As good as Fallout 3, despite being identical, but the numerous bugs and crashes makes the experience really annoying.

User Rating: 8 | Fallout: New Vegas PS3
I never finished Fallout 3, mainly due to the fact that my copy disappeared with a friend for 2 years. Nevertheless, I liked the game, and thought that Fallout: New Vegas would be a perfect replacement for the game. After all, it was cheap, and manages to look exactly like its predecessor. I were a big nervous though, seeing as it's from the guys who made Alpha Protocol, one of my most hated games in 2010. Has Obsidian managed to redeem themselves?

Story
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You play as a courier, working for the Mojave Express. While on mission, you get ambushed by a fella named "Benny" and get's shot. You wake up in the town of Goodsprings, and now you have to find out where Benny is, as well as side with a certain faction, for the upcoming battle for Hoover Dam.

The story reuses some of the previous plot elements from the first two Fallout games, such as the NCR, and many other things. The story in itself is nothing to write home about. It's okay, but it doesn't offer anything new, and the stories in the side quests aren't as good as in Fallout 3 (which had some pretty good and surprising ones, from what I managed to play of it). At least, things change considerably, based on your choices, so there's always an incentive to replay the various events and story, and while not as good as Fallout 3, they still have some great and humorous moments.

7.5

Gameplay
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Calling this Fallout 3.5 would be an accurate description. It's literally the same gameplay from Fallout 3, though there are changes that can make the game feel, at least a bit different.

Let's start with the minor changes. Real iron sight has been added to every weapon, making aiming much easier, outside of using Vats. It's also possible to play Blackjack & Slots machines in New Vegas. Also in conversations, instead of listing the amount of needed Speech in %, it's not listed so it can tell you how much you require, making it easier for certain situations. Weapon modifications are also added, as well as greater weapon variation very early in the game, as well as a challenge system that rewards you for certain things.

As for the big changes, the game employs a faction based system. As mentioned in the story, a big battle is coming, over the Hoover Dam, and depending on how it goes, depends on who you'll be siding with. This means that you'll meet resistance from other factions, and wearing certain armor makes it even worse, as they'll disguise you as certain faction members.

Another big addition is Hardcore mode, inspired by various Fallout 3 mods. In this mode, Stimpacks only heal over time, crippled limbs can only be healed with doctor's bags, and you can actually die from the lack of sleep, drinking and eating even. Its offers a good challenge, though you can always play it on the very easy level, if you're having that much trouble with the game... and if you're a wuzz. It's a great mode, one I can only recommend everyone plays during their first playthrough. It's not perfect though, such as drinking soda makes you even thirstier... for some odd reason.

So you see, there are at least a few major additions to the game, that can make it seem different from Fallout 3. What also helps that feeling is its issues. Sure, most of the bugs have been fixed, but there's still plenty left. I encountered a few script bugs and I did get stuck in the environment a few times, as well has a door I couldn't unlock even though I had what it took to do it. The game also crashes a lot. It weren't bad to begin with, but the longer I played the game, the worse it got, to the point where it crashed every 30th minute. It's really annoying, so save often. A disappointment however is the ending. After you kill the final boss, the game just... ends, and you can't continue past it, unlike Fallout 3, so make sure you save before the final mission.

The resulting crashing issue unfortunately makes the game feel unstable. The fact that it, at any moment, can crash or random bugs happening is a huge disappointment, and when a game feels unstable, it affects the playthrough negativity. It made me less inclined to play the game over long stretches.

The crashing issue can make the game needlessly annoying, which is a shame because it's just as great as Fallout 3. It's still a joy to explore the Mojave Wasteland, and the combat works well (by RPG standards that is), and while some of the events can be pretty linear, no matter who you side with, they still change enough to feel like you make a difference in the world. Its length however depends on the player. If you tackle the story missions by their own and don't care about the side missions, it can be finished pretty fast, but invest time in the side quests, and it can take upwards 50 hours to complete.

8.0

Graphics
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New Vegas & Fallout 3 looks identical, in fact it's the same engine, and it shows. 2 years ago, Fallout 3 looked okay, but still had it's visual bugs, and it continues in New Vegas. Stuttering issues, things floating and falling through the ground, frame-rate issues, New Vegas as it all. The new lighting effects doesn't look that particularly good, and all they do is putting the engine under pressure. It's not a bad looking game completely, as the environments does look good, but for the most part, it's a part ugly and part buggy graphical experience. The characters doesn't look particularly well either, and the zooming during conversations makes it worse.

6.0

Sound
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At least the sound is good. The music is great and the voice acting is pretty good (with a few celebrities, such as Matthew Perry). Some ambient sounds would have been nice though, which would have made the environments feel livelier than before.

8.5

Overall
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Fallout: New Vegas is almost identical to Fallout 3, but the game does enough to make it feel, at least different, both in a good and a bad sense. The crashing and bugs does a lot to make the experience less smooth and good, which is a shame, because underneath, the game is actually really good, and one of the best this year. I'd recommend it for Fallout fans, especially to play it on Hardcore mode, but beware of the ugly bugs and crashes.