Fallout: New Vegas

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i dont really play fallout for the "RPG" element. well, ok i do, but only for the sake that its the only FPS i;ve seen with a true "rpg" gamestyle. [no thats not an invitation to you nerds to cough up your favourite FpsRpgOmg]

MOSTLY i play it for the exploration, and the accumulation of ill gotten goodies. this is why i always specalize in sneak and security. i like breaking into places, nicking all my victims loot and wheat-a-bix, and skippign town before the local law catches on. i like to rp as the sneaky, stealthy guy, skulking about in the darkest corners of any given map, flitting from tree to tree, popping out with a sniper rifle to pop the head off a bandit, or radscorpion.

also, i like putting landmines in peoples pockets. capmines work the best. its like hitting a pinata, all them bottle caps rainign down on you, rewarding you for yet another bloody murder *cue evil laugh, and wringing of hands*

i also liked FO3 because of that sweet ass hat you get in one of the first mission. that "neutral grey" fedora that increases sneak.

Sorry, I don't agree with the fast travel thing.
Nothing is worse than traveling all the way across the already traveled through areas of the map to do some mundane mission that will further the story.
Red Dead Redemption was very guilty of sending you back and forth all the way across the map. It became very tedious and boring. Nothing breaks immersion quite like being so bored you wanted to stab a rusty nail in your neck just to make sure you're alive.

Also, fast travel is (usually) an option. Let's keep it that way. In Fallout 3, I often strolled to my location instead of fast traveling so I could get more caps or ammo. If the objective was in the northwest and I was in the southeast, well I may smack the fast travel to get there a bit faster.

Condiments:
Its quite clear from this review that Yahtzee didn't give Fallout: New Vegas a fair shake because it isn't just Fallout 3 only more. Its understandable considering the amount of games he has to play, but disregarding it on that basis is pretty unprofessional if you ask me.

I don't see how you can say he disregarded it given that the review clearly shows that he played a good deal of the game.

To the point, I've always felt that the Oblivion-style games strike a good balance. Yes you can basically teleport, but you have to at least hike there on foot and discover the location once before you can do that. So you still have to experience the journey at least once and take in all the terrain and features of the environment before the fast travel works.

SiskoBlue:
Can't say games are getting immersion right for me lately. They all go on about the HUD, and how this breaks immersion. It doesn't. If it's always there you kind of go blind to it.

Bugs, bugs break the immersion. When characters do truly bizarre things, that breaks immersion. Funny, but takes you out of the game.

My biggest gripe with Fallout New Vegas so far is the obvious "path" they've made in an open world game. In Fallout 3, you get directed to the nearest town on leaving the vault. A tip. A suggestion. You don't HAVE to go there. But it's logical in "role-playing" that you would. Actually if I was really role-playing I'd probably spend the first 24 hours curled up in the fetal position weeping and struggling to hide somewhere near the vault door. Come-on. I've spent my entire life underground in cramped tunnels yet don't suffer agoraphobia?

So you go to Megatown. The next major story quests take you deeper into the map and then south. And kind of all over. There's no OBVIOUS direction. Plus you constantly pick up map markers for what will presumably be points of interest and new side quests. And they're scattered all over the place. You can literally wonder in any direction. Of course some areas are tougher than others. Like around the DC monuments but you can still get around them without detouring too much.

And this is what's bugged me about Fallout New Vegas. I wake up in some guy's house. He's saved my life so already I'm being forced to be polite. I don't have to be but it's doesn't feel real or immmersive to be a jerk to him. Then going outside I'm already in a town and expected to start fitting in. For the next 15 hours every mission and side mission I got was pushing me south. I tried going North and meet a dead end. Enemies waaaaay too powerful for me to have any chance of gettnig past them. West there's a gigantic mountain range. Well, not gigantic but it's obviously a "wall", not a mountain range. it's purpose is to stop me getting to it's other side. East, same thing, although I could get through in some parts... no wait, ridiculously over-powered enemies there too, another "wall" then. South it is.

