Game Review: Fallout New Vegas

I have put off writing this review for a while, because I really wasn’t sure what to say.  I loved Fallout 3  so much and spent hundreds of hours playing the main game and all 5 expansions as they came out.

So I was really looking forward to Fallout New Vegas when I heard about it, and was intrigued by the  idea behind the new setting, an area that was not directly attacked during the war two centuries earlier.  I tried really hard to get the Collectors Edition, as I regretted being unable to find it for Fallout 3 (I still would like a Vault Boy bobblehead!), but was unable to locate the version I wanted anywhere in Australia.  I even held off buying it when it was first released in case I came across the Collectors Edition online or somewhere local.  But eventually I gave in a purchased the normal game, doing without the Lucky 38 Platinum chip replica, the deck of cards with characters from the game, and so on.

But well – I’m disappointed.  It is hard to explain, but it is boring and somehow impersonal.  And considering the opening montage is you getting shot and buried alive, it is hard to find a reason why it does not feel like I have a personal stake in this game.  But that is exactly how I feel as I wander around the desert.

Perhaps it is the disconnect from not starting in a fallout shelter / vault.  I definitely miss having Liam Neeson as my father.  I don’t like the Mojave Wasteland anywhere near as much as I like the ruins of downtown Washington DC.  And the soundtrack, while period, doesn’t grab me in the same way.  There is only one song that stands out to me, and that is Peggy Lee singing ‘Johnny Guitar‘, which I have to admit is so hauntingly beautiful that I purchased it from iTunes.

But overall, I don’t care about persuing the guy who shot me to get revenge.  Somehow, after the epic storyline of Fallout 3, it seems so trite.  And yes, I do know that there is more to the story than that, but that is how I am supposed to get into it, and I just don’t find it interesting.  Leaving a vault for the first time in my life to find out where and why my father had left was far more intriging to me than some dumb revenge motive (but then I do dislike Hamlet and revenge tragedy in general, just not my thing).  I’m also not very interested in the faction system on offer, although apparently that was resurrected from Fallout 1 and 2 (but was not in Fallout 3).  I know it is a little pet trope of the Black Isle / Obsidian design team, and for a game like Planescape: Torment it is brilliant.  But it left me going ‘meh’ in Fallout New Vegas.  Perhaps the fact that I thought all the factions sucked and I didn’t want to support any of them made it harder for me to get into that side of the game?  Not sure.

Anyway I am yet to finish Fallout New Vegas.  I certainly don’t see myself purchasing any of the 8 planned expansions (2 available so far), nor spending any further money on the game.  Not even Peggy Lee making the hairs on my arms stand up can make it more interesting.  I keep thinking I should give it another go, but every time I do think that, it makes me long to play more Fallout 3.  And really, that seems like a failure in game design to me.

What do you think?  Have you tried this game?  And how did you find it compared to earlier games in the series?

Your thoughts and stuff

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