|Fallout: New Vegas|
|Platforms||Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows|
|Genre||Deserted desert shooter|
|MtAMinutes to Action||31|
|Buy from Amazon|
This is my third first hour in the Fallout series, played the original Fallout back in 2008, then Fallout 3 in 2009. Both games left me interested, but wary. I never went on with Fallout, but played the third game for about 10 hours before I became frustrated with what I thought to be iffy sneaking and overwhelming combat. I definitely feel like I gave the game a great attempt, but in the end just didn’t have the heart to go on.
Fast-forward to 2011, and my brother-in-law gives me Fallout: New Vegas out of the blue. He says it is one of his favorite games, and like how some people give away their favorite book to friends, he apparently just gives away video games. I would have preferred something, anything else, but what can you do? Plus, Paul loves it.
So here we are with October 2010’s New Vegas, the Vice City-esque sequel to Fallout 3. New setting, new characters, slightly tweaked gameplay, and from everything I’ve read, absolutely chock full of bugs. But hey, I really enjoyed Fallout 3’s first hour, so I’m hoping for a repeat with New Vegas. And you never know, I may go all the way with this one.
Welcome to New Vegas.
00 - I select New Game and the first hour of Fallout: New Vegas begins. Some old-timey music begins playing and the camera pulls back from an empty bar and dance hall. It swings around Las Vegas aka Vault 21 aka New Vegas and we see a few people walking around, then a sniper takes a shot at someone in bunny ears and blows their head off. The cutscene continues to move quickly around to different scenes.
01 - “War. War never changes.” The narrator begins explaining the vaults and the nukes’ aftermath. Survivors in America’s southwest formed the New California Republic, and eventually sent scouts eastward, discovering Las Vegas untouched, and the Hoover Dam, still intact.
02 - The Republic is holding the Hoover Dam against Caesar’s Legion, and New Vegas is run by Mr. House.
03 - “You are a courier,” charged with delivering something. I see my hands are tied, and a checkered suit man has my life in his hands.
04 - And he’s killed me. Well, that didn’t take long. The Fallout: New Vegas title text zips by and we’re loading.
05 - Maybe I’m not dead, a man is sitting in front of me and asks for my name, I leave it at the default: Courier. The man sounds like Michael Hogan from Battlestar Galactica... maybe?
06 - Doc Mitchell fancies himself as the local healerand pulled all the bits of shrapnel out of my head. He hands me a Reflectron and I can configure my sex, race, face, hair, etc. I mostly go with the presets. There are an excessive number of beard options though.
09 - Settled on my look, he tasks me with walking around. Did you know that the left stick moves my character and the right stick looks around? I can’t imagine this being someone’s first game and discovering that for the first time.
10 - The machine I’m standing in front of doles out my attribute points, but it’s pretty hard to distribute points intelligently the way it is set up. Okay, you can see it all on the final screen.
12 - Next we sit down on his couch and he asks me some questions, basically just word association. Some of the pairs are rather obvious in their meaning: “Mother... Human Shield.” Yeah, that’s the first thing that popped into my mind, if I was a psycho.
15 - After those there’s a Rorschach test, I don’t see any of the answers in the image, ah well.
16 - So many questions, and then I’m just thrown into the skills menu anyway. I’m just going to go with what they picked, gotta keep moving on.
18 - Finally, I have to pick my talent, I go with Heavy Handed, which increases my melee damage.
19 - Before he kicks me out, he gives me a Pip Boy, and then the game offers to turn on Hardcore Mode, which just sounds awful. I leave Doc Mitchell’s house.
21 - Looking out at the open Mojave Desert... seems big and empty. Time to survey my equipment.
23 - I’ve just got a basic Vault outfit for armor, along with a pistol and straight razor for weapons. Since I’m melee, I guess I should be using the razor? That’s kind of ridiculous. At least give me a baseball bat.
24 - Guess I’ll wander around town, try to find someone else to talk to. My radar points me towards the saloon so that’s my first destination.
