Fallout: New Vegas (FNV) is certainly a rollercoaster. Unfortunately I’m not talking about the story, but the bugs. I’ve lost count of how many quests I’ve been unable to complete because of bugs. In some cases, necessary quest items don’t appear; in other cases dialogue items are missing; and in one case the person I had to turn a quest into refused to talk to me.
That’s all I’m going to say about the bugs now, because, for all that, I’m still enjoying the game itself.
Due to my playstyle (stealth, killshots from the shadows, etc) it’s taking me a while to work through it. I’m quite happy to simply wait in the shadows for “just the right moment” to either bring down an enemy, or to sneak past. I’m also taking my time and exploring, finding as many of the various sidequests as I can. So no-one should be surprised that I’m no-where near the end of the game. I haven’t made it into New Vegas yet. Oh I’ve made it to New Vegas, but I haven’t gone in yet, because I’ve been having too much fun with everything else to continue with the main quest yet.
FNV is far better than Fallout 3 (F3), in terms of story, and the game dynamics. The karma system is even more broken and inconsistent than F3, but it doesn’t actually seem to matter. I’ve yet to notice it affecting how characters interact with me.
What’s far more important is Faction reputation. You have a reputation with each Faction which range from the big players – the NCR and Ceasar’s Legions – through to the smaller ones like the ex-con Powder Gangers. The better your reputation with a Faction, the more likely they are to help you. The worse your reputation, the more likely they are to shoot on sight.
This has added an interesting dynamic, in that you have to think far more carefully about your actions. You might get one faction on your side by doing some task, while annoying another faction. I’ve also found that this leads me to more ‘meta gaming’. If I want to keep a certain faction onside, but I can only do so with a high-enough speech, then I may put that quest off until I can gain a few levels. This makes it even more enjoyable for me, others may find it pulls them out of the game and story.
One change that I’m still on the fence about are the various skill checks in dialogue. In F3 you got a percentage chance that you’d succeed (for example a speech check), and you wouldn’t know until you tried whether it worked or not. I liked that element of chance, as I felt it was closer to the way things should work. Now, the dialogue option shows your current skill level, and the one required to succeed. This makes the whole thing more deterministic, and gives you a definite direction to take, should you want to succeed in a particular choice.
FNV also seems to find the balance between First Person Shooter (FPS) and Role Playing Game (RPG) with the addition of ‘iron sights’. You can aim as you would a real gun, or use the V.A.T.S system – or mix the two. For me this works quite well, and I hope any future games will keep this balance.
I’m still happy to keep playing FNV, but I do wish they’d release another patch … or six.