And as I make my way around I can see the "path". A path that leads me gently past most of the major attactions and content the developer paid damn good money for so bloody well look at it. All the way to the doors of New Vegas. At least I'm assuming that because I'm role playing and once I was more powerful I said "F*** you this is MY role-playing, not obsidian's" and took off. Still, it ruined the illusion for me.

The other thing that ruins the illusion is the stupid ass morality system and reputation. Very first contact with a jerk. I shot a guy in the bar because he was threatening the locals. Apparently this horrified them. Instead I'm supposed to convince them the guy is a jerk, rally them together and THEN kill this guy, but now he's brought his mates along? But they like me for it. If they just let me nip it in the bud in the first place stupid yokels.

Secondly what's so bad about martial law in a post-apocalyptic world. It might be necessary for our survival. But clearly Karma doesn't think so. Killing NCR is bad, killing Legion good. Thanks for letting me make my own choices obsidian. Also I'd like to clarify some unusual points;
1) If I kill everyone in the room how the hell does the group they belong to know to hate me? They can't even solve the most basic mysterys or puzzles yet somehow instantly know you've killed their comrades.
2) Having killed every single one of their comrades as and when I've met them, how come they don't attack me on sight? Or how come sometimes they do and sometimes they just decide to sneer at me? We are at war aren't we?
3) So it's ok Karma-wise to stab a sleeping man, and take all his stuff. But not cool to pinch a comic out of his foot locker? He's not going to use it now is he. And as pointed out before THIS IS WAR!?
4) How come the NCR is so stupid? They have these soldiers that will fight to the death guarding a post but they'll let some random idiot come in and steal, break, kill and fiddle with all their stuff.

Still I like shooting things in slow-motion. Guess no one told Yahztee you can press a button to stop the slow VATS at any time, or even turn it off in settings?

Yes, THIS, all of this. I definitely feel like I'm being shepherded along in New Vegas, like the main plot line is just kind of sitting there, tapping its foot and checking its watch, waiting for me to check the next task off its list. I feel like I have to go hunting for side quests and 90 of those lizard-coyote things will rip my nuts off (or my ovaries I guess, my character is a girl) if I try to go exploring where I'm "not supposed to" yet. FO3 was more successful in feeling like the main plot was a life goal, and in the mean time I'm going to have to see what's going on in this world.

And the karma system needs some serious work. They put a huge effort into creating moral ambiguity in the decisions to be made, but then overtly tell you who the good/bad guys REALLY are, according to the developers, by giving you karma gain or loss based on what you did. Perfect example, I was in Big Springs and (minor SPOILER) I had to go looking for a sniper picking off NCR, but when I found him he said it was justified because the NCR had murdered his people and they were the real aggressor. A morally ambiguous choice to be made. Then there seemed to be no other option to finish the quest (although I wasn't forced to finish it there is a clear incentive to do so for the XP), so when I stuffed dynamite down his pants and blew his ass off for defending his land against what he views as murderers, I gain karma. So despite the carefully crafted ambiguity, there is an arbitrary score system, like a teacher's edition of the text book with the answers all written in for who's really good and who's really bad. You can decide for yourself, but not really.

And the karma/rep/communication thing is bewildering too. So okay, I'm shunned at the NCR establishment because I massacred everybody at the last NCR establishment. Everybody is talking about what a horrible loss it was when everybody got massacred there; they must know I did it because I'm "shunned." But it's cool for me to walk about, buy medical supplies from the doctor, and then they act all surprised when I also stuff dynamite down his pants and blow off the doctor's ass. Oh, but karma loss for that, buddy.

Despite my complaints, I really like New Vegas very much. It is a load of fun and it does allow for some great role playing. For instance, I deal with the trauma of being shot at the beginning of the game by stuffing lit sticks of dynamite down the pants of as many people as possible. When I run out of dynamite, I stuff live frag mines in people's pants. I know of no other game which allows me to literally blow people's legs off by sticking explosives in their clothes.

