Sin City

When it comes to adventure games and RPGs, I tend to like a certain amount of structure. An open world environment has its advantages, of course, but I find too much freedom kind of annoying, to be honest. I don't want it to be totally rigid, but appreciate a certain amount of go-here-do-this in quest design. I'm also a completionist. If I stumble across a feather, I want to find all 100. If there are twenty side-quests available in a town, I want to wipe out all twenty before I move on to the next town.

This approach skews my opinion of games that are popular with other gamers. I have yet to really get into Skyrim, because there's just too much. It plops you down and basically says "OK, go do whatever you want." And while I like games that force you to live with decisions, like Dragon Age or Mass Effect, I didn't like how my Skyrim decisions would cause effects that I couldn't understand. Certain people would suddenly hate me for seemingly no reason, probably because I harvested a pumpkin seven towns over or whatever.

So I was a little bit suspicious when it came to Fallout: New Vegas. I had never played a Fallout game before, and it has the same game engine as Skyrim. Would it have the same limitations? I just finished a playthrough of it, and happily, it addressed a lot of my concerns. True, certain people will turn on you if you make certain choices, but at least their reactions are understandable, if not totally predictable. Quests are (mostly) described plainly, and (mostly) direct you to the locale you need to visit to complete it.

The writing and acting is pretty engaging, too. A mix of futuristic sci-fi and wild west storylines sounds like it would be ripe for disaster, but I never found the plot ridiculous. That's saying something when you're marching down the street with a robot dog you borrowed from an Elvis impersonator that runs a gang on one side of you, and a hideous, seven-foot super-mutant that wears a gardening hat and talks about her grandchildren on the other. The various factions that populate New Vegas and the surrounding Mojave wasteland all have work for you to do, and though it's impossible to please everyone, it's fun to try and figure out how you fit into the framework of this post-nuclear society.

That's not to say there aren't problems. Some are purely technical; this can be a very glitchy game, and it crashed on me a few times. Some are the same issues I mentioned above - I would give what I thought was a fairly neutral answer, and suddenly found myself shut out of multiple quest lines because someone else didn't like what I had just said. Once I found myself in the odd position of being unable to complete a quest, because the gentleman I was supposed to report to had just been gunned down by a roving pack of enemies who were out to get me. There's also an awful lot of aimless wandering in this game. I kiddingly mentioned on Facebook that its tagline should be "Fallout: New Vegas - Walk Around This Mountain".

Still, there was more to like than dislike. As with many other games in the genre, you pick up companions along the way, and the ones in this game were a fun bunch, each with their own strengths and quests and personalities. There's naturally a lot of struggle and unhappiness in a post-nuclear society, and several quests successfully incorporated how terrifying it would be to live in such a world. It also offers several skills to focus in, so while I was a goody two-shoes with a specialty in standard guns and computer hacking in this playthrough, the game will be quite different if I play again as a jerk who's good at sneaking up on people with a baseball bat. All in all, I'd say that my trek through radioactive casinos was pretty entertaining, if not spectacular. If nothing else, I learned a lesson applicable to pretty much any RPG I'm likely to play in future: Just make sure you save before every conversation.

Fallout: New Vegas: B


Post a Comment

Copyright © Slice of Lime