Reader Review: Fallout: New Vegas

Reader Review: Fallout: New Vegas

Reader Review: Fallout: New VegasFallout: New Vegas has just been released and, from what I can gather in the comments, has been getting a serious amount of play from you guys. So we thought we’d strike while the iron was hot, and throw up this Reader Review from none other than Fistbeard McTavish himself – who has spent a fair amount of time in the wasteland, waving that famouse fist of his around.

But I’ve always wondered: is the beard on the fist? Or is the first inside the beard…

Anyway. Onto the review!

Fallout: New Vegas New Vegas is the “spiritual successor” to Fallout 2, With various people who worked on the original 2 games returning to give us another dose of wasteland life. If you’ve played Fallout 3 you know about the core gameplay, so I’m not going to go into that here, just the main additions. The game casts you not in the role of a “Vault Dweller”, but as a Courier in the Mojave wasteland. Shot in the head and left for dead by a man in a suit (It’s always a guy in a suit!), you survive and set out on your quest for revenge. Does New Vegas win big, or does it lose all it’s life savings and have its house repossessed?

Loved Reuniting with an old flame: Anyone who was a fan of Fallout 3 will remember that sense of awe and excitement when they left the Vault for the first time, and saw the vast DC wasteland stretching out in front of them. I had totally forgot about that feeling during multiple runthroughs of Fallout 3, but after exiting Doc Mitchel’s house after creating my character, I got that same feeling as the overbright faded and I looked out across an entirely new landscape ahead of me.

Tightly Packed: One of the things I noticed in Fallout 3 was while the overworld was fairly large and filled with mutants, there was a fair bit of big, empty stretches of land, with maybe a few enemies. New Vegas seems to have much more interesting places packed closer to each other, which really allows you to get sidetracked easier. For example, walking from Megaton to Rivet City in Fallout 3 would have a few raiders, super mutants, and you pass by one sewer and a house on the way. The same length trip in new Vegas would have you pass by 2 towns, 2 military outposts, a deserted petrol station, and come across a camp of slavers. I’ve explored about 75% of the map with 2 characters, and it feels much more tightly packed, with very few stretches of land that doesn’t serve a purpose other than walking.

Welcome Tweaks: Iron sights don’t seem all that impressive, until you load up Fallout 3 again and realize how good they fit into the game. Guns feel solid and powerful, and fighting without VATS isn’t a boring experience with the new Killcam. It gives you a cinematic VATS view when you stealth kill or Kill the last enemy of a group, which makes those low agility playthroughs more visceral. Hardcore mode adds a new dimension to the game, as dehydration and sleep deprivation alter your priorities in the wasteland, and making broken limbs something to be feared, even at higher levels.

Hated Game Engine: The gamebryo engine is obviously on life support, and Fallout: New Vegas might be its last outing. It doesn’t handle many NPC’s on screen before grinding down into the low FPS range (And my computer is more than capable of running this), Graphics are sub-par, animations are horrible, and it just doesn’t feel as smooth as most games within the past 2 years feel.

Voice Acting: Now, don’t get me wrong, the voice actors in this game are good – really good. The dialogue is great too. But the main problem I have is that there aren’t enough voice actors. You thought the Bretons in Oblivion were bad, you haven’t gone through a military base and had every single male character speak with the same voice. Scientists, Soldiers, Brotherhood of Steel, Raiders, everyone sounds the same, except for the named characters.

Radio: Fallout 3 has an awesome radio. New Vegas does not. It has half the songs of Fallout 3, but the worst thing is that I had a song play itself twice in a row. “Johnny Guitar” is pain to my ears. I actually turned the whole thing off and listened to the ambient music which is *much* better.

Overall, It’s well worth the money. I’ve heard people complaining about it just being an expansion pack to Fallout 3, but the same could be said about Fallout 2 compared to the original Fallout. That’s pretty much what New Vegas is compared to Fallout 3, and that isn’t a bad thing in my book.


  • There are rumours that Bethesda are going to continue reviving their implementation of Gamebyro for the next Fallout and Elder Scrolls games… argh! They could be using id Tech 5.

  • Tell me O’ Fistbeard; without too much spoiling can you confirm if there is a dog in this one, and if so where?
    Cause It rather annoyed me that I discovered Dogmeat in F3 after about 60 hours of play while on my way to one of the last quests.

    • There is. When you find the King, talk to him about it. Then you have to find a woman named Julie Farkas to begin a quest in order to get the dog as a companion. Any further questions may be sent to my hotline at

      • What he said.

        I don’t quite like the dog in this one, I’ve found that ED-E is an awesome companion. Not overpowered like Boone, has a decent Perk, and hardly talks. Carried a lot as well, so everything a companion should be.

        (I really don’t see the point of companions either, I played through almost all of the game solo.)

        • Boone is F’n nuts, ill just be walking along and suddenly get slow mo shots of a dude dying like half a mile away, scares the crap out of me sometimes

  • I was almost expecting under the “Loved” section: “Punching: the act of connecting my (character’s) fist to the faces of other characters”.
    A slightly disappointing note on an otherwise great review. 😛

      • Are you sure?
        Because I think I speak for many of us here when I say that I’d totally read a review of your fists.

        • Tomorrow when I’m at work I’ll submit a 400 word review of “Fallout Tactics 2: Fistbeard Rising” to the editor.

          Either that or rant about the “Obsidian Tuxedo” from Alpha Protocol. God, Alpha protocol scarred me for life.

  • Ah, my fine drinking companion McTavish! Hail!

    You have reported on the benefits and pitfalls of the west coast wasteland quite well. Overall I see myself wandering the wastelands for many months to come even in it’s vanilla incarnation.