Edit: I might note that this sort of consistency flaw extended all the way back to Oblivion. I have about 180 hours in Oblivion, probably capped the main plot somewhere around hour 80. Random NPC is telling me, "Have you heard about the (blah blah thing that happens at the climax)?) Dude, I'm the Hero of the Universe, or whatever they crowned me. You really don't know who I am? Okay if you're just the town drunk that's fine, but I get crowned Grand Poobah of the World for 3 seconds, and then I go back to incognito. Okay guys, I'm the Arch Mage of the Land, the Grand Overlord of Thieves, Murder Master and Fighting King, and you guys really have no idea who I am? Maybe a "behold, it's the Arch Mage" or "in my store you get a discount because you saved the goddamn world" would help fix this a bit.

So true, Fallout is really lacking detail, somehow they expect your imagination to fill the emptiness (which works with my imagination quite well)
And why they didn't add vehicles is beyond me, it would be so awesome to hop on a bike and take a ride...

I would have happily walked and explored more in Fallout:New Vegas if I didn't spend the last 60+ hours of the game in crippling fear of the game freezing.

So instead, I fast traveled everywhere, because the game never froze on me doing that.

Actually my post wasn't about "why don't you just not use it" and was about "Yahtzee was talking about making your own fun and then bitched a completely optional system ruined his fun. That's kinda weird." And honestly if exploring everywhere isn't your thing then is it really going to make a difference if you have a horse or a car or a steam powered hover balloon? Exploring is exploring and doing it faster isn't so much as exploring as it is just plain travelling. And you can only fast travel places you've been to so unless you've been everywhere there's always more to explore. If the world is too big or you honestly feel you walk too slow or whatever then maybe open world sandboxes aren't for you. At what point is it a matter of simply not liking the game instead of trying to validate not liking it? That's how Yahtzee came off to me. More like he simply didn't like the game and was trying to explain why when there wasn't really a reason. It just never drew him in. Saying things like NPCs flit back in forth in voice acting and personality would be spot on...if he were talking about oblivion but you can't talk to nearly as many people as you could in Oblivion and they all maintain their personalities big and small boring and not. I just didn't understand how fast traveling which was completely optional could RUIN the game. That's what the article is about and I thought that was silly.

DeadlyYellow:

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.

WoW had that exact same issue, except you couldn't lose the horse in any way.

HaraDaya:
I learned that not having fast travel was a good thing in Far Cry 2. People need to learn to enjoy the hike to the objective. It's sort of a build up to the climax of the mission. Games of course need to make the hike interesting, which is were Fallout New Vegas falls a little short. Both because you run what feels like so goddamn slow, and because it's mostly just huge open wastes.

Far Cry 2 DID have a fast travel system. Remember the bus stops?

"If Yahzee wanted to review something difrent, then why not Mount&Blade?
Its a geat little game that really deserves more reviews."

Wait a minute there. I think you're confusing Yahtzee for a PC gamer. Games like Fallout NV are about as far as he manages to delve into the realm of complex, inventory based, open-world rpg's. The guy is a console tard through and through, so don't expect that level of focus from him.

samaugsch:

HaraDaya:
I learned that not having fast travel was a good thing in Far Cry 2. People need to learn to enjoy the hike to the objective. It's sort of a build up to the climax of the mission. Games of course need to make the hike interesting, which is were Fallout New Vegas falls a little short. Both because you run what feels like so goddamn slow, and because it's mostly just huge open wastes.

Far Cry 2 DID have a fast travel system. Remember the bus stops?

:/
There was 4 different points in each map you could travel to, and you had travel to the bus stops to use them. It never transported you so close to your objective it wouldn't take at least 5-10 minutes to go there.
In Fallout 3 you can sometimes travel from one objective to the next, taking only a steps.

