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Fallout: New Vegas 5-Years Later Review



When I first started playing the game, I found it to be somewhat boring, even if it begins with your attempted murder. This is partly because of some issues I have with the gameplay, but that is the next section. It was also because I did not feel a sense of direction to be distracted from. That probably sounds weird, so let me (try to) explain. In an open-world adventure game like New Vegas, I expect to have encounters of various meanings as I advance toward campaign goals. At the beginning the campaign goal is to reach the New Vegas Strip, but until I explicated decided to start exploring, nothing else seemed to matter much. I came across some groups of NPCs, but most were enemies called Powder Gangers and then a few NCR (New California Republic) military personnel who were not that interested in me nor I in them.

Continuing directly on to the Strip, little more happened, except for maybe a mission or two I had to ignore, because I knew I would not survive them. It was only when I deliberately decided to start exploring the Mojave and going after the undiscovered map markers that things started to get interesting. I have a problem with that. In a game like this, interesting side quests and encounters should be placed almost like obstacles on your path to repeatedly present the choice to the player of the campaign or something else. Plus it felt like there was little to do on the side of the map I started on, and it was not until I ran to the other side that there were interesting things to do. As it is I have a dislike for Bethesda RPGs (Editor's Note: This was developed by Obsidian, with Bethesda Softworks merely publishing) because of how you can miss stuff because you failed to approach the only character willing to talk to you in a room full of NPCs that ignore you. To have a similar experience translated to the exploration of the world just irks me.







One thing I do have to give the story is that once you get into it, there's quite a bit there. There are numerous groups that you can encounter in the Mojave and you can build a positive or negative reputation with many of them. You build these reputations by completing missions and you can get some useful benefits from having very positive reputations. For example, helping the Boomers enough means you can get them to assist you at the game's final battle.

Initially, the most important person to grow your reputation with is Mr. House. He is the person who originally hired the Courier to bring him the Chip and is also the person who built up New Vegas with his Securitron robots. Despite being a single character, he represents a significant power in the Mojave, so a fair amount of the game is affected by how you complete the missions he gives you. Of course, the smaller groups in the game also impact the ending, but they are still smaller groups.



Besides Mr. House, the NCR and Caesar's Legion are the two significant powers in the Mojave, as both are vying for control of Hoover Dam. Whoever controls the dam controls the entire area. You will get to choose which group you work with, and I wish the choice were harder. Sure, the NCR's practice of annexing areas they wish is not all that good, but the Legion goes around kidnapping people for slaves and crucifying others. The NCR may be jerks, but the Legion is evil, so the decision is pretty easy between them, regardless of which you go with.

As you can expect of any game like this, it will be your actions that determine who wins control of the dam, and thus the Mojave. The futures of the various smaller groups can also be determined by you, but then it is also possible to completely miss some of these groups. Despite going everywhere I could find and doing everything available to me, I know I have missed at least one of these groups and numerous followers.



On the one hand I do have to congratulate the game on having such a large story with various parts to it. On the other hand I feel the game has done a poor job of directing the player to find and experience the entire story. It is one thing if you miss encountering a few people, but to miss several companions (I found two of the eight, and one of those I encountered by completing missions given by another NPC) and at least one entire faction bothers me. This along with the usual issue I have with Bethesda RPGs leaves me less than pleased with the story, even if I do like its size and the reputation system.


  1. Fallout: New Vegas Review - Introduction
  2. Fallout: New Vegas Review - Graphics
  3. Fallout: New Vegas Review - Story
  4. Fallout: New Vegas Review - Gameplay
  5. Fallout: New Vegas Review - Downloadable Content
  6. Fallout: New Vegas Review - Additional Gameplay Media
  7. Fallout: New Vegas Review - Conclusion
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