Smilin' Like a Butcher's Dog

Fallout: New Vegas

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Now that I have completed two of the major factional endings I figured it was time for me to put up a as-spolier-free-as-possible review of the game. Fallout 3 was a masterwork of a game. It had small glitches and bugs here and there but from start to finish it was one hell of a game I loved it so much I logged over 700 hours across 4 characters on the game and played through all of the DLC multiple times.

Fallout: New Vegas had a lot to live up to in my book. It both exceeded and fell short of my expectations in multiple areas.

The game excels in its familiarity for starters. It's the same engine as Fallout 3. The same open world sandbox that FO3 and Elder Scrolls: Oblivion (the previous Bethesda product) were. It makes good improvements in several key areas:

  1. The companion system is much easier to use.
  2. Your actions have a much greater impact on factional reactions to you. Wrong the NCR and they actually care unlike in FO3 where they simply wouldn't open the door for you. Screw over a faction and it could cut off important avenues down the road. It could cut off side quest, safehouse, or even main plot courses.
  3. Apart from the major faction, each little group has its own way about how they feel about you, and it impacts the game.
  4. The main plot, side quests, and free quests are masterfully interwoven. Something I did in hour 6 came back to bite me not 30 minutes ago. FO:3 Had a start to end, Enclave or Brotherhood feel. FO:NV is nowhere near that simple. It's a spiderweb.
  5. The breaking up of crafting into three distinct groups adds more flavor, diversity, and replay value to an already high value game.
  6. Changes, additions, and deletions to the perks system are all in the name of good game balance tho I do miss Silent Running.
  7. Weapon Mods are sweet and allow you to customize you weapons a little more, though I do wish they were more widely available, just more expensive.

I would say FO:NV is a bigger game. The elaborate nature of its plot, the way in which some quests are umbrella-ed under other more major quests without you even knowing it is really a nice tweak to the Bethesda Fallout world. However there wouldn't be praise without some criticism, some major criticism.

So let me get this out of the way. I think I had a bad Hard Drive Install. The first 40 hours were played on it so some of these complaints are symptoms of that tho most still persist afterwards, just not as frequently.

  1. The game has locked on me far too often. After moving back to playing off of the disc, I lock about twice in an 8 hour session of game play
  2. Some quests are flat out broken. I have run into three that just cannot be completed in part or fully. One of them is a companion quest. These have been verified on Bethesda's boards to be problems. It's too many quests in my opinion.
  3. I got locked out of the Strip once due to a glitch and had to jury-rig a solution, thankfully I got back in but it could have spelled the loss of almost 30 hours of play.
  4. Sometimes VATS is laggy in is response. This occurs for certain after moving back to the Disc.

Now the biggest challenge in the New Vegas world is Hardcore mode. This is not a difficulty setting but a realism setting. You an play Hardcore on Easy, Medium, or Hard difficulties. The big points about it are:

  1. You must Eat, Sleep, Drink on a normal/regular basis or suffer penalties and eventual death.
  2. Companions who drop stay down as in dead.
  3. Ammo has weight. I remember the first time I turned on hardcore and couldn't move I couldn't figure out why. I have over 750lbs of ammo on me.
  4. You cannot repair crippled limbs with stims. You must seek a doctor or use a doctor's bag (which are not that common).
  5. Stims do not heal instantly, but over time like Tylenol.
  6. There is a 100G achievement on Xbox for completing the game start to finish on Hardcore.

Now the big question most people has asked me. "Is it worth buying or do I wait for GOY Edition?".

Well that really depends. Are you an RPG lover? Buy the game. Are you someone who struggles to finish long games once you start them? Well then I'd tell you this might not be up you alley. Its a long game. 67 hours on my only character and I just discovered my 75th location with easily 50 left undiscovered.

As for the glitchy/buggy stuff. There was a patch released this past Friday that was supposed to address Code problems, some related to quests. None of my quests repaired but in the past Bethesda has been quick to address problem, like the issues with The Pit on its DLC launch day. I figure it's sooner rather than later for these, what are in the grand scheme low percentile, problems to be resolved by update. I just wish they would have been tested in the first place.

As for a rating, I cannot give it a 9 due to the problems. If those quests worked i would be. 8.7 sounds fair in my book.


  1. 1million's Avatar
    Wow. It sounds interesting but Ill wait for the GOTY edition as i did with FO3. Nice review.
  2. McJeepers's Avatar
    Nice review. Weird thing is I have only had the game freeze up on me once so far, and while it's definitely buggy, I haven't run into nearly half the problems you have. I'm on the strip and have also finished up with 2 of the factions. We need to get together one night and compare notes.

    Side note: We were supposed to get together on launch night, but I think you sent me the party invite while I was taking a bio-break, and didn't see that you had done so until I was getting ready to pass out. My apologies on that one.