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Fallout: New Vegas


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I've just finished playing my second character (female, pro-Caesar). My thoughts:

 

What I see here, despite Avellone not being the main writer and the senior designer instead, is a port of TSL minus its directly Star Wars-related aspects over to Bethesda's engine and given the world of Fallout. Does it work? Minus the bugs associated with the engine that vary from computer to computer...perfectly.

 

I've honestly never found an RPG before Fallout New Vegas that combines interactivity and effective story so well. To a degree, this world is truly dynamic: your actions have significant consequences that play out, resulting in choices being both created and destroyed. It does not need flashy graphics because the content itself immerses the player.

 

The game mechanics have noticeably improved. Gun damage is more appropriate: a .50 cal shot to the head equals death, with the plot-induced exception of Darth Nihilus...I mean Legate Lanius. :D Melee is reasonably powerful, but not excessively. Unarmed also has practical uses. The skills and perks work very well and do not result in god-characters (your character will still be godly due to the fact that he/she/it is a main character but not absolutely so). Whoever thought of the challenges system deserves an award, since it helps reduce the need to grind quests.

 

The companion system is noticeably better but still needs work. Veronica has serious pathing issues. A larger variety of radio music would be nice, but I'm betting there are plenty of mods out already that handle that. VATS is still VATS and in my opinion overhyped for what it is.

 

Anyway, I rate this game a 9/10, overlooking the various bugs because I wasn't surprised they'd be there. In fact, I'm rather irritated by some professional reviews that rated New Vegas so poorly purely because of said bugs, many of which were already present in Fallout 3 and were reduced in this game. I believe that amongst today's RPGs, most of which emphasize cutscenes and graphics over content, this actually delivers a truly solid gaming experience.

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I'm rather irritated by some professional reviews that rated New Vegas so poorly purely because of said bugs, many of which were already present in Fallout 3
That makes no sense. Companies already get far too much of a free ride as it is with the whole "just get it out the door and we'll patch it later" mentality and you think that they warrant even less criticism for letting the same bugs continue on for three games on the same engine?
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That makes no sense. Companies already get far too much of a free ride as it is with the whole "just get it out the door and we'll patch it later" mentality and you think that they warrant even less criticism for letting the same bugs continue on for three games on the same engine?

When they actually innovate as opposed to producing more flashy cutscenes? Yeah, I'd say patch it ASAP but at least produce worthwhile games with actual game mechanics that are well-thought out.

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When they actually innovate as opposed to producing more flashy cutscenes? Yeah, I'd say patch it ASAP but at least produce worthwhile games with actual game mechanics that are well-thought out.

 

I don't consider New Vegas to have innovated much...

 

Game mechanics mean nothing when the game isn't playable.

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When they actually innovate as opposed to producing more flashy cutscenes? Yeah, I'd say patch it ASAP but at least produce worthwhile games with actual game mechanics that are well-thought out.
I'm sure all the people that couldn't even play it because it continuously crashed to desktop or locked up their 360/PS3 agree with you. There was no real innovation, certainly not enough to overlook all the bugs. I really don't understand how people can not see this sort of stuff as an issue. That's like buying a car that doesn't run, but you're happy because it has slightly different trim than the last model. Not that you can drive it, but hey at least it looks nice sitting in your driveway right?
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I don't consider New Vegas to have innovated much...

 

Game mechanics mean nothing when the game isn't playable.

I'm sure all the people that couldn't even play it because it continuously crashed to desktop or locked up their 360/PS3 agree with you. There was no real innovation, certainly not enough to overlook all the bugs. I really don't understand how people can not see this sort of stuff as an issue. That's like buying a car that doesn't run, but you're happy because it has slightly different trim than the last model. Not that you can drive it, but hey at least it looks nice sitting in your driveway right?

Funny, I've played New Vegas with almost minimal crashes. No more than I've had with KOTOR or TSL (which did crash occasionally). In fact, New Vegas crashed far less for me than Fallout 3.

 

Simply put, I'm not sure this is a result of engine bugs so much as graphics driver compatibility. Hell, DP, you pointed out a .dll file from newvegasnexus.com that fixed that issue for a lot of people. I've also improved my stability by having Windows 7 turn off Aero during gameplay, it boosted my FPS by 10. Hell, the worse bug I ever had was a model error that trapped Legate Lanius inside a rock that I couldn't kill him from.