HaraDaya:

samaugsch:

HaraDaya:
I learned that not having fast travel was a good thing in Far Cry 2. People need to learn to enjoy the hike to the objective. It's sort of a build up to the climax of the mission. Games of course need to make the hike interesting, which is were Fallout New Vegas falls a little short. Both because you run what feels like so goddamn slow, and because it's mostly just huge open wastes.

Far Cry 2 DID have a fast travel system. Remember the bus stops?

:/
There was 4 different points in each map you could travel to, and you had travel to the bus stops to use them. It never transported you so close to your objective it wouldn't take at least 5-10 minutes to go there.
In Fallout 3 you can sometimes travel from one objective to the next, taking only a steps.

Ah, I see what you mean. So limited fast travel is ok.

Yahtzee,I love watching your videos and how you pick on games. I agree with alot of them and love how you point out ever detail that bugged the crap out off me, along with ones that i didn't catch at first. Me and my son always watch your videos and this one made us both laugh. I would like to ask if you plan on reviewing Medal of Honor or Call of Duty: Black ops in the future. I liked both games storymode wise amd want to see how you liked it.

Aaron Navarez

Yeah, a fast travel system would be great for both 3 and NV I never thinked of that...

It would be fun if you reviewed a older game, like GTA 3..... but I have a feeling that day never come.

Greeds2:
I think that Fallout 3 needs a fast-travel, because honestly who can be bothered to walk through the same "low-on-detail" areas a hundred times.

What they really should have implemented (come on, the lead designers were from Black Isle!!) is the Fallout/Fallout 2 system where your fast travel was represented as a trail on the map, and you had random encounters along the way (they were frustrating, but less frustrating than either the current system or walking around everywhere). Your journeyman skill affected how often these random encounters occurred and there was a perk to make them more interesting.

problem is with that is that people who play games now are low on attention. if you don't have explosions no one will care. you have to make a game so easy a 3 year old can play or it wont sell. why do you think RTS games are practically dead?

I've never been spurred before to comment on a Yahtzee related topic, but I've just been playing New Vegas, and as not the biggest RPG fan, and not having ALL the time in the world to play my games, I'd have to say having a big beef with fast travel is one of the most stupid things I've heard proposed by the man.
Fast travel allows those of us who wish to skip certain arduous trips in favor of cutting to the chase, the ones we want to take, the new exploration, not the retreading of discovered ground. If you want to feel the bigness of the world, then don't fast travel, the option's right there for you. To say the game must force you not to fast travel implies that it is simply not fun to travel at normal speed in the game. If THAT's your problem with the game, well then there you go, makes a lot more sense.
If your problem is having an option that allows those of us in the real world, who have maybe completed a mission, or overburdened our inventory, and just realized it's bedtime before work tomorrow, to skip to town and save with the luxury of being well rested, well then piss off, I don't need your input on the subject.
Except that I'm sure you just whimsically picked up on this subject as your topic for the week because you needed something to write upon quickly, and didn't give it actually that much thought, and spilled out some amusing drivel on the subject, which was, as usual, fun to read, and isn't that really the point?

So as always, I enjoyed your piece, even if it was a stupid premise.

Hate all you want...it is not the same game as fallout 3. Fallout 3 was drab and humorless...fallout new vegas is funny even if you do not name your character "a slut".

You complain about fast travel...but with those roads, you would be complaining a lot more about motorcycles, and you would be furious if you had to walk across the desert for every mission. There don't seem to be many normal animals around (other than the descendants of the dogs that were kept in the vaults) ...even if there were horses, they would just try to eat you (plus, we know how you feel about horse travel from your Red Dead and Assassins Creed reviews). That just leaves magical beasts that don't even make sense in the WoW world. The game has a sense of "bigness" anyway...because fast travels are never unlocked until you have already gone there on foot.

Phlopsy:

And the karma system needs some serious work. They put a huge effort into creating moral ambiguity in the decisions to be made, but then overtly tell you who the good/bad guys REALLY are, according to the developers, by giving you karma gain or loss based on what you did.

