Fallout: New Vegas - Ultimate Edition |
There are a few games here and there that I wished that I had the time to play when they came out. Fallout New Vegas is one of those titles but luckily I got to play the complete experience over the last week with the release of Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition for PC. This complete version comes with ALL of the downloadable content including the preorder bonuses from all retailers. Since this is a massive review I will touch upon the core game a bit then get to the real features of the Ultimate Edition.
The story of Fallout: New Vegas follows the player controlled persona known only as "The Courier." Things look grim as you are ambushed while delivering a Platinum Poker Chip to the Strip in the titular New Vegas. You are insurmountably shot in the head and left to die after a rather clichť card joke. You are then rescued by a rather mysterious but friendly robot named Victor who takes you to the local doctor to get patched up. Here you get to decide your character's gender, age, appearance as well as starting attributes and skills.
You will then spend the rest of the game exploring Las Vegas, Nevada, the Mojave Desert and even parts of Arizona and California. Along your quest to get revenge on the sharp-dressed Benny, you will get to interact with the various townspeople and factions that New Vegas has to offer. As you complete the main story quests, side quest and the 4 DLC worlds you will gain XP and skill points every level to tailor your character as you see fit. Unlike Fallout 3 players only get to choose a Perk every other level which can have a greater impact on how your character survives the treacherous wasteland.
I actually liked New Vegas a bit better than Fallout 3 because you find yourself constantly dealing with a three-way struggle with the main three factions: the militaristic NCR(New California Republic), the roman styled slavers know as Caesar's Legion and the mysterious Mr. House who controls the Strip. You will also find old favorites such as the Brotherhood and remnants of the Master's super-mutant army.
There is a lot at stake in New Vegas and the chips have never been staked higher as you ultimately have to choose who you are going to side with during the title's biggest moments. Who you side with depends on your choices along the way thanks to the reinstatement of the reputation system that was missing in Fallout 3. The player will start out with Neutral faction and town status until their actions will either make them Saints or Vilify them forever with that faction. If they hate you then that's one more thing in the vast desert hot desert that wants to kill you.
There is also the game's Karma system that can affect conversation options but it remains independent of the Reputation system unless you are caught. New Vegas is quirky when it comes to its Karma system especially when out in the wasteland when taking out certain creatures like mutants will often gain you positive karma since itís apparently favored by everyone, even though I spent most of my time killing everything hostile that was in my way.
Speaking of killing your enemies, it took me a while to get used to the almost required use of the VATS system during combat. I always tried to treat it like a first person shooter, but found that using the VATS targeting system to be more accurate. I also liked how you could use it even in melee combat. The slow-mo cinematic kills are awesome, especially when you shot an enemyís head clean off. New Vegas does allow you to aim down iron sights with most of the weapons and with a little practice you can be pretty accurate with using them.
One of my favorite things about Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition is its seemingly non-linear gameplay. You can go almost anywhere and scout out locations, defeat enemies in those locations and do most of a quest before actually taking on the quest like in Primm for instance. I ended up wiping out the powder gangers in the run down casino before I even knew there was a quest to save someone there. The DLC included with this Ultimate Edition has recommended player level entry warnings. The first DLC, Dead Money, is recommended to be attempted at level 20+ for instance.
In Dead Money, you are captured by an obviously out of his mind ex-Brotherhood leader named "Father" Elijah as he chooses you and three other captives to find the fabled treasure of the unopened Sierra Madre Casino. Unfortunately the bombs dropped in The Great War and the casino was locked in time. Its up to you and rather eclectic bunch of helpers to secure the treasure. the sadistic trick is that you are all wearing explosive collars that will detonate if you so much as don't follow orders or kill anyone with a collar on. Also you face tougher enemies like the haz-mat wearing ghosts but you enter with practically none of your gear from out in the wasteland which is a bear.
The next DLC, Honest Hearts, which doesn't seem to really have a level requirement, takes the player to the Utah's Zion National Park for a nice almost unspoiled and more western feeling design than the core game. The player joins an expedition that is very quickly attacked by tribal raiders. After surviving the attack you are directed to find the rather cool and mysterious "Burned Man" Joshua Graham. You are then pitched into a conflict between the Graham's New Canaanites and the White Legs. One semi-pleasant surprise with this DLC is that you aren't stripped of all of your gear, though you are limited to a weight limit 75 unless you have the requirements to get away with carrying 100 units. I will say that I loved the atmospheric conditions that are seen in Zion. It actually rains and get foggy unlike the fairly plain conditions of the wasteland.
