Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout: New Vegas box art
European box art
Developer(s) Obsidian Entertainment
Bethesda Game Studios (Patches)
Publisher(s) Bethesda Softworks (US, UK), Namco Bandai Games (EU, AU, NZ)[1]
Designer(s) Josh Sawyer (Project Director), John Gonzalez (Creative Lead),[2] Chris Avellone, Eric Fenstermaker, Travis Stout (Writers)
Composer(s) Inon Zur[3]
Mark Morgan
Series Fallout
Engine Gamebryo
Version 1.4[4]
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
Xbox 360[5]
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Action RPG
Mode(s) Single-player
Rating(s)
Media/distribution Blu-ray Disc
DVD
System requirements

See "Development and Marketing"

Fallout: New Vegas is a first person action role-playing video game in the Fallout series developed by Obsidian Entertainment (many employees of which worked for Black Isle Studios on Fallout and Fallout 2)[10] and published by Bethesda Softworks. The game is based in a post-apocalyptic environment in and around Las Vegas, Nevada. It was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in October 2010.[6]

Even though it directly succeeds it in order of Fallout game releases and also shares its engine, Fallout: New Vegas is not a direct sequel to Fallout 3.[11][12] Though the game offers a similar role-playing experience to Fallout 3 and a few events from the game are mentioned[citation needed], no characters from Fallout 3 make an appearance. However, the game marks the return of many elements found in previous Fallout titles, including Marcus, a super mutant from Fallout 2, again voiced by Michael Dorn.[12] as well as the NCR. It also incorporates plot lines and ideas that would have appeared in the first scheduled Fallout 3, codenamed Van Buren, such as the Hoover Dam and the New California Republic's fight against Caesar's Legion.[13]

The game currently holds the record for the most lines of dialogue in a single-player role-playing game. The game contains around 65,000 lines of dialogue, beating its predecessor and previous record holder Fallout 3 which contained 40,000 lines of dialogue.[14]

Contents

Gameplay

Obsidian Entertainment presents new features and improvements in Fallout: New Vegas that are implemented upon the foundation of Fallout 3. For example, the original Fallout 3 version of the Gamebryo engine was reworked in order to accommodate the extra lights and effects of the New Vegas strip.

The Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, or "V.A.T.S.", returns with the addition of several V.A.T.S.-specific attacks.[15][16] Use of certain melee weapons trigger unique animations. Also added are new weapons, a weapon modification system, the ability to use the iron sights on almost all guns (excluding several larger weapons that are shot from the hip) and a better over-the-shoulder view for third-person combat.[17] The modification system allows for modifications such as mounted telescopic sights, rate of fire modifiers and increased magazine size.[17] Crafting also plays a role in weaponry, with the ability to craft ammunition such as hand-loaded rounds. A plant-harvesting system similar to that of The Elder Scrolls series is also in place, allowing the player to use plants to craft special meals, poisons, and medicines.

The quantity of factions prompted developers to reintroduce the reputation system that was absent in Fallout 3.[18] The degree of faction loyalty influences the player's reputation with that faction,[18] which in turn affects the behavior of the faction's non-player characters (NPCs) toward the player and reflects the impacts of selected choices in the world.[18] Karma is also a factor, but is independent of faction reputation (the player can rob a faction member, lowering their karma, but leaving their reputation unchanged assuming they are not caught). Availability of dialog options with NPCs are based upon character attributes, skills, reputation and karma. Skills have a bigger effect on conversation choices.[16] Whether a dialogue option will succeed or fail is shown up front, and entirely dependent on skill level, rather than both skill and chance as seen in Fallout 3.[16]

Companion behavior and tasks are controlled using the new "companion wheel", removing the need to enter conversation to give commands. The new companion wheel offers command execution by selecting commands that are presented in a radial menu. Josh Sawyer states the companion wheel offers ease of companion interaction.[18] Such examples of companion commands include setting and changing combat tactics, default behavior towards foes and usage frequency of available resources. The player can have one humanoid and one non-humanoid companion at the same time and receives a unique perk, or unique advantage, per companion. These companions can be upgraded if the player completes a special quest related to the companion.

In New Vegas, the player can visit casinos to participate in mini-games, including blackjack,[19] slots, and roulette. A card game called Caravan, which was designed specifically for the game, is also playable outside of the casinos.

