Imagine if the world never left the 1950s and decided on nuclear power as a main source of power. Take all of that and add future technology such as robots, energy weapons, and vaults that can withstand a nuclear war. Add in a world ravaged by said nuclear war and you have the fallout game series.
Fallout New Vegas is about about a courier. This courier was tasked with delivering a package to the new Vegas strip. On his way to the strip, he/she was captured by a con man by the name of Benny. He takes the package that the courier was tasked to deliver, shoots him/her, and leaves him/her to die in a shallow grave. In a nearby town, a robot happens to go past the area where he/she was shot and takes you back to their town. Miraculously, and luckily, the town doctor nurses him/her back to health. This starts the epic post-apocalyptic revenge tale that is Fallout New Vegas.
If you don’t want spoilers avoid this section
The main story is just OK. Don’t come to this game if you are seeking a story on par with The Last of Us, there is an amazing story in this game but we’ll get to that later. The story revolves around a courier who just woke up from a gunshot wound to the head. After getting on your feet you discover that you are in Good Springs, a small settlement that is nowhere near where you actually need to be. From here you have to ask around to find out who shot you, finding out who shot you is part one of the story. Part two of the story revolves around helping the many factions in the Mojave Wasteland. When you eventually find who shot you everything starts to spiral story wise. You find out that the package you were delivering was a platinum chip. This chip is sought after by the leader of New Vegas, Mr house. Mr. House invites you to his penthouse and tells you that the platinum chip is the key to winning the war over the Mojave. This war involves the two main factions; the NCR( New California Republic), an army like organization that is spread across the Mojave; Caesars Legion, a Roman type group that is touted as the bad guys of the Mojave. Both of these groups are seeking to rule the wasteland. In the main story, you can either side with the NCR, Legion, Mr. House, and a fourth Yes-Man. Yes-Man acts as your own faction if you decide to rule the Mojave yourself (yes that is an option). This all culminates to a lackluster ending dubbed “The battle of Hoover Dam”. Based on who you sided with, the endings will all be different. Another factor for the ending is how you treated the people of the Mojave. The ending features a narration. Depending on your actions during the game, it will tell you what happens to all of the towns and minor factions you came in contact with during the game.
What this game nails perfectly is its leveling, stats, and perks. As with the previous Fallout games, when you build your character at the start of the game you have your S.PE.C.I.A.L that you have to manage as seen below.
- Strength determines your hit points, melee damage, and carry capacity
- Perception affects ranged combat, some dialogue options, lockpick, and when certain icons appear on your compass.
- Endurance determines your hit points and healing rate
- Charisma helps with speech and barter.
- Intelligence affects skill points earned per level, dialogue options, and many skills.
- Agility is your actions points, weapon handling, and how fast you move while on foot.
- Luck helps your gambling and critical chance. This stat also affects every other stat.
You only have a max of 40 stat points so you have to be strategic with how you place each point; certain perks require a certain amount of stat points.
After you decide your S.P.E.C.I.A.L, you get to choose two traits. Traits are a modifier that can benefit one aspect while affecting another in a bad way, the picture above is an example of a trait. With this trait, you’ll never get addicted to anything, but you also can’t exceed level 30.
Leveling up grants you a set number of skill points that you can dump into any skill of your choosing, with a max of 100 per skill. These skills Affect all aspects of how you will be playing the game. For example, if you want to go the whole game without causing conflict, dump all your points into speech and watch as you become a silver-tongued con man. It is super satisfying to go through the game convincing everyone to do your bidding.
Every other level you are granted the opportunity to choose a perk. Each perk is unique and grants a bonus to the player, some are even stackable and grant greater benefits the more you choose it. Some perks need you to have certain skills at a high level, while some have no prerequisites. There is even a perk that ups your damage but causes people to explode into a mist of blood.
A mechanic that is huge, and absent from all other Fallout games, is having the ability to craft ammo. The way to make ammo is Gun powder, lead, and casings for the ammo type. Another way is to break down ammo that you don’t have a use for, take those supplies, and craft ammo you really need. It is a great alternative when you are low on caps( bottle caps are the currency of choice in the fallout games).
Fallout New Vegas also features a wide variety of weapons and armor that you can acquire by looting fallen enemies, scavenging through ruins of the past, or even stealing them from NPC homes or shops. Additionally, you can pickpocket people for items, a returning mechanic from past Bethesda games.
The weapons range from small pistols to heavy-duty launchers that take literal miniature nukes. The equivalent to a sneaky archer in this game is equipping a sniper rifle, attaching a silencer, and dumping all your skills in perks in the sneak category. Going in loud is also an option with the wide assortment of rifles and shotguns available to the player.
Armor and clothing in this game have different classes, light, heavy, and power armor. Light armor is good for movement and is generally used against energy weapons. Heavy armor is the most common armor type in the game and provides greater protection. As for power armor, you need special training from the Brotherhood of Steel to wield it. However, after you get the training, this is the best armor you can get in the game.
Another returning mechanic from the fallout series is item degradation, which is applied to armor and weapons. You can easily repair each item with the same item, or take it to a weapon repair bench.
Set in the post-apocalyptic Mojave Wasteland, Fallout New Vegas’ game world is packed with locations to explore and enemies to destroy. One of the most interesting things that the developers did was to incorporate real-world locations into this game. From the Las Vegas Strip, to the Weirdly accurate Hoover Dam, the developers really did their research for these locations. Even the minor locations look exactly like their real-life counterparts.
The entire map is accessible from the start of the game, with a catch. If you decide to head north from Good Springs you will be met with the scourge of the wasteland, Cazadores. These mutated bugs will kill you almost instantly unless you are at least level 25. Want to head northeast from Good Springs? Time to put on your brown pants because death awaits you there too. Deathclaws inhabit that part of the map and are near impossible to kill unless you are close to the max level. There is a set path the game wants you to take for the first half of the game, but the rest is completely open when you have good enough gear.
This game is nearly ten years old now and it really shows. The locations and vistas have aged noticeably, and the color palette wasn’t really the greatest to begin with. But with the power of modding now, we can avoid this problem entirely.
Overall, when it came to building this open world, the developers showed off their veteran knowledge and prowess perfectly with this game. It is truly impressive how they managed to fit so many small details into this map.
The Side Quests
This Games pièce de résistance are its plethora of side quests. The way side quests are done is by having their own self contained mini-story, most having nothing to do with the main story. For every town/settlement you encounter they have their own set of side quests that loop into each other. A good example would be the battle of Good Springs. This quest is at the beginning of the game and lets you decide if you want to help Good Springs against their invaders, or side with the enemy and help take down Good Springs. Each choice has multiple outcomes that affect the world around the player. There are also wildly ludicrous quests, like helping a group of ghouls build a spacecraft with the hopes of getting to their “homeland”. I don’t think there is a bad side quest in this game. With the number of side activities, you would think that at least one would be bad. But this is just another classic example of the developers flexing their RPG muscles at the player.
Fallout New Vegas wins in almost every aspect of its design. From the cleverly designed side quests; to the amazing world filled with hidden gems that await the most intrepid explorers. Along with the hours of quest related content, New Vegas doesn’t hold back with its loot system either. Where the game tends to struggle is the slow-paced, often boring, main storyline. Overall, this game stands amongst the best RPGs of all time and has yet to be dethroned from its title of best post-apocalyptic RPG of all time, sorry Last of Us.