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Fallout: New Vegas (first) impressions

Discussion in 'Fallout Series' started by Caradhras, Oct 29, 2010.

  1. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood!

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    I haven't finished the game yet (no spoilers!) but I've played enough to have an educated opinion about it. I have to say that my first impression was marred by the awful face lag and stuttering that I experienced before using a highly controversial (and unofficial) fix which solved my problems and made the game playable (and enjoyable).

    My first move was to disable the (notorious) autosaves and rely on manual saves taking to heart a lesson I've learned throughout the years: save a lot and keep using different save slots.

    I didn't like Game for Windows with Fallout 3 (I hated it and I was really grateful for the Fallout 3 Live disabler) and I must say that Steam is a pita... Basically it means that if you don't have an internet connection you won't be able to run the game. The good thing is that you don't have to use the DVD to run it once you've validated your game (something that I find very useful since I don't know anyone who actually likes carrying piles of DVDs around). Things will probably get better once the game gets a proper mod manager utility (there is a beta already).

    Now regarding the good stuff... Comparing Fallout New Vegas to Fallout 3 the first thing that comes to mind is that New Vegas is like playing a fully modded Fallout 3 game! It means that you don't need mods to make the New Vegas experience enjoyable (the option to turn on the Hardcore mode is great). You won't need mods to have time delayed stims and food, infiltrate enemy camps in disguise, use ironsights (much better than vanilla Fallout 3) and customize your weapons. I could go about the number of new weapons and the variety of calibres and ammo types. One thing that makes quite a difference is that Fallout New Vegas uses Damage Threshold which means that armours now work in a more satisfying way. Let's face it the implementation of Damage Resistance in Fallout 3 was a remnant of Oblivion and it worked pretty badly with Fallout armours (power armours were a joke in Fallout 3). In New Vegas if you face a guy in power armour you will soon find out that (much like in Fallout 1 and 2) you really have to bring a bigger gun...

    The game still looks like Fallout 3 which is not a bad thing but is not amazing either since Fallout 3 is now two years old and the differences are not that impressive despite the fact that some aspects have been improved. The new stuff looks pretty good but some stuff stucks out and look a bit low res (that was the case with unmodded Fallout 3 -I guess playing with high resolution textures especially for the gear, armours and stuff makes it even more glaring). The PC version is also marred by an incredibly large and unwieldy UI. That may be fine with consoles but that's really bad on a PC. Scrolling down and looking at huge characters and boxes that don't fill the width of your screen is just painful when you're used to the leaner look of a modded UI (so much so that that I've already installed the beta version of the Darnified UI for New Vegas).

    If Fallout 3 was Oblivion with guns then Fallout New Vegas is Fallout 2 meets Fallout 3 (and I mean both Van Buren and Bethesda's Fallout). Old fans will relish the elements from the unfinished and unreleased Van Buren project and all the references to Fallout 2 (and 1 but mostly 2). I haven't finished the game yet but so far the story (and the writing) is so much better than Fallout 3 that it feels like playing a real Fallout game and not just a free roaming Bethesda CRPG (while allowing for a non linear game).

    IMO they should have made the SPECIAL ruleset even more like it was in the original Fallouts. I understand that they retained some elements from Fallout 3 but it is something that could have been improved (nothing that a mod can't fix).

    There are many things that I like about the new game. I think that I'll have a very hard time going back to my heavily modded Fallout 3 game since New Vegas is so much better that (vanilla) Fallout 3 looks somehow unpolished and unsatisfying in comparison.

    Another thing that makes New Vegas more enjoyable is the music. I thought that Inon Zur's soundtrack for Fallout 3 didn't fit the Fallout setting at all. It sounded so much like Oblivion that I had to turn it off completely to avoid the aggravation and eventually replace it with tracks from the original Fallouts. I must say that the composer's work on New Vegas is much different from Fallout 3. It actually fits the entire Western atmosphere that is at the core of the game (something reminiscent of the original Fallouts). There are some pieces that remind us of Fallout 3 (and consequently make me cringe) but there are also tracks that are actually from the original Fallout and that is incredibly enjoyable when you're a fan of the original game.

    Voice acting is in the tradition of Bethesda's titles but there are some great voice actors and looking at the credits you can find some well known names like Matthew Perry (I recognized his voice but I couldn't put a name on it before checking the credits), Kris Kristofferson (I had no idea he did voice acting for video games), Danny Trejo (ditto) and Michael Dorn (something Fallout 2 fans will appreciate). Not to mention Ron Perlman as the narrator (let's face it no Fallout game would qualify as a Fallout game if it didn't include this actor).

    Now all that is really needed is an official fix that will solve all the problems that the patched game still has. I remember that the unpatched version of Fallout 2 was unplayable and that it had so many bugs that we can definitely say that Fallout New Vegas is definitely true to its forebearer. Fallout 2 forever! I'm just glad that they decided to make "Wild Wasteland" an option since I'm convinced that the numerous pythonesque references were a flaw in Fallout 2. It might have been funny but it didn't help with game immersion and that is one of the reasons why I consider Fallout 1 to be vastly superior to Fallout 2. Nevertheless I'm planning to have a zany second run with this option enabled. That should be a lot of fun.