Hardcore mode

An optional Hardcore mode[20] delivers more realism and intensity into the gaming environment. Game director Josh Sawyer stated that the mode was inspired by several different Fallout 3 mods.[13] As gameplay difficulty is increased, players are encouraged to implement effective strategies, make careful considerations in resource management and combat tactics, and pay high attention to the surrounding environment. Gameplay difficulty is increased in several ways: stimpaks and other healing items including food do not heal the player instantly, but work over a period of time; the healing of crippled limbs requires a "doctor's bag", a chem called hydra or a visit to a doctor; ammunition has weight; and the player character must eat, drink and sleep to avoid starvation, dehydration and exhaustion, respectively.[21] An achievement (Xbox 360[22]/Steam[23]) or trophy (PlayStation 3)[24] is awarded for completing the game on Hardcore mode.

Synopsis

Setting

Fallout: New Vegas takes place during the year 2281, four years after the events of Fallout 3, and 204 years after the Great War of 2077, making this installment chronologically the latest in the series thus far.[15] The game is set in post-apocalyptic Las Vegas, Nevada, and the Mojave Desert, which is known as the "Mojave Wasteland." The Mojave Wasteland is roughly the same size as the "Capital Wasteland" in Fallout 3,[15] and is spread across parts of real-world Nevada and Arizona. Part of Fallout and Fallout 2's Core Region also appears in the form of California. Unlike other cities in the Fallout series, Las Vegas was not struck directly by a nuclear attack. Its buildings remain intact, and mutation of its inhabitants is minimal.[15]

The city and its surroundings are divided between various factions, but there are three major powers competing for control of the region: The New California Republic (NCR), Caesar's Legion, and Mr. House. The NCR's military, returning from Fallout 2, is now bloated and mismanaged, but controls the majority of territories in the Mojave. The slave-driving, Roman Army-styled Caesar's Legion, formed by its leader, Caesar, conquered and united 86 tribes and now plans to conquer New Vegas. Mr. House, the mysterious businessman rumoured to be 200 years old, controls New Vegas with an army of "Securitron" security robots. There are many other factions and groups as well, including the Boomers, a tribe of heavily armed vault dwellers, Powder Gangers, violent groups of escaped convicts, Great Khans, a tribe of drug dealers and raiders from Fallout, and the Brotherhood of Steel, the technology-craving remnants of the U.S. military.[12][16] Landmarks featured in Fallout: New Vegas include the Hoover Dam, which supplies power to the city,[16] Nellis Air Force Base and the HELIOS One solar energy plant.[20]

Plot

The game places the player in the role of a courier working for the Mojave Express, known simply as "the Courier." While delivering a package with a platinum poker chip to New Vegas, the courier is ambushed by Benny (voiced by Matthew Perry), leader of one of the casinos in New Vegas, who steals the package, shoots the player in the head, and leaves the body in a shallow grave. A robot named Victor witnesses the shooting and brings the courier to Doctor Mitchell in Goodsprings.[16] At this point, the player enters into character creation and defines the Courier's skills, attributes, name, gender, age and appearance. Although traumatized, the player begins his journey, following Benny to avenge the attack and recover the stolen package, all while exploring the Mojave Wasteland.[18]

The game proceeds according to the player's decisions and involves many events, factions, and characters, but the main storyline revolves around the player pursuing Benny to both settle the score and return the platinum chip. Eventually, after finding Benny and the chip, the Courier finds himself in the middle of a conflict between Caesar's Legion, the NCR, and Mr. House. Each of the three sides aim to control Hoover Dam (still operational and supplying New Vegas with power and clean, non-irradiated water), a position which grants them total control over New Vegas. It is revealed that Mr. House, the enigmatic de-facto ruler of New Vegas, ordered the platinum chip's delivery and has been waiting for it for over 200 years, before the Great War. The chip itself is a data storage device that can upgrade the Securitrons to a greater level of combat effectiveness. Mr. House, the NCR and Caesar's Legion ask the Courier to assist them, but the Courier has the fourth option of taking over New Vegas. All four paths will eventually lead to the final battle over Hoover Dam.

