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News for Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 14:41

Ausir at the Vault has penned up an article where he details most of the speculation that's been circulating on the various Fallout fansites (including this and the Vault itself) for a bit. The arguments are pretty solid, so if you're interested in what the new DLCs may be give it a read.

Dead Money was first hinted via in-game graffiti. The textures for these graffiti are in a folder in the game files called "nvdlcgraffiti", and all the textures share the filename "nvgraffitisierra". Interestingly, this folder contains a number of other textures, sharing the filename "nvgraffitihonesthearts". These read:

"Where's New Canaan, anyway?"
"The Burned Man Walks!"
"Joshua Graham Lives!"

This implies that one of the future add-ons will be titled Honest Hearts and will feature Joshua Graham, Caesar's former right hand, who is also known as the Burned Man, as he was set on fire and thrown into the Grand Canyon for his defeat during the First Battle of Hoover Dam

News for Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 14:29

Dead Money reviews, we have 'em.

About.com provides a mini-review without a score.

The setup is actually quite fresh and new compared to the main Fallout 3 or New Vegas or DLC missions so far. Having to work with other people, moral choices that actually matter, and the limitations imposed by the red mist and radio collars, is interesting. At least at first. In execution, however, Dead Money is easily the most frustrating and difficult missions yet.

The game suggests you enter the Sierra Madre at level 20 or above. I'd say you probably don't have to be that beefed up to actually beat it, though, because it isn't the enemies or anything that is likely to kill you. What will kill you is the stupid radio collar, or a kitchen full of explosive gas with no explanation on how to get through it, or strict time limits where you have to run for an exit as fast as possible to avoid having your radio collar go off. The mission is frustrating and annoying and kind of not fun. I rarely if ever die in normal Fallout 3 / NV gameplay. But I died a ton here. Be sure to save often, because there were a few times I died and lost a surprising amount of progress. Save often.
Front Towards Gamers, 7/10.
Elijah sends you on your way explaining that to get in you need to find the three other collared “people” to help in the caper, which brings us to the bit of the game I find to be most rewarding, new characters. Your team pretty much breaks down like so: a super mutant with multiple personalities (sound familiar?), a mute techie that is surprisingly easy to communicate with, and a ghoul crooner that has been at the Madre since the bombs fell. Each of them also have an ability that helps you deal with the new problems that are tossed at you in Dead Money and each of them are pretty interesting as companions as well.

The most beneficial aspect of them is the new perks each of your caper companions give you when they accompany you however. There are numerous obstacles you run into travelling in this new area, all of which seem to simply be placed in the game to ramp up the difficulty or make you take strange routes to your targets. First and most noticeable is the giant red cloud, which is (of course) highly toxic, corrosive and all around annoying. When you’re wandering around, this cloud is a frequent nuisance, blocking routes and forcing you into buildings. Then, there are also radios, which like I said before can make your head go boom. When you come across a signal that can interfere with the collar, a beeping starts…which means you best blow up the radio if able or get the heck out of range. Lastly, and most annoying, are the Ghost people who are evil bastards that can only be killed by decapitation, vaporization, or your super mutant companion. So whenever one is knocked out, you find yourself having to go over to the corpse and hitting it a few more times. All of these obstacles seem to just be tossed in so you have to either go around, or in the case of “ghosts”, making the fight artificially harder. While on its own, all this would be fine, however, the lack of stimpacks makes it very annoying especially since the Ghost people also like to toss grenades at you all the time.
NeoSeeker, 8.7/10.
The new characters are certainly colorful – a schizo behemoth, a traumatized mute, and some douche in a suit – all topped with the Fallout brand of humor we love so much. Players with an eye for detail and the patience to hear their companions’ life stories will be rewarded with some interesting character tie-ins between the DLC and core game; none of it crosses over once you leave the Sierra Madre, yet these juicy tidbits and revelations the writers snuck in are enough to make fans giddy. The overarching story of the luxury hotel and its fabled treasure trove is expectedly tragic yet surprisingly beautiful. Players who make it through to the end are rewarded with a satisfying conclusion to a romantic drama centuries in the making, not to mention a Super mutant’s weight in gold.

Unfortunately, Dead Money just wouldn’t be a true Fallout experience without some kind of annoying bug. V.A.T.S. now has a new bug (at least I’ve never seen it until now), one that reminds us why saving compulsively every few minutes is a damn good habit. After entering the slo-mo sequence, my Courier would sometimes freeze going into third-person instead of attacking, but surrounding enemies remain unaffected, meaning I get a front row seat to my own horrible death.

Fallout diehards no doubt snagged the add-on the very hour it came out on Xbox LIVE, but for everyone else, rest assured Dead Money is a more than worthy investment of 800 MP. The difficulty is significantly higher than what most are used to, and the style certainly sets the DLC apart from the rest of New Vegas. Even so, the change is more refreshing than bothersome, and the killer narrative is hard to beat.
Examiner.com, doesn't rate it.
Gameplay wise, tense is barely accurate for describing the experience. The primary enemy in Sierra Madre is the Ghost People, who are very powerful, but easy to render unconscious. However, without a swift removal of a limb or their head, they stand back up, ready to fight again. It is never entirely explained why this happens, only that it does. Coupled the Cloud, a mix of copper and other chemicals that slowly depletes the Courier's health when in the cloud, traps left by the Ghost People, the collars being sensitive to speakers and radios (thus causing head-separating explosions after a time) and a scarcity of supplies, the prowl around Sierra Madre becomes a Colony-esque fight for survival. In addition, the Sierra Madre boots all of the Courier's hard-earned weapons, armor and other tools, leaving him naked in this hostile new territory. To make up for the innate hell that Sierra Madre is, Dead Money provides a handful of new perks, ranging from the ability to manufacture Sierra Madre currency to a new light armour perk that makes light armour somewhat advantageous, and bumps the level cap up to thirty-five.
Ars Technica, "rent" (not sure how you're going to rent a DLC, though).
Most of the game is spent walking to an area, fighting some enemies, flipping a switch of some sort, and then walking back. You'll have to escort your teammates to various locations, but since you can only work with one at a time, you end up escorting them individually. This leads to quite a bit of dull backtracking, especially since you can't fast travel at all. You'll also need to utilize stealth quite a bit—especially when navigating past the new indestructible holographic guards—and that has never been the series' strong suit.

[...]

The way Dead Money is set up, it feels more like you're simply moving from one area to the next, instead of really exploring. And exploration is one of Fallout's biggest draws. But the explosive collar, difficult enemies, and treacherous new terrain run counter to this. There's little incentive to go poking around when you might run into a radio that'll blow your head off in a few seconds. The story is certainly substantial, and the new characters are worth getting to know. But you'll have to push through the actual game to experience it.

