I enjoyed great deal of both FO3 and other Bethesda games like Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim. However, after having recently bought and played NV, I concluded that NV is a much superior game to FO3 in almost every regard. I'm dumbfounded that there are more people saying FO3 is a better game, because even if everyone is entitled to their opinion, I just don't understand why in objective standpoint of the two game's comparison.
1. Multiple ways to solve a quest.
The quest diversity in NV is literally dazzling. There are always multiple ways to solve a quest, be it a side quest or a main quest. In FO3, many quests and fetch quests and you are almost always given two methods and two choices to do a quest; the former choice of either to be stealthy or blast everything and the latter choice of either to be good or evil, respectively.
Take a side quest "Beyond the beef" in NV for example. You can persuade Walter Phebus down from taking a revenge. You can cure canibalism, you can endorse it, you can save Gunderson's son, kill him, replace him with another victim, offer your companion as a sacrifice, you can tell the son that WGS is behind the kidnapping, you can expose Mortier, You can eliminate Mortier, you can lie about WGS being innocent, you awake the cook's past psychological trauma... Gosh, there are insanely many number of Roleplaying possibilities compared to FO3. There is a similar quest in FO3 in which you deal with cannibal village. In here, your only choice is to search the basement and confront villagers, either by words/violence. NV is vastly superior in quests and better RP also gives better re-playability.
NV improved much on balance. In FO, VATS is too overpowered as you take 10% damage and all enemies are significantly slowed. As if that's not enough, Grim Reaper perk restores your AP upon enemy's death, letting you use 90% damage block and bullet time indefinitely. You have perks that enables you to have 10 SPECIAL(all 9 + bubblepop) and you can hit 100 in every skill in whatever builds you choose.
NV's vats doesn't slow down enemies as much other than targeted enemy, takes 75% damange in vats, and Grim Reaper restores only 20 AP. Skills are much harder to max, SPECIAL counts more(less useless stat). This is just few examples. NV in overall does a better job at balancing.
3. Level scaling.
NV reduced level scaling. In FO3, you can beat the main quest, kill the final boss, fight super mutants and deathclaws at level 1~3. Inflation is a bonus joke that comes along. What's the point?
FO3 companions have no plot relevance and are flat characters. I shouldn't need to elaborate that NV companions are much more engaging and have deeper/dynamic background and personalities.
5. NPC interaction.
NV recognizes deeds you've done quite well. On the other hand, in FO3, you blow up megaton and the only character that comments on your deed is your dead and nobody cares. It's typical of Bethesda game as in Oblvioni where guards tell you "Behave yourself." when you've become the champion of Cyrodiil.
NV is objectively better written. FO3 uses fairly easy English and has much less dialogue options and choices. NV wins in variety, quality, use of swearing/dialect, and character's tones and habits in speaking.
FO3 dialogues are not really great. Recall when you persuade Eden, the AI president. You tell him "you are not elected." and it incurs logic error that starts self destruction process. I knew Bethesda was never good at dialogue, but still it was sometimes too much.
7. main quest
I am not going to argue which story is better because it's all subjective, but NV has much more variety and choices as opposed to FO3 where the choice is extremely limited and you make yourself look silly if you play an evil character.
8. Greyer morality.
NV introduces both the good and bad of various factions at different point. It's fun to ponder on.
9. Faction systems.
No need to say further.
10. Hardcore mode option.
Slow healing stimpack, crippling, permanent death of companions are all welcome feature to hardcore gamers.
11. much less presence of 'invincible' characters.
In FO3 you are not even allowed to kill many characters associated with *side quests* let alone main quests. NV, you are free to eliminate almost anyone, allowing you a better RP and freedom as you see fit.
12. More weapon/armor variety
13. unique models for unique guns
14. better and more diverse crafting
15. survival system
16. sense of realism
A town built around a radioactive bomb, a town relying on one or two Brahmin for food supply, a rich man wanting to blow up a metal dot on his scenery don't strike me as realistic and that's why I sometimes can't take FO3 seriously. I found New Vegas to be more realistic in both the environment (more Brahmins to support a community, hay sticks to feed them, food supply bags piled up for most settlement) and atmosphere. FO3 feels to black/white in character depictions.
17. Jsawyer.mod support provided by the gamer's lead designer.
FO3's only better aspects are more dungeons to explore and probably a better start because NV can tire you with lots of dialogues initially.
These are why I'm baffled when people and reviews say FO3 is a superior game. As an *Role Playing* game, NV is undoubtedly superior because you can't really RP in FO3 with such limited choices and petty dialogues. As an 'exploration' game, that's when personal tastes kick in. You may prefer FO3's post-apocalyptic environment or NV's semi-civilized wasteland with factions vying for power. However, beyond areas where personal preference determines the game's impression, I fail to see how FO3 is in any way a better game than NV. NV's initial release was a bug mess, I realize, but those bugs are mostly gone by now.
People should really give Obsidian the credit for what's they've done with NV in such a short time. If they had made Skyrim, you would probably be able to side with Thalmor, kill Ulfric and Talius as you want, play as a double agent, and etc with so many more options, though more frequent bugs and slow start are too expected.
Anyway, this is why I think NV is a much better game than FO3. I think FO3's only redeeming quality is that it built the base upon which NV was created, and that it has environment that suites post apocalypse setting that FO world is based in. Other than that, I don't see why FO3 is in any way better or equal of NV, especially why reviewers are downplaying NV compared to FO3. I've listed all these strengths of NV, yet I'm yet to see any reviewers mentioning these. I'm lucky if I come across a review that mentions the faction system of NV.;