The player decides the fate of vital factions across the Mojave Wasteland, as well as their role in the upcoming battle. The final battle for Hoover Dam, no matter which side the player chooses, will eventually begin. As Caesar's Legion strikes the Dam, led by the fearsome Legate Lanius, the NCR protects its position under General Lee Oliver. The player will have to oppose one of them, or both, depending on the choices made. These choices result in different endings, which are also affected by many side missions. The game concludes with either the NCR or Caesar's Legion gaining control of the Mojave Wasteland, or with either the player or Mr. House gaining control of New Vegas.

Development and marketing

System requirements
Minimum Recommended
Windows
Operating system Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7
CPU Dual-core 2 GHz
Memory 2 GB RAM
Hard drive space 6.9 GB (not including DLC)
Graphics hardware NVIDIA GeForce 6200 128 MB or ATi Radeon X1300 XT 128 MB

Senior Producer Jason Bergman revealed that Fallout: New Vegas would use Steamworks for functionality, such as achievements and cloud save storage, with Retail PC copies being activated via Steam.[25] In a USA Today interview, Bergman announced the involvement of several celebrities including Ron Perlman as the game's ever-present narrator and Wayne Newton as radio DJ "Mr. New Vegas." He also confirmed that the game would include voice acting from Matthew Perry (Friends), Zachary Levi (Chuck/The Nerd Machine), Kris Kristofferson (Blade), Danny Trejo (Spy Kids), Michael Dorn (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Felicia Day (Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog).[26] Inon Zur composed the score for the game.[3] It also includes songs such as (I Got Spurs That) Jingle Jangle Jingle, Blue Moon, and Ain't That a Kick in the Head.

On February 4, 2010, Obsidian Entertainment released the Fallout: New Vegas teaser trailer. A second trailer was first shown on GameTrailers TV from E3 on June 11, 2010.[27] Bethesda announced 4 pre-order bonus packs giving specific in-game items, they include the "Classic", "Tribal", "Caravan" and "Mercenary" packs available when pre-ordering at specific outlets.[28]

Collector's Edition

Fallout: New Vegas Collector's Edition Content

The Collector's Edition was revealed on May 11, 2010.[29] It was distributed worldwide and is available for all three platforms.[29] Its enclosed contents include 7 real clay poker chips from Fallout: New Vegas casinos (one from each of the seven major casinos found on the New Vegas strip and throughout the Mojave Wasteland), a deck of cards each with a character on them with information on that person (the Joker cards featuring Benny and The Courier), a graphic novel leading up to the events of New Vegas, Lucky 38 large platinum chip replica (actual game item), and a making-of documentary DVD. PS3 version brings this in Blu-ray format. Those who pre-ordered Fallout: New Vegas at Gamestop also received a certificate and password for downloadable game content: a Vault 13 water canteen that never needs filling, an Armored Vault 13 Jumpsuit and a Weathered 10mm Pistol.[29]

Downloadable content

On October 18, 2010 Bethesda Softworks announced that DLC would be available for New Vegas, in keeping with its predecessor Fallout 3. So far four DLC packs, Dead Money, Honest Hearts, Old World Blues and Lonesome Road, have been released. The stories of the DLC packs are interconnected but not interdependent, meaning they can be played in any order.[citation needed]

Dead Money

In the first DLC pack, named Dead Money, the Courier is captured by an insane ex-Brotherhood of Steel leader known as "Father" Elijah and must work alongside three[30] other captives to find the fabled treasure of the Sierra Madre Casino.[30] The pack adds new achievements/trophies, perks, terrain, enemies and decisions for the player,[30][31] as well as raising the level cap by 5.[30] Dead Money was released for the Xbox 360 on December 21, 2010[30][31] and for PlayStation 3 and PC (via Steam) on February 22, 2011.[32][33]

Honest Hearts

The second, named Honest Hearts, was released on May 17, 2011 on Xbox Live and Steam and June 2, 2011 on the PSN due to the April—May PSN outage.[34] In Honest Hearts, the Courier is part of an expedition to Utah's Zion National Park, when they are attacked by tribal raiders.[35] While trying to return to the Mojave, the player becomes involved in conflicts between the tribes and between a "New Canaanite" missionary and individual known as the "Burned Man", Caesar's former Legate, who, after losing the first battle of Hoover Dam, was covered in pitch, set on fire, and thrown into the Grand Canyon.[35]

The pack adds new achievements/trophies, perks, terrain, enemies and decisions for the player, as well as raising the level cap by 5. Chris Avellone has confirmed that the locations in Honest Hearts and all DLC's following it will still be accessible even after completing that DLC (in contrast to Dead Money, which is closed off after completing it).[36] The "companion bug", which prevented players from entering Zion, was fixed in the 1.7 update. Players are now able to use an in-game console to dismiss all companions.