News for Sunday, December 26, 2010

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 13:13

Here's another batch, this time more positive than the last.

OnPause gives the DLC a 9, which honestly reads weird considering that the writer spends most of the time complaining about the difficulty and bugs.

If I could bestow some wisdom and parting thoughts, I would say this, be prepared to scream, save often, and have your melee weapons skill up to a decent level. Dead Money strips you of your gear. Most Ghosts have Bear Trap Gloves or Knife Spears. You may find some guns and ammunition in crates, but nothing beats the infinite ammunition of a melee weapon. Also, the story behind Dead Money is one worth taking your time and investigating. It fills in story holes that you didn't know or didn't remember.
SFX 360, 3.5/5.
Overall , the storyline in Dead Money is well done and features a few plot twists to keep things rather interesting through the entire quest. However, after completing Dead Money, there’s not much replay value so you might consider this a one and done once you complete the campaign and the achievements. For those of you who can’t get enough Fallout like myself, then Dead Money is a must download. For everyone else, you might want to wait on that “Deal of the Week” sale down the road.
We Got This Covered, 6/10.
All in all though, Dead Money was not very fun. The story was good, especially at the end when it all comes together, but the sneaking around, the insane amount of dangerous traps, the lack of supplies, confusing town layout and unclear directions made it a very difficult game. I’m all for changing the gameplay but I don’t think it was executed well here as it was more frustrating than it was refreshing. It wasn’t really for me and didn’t fit my character’s playstyle. I can’t even imagine how people are playing this with Hardcore mode on.

On the other hand, you get quite a bit of value here. My in-game counter clocked me in at just about six hours for Dead Money and that’s not including deaths and retries…and there were many of those, believe me. When you take those into account, the real number is probably sitting somewhere between 8-10 hours depending on the player. At 800MSP, that amount of game time is a bargain compared to some content other companies are charging. I only wish I took that level 20+ warning a little more seriously at the beginning as having higher skills in the non-combat areas would have helped me tremendously and made this piece of DLC a little less frustrating.
Crazy Gamers, 8/10.
First of all, as I mentioned in my introduction, Obsidian continues to show us how they are impressively staffed with a fine crew of clever, talented writers. From a plot-point perspective the story is commendably engrossing, tragic, mystical, unpredictable, sad, hilarious, and overall genuinely well crafted. I still stand by my past comments relating to New Vegas and its unacceptable lack of polish, yet I still consider it a top-tier experience due to the quality of the writing. Moreover, the characters are well presented and some of the best characters from the Fallout universe in some time. The voice acting is sensational, and unlike the main game all of the actors sound different from each other. This DLC thankfully avoids the recycled voice tactics used to distribute the same voice across a variety of NPC’s in New Vegas and in Fallout 3, for that matter. Not only do they all nail a keen sense of pathos with solid delivery and tone, they’re also legitimately interesting and entertaining characters. Your 3 companions for the main goal of infiltrating the Casino come in the form of the schizophrenic Super Mutant with multiple personality disorder, Dog/God, the former theater performer turned post-War ghoul, Dean Domino, and the oddly mute and facially scarred enigma known as Christine. These 3 characters all accompany you and assist in the objectives imposed by Father Elijah (who is also especially effective and convincingly portrayed as a villain), and all have their own collars to worry about in addition to yours. They all bring their own unique perks to the table, so at any one time whoever you’re currently using will give you their associated advantage. These are all pretty useful and novel, and I won’t say much more to avoid spoiling the discovery and wonder felt from interacting with them.

News for Saturday, December 25, 2010

Posted by Brother None - at 2:15

A good Christmas deal is waiting for you over on Steam, where Fallout: New Vegas is 40% off, or 50% off if you already own Fallout 3. 17 hours left as of this writing.

Merry Christmas, guys.

News for Friday, December 24, 2010

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 10:21

Reviews of the first Fallout: New Vegas downloadable content continue to pop up and the general consensus seems to be towards "disappointing and buggy".

NowGamer, 6.0/10.

We just don’t understand the point of releasing this kind of DLC for this kind of game – other than milking more revenue out of fans and putting people off the idea of trading their copy in once the main game is done. Fallout: New Vegas is a game set in a huge, detailed world with dozens of cleverly interwoven quests and a real sense of freedom and meaningful choices throughout. Dead Money is none of that.

Instead, Dead Money is a standalone, linear series of quests set across a few bland, samey maze-like environments, with very little in the way of freedom, choice or fun. It’s a new piece of New Vegas with none of New Vegas’s strengths included. But New Vegas’s bugs, glitches and crashes? Oh yeah, it’s got those.
Dealspwn, 7/10.
The main problem with Dead Money is the level design. The stages are decepitively large and promote fastidious exploration, but they’re also labyrinthine and skinned with uniquely boring repeated textures. Criticising a Fallout title for being visually dull seems like flogging a dead brahmin, but most of Dead Money ends up being a bit of a chore that could have done with a splash of colour and considerate map design.

The risk vs reward ratio is also completely ridiculous. It’s challenging enough and the story is excellent, but you won’t have anything to show for it afterwards besides some weak weaponry and a character level or two under your belt. The level cap increase is the only major payoff, but it feels utterly disconnected and disjointed from the rest of the experience. This unfortunately makes the price tag feel fairly steep despite the hefty amount of content.
GamingBolt, 6.0/10.
The DLC provides a large are with lots to do and many places to explore. Things worthless from the main game can be worth something of much higher value here. Doing everything in the Dead Money DLC pack would take quite some time making this a worthy buy but things change when you quickly learn how annoying the actual tasks get. You collar for instance can be set off by almost anything from radio signals to the casinos own speaker system! Leaving you dead and loading again. If that is not enough there is the environmental hazard of the toxic red mist, which will lower your health rapidly if you get near it. This, along with many of the quests just being so damn annoying make this less like the classic Fallout that we are used to and more like a damn nu-sense. I think I died more in this DLC than in the whole game.
Metro.co.uk Tech, 6/10.
In terms of set-up then the download is excellent, with a story that takes at least four hours to tell and which can easily last you twice that long if you take up some of the (usually quite dull) side quests. On top of that the tense atmosphere, the effectiveness of the enemies and traps, and the paucity of ammo and health gives it a near survival horror feel.

In theory anyway, in practise after the intriguing introduction and initially fun stealth-focused combat the game ratchets up the difficulty level and throws so many obstacles and enemies at you at once it just becomes all too frustrating and repetitive.

