Fallout: New Vegas

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In an attempt to boil this down to a manageable, understandable rule to keep in mind, I'm of the opinion that a good open-world game should feel like you're playing some kind of TV adventure serial, like Monkey Magic or the various incarnations of Pokemon. There's an overarching story and fixed events on the trail of the overall quest that the heroes are always going to be moving towards, but in between the major events come shorter, episodic adventures as the protagonists stumble upon distractions. Like stopping to defend a village from bandits, or follow the trail of a secret treasure, or napalm a school building and pour the ashes of the children over their erect, twitching knobs for sexual release. Or does that only happen in the TV shows I watch?

Depends if you watch One Piece or not, Yahtzee. Alright the whole napalming a school building thing hasn't happened in that......yet. But still it was pretty much the first thing I thought of when I read this paragraph. Yeah more stories need to play out like that nowadays.

I really like the idea of a large RPG being more like an episodic TV series. Imagine if in Pokemon, you'd had to handle the weird and wonderful problems each gym leader has, before finally fighting and getting the badge? Instead of just grinding your way to the door and using the same move for every opponent 'mon.

Come to think of it, Earthbound's story is an example of how that pretty much played out. You had a straight forward goal: get melodies from 8 spots and get a power boost to defeat evil alien overlord from conquering planet Earth. But at the same time you were attending to several other plots throughout the game: you had to beat up a gang causing trouble in your own hometown, rescue the token love interest from a cult obsessed with the color blue, save another town from a zombie infestation created by a sentient pile of vomit, free a jazz band from debt......twice, ect.

I completely agree with the state of gaming now, especially with the FPS genre. Seems like ever since Halo game out, the genre shifted that way for the most part. Then developers just played it safe with that and never tried other stuff...

No more games where you didn't have to choose which guns to carry and you could keep them all (like Goldeneye and Duke Nukem), no more extremely absurd weapon combinations (Goldeneye again with the P90/grenade launcher combo in the Jungle), no more complex level design that would leave you lost for a while (Doom and Quake)...

Painkiller and NecroVision have been close to keeping this alive, and hopefully Bulletstorm and Rage do the same, but I sadly think that the future of the FPS genre is going to be a ton of the same rehashing, and the same for other genres too...

In conclusion:

New Vegas could have used something along the lines of Fallout 2's "Highwayman".

I mean, beyond simply finding it wrecked and worthless out in the wasteland.

I've not played Fallout 3 or New Vegas at all, but I can imagine how fast travel would take alot away from the game. Would have been better ot include a bike or buggy of some sort. Fallout 2 all those years ago had a cadalac you could eventually get (though fuel was sparce and to get it was expencive in the first place!). It even came with a spacious boot that you could use as a travelling ammo/armour/crap supply!

Yahtzee Croshaw:
"...sometimes while trying to sleep in bed at night I pretend I'm in a cryo-pod on a spaceship in the far future..."

I can now sleep satisfied, knowing that I'm not the only weirdo on the planet who does this.

Wait, the eye of a storm is calm; wouldn't the eye of a sequel storm, therefore, have no sequels flying about?

Actually, now that i think about it, i'm gonna edit something else in: New Vegas is already episodic. Episode one: you wake up in Goodsprings and get your barrings, killing geckos and maybe bandits while asking about Benny. Episode two: following the Benny lead south, you find convicts have taken over the Bison hotel, or whatever, and the next info link needs to be rescued.

I forget the rest of the main plot line, but i'm sure it follows the same line of extended fetch quests for information. If that doesn't do it for you still, you could play the opening movie and the credits roll before and after each quest section.

Yeah I haven't been too impressed with Bethesda's work. I couldn't get immersed in the two games of theirs I've tried. Morrowind and Fallout 3. Though admittedly I didn't get very far in fallout 3 so might give it another go after I get through some other xbox games.

Had more fun playing Arx Fatalis than I did Morrowind. Much smaller world, but much more intimate experience as well.

BlueInkAlchemist:

That's provided you don't own any of the expansions. I do loves me some Arkham Horror...

I think I finished a game of it once. Took us 6 hours.

I get his point that one could miss out on some content by using fast travel all the time, but at least you can't fast travel until you've already been there. I usually don't use fast travel in Fallout (or Oblivion) unless it meets my 3-prong system:

1) I've obviously already been to the area (otherwise I wouldn't be able to fast travel)

2) It's far enough away on the map that I'd end up spending a considerable amount of time walking across other landmarks and towns on the way that I've already seen.

3) I'm avoiding having to cross something I can't or don't want to deal with yet (aka that whole family of deathklaws waiting over the hill)

That said... sometimes it's just convenient. You have to explore to some extent to be able to do it anyways though. And with Hardcore mode in New Vegas, at least there's some negative effects to using fast travel.

