I finally finished my playthrough of Fallout: New Vegas late last week, with the total playtime coming in at about 30 hours or so (I guess 40 if you want to count the extra time in-game either a) replaying missions due to crashes/bugs, or b) dicking around aimlessly). I’d already written a post or two about my experiences, and hopefully I made my enjoyment of the game obvious enough. Still, I want to take the time to write up some closing thoughts.
I admit I wasn’t very impressed when I first began playing. I didn’t mind that the look and feel of it was so similar to Fallout 3, but I had expected the storyline and the quests to be more, shall we say, interesting? While plodding through the first few hours of quests that told me do this, go here, complete that, thanks for your time, I remember thinking to myself, Hmm, if gameplay continues to feel this linear, I’m not sure how much more of this I can take. Thankfully, all that changed the moment I stepped foot in New Vegas proper. It almost felt like the game was reassuring me that everything pre-Strip was merely an introduction; now that I’m here, the real fun can begin.
First of all, the main story immediately gets a lot more complicated. By now you would have already met the key players/factions, but brace yourself to make contact with many more. You’re sure to meet a plethora of characters on your travels, each with their own unique background and story, and as such you’ll also likely pick up a bunch of side quests. Even those, however, can affect the overall outcome of your playthrough. In fact, one thing I love about the game — and what I think is its strongest point — is the sense that the Mojave Wasteland and all its inhabitants are all connected somehow, which goes a long way in making the setting feel more dynamic and alive.
I definitely felt this while playing, but it wasn’t until I started sharing experiences with others who have finished the game that I realized the full scope of it. In the case of certain quests, some of my fellow gamers and I have chosen completely opposite paths, and ended up with very different endings. The sheer amount of variables is astounding. Many of the stories I’ve heard have made me think, Wow, I didn’t know that was even possible!
Needless to say, I see another playthrough of Fallout: New Vegas in my future. If there was one thing I regret this time around was that playing “evil” actually closed me off to a lot of quests. Pissing a person off will make them not want to speak to you anymore, now who’d a thunk it! Corpses also don’t make very good quest givers, so maybe I should have laid off that trigger-happy finger. Still, in the end I enjoy playing games that force you consider trade-offs and ultimately make you live with both your good and bad decisions. It makes each playthrough feel more unique and personal.
Of course, the more complicated a game gets the more things can go wrong technically. My biggest complaint about Fallout: New Vegas are the aforementioned glitches and bugs. Many of the ones I experienced were minor things like graphical hiccups and their like, but I did lose gameplay time on a couple occasions due to sudden crashes. What bothered me the most, however, were the glitches that affected my mission progress. In one example, I was unable to turn in a quest even though I had completed all the objectives; the option to do so was simply not among the dialogue choices when I talked to the NPC. In another instance, speaking to a quest giver for the very first time caused me to stumbled upon the last stages of a quest I’d never done or even received, and was automatically given credit for it. Granted, the free experience and caps were nice, but the bug was still no less annoying.
Fallout: New Vegas could have benefited from a little more polish in this regard. Otherwise, it was well worth the ride. Basically, if you enjoyed Fallout 3 you will enjoy this game too. Everything felt similar and in some cases improved, such as the quality of combat or the complexity and depth of the main storyline and side quests. I even thought the music was better than Fallout 3, though I have to say, if I have to listen to “Blue Moon” one more time I’m going to have to stab a fork through my eye.
If anyone is curious, listed below after the image are some highlights from the ending of my game. So if you don’t want spoilers, you should STOP READING NOW.
- Mogsy sided with Yes Man to liberate New Vegas, driving away both the Legion and NCR with their tails between their legs
- With no one to control the city, anarchy ruled the streets
- Mr. House remains a living husk of a man, somewhere in that basement of his
- Mogsy blew up Hoover Dam’s generators; the Fiends ended up taking over
- Cass died in an unmarked grave, after I let the Van Graffs vaporize her
- After being completely decimated in the final battle, the Great Khans all but ceased to exist
- The Followers of the Apocalypse found more instability and violence in the wake of an independent New Vegas
- A cure was found for the Nightkin, thanks to Mogsy and Lily
- NCR presence diminished after their defeat, leaving many wasteland towns undefended
- Primm and the Correctional Facility were abandoned, allowing the Powder Gangers to take over
- Numerous Novac citizens died from defending their town against raids
- The Kings retained their control of Freeside
- Rex adjusts to his new brain, reliving fond memories of his life as a scrapyard dog with Old Lady Gibson, whom I blew up with a frag grenade slipped into her back pocket while in sneak mode
It might not seem like it, but this was the “neutral” ending. War never changes.