After the First Battle of Hoover Dam, Caesar sent Ulysses to Great Salt Lake to rally the White Legs to destroy New Canaan. With his help, the White Legs found a large supply of weapons artillery. The White Legs then destroyed New Canaan, sending Joshua Graham, the Burned Man, and the New Canaanites to the Zion Canyon, where the Dead Horses stand with them against Caesar. The Courier then arrives in the Zion Canyon and meets the Burned Man Joshua Graham who is surprised that it is a different Courier than Ulysses that came to him, as he had figured Ulysses would come to murder him. This sparks the beginning of Honest Hearts.

Old World Blues

In Old World Blues, the Courier unwittingly becomes a lab rat in a science experiment gone awry and discovers how some of the Mojave's mutated creatures came to exist. Old World Blues takes place in the Pre-War research centers of Big Mountain, known colloquially as "the Big Empty" or "Big MT" (where Father Elijah had found most of his equipment prior to Dead Money, such as the bomb collars and the holorifle, along with Christine also from Dead Money). The player can also choose to either turn on their kidnappers or join with them to fight an even greater threat.[37] This pack offers new achievements/trophies, perks, a vast area to explore, and raises the level cap by 5 like the previous two packs. The player can only explore in the area until the main storyline of the DLC has been completed, but after completing it, can return back to the area at will. Old World Blues was released on July 19, 2011.[38]

Old World Blues focuses on the Think Tank, who had captured Father Elijah for brief seconds and had then come into contact with Ulysses who had rescued Christine Royce. Holotapes of Ulysses conversation with Christine were left in the Big Empty. The Courier is then kidnapped by the Think tank and his brain is removed, the Courier is then presented with the choice of either attacking the Think tank or fighting with it against a greater threat, starting the story of Old World Blues.

Lonesome Road

In Lonesome Road, the Courier is contacted by a man named Ulysses, who refused to deliver the Platinum Chip at the beginning of the main game.[37] Initially, Lonesome Road was planned to be released in August 2011; however, the DLC was delayed for unspecified reasons, with senior producer Jason Bergman stating "This isn't due to any major issue with the code or content, but there are lots of factors involved in releasing these things, and one of those is causing us to slip past our intended release date."[39] Bethesda were unable to provide a new release date for the DLC, but did state that it would be released as soon as possible.[39] On August 25, 2011, Bethesda announced that the DLC will be released on September 20, 2011.[40] Lonesome Road will conclude the story of the Courier, the main character of Fallout: New Vegas.[40]

Lonesome Road focuses on Ulysses, a former Frumentarii of Caesar who had discovered the "Divide": a glorious land until the New California Republic annexed it. This caused Caesar to retaliate and send a small army to seize the Divide, resulting in the NCR ordering the Courier to deliver a package which would trap the armies of the NCR and the Legion and turn the Divide into a tornado strewn land full of ghouls, called Marked Men, and other dangers. Ulysses believes the Courier to be responsible for the mess of the Divide and when he is ordered to deliver the Platinum Chip, he realizes Benny's plan and discovers the Courier to be alive. When discovering the Courier isn't dead, Ulysses contacts the Courier and asks him to enter the Divide, evoking the start of Lonesome Road.

Gun Runners' Arsenal and Courier's Stash

On September 27, 2011,[41] Bethesda released two content packs entitled Gun Runners' Arsenal and Courier's Stash.[41][40] Gun Runners' Arsenal adds various new weapons and weapon mods (along with new ammo types) to the game, which can be found throughout the game world.[41][40] Courier's Stash contains all bonus content that was previously only available for pre-ordering the game (the Caravan Pack, Classic Pack, Mercenary Pack and Tribal Pack).[41][40]

Ultimate Edition

On November 3, 2011, Bethesda announced Fallout: New Vegas - Ultimate Edition, which will include the game and all of its downloadable content. It is due to be released on February 7, 2012 in North America and February 10 in Europe on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.[42]