Old World Blues, recommended starting level of 15, is perhaps my favorite and the most interesting one of the set. Here we basically hijacked internally as your brain, heart and spine are replaced. You being turned into a science experiment has apparently given you all kinds of upgrades. This DLC also has the longest dialog section in the history of video games in its beginning moments. Its also got some of the funniest dialogue in the game at the same time. Its up to you on whether you want to take your revenge for the things they did to you or help stop something far worse by collecting necessary equipment to build a weapon to stop the Think Tanks enemies. There are some pretty sweet weapons as well as special outfits to be found in Big Mountain. The star filled night sky here is also quite beautiful.
The final DLC, Lonesome Road, has the Courier traveling into The Divide to meet with Courier Six or rather a man named Ulysses. You also are not stripped of your gear this time around which is good cause the road is a treacherous one. There is no intro to this DLC however but apparently you and Ulysses have history as you find out earlier in the main story. In this story you're tasked with defeating a bunch of Marked Men and other enemies all the while searching for components to doom or save someone of your choosing. Depending on your final choice in this quest the fate of the Mojave may change.
Graphically speaking, Fallout: New Vegas and its DLC packs look quite good on the PC. The world of New Vegas may look like a bland expansive dust ball littered with remains of a civilization of years long past. However when you look deeper into the towns and various location you'll find a lot more depth through it inhabitants and their homes. The guys at Obsidian did a really good job at creating a world that has seen better days. I love the different levels of disrepair that you see throughout the world especially when you see the nearly pristine New Vegas Strip compared to the rest of the world. I also applaud the mixture of old world tech and futuristic weaponry. The DLC, particularly Honest Hearts, changes things up with the rain effects and I love the little details in the wastelands such as dust devils and sand storms. The only real issues that I had with New Vegas were the random invisible walls and the less than stellar character detail on the NPCs and your character as well.
To match its graphics, New Vegas features some great audio and sound effects. I really enjoyed the realistic sounds of rifles, pistols and miniguns as well as the futuristic laser weapon sounds. The atmospheric background sounds such as the scuttle of enemies as they come up on you are really good and useful to keep you on from taking to much damage. The VATS system also adds a lot of audio to the game in the form of radio broadcasts that you add to your collection based upon where you've been. There are also radio transmissions that you get while doing missions especially when you set about to do the DLC. What's cool is that you can switch and listen to any transmission and radio signal at any time. I also have to hand it to the stars that lent their voices to some of the characters you may or may not see in the game. Among them are Ron Perlman, Michael Dorn, Felicia Day and Wayne Newton to name a few - Great job guys!
As to be expected with any RPG that has Bethesda behind it at least in publishing this time you can expect for there to be a whole lot to do. Obsidian did a great job at giving the player over 100 hours with all the DLC. Having all the DLC at once makes going through New Vegas feel more complete as well as making it easier for players to do the DLC without accidentally locking out the capacity to do them as was an issue with people who completed the game previous to the release of all DLC story packs. There are also two very useful DLC packs: the Gun Runner's Arsenal and the Courier's Stash included with the Ultimate Edition.
The Gun Runner's Arsenal is an addition that increases the number of unique weapons, like the Katana and Hunting Revolver, as well as weapons mods and ammo types. I love the Bozar with is a light machine gun with a scope and long barrel. Itís perfect for sniping which I love to do as in a ranged player in most RPG titles. The other DLC, Courier's Stash, is comprised of all the preorder bonus gear from the various retailers that sold the game. Among its more useful items is the Vault 13 canteen that never runs dry, stimpaks, and doctor's bags. There are also various armors and weapons that come with it.
As you can see Obsidian and Bethesda hook the player up right to give them a fighting chance at surviving the treachery of New Vegas. As a fan of RPGs and shooters, Fallout: New Vegas had a lot to offer me in the over 100 hours of exploring saving and destroying the various factions that are housed in the wasteland. I also thoroughly enjoyed the DLC, especially Old World Blues which despite its insanely long dialogue was a lot of fun and the experience and gear were totally worth the trip. I highly recommend picking up Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition for the PC as soon as you can.