Nuclear war is a bitch, isn't it? Not only are most living things now dust, but without warning you find yourself buried alive with a bullet in your skull. To top it all off, the bloke who put it there is an over-dramatic prick in a laughable suit.
...and that is where Fallout New Vegas
Despite the opening cutscene being one of my favourite in any game, it feels like a poor set-up. Maybe it's because we've already been introduced to the world around us in Fallout 3
- but this feels a little too straightforward.
This time, we're treated to a lazy way of defining your character. There's a doctor who not only is able to fix your face up to whatever aesthetic standard you adhere to, but can also shape your personality by showing you a few Rorschach ink blotches and asking the word association questions.
misses the build up that was there in Fallout 3
and this makes it harder to fall in love with. I was expecting something that a game set in a post-Apocalyptic Las Vegas deserves. I was not expecting the sort of intro that leaves you sighing when you first exit the doctor's home into the wasteland. Sighing not out of disappointment as such; more with frustration at the missed opportunity.
However, the more you move away from your spawn town of Goodsprings, the more the bitter after-taste of the opening soon becomes the sweet taste of Fallout
. Within no time at all you'll find yourself walking through the wasteland on a mission of revenge.... ...shitting yourself during every step.
Loneliness: that's a large part of Fallout
that I had forgotten in the two years New Vegas
has taken to come out. How lonely it feels. How useless you are. The opening hours of Fallout
are nerve wrecking, they make for a jumpy experience that is so intense that you'll have to take a 20 minute break after every hour of play – LIKE YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO!
One of the only real steps forward that New Vegas
has made over Fallout 3
lies within the characters that exist in the messed up world. Despite each town feeling less enclosed than those in Washington, you get a sense of community that seemed missing from the previous game. Within moments of entering any 'city' you'll know enough characters and back stories to start building your own opinions on people.
seemed to try and swamp you with sub-plots and needless characters, but the scaled back cast of New Vegas
means that you can spend valuable brain power working out who to trust... rather than wasting its precious resource on remembering pointless names. You feel more involved in communities, and because of that you feel the need to help out more with side-quests and tasks set to you by some of the people you trust.
The main quest is a lot more fun too. No longer are you following the trail of your runaway Dad, being sent from city to city only to be told, “Well he's been through here, but the princess is in another castle”. In fact you feel a little more like a detective, tracking down your failed killer. Sure, you're still being sent from city to city but as you move towards New Vegas in your hunt, you have to take it upon yourself to find out as much as you can about your target before moving on.
At times it feels like a book that you can't put down. There always seems to be the next big reveal around the corner. Once you grow into a stronger, levelled-up character and your fear of enemies disappears, you'll soon find your one hour sessions growing, and your time in the real world melting away around you. You'll also find dark rings around your eyes and an energy drink in your hand as you sit down at work the next day.