Having your collar blow up prematurely if you get too near a radio or speaker (because the bomb technology is old and broken) is an interesting idea the first few times, but having to avoid indestructible speakers, stay out of the poisonous mist and fight off enemies with bear traps for hands just becomes too much.

News for Thursday, December 23, 2010

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 14:10

And another review for Dead Money quickly emerged, this time courtesy of Xbox360Achievements. The score is a solid 8. Obligatory snippet:

Each companion character grants unique perks - just like in the main game – so, Dog or God each give you either a strength or stealth perk respectively, while Dean Domino can temporarily protect you when exposed to The Cloud, and Catherine can extend the time you have before your collar goes off when within range of radio waves. Ah, yes...radios and speakers: possibly the game's worst enemy. For some reason, the radios in this zone have been damaged causing them to broadcast at a frequency that causes the explosive collar to bug out, giving you a limited time before it detonates. Consequently, you'll find yourself desperately running, or backing away and scoping out your routes before advancing, lest your head go 'pop' like an over-ripe melon.

[...]

Dead Money clocks in at a good five hours or so, and is well worth investing in if you're thirsty for more New Vegas action. There's plenty of what Fallout does best, with new melee weapons and guns to try out as well as several divergent conclusions to reach once you manage to successfully or indeed unsuccessfully) pull off the Sierra Madre heist. But does Dead Money deliver on the same level as Fallout 3's DLC did? To a certain extent yes, but having played through the DLC episode, we can attest that Dead Money is absorbing while it lasts, yet you might still be left wanting more once the credits have rolled.

Posted by Brother None - at 13:40

Eurogamer is next up to review Dead Money. They clock it in at 8 hours, but note it's more quantity than quality, and are not too fond of several bits of design.

Your bomb collar also tweaks the gameplay in an interesting, though not always enjoyable, manner. Bodged together from pre-war components, it's vulnerable to signal interference. Anything from a domestic radio to the casino's own speaker system can set it off, causing an incessant beeping whenever you get in range and culminating in a rapid cranial eruption should you linger too long. Normal radios can be turned off or destroyed, unshielded speakers can be shot from afar, but there are also invulnerable speakers that can only be deactivated using a terminal, or cannot be switched off at all.

Also providing environmental menace is the toxic red cloud, which eats away at your health with ferocious speed should you venture into it. If you're playing in Hardcore Mode, even the seemingly clear atmosphere itself becomes hazardous, reducing your health slowly whenever you're outside.

The cloud also adds some fun new recipes to your crafting options. Find or collect some cloud residue and it'll brew up some seriously nasty poisons or a useful stat-buffing cocktail, depending on how you mix it.

And, finally, there are some interesting new enemies in the shape of the casino's holographic security system. These glowing drones are limited in reach by their emitter range, but are otherwise indestructible and come armed with deadly laser weapons. Navigating your way past them, either through cunning or by changing their programming, is one of the stiffest stealth challenges the game has to offer.

All these elements are used to herd you along, but they can become annoying – particularly when their use combines with the maze-like streets of the villa exterior. Having less than ten seconds to locate and destroy a radio before your head explodes is exciting the first few times, but by the end it's become a chore and one that reduces one of Fallout's greatest pleasures – exploration – to a frustrating save-and-reload routine. That Dead Money's finale finds you racing through a veritable gauntlet of broken walkways while being constantly stymied by holograms, radios and the poisonous red mist makes what should have been a thrilling climax more irritating than it needed to be.
Frustrating map design? In a DLC for New Vegas? I feign surprise.

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 12:25

IGN put up a Dead Money review. It awards the add-on a 6.5/10. Here's a snippet:

One of the characters suffers from a split-personality and I apparently chose to recruit the wrong one. Subsequently all quest lines broke, but I didn't realize it until I had already completed everything and wasn't given any new missions. I had to restart the whole game, which flat-out sucked.

I know Bethesda and Obsidian are infamous for making games with lots of bugs, but I was really shocked that this DLC is so easily broken. I didn't make some crazy decision wearing a strange costume in an unforeseen area, it was something the game offered to me and yet it halted my progression. That's unacceptable.
So, for those that already have the add-on, do you agree?

Posted by Brother None - at 0:10

The Vault has got hold of a bunch of court documents from IPLY vs Bethesda and brings word that Bethesda is claiming Interplay's rights according to the license agreement did not extend beyond the usage of the Fallout name.

The breach of contract claims asserted by Interplay (...) fail because Bethesda is not obligated or under any legal duty to allow Interplay to utilize the panoply of Fallout assets in connection with an MMOG. Interplay transferred its right, title and interest in and to all Fallout Intellectual Property to Bethesda for $5.75 million. This included, among other rights and properties, all characters, story lines, weapons, art and other game related assets as well as the copyright and trademark registrations that protect same. (...) In the APA, Interplay further represented and warranted that any and all Fallout game assets that it owned were being transferred to Bethesda. (...) The APA contained one single-license back agreement – the TLA. The TLA plainly and unambiguously concerns one single mark – FALLOUT.

(...)

Despite the clarity of both the APA and the TLA, Interplay has in recent months promoted its purported MMOG project by repeatedly using numerous Fallout related trademarks and copyright protected elements that it has no proper right to use under either the APA or TLA. (...) Interplay’s use of Bethesda’s Fallout intellectual property such as characters, weapons, and story lines was not a “benefit of its bargain” as Interplay claims. The only bargain Interplay made for a MMOG was the conditional right to use the FALLOUT trademark.
That is bizarre.

News for Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 17:51

Did you think interviews were going to stop him? Then you're a fool, because Ausir is back with another round-up of Fallout-related tidbits on The Vault. This time, they seem to mostly deal with homosexuality, with a series of responses solicited by Jim Sterling's original piece on Gamefront.

First is Robert Yang at Radiator Design Blog:

The argument that [all] gay video game characters should downplay their sexuality might be well intentioned, but is ultimately representative of the most dangerous kind of homophobia -- a homophobia wrapped in intellectualism, appearing "tolerant."

True, sexuality isn't the only thing that defines a person -- but for the vast majority of LGBT people, I would argue that it's a crucial part of personal identity. To insist that effeminate gay men are "camping it up" and should just "be normal" is homophobia. That's the same type of attitude that murdered Matthew Shepard -- he would've been fine if only he didn't act so damn gay around people!
Followed by, you guessed it, Gay Gamer:
The discussion is actually reminiscent of the discussions about Zevron that came up in this Dragon Age II post about LGBT content in games. While it's easy to sympathize with Sterling and the posters who are tired of the same stereotypes showing up in games, like Yang I think there's a tendency to treat flamboyancy (or campiness) as the problem, rather than the developers' lack of imagination, when all types of gay people can be compelling characters. Additionally, when people say that being gay is "no big deal," to me it always seems to come from the same fruitopia where people claim that they're allowed to say, "That's so gay," because it doesn't actually mean gay anymore.
After Elton takes these articles as a basis to expand on another issue:
However, neither writer tackle head on what I think is the fundamental flaw in the argument put forth by Sterling: namely that the problem with gay characters is that their identity completely revolves around their sexuality — as if heterosexual characters are somehow defined any differently.