25 - A woman named Sunny Smiles is going to teach me how to survive in the desert. I see that the NPC voice acting hasn’t improved much since Fallout 3.
26 - She gives me a rifle and points towards the stereotypical glass bottles to take out. After a few are shattered we head out to hunt geckos.
29 - After running for literally a mile with Sunny’s dog getting in the way the whole time, we finally arrive at the nasty geckos.
31 - Sneaking mission time! I blow the heads off two geckos using the VATS system, always liked that about Fallout 3.
34 - We kill a few more geckos, but Sunny does most of the work. Next she’s going to teach me how to live off the land, she tells me to find two different kinds of plants so we can cook something.
36 - Holy crap everything is spaced so far apart in this game.
37 - A scorpion finally wanders into my path and I take it out with a combination of VATS and regular old first-person shooting.
40 - I reach the cemetery but its “guarded” by a swarm of bloatflies, I make my way around taking them out. I’m not much of a melee fighter, am I?
41 - Found the Broc Flower, now I need to get whatever other plant Smiles wanted.
43 - Geez these Giant Mantis Nymphs have some sharp legs, not sure how it’s possible to even hit these guys with a rifle but whatever.
45 - All right, got the Xander Root, back to Sunny Smiles.
46 - Just be thankful there’s no video of me walking around, this is dreadfully boring.
47 - We’re going to make Healing Powder, yay. After a quick batch, Sunny tells me to meet Trudy, the town “mother”.
49 - More walking... wait! Can you fast travel? Yes! Plenty of loading instead, but I’ll take it.
51 - Trudy was being rustled up by some guy from I think the New California Republic, she can apparently handle herself though.
52 - So this Cobb guy was here for a man named Ringo, but Trudy ain’t telling him where Ringo is hiding out... but she tells me flat-out. Guess I have that trusting look in my eyes.
54 - Trudy tells me that I was shot by the Khans, some kind of gang, sounds like they were heading for The Strip.
56 - We’re talking about some kind of robot that rescued me, I’m incredibly confused. Is Doc Mitchell a robot?
58 - She also explains the NCR (sort of good guys, Cobb is actually an escaped prisoner of the NCR) and The Legion (bad, nasty guys).
59 - Heading outside to go find this Ringo character
60 - Ringo’s hiding out in the gas station but wants to play a game of Caravan, not right now because that’s the end of the first hour of Fallout: New Vegas.
Minutes to Action: 31
Bias: Maybe this will be a new thing, just to help the random reader understand where I stand on a game/genre/developer. In Fallout: New Vegas’ case, I’m honestly not a big fan of the Elder Scrolls style of gameplay that this is derived from. I’ve played Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3, and now New Vegas and just didn’t like any of them. I was also coming down with a bit of a cold when I played this, and was overtired. We all come into a game with some kind of bias, be it positive or negative, so there’s mine.
Would I Keep Playing? No.
Even with my predisposition, this wasn’t a foregone conclusion. I honestly really enjoyed Fallout 3’s first hour, but that was a very different experience from the rest of the game I played: it was a narrative heavy, plot driven sixty minutes that led to an exciting conclusion and had tons of potential.
But the first hour of Fallout: New Vegas is probably much more indicative of the rest of the game: open world, free roaming, with lots and lots of walking. I was downright bored by the amount of travel required for the two whole quests I finished in an hour. I’m not sure what the point of it was either, that the world is a big place, get used to it? Lots of games brag about how many square miles they feature, but when that land is empty, does it count?
I don’t do this often, but I think the right way to kick off New Vegas would be to place you in the events before you’re shot. Drop me in the middle of that fateful mission where I’m captured by the Khans, let me experience the Vegas Strip right away, tease me with it so I’m begging to go back later on, fully equipped and ready to kick some ass. Take a look at how Mass Effect 2 starts off, the whole start of the game could have been a cutscene but BioWare gave us the opportunity to play right away.
So in the end, I’m leaving New Vegas, for good.