Back in early October of 1997 I got a call from my best friend Nick from high school and he was going on and on about this new game he just got called Fallout. “Dude…you gotta pick this game up!’ He told me, “I can’t put it down. My character and this guy I met, Ian, are tearing it up.” He proceeded to tell me about the “SPECIAL” system and all the skills and traits he had picked for his character. Me being the sucker that I am for peer pressure, I went out right after I got off the phone and picked up the game.
Fallout was easily one of the best games I had ever played. All the ways you could customize your character, the different paths through the game and the multiple ways to complete quests just floored me. Plus…it had Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver) voicing one of the characters in the game. You can’t go wrong with that! Enjoying Fallout as much as I did, it was a no brainer that I would pick up Fallout 2 when it released a year later. The return to the wastelands of the Fallout universe with Fallout 2 was another great game in the series.
10 years after Fallout 2, Bethesda released Fallout 3. Gone was the isometric viewpoint of the previous two Fallout games. In was a 3D world created with the same engine as The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. Gone was the turn based gameplay from Fallout 1 and 2. In was the first person shooter gameplay, with the VATS (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System) gameplay, you could pause the game and use your action points to pick which enemies to shoot and where, and watch the results in “bullet time”. Oblivion with guns is what people would call the game. However, it was a hugely successful follow-up in Fallout series. I was in the process of moving when the game got released, so the game got moved to my “backlog” pile and eventually the game was lost in the move. I figured that the game’s somewhat radical change in gameplay just didn’t warrant me putting too much effort into getting it.
Fast forward two years. Fallout: New Vegas has just been released. I’m having some hesitations about getting it. I didn’t play Fallout 3 due to the gameplay differences from the original games. However, after watching the trailers and seeing “Las Vegas” reproduced in the Fallout universe, I’m intrigued. I picked it up for the PC and started playing it. I’m not sure how many people out there are still holdouts from the Fallout 1 and Fallout 2 days and have dug in their heels and are waiting for another Fallout game that uses the isometric viewpoint. I might be the only one. However, if you are still holding out…try Fallout 3 or Fallout: New Vegas. I’m having an absolute blast with Fallout: New Vegas. I can’t speak for the game being better than Fallout 3 or not. I can tell you that this game feels faithful to the Fallout series.
The combat in the game (the VATS system) does take a bit of getting used to. Mixing between First Person Shooter live action and then going into VATS to do my targeting was tricky at first. The skills, traits and perks of the previous Fallout games, however, translate over to this game nicely. Let’s get to the main part of why I’m loving Fallout: New Vegas. The atmosphere is just amazing in the game. As I’m going through the wilderness in the game, I need to always watch my radar to make sure I’m not getting to close to something that could kill me. If I do happen upon something, I need to watch my surroundings so I don’t get ambushed by more of whatever I’m fighting. Like Radscorpions. I came across one the other day when I first started. I was playing the cat and mouse game with it…shooting it with my rifle, the next thing I know, I’m surrounded by a pack of them….and I’m dead.
Exploring in the game means something. You can find caves, small outposts, car and plane crashes and more. Some of them you can explore to find weapons, ammo, armor and more. But beware…stepping into that unknown cave might be dangerous…you don’t know what could be in it. I know what was in it…and it killed me quickly. Finding a prison in the game and changing your armor so that it matches what all the guards are wearing so you can walk into the prison and accomplish a quest objective without be shot is so much fun.
For me, playing Fallout: New Vegas is made even more enjoyable because after all those times playing Fallout 1 and 2 and not getting that “3D” view of the world and coming to this game is really refreshing. It was like going from Super Metroid to Metroid Prime.
Needless to say, Fallout: New Vegas is a ton of fun. I am running into some bugs in the game, but the patches are fixing a ton of the issues. So from me to all the Fallout 1 and Fallout 2 players who are passing on Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas because “it isn’t like the originals,” you need to move on. Try the new games. I think you’ll enjoy them.
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