Don't believe me? Then how many straight characters on television or in the movies (and to a lesser extent in video games) can you name that haven't been identified as straight at some point? I'm wagering it's only a handful and that it's either the ones deemed to be too "old" or "unattractive" to have a love life — or because the show is hinting they might be gay.
And for those of you who didn't grab it when it was put for free for an error on the Xbox Marketplace Techland has a contest which has Dead Money as a prize.

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 17:37

Dead Money reviews will probably pop up like crazy in the next days but that doesn't mean that reviewers have stopped analyzing the main game.

Toledo Blade, 3.5/5.

Visually the game is a gem to behold. The environments lend a great deal to the overall feel of desolation. Burned out vehicles, busted asphalt and sparsely populated ghost towns are all rendered with intensity and realism. The game isn't without its glitches however. Many times you will walk on top of objects that should require a bit of a jump. At other times you can't jump on a street curb or walk through shrubbery. But none of that takes too much away from the overall experience.


For RPG aficionados New Vegas is going to be a great apocalyptic adventure. It's kind of a Mad Max meets the Wild West. For fans of the Fallout series the game will no doubt be one of their favorites, second only to its predecessor.
Gaming Excellence, 8.5/10.
The one place that Fallout: New Vegas flounders in, that isn't technical, is in the storyline. Fallout 3 had a very personal narrative in that it followed your character from a young age, through finding his father and then on to deciding the fate of the Capital Wasteland. New Vegas' plot dies out after you resolve the issue of your attempted murder. At that point it's just a bunch of side quests until you decide to pick who you're going to side with and help them become rulers of the Mojave. That's literally all there is to this game. It's almost like playing Fallout 3 with one extra faction and no storyline.

When this game is running properly, without falling through the ground, NPC dialogue not triggering properly or enemies running through the floor, then it's a very fun journey. But unfortunately, for too many gamers, the Mojave Wasteland has been tainted by something far worse than radiation: glitches. Between losing ten hours to a corrupted save and then a further twenty hours to the patch this game has gone from a great time to pure frustration. To be frank if you haven't experienced any glitches then you're a lucky person and we really do envy you.
Dailypress can't stop playing it.
Sequels, or in this game’s case a follow-up, are rarely better than the original. “Fallout: New Vegas” exceeds the original, despite it being called a glorified expansion pack by some. It uses a tried-and-true formula and exceeds past its predecessor with its story and gameplay. If you can get over the little bugs here and there, you will be happy to tell your friends what happened on your post-nuclear trip to New Vegas.
Kentucky Kernel doesn't provide a score.
“Fallout: New Vegas” is a game that rewards patience. I ended up having over 80 hours put into the game with a multitude of crashes. I never gave up because the game is just that much fun. A game is truly good when it can outshine the technical mess that it’s packaged in. Besides, game patches can fix everything, right?
Stuff.co.nz, 4/5.
New Vegas is all about factions. And the uptight, but seemingly well-meaning NCR and the deliciously volatile and vicious Legion are striking.

The scope and freedom remains astonishing. There is so much to see and do, it's not really a surprise no-one has had any time to give the almost three- year-old graphics a polish. There are other problems too, including a repetitive soundtrack and quite a few annoying bugs.
El33t Online (what a name), 3/5.
Fallout: New Vegas gives the player tons to do, lots to see and hours and hours of gameplay, which is ultimately its saving grace. This game can provide 50+ hours for the RPG fan and after a few hours one could most likely get used to the graphical glitches thrown at the player, diminishing its occurrences to but a minor distraction. I’m all about value as well as replay value when investing in a game, and Fallout: New Vegas does not disappoint in that regard and is worthy of its R600 price tag. Let us just hope that more patches are released for this deserving game to enhance the player experience to one of complete enjoyment.
Daily Titan doesn't score it.
The game wouldn’t be Fallout without bringing back VATS, a system that allows players to stop combat and individually target enemies, sending gore spraying in a slow motion cinematic piece. The game wouldn’t be called Vegas without gambling, like blackjack, slots, roulette, and a new game called caravan, made especially for the game. But what Fallout: New Vegas does exceptionally well is fuse the seedy Sinatra-strip elements of the story and environment with the Mad Max universe of the post-apocalyptic wastes and the space age era that never came to fruition into a new beast altogether.
PS3 Attitude does exactly the same.
Simply put, Fallout: New Vegas is a brilliant adventure, and a worthy sequel to the awesome Fallout 3. With a huge world to explore, entertaining gameplay and class-leading voice-acting, there’s no doubt that it’s one of the best games of the year. Unfortunately, the catch is that it was created on an engine that was showing its age two years ago, with disappointing graphics and a plethora of performance issues including pop-in, often crippling slowdown, and even game-breaking glitches.

The fact that we’re still recommending this game despite these issues is a testament to how good Fallout: New Vegas really is. If Obsidian Entertainment continues to support the game through patches (and, later on, downloadable content) then what we have here is a title that is simply unmissable for both Fallout and general RPG fans. It’s not quite Fallout 4, but New Vegas will easily give you one hundred hours of content if you let it, and will most probably keep you entertained right up until the release of the next game in the series.
Thunderbolt, 8.0/10.
Fallout: New Vegas is a testament to the fact that the small details are what can really matter in a game. For seasoned Fallout fans, New Vegas will represent a huge step in the right direction. Obsidian’s writers have crafted a game world which is arguably far superior to Bethesda’s; however, for players who aren’t looking for a more authentic Fallout game - or simply don’t care - this game is basically just more of the same. It’s Fallout 3 with a wild west coat of paint to go along with its twisted 1950s aesthetic. That will mean more to some than it will to others, but either way, it’s a great adventure.
Thanks the Vault and GameBanshee.

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 17:19

GamerLimit has put up a review on the first New Vegas DLC, the first of many most likely. They give it a 7.0, arguing that while it's far from bad it probably doesn't live up to the price tag. Here's a snippet:

In spite of some mechanics issues, the writing for Dead Money is on par with the quality of New Vegas. All of the characters have their own demons to deal with, and I really enjoyed talking to them at great length, as well as dealing with their fates at the end of the package. While your team’s backstory and narrative is fleshed out, the actual quest isn’t as engaging – like the Resident Evil series, the bulk of your information is going to come from various notes and computer logs – not from the events of the main story.

