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Fallout New Vegas: Ultimate Edition – PC

Fallout New Vegas: Ultimate Edition – PC

Ahh, the favorite childhood game: Cowboys and Centurions. Wait…

Fallout: New Vegas: Ultimate EditionPlatform: PC

Developer: Obsidian Entertainment

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks and Namco-Bandai Games

Release Date: 19 October 2010

Genre: RPG, FPS

Nerd Rating: 9 out of 10

So, yeah… This game is as awesome as Fallout 3, but with the absolute BEST DLC EVER. Go buy Fallout New Vegas, preferably the Ultimate Edition. Done.

And I guess that won’t cut it for a review, either, huh? All right, then. In my Fallout 3 review, I went over the history of the Fallout Series (I did forget to mention that the project was first titled Vault 13: A Gurps Post-Nuclear Adventure, which is a fun little fact for my fellow tabletop RPGers). There’s no need to cover all that again. It has been a fan favorite for a good long time. Well-known for its sense of humor, a well-developed setting, and a variety of other touches, Fallout has a history. So… does Fallout New Vegas live up to the name?

I accept that I have to be shot, but can't someone else do it? I don't want my last memories on this earth to be of a douche in a checkered suit...

I accept that I have to be shot, but can’t someone else do it? I don’t want my last memories on this earth to be of a douche in a checkered suit…

New Vegas begins with your character getting shot in the head. So, game over, yeah? Not so much. A short time later, you’re pulled from a shallow grave by a cowboy robot and patched up by a classic western-movie “Doc”- our protagonist is a courier in the classic old-west tradition, you know, like the Pony Express. The radio stations play both kinds of music: Country AND Western.

Using a lever-action rifle, you soon learn how to defend yourself against coyotes and geckos (violent, four-foot tall geckos that want to eat you rather than sell you car insurance). Defend the town against an attack by dynamite throwing outlaws (or side with the outlaws, whichever), and then you’re on your way to the New Vegas Strip on a straightforward vengeance quest. Or, you would be if this game wasn’t a Fallout game. Since it is, there’s so much to do that it’s easy to get distracted from revenge.

Journeying through the Mojave Wasteland will feel familiar to Fallout 3 players for a good reason: it’s the same experience in a western setting. You create a character, level up skills, and go on quests. In fact, if it wasn’t brilliantly written and massive (I’ve put in 70+ hours in a recent playthrough without ever completing the main storyline), you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for a Fallout 3 expansion pack. Nothing wrong with that – Fallout 3 was amazing, and this one’s even better.

It’s not like the gameplay is perfect. There are places where, for reasons that make no sense to me, my poor

Gah! Gimme 15 minutes! I'll save 15% or more on car insurance! Just calm the frak down!

Gah! Gimme 15 minutes! I’ll save 15% or more on car insurance! Just calm the frak down!

computer chugs down to 10 frames per second. Other times, it hums along at my imposed cap of 30 frames per second with no issues. These problems seem to be inherent in the engine the game runs on. They exist in the PS3 version as well, although perhaps not to the same extreme, and also appear in Oblivion, the first game made by Bethesda using this engine. Lots of flying debris and particle effects can also cause major slowdown, and without using special tweaks or mods, it tends to overrun the memory buffer and crash.

Oh, don't be such a baby. I only shot you a little. Drama queen...

Oh, don’t be such a baby. I only shot you a little. Drama queen…

Despite these problems, the action mostly runs smoothly. Visually the game is a bit dated, but still immersive and engaging. There are loads of fantastic and well-developed characters covering the gamut between megalomaniac rules to dedicated soldiers to normal folks just trying to eek out a living in the Mojave. There’s so much space to explore it boggles the mind, and everywhere you turn, more details pop out to bring you deeper into the mythology of the Fallout universe.

