In the two years since its release, Bethesda has kept Fallout 3 relevant thanks to a steady stream of downloadablecontent that expanded the game universe. Now however, it seems to be hurting the franchise more than anything else.

Fallout: New Vegas is a difficult beast to review. On the one hand, it adds to the experience first seen in Fallout 3 wonderfully, but on the other, that experience is nearly three years old.  The world is as massive and creative as ever, but playing through the latest chapter in the critically acclaimed franchise grows incredibly familiar and tiring all too quickly.

As you’d expect, New Vegas takes place in the year 2281 in a post apocalyptic Las Vegas, Nevada. Much like the Washington DC setting of Fallout 3, the map of New Vegas is incredibly large and impressive. In fact, the wasteland setting in New Vegas is easily one of the game’s best features. Actual landmarks like the Hoover Dam and the Helios Solar Energy Plant dot the landscape, which is tons of fun to explore. Playing through and exploring the world New Vegas presents is incredibly rewarding and the more you play, the more you’re sure to appreciate. Case in point – when you get to the actual Vegas area and see swing entertainers and the lights of the strip – it’s a truly awesome sight when you realize that up until this point you’ve been staring at a barren wasteland.

As a living  artificial world, Fallout 3 is nothing short of fascinating, but as an interactive experience, it’s a bit more thin. What worked so well before, often feels old hat here, and rather than feeling like you have complete control, it’s not uncommon to feel like the game is limiting what you can do.  Everything you’ve come to expect from the engine is here, just in a different form – while Fallout 3 began with you choosing your traits at birth, New Vegas does so after you regain consciousness after being brutally attacked and forced to dig your own grave.

While much of New Vegas’ gameplay is showing its age, the citizens of the wasteland are a different story altogether. In previous Fallout games, the factions were easy to navigate; one was good – one was bad – and so forth. Here, many of the factions come off as neutral forces, perpetuating ideas rather than stereotypical responses. This makes the game incredibly more fun to navigate, as you’ll have to really identify and choose which faction you want to align yourself with.

Each time I would get into the action of New Vegas, a technical glitch or troubling design choice halted any interest I had in the game. Several times, I had to restart my game as it caused the entire 360 to lock up. Furthermore, when the action starts to pick up, you’re left with a chugging framerate and some embarrassing textures. The worst aspect though by far is the game’s obscenely long load times. Even those wouldn’t be much of an issue if they didn’t happen so frequently. Going into a building? Load screen. Leaving a building? Load screen. It’s obviously annoying and has a tendency to take you out of the game, especially when your quest has you going through different buildings.

Those looking for more of a challenge with Fallout: New Vegas are pushed towards the new hardcore mode which severely amps up the difficulty and realism.  In Hardcore mode, stimpaks (the  game’s health system) heal over time rather than instantly, severe injuries require additional medical assistance and players must eat, drink and sleep to avoid starvation, dehydration and exhaustion. Yes, it’s as hard as it sounds, but it’s incredibly satisfying for dedicated Fallout players.

The Blast Factor: If Fallout: New Vegas were an expansion pack or DLC, it’d be instantly worth the money, but asking gamers to put down $60 for a title that adds almost nothing new, yet is chock full of technical issues is a bit much. Still, those who love The Fallout games are sure to find much to love in the Mojave Wasteland. Fallout: New Vegas isn’t the masterpiece many thought it would be, but fans are sure to enjoy one more romp with their pipboy.

About The Author

Joe Sinicki is Blast's Executive Editor. He has an unhealthy obsession with Back to the Future and wears cheese on his head. Follow him on Twitter @BrewCityJoe

24 Responses

  1. Mitch d

    The fact there’s no new hairstyles or faces is a big slap in the face to begin with. It was fine for no 3 but it feels like they used every old animation and scrap piece and recycled them for the new game. Then the new added content looks horrible. The vases in the first zone for instance are atrocious. It seems like de ja vu. I feel like I’ve met everyone before already, like family guys something something dark side movie, it feels like Bethesda has sold out, corporate fat cats turning it into a money maker churning out the sane old gimmick that was once original therefore was the reason why it was so loved. Figure it out, cus unless I see improvements Bethesda are on my don’t but list. And my must buy game developers list is growing shorter. I want replayability. I even bought an xbox and ps2 to go back to what I know and love, never clicked morriwind so maybe I’ll look there for nostalgia… Not a fan… Boyyyyyyyy!!!

    • staylost

      This isn’t a game developed by Bethesda (who seem to be more interested in MMOs these days). It is by the original Fallout 1 & 2 team. I believe their studio’s name is Obsidian, so you could cross them off your list instead.

      Morrowind is Bethesda’s best story/world, while Oblivion has the best gameplay. Use some interface/graphic mods, though, if you want to try Morrowind. This helps alleviate the more geometric graphics.

  2. Time Is Money

    To be honest Fallout 3 was great. I just picked up Fallout New Vegas from a local gamestop and started playing. Just like MitchD said it felt like deja vu. All the characters seem the same to me, and i feel the begining, of being shot in the head was a joke too. I’ve also been having trouble with frezzes and annoying lockups/long loading screens.

