Though Bethesda are the current custodians of the series after buying it from Interplay, this game was passed on to Obsidian to make instead... which is a company founded by ex-Interplay employees. Annoyingly they haven't used their years of PC RPG developing experience to fix the issue where I have to disable my Xbox 360 controller to use the mouse in the menu though.
This is awesome theme music though, it's like a slightly wild west-tinged version of the Fallout 3 theme (youtube links, don't hate me if there's ads). I know people liked that the first two games began with classic songs by The Ink Spots, but I think its cool that the series has an original theme of its own now. One of their tunes will show up in the intro though, they always do.
(Click the images to see them at the original resolution.)
With the song continuing in the background, the camera pans out of a casino, down the Vegas Strip, through drunken soldiers walking the streets, over a sniper picking off bandits outside the walls, past a group of men dressed as Romans...
Did I mention that Ron Perlman's back as the narrator by the way? He runs through the story so far, explaining that when atomic fire consumed the Earth, the survivors found refuge in underground Vaults. Decades later, the descendants of the remnants of humanity have formed tribes and cities, and the armies of two empires now face each other across the Colorado River: the New California Republic and Caesar's Legion.
Not much point me telling me about it though, seeing as my character's resting in a shallow grave right now. Oh, do you think I might get to play as their ghost?
Hey, I've been rescued! I was worried for a moment that this guy's head was going to start rotating like in the videos, but it seems that particular bug has been crushed.
Doctor Colonel Tigh from Battlestar Galactica here explains that he's managed to remove the bullet and sew my head back together, but he'd like me to check to see if he's got my face looking right using his Reflectron electric mirror.
Wow, look at all those 'mouth' options, so much choice! Seems that Obsidian decided to leave the face creator mostly as they found it in Fallout 3, aside from making the viewing screen half the size, which is a bit disappointing considering how limited it was.
Also don't think I didn't notice this Obsidian:
Wait... it says 'Companion Nerve' doesn't it? Well, uh, never mind then. Moving on.
Also the idea of a Hoarder trait that gives bonuses for having a full pack all the time is genius. I'm going with Wild Wasteland though, to maximise the potential craziness and wacky fourth wall breaking references. Just for you.
Speaking of the last game, this place is looking a lot healthier than the Capital Wasteland did. In fact this is pretty much what the Mojave desert looks like anyway. The buildings are even intact!
Though seeing the two games next to each other does help clear up something I've been curious about: they did change the on-screen HUD between games. They added a few tiny notches to some of the corners.
the first one back in '97. Though there's a lot more voice acting in them these days.
Okay I've got two objectives:
- I've still got to complete that last job I was on before I was so rudely shot to death. I was hired as a courier to deliver a Platinum Chip to Vegas, so I need to track down the people who tried to kill me and get the thing back. Funnily enough, despite the bullet in the brain, my character does not actually suffer from amnesia in this.
- I should probably go into town and say hi.
- Also a bunch of DLC missions but I'm pretending they're not there for now.
I'm going to keep this gang leader thinking I'm on his side for now, then go and find where the townsfolk have got the trader stashed to get his side of the story.
Well at least I've figured out how to put cards down now. I discarded most of my deck because it was the only button that seemed to work, without realising that I could just select a card instead. Not that it helped me much as I have no bloody idea what determines what cards can go on each stack or what I'm even trying to achieve.
I'll just call it a draw and move on to saving this guy's sorry ass from Cobb.
Now I've got a few options to improve my chances in the shoot out, each relying on a different skill.
- Talk an old ex-prospector (scavenger) into giving me dynamite by demonstrating my Explosives skill.
- Explore an old school and open up the safe with my Lockpicking skill.
- Convince the shopkeeper into giving us some combat gear with my Barter skill.
- Have a chat with the saloon owner and see if I can win her over with my Speech skill.
- Ask ol' Doc Colonel Tigh from Battlestar to give me some medical supplies with my... actually he just hands me them with no strings attached, because he's a really nice bloke.
I don't have the Barter skills to talk the shopkeeper around, but fortunately he's selling a magazine that'll boost them by 10 which should hopefully do the job. Annoyingly it's only temporary and they'll have worn off by the next time I go shopping. I guess being shot in the head isn't good for the long term memory.
The place also sells guns, armour, stimpaks, ammo... all kinds of things. Food too, which seems pretty pointless to me right now, but if I was playing on Hardcore mode I'd probably think differently. Hardcore mode tweaks the game a little to make it more challenging, giving ammo a weight, making each stimpak's healing effect a whole lot less immediate, and shackling me to the mortal needs of hunger and thirst. Not really my kind of thing to be honest.
This is how it works: I turn the screwdriver carefully until the hair clip starts begins to break, then I release the pressure a bit, adjust the angle of the clip, and try again. Eventually I'll get it in generally the right location and the lock will open, or the clip will snap. I can also force the lock, but with an 11% chance of success I think I'll pass on that.