I can't play Fallout 3 anymore without the massive list of mods that do in fact make it much more immersive.

One of these is "Global Travel System", which DOES give you a motorcycle and DOES give you the opportunity to have random encounters while fast-traveling, and CAN shut down fast-travel altogether.

It also allows for the implementation of what amount to DLCs; GTS contains a map of the world and you can create a new "worldspace" (the whole of the D.C. Wasteland, for example, is a worldspace) to plunk down anywhere on it. Someone made an Iceland mod that goes well with this, just find yourself a boat and go fight some feral ghouls in Reykyavik over a choice bit of rotted shark. New Vegas has already been invaded by the modding community as well, who are creating new content as well as porting over older mods from FO3.

With any luck, I'll soon be hanging about Vault 21, shooting six-breasted double-cocked anthropomorphic dolphin wizards with my trusty Automatic Mininuke Launcher.

One of the reasons I like fast-travel is because of a thing you mentioned in your review/pseudo-LP session. Sometimes you reach your destination only to have to walk around the whole damn thing looking for the way in. I'd say the real problem here isn't the fast travel so much as the terrible map though.

Tiamat666:
if you don't like fast travel...
...why just not use it?

He said. It's too slow & boring to justify the potential for parallel-adventuring. Surely there must be some poor stupid mutants that players could hop on to get around faster. Or like a taxi service. Ran by some New Vegas mob that pimps them and sells them as well as offers their transport services.

Heck, bicycles would do.

I downloaded two pairs of sunglasses that make running speed 3x and 6x faster. When I encounter a road I use the 3x glasses and make 'vroom' noises, and on railways I use the 6x specs and make 'chuff-chuff' sounds.

Unfortunately, the twitchy physics can catapult you hundreds of feet into the air if running too fast over a bump. It also prevents auto-saves from working their magic, and a game as moody as F:NV needs auto-saves frequently to avoid re-treading ground.

Bored of the game now. Why castrate New Vegas from the wealth of mods for Fallout 3? They should be united. Like World of Xeen.

I know what he means about the fast traveling, I generally try to avoid using it all together as I always regret it at the end of the day.

Levethian:

Tiamat666:
if you don't like fast travel...
...why just not use it?

He said. It's too slow & boring.

I think it's more the idea there aren't any alternatives. In Oblivion you get the horse yes, but it's still slow and monotonous.

Plus the fact you couldn't fight while on the horse. You could either slowly dismount while the beasties take potshots at you and your steed, or run. And depending on the difficulty (and excluding specific mounts,) the horse could either die or flee, leaving you back to square one.

Isn't this article a bit exigent? Yeah, you can go look up what that word means. Just to say it would feel more roleplaying if you had a vehicle go faster than walking instead of fast travel in a video game.

Alas, you are better at this than I am, give you that. But that does not excuse you for taking a trite issue into some eloquent writing that makes the reader feel dumber than you are.

Yahtzee made a good point about open-world travel, and like he saaid before there is a difference between a game world that feels big and is big. Shadow Of The Colossus for example is half about riding to your next encounter, and the ambient soundtrack, terrain design, and gorgeous graphical style make this an absolute joy.

DeadlyYellow:

I think it's more the idea there aren't any alternatives.

Exactly :) Just edited that.

Imp Poster, 'article' should be between 'Isn't this' and 'a bit'. Then it would be a sentence.

Ooh KITTENS!

When you instant fast travel in games like Fallout 3 you miss out on the adventure. If you had to ride a horse or a motorbike to your destination you might have an exciting encounter with NPCs, or catch a glimpse of something so intriguing on the horizon that you decide to take a detour to investigate it on a whim. Surely the whole point of the sandbox or open-world model is to give the player the chance to fill the gaps between major events with adventures of their own.

That sounds like Minecraft. Of course that game, too, has a fast travel option. It involves literally opening a portal to hell and traveling through a world full of ghastly monstrosities. But it's faster because every step you take in hell is equivalent to 16 steps in the real world.

Huh.

Yahtzee was just about the last person I expected to be making a "Monkey Magic" reference.

Tiamat666:
Well..., yeah..., then..., if you don't like fast travel...

--- WARNING! MAJOR REVELATION AHEAD! ---

...why just not use it?

Because the game would take forever. The point isn't that there shouldn't be fast travel, it's that the fast travel system should allow you to make detours and take in the scenery. It's about creating the illusion of a huge, vibrant, believable world, while still addressing the practical problem of needing to get to the actual content. It could be better -- that's all I'm saying.

Anyway -- I've always been a glutton for role play. On my first play through of Oblivion (before I'd seen all the side of the road stuff) I never used fast travel. On my first play of SotC, I almost never made my horse run when I was traveling to the next colossus (it might have gotten tired!). And I loved it. Sure, had I used the faster methods I could've done the same things in half the time, but I also would've wanted to stop sooner. I'm not sure how to explain it, but doing the normal things that you don't even think about in life, but in a game just makes it so much more involving.