  3. Liam

    i was going to buy fallout new vegas but after hearing all these complaints i might just wait til christmas when all the bugs are figured out

  4. R. Decline

    I really don’t understand the comments here.
    In defense of Obsidian (which is not comprised of everyone from the first two fallout games as suggested above) they had to use the F3 engine. And it was developed in far less time than F3 was. F2 was much like F1…are people really expecting every sequel to be completely different from the last?
    Of course there are going to be recycled graphics. They had a much shorter time to work with and concentrated on the story and system tweaking more. Which I prefer over seeing a new looking nuke-cola machine. Bethesda has never much concerned themselves with overly polished graphics anyway. i kid you not people on their team have been told, “the modding community will fix it.” Which is just a shame.
    The world of New Vegas though feels far more complete and whole. Fallout 3’s places and locations felt very detached from one another as if they built the place in chunks without thinking what would be near it or beside it or already built. There is a real sense in New Vegas that these places interact with each other more and is not just “cool” shaken all over the landscape.
    The main plot/mission is better. The quests are better constructed and don’t just boil down to shutting off your brain and following the quest arrow. You can actually apply a bit if imagination to figuring out how to shortcut a quest and it often works. Glitch wise, at least on my ps3 it has proven to have far less issues than F3 did as well. I don’t know about on the xbox, but even F3 was overly prone to freezes and other problems.
    Load times, while annoying, aren’t overly long, at least not in a way that this article seems to suggest.
    Honestly without overly detailing every single reason and problem with 3, I’m ready to forget it ever existed and just pretend that New Vegas is the 3rd one. It is far better and the Obsidian team actually proved they know a bit about role playing games…something Bethesda really needs to learn….or perhaps relearn.

    • staylost

      Thanks for the correction. I just recognized the big names from Black Isle that made the originals and insinuated that the entire same team was working on the project. I’m sure the development team is a mix of new blood along with those same familiar faces.

      I actually like all of the Fallout games, Obsidian, and older style computer role-playing games. Still, based on Obsidian’s reputation, it would be foolhardy to expect their games to work well without extensive patching/modding based on experience with games like NWN2 and KOTOR 2. Both games, once fixed, outshone NWN and KOTOR, but this was only after a good half a year or so. This isn’t meant to be an attack on Obsidian’s ability or integrity. They are usually forced to release products at times relevant to their producers competitive needs.

    • Jay R

      I agree. Not to offend anyone, but I’m a little annoyed at how reviewers and gamers only focus on the negative aspects of the game. I agree that the bugs should have been worked out, but I cannot agree with the complaining about using the same engine as F3. When F2 came out, I don’t remember anyone complaining about it being similar to F1. I enjoyed the GAMEPLAY of F3 so much that a bug here, or a gritty texture there didn’t bother me. Fallout NV is NOT a perfect game by any means, but people are being too hard on it in my opinion.

      There’s nothing like the satisfying feeling of traversing the wasteland, discovering new locations, exploring buildings, and rampaging through gangs of raiders. F3 worked, and NV is on the same generation of console. I could understand the complaints if the F3 were on PS3, then PS4 comes with NV on it, and it looks exactly the same as the earlier generation’s version (just an example).


  5. Frank B

    On PS3, never got the vertical glitch, game was installed to hard drive prior playing. Load time is not bad.. 10 seconds or less when teleporting for example. However there is definitely a constant frame rate issue. Always happens when you press the VATS button repetitively. Played for 10 hours so far. PS3 froze once only.

  6. chris b

    Its a shame you guys are having freezing and load problems with the 360. I have no problems at all. Maybe you guys should have bought it for the ps3…the 360 is junk and this is just an example of why the 360 is junk.

  7. RPGsr4me

    Based on what I’ve heard the 360 is where all the major bugs are. My room mate has it for the 360 and the bugs are as bad as everyone says.

    Does anybody here have it for the PC? How that been? I ask because my PC copy is coming in the mail now.

    I hope it won’t be as bad as the 360.

  8. lonewolf333

    Complaints about load times, lol. I’ve always found it funny that console gamers bash PC gaming as the red-headed stepchildren of gaming, when I experience 1-3 second load times, and so far have experienced no bugs(little to none of the performance issues console gamers experience). Framerates are also great on ULTRA settings (I run 512mb of video memory and 8 gigs of ram) with just a few minor framerate issues from time to time. All this PC greatness and my system isn’t even what you would consider a top end gaming PC.

  9. Pengleberry

    Personally, I think that the textures (not the freezing) was all part of the F3 experience. I think it’s great that they’re using the same engine because that is what really defined the game for me. Almost every review I’ve read has put down Obsidian for using the same engine. I mean I know it’s their opinion but I don’t see how it’s really THAT bad and is such a negative.