 

And also, the thing about this car is that unlike most, I can fix it. I know that it has problems, but I also know what the problems are and what causes them so I can find the appropriate replacement parts and service it. Best of all, when I do this, it runs better than the overly expensive lookalike that handles like crap but has a nice paint job.

 

For this sort of innovation, I look to companies like Bethesda and Obsidian because I know they are actually aiming for an improved player experience instead of mimicking it. If I want a solid experience, I'll go to Valve. Source is great from really stable, short but fun games.

 

So yes, the bugs are worth it. Overpriced games based on idiotic writing and overdone graphics aren't. Yes I do emphasize overt graphics a lot, but in all honesty I see that as the true problem with gaming today: a substitution of quality for the appearance of quality.

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Developers have been using the old "there are too many PC permutations to test" line for years. Fair enough, there is some truth to that and it is likely that certain hardware and software combos in the wild will turn up bugs that couldn't have been easily tested for. However, when you get a plethora of crash/freezing issues on consoles with fixed hardware and software, that excuse wears a little thin. And when some of those issues have existed in two previous games, well then surely some questions should start to be raised? If not then, when exactly would you speak up?

 

You may well have had a fairly smooth experience. That's great for you - many others didn't. I personally managed to finish the game on PC, but not without numerous crashes, performance issues, and miscellaneous gameplay bugs left right and centre. The fact that every single review at the very least mentions bugs should communicate to you that this is not an minor issue. And it's not just something limited to Bethesda or Obsidian (although they are obviously masters at it), it's something that pervades the entire industry. I find it mind boggling that game developers/publishers seem to be able to walk water on this stuff when I, as a business owner, would be crucified if I put out my products with as many technical issues. The fact that they are peddling entertainment software as opposed to some "physical" product (like a car, etc.) doesn't mean they should be held to some lesser standard.

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Developers have been using the old "there are too many PC permutations to test" line for years. Fair enough, there is some truth to that and it is likely that certain hardware and software combos in the wild will turn up bugs that couldn't have been easily tested for. However, when you get a plethora of crash/freezing issues on consoles with fixed hardware and software, that excuse wears a little thin. And when some of those issues have existed in two previous games, well then surely some questions should start to be raised? If not then, when exactly would you speak up?

 

You may well have had a fairly smooth experience. That's great for you - many others didn't. I personally managed to finish the game on PC, but not without numerous crashes, performance issues, and miscellaneous gameplay bugs left right and centre. The fact that every single review at the very least mentions bugs should communicate to you that this is not an minor issue. And it's not just something limited to Bethesda or Obsidian (although they are obviously masters at it), it's something that pervades the entire industry. I find it mind boggling that game developers/publishers seem to be able to walk water on this stuff when I, as a business owner, would be crucified if I put out my products with as many technical issues. The fact that they are peddling entertainment software as opposed to some "physical" product (like a car, etc.) doesn't mean they should be held to some lesser standard.

The bugs are a result of the fact that they are holding themselves to a higher standard. This engine, as modified by Bethesda, has serious potential. With the right programming, the extent of this engine's interactivity has very few limits. Both New Vegas and the Oblivion modding community have proven as much.

 

Also, unlike Fallout 3 this game was patched in a very timely, convenient way on PC. As for XBox, you said it yourself: that sort of console has very little RAM that is being shared across the board. No wonder a game of both this complexity and actually very high quality graphics would have this sort of problem...especially since these were problems common with F3 (yet were reduced in FNV).

 

And how's this for irony: A mod on fallout3nexus.com that reduces the stutter problem cites that the cause of the stutter is the result of the engine's attempt to set up some area renders before they are actually needed. In other words, this engine in one sense is TOO good. No wonder it runs smoother on higher end computers.

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The bugs are a result of the fact that they are holding themselves to a higher standard.
Again, that makes no sense. If they were holding themselves to a higher standard, surely they'd release a game with few bugs, not gazillions of them. Leaving aside carryover bugs from Oblivion and FO3 (which there really are no excuses for), they should have at least made sure all their new content worked - especially things like quests and such, a number of which are still broken last I heard. I get that you like the game, but your justifications ring pretty hollow to me.
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A mod on fallout3nexus.com that reduces the stutter problem cites that the cause of the stutter is the result of the engine's attempt to set up some area renders before they are actually needed. In other words, this engine in one sense is TOO good.

 

That's neither ironic, nor does it make the engine too good. It just means that the designers did not notice this flaw in the engine and did not act in it, resulting in sub-optimal frame rates for end-users.

