Fallout: New Vegas Review
Extensive exploration and a great collection of quests with multiple solutions make New Vegas a big success.
The main story quests, which revolve around you finding out why you were killed, also seem more interesting than Fallout 3 even if they are still rather short. Not much of the dialogue is pointless and the quests themselves are less dull or repetitive. Depending on allegiances the later missions can be difficult so you may need to level up or acquire better equipment before attempting them. I still recommend avoiding the main quest line until you have exhausted your enjoyment from the varied side quest. Much of your questing will have you making decisions about certain groups as to their intentions and you are free to do as you wish in those cases.
Do you want to help out a group of Ghouls who want to launch themselves into space with rockets? Is a lottery in a small town where only the winners live something you can ignore? Is it a good idea to test a new device on a mentality unstable super mutant? Is capturing and eating people really that bad when your ancestors did it? All these decisions are yours in the vast wasteland and your options are clearly demonstrated. The arrow that points toward your next location isn’t always flawless and indoors doesn’t help much because it only points at your destination. Fortunately you can enlist the help of other wasteland wanderers as they become your companions and importantly share inventory.
Companions get more focus this time and not just with additional quests. A full menu system lets you transfer items and set tactics for them in battle even if the system is still a little flawed. My companions set to passive often ran towards enemies in indoor locations taking them out of my sight. They are very useful though, in some cases taking many kills for themselves if you give them some of your better weapons and armor.
There are also some quests for companions which aren’t very deep but they provide some background on the characters and can discuss recent events. Although not nearly as fleshed out as a squad based game like Mass Effect 2 it’s getting there. Companions provide some extra perks like highlighting enemies but the shooting and melee action remains much the same.
The gameplay and combat will feel familiar to fans of Fallout 3 and you’ll still be using many of the same weapons from that game. VATS remains a tool where you wait till enemy gets close to press a button and unload bullets into the head or other injured appendage with a high chance of hit and then watch as it separates from the rest of the body. Without VATS combat is still sloppy and you may just have to run backwards unloading bullets as creatures move toward you with melee attacks. In a few hard sections I resorted to using cheap tactics involving me running out of a door and attacking enemies with a grenade launcher as they spawned in from the level transition. Once the enemy has been defeated its time to loot the body and repair or upgrade your items
The inventory is still a little clunky switching back and forth between weapons, apparel, aid, local map and world map is still harder than it should be. You also need to scroll the long lists for items that aren’t grouped, assuming you remember what you are looking for. Also tiring is resetting the hot keys for your weapons which may happen after you surrender your guns at a casino lobby. The pipboy is a little unresponsive as you can’t open it while jumping mid air but there were also a few times where my weapon didn’t want to fire despite it being in perfect condition.
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