(Before starting, I know that NC is a mod, but due to it's size and because I won't be talking about technical details, I post this here. Also there's a TLDR at the end). So as 99% of people here, I lost any hope in Bethesda's vision for the saga, and looked upon the mod community to get some decent Fallout content. This New California mod seemed to be quite nice, and so I decided to install it. After doing a playthrough, I think it's interesting to talk about this project's design, and some thoughts on the community's reception. I liked New California. It has what I mostly expect of a Fallout game. Choice, interesting factions (most of them are from previous games, but they stay true to their ideology for the most part and THANKS TO THE DEVS FOR NOT ADDING A GODDAMN BOS QUESTLINE. I'M SICK OF THEM HAVING TO APPEAR AS A MAJOR FACTION. Also the raider faction is quite nice). It is true that the plot gets a bit boring after the vault intro, mainly because you go around just following the main quest without having a clear objective until you decide to fully dedicate to a faction. Also the mod would benefit from having more side quests, but it's a mod after all so it's understandable. What I really want to point out is the quest branching. It's plainly amazing. It reminds me to Beyond the Beef, but this time is implemented in the main story, so it makes it way more interesting in a quest design point. In almost every quest you have various ways to solve things. My character was full scientist, so fighting was not an option, and I was terrible at persuasion, BUT I was the only one who truly understood advanced tech. So I could just boot some old turrets/robots and much more (even a freaking huge laser beam) to solve stuff, or send a missile to some "problematic fellows". This is the kind of design that should be encouraged. Now I want to make another character just to go in the complete opposite direction, and see other choices. A major criticism I see with the mod is the "boring world" and "lack of exploration". I understand that these complaints come from the newer Fallouts perspective. And I just have to say, Is it really that important that EVERY Fallout has an open world where you can visit every building and expect a cool dungeon? New Vegas didn't commit to that fully, and it's much better in the writing and quest design department than Bethesda. This mods also follows that trajectory, but just being more linear. And for that it's a "bad mod". I'll take the quest branching and choice-consequence over the lootin-shootin-explorin, thanks. The choice-consequence it's another thing. There are a lot of choices, and most of them will carry a penalty. Some will lock you permanently from joining certain factions, as it should be. Maybe the first choice about Vault 18/Enclave could be handled better, because it's quite abrupt, but we are at the point where having choices that matter in a Fallout game is something to praise, so I'll take it. The companions are not that good, sadly. Honestly, I would just stick to the 2 robots (if you go the Science path), because at least they have an excuse to be bland. Kira was kinda cool in the intro, but after that she doesn't interact with you except for very very few cases. She has her own quest about finding her family but it's in a second plane. I like having quests that aren't immedialty thrown at you, but Kira's quest isn't a good example. Boone's quest for example was way better implemented. And the other companions suffer from similar problems. They are just...bland and boring after the intro. However having them is not mandatory, so you can play the game without having them at your side. I won't talk that much about the ending because I want you to play the mod and experience it if you haven't, but I have mixed opinions. The plot twist is interesting, but again is just way too abrupt. Again, I don't want to jump and say "IT'S BAD", because this mod is intended to be played multiple times, and it seems that to get the entire picture you need to pass through most factions. I think that's okay, but the story should do a better job at catching your attention. TLDR: The mod gets a thumbs up in quest design, factions and replayability, but the companions and the pacing are a bit lacking. However, this is way better than anything Bethesda has ever done for the franchise. Really recommended.