Three and Out – Fallout: New Vegas
War never changes. This is the opening line to Fallout: New Vegas, and it rings true throughout the game. It begins with a unique 1950’s aesthetic in its retro-futuristic style and keeps it consistent throughout the game. This is a post-apocalyptic wasteland centered around Las Vegas, a distinct setting that distinguishes this game from the gaming crowd. Despite the bleak, barren atmosphere, I always had my radio to cheer me up – this is just one of the many ways in that Fallout: New Vegas hooks you in and sets the tone for things to come.
After stepping foot into this open world, I found myself scrounging for supplies. Any sort of weapon, ingredient, or health-restoring item, I would hoard and use sparingly. However, that led to having to worry about inventory management. I ended up spending much of the game working around my inventory limitations, only taking what I really wanted to keep and wasting resources to keep my weight down. Fallout: New Vegas is full of these little issues that aren’t made apparent initially until they start to affect you. At its core, this is an RPG – every stat has an impact. The problem arises when there are so many of them, so many conditions, that without putting in a lot of time or reading an outside source, it can be difficult to tell what exactly each thing does. For example, it took me until near the end of the game to realize that each weapon had a strength stat associated with it, and thus my low strength was impacting my aiming and damage. Perhaps some of my issues can be boiled down to my energy-and-science-heavy build; regardless, the game expects you to learn on your own through failure.
The narrative and exploration in Fallout: New Vegas, on the other hand, is nothing short of incredible. There are many factions, each with their own stories that intertwine with each other. Each (story or faction) is memorable in their own way. From the New California Republic trying to bring back democracy, to the uniting force of Caesar’s Legion, all of them stand out. As you gain karma with one faction, you may irreversibly gain infamy with another. In this way, Fallout: New Vegas gains a large amount of replay value to see all the possible ways things can connect – something I’ve rarely seen. This applies to the side quests too. You never know what you’re getting yourself into and what kind of reward you’ll be getting. That could be a downside, of course – the reward may very well not be worth it. The experience, however, is almost always valuable, despite the slow walking pace the game forces upon you. While it was the most difficult area in the game, I ended up following a simple crop watering quest that led into the depths of Vault 34, a dangerously radioactive place with swarms of difficult enemies. While it was painful to play through, it is something that stuck with me. A cold reminder that exploration doesn’t always lead to fun new places. There are even a variety of ways you can handle each situation. Instead of fighting someone, you can talk them down. Or, you could just shoot the one who gave you the quest in the first place. These options and interconnectivity really make Fallout: New Vegas special.