Dylan   United States
"I think I'd be willing to spend a year or two in Auschwitz if my reward was a new Obsidian Fallout game." -Odysseus, 2016

I don't like Fallout 4, even though I've hypocritically played 534 hours of it.

Also, I write reviews for the games that I play.
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Fallout: New Vegas.
The best true RPG of our lifetimes.

I should start out by saying; I am supremely biased. FNV was the first western RPG I had ever experienced when I got it on the Xbox 360 in early 2011, and since then I've played nearly 1,500 hours of it across 12 playthroughs of ~120 hours each. It is my favorite game of all time, but not necessarily because of nostalgia. Fallout: New Vegas has, to my mind, never been surpassed in its pairing of roleplaying and narrative flexibility, by any game since its release - and I've played The Witcher 3, so you know this game must have something special. Therefore, that's what this review must prove.

When you start a new game, most of everything you need to know about the plot of New Vegas is laid out for you in one of Fallout's many iconic slideshows, but if you are entirely new to the franchise, I'd suggest clicking here. Otherwise, I'll just state that New Vegas is much more connected to the stories of Fallout's 1 & 2 than 3 or 4, due to it being set on the West Coast, and is in some ways a continuation of the story from Fallout 2. The rest, I'd rather not spoil. Although, in this specific Fallout... You are a courier, hired by the Mojave Express, to deliver a package to the New Vegas Strip. What seemed like a simple delivery job has taken a turn... for the worse.

Due to the fact that the only stipulation placed on the backstory of your character is that you were at one point in time a courier, the character you create can essentially be anyone you want them to be. If you have the ability to coherently write a character, FNV becomes your own narrative playground; one of my favorite elements of the game. The character creation tools presented at the start of the game are suitably expansive as well; between skills, tags, and traits. Further progression in New Vegas is also superb, as you raise your skills accordingly and select from many game-altering, or at least useful, perks. Obviously, the character creation and progression in FNV is exemplary.

In FNV there is a plethora of dialogue, choices, consequences, and other roleplaying mechanics to be found. These systems all work together in perfect harmony, which puts real weight behind your actions. This could even mean small actions, such as stealing from some friendly wasteland townspeople who you know would suffer for it, as you are reminded of this by a reduction in karma. The dialogue system is especially of note though, as this is where most decisions are made, and where you express the personality of your character. There are always a stunning amount of choices you can make, and you'll never feel like a viable option was left out - in any situation. Many of your decisions even leave lasting effects on the Mojave, which I'll explain in greater detail later on.

New Vegas is well known for its intricately constructed faction system and politics, as you can choose from one of four main factions to end the game with, as well as affect nearly two dozen other minor factions - either by aiding or hindering them. Each organization has their own backstory and lore, and all of them have quest lines worth delving into. These groups will remember how you treat them, which builds a lasting relationship between them and the player. It's these dynamic factions that really bring the world to life through their thematic depth, and give the Mojave a lived-in feel.

Now that you have a sense of this game's successes, I'd like to highlight why it's my favorite game. Because of how incredibly detailed and lore-dense the Fallout series is, the jaw-dropping amount of narrative flexibility in New Vegas is what seals the deal for me. The ability to shape the Mojave as I see fit, a world that is so well realized, is unbelievably tantalizing to me; and I don't think any RPG has handled this better. It makes me feel like such a tour de force, that it's my character making these monumental decisions, and changing the future of a whole region - forever.

FNV takes place in the Mojave Wasteland, clearly, and the desolate design of this setting establishes a highly authentic apocalyptic atmosphere. I find the vanilla graphics to be timeless because of this, but mods can certainly modernize them. The region is a joy to explore too, as there are countless locations with pieces of environmental storytelling, quests, and loot within them. There's also an optional hardcore mode, which makes these barren wastes just that much harder to survive.

As a side note, I'll quickly state that almost every side-quest in New Vegas is spectacular. They were crafted with the utmost attention to detail, as they all have several ways to progress through them; and sincerely thoughtful writing applied to them. Each storyline has a distinct and often original motif, which makes them all a pleasure to play and experience.

Another important part of the game are the companions and characters, who all share one thing in common; purpose. Every follower has their own quests, backstories, and motivating factors that make them relatable to the player, and from even the most minor of (named) characters to the most important, everyone has identifiable personality traits. No one feels like wasted potential. These honest personas are what grounds your adventures in FNV, by making you truly care about the Mojave and its inhabitants.

Changing tone, Fallout: New Vegas' combat is fun, but also clunky. Shooting, stabbing, bludgeoning, disintegrating, and exploding your adversaries is what you'll spend most of your time doing when not exploring the wastes or having a pleasant chat, and this level of variety is where the strength of the combat lies. Just because it's clunky, doesn't mean there isn't visceral joy to be had. The V.A.T.S. system has also returned, but I don't personally use it. In essence the combat is just good enough to impress, but modding, which I'll mention later, can improve in considerably.

The biggest downfall of New Vegas is, undeniably, its performance. This is almost entirely the engine's fault; Bethesda have never been known for their technical aptitude in games creation - and Obsidian had to make do. Minor bugs run rampant, as well as crashes if you don't make necessary tweaks to the .ini files, which you can look up to discover what I'm talking about. The game also stutters often, but mods can alleviate this issue for the most part. My advice would be to save often, and install a few mods, which is the next topic.

One of the greatest parts about Fallout: New Vegas, and the post-Fallout 3 series in general, is its customizability. Anything from simple fixes to new quests, and visual overhauls to gameplay tweaks can be added to the game, and to do this I'd recommend the FNV Nexus.[www.nexusmods.com] I'd suggest watching some tutorials on how to mod the game, and from there NVSE, NVSR, NVAC, and Project Nevada are all essential mods as far as I'm concerned, but it's up to you. Visual mods are also welcome, however they're subjective so I won't recommend any here. All considered; modding: a useful skill for any FNV player.

I hope I've made my case as to why this is my favorite game clear. It's not the best at everything it does, but what it does do correctly is simply exactly what I want from a game. The roleplaying, decision making, characters, world, lore, narrative - and so much more, just binds together into such a cohesive package of everything I ask for from an open world RPG, that I can't resist it's call. And, if I remember correctly (but of course I do, I could never forget), it sounds a little like this...

I got spurs that Jingle Jangle, Jingle!

Personal Rating: ∞/10 - My Favorite Game

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