My character seems to have an absolutely terrible pistol skill, but it doesn't seem to be hurting my accuracy any this time around. Also I can aim down the sights now! Not that I'm that bothered either way, but it's nice to have options. It doesn't feel much different to Fallout 3 overall to be honest, but it seems that ranged combat has definitely seen a few improvements..
For some reason the kind townsfolk of Goodsprings haven't rushed over to strip their fallen prey bare like vultures, so I get first pick of the treasure. I can even take their clothes, so like in Fallout 3 I'm going to be leaving a trail of naked dead assholes across the wasteland wherever I go. Stitch up the bulletholes and get the blood out of them and they'll be as good as new.
So I'm going north.
Oblivion or Fallout 3, except it's one I can leave at any time. Well now I've learned a bit more about how the game works I think I'm going to... leave my tagged skills exactly as they were. Well okay I'm going to select 'Unarmed' instead of 'Melee Weapons', but that's just correcting a mistake. I didn't realise they were two separate skills!
One thing that isn't two separate skills anymore is the Guns skill, as someone's finally decided that splitting up Small Guns and Big Guns was a bit cruel. I believe that Big Rocket Launchers etc. have been put in the Explosives skill and Big Flamethrowers now go under Energy Weapons, which is a bit weird but whatever.
VATS is making a return from Fallout 3 pretty much unchanged. It's an assisted targeting system that freezes time to let me select enemies body parts to aim for. Once I've spent all my action points planning my shots or reloading, I reach over and hit the E key (because letting me redefine that would be crazy) and let the battle play out in cinematic camera shots. Or I can just shoot things in first person myself normally, it's up to me.
Also I'm 'a little woozy' now, apparently. Whatever that means.
Crap, my health bar's draining away, I've been poisoned! I need to get my inventory opened and inject some stimpaks.
Oh by the way, see that fence up there on the hill? That's the sign warning people not to go north. This is as far as I've managed to get so far and I'm already barely hanging on to life. The moral of the story: don't go north.
That location on the bottom of the map is Goodsprings by the way and the one just south of me is the graveyard I was buried in, so I've barely travelled anywhere yet. New Vegas is right up on the top edge of the map screen, so I've got a bit of a walk left ahead of me.
I've got a bit of a problem here, seeing as Fallout: New Vegas has a slightly different armour system to Fallout 3. Weapon damage is now measured in DAM and DPS (damage per second) and armour has a damage threshold. Even if my gun is putting out a crazy amount of DPS, if the enemy's DT is higher that my weapon's DAM, then most of my hurt ain't getting through to them.
Luckily for me I just so happened to get a free grenade launcher at the start, courtesy of the Courier's Stash DLC, and I have a theory that 59 DAM is going to make an impression no matter how good this guy's armour is. Assuming I can still fire it with my arm and head hanging off.
Speaking of condition, items in this deteriorate over time with use which I think is a terrible terrible idea... in most games. I have to regretfully concede that it actually suits this game, as it means I can combine my half-ruined gear into one item with a better condition and a higher sale price, clearing up a bit of inventory space while I'm at it.
It also means that I can find awesome weapons right from the start, like these Love and Hate knuckle-dusters for instance, which are nerfed due to their condition. Then when I continue through the game I'll eventually get the money or repair skill to get them fixed back up to max damage and have a super weapon on my hands.
Hang on, these things are in good condition. 61 DPS with my fists? I... have just become a god.
Oh come on leave me alone, I don't have any food for you! I don't have any stimpaks left either, I'm fresh out of healing items. Though I guess I could at least use a doctor's bag to fix my leg, that'd definitely make this getaway go a little faster.
Also, why am I running from them?
If I was going to describe unarmed combat in this with three words beginning with 'v', I'd say it was violent, visceral and viable. I have to run into gunfire to get my punches to connect, but once I'm up close fights tend go in my favour. It's just a shame that running up to enemies and hitting punch over and over makes for pretty boring gameplay.
It's also a shame that none of these bastards ever seem to have any stimpaks on them.
I set up a fight against a couple of radscorpions, punched them to death before they'd even left their little cage area, then limped back out to street level with my pitiful winnings. I was kind of hoping for a free health refill afterwards like in Oblivion's Arena, but nope.
Hey, there's that tower I saw in the distance from back in Goodsprings. I guess it's the equivalent of Oblivion's White Gold Tower in that it's visible from all over the map. Except in this case it's a big roulette spinner. I can't get over there yet though, as I need to have 2000 caps in my pocket to even step foot on the Vegas Strip.
I'm not a big fan of Elvis to be honest and I didn't plan to stay long (I'm supposed to be looking for revenge), but I get the feeling someone's going to complain if I don't go over and check out that building with the guitar on it.
Anyway forget Elvis, take a look at this dog! He's got a cyber-backside and his brain glows! I'd do a few missions for The King and see if he asks me to take the dog for a walk, but I've got that revenge to do.