While there are a few key tidbits here and there that really bring the story together at the end, a lot of players will most likely glance over them. Personally, I also felt like the buildup to get into the casino itself was too long, and the surrounding areas housed too many drab looking locales – I know that you’re supposed to get the feeling that poisonous gas has overrun the area, but it could have looked a little more detailed.
Thanks to cunningandvalor for spotting it.

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 11:35

Ausir, honcho of the Vault and esteemed (and precise) member of the Fallout fan community has been interviewed not once but twice!

First interview is from the guys at Duck and Cover which also was the original host for the Vault:

3. Did you play Fallout 3 at all? If you haven't then why not?

Yes, I did play it for a short while, but I did not finish it. I probably would have finished it if not for the fact that my computer back then wouldn’t run it, and I played it only a bit on a friend’s computer. I do have a computer that could run it now, but I don’t really feel much of an urge to.

4. Why did you start the Fallout Wiki originally?

The wiki’s original purpose was, to an extent, to continue the work started by Chris Avellone in his Fallout Bible – to document all information about the Fallout universe, partly for the players themselves, and partly with the hope that Bethesda would use it as a reference when creating new installments in the series, which would help ensure consistency with established canon. It was a pretty bold goal considering that we started with just a handful of articles. Surprisingly, it somehow managed to work. Funnily enough, I didn’t focus much on gameplay information and worked on documenting the lore initially, especially given that there had already existed extensive guides to all things Fallout 1 and 2 in that regard, like Per’s Nearly Ultimate Guides. However, especially with the release of Fallout 3, and mostly thanks to the contributions of other people, especially my co-admin Porter21, the wiki became the place to go for all gameplay info as well.
And the second comes from News.com.au:
"The Vault started to become more and more popular around a year before the release of Fallout 3," he said.

"Unfortunately, the popularity also led to hosting issues. Because the wiki was constantly being targeted for various exploits by spammers as well as other attackers, our original host told us to go elsewhere.

"We had an offer from Bethesda, who wanted to host us as the official Fallout 3 wiki, but while the offer was tempting, we decided that despite the benefits of such an arrangement, being independent from the publisher would serve the community more. Eventually we ended up hosted by Wikia."

News for Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 13:14

First of all, according to a poster on the Bethsoft boards, Dead Money is out, at least for some regions like North America, for the price of 800 MS points.

In case you still can't download, whether because it's not out there, you're not an Xbox360 player or you simply think DLC is a scam, the Xbox360 has some new screenshots:

News for Monday, December 20, 2010

Posted by OakTable - at 5:55

Major Nelson Podcast interviews senior producer Jason Bergman, revealing a few new tidbits on Dead Money.

-Takes 4-6 hours to beat
-Each companion has their own perk, can only take 1 at a time
-Veronica has new dialogue options after you beat the DLC and can get 1 of 2 new perks depending on what you say.
-Ghost People apparently need to be decapitated or gibbed to be killed; Shooting them elsewhere stuns them.
-The Nightkin companion is schizophrenic and has two personalities, Dog and God. Both have their own perk.
-The human companion is named Christine, and is described as mute but intelligent.
-The ghoul companion is a lounge singer named Dean. You may have seen him on posters or load screens in the main game.
-New weapons include the Holo-Beam and the Beartrap Fist.

News for Friday, December 17, 2010

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 20:55

The new Bethesda Softworks newsletter issue is out and it contains, among other things, a "a reminder that Dead Money, the first downloadable content for Fallout: New Vegas, arrives exclusively on Xbox LIVE on Tuesday", a couple of new screenshots and the DLC's cover art:


Posted by Brother None - at 15:46

Youtube now hosts the trailer of an upcoming 12-17 minute long fan film for Fallout. The press release refers to "the humor and style of the Fallout universe, but from the looks of the trailer it appears to be a slapstick comedy, and I don't see the relation that has to Fallout. Still, well-made.

Wayside Creations Seeks to Entertain With Fallout Fan Film -- “Fallout: Nuka Break”!

Los Angeles, California – (December 17th, 2010) Wayside Creations is proud to announce the release of the full length trailer for “FALLOUT: NUKA BREAK”, a fan-made, non-profit short film based on the Fallout series of video games by Black Isle Studios, Obsidian Entertainment, and Bethesda Softworks. Written by Brian Clevinger (Nuklearpower.com’s 8-Bit Theater) and Zack Finfrock (Indymogul.com’s Backyard FX) who also stars in and co-directs the film with Julian Higgins (Poker Run). “Nuka Break” takes the humor and style of the Fallout universe and brings it to life on the small screen, featuring the talents of Tybee Diskin, Aaron Giles, Kevin Brooks, Robert Thorne, Michelle Specht, and Vic Mignogna (Fullmetal Alchemist, Dragon Ball Z). The full film is slated to be released by January 1st, 2011.

STORY SUMMARY

Twig (Zack Finfrock), a former Vault 10 Dweller, as he searches the barren wasteland of eastern California for ice-cold Nuka Cola. Along for the ride is Ben (Aaron Giles), a radiation-ravaged ghoul, and Scarlett (Tybee Diskin), a sexy former slave. Together, the three attempt to survive both the harsh wastes and a relentless group of bounty hunters while trying to find the coveted beverage – Nuka Cola.

To view the trailer, visit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvztobKlEMI

ABOUT WAYSIDE CREATIONS

A new, upstart indie production company that specializes in web content, run by a group of four filmmaker friends. They've recently taken on the reigns of Indymogul.com's do-it yourself filmmaking web series, "Backyard FX". In addition, they were recently honored the grand prize of $250,000 in Godaddy.com's "Commercial Contest - Summer Edition" with their entry "Russell's Notebook".

News for Thursday, December 16, 2010

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 17:47

Since it's coming out next Tuesday and it was confirmed that it would have a trailer it was to be expected, so, without further ado, here's the trailer for Dead Money, the first New Vegas DLC.



Thanks Ausir and maggit.

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 9:14

There's never a shortage of subjects to discuss about this game apparently, as the Vault has another juicy quotes round-up ready for us.

Project Director Josh Sawyer on the Legion:

Were you honestly expecting such a negative reception for Caesar's Legion?

I don't really think there has been a tremendously negative reaction to Caesar's Legion. Some people really hate various aspects of the Legion but most people either don't seem to care or like the Legion. I'd rather have people show strong opinions about a well-defined enemy than have everyone shrug their shoulders at Generic Bad Dude Faction #825.