Funny, when I play New Vegas, I wait till it's night, and go sneaking. (very hard difficulty, hardcore mode on)
And then I hunt

.

Levethian:

Imp Poster, 'article' should be between 'Isn't this' and 'a bit'. Then it would be a sentence.

Fixed, thanks.

The use of the fast-travel system is often a clue to how much I'm enjoying a game.

In Red Dead Redemption, I only rarely used it... usually only when the game was sending me all the way to the other side of the map for some bullshit quest or in the event I just needed to buy an item not readily available in the town I was in.

I constantly used the taxi in GTA IV because driving around simply wasn't fun. Between the twitchy car handling and the occasionally protracted police chases that could stem from a simple fender bender, I took taxis virtually everywhere... which seriously spoiled the illusion when you're taking a cab to a hospital shoot-out.

Saints Row didn't have a fast travel system (apart from taking advantage of the save game function), but I never missed it. Getting from Point A to Point B was always fun and I knew any cops I acquired on the way over could be easily ditched on the other end (simple vehicular fun & games rarely got me over a one-star wanted level).

As of yet, I've not sunk my teeth into Fallout 3 (beyond getting to the Wal-Mart stand-in) and a lot of that is simple game pacing, but also trying to figure out exactly what sort of skills I should invest in early in the game, since they give me about five billion options and I have only the vaguest notion what half of them would be useful for. So far, I've not built up the enthusiasm to overcome this immersion hurdle, so I play around with games that have a faster in to, not only the action, but the point as well.

BlueInkAlchemist:

The_root_of_all_evil:

Yahtzee Croshaw:
...when playing Arkham Horror with my friends...

+1 awesome point, although I wonder how you get time to ever do that. Takes an hour just to set up the board.

That's provided you don't own any of the expansions. I do loves me some Arkham Horror...

FACT: When my friends play without me, the world ends at the hand--er, tentacles of some uncaring Elder God. When I play, we always stop the horror well in advance.

unwesen:
It'd be possible to make different aspects of an MMORPG, I mean other than killing mobs, into a game of it's own. To stick with crafting, the whole thing would be worthwhile if crafted items were on par with or better than items gained from churning through PvE content, and cost less to make so you can sell it for about the same. And if the act of building something was a mini-game of sorts, rather than a click of a button, that might be fun in it's own right. If made properly; for example, forcing players to level their characters in order to be allowed to try new crafting recipes (as if proficiency with weapons had anything to do with proficiency with a set of tools) is NOT very helpful in allowing for creative game play.

This is why WoW doesn't appeal to me: it emphasizes the parts of D&D that I've always hated. Namely, i) random encounters with no real narrative purpose and ii) loot & gear accounting.

To riff off your example, what if you could focus on crafting skills and unlock recipes that allowed you to make some of the best items in the game? Everyone talks about the guy wielding Excalibur, Durendal, Masamune--what if you could be the guy who forged it, renowned through the land as the greatest of smiths like Weyland or Hephaestus? Of course, to get the best materials, you'd need to brave dangerous places--or send other PCs after them.

FEAR MY LVL 20 "six-breasted double-cocked anthropomorphic dolphin wizard" AND +6 QUARTERSTAFF OF SODOMY

JMeganSnow:
I got much more of a "sandbox world" feel from playing Gothic 1 and 2 than from any Bethesda game to date. The "world" in Gothic is smaller, but it's highly involuted so you don't have to travel very far in order to find something. There are many interesting things to mess around with.

I'm curious to try Risen and Arcanis (Gothic 4) if I ever have the time/money.

Edit: Gothic also has no fast-travel until quite late in the game, when they start having you run all over the place in order to finish off main-plot quests. The teleport system actually feels like a reward you earned instead of a gimmick for lazy gamers.

I agree with this, Gothic 2 (along with the expansion) is my favourite open world RPG by far, I spent so much time in there... And if you are wondering about Risen it's a Gothic game in all but lore and setting. It's happening on a kind of fantasy Mediterranean island and while the premise isn't as great as being a prisoner in a strange penal colony back in Gothic, any fan of the series will most likely enjoy it.

You mentioned in your Saboteur review that you didn't like the parts where you had to drive all the way from one side of the map to the other. Now, although the Saboteur world that is Paris wasn't the most amazing and immersive game ever, it did have interesting visuals and free-running as an alternative to driving a car, so you can't then complain when a MASSIVE game offers the chance to move from one part to another that would take around 3 hours real time in a matter of seconds, you can't complain that it 'takes away from the immersion'. Be honest, if you had to treck for hours just to do a mission that turns out is pointless, you'd be pretty damn pissed off and stop playing that game...

summerof2010:

Tiamat666:

...why just not use it?

