I'm still working on my review for this game but at this moment I want to air a bit of dirty laundry out. I'm pissed because I felt like I just wasted $60. I want to address some things now because if I don't my review is probably going to be full of stupid comments like "This game is a system-seller! It'll make you sell your system after playing it." As of this writing Obsidian has already started rolling out patches for both the PC and console versions which is sorely needed. In fact until things start getting straightened out I can't even call New Vegas a game.
"Not even a game" is about the worst thing I'll ever say about...well...a game. The writing is good and the general atmosphere runs anywhere from decent to great but all it really is right now is an interactive experience that I'm almost afraid to push. I've had my game freeze around four or five times so far, I've missed out on entire quest-lines because I accidentally triggered some flag or bumped into the wrong person at the wrong time. There are also all of these moments where something is stuck in a wall or generally just in a place it shouldn't be. At every turn there's a chance that the business that is game design will be completely exposed.
In its current state New Vegas is an experiment. There's a lot of ideas going on here and most of them are really good but most of them are barely fleshed out to the point of actually working. This game adds a faction system where doing quests for certain groups of people will improve relations. Apparently due to my nasty habit of gunning people down after letting them go I've somehow reset standings with certain factions multiple times. It's to the point where at some moments it's like I never even heard of the guys even though I just blew away some former members or got rid of somebody hassling them. It seems to me that the only way I'll successfully complete some missions is if I go about them in the most arbitrary manner possible and constantly save/reload if something falls remotely out of place.
Why am I always saving and loading anyway? It's actually believable that I have spent 1/4th of my time in New Vegas staring at a loading screen. It's probably because I'm so afraid that something is going to go wrong that I can't go without making sure all of my saves are in order. I'm rolling with a couple of partners at the moment and them being unable to die on the regular difficulties is a godsend. There is one partner who just hangs back and shoots anything that he can see. He's fantastic, probably too fantastic really. Compared to say this woman I have who rushes into everything and gets knocked out in seconds. This makes the hardcore mode a serious turn-off because all it really leads to is more loading screens.
Sure the whole constant save/load deal is pretty understandable as I've been doing it in PC-RPGs for as long as I can remember but New Vegas really takes it to absurd levels. There are never any real consequences, there isn't any challenge, and there just isn't any reason to do it any other way. I could save in-between every single battle in Baldur's Gate 2 but I'd still feel challenged coming up with different tactics to take down whatever I'm fighting. In New Vegas if I die it's mostly because I turned a corner and ran into a big group of killer flies. From there my option is to just find another corner to turn.
Which leads to the combat. It's funny really because for all I knocked Fallout 3 for its dumbed-down combat New Vegas is even worse in this regard. This is partially because the AI is a quite a bit worse as they will frequently find themselves doing things besides attempting to kill me. The game also throws in all of these new features like different types of ammo, weapon-mods, and well nevermind that stuff isn't actually new is it? It doesn't matter anyway because it's just unnecessary fluff. Besides if I mod the wrong weapon I might screw the game up somehow. Anyway it's nothing to worry about. There are more enemies in battle and some even hit a bit harder but they're about as durable as tissue paper. Besides I'm teamed up with a guy who blows people's heads off for just being in the same time-zone as him, there's really nothing to worry about.
The worst part is I'm still not done yet. The dungeons in this game tend to be overly convoluted and unnecessarily cluttered. I was hoping this new game would get away from the narrow enemy-filled hallways in Fallout 3 but nope it's more of the same. Sometimes instead of enemy-filled hallways there are enemy-filled encampments. These are more entertaining at least because I get to be outside. What's even more entertaining is when my partner kills baddies without me having to do a thing. That way I can focus on the important stuff like gathering experience and organizing my inventory.
Honestly New Vegas would have been better off without all of that icky combat nonsense. I could just wander the Wastes, look at all the cool sights, solve all of my quests through diplomacy, and maybe find some neat clothes to wear. As it stands however the combat is mostly boring and rarely intolerable. That all depends on whether or not I'm fighting Deathclaws and Giant death-flies or anything else.
Still I am enjoying the game. It sort of reminds me of Shenmue 2 where there are these huge buildings with like thirty floors and hundreds of rooms inside. Every little room I go into has something different about it. Yes, sadly enough my little bizarre interest is about all this game has going for it. Well at least I'm not following Daddy around trying to save the world.
And well here's just some junk I thought up. I'll think up some more while playing New Vegas. There's still some things I want to do before I get back to really finishing the review.
-How the heck do you fast-travel when you have two broken legs?
-While I'm at it: I shot a crippled guy in the leg, crippled his leg with a critical hit, and he ran away.
-Whenever an object falls through the ground and disappears that's the Earth's magnetic core at work. Post-Apocalyptia is strange like that.
-Stealing from robbers, rapists, and murderers makes you a bad person. Don't ever forget that.
-Leading an old lady to get her head blown off by a sniper makes you a good person. Definitely don't ever forget that.
-Sometimes items you're supposed to take are marked as stolen anyway. Well..it's not like karma was ever important.
-Digging up somebody's grave and taking their stuff is not evil in any way. It might have been evil before but times are more desperate than ever I suppose.
-If you betray someone or think you may have betrayed someone, don't worry about it, New Vegas will probably forget the whole thing.
-If all else fails replace substance with pretension. Most people can't tell the difference and if they do feel free to tell them they don't understand.
-The person who designed Fort McCracken should be drawn, quartered, shot, shot out of a cannon, shot into a cannon, and then flayed alive.
-The guy who designed Hoover Dam deserves even worse.