by Davneet Minhas
reviewed on PC
Second Time Around (cntd)
In my initial play-through, I chose to rise above my own petty desire for retribution and fight for the good of all inhabitants in the region. I succeeded, but I also never resolved my situation with Benny. That annoyed me.
So, I have to play again. And I rarely replay single-player campaigns – they’re usually too predictable the second time around, and there’s always some new game to play. Even after spending thirty hours the first play-through, I’m ready to start New Vegas over again to discover all the locations I missed, cultivate new relationships with different factions, and hopefully kill Benny. Fittingly, of all the games released in the past five years, I can only say that about Alpha Protocol and Fallout 3 – not the killing Benny part, but the wanting to replay part.
I also need to replay New Vegas to experience the Wild Wasteland trait, which throws all sorts of out-of-place and bizarre stuff at you. And of course, there’s Hardcore mode, which forces you to take care of your physical needs to stave off starvation, dehydration, and exhaustion. But I’m not a masochist, so I probably won’t enjoy it.
I Believe in Ammo
New Vegas does vary from Fallout 3 in some other basic ways: You can modify weapons, equip different types of the same ammunition, learn special melee abilities, and use the new Companion Wheel to direct your cohorts. But all these updates are fairly minor and don’t change the overall feel of the game.
Combat, however, is substantially different. Mechanically, it’s the same: The Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System is still present, and real-time aiming, while slightly improved in New Vegas, still isn’t nearly as effective as V.A.T.S. Combat just isn’t as stressful as it was in Fallout 3. I never encountered an environment that was as claustrophobic and creepy as Washington, DC’s metro stations, and I was never fearful of running out of ammo thanks to the large variety of weapons I had at all times. Having two invincible companions throughout the game was also very reassuring. I actually cycled through four different companions, and all were very capable in a fight and provided bonus perks, like highlighting items and ammo so I never missed a thing.
I can understand less-stressful combat being a disappointment, but I appreciated it. It allowed me to focus more on factions and relationships, rather than ammo counts and companion health.
What New Vegas really lacks from Fallout 3 are those “wow” moments that made the latter so riveting. There’s nothing in New Vegas that compares to seeing the Washington Monument for the first time and then climbing to the top; or discovering Oasis, a thriving, green paradise that completely contradicts the wasteland; or watching Liberty Prime obliterate Enclave troops with blue lasers and mini nukes.
It’s Fallout 3 – with culture.
Too familiar, it lacks the “wow” factor of its predecessor.