Doesn't your answer kind of implies that Caesar's Legion is "non-generic" bad guy faction? It kinda clashes with your promises of moral grayness.

Caesar's Legion is positioned as a faction that regularly does brutal things with the belief (Caesar's belief, anyway) that it will eventually lead to a much better, more stable, future. NCR is positioned as a faction that regularly does good things but systemically "loses" causes and pushes people around through neglect, bureaucratic inefficiency, and petty jealousy/spite.

The player's first encounters with each group are intentionally "bad guy"/"good guy" to set up an expectation that changes over time. While it well may be that people end F:NV believing that Caesar's Legion is the best solution to the problems in the Mojave Wasteland, I don't think many folks walk away thinking, "Misogynist slaver tyrants are really cool, good folks."
And honestly, what I say outside of the context of the game doesn't really have any bearing on what you think or what any player thinks. In the game, you're given the option to fully support the Legion's conquest of New Vegas/the Mojave Wasteland.

Short version: Caesar takes whatever pieces of history he finds useful and disregards things he doesn't find useful. He has specific goals and uses history as a tool to meet those goals. When history doesn't help him, he doesn't use it. Even things like a reluctance to use advanced technology have more to do with his desire to keep the Legion ignorant/dependent on him than with anything "historical". Control is very important to him, even if it means that the people who serve him lack any of the medical knowledge necessary to help diagnose or treat his problems. It's very important for Caesar to maintain that the Legion is different. It is physically different, has different values, and different priorities. When Romans were wearing pants, they thought people wearing skirts were barbarians. When Romans wore togas, they thought people wearing pants were barbarians. People on the other side of that river wear pants. Our identity is good, your identity is bad.

Clearly there are many things Caesar does that work against his goals, or choices he made to emphasize one goal over a conflicting goal and it resulted in problems. But it's important to understand that Caesar calls the shots in the Legion. And when Caesar's not around, it's someone following his lead. Whether that's Lanius or Joshua Graham, there's not going to be a fun party when one of these guys rolls into your town. Events in the vein of Tamerlane and Simon de Montfort are going to happen. Events that culminate in pyramids of human heads, mass blindings, and burning a cathedral down with an entire congregation inside.
Balancing and patch:
The full changelog would be a novella, but I can say that balance-wise, a lot of energy weapon stats were changed (usually a change to DAM and ammo cost), energy ammo was modified (duh), sniper rifle and Gobi DAM/crit chance multipliers were lowered, missile launcher and fat man had DAM increases, a boatload of recipes were made a lot simpler (fewer ingredients and a lower count per ingredient), Caravan AI should now play face cards against the player, merchants will stop playing Caravan with the player after five games, and "some other stuff".
Will Dead Money have a trailer?:
We'll definitely be releasing a trailer. It'll be before the content gets released.
Thanks Ausir.

News for Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 14:21

The new Fallout: New Vegas patch, which came out last week for PS3, is now out for PC users too.

We'll let you know when it's out for the Xbox360.

EDIT: The Xbox360 patch should be up on Thursday.

EDIT 2: The Xbox360 version of the patch is up.

News for Sunday, December 12, 2010

Posted by Dude101 - at 22:34

Despite the release of Fallout New Vegas, the old school modding scene is still growing strong. Some new projects have been announced and we have updates on the old ones:

European Commonwealth: Paris
Grayswandir finally went public with his secret FO2 TC project which is to be set in Paris, France:

When the bombs were flying over their heads, the population of Paris did the best they could to flee to safety. The luckiest entered one of the sealed shelters of the European Commonwealth Safeguard Program (one shelter for each arrondissement), while others had no choice but to seek refuge in the large underground networks of the city, in it's metro and Sewers, but also the deep caverns and labyrinthine tunnels that form the catacombs of Paris. But when the bombs stopped falling, many points of egress to the surface where blocked by the wreckage of fallen buildings; those that did find their way out, never came back, and those that settled too close to an exit... began to change... In the minds of the traumatized people, the surface became something as scary as the pits of hell. The survivors had to adapt to their new underground life, when the emergency supplies were finished, rats and mushrooms became the only substance on which to subsist, that is, if you are not into human flesh... The most courageous people improved their lot by hunting some of the new beasts that had recently appeared like apparitions in the darkness of the catacombs. Gangs of thugs settled in front of the underground doors of the EC-shelters to trade their scarce resources for the plentiful products of the hydroponic farms, and they protect this privileged arrangement fiercely against the others gangs.

It's 2167. Your were lucky enough to be born in the EC-Shelter under the 13 Arrondissment of Paris; but your shelter too is blocked underground, and without any contact with Abri Central or with any of the other shelters. As occurs more regularly in these times, the prefect has organised a lottery. Unluckily for you, your number was pulled out. You will have to enter the catacombs to find a way out, and ensure the survival of the shelter. Your secondary mission, is to renew contact with the other shelters and Abri Central.
See the time line for some more background information. The great story, new critters and the art direction of the European Vault boy Charles, really make this project stand out.
Like the title says it is a mod with the particularity of being based in a part of the world other than the United States, namely the European continent, and since it's a French mod, it will be situated in Paris. Since Fallout is a retro-futuristic universe, the first challenge of our team was to imagine how the 2070 France of the Fallout universe would have developed, if it was based on the spirit of the French fifties. Basically we tried to identify what graphical elements the devs of Fallout chose to create the retro spirit, then we tried to find the equivalent in our country, and adapt it for the mod. We used what we know of the Fallout cannon concerning the EC, and then we built upon it.


*Discusion on NMA

Fallout of Nevada
The Fallout of Nevada project has released two updates since we first announced it here, and I am happy to report their site is now releasing all updates in English as well as Russian. A Russian only demo has also been released, which could be fun for other modders to poke about in.
Development of the game is moving at full speed! We are now 61% complete i.e. 2/3s of the game. It's time to show you all a video report on the completed work. The video describes in the most general terms the main plot and game region. In connection with this some things were added to the concepts section of our site.

Since the last update many things have been achieved, for example, work has been completely finished on the SOS button and the new ability to plant various traps on the ground (conceptual demonstration in Russian).
The video is narrated in Russian, but even if you don't understand it, it is still worth watching:







Link


What Remains

Surf Solar who is more known more his excellent Mark Morgan inspired music, recently announced a new Fonline engine project, which does not sound that unusual considering the dozen such announcements since the SDK was released; except this is the first single player game to be created with this modern-old-school engine. This project is unusual in that it will look and feel like the classics, but will have allot of the bells and whistles Fallout2.exe is missing. This looks like the future of 'Fallout 2' modding, which could be why Fallhope the Van Buren project has ditched the FO engine in favor of it as well.
Thanks to the power and usability of the FOnline Engine, it is much easier to create Singleplayer, as well as Multiplayer mods basing on it. As far as I know, I am the only one yet trying to make a singleplayer mod, rather than another multiplayer thingy. Anyway.