Honestly, to me it felt like they just forgot to take the karma system out of fallout 3. I never paid attention to what my karma was. It doesn't even make a difference game-wise, as far as I could tell - reputation is way more important.

STALKER Call of Pripyat.
you've done the relatively poor clear sky, Pripyat very few, if any bugs, and gives you a world and options to do your own thing to complete objectives, and it really isn't that hard.

I feel like I wanna see more reviews for DS Games, maybe also another JRPG, I always get a kick out of those. What if there was a way to combine the two?

gilbro7:
I feel like I wanna see more reviews for DS Games, maybe also another JRPG, I always get a kick out of those. What if there was a way to combine the two?

Golden Sun DS is coming out soon.

I don't understand the problem with fast travel. Most of the time you can only travel to where you've been so you still get to see a lot of stuff and if you really don't like it than you can always just not use it

i liked traveling in rdr cause getting a good horse was fun and fast, i mean you could travel the whole map in about 10 15 minutes with the black horse or that god horse u get fairly early on in the story, but mine walked off a damn cliff and got killed.....leanrning the roads and such and know what routes to take made travel fast n easy.

problem with fo3 is it was never a game that was vehicle friendly. there were not many good patches of roads, the city was broken up into zones you had very finite stretches of road before you had to enter some annoying ass sewer maze to get to the next patch of town to find the next sewer maze to get wth you wanted to go.

vehicles were never considered for for fo3 so you never had animations or proper collision detenctions put in for the bike and car models.

there were a few land vehicle mods for fo3 but i think all were considered pretty damn buggy with horrible collision and caused more problems than they solved.

but on the other hand the sky vehicles for fo3 a hoverchair and a vertibird mod worked pretty darn well by all accounts.

nv has the great bonus of having a ton of roads and all the towns and major landmarks connected by roadways that are in decent shape. it would have been nice if obsidian had spent some time making the animations and collisions for a proper working vehicle. but then the nv map is not all the huge anyway, vehicles are nice but hardly a necessity when you can run across the map in 25 minutes or so from one end to another, well barring any untimely deaths.

i tended to use fast travel when my damn game was deciding it was gonna crash :P, otherwise i ran all over the place. and it never took all that long to get from vegas to just about any point on the map, lest when you could clear out the deathclaws and the other roads between the vegas area and the s/sw.

Better than last weeks extra punctuation at least. Never understood why hardcore video game players bitched and moaned about fast travel in Oblivion. Your explanation made sense, so now I know why they complained about it.

On another note I think they should have made vehicles drivable in Vegas. There's heaps of places where bikes are set up and appear like they have been used/going to be used. Even Fallout 2 had a car.

I did like how you start to die if you play on hardcore while using fast travel. It kind of discourages you from moving too far and gives you a real sense of mortality (I think the amped up difficulty helped too - ie, deathclaws actually live up to their name now).

I agree though, where is my motorcycle?

I have to admit that fast travel is bad, because the fist part of the game I explored every location on map, but at the end of the story I wanted and want to explore, but it is very hard to find location on you foot when almost every thing has already been found. To tell the truth the power armor dosent help it only slows you down.
About role playing. At first I was every happy about hardcore mode, because of the needs to sleep, eat, drink and it is good, but the sleeping part has failed heavenly, because you only need to drink nuke-cola(I wish that it would word in the real life, that would help me study better...).

Still Fallout NV has come a far way from Oblivion in realisms, but good thing have been lost too like transportation. Maybe after 5 years games will be realistic, but I hope that wont happen, because then human race will be lost for ever...

It's easier to maintain a sense of immersion if you can properly show the passage of time.
Part of the problem with Oblivion (and its half-brother, Fallout 3) is the Radiant AI.
Nothing ages, events never trigger until your convenient timing, and traveling feels suspiciously like Groundhog Day.

Fast Travel eliminates the one remaining points of immersion, but it doesn't have to.