    Would you like to partake in some of this fine, totally not drugged, absinthe with me to celebrate? I assure you I no longer retain ownership of that particular beeping necklace I insisted you wear at our last parley.

    My dear chap. Why are you putting on those bladed gauntlets? McTavish… why do you smile in such a manner?

    • OH god, I got to a point in-game where I had a slave collar forced on me, and I immediately thought of you trying to trick me into wearing one. Good times, my snooty nosed diversionary “friend”.

      These Bladed gauntlets? Oh, they’re for combing my beard. You’d need to be worried if I put on my Ballistic gauntlet. GUFFHAAAAHAAHAW. *belch*

  • the constant jerking and stuttering of the frame rate really made it hard for me to enjoy playing it.. which was immensely disappointing considering fallout 3 didn’t have these problems…

    • If you’re on PC, there’s a mod out there called D3d9 fix or something similar – It clears up the stuttering problems I’ve heard.

      I’m really surprised at how many mods have been ported over to New Vegas already. I’m still waiting for DarnUI for New Vegas, as I forgot how the vanilla HUD of the game is a fat bastard and wants to take up the entire screen border. It was jarring to say the least.

  • The only thing I hate about the game is how the books work now. Ive turned into a traveling library of books just in case i need a quick boost in my stats. I also had a few stability problems early on but they seemed to straighten themselves out after i got out of the tutorial part of the game.

    • I too must heartily agree the new system of comprehensive learning threw me for a loop at the start of my journey. Yet I have found their are differing types of skill enhancement tomes.

      One would appear to operate in the way of a provisional increase in expertise, while there still exists those of a more permanent increase, much like the previous incarnation of manuscript education we are accustomed to.

      Fortuitously the temporary journals are of no consequence in matters of weight.

    • Please elaborate for those of us who have not (yet) bought the game – how have books changed? It’s no longer just a straightforward boost to the relevant skill?

      • There are books and magazines.
        Books give permanent stat upgrades (I think), whilst magazines provide a temporary buff.

      • There’s skill books, and skill magazines.

        Skill books work the same way they always have, permanent +3 to your skill.

        Skill magazines are a temporary (like 1 minute?) +10 to your skills, enough to get you through a hard task or whatever.

        Skill books are extremely rare (I’ve found maybe 10 in my 50+ hours?) vs magazines being a dime-a-dozen.

      • The majority of books found in this game are TEMPORARY boosts of +10 to a certain skill eg. +10 science, +10 lockpick. While a minority of books have the old fallout 3 permanent +1 to a certain skill.
        Hope this helped!

  • This iteration of Fallout actually makes me look forward to Fallout 4 (or whatever it’s going to be called). You know the one where they actually get a good game engine to run it on. Maybe Fallout 389.

  • What I love about F3/NV the most is the stories, that make it seem like a real world. For example, the logs that are left behind that you read as you descend into a vault, telling the story of the people who lived there and their ultimate fate. It’s amazing that a dozen computer logs can tell a better story than most multi-million dollar games can nowadays…

  • did anyone else find the perks annoying?
    like, all the ones at the start would help you in one way, but have some sort of negative as well

    i mean, what’s the point of calling them perks if they inconvenience you as well?

    anyway rant over, i’m loving the game still, even if it’s sort of a big expansion pack, but hey, don’t fix what ain’t broke right? even if it’s a really outdated engine…

  • Great review dude. I just want to run around like Roland Deschain, tearing towns apart with reckless abandon!

    • Fishbeard, my distant cousin, how are you? How is your annoying brother, Slapchin McStupid doing? Is he still trying to unlock Mew in Pokemon blue? You’d think after 11 years he would realize we were only joking…

  • Great review! I doubt I’d trust myself to write one without spending most of the hated going on about retarded regionalised pricing for digital distribution channels on this game.

    • That was hard to do, as I bought it full price after the price hike, and then I got burned by steam’s release date issue. Woke up at 4am to play it, as I’m a huge fallout fan, and notice it unlocked in 3 days. Words can’t explain my rage.

    • I bought it for 50 AUD from the uk steam store, considering it’s still 30 GBP there.

      From what I tried, you can’t just do the ?cc=uk trick into a browser, or I was just doing it wrong. I used a VPN though, so I was able to get it with a UK IP. (Also did this for L4D2, but from a US IP)

  • Great review Fistbeard!

    I can’t believe they’re doing the whole recycling voices thing again.

    Question – Everyone’s mainly been talkin’ bout the number of bugs that came with it. Have you encountered many? It’s pretty much the only thing holding me back from buying it.

    • Played for 30 hours, had 2 or 3 game breakers, a dozen regular Gamebryo ones…

      I honestly think its been a bit overstated. Its Gamebryo, you’re bound to get bugs with.

      The game is worth the pain though, best Fallout since 2.

  • If anything, Fallout: New Vegas takes Fallout 3 to school and makes it look simplistic and pedestrian.

    It also really made me see how different it was to the original Fallout’s, and do see why the Fans were so shitty with Fallout 3. Obsidian have returned pretty much everything from the originals that Bethesda left out, and the game is so much better for it.

    I can see the problem with reusing voice actors, but its just abit costly to employ a unique person for every single NPC in the game…and unrealistic, its just one of those things you have to put up with in an era where you cant have silent text based NPC’s anymore.

    This is the best Fallout since Fallout 2…the game that got me hooked on the franchise.

    As for the engine….only Bethesda published games get to use id Tech 5…yet Bethesda want to keep using Gamebryo…thats the most retarded thing I’ve ever heard.

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