The sequel to the brilliant Fallout 3 was left in the hands of Obsidian, who did such a fantastic job of recapturing the feel of the original games.
I’ve always been a fan of the Fallout universe, ever since my first encounter with the very first 2D isometric game, way back when. The idea of a post-apocalyptic world of the future, a world that has somehow been stuck in a sort of 40-50’s era of style and design for hundreds of years, and yet also has the most incredible hi-tech technology integrated into the very fabric of every day life. I mean, to me, this concept was so original and enjoyable that I simply couldn’t get enough. That was, of course, until I heard that Bethesda Studios – creators of my favourite Elder Scrolls games, Morrowind and Oblivion – had got a hold of the license and were planning to take Fallout on an expedition into the world of 3D gaming…
Fallout 3 was, undoubtedly, a fantastic rendition of what I remembered from the original games – though many hardcore Fallout fans appeared to be disgusted by the transformation – and I couldn’t have been much happier with the way it turned out. Fallout: New Vegas, whose reigns had been rather worryingly taken by Obsidian, the team infamous for pissing off fans of Knights of the Old Republic by creating what was widely considered a debauchery of a sequel to it (personally, I didn’t mind it…). However, in my honest opinion, they somehow actually managed to improve even further on what made me love FO3 in the first place. More weapons, more customization for weapons, more moral choices, more directions to take your story in, tons more enemies, and of course, more VEGAS. Running around the wastes of the Mojave (mo-ha-ve) desert, helping one faction whilst greatly angering others, rescuing innocent individuals and putting down the unworthy or ungrateful ones; basically just going around doing whatever the hell I wanted. This has caused me some trouble on numerous occasions, however, as killing a bunch of Caesars Legionaries (basically the Nazi’s of the West) made them all VERY angry with me, and I must have spent three whole game days simply trying to evade a huge squad of assassins who had been sent to find me. Somehow I also managed to piss off the shady ‘good’ guys, the New California Republic, because at one point whilst I was hunting a mutant gecko, three elite NCR Rangers confronted me in the middle of the desert and told me I had three days to appease them in whatever way I saw fit, or they were going to come give me a severe beat-down. The wastes are a harsh and cruel place…
New Vegas is a huge game, with so much to do and so many places to visit, I’m pretty sure I haven’t even completed HALF of the random events and quests I could find, nor have I seen a whole bunch of the map. I’m going to go back to it soon enough and explore EVERYTHING, but until then, I’m going to fondly remember how much fun I had while playing it. This, along with Fallout 3, is one game I will never want to get rid of.
Fallout 3 became one of my favourite games ever, yet I found myself strangely uninterested in the build-up to Fallout New Vegas’ release. I doubted Obsidian’s skills, perhaps. But it was unnecessary because when the special edition landed on my doorstep and I installed it (a day early, and then had to wait ’til the official launch for it to activate, annoyingly) all my doubts washed away. I have to date sunk about 40 hours into this game and admittedly still haven’t finished the main story.
It is a more refined version of Fallout 3, with a brand new wasteland to explore, one that’s a little more lively and interesting, with absolutely tonnes of optional side quests to complete and locations to discover. It’s a joy to simply wander aimlessly and see what you find, because you are guaranteed to find something cool. The story is involving, the voice acting vastly improved, the script is more witty and everything about the game feels just a bit better than its predecessor.
Despite it being built on the near-ancient Oblivion engine, the game must be judged based on the game’s content, and Obsidian, who’s team consists of several of the original Fallout developers, did a fine job of adding some much needed humour and more off-the-rails characters. It’s such a huge game, it may be another 40 hours before I finish New Vegas, and I’ll enjoy every second of it.