Teleportation and Flight have been used as a form of reward in innumerable RPGs. After you have finished slogging through the wilderness for hours of gameplay, you finally unlock the ultimate form of convenience (which may expand on existing gameplay design space by itself. FF9 does this rather well, actually).

Giving it to the player straight-away ruins a great deal of the immersion; however convenient it is.

But perhaps this new market doesn't want much immersion.
They want combat. Flashy graphics. ACTION. All the time spent in between doing backtracking and legwork is a big no-no in today's design.

Why do you think FF13 was one long hallway when many of its predecessors encouraged exploration? It's getting to the point where unless it's a sandbox game, you have no choice but to employ hallway-logic.

I remember several older titles using "Hub Logic" to great effect.
Gex, Mario, Zelda, System Shock 2...even Shadow of the Colossus.
But I suppose most developers don't have time for that now. It takes too much time and effort to create one hallway segment (complete with eye-candy!) and remain on schedule.

This is the big difference between Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, and its two predecessors (Other M is even more linear, different as it is).

Experimental:
Well, I guess it's a fair reason, personally I enjoyed it a lot, and I wished that Fallout 3 would be exactly that, less the bugs, that is.
I think that New Vegas would have a greater impression on everyone if Fallout 3 didn't exist. Also, a Horse in USA is not an anomaly, why wouldn't they include one? Damn Bethesda.

http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Horse
it's canon(now decided by bethesda, but earlier by obsidian etc) that horses are extinct. or, at least, they have NEVER been seen in fallout, even when obsidian did the ruling. i like to pretend the deathclaw ate them all. allways got a kind of "dragon" vibe from them

I couldn't agree more. I remember having a lot of fun in Oblivion just getting from point A to B, and it was so frustrating to walk by what looked like a perfectly intact motorcycle on my way into just about every single town in Fallout (3/NV). Would it really have been so hard for them to add vehicles into the game? Shit, even regular HORSES would've made sense.

Of course, there DOES come a point where the journey becomes tedious because the game doesn't add anything new as you progress, and then you're back to fast-traveling. Sure, it might add in an encounter here and there, but by and large these are unique and quest-related. As far as I'm concerned, if I spend the whole day walking the road between the NCR mojave outpost outside Nipton and the New Vegas Strip, it should never be quite the same as any other time I do it. Granted, I'm not expecting Godzilla to come stomping out of the desert, but there should be SOMETHING. Maybe that's just expecting too much from the technology? Maybe that would add another five years to the development time? I dunno. It's just a pity for a world to feel so full as you stand at a crossroad and know that there's something interesting in every possible direction, yet simultaneously feel so empty and alone as you go there.

I think that New Vegas was better than Fallout 3 in this regard with little touches like roving bands of ants that seemed utterly disinterested in you until you kicked one over and scathing sandstorms that would sweep across ancient lakebeds, but it just wasn't enough. I dunno. Chalk this up as just one more entitled complaint, because I honestly can't wait to see what the new engine makes possible in The Elder Scrolls 5. Attractive people, hopefully, because my bare-titty mod is wasted on the blue-tinted moonfaces of Oblivion and Fallout.

Bollox, Yahtzee you've done it again.

Give us a review or an original thought please, not your new word of the day.

It's been said before and I'll say it again "if you don't want to fast travel don't"

Also the industry is built on sequels, it's been that way since you and I were little boys.

It's strange how often I watch one of his videos after playing a game I mostly enjoyed and find myself agreeing with his complaints. I just watched the Fallout 3 one, a game I'm currently enjoying, and I find myself thinking that there's far too much content to explore in relation to its story content. While I've finished the main game (only two of the add-ons and three side-missions to go), I've still got a third of the Wasteland to explore and most of Downtown DC. I'm quite literally playing several hours a day just to say I saw it all... and it is starting to wear thin.