    I had in mind to write a rather short post so I guess I've failed but in any case I wonder what fellow SPers make of the game so far. I know some won't play the game because of steam. For now it is the only option on the PC and I don't know if there's going to be an alternative (even if steam could be bypassed it is highly unlikely that one could play the game without having steam installed on the computer).
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2010
  2. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk

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    I am saving New Vegas for a rainy day atm I am busy with WoW (new expansion inc!), Civ5, SCII and trying to give ME 1&2 a go as well so Fallout has to wait.
     
  3. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    Thanks for the nice review, Cara.

    Yes, while some of the music in the OC from Oblivion was pretty good, some of it was downright awful, which seems odd because the guy who wrote it is a very talented writer. I also replaced some of the tracks with those from Morrowind and a mod pack.
     
  4. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood!

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    You're welcome CtR. It's not really a review since I haven't completed the game (I'm taking my time really as the first playthrough is always the best). I just love the Hardcore mode with Very Hard difficulty that makes the game enjoyable (especially since stumbling over cool stuff while exploring is part of the appeal). There are many rewards for players who take their time, talk to people and get to know them (the writing is so much better in New Vegas that it really helps getting sucked into the game world).

    I didn't mention it before but there are some special moves that can be accomplished in close combat, that makes a melee character much more interesting (since I have the Tribal preorder bonus I've been using the special machete and the poison to deal with some foes -melee has its uses especially when you're burning through your ammo like crazy).

    All in all this game is incredibly better than Fallout 3. It doesn't need mods as much but it benefits from existing mods (existing meshes and textures can be used directly) and expertise gained by modders who tinkered with Fallout 3. I find that the starting Traits are a bit limited and I'm contemplating making a mod to bring back some classic traits in game (taking into account game balance). Other than that I must say that once you've picked up a mod to "fix" the UI the game really doesn't need much in the way of mods to be thoroughly enjoyable (provided you save often and manage to get around potential performance issues).

    Last but not least the game has an incredible atmosphere. Fallout New Vegas like Fallout 1 and 2 is definitely a cross over between Mad Max and The Good the Bad and the Ugly. It doesn't get any better than that.

    And I haven't been to Vegas yet. :)

    There is actually one track that annoys me in New Vegas (I think I'll just have to replace it). It reminds me so much of Shivering Isles that it is getting irritating. Inon Zur is a very good composer who made some fantastic soundtracks for games (Icewind Dale 2 and Dragon Age Origins are my favourite -especially Targos and the Alienage- but his contributions to CRPGs are numerous). IMO the Oblivionesque music really doesn't work with the Fallout universe. Especially when comparing it to the music in the original Fallout game. IMO the music in Fallout 1 and 2 did a lot for these games. That being said I find that the music in Fallout New Vegas is actually not that bad. They obviously went for a western atmosphere and included some music from the original Fallouts (man I just love hearing these tracks) and some from Fallout 3 (not that much so it's not unbearable). I think I'm going to mess around the files to duplicate the files I like and remove the ones that sound like Fallout 3/Oblivion.
     
  5. Barmy Army

    Barmy Army Simple mind, simple pleasures...

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    I didn't really get on with Fallout 3, as I found it a bit too... open. I'm all for non-linearity, provided I actually know where I am meant to be going and what I'm meant to be doing to progress the main story. I like to have a free-rein within that, for instance I can wander off and do other things if I like, but if it's just aimless, I'm not for that.

    Is this more of the same?
     
  6. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood!

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    In Fallout 3 the main quest was pretty straightforward, you just had to look for James and collect clues as you went along -some of these clues were easy to miss if you weren't thorough. As a matter of fact if you rushed through the main quest and only did side quests that had a sense of urgency you could leave three quarters of the DC Wasteland unexplored and finish the game without ever reaching the level cap.

    Fallout New Vegas is a bit different. There are many things to do to keep you busy (many minor side quests/encounters don't have quest markers or quest entries). I've hit the New Vegas suburbs last night and I can't wait to get to the Strip. The devs sure know how to build up one's expectations.

    Anyway I'm drifting. To answer your question, in NV you can explore pretty much like you did in Fallout 3 if that is your thing. But if you like quests you'll have enough side quests so that you will have a sense of purpose. I've read on the net that players found some parts of the game world a bit empty... I don't mind that feeling as a wasteland shouldn't be too crowded and given that distances are quite manageable it would be rather odd to have more people outside New Vegas.

    I wouldn't say that the game is "aimless" but your character is free to wander. It depends whether or not you will enjoy exploring or don't have the patience to find out some of the secrets that are concealed in the wasteland. There are rewards for doing so. The original Fallouts were not that different (being thorough when looking around and talking with NPCs would reveal many things in the end).

    Playing Fallout 3 I've always felt that its main drawback was a lack of depth. New Vegas is certainly better. I will be able to comment on this after playing a little more but for now it seems to me that it is definitely on par with the original Fallouts.
     
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