout, I could talk to the Master, Kill the Master, join the Master, hit on the Master for God sakes. I understood that the Master probably (but not certainly) had to die, which is an ultimately unmalleable questline, yet the illusion remained intact that my ideological position towards the Master could be enacted upon through my own choices (whether it be dialogue or combat). And I could really only deduce the ultimate rigidity of 'the Master must and will die no matter what' questline as an end-game certainty after completing the entirety of the Fallout story.

    In Fallout: New Vegas, however, it felt like my decisions were being made for me after a very specific junction in questing is reached; one where I am inevitably ostracized from all other factions except for the one I am working for (ja, natuurlijk!). Then I simply follow through with three quests for that path, get the achievements, and put the game away. The benefit to this is that it is very conventional: I save the game before this obvious junction within the game story and I simply reload from that point and play the other three paths. The disappointing aspect to this is that the freedom I thought I had 2/3 of the game becomes explicated at this junction as being just an illusion, as my character's narrative capabilities will eventually be funneled into 1 of 4 major, overarching ending sequences. My issues with this is not with the underlying set of questing options, but rather that the game has a way (mostly through dialogue, obviously) of informing you that your choices are now limited to 1/4 pre-determined structures or you simply... fail. It absolutely transitions from freedom of personal choice (e.g., my plotting and my planning) to being one of the game's power figure's employee - up to the very end of the game (e.g., now you follow through on their plot that their concerned with by following their plan). The illusion of freedom vanished by how this was done on a design level, not that it was done.

    What Vince mentioned about certain skill requirements being explicated and specified (aka instructional) in dialogue, again, is analogous to this point because it only helps break emersion and expose any illusion of freedom of choice and consequence.

    (10) Weapons and their availability: Bravo (compared to Fallout 3). Sniper rifles cannot be found within your first 15 minutes of play and you have to pay up to possess some of them really purdy ones. I couldn't get my hands on a decent weapon until I had enough money and/or power. That sounds right.


    Anyway, well done Vince. Both your review of fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas have been largely spot on in my opinion.
     
  7. Ausir

    Ausir Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Apr 20, 2003
    The writing was fantastic, but multi-level dungeons with Fallout 3's horrible map system that displays all levels at the same time was a pretty bad idea. On all my future playthroughs I'll simply destroy the Brotherhood of Steel, if only in order not to be forced to get lost in these fucking mazes again.
     
  8. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    I guess it comes down to personal preference at some point, but I personaly agree with both BN and Ausir when they say that the overuse of Roman topics by the Legion seems rather ... silly. Particularly the look of their armor ... but well.

    Also I missed in their ranks the same kind of diversity as it was present with the NCR. Not just with the visuals but also with the characters. It seems that you have across the desert world many different NCR characters to interact with while only some for the legion and most of them are in kaizer sozes tent. He also falls a bit flat as charismatic character in my eyes even though I liked his explanation with the roman culture beeing so alien to the wasteland that it "might" work, but I am with Markus in Jacobstown here when he tells you that people dont believe in Kaizars ideas but just his person ;)

    I think the Legion would have been a superb faction with a bit more diversity and most important showing a legion controled community, town or even area with usual citizens showing the player that with the Legion there are save trading routes and towns that dont even need a real defence and of course dooming this community to become a vicitm of raiders and civil wars inside the Legion once they are defeated in that region.

    *Though something that bothers me most with the Legion is the Roman idea of assimilation which in my eyes simply cant work in Fallout vegas as its very unlikely to happen in Kaizars timeframe and that fast. The roman assimilation worked because they did not only used many children or young soldiers but sending them as well in to the empire itself like Rome for education it was here that characters like the German Arminius learned about the Roman culture and way of life and even become a Roman knight. The architecture and wealth and most important the size of the empire was usualy impressive. And yet ... Arminius still decided to betray Rome and defeated Varus and his army. I doubt that Caisar has anything comparable with Rome or something that would impress the tribes enough to really stay loayal with him. Not from what the game shows to you
     
  9. Nark

    Nark Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Dec 6, 2008
    I can't agree with you more on that, Ausir. Vault 34 especially was fucking annoying with the constant rads/second (even with a Space Suit and popping some Rad-X it doesn't go away completely). And I ran out of RadAway after going in with like 10 packs of the stuff, because it's so easy to get lost in those maze-like corridors.
    Actually, he mentions in the game that he wants New Vegas to be "his Rome", which is one of the main reasons why he's in the Mojave in the first place.
     
  10. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    something I dont understand with this though is and I hope someone might help here ...

    The boomers originaly come from the Vault 34 (if you dont know it its not such a big story event, they tell you about it anyway).

    Now in Vault 34 it is highly iradiated and full of hostile ghouls. When you enter it you get some at some point the quest to either destroy the reactor and stop the radiation to leak in to the wasteland and save the NCR farmers OR to somehow reroute the energy to traped people somewhere in Vault 34.

    If the Boomers ... how they explain moved from Vault 34 a long time ago ... and the place doesnt look like it colapsed yeterday how can there sill be "people" traped inside ... its always confusing me. Particularly as the Vault Wiki didnt cleared that really up.
     
  11. Nark

    Nark Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Dec 6, 2008
    I have no idea either, it seemed a bit inconsistent. But at least it was a proper grey moral choice, save the people or save the farms that are trying to produce food.
     