The Big Picture: This mod rather concentrates on storytelling, dialogues, player investigation, atmosphere and not really on combat style, saving the world, guys with miniguns and stuff. If you are more into cool new guns and loads of new and shiny stuff, this wont be your thing. If you enjoy immersing yourself into a more serious toned, "realistic" game with rich story telling, then you might like it as much as I do. But, as the biggest limitation I set to myself - I don't want to make it too big, it will feature 3-4 bigger locations and some smaller ones, not making it too huge. I take some unusual way of creating a game - I first make music for a location, and THEN create the location itself. Some other design approach.

Some Story Tidbits: I want this game to be as close in tone and asthetics as it can be to Fallout 1. The Games setting is located in the postwar USA of the "Big Lakes" region in the USA, no one really knows which year it already is, but seeing how fucked up the things are, the years after the great war can be counted on a few hands and toes. Same will be the main keyword of the mod: "Water". You will see many ruined cities too, as Chicago, Detroit and many other metropols lay in this area. You won't be the savior of the world, just some guy trying to come by, but this doesn't mean you can't influence your surrounding areas, doesn't it.

Current Development Status: Music done 60%, SFX done: 80%, Maps done: 50%, Dialogues done: 20% Additional Scripting: Soon Start to work on it.


*Discussion on NMA

Red Dwarf Mod
Hudajan made what seemed to be a typical vapourware post about his/her new project a little while ago, but s/he has become an accomplished FO modder in very little time (is already accomplished in other scenes), so an honorable mention is in order. The new critters in production are extremely well done:
The game will be situated in open space; you will be moving around the world map with Red Dwarf fueled by hydrogen cells, which will be limited. For scouting and exploring missions, and for landing on planets and asteroids etc you will use Starbug. You probably wont be able to travel through space from the very beginning. Right now I'm working on the graphics, and am only just beginning the process of making this mod.
The star map

Some of many Kryten critter animations






Link


*Discussion on NMA

PS. Resurrection is still alive, and they sure could use your moral support on their forum.

News for Saturday, December 11, 2010

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 9:06

PS3 players of Fallout: New Vegas already had the chance to play with (and complain about) the new patch since yesterday. Here's the official changelog from Bethblog:

Top fixes:

* Companions now show up as waypoints on the map
* Companions will always fast travel with you, unless told to wait or sent away
* Fix: DLC error/save corruption
* Fix: Entering the strip after Debt Collector causes crash and autosave corruption
* Fix: Using Mojave Express dropbox can cause DLC warnings
* Crafting menu now filters valid (bright) recipes to the top of the list
* Weathered pistol no longer glitches when applying mods

After the break, see other issues/quests the patch covers…

In addition, this patch addresses issues with the following areas:

* Pip-Boy Interface
* Pre-Order DLC Items
* Reputation System
* Radio Stations
* Companion fixes
* Companion Quests
* Repair Menu
* Caravan
* Weapons and Weapon Mods
* Hardcore Mode
* Perks
* Skills
* Crafting Recipes
* Crafting Menu
* Mojave Express
* Chems/Addiction
* Doctors
* Vendors

And fixes for the following quests:

* Ain’t That a Kick in the Head
* By a Campfire on The Trail
* They Went That-a-Way
* My Kind of Town
* Boulder City Showdown
* Ring a Ding Ding!
* King’s Gambit
* For The Republic, Part 2
* Render Unto Caesar
* Et Tumor, Brute?
* The House Always Wins
* Wild Card
* Beyond the Beef
* GI Blues
* How Little We Know
* Oh My Papa
* Still In The Dark
* You’ll Know It When It Happens
* Arizona Killer
* Eureka!
* Veni, Vidi, Vici
* All or Nothing
* No Gods, No Masters
* Birds of a Feather
* I Put A Spell On you
* Come Fly With Me
* That Lucky Old Sun
* Don’t Make a Beggar of Me
* The White Wash
* Ghost Town Gunfight
* Restoring Hope
* Bleed Me Dry
* Aba Daba Honeymoon
* Tend To Your Business
* Wang Dang Atomic Tango
* Flags of Our Foul-Ups
* Debt Collector
* Talent Pool
* Left My Heart
* Someone To Watch Over Me
* Hard Luck Blues
And a partial, but less vague, list from The Vault:
* Companions now fast travel to the appropriate location when dismissed by the player
* Companions are now marked as indicators on the Pip-Boy map
* EC/ECP/MC ammo (standard) now has -2 DT
* EC/ECP/MC ammo (over charge) now has -5 DT
* EC/ECP/MC ammo (max charge) now has -10 DT
* Multiplas Rifle now consumes 3 units of ammo per shot (previously 6)
* Plasma Defender now consumes 2 units of ammo per shot (previously 3)
* All reputation safehouses have been updated with additional supplies (armor, weapons, ammunition, skill magazines)
* All-Purpose Science Suit (13 DT, 2 WG, +5 Science) can now be found in the Followers' Safehouse (previously cut content from Fallout 3)
* NCR Ranger Combat Armor can now be found in the NCR Safehouse
* HELIOS One infinite experience exploit has been fixed
* More .45 and 12.7mm ammo available from vendors (e.g. Gun Runners)
* The Raul / Ranger Andy bug is fixed
Note that some of the fixes listed here where already applied in the PC-only incremental update.

News for Thursday, December 9, 2010

Posted by Brother None - at 4:10

A quote from the latest Official Xbox Magazine has been making the rounds (for example, on The Vault).

With ZeniMax on a spending spree, who might they gobble up next? The ball sees Obsidian (Fallout: New Vegas) as a prime target for the Fallout IP-holder.
Worth considering as a rumor as it makes some sense, though OXM isn't offering anything they based it on, they might just be taking a shot in the dark.

Posted by Brother None - at 4:07

The Vault has a couple of interesting quotes round up. When's the patch coming.

To update, the patch/game update for PlayStation 3 could be going up as early as Midnight GMT tonight for Europe. When we have more details on North America, we'll let you know.

PC update could be up on Steam as early as tomorrow.

For players on Xbox 360, we should have more details soon. Right now, it's looking like next week. If we get updated details, we'll let you know.
I'm not seeing the reason for the PC update to be that slow, it should technically be much faster for PC than for consoles, but I guess it got delayed for a simultaneous release.