And then there’s the awesome DLC, especially Old World Blues (OWB). Okay, game developers everywhere: this is what DLC should be. This, right here. With a shift from the western feel of the Mojave Wasteland, OWB takes us to Big Mountain: a hollowed out mountain filled with what looks like every trope of ’50s science fiction B movies. This puts it directly up my alley as everything from Forbidden Planet to The Brain that Would Not Die are personal childhood favorites of mine. While many games seem to draw inspiration from these classic sources, none of them give the care and respect that OWB does, and I love it. It is wonderful, unexpected, vast, challenging, and hilarious. OWB gets a 9.5 out of 10 from me, and I kinda wish the whole New Vegas game had been OWB, with a Wild West expansion – but we can’t have everything, can we?

If you don’t want to get OWB and fight this scorpion-robot… thing, then there’s obviously something wrong with you, and you should not be allowed to be around small children.

The DLC, by the way, is the main reason to grab the Ultimate Edition, whether you’re buying it for the PC or a Console. In addition to the Old World Blues content that I pretty much worship, there are three other massive pieces of DLC, and the Ultimate Edition comes with pre-order packs that you can’t get anywhere else (at least, not anymore). I haven’t managed to complete all of the DLC (despite some 200 hours logged into the game), but I’ve played through at least some of each, and they’re all pretty fantastic. None of them are Old World Blues good, but then, very little is.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But I'm not there yet, so, what about what happens to the right of Vegas?

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but I’m not there yet… so, what about what happens just to the right of Vegas?

Returning in this Fallout is the ability to disguise oneself as a member of a Faction by wearing their armor/clothing, which adds a layer of strategy and immersion to the game. Fans of the older Fallout games will also enjoy the return of classic Factions like the goody-goody Followers of the Apocalypse (from the original Fallout), the New California Republic (mentioned in the first Fallout and appearing in Fallout 2), and Caesar’s Legion (who made their first appearance in Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2).

If you feel a little beaten over the head with the Wild-Westness of the main game, then you’re getting the message. New Vegas is a classic Western set in Post-Apocalyptia, with lots of two headed cows, scorpions, and people in big hats (there’s a strange absence of horses, though). If that’s your thing, you will love Fallout New Vegas: Ultimate Edition. It’s also a lot more stable than Fallout 3, and there’s more to do (which is really saying something). In short, it’s everything Fallout 3 was, with better DLC and bigger hats.

And a little bit more awesome-sauce on top.

Why are you so mad at me? I was just, you know, defending myself!

Why are you so mad at me? I was just, you know, defending myself!


Written by Nerd Bacon

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  1. Actually, I think New Vegas is better than Fallout 3 in almost every way. The only place Fallout 3 wins is in the very, very important area of narrative storytelling. Otherwise, everything about New Vegas is better – pacing, optimization, stability, crafting mechanics, weapon selection, DLC – everything. I agree with Action Zero – if New Vegas had come first, it would be the one people praise the most. Unfortunately for it, Fallout 3 brought us back to the Wastelands, so that’s the one people remember. Of course, I absolutely love them both equally. Because… you know… Nuka-Cola!

    • Nike Halifax says:

      New Vegas is definitely superior to 3. The only thing I disagree on is pacing. Well, sorta. I think Vegas does a better job with in in the long run, but it has a much slower start than Fallout 3.
      Also, Old World Blues is like the best DLC anything ever.

      • Nike Halifax says:

        *it in

        Also, nice Blues Brothers reference.

      • As awesome as Old World Blues is (and it is VERY awesome), I guess the first impression made by Dead Money is the one that really stuck with me. It was the first of the DLCs I blundered into and I had never seen Treasure of the Sierra Madre before, so it was more powerful for that.

        Old World Blues is still the best for humor’s sake, though.

  2. You have to admit that Fallout 3 got the critical acclaim it did because it was a new Fallout game done in a new style. If New Vegas came first and the Fallout 3 storyline came second, I’m sure that people would prefer New Vegas overall. It’s just a matter of how innovative it was.

  3. You are one of the few people I know who thinks New Vegas stands up to Fallout 3. Congratulations.


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