Fall­out: New Ve­gas

Ben Grif­fin wan­ders back into Ob­sid­ian’s bizarre waste­land

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De­tails Dev Ob­sid­ian En­ter­tain­ment Pub Bethesda Soft­works Re­leased Oct 2010 Scored 9/10

FWeapons get pro­gres­sively weirder, es­ca­lat­ing from bladed gauntlets and box­ing gloves to a ma­chine gun pow­ered by the brain of a dog. rankly, Fall­out: New Ve­gas was kind of a mess, a sprawl­ing RPG held to­gether by duct tape and Won­der­glue. You’re walk­ing along and BAM! A burned-out car ran­domly springs you 35m in the air. Or, mid-con­ver­sa­tion, some­one’s head ro­tates 360º. There’s even the re­cent rev­e­la­tion un­cov­ered by hob­by­ist coders that, be­cause its pre­de­ces­sor lacked func­tion­ing ve­hi­cles, Fall­out 3’ s Pres­i­den­tial Metro Train sec­tion in­volved slyly af­fix­ing a gi­ant piece of car­riage-shaped ar­mour to the player and fool­ing them into think­ing they were rid­ing it.

This, it hap­pens, is the nec­es­sary price of near lim­it­less free­dom, be­cause while other open-world games of the time such as Bat­man: Arkham Asy­lum, Just Cause 2 and As­sas­sin’s Creed Rev­e­la­tions were ar­guably more pol­ished ex­pe­ri­ences, none matched New Ve­gas’ dizzy­ing scope. Ev­ery item is a phys­i­cal en­tity you can pick up and put down, ev­ery per­son is some­one you can talk to, steal from or kill. For­tu­nately, any tech­ni­cal in­con­sis­ten­cies sim­ply add another strain of un­in­ten­tional hu­mour to a game al­ready burst­ing with it.

That’s the se­ries’ legacy – a postapoc­a­lyp­tic ap­ple-pie Amer­ica made markedly less bleak by talk­ing trees and pneu­matic fists – and New Ve­gas takes the con­cept to miles of Mo­jave Waste­land full of ex­tra­or­di­nary sights and sounds. Quests are a se­ries high, both in terms of player choice and sheer off-colour com­edy. Ex­am­ples in­clude Elvis im­per­son­ators The Kings ask­ing you to find a re­place­ment brain for their cy­ber­dog, gath­er­ing a group of es­corts (cow­boy ghoul, sex bot) for a wealthy client with un­usual tastes, re­cruit­ing en­ter­tain­ers for the Tops casino, whip­ping a gang of un­ruly NCR sol­diers into shape, steal­ing eggs from Mo­jave wildlife (eas­ier said than done with roam­ing ir­ra­di­ated scor­pi­ons and fire geckos), and ei­ther pre­par­ing or sab­o­tag­ing a rocket launch.

All quests have mul­ti­ple so­lu­tions. Be­yond the Beef, for in­stance, sees you pre­vent­ing the son of a rancher be­com­ing the main course of a can­ni­bal­is­tic so­ci­ety’s ban­quet. You can steal the recipe for an im­i­ta­tion- flesh pie, drug the wine to ren­der ev­ery­one un­con­scious, break out the son and lead another hu­man sac­ri­fice into the freezer, or frame the fa­ther by col­lect­ing blood sam­ples from his son and plant­ing them in his room.

Mis­sions such as this ef­fec­tively demon­strate the net­work of sys­tems work­ing fu­ri­ously un­der New Ve­gas’ sur­face. Karma de­ter­mines how oth­ers re­act to you, whether with warmth, fur­rowed brows or all-out vi­o­lence, based on pre­vi­ous ac­tions. Fac­tions record your prior in­ter­ac­tions with them, and will re­ward or pun­ish you (kill mem­bers of Cae­sar’s Le­gion and he’ll greet you with hos­til­ity). Di­a­logue also varies ac­cord­ing to what choices you’ve made, what you’re wear­ing and who your com­pan­ion is. Show up to The Kings’ School of Im­per­son­ation with Cass and mem­bers might say, “Hellooo, cow­girl! You mind if talk to your lady friend in­stead of you?”

And that’s with­out get­ting into the 13 char­ac­ter skills. You can talk your way out of most any­thing, or barter for an im­por­tant item in­stead of bat­tling over it. With a high enough Sneak abil­ity you can find a peace­ful so­lu­tion, and with ad­vanced Lock­pick or Science tal­ents you’re able to un­cover al­ter­nate

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