Some good stuff from JE Sawyer. On Van Buren.
If you had the opportunity to actually make Van Buren, disregarding the public purely how you'd like to play it , would you opt for the original top down gameplay, something along the lines of New Vegas or another to best suit the game you wanted to make?

Van Buren was conceived as a top-down 3D game and that's how I would personally like to play it.
Return to Sender.
Who had the brilliant idea of making 'Return to Sender' a quest with oh-so-many endings and incredibly brilliant writing an incredibly tedious and incredibly long FETCH QUEST? And what was his/her reasoning?

I did. The ranger stations are located around interesting areas, so the primary gameplay enjoyment was intended to be derived from the exploration required to reach them. If you've already discovered all ranger stations and done everything around them (not likely), that's a problem. But then again, if you've already discovered the stations, you can fast travel to them.
C&C.
What is more important in an RPG: real choices with real consequences, or engaging, fun gameplay?

Engaging, fun game play should be the bare minimum expected in any game. If you're making an RPG, it should have that AND the ability to define/express a character's personality in a way that significantly changes the development of the story.

Homosexuality.
whos the homo that insisted on being so heavy handed with the gay dialogue and references in the game?

Alarm at the presence of homosexual dialogue topics is pretty interesting considering the majority of them only appear if you voluntarily take a perk that identifies your character as homosexual.

Confirmed Bachelor.
Confirmed Bachelor is considered a homosexual perk? Neither the name, the art nor the description gave any indication of that.

Confirmed Bachelor is a euphemism for a gay man. The icon art shows Vault Boy giving a massage to a naked Vault Boy with a heart floating over his head. I'm amazed that people look at that and sincerely come away thinking, "Hey, looks like a couple of bros just having a good time and giving a friendly massage."

News for Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Posted by Brother None - at 18:36

We haven't done one of these in ages. A selection. RPGCodex slobber all over it in a 5-heart interview.

The game should be commended for its moral pitch - it's happy to show Caesar's Legion doing some very bad things, and also have some genuine humanitarians (Followers of the Apocalypse). There really is a fractious ethos in New Vegas (should you really help the Khans, or the Boomers, or the Legion? Are the NCR really much better? Is New Vegas worth keeping?) without everything being smeared together into some pseudo-grimdark trope about everyone being bastards wanking over their stash of child porn. It also retains the slightly over-the-top but not completely ridiculous style of the first two games: solar powered super weapons and 1950s rockets blasting off are there, but such elements are reined in appropriately for verisimilitude.

Another plank to New Vegas's charm is the quest design. You have a sandbox game that isn't contrived, that really does offer emergent solutions to problems. Organizing and arming a militia (depending on your skills) to protect a trader from a group of gangers, to cracking a robotics facility, to talking your way into performing an operation on a major antagonist to deliberately botch it yet talk your way out of trouble… the list goes on. New Vegas is vast, and most of it is well worth seeing, occasional fast travel fetch quest excepted. Never did I think 'why isn't the game letting me solve it this way', and often New Vegas took the lead in taking me down solutions which were just plain cool.
ActionTrip, 7.5/10.
Speaking of quests, apart from the main "who tried to kill me and why" quest, there a ton of interesting side quests to be had. The side quests are a good thing because, to be blunt, the main quest line is uninspiring. Sure I understand that being robbed and left for dead is a bad bit of luck, but it did not really rev my engine to pursue the matter until late in the game. What can I say? It takes more than a bullet to the skull to get my attention. Instead, I spent my time exploring my surroundings in the starting area of Sweetwater. I assumed I needed to get a few levels under my belt to improve my skills if I was I going to tackle the main quest. To my surprise, there is so much to explore, so many side quests, that I was a 100 plus hours into the game pursuing stories that lead from one area to another until suddenly at level 23, I stumbled onto the second step of the main quest line. Frankly I had no interest in pursuing the main line any further at that point either.

A domino effect had occurred with my side quests as I encountered different factions. I had enough to keep me occupied trying to determine which group to help and which groups to work against, that I could not have cared less who tried to kill me at the start of the game. I was more interested in how I could further thwart the goals of the Legion than worry about dealing with my would-be killers. I don't view this lack of interest in the main quest line as a bad thing. Rather, I am grateful that Obsidian spent so much time populating the wasteland with so much to do and the many opportunities to decide who to help and who to hinder (and that is not always a black and white evaluation). That combination makes for an RPG that is ripe for many more play-throughs.

ComputerGames.ro 93/100.
Still, what were the chances that something so exquisite - bordering both the brilliant and the insane – could come out from the worst donut a game could ever cook into?

Really slim. And as slim as they were, Obsidian studios deserves the praise they get, and Bethesda for trusting them with our dreams. It’s really something else – well fleshed out and with enough content to make Fallout 3 look like the fluked exam that it really is. What’s disappointing is that the technical base betrays it, so there are quite a few number of bugs to be had, ranging from amusing collision detections to the more severe kind (condolences go out to all the fellow post-apocalyptic adventurers who have lost their saved games due to the intense radiation). From what I experienced in the dozens of hours spent in the desert, I could say the impact of bugs on the game is negligible, but ultimately it also depends on luck and your PC configuration.


After Fallout 3, veterans of the series had lost any kind of hope they would ever set foot in a new post-apocalyptic world that they could appreciate without the help of mods. That’s why New Vegas is all the more impressive, because despite its problematic foundation, it turned into a game that even the most elitist and conservative of fans will play until exhaustion.
SPonG 82%.
The main quest is a lot more fun too. No longer are you following the trail of your runaway Dad, being sent from city to city only to be told, “Well he's been through here, but the princess is in another castle”. In fact you feel a little more like a detective, tracking down your failed killer. Sure, you're still being sent from city to city but as you move towards New Vegas in your hunt, you have to take it upon yourself to find out as much as you can about your target before moving on.

At times it feels like a book that you can't put down. There always seems to be the next big reveal around the corner. Once you grow into a stronger, levelled-up character and your fear of enemies disappears, you'll soon find your one hour sessions growing, and your time in the real world melting away around you. You'll also find dark rings around your eyes and an energy drink in your hand as you sit down at work the next day.
D+PAD 4/5.
A number of additions to improve upon the formula that Fallout 3 had laid out really do give us the impression that Obsidian had enough of their own ideas to make this a game that expands upon 2008’s entry, without a complaint that it should be a DLC expansion piece. The way in which factions are directly entwined into the game is a welcome spin on the morality meter. With positive and negative karma still incurred for stealing/helping folks, New