Image captured by Hatmonster
Fallout 4 is on its way, are you prepared to venture back out into the Wasteland? As of the announcement at E3, I was not. It had been years since I’d played a Fallout game, and had forgotten much about what dealing with life in the wasteland meant. The excitement for Fallout 4 was overwhelming though, so this month’s game had to be a Fallout game; Fallout: New Vegas to be specific. I spent quite a bit of time roaming the Mojave over the last few weeks and in doing so I re-discovered the best part of playing any Fallout game: becoming the most fearsome denizen of the Wasteland!
After getting shot in the head, my Courier woke up in the quiet little town of Goodsprings. After remembering that he was quite intelligent, lucky, and had an affinity for all things science, Corvo the Courier was ready to bring justice to those who’d attempted to cash him out. It was an inauspicious start at first. Corvo probably wasn’t any more powerful than the average wastelander. He struggled against golden geckos and the mere sight of a Cazador was enough to spell certain doom no matter what approach he took to combatting it. It led to a lot of sneaking around and scrounging up ammo/caps in the hopes of being able to buy enough equipment to stave off the next attack. However, as his quest grew from simply finding the one responsible for his near-death experience to winning the Mojave for the NCR, Corvo grew along with it. Once outfitted with proper weaponry, armor, and inexplicable knowledge of how to tip the odds in his favor, Corvo became less of a delivery boy and more of a one-man-army with a silver-tongue. Fights were welcomed rather than avoided, the once fearsome Cazadors and Deathclaws were consistently cast down with the *bark* of a gauss cannon, and even the most stubborn Wastelander couldn’t help but see things Corvo’s way. By the time we’d reached this point, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that the Mojave Wastes were Corvo’s in every way that mattered.
Building up the Courier from weak to powerful, and playing according to what that power allowed was probably what impressed me the most about playing New Vegas. I couldn’t simply play the way I wanted throughout the game, but instead had play in a way that took advantage of what I had at the time. The gameplay, which at its core remained unchanged, felt like it grew with me thanks to how I had to use the various mechanics available. As a weak Corvo, I’d often bypass fights as often as I could. Hacking, sneaking, lockpicking, and fast traveling were my bread and butter as I slowly built up proficiency in energy weapons and medicine. I upgraded V.A.T.S. as much as I could in order to lessen player-error when I was forced to fight. Later, I’d find myself barging in gun’s blazing, not caring how much fire the enemy threw at me and my mighty armored shell. I still used V.A.T.S. (because V.A.T.S. is awesome!) but it wasn’t as necessary anymore. I could simply handle most engagements just fine without it. When the time came to finish the game, Corvo was practically unstoppable, and it felt awesome. I’d had to earn the right to being overpowered and it was only after reaching that point that I was able to run into almost any enemy and tank anything they threw my way. Being able to do that felt like a reward, and so the endgame didn’t wind up feeling boring like it does in so many other games.
Fallout: New Vegas played very well, but I did find myself getting annoyed with several things as well. First and foremost, I disliked just how dark every environment was. Unless it was high noon outside in the Wasteland, I found myself squinting to see what was being shown on screen. This was especially problematic whenever I had to enter an abandoned building. I mean that Pip-Boy light only goes so far, and increasing the brightness setting on your TV only does so much. I found the story of New Vegas to be simply okay. I didn’t find it to be particularly compelling and was much more content to wander around and do side missions rather than advance the plot. Then there’s navigation. Part of me likes that the game doesn’t hold your hand and tell you exactly where to go, but most of me hated getting lost inside building after building without a clear path forward. Oh, and I can’t forget about the bugs! How could I after all the trouble those little scamps caused? A couple of corrupted save files reminded me why I use the “leap-frog” system with my game saves, the game crashed several times, and I got stuck in V.A.T.S. slow-mo purgatory at least 3 times. Other than these minor nitpicks, I really don’t have that much bad to say about Fallout: New Vegas. Its visuals haven’t aged all that well, but otherwise it holds up rather well for a five year old game. I’d highly recommend that anyone who wants to get back into the Fallout spirit before Fallout 4 drops would definitely have a fun time.
Anyone else out there psyched for Fallout 4? If so, are you gonna do anything to get ready for it?
July’s game went really well, but I’ll be taking a short break from it for August in order to do something a little different. You see, I’ve had Final Fantasy III/VI for SNES sitting on my game table for quite a while now and enough is enough. The time has finally come to dive in and see why so many RPG fans like it so much. So for next month, instead of a replay we’ll be going back to a missed classic. I can’t wait to see what it’s like! Anyone got any tips for it?