And I agree with his complaint about the lack of a fast exploration option. The fast travel system is all well and good, but I think the best fast-travel system is one that you don't want to use 90% of the time. I'm glad I have the indestructible Fawkes & Dogmeat, because fighting those damn Albino Radscorpions every two minutes gets real fucking old, real fucking fast. Running away should always be an option, but some of these enemies move too fast to make that practical.

Phlopsy:

And the karma system needs some serious work.

Definitely. I was of the mind to pick every lock and hack every computer (and early on, steal absolutely everything to sell), but when it came to story missions, I picked the good path every single time. I didn't go around shooting unfriendly NPCs to steal their loot. I actually felt bad when I opted to kill Dashwood in Tenpenny Tower, but only because I was opting to help the Ghouls to get the mask so I didn't have to fight my way through every damn subway tunnel in the game.

I think they should introduce a more two dimensional system. The X-axis being about evil acts like killing good people are selling people into slavery, while the y-axis is about honesty and generosity. Lock-pick, hack, and steal your way through the game, and your reputation will suffer... perhaps resulting in higher prices at shops to off-set your obvious thieving ways. Also think the consequences for getting caught stealing are a bit too high. Having everyone try to kill you for a failed pick-pocket just leads to save-scumming. Have successful thefts gradually affect your bad reputation (that their store is noticeably lighter after one of your visits should be noted), while getting caught results in a bigger hit. Higher prices in shops or making it harder to succeed on a speech challenge because you're considered dishonest would make more sense then everyone in town trying to kill you.

Ok, I wanted to post something on this game, and looked for ages for a thread to do it in.

I think "Fallout: New Vegas" may be one of my favorite games ever. It's like they took all of my criticisms of "Fallout 3" (STOP ATTACKING ME WITH RADSCORPIONS FOR NO REASON, I JUST WANT TO SEE WHAT INTERESTING STUFF YOUR WORLD HAS GODDAMMIT!) and improved everything that was wrong about it.

- Vastly reduced random encounters, instead replacing them with "scripted" ones where the tough enemies are in hard-to-reach areas with bigger and better loot as a reward; you can avoid those areas at the start of the game when you're a feeble, underpowered novice, and seek them out when you've levelled up and want a decent challenge.

- It's entirely possible to play as a character with almost no levelling of combat skills at the start and not suffer a huge disadvantage. I know, I've done it - poured all my points into stealth, speech, lockpick and survival. And it works.

- Much better story. (Yeah, I know "New Vegas" gets stick for the fact that its character doesn't have an "identity" at the start. But seriously, is that really worse than the horrible vault opening of "Fallout 3"? Yeah, starting with the character's birth was plain awesome, but the vault escape was incredibly badly managed. The overseer could die and you'd get blamed, no matter whether you had anything to do with it or not, for example.) It just feels as though you have more control over what happens.

- The landscape is genuinely varied, more so than "Fallout 3", although I think Washington DC is better portrayed than Las Vegas. Now you have desert mixed with greenery, even snowy hilltops.

- The different "factions" work incredibly well. Why doesn't every role-playing game have this? Seriously? This is how the character encounters in "Fallout 3" SHOULD have worked. I love that you can play two games, and in one game you are friends with a particular faction, in the other you're mortal enemies with them.

- The skills are better balanced from "Fallout 3". Barter, speech, energy weapons and explosives are no longer useless; guns and stealth have been toned down. I love the new "survival" skill.

- The soundtrack incorporates elements of the previous "Fallout" games, but this has always been a weak point in the series. Now, in Fallout: New Vegas, for the first time EVER, it's not.

The sheer variety of the experience reminds me of the first time I played the original "System Shock". Yeah, it's that good. Definitely the best game I've played over the last three or four years.

But the main thing is the random encounters, the soundtrack, and the factions.

All sandbox role-playing games should learn by example of just how good these aspects of Fallout: New Vegas are. It just goes to show that you don't have to stand for being attacked by a f--king RAT every sixty seconds like clockwork because the game deems that you haven't had a "random encounter" for too long.

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