"New Vegas... Is that like Old Vegas that's
still in the box, wrapped in plastic?"
So along with the new name, I'm trying a different kind of format for these game reviews. Even though I'm typically able to play though Call of Duty titles in a day, this won't be the case for a lot of other games. I've instead decided to go with more of a milestone oriented review process; do first day and last day reviews as well as intermittent mid-game reviews. This way, I'll be able to write more at more relevant times without getting tired of writing altogether. So we'll see how that goes.
Anyway, like a lot of games I have, New Vegas has been sitting in my Steam library for a while, waiting for that magical alignment of me being at my apartment, having free time, and having an internet connection will allow me to download and start playing it. Well, as of writing this, it happened yesterday. Starting a new game is one of my favorite things in the world, especially when it comes to RPGs. Despite being almost exactly like the previous Fallout title (Fallout 3), everything still felt new and exciting. I spent my usual hour or two just running through Fallout's in-game character setup process.
I bought Fallout 3 when you still bought physical cases that contained a disk, random inserts on thin, shiny paper, and sometimes even a game manual, and since I didn't have that last item to read through and remind me, I completely forgot about the Perks system. You were also given the option to choose certain Traits (no more than two) that your character could have. Unlike perks that are exclusively positive, traits had an up and down side. I thought the options were pretty cool, and they really made you think about how you were planning on playing the game.
Another aspect of New Vegas that I don't remember being as prominent is a faction and reputation system. I remember there being reputation in Fallout 3, but I don't remember them being tied to individual factions. You run into a few right off the bat, so it could be a fairly extensive list of factions out there, but they appear to fall into either the Good or Bad category regardless of what they are called. More on that to come I'm sure.
Since I purchased New Vegas off Steam only a couple months ago, it came bundled with all the DLC included with it. I like DLC that adds missions, but one item gave me extra gear at the onset of the game. When I first noticed this, I quit and tried to reload without those files initialized, but I couldn't seem to get that to work. That was a little annoying because I thought it cheapened the experience of the game. Being useless at the start of the game is kind of the point; usually you have to learn to walk before you get the grenade launcher, except for today. I suppose a potential balance to this is the game's "Hardcore" option.
Y U NO GET ACHIEVEMENT?!?!
As you can probably guess, Hardcore mode has more difficult enemies, but it also adds weight to your ammunition (makes you think twice about that hoarding instinct) and the obstacle of exposure. Being outside without adequate water (radiated or otherwise) will make you dehydrated, a condition which I can only assume will be detrimental to your character. It was a mode I opted-out of; but I'm starting to regret that choice, and there's a high possibility that I'll start over with it enabled before I get any farther along in the game. The game allows you to turn it on or off at any time, but there's an achievement for completing the whole game with it enabled so I figure why not go for it before I get more than an evenings worth of playtime in.
Like I mentioned earlier, the gameplay, environment, terrible inventory system, and to an extent the characters are near identical to Fallout 3. Crafting items is a little different with the addition of a reloading station to breakdown ammunition and create other types and fire pits that combine with your survival skill and allow you to make anything from steak to poisons. At this point, I haven't really had the need to do much with these items, but I think they add more of a survivalist element to a world that supposed to be post-apocalyptic. Not that the environment doesn't do a good job of portraying that on it's own or anything. It looks very much like a desert wasteland, and the destinations I've been to so far, though limited, haven't been repetitive. Still, it feels very much like the same animal; and if my draw to games was less centered on the story and the experience it creates, I might find it a little disappointing in that respect. Luckily, that's not me, and I'm enjoying it thoroughly.