  12. grayx

    grayx It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Mar 3, 2008
    First, as it should be – great read. Respect.

    Second, some thoughts about discussion here.

    I agree with the notion that CL (legion) is pretty out of place especially in type of weapons they are using, but if that is the worst thing about this game I would be happy camper.

    Simply, as CL is mainly melee, there is no discussion who will win when they are confronted with "gunpowder" adversary. Don't forget that roman legions were equipped with state-of-art equipment at that time. Of course, if someone conjures "great stick of Science!" than everything is possible, but it just doesn't feel right fist/sword against laser/bullet rifle/gun in an open field as Mojave is.

    Can I live with it? Of course. We have had technologically vastly superior aliens and their infestation, remember? And survived:) Not only that – we prevailed! And lived another day to be killed by hillbillies... Heh... Man I'm really pissed about that kind of stuff, but I digress...

    Only way that I could see CL plausible (if they are using mainly melee weapons) is some kind "walking tank" amour. That could be scavenged PA's like NCR are using in later stages of game (in that case NCR shouldn't be using it for a sake of balancing), but even that is a bit of a stretch of imagination.

    All in all – it's my opinion that CL is bad design decision. I like the idea of some power, driven by an honestly-brutal, down to earth, post-apoc. survivalistical philosophy – but don't force that power to wear skirts and swirl some sword against my or yours bozar... Or ok, let them wear skirts, but give them (God I hate myself for writing this) Fatmans. Or something - to lever the gamefield:)

    As I said in some thread earlier, my main problem with this game is its engine. And by "engine" I mean whole that technical stuff that push this game. That overhyped peace of shit good only for screensavers and nice sceneries.

    There are so many inter-connected issues tied to use of this POS that ruins game-play it hurts. GUI, AI, invisible walls, NPC's as zombies, loading cells to name few. And every single one could kill gameplay alone.

    As for NCR democracy and stuff, it's obvious that this mirrors current political landscape in certain country so I wouldn't call that the Democracy. It's something else. As for possibility for "real" democracy to emerge in savage times, well, there is Athenian republic as a shining example, although I could agree with a notion that it's more anomaly that a rule. So – democratic republic in fallout universe? Well, very, very low probability at best.

    And, yes, game is comically easy. But I understand, it's for casual/console players too... :>

    p.s. scratch that last sentence, it was rude and ill intended. I'm sorry:>
     
  13. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    Dunno. Do you have the option to get the quest from the farmers or NCR by the way ? I got it when looking in those pump stations the game telling "look for the source of the radiation" which I find a tad ... silly. No clue why. I mean why should I look for it ? And the game also was sending me directly to Vault 34 or something.

    The choice for it self farmers or traped civlians is quite good. But the way you get the quest and the way how its conected was not so great. It seems to me like youre the only one that will notice it anyway if those radiation disapears.
     
  14. Alphadrop

    Alphadrop A right proper chap.

    Aug 21, 2008
    One of the farmers mentions having problems with the water and you can volunteer to look for the cause.
     
  15. Stanislao Moulinsky

    Stanislao Moulinsky Vault Fossil

    Jul 16, 2009
    Well, at least on PC you can modifiy the SPECIAL. Tweak a bit the numbers and rise the requirements for Perks and all of a sudden your build is much more important.

    Damn, I have to check if my old PC can run NV...
     
  16. Tagaziel

    Tagaziel Panzerkatze Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Dec 10, 2003
    The Vault was getting overcrowded, the Boomers were people who made a run for it and got out of the Vault. Then an uprising took place as the Overseer wanted to implement population control measures. A bomb went off in the reactor cooling pool, flooding most of the vault with water and radiation. The Overseer made a conscious decision to seal the safe parts of the Vault, sacrificing himself and the rebels to keep the other part safe.

    Of course, by saving them, he doomed them, as they wouldn't be able to get out of the Vault. Dark irony, meng.
     
  17. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    well then I guess one should simply assume that the action took place not long ago, since I doubt we can assume someone would well stay in the location for years (a pool area no ?)
     
  18. Bizart

    Bizart First time out of the vault

    Oct 19, 2010
  19. tekhedd

    tekhedd Hoarding ammo IS gameplay

    Oct 28, 2008
    An excellent review.

    Ah, the low difficulty. This is the easiest game I've ever played. And I'm generally a person who gets fed up with games that are difficult without being particularly good... this game is quite the opposite.

    Of course, the game mechanics being what they are, the difficulty of the actual "gameplay" isn't that important, is it?
     
  20. Ausdoerrt

    Ausdoerrt I should set a custom tit

    Oct 28, 2008
    Well, the few remaining inhabitants turned into ghouls because of radiation. You can see them if you walk into reactor room, and even talk later on if you choose to release them. Which means that the time they may have spent there was pretty damn long. Why they'd CHOOSE to stay alive is another thing that doesn't make sense, but ohwell.

    ---------
    Anyway, a great review, certainly hard to touch on all the little things, but what was mentioned I mostly agree with.

    Also, thanks a lot for linking to that "six things" blogpost, it was hilarious as hell. The "too much dialogue" statement was only the tip of the iceberg. The only thing that was funnier than reading about limited story and continuity issues w/ FO3 was looking down at the comments posted in full agreement with the author. One of such comments: