Ah, Fallout: New Vegas. You’re buggy, you’re slow to load, you tried to lock us out of our save file more than once and every now and then you like to freeze. You’re also one of the greatest gaming experiences we’ve had since... well, since Fallout 3 if we’re being honest. So here are 13 reasons why we’re proud to be singing Viva New Vegas.
1: The depth of gameplay
Around the PC Authority offices, there are three of us who’ve been playing F:NV. Each morning over coffee we debrief on the gaming experiences from the night before and here’s the thing – we might as well all be playing different games. Different missions, different results, different dialogue, different people – only a few times have our experiences over-lapped to any significant degree. Unlike games where decisions too often boil down over-simplified good/evil dichotomies (the “pat the puppy or kick the puppy” dilemma as it should be known in gaming academia if it isn’t already) New Vegas has genuine complexity in missions arcs.
2: The setting
We loved the Capitol Wasteland from Fallout 3, but the colour palate was a little... well, it was a bit like the inside of used nappy. In New Vegas, the desert is beautiful, the cities (well, city and towns) sparkle with electricity and there’s even water you can drink without needing a blood transfusion afterwards. And the design detail is amazing – have a look at this site talking about the actual Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings (yes, it’s a real town) and compare to the game. Yeah, we were impressed too.
3: The voice talent
Danny Trejo. Felicia Day. Kris Kristofferson. James Marsden. Matthew Perry. Wayne Newton. Dave Foley. Surprisingly, this isn’t a list of people we really want to hang out with (no, that list would most definitely not feature Matthew Perry). It’s just a small smattering of the people who’ve lent their voices to New Vegas. Half the fun is figuring out who’s voicing whom without looking it up first.
Shine on, you crazy sniper
4: Felicia Day
Felicia gets a special mention, not only for the obvious reasons, but for happily tweeting about recruiting the character voiced by herself during her own play through of the game. That’s commitment.
A friend in need, is a friend indeed, as Brian Molko taught us and F: NV is all about the friends. We love that you can have two companions this time around and apologies to everyone who played Fallout 3 and never found Dogmeat (sucks to be you). But what truly awesome companions they are! Taciturn snipers, disgruntled Enclave scribes, cross-dressing mutants, experimental robots and much, much more. We might wish there were a few more robots, but the rich companion-related quests, the awesome dialogue and the upgraded companion wheel makes this a game where one truly is the loneliest number.
Show us what you've got!
6. Weapon Mods
We were initially quite dubious about this feature - we were expected to pay cold hard caps for bits to bolt on to our weapons? Sounds like just pointless inventory management. But it works, it really does. In Fallout 3, the named, unique weapons were the epitome of deadly, but in New Vegas a normal weapon can rival any unique with the right mods. It makes choosing your favourite gun (or energy weapon, or golf club, or anything you use to impinge on the implicit right of other people not to have the body parts forcibly removed) a little bit less of a no-brainer.
7. Melee and Unarmed Combat
This was fun back in Fallout 3, but hard to justify as a specialisation – guns were just too good! Vegas adds new perks and new weapons that make a bit of two-fisted justice very easy to deal out, especially with the variety of special moves that you can learn in your travels. And the VATS based special attacks for Melee weapons? Truly inspired.
8. Hardcore mode
It’s hard to imagine why you’d want to play a game where you can die from dehydration, sleep deprivation or starvation, but strangely, that’s exactly what we want to do. Hardcore makes you pay a little more attention to small things in life (clean water, a soft bed, delicious gecko meat) as well as removing the slightly ridiculous idea that 2000 rounds of 5mm ammunition wouldn’t actually weigh anything. And thanks to the aforementioned changed to melee and unarmed combat, you can actually make Hardcore work for you.
9. Wild Wasteland
This perk is almost the opposite of Hardcore, adding encounters that can only best be described as... wacky. Bodies in fridges, alien landings, and Life of Brian reference – there are apparently 16 official Wild Wasteland encounters with the finest easily being the Pimp Boy 3 Million. Don’t ask, just play.
We don’t want to spoil this, but if you’re not listening to Black Mountain radio or you haven’t visited there then you’re missing on a character of wonderfully skewed hilarity. With great taste in glasses.
11. The factions
Post-apocalyptia is clannish in its nature and as The Courier you’ll need to deal with every one of these clans. How you interact with them determines how they deal with you, from fan-boy service, through to a mild dislike, right through to shoot-on-sight outright hatred. It changes how you travel, what areas you can go, to whom you speak and even how much you pay for gear. It’s a nice addition to the standard good gal/bad gal karma rating and even helps unlock even more quests.
House doesn't like it when you hurt his babies
Blown up too many Powder Gangers? Help Caesar string up more than the average number of NCR troopers and irked the wrath of the Two-Headed Bear? Are these factions now getting trigger happy every time you swing by? Don’t sweat it – simply carry a few different outfits around and you can disguise yourself and avoid confrontation. Sure, it’s a drain on your inventory allowance, but you’ve got a strong back, right?
13. Fisto, the Sexbot
Do we need to add anything else?