She offered to join up with me so that she can see the Mojave for herself and I didn't see a reason to say no. There's always room in my team for more people armed with pneumatic gauntlets. Except I can only have one human sidekick, so there actually isn't after this.
By the way, the reason I'm going to this town the long way instead of fast travelling, is because I want to fill in some of the locations along the east side of the map to make it easier to get around later. Fallout 3 is similar to Oblivion in that you can pretty much pick a direction and keep walking until you hit the end of the map or a mountain, but New Vegas's map is more like Morrowind's, with paths cutting through the harsh landscape. There's still a lot of room to go off the track and explore though.
Until you try to climb a hill and hit one of those bloody invisible walls that is.
I figured I should go down there and see if I could punch the fire out or something and found myself face to face with an atrocity I wasn't prepared to see: Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru from Star Wars were amongst the victims. Now this on its own was pretty tame, it's just a dumb little reference added by the Wild Wasteland Trait, but it had to go and play a little jingle and show an icon on screen as well, just to make absolute certain that I acknowledged it and knew why it was there. It's the kind of thing that tends to kill a harmless joke dead in my opinion.
Unfortunately for Vulpes, Veronica and I were apparently quite a bit beyond his level at this point, considering how easy it was to beat the crap out of him and steal his hat. The game does have level scaling I believe, but the difficulty isn't quite as flat as in Fallout 3 across the map.
Oh Vulpes died by the way, he wasn't just knocked unconscious, which is interesting considering that he seemed like he'd be a relatively important character later. Especially if I'd decided to work with the Legion instead of antagonising their entire faction.
I think I'll give Veronica his custom headgear as I've grown too attached to my cowboy hat now. The thing gives me +1 perception by keeping the sun out of my eyes, which is a great benefit to me somehow I'm sure of it.
Okay fine, it's pretty much a version of the board game Mastermind, with potential answers hidden in the raw data. I make a guess, it tells me how many letters are right (though not which ones), then I make another guess and so on until I get it right or run out of attempts. To mix things up, clicking on a matching set of brackets will either remove a dud or refill my attempts. As hacking games go, it ain't so bad.
These computer terminals are often linked to a locked door, to allow players to use their science skill to unlock them if their lockpicking is too low, and vice-versa. Though I don't think there's anything stopping me from picking the lock first, then doing the computer as well and collecting double XP.
I'm pretty sure that the pair of Great Khans from the intro are in here as well though, so I've got a good reason to get involved, considering that their friend in the checkered coat shot me in the head and took the Platinum Chip I was tasked with delivering.
I'm still a little bit annoyed about that actually, but I'm going to put my thirst for vengeance aside for now to ensure the safety of these soldiers, and work to resolve this without bloodshed.
Oh don't worry, I crept over using a Stealth Boy cloaking device I'd acquired earlier and secretly rescued the hostages before I even came into this shop to 'negotiate' with the Khan leaders for their release. They should be quite safe, assuming they don't accidentally walk into all those bullets flying around outside now.
Fortunately I managed to get the information I was after as well, so now I know exactly where I have to go to get my Platinum Chip back...
I gotta say it's nice to visit somewhere clean for a change. The city of New Vegas was spared from the nuclear onslaught that blasted most US cities in rubble, so it's only 200 years of wear and tear that's taken the shine off this casino.
Sure would be great if there was a fast travel marker on the Vegas Strip though, so I didn't have to walk here from the outside gates each time.
Here's my controversial opinion about the first few hours of Fallout: New Vegas: I don't think it's actually that much better than Fallout 3. But then I love the shit out of Fallout 3, so that's not exactly a criticism. Sure the game does a lot of things better: it's got a greater variety of weapons, ranged combat has been tweaked, you can craft things, it was scripted by some of the top RPG writers in the business, companions don't die in combat, there's the new armour system... lots of things. But on the other hand at the core this is very much just more of Fallout 3, in the same way that Fallout 2 was more of Fallout 1. It builds upon the work that Bethesda did in the last game and has very similar gameplay and familiar issues.
Speaking of issues, holy shit the bugs in this game man, those bugs man, you wouldn't believe them. Let me tell you about all the insane bugs I found in my hours of play...
Well, it crashed a couple of times. Uh... sorry, nothing else is jumping to mind. I guess VATS sometimes took a while to start up, plus it looks a little wonky when you take something from a shelf and the other items on there raise up slightly as their physics kick in. Also once I was attacked by Legion assassins while inside a secure NCR held facility, which seems a little unlikely. Other than that it's been running fine for me.
Honestly my biggest problem with the game so far has been that it takes forever to walk anywhere. C'mon Bethesda, throw in a motorbike or a buggy for Fallout 4 please? You can borrow one from Rage, I'm sure id won't be needing them anymore.
It's very possible that you just experienced a whole lot of words about Fallout: New Vegas, and for that I apologise, but now's your chance to get your own back on me by leaving an epic comment. You could talk about the game, the Fallout franchise in general, my site in general, why I'm entirely wrong for liking a first person Fallout game etc.