Because the game would take forever. The point isn't that there shouldn't be fast travel, it's that the fast travel system should allow you to make detours and take in the scenery. It's about creating the illusion of a huge, vibrant, believable world, while still addressing the practical problem of needing to get to the actual content. It could be better -- that's all I'm saying.

Okay. You're right. I get it now.

But if you're a good roleplayer, you should be able to compensate for that limitation in your mind. Such as in taking an ingame walk to the "Wasteland Taxi Service" and "buying a cab".

But who am I fooling... I also prefer Morrowinds game-integrated travel system to Oblivions.

NEW RULE: THERE SHOULD NEVER BE RANDOM ENCOUNTERS IN ANY SANDBOX RPG EVER.

Ok so you're playing Fallout 3, and you want to explore the lavish landscape and find all kinds of cool stuff that you couldn't find before, and perhaps battle some raiders and stuff. And EVERY THIRTY GODDAMN SECONDS you get attacked by a bug or an ant or a scorpion or something. They pose zero threat, all they do is use up your ammo and your weapon maintenance level (which is much more important in the Fallout universe anyway, you'll end up with enough ammo to kill half a dozen Ant Queens before you've reached level five, but you can't stop your weapons from degrading). What the hell are you supposed to be playing, rent-o-kill man??!!!

Besides random encounters being an annoying chore, they take the fun out of exploration. How about having a lot of specific encounters that require tactics and strategy to work out? A large raider den, for example? Something where you have to work out to snipe the first raider from a distance, then run-and-gun his friend before the others catch on, before luring the rest into a landmine or two?

And a final point - random encounters make it imperative to level up your combat skills as quickly as possible. What if I don't want to play a combat-oriented character?

(Corollary rule: you should never be able to fast-travel into a monster respawn point.)

Oblivion and Fallout 3 are nice to play, but they are not fun to play. When you have to constantly worry about the game randomly crashing and freezing it kinda sucks all the fun out of it.

Since New Vegas, reportedly, has these same issues I don't really see how it could be fun.

I have to agree 100% I couldn't begin to count the times I said to myself, while playing Fallout, something along the lines of "damn it I need something to get where I am going quicker." Fast travel not only killed immersion it also made the game a lot less fun overall. If I actually could have progressed my way to a destination on some vehicle then I probably wouldn't have felt so bored when it came to completing missions. Hell I would definitely have traded an accurate "driving sim" just to see my character riding something and going fast.

Bang on as usual. Fast traveling, yes. Teleporting - no, or at least limited. TBH one of the things I dislike about the missions in games like GTA is all the goddamn commuting.

If you're scratching around for something to review, and/or something in a new genre, I reccomend simulators. They're light on story, but big on immersion. I suggest this one for starters http://www.landwirtschafts-simulator.de/

From the article:

Yahtzee Croshaw:
If you went out of your way in Oblivion you could acquire a horse, but Fallout 3 just leaves you to hike.

A free horse could be obtained during the first quest right out of the prison sewer. Fast travel to the priory, talk to the monks, acquire free horse. Is that really considered out of the way? Looking back at the Oblivion critique, the lack of environment variety was mentioned; the same forested area copied and pasted all over the world map. Forests, a snow-covered mountainous area, and fields of wheat in the countryside were enough. Environs missing probably included a desert, a jungle, and the surface of a moon. I'm under the impression that Oblivion was played for about an hour, consisting of leaving the sewers and talking to the brain-dead NPCs for half of that time. The New Vegas critique seems to have gone further since Vegas proper was entered, but I'm under the impression that some of these games weren't even played for a significant amount of time with which to verify every assumed flaw. Should Zero Punctuation be renamed to First Impressions? Why do things half-assed?

Since I haven't played New Vegas I'm going to go with; Arkham Horror, excellent board game.

I thought Fallout(s) had plenty of details to add up the immersion, but they could always do better.

And when it comes to the fast travel i agree completely as it kills the adventure part. In games like fallout and oblivion one aspect of the game (for me at least) is to go and have an adventure to some random direction that i've never been to. It should give player a feeling of discovery, Finding somethings you didn't even know existed in the game. Fast travel just takes it away as everything is at your reach from where ever you are. (like in oblivion)

I think morrowind did better than newer bethesda games when it comes to real adventuring as you could travel between town with ships, mages guilds and siltstriders but they were on certain towns only and they had limited routes available. The point isn't that it should be as difficult as it was in morrowind to actually find the route, but instead players ability to go instantly from where ever he wants to where ever he wants instantly should be if not outright removed then discouraged.

Mages should make somewhat exception as its kinda their thing.

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