Reception

 Fallout: New Vegas
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PC) 84.44%[43]
(X360) 83.80%[44]
(PS3) 83.44%[45]
Metacritic (PC) 84/100[46]
(X360) 84/100[47]
(PS3) 82/100[48]
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com B[49]
Edge 6/10[50]
Eurogamer 9/10[51]
G4 4/5 stars [52]
Game Informer 8.5/10 (Xbox 360)[53]
GamePro 4.5/5 stars[54]
GameSpot 7.5/10 (360/PS3)
8.5/10 (PC)[55]
GameSpy 4.5/5 stars[56]
IGN 8.5/10 (US) (360/PS3)[57]
9/10 (PC; US/UK)[58]
Official Xbox Magazine 9.5/10[59]
Official Xbox Magazine (UK) 9/10[60]
PC Gamer UK 84%[61]
The Daily Telegraph 9/10[62]
The Guardian 5/5 stars[63]
Giant Bomb 4/5 stars[64]
Awards
Entity Award
IGN Most Bang for Your Buck of 2010[65]
Golden Joystick Award RPG of the Year 2011[66]

Fallout: New Vegas has received generally positive reviews, with critics praising the gameplay improvements and expanded content over Fallout 3, while criticizing familiarity and technical issues.

Eurogamer commented that "Obsidian has created a totally compelling world and its frustrations pale into insignificance compared to the immersive, obsessive experience on offer. Just like the scorched scenery that provides its epic backdrop, New Vegas is huge and sprawling, sometimes gaudy, even downright ugly at times – but always effortlessly, shamelessly entertaining."[51]

GameSpot comments that "Fallout: New Vegas' familiar rhythm will delight fans of the series, and the huge world, expansive quests, and hidden pleasures will have you itching to see what other joys you might uncover. However, as time wears on, the constant glitches invade almost every element of the game and eventually grow wearisome."[55]

Giant Bomb's Jeff Gerstmann reviewed Fallout: New Vegas for the Xbox 360 positively, despite its many crash bugs and glitches. "When I reflect on the experience, I'll probably think about the times the game locked up on me or broke in a dozen other crazy ways first, before thinking about the great world and the objectives that fill it. If you were able to look past the issues that plagued Fallout 3 and Oblivion before it, New Vegas will eventually show you a real good time."[67]

1UP.com's Mike Nelson wrote "On one hand, it feels like I can recommend this to any fan of the Fallout series. I single these fans out because they're willing to forgive silly bugs like meeting characters who walk into walls or occasionally float in mid-air. These fans realize that the game as a whole is greater than the sum of minor graphical anomalies. On the other hand, I simply can't ignore or forgive the game for crashing on me when I walk around the Mojave Wasteland; or for quests that simply can't be completed because of a game glitch; or for making my companions disappear when I need them the most during a battle. These are some of the most frustrating bugs I have ever encountered with any game, especially when attached to a series that I deeply enjoy."[49]

IGN scored the console and PC versions 8.5/10 and 9/10 respectively; praising the script, but criticizing the character models and facial animation as "wooden and unbelievable".[57][58]

As of November 8, 2010 the game has shipped 5 million copies worldwide,[68] achieving revenue of $300 million.[69]

Technical issues

Within hours of the game's release, players of Fallout: New Vegas began reporting a variety of technical issues (game-saves becoming corrupted, the game freezing, players becoming stuck within the terrain, forcing them to load an earlier save or restart the game from scratch).[70][71] Bethesda Studios stated that they, in conjunction with Obsidian, were actively working on an update for release "as soon as possible" to address in-game issues. They also urged customers to keep their copies of New Vegas rather than return them to stores, stating that providing the best possible experience to their users was a priority. Within a week of the original release, a patch was available for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 versions of the game, which contained over 200 quest- and scripting-related fixes.[72] The update released on December 14, 2010 has fixed further glitches and save game problems, including companion related bugs.[73] Subsequent updates were released in February and April that corrected numerous bugs and gameplay issues.

A patch was released on July 5, 2011 that included a provision that automatically creates a save prior to the endgame sequence. After credits, the user is prompted to load this save game, allowing single save players to play DLC without creating a new game.[74]

References

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