Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas is a 2010 post-apocalyptic action role-playing video game developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Bethesda Softworks. It was announced in April 2009 and released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on October 19, 2010. A spin-off of the Fallout series, the game is set in a post-apocalyptic open world environment that encompasses a region consisting of Arizona, California, and Nevada. It is set in a world that deviated onto an alternate timeline thanks to Atomic Age technology, which eventually led to a global nuclear apocalypse in the year 2077 in an event referred to as “The Great War”, caused by a major conflict between the U.S. and China over natural resources. The main story of New Vegas takes place in the year 2281, four years after the events of Fallout 3 and 204 years after the bombs fell. It is not a direct sequel, but does mark the return of several elements found in Fallout 2.

Players take control of a character known as the Courier. While transporting a package across the Mojave Desert to the city of New Vegas, what used to be Las Vegas, the Courier is ambushed, robbed of the package, shot, and left for dead. After surviving, the Courier begins a journey to find their would-be killer and recover the package, makes friends and enemies among various warring factions, and ultimately becomes caught up in a conflict that will determine who controls New Vegas and the Mojave Wasteland. New Vegas received positive reviews, with critics praising the game’s writing, quests, and improved gameplay, though it was criticized for its glitches and bugs on launch. It was a commercial success, shipping more than 5 million copies, and is estimated to have sold around 12 million copies worldwide. The game received a Golden Joystick Award for “RPG of the Year” in 2011 and was nominated for two BAFTA Awards (Best Strategy Game and Best Story), as well as a NAVGTR Award for Supporting Performance in a Drama (Felicia Day). It has since obtained a cult following, with some critics and audiences referring to the game as among the best in the Fallout series.

While gameplay from Fallout 3 was retained for Fallout: New Vegas, Obsidian Entertainment worked upon providing the game with improvements upon existing elements while introducing some old and new features to the series. Some improvements and new features are included. Combat is improved upon, with the V.A.T.S. system being updated with several new V.A.T.S.-specific attacks, and a number of kill animations being made for several of the game’s melee weapons. The response and accuracy given from weapons was also improved. Players can use the iron sights on firearms, with the exception of certain larger guns and some energy weapons. The third-person perspective in the game was redesigned to be more “over the shoulder” than it had been in Fallout 3. The Character Creation section of the game was refined to take less time than Fallout 3, with players able to skip the tutorials and proceed across the Wasteland once their character is set up. The option to make any last minute changes to their character occurs when the player steps beyond the boundaries of the starting location of Goodsprings. More Perks were added to the game to provide greater options for improving the player’s characters upon leveling up. The Perk system itself changed, allowing a Perk at every other level instead of every level like in earlier games. This prevents the player from having an overly powerful character early in the game. More weapons were added to the game, including the 9 mm Pistol, the Single Shotgun, Powder Charges, Dynamite, Trail Carbine, and Grenade Launcher. Each weapon is intended to serve a specific and tactical role within the game. The “Big Guns” and “Small Guns” skills are consolidated into one skill, “Guns”. A skill, Survival, is introduced. This skill impacts how much health is restored by food and drink. Skills have a larger effect on conversation choices; whether a dialogue option will succeed or fail is shown up front, and entirely dependent on Skill level, rather than both skill and chance as was the case in Fallout 3. Players can receive a temporary boost to a skill by reading a skill magazine corresponding to it, which can be found around the Mojave Wasteland or purchased from vendors, the effects of which can be further enhanced by certain Perks. Players can gamble. They can do this by visiting casinos, buying chips with the three major currencies in the games, and playing either blackjack, slots, or roulette within them. Players can also play a card game called Caravan, which was specifically designed for the game and has its own rules, and can be played with certain people outside of the casinos.

Crafting and modding
Although players could craft items in Fallout 3, these items were limited to a few unique weapons. With New Vegas, crafting was expanded to allow the creation of food, drink, drugs, and ammunition along with unique weapons. Crafting can be done at workbenches, reloading benches, hot plates and campfires, and requires specific components as well as a sufficient skill level; for instance, cooking food at campfires requires the player to have a sufficient Survival skill level to do so. Some special items cannot be made until their recipes/schematics are found. Players can harvest plants to use in recipes. In addition to crafting, players can modify weapons with special firearm modifications. Such modifications can improve the rate of fire or the size of the magazine, or add a mounted telescopic sight to allow for greater range. Modifications for firearms often require either scavenging for them in the Mojave or purchasing them from vendors.

Reputation
Because of the large number of factions created for the game, developers reintroduced the reputation system that was first used in Fallout 2 and had been absent in Fallout 3. Much like Karma, a player’s standing with a faction or settlement can change depending on how they interact with them and what decisions they make. If, for example, players help a faction or settlement, their reputation with them improves in all locations controlled by that faction or settlement; opting to kill their members or citizens will cause a gain of infamy with that faction or settlement. Unlike the Karma system, any reputation fame or infamy gained is permanent and irreversible and if a player has a “Wild Child” reputation with a faction it is unchangeable. The only exception is when the NCR and Legion grant one-time exemptions for past wrongdoings, which resets infamy to 0. The type of reputation the player has with each faction or settlement affects how non-player characters (NPCs) behave towards them; a good reputation might make completing some quests easier, provide discounts with the faction or settlement’s vendors, and cause faction members to offer gifts; a bad reputation may lead to the faction refusing to help the player, attacking them on sight, or sending assassins to gun them down.

Companions
Companions in New Vegas received far more depth than the companions from Fallout 3, through the use of the Companion Wheel. Through the Wheel, players can switch a companion’s tactics in combat, including their behavior and how they attack, as well as dismiss them, treat them for injuries, access their inventory and talk with them. Players are capable of having two companions with them at any one time – one humanoid and one non-humanoid. Companions can confer a unique Perk or advantage and have the opportunity to be improved by completing a special quest related to them. They can be sent directly to the Lucky 38 Presidential Suite upon being dismissed rather than returning to their original location. Each companion was intended to represent a different style of combat. There are a total of eight permanent companions.

Hardcore mode
An optional difficulty setting included in New Vegas is the Hardcore mode, which delivers more realism and intensity to the playing environment. While the standard adjustable difficulty level settings only affect combat difficulty, Hardcore mode adds statistics and encourages the player to consider resource management and combat tactics. Game director Josh Sawyer stated that the mode was inspired by several different Fallout 3 mods. In this mode, the following occurs: All healing items, including food and water, do not heal the player instantly but work over a short period of time. RadAway takes time to gradually decrease radiation poisoning, rather than instantly. Stimpaks can no longer heal crippled limbs. Players must either use Doctor’s Bags, sleep in an owned or rented bed, use the chem Hydra, or visit a doctor to heal limbs. Ammunition has weight, reducing the amount that can be carried. Players must eat, drink, and sleep in order to avoid starvation, dehydration, and exhaustion, respectively; failure to do so confers a steady decrease in certain skills and eventually leads to death if untreated. Companions can be killed upon being reduced to zero hit points, rather than losing consciousness. Completing the game on this mode (from start to finish as the mode can be turned on at any point during the game) results in either an achievement (Xbox 360/Steam) or trophy (PlayStation 3) being awarded.

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