By Wayne Webb
Welcome to post-apocalyptic America, where a nuclear war has arrested development and turned society into a frozen version of its past glories; where taking a polarised side is the only way to survive. Come to think of it that’s not too far from current America, just minus the nukes.
Fallout New Vegas is an RPG, in the classic sense of having a character and then building the skills and attributes through experience and development quests. Traditionally the genre of swords and sorcery then occasionally something outstanding comes along and utilises the concept in a new milieu. That’s what Fallout New Vegas is, a dungeons and dragons-styled epic – just with no dragons, nor dungeons. Instead you get a deconstructed modern day Wild West, mixed with futuristic despotic ruling classes and oddly Roman legion styled rebels as factions, and you the player in the middle.
You can pretty much decide to be good, bad or indifferent to the factions and complete the main storyline that progresses nicely through the desolate wasteland of an alternate America, and wallow in the side quests nicely augmented in the ultimate edition. As mentioned, at its heart this is an RPG, and you must make decisions about your skills and attributes that affect your development and what you can and can’t do. As you build up the skills more things open up and become available, and you can always go back to wherever you missed something and try it again where possible.
There are a few issues reported with the console versions however and I saw some of these first hand when I first started playing New Vegas, unexplained freezing and a restart, followed by a robot who had a wheel at a 90-degree angle to the ground, which moved through solid objects in its way. These glitches are not showstoppers though and just add a bit of broken chic to the game set in a broken world.
Like all good RPG’s you need to dedicate hours and hours of faithful attention and questing to be any good at it. The assistance of your Pip Boy (knowledge base, maps, weapons and inventory management) is invaluable though far too complex for a casual gamer. Wading through pages of text and multiple quests, sorting inventory and deciding what to craft and what to improve is not a quick process. You can ignore a lot of this, but if you don’t level up soon enough the game just gets harder and leaves you behind.
Fans of the RPG will most likely have already played this and the expansion packs may have some replay value. Ff you are a new RPG player and are looking for good examples to follow on after last year’s excellent Skyrim, then this is a classic and excellent port of call.
Pros: Immersive, massive world, value for money, extended quests, design and storyline impressive.
Cons: Glitches occasionally, still an RPG, too many options at times.
4 Shacks Out Of 5