Dust Off – A Fallout: New Vegas Retrospective

War... War Never Changes... Really, It Doesn't...

Welcome to Dust Off, where we take a look at games from the past, present, and not the future because I do not have access to a spaceship to take me through a black hole.

This week we are taking a look at my favorite Fallout game, Fallout: New Vegas, released on October 19th, 2010. We will be taking a look at the development, story, gameplay changes from Fallout 3, and the impact this game has had on gaming.

To keep yourself up to date with all of the terms and stories (assuming you are reading the story sections), I suggest you read the previous installments (Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout Tactics, Cancelled Fallout Projects, and Fallout 3)

Development

Before we dive into Fallout: New Vegas, we are going to quickly go over the history of Obsidian Entertainment. Obsidian Entertainment was started in 2003 by ex-Black Isle Studios employees shortly before the studio shut down by parent company Interplay Entertainment. For those unaware, Black Isle Studios is the studio credited for creating Fallout, despite not actually developing it. A lot of members from the first Fallout team migrated to Black Isle Studios after Fallout released, and were responsible for creating Fallout 2.

Talks between Obsidian and Bethesda to create a Fallout game began in 2008, but both parties were aware that this new game would not be Fallout 4 and actually referred to it as Fallout 3.5 while in development. Bethesda apparently had dibs on designing Fallout games based on the East Coast, so Obsidian decided to develop a game based in familiar territory; the West Coast, as this is where Fallout, Fallout 2, and Tactics all took place. Originally, Obsidian proposed a game set in between the stories of Fallout and Fallout 2, but Bethesda shut down that idea as they wanted to continue the west coast story instead. Bethesda did, however, approve Obsidian’s plans to set the game in the Las Vegas area. The game was proposed with the title Fallout: Sin City but the title was changed to Fallout: New Vegas.

The game was in production for a short 18 months, due to the new game utilizing the same engine as Fallout 3. The story also borrowed heavily from the canceled Van Buren project, the original Fallout 3, that Black Isle Studios had been working on. They borrowed such things as Caesar’s Legion and the conflicts between the NCR and the Brotherhood of Steel. The game was reportedly going to have the option to play as either humans, ghouls, or Super Mutants, but this was dropped due to the Gamebyro game engine not being able to handle how the weapons and armor would work. Obsidian also made some heavy changes to it, such as better lighting.

I will be spoiling the basic story of these games, so if you don’t want the stories ruined for you, play the games first.

Story

Fallout: New Vegas takes place 4 years after Fallout 3 in Nevada, where you play as The Courier, a person who was to deliver a special package to New Vegas. Unfortunately, they were stopped and captured by a man named Benny, voiced by Matthew Perry, and some members of a gang called The Great Khans. The gang steals your package and kills you… or so they think. You wake up a few days later in a town called Goodsprings where you were brought back by Doc Mitchell, the town doctor. You then begin your trek to find your package and the men who tried to kill you. The rest of the story is really up to you since, as I will go over later, there is a much more in-depth reputation system and you can choose multiple sides in the game. However, whichever side you pick, will end up with you taking part in a war to see who will control the Hoover Dam.

Gameplay

Fallout: New Vegas on the surface is very similar to Fallout 3, where the combat is very similar, except with the lovely addition of iron sights. What differs from Fallout 3 however, is the story based on mechanics. There is a much better reputation system now. In Fallout 3 if you stole anything from anywhere, it would give you bad karma which would make people hate you. If you did good deeds you would receive good karma, which would cause people to like you. In New Vegas, all of this depends on where you do these things. For example, if you steal from the NCR (New California Republic) they will dislike you, but that will not affect anyone who is not affiliated with the NCR. Same goes for if you steal from Caesar’s Legion, they will dislike you but only people who are a part of the Legion will be affected. You explore the map undergoing quests, which depending on your choices and reputation may change drastically.

On top of this, there are now more speech options depending on what perks you have and what levels your skills are at. For example, if you have a high Science skill, you will get more options to use your knowledge and possibly give you a new way to complete a quest. There are also the re-addition of “traits” from the classic Fallout games, which usually benefit you in one way but give you a disadvantage in return, such as Trigger Discipline which makes guns and energy weapons 20% more accurate but you fire said weapons 20% slower and they require 20% more Action Points in V.A.T.S. All of these make the game much more replayable, enjoyable, and immersive in my opinion.

Impact

I believe that Fallout 3 is an okay game with good ideas, but not implemented correctly. Fallout: New Vegas takes everything that was wrong with Fallout 3 and improves it 100 times over, except for the bugs caused by Gamebryo. I also think that New Vegas is one of the games to come out in recent years to show gamers that they do not need to settle for less; it has given gamers higher standards for their games and has shown how a well-written story can make for a much better game. There does seem to be a love-hate relationship with New Vegas on the internet, but in my opinion, I think this is among the best RPG’s to come out within the last decade and heavily recommend anyone pick it up and give it a try. You want the Ultimate Edition though. The DLC is also some of the best DLC that I have ever played and added to the already awesome story. You can buy Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition on Steam, GOG, and on the Xbox One Digital Store.

Come back next week when we take a look at Fallout 4, Fallout Shelter and the Fallout Board Game!

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Tyler McKerracher

Tyler is a young writer, geek, video game enthusiast, and just all out goofy dude all the way from Canada

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