Game Review: Fallout: New Vegas
An in depth analysis of one of the Fallout franchise's most beloved games.
Fallout: New Vegas is one of the most beloved Fallout games of all time. It's a bit dated now, coming out back in 2010, but it's often referred to as a throwback to the original, isometric Fallout titles. Fallout: New Vegas has long been a game eagerly defended by fans of the franchise, and in this article, I'll be reviewing Fallout: New Vegas to see if it is truly the masterpiece zealous fans claim, or if the hot-headed fans on the internet are simply more vocal than they are truthful.
Fallout: New Vegas' legacy arguably starts with its development. It's notable for being the only 3D Fallout title developed by a studio outside of Bethesda, that being the now legendary Obsidian entertainment. This fact is made even more remarkable when you note that Obsidian was founded by former Interplay Entertainment developers, who are known for their role in developing Fallout 2. With such talent and prior knowledge of the series, the game would surely go on to be a success. This said, New Vegas would fall short of its predecessor, Fallout 3, selling only 7.25 million units.
For some, New Vegas put the nail in the coffin for Bethesda's long used Creation Engine. Developers made note on how the engine was hard to use, outdated, and this translated very blatantly into the game itself. Aside from an almost disturbing amount of content having to be cut from the final release, the game also ran very poorly. Plagued by crashes and bugs, New Vegas came off the factory floor running about as well as a car that rammed head first into the guardrail at 60MPH. These issues were eventually somewhat remedied, but even with the most updated version of the game, and mods to help remedy some of the issues on the PC version, the game still doesn't perform well. With DLC installed, there's actually a memory leak issue. The DLCs were never really meant to talk to the main game, and as such, you end up progression to a point where the save file you're on can no longer function due to exceeding memory usage.
So, where is the positive feedback for New Vegas? It's right inside the game world, for those who can get past all the technical issues. New Vegas was truly a lovingly crafted game. You can tell this in almost every element of its design. The game world is unique, the game does an amazing job expanding the franchise's lore, and I would even argue that the settings and narratives for the DLC are some of, if not the best in the entire franchise. Not only this, but the game is practically built on fan service. We find old factions and friends from the original titles, and we find how they've grown. The narrative for Fallout: New Vegas' base game is one that's absolutely gripping, and adding in the New Divide DLC turns the whole thing on its head by taking you for a trip down philosophy lane.
Fallout: New Vegas also did a lot of things that its predecessor didn't do in terms of gameplay and mechanics. Where Fallout 3 had set items for weapons and armor, Fallout: New Vegas boldly decided to be innovative. Armor had various classes, you could disguise yourself as a member of different factions, weapons had optional attachments, and that's only to name a few things this game did well. So well, in fact, that some of these elements made their way into Fallout 4. Even the settlement system was based off of mods for New Vegas, solidifying just how influential this game was to the Fallout franchise as a whole. The Fallout games we know and love today wouldn't be what they are if not for this game.
Now, I will attempt to answer the question we're all here for. Just how good is Fallout: New Vegas? I don't believe the answer is cut and dry. I will give it a solid 7/10, but allow me to explain why. While the title is both innovative and influential, the performance issues are very hard to overlook. From a consumer standpoint, this can be a huge turn off, and it was for many people I've had the pleasure of discussing the game with. What truly makes Fallout: New Vegas remarkable, however, is that it is one of a kind. The combined talents at Obsidian made the best homage to their old work as they possibly could. They provided a game that has fueled the fires of the Fallout franchise for the past 10 years, becoming somewhat of a staple that the newest titles are still compared to.