 

If the engine had, by its own diagnostics, noticed that it was loading area renders before they are needed, and adjusted those accordingly, that would be an engine that is too good.

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  • 3 weeks later...

ok, so i've played NV through a couple of times now (PC version), and i have a couple of thoughts:

 

1.) NV is much better than F3 ever was. in its own regard, F3 was fun and very enjoyable, but it was limited by mediocre voice-acting, bland story telling, bland combat, and boringly simple characters. NV improves on all of those aspects with perhaps the combat being the only weak point since there aren't as many changes there.

 

2.) as far as bugs are concerned, i personally have run into very few bugs aside a couple of hard crashes. i know my situation is different from most people, but i probably wouldn't have noticed any tangible difference between the stock version and the patched version of the game aside from stability.

 

3.) i'm loving how adaptable the story is from game to game. there seems to be 4 major lines to follow in regards to the story, but you can really play the factions off against each other pretty well. that gives the story a greater deal of flexibility than most games i've seen, and that just adds to the gameplay value in my book.

 

anyways, agree with me or not, i'm loving this game. does it have bugs?? yes, but for me, its been at a fairly acceptable level. my rating: 9/10

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I've BSODed twice now.

 

On a positive note, I'm really enjoying the game when it's actually working. It seems to be a bit more smooth than Fallout 3 as far as running around the Wasteland goes. At least for me, there is a lot less stuttering.

 

Anyway, I hope to eventually get through it. Damn Gamebryo.

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curiously, the game has decided to crash every time i approach the main South Freeside Gate from the left half of the door. i did figure out that it has something to do with the boy crier for Mick & Ralph's who stands nearby. it works fine when he's actually standing at the corner. it crashes whenever he's fleeing due to the presence of a hostile entity (either myself or a random thug). it also works fine if you approach the gate from the right while running along the wall. ;)

 

at any rate, there is supposed to be a "mega-patch" coming out within the next week for the PC version (no word on console versions). Bethesda has confirmed that the patch has already been tested and approved by their QA team and is likely waiting for distribution through Steam. reportedly, the patch is meant to fix the vast majority of bugs within the game affecting stability, graphics, and general gameplay bugs.

 

Edit: the patch is now out and on Steam. for a patch that only contains bug fixes, it weighs in at a staggering 252 MB. if you're still a 56k user, consider yourself warned.

Edited by stingerhs
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  • 2 weeks later...

I finally finished the game after some 72 hours of game play and I still missed out on a lot of quests either because of my choices or because I lost all patience towards the 65 hour mark. As much as I bad mouth Obsidian of Alpha Protocol I need to praise them equally for Fallout New Vegas. Fallout New Vegas was everything I love about Bethesda games without everything I hate about Bethesda games. Obsidian actually gave NPCs some type of personality and included an actual story while still keeping the scale of the Bethesda game. Actually it appeared to me that Obsidian expanded on the scale and the quests.

 

It is by far my second favorite game of 2010. Glad to see Obsidian rebound after the disappointment of AP.

 

I’m also really happy with the recent patch as it really improved the performance of the game.

Edited by mimartin
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The only broken quest I had during this playthrough was the quest Beyond the Beef (same quest that was broken for me before the patch. It is the quest that made me give up playing Fallout New Vegas for Fable 3 on my first playthrough). The game would crash every time I attempted to meet with Chaucey in the steam room. The patched did not fix this. Thought it may be a problem with the location, much like stingerhs’ South Freeside Gate, but it was only a problem when meeting the snitch. I just did the quest in a more direct matter which included shooting up the place.

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The only broken quest I had during this playthrough was the quest Beyond the Beef (same quest that was broken for me before the patch. It is the quest that made me give up playing Fallout New Vegas for Fable 3 on my first playthrough). The game would crash every time I attempted to meet with Chaucey in the steam room. The patched did not fix this. Thought it may be a problem with the location, much like stingerhs’ South Freeside Gate, but it was only a problem when meeting the snitch. I just did the quest in a more direct matter which included shooting up the place.
Odd, that quest worked just fine for me, those

cannibals

are creepy as hell.

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never had a problem with that quest, either. i wonder if the issue isn't sound related (which was my case). another workaround for that particular problem for me was to turn off the sound before starting the game. once the game was started and i got past that particular point, i saved my game, exited the game, and re-enabled the sound.

 

it was a very lengthy process for sure (especially since it was just an area transition for me), but it might help you get past that particular section. ;)

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  • 4 months later...
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