  10. Izgrim

    If loading and a few glitches are the main issues that is not a problem for me. I am a fan of Bethesda, I was a fan of Morrowind and Oblivion, And I still play those games continuously. The highest level I mathematically reached in Oblivion was 56 and a half levels and its rocked. Morrowind had a fantastic story line and I miss the flying around…. As for Fallout 3, I am a fan of the VAT system and I immediately loved the Capital Wasteland and GNR is my station of choice….Civilization! But like many games I never expect the perfect game, because no one is perfect.

    I might play a slightly different style, since I believe you have to think up a odd action for your characters. In Oblivion I would collect odd items or “feel the need” to steal the entire games books and place them in a house.

    If your a fan of just playing a new scene then I am sure you will enjoy New Vegas. For me I prefer the Capital Wasteland. But everyone has their favorites. If anything my only disagreement is the cost of the game. Its not placed as a expansion and it is not a Fallout 4. After everything that makes Fallout 3 now..New Vegas is over priced. For me it should be a 20 dollar game like mass effect is now. At least the Mass Effect games have a continuous storyline that transfers from game to game.

    Making New Vegas of the Fallout 3 line sorta in limbo

  11. Mitch d

    More hours of gameplay and it’s getting better. Still too familiar but these games mentioned above in the thread are what I play for. Unfortunately for me I was the first to post, and it seems a gaggle of well informed and more articulate gamers are commenting defending obsidian. Well I believe gameplay makes a game but in the same token this is rushed. Glitchy and now enough new character changes. I personally felt baldurs gate 2 compared to 1 was a complete over haul for black isle fans. This is what I love in a game but it could have had more. I think it’s saving grace will be replayability due to hardcore mode and the fact I can’t be straight good or bad. To end in a high note love the reputation system and I hope I master the caravan card game I get owned all the time :$ Happy trails

    • Dan North

      I actually have to agree with you. I think the game starts rather weakly- certainly compared to “Fallout 3”. But now that I’m a couple dozen hours into the game, I’m starting to warm to its charms. The factions and infamy aspects definitely add a new level of richness. If the game weren’t so buggy, I’d revise my earlier opinion of it as a 6 out of 10 to an 8. But the bugginess is annoying- and I can’t go higher than 7 for a game this unstable!

  12. mike m

    I own it on xbox and the only problem for me is the long load times but that’s not a big deal oh and I hate ps3 fan boys

    • Jay R

      I don’t consider myself a Sony fanboy, but I have to side with the PS3 (I owned both consoles, didn’t bother getting X360 fixed after it died).

  13. Mitch d

    This things got more bugs than pixars “A bugs life”. Hey-ohhh. I bet it wasn’t pixar and I’m gunna get slammed it was Disney dichead haha. Anyway I dig the legion wolf mask wearing Mormon everything must be cleansed psycho. I just wanna make my bad character now and murder some NCR fuck ups 🙁

  14. Christ

    Are you all for real! It’s a great game, you lot obviously have something better to play like wow eh? so many hater by a shit reviewer.

  15. Jack

    Whoa. Someone who actually used th phrase “so many hater” and dosent seem to know the difference between an exclamation point and a question mark is judging this review. Really? Look, the game clearly has its problems, and like it or not, he’s not the only one to say something about it. You like it? Great. I encountered all of the problems he mentioned and more. Maybe im just another “hater,” but I appreciate the honesty.

  16. James

    I think it’s a legitimate complaint when the game keeps freezing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been walking along and the game just locks up. Maybe you can ignore it but that seriously interferes with my enjoyment of a game I paid $60.00 for when I’m constantly wondering when the game is going to freeze and I’m going to have to restart my PS3. You would think the fact it is running on an old engine would mean the bugs in that engine would be worked out by now. I know one thing, I won’t buy another game from these guys until it’s been around long enough to be in the cheap bin and has the kinks worked out. I was really looking forward to this game as I loved the last Fallout and I’m glad the new one is visually similar to the old one but overall I’m really disappointed with the execution.

  17. Jake LeMay

    the first thing i realized was the technical issues… freezing constantly… ubber load times and immense lag… the thing i missed most was named guns… actually never used the crafting systems… until hardcore mode that is… plus the thing that irked me is the same thing that did in f3… the fact that i can walk to the top of a mountain with a slope on the other side leading to my quest objective… yet there’s the invisible barrier there… i understand that there has to be some form of limitation in every game but… c’mon if i can get there and see forever how hard could it be to let me walk that way. and the fact that i beat the game and a good 75-90% of ALL the missions and it only took 10 hours… that not even a slap in the face it’s like a spit in the face. and COMPLETELY unlike f3 it isn’t open ended… once you beat that last mission your phucked… gameplay not factoring in technical issues 8.5/10 (6/10 with tech issues) storyline disregarding the abrupt ending 9/10(7.5/10 with) overall completely opinionated rating… 7/10…

    • Cain

      You did not beat the game in 10 hours with doing 75-90% of all of the missions. I’ve run through the game 3 full times now (once doing nothing but a speed run to get through all of the story quests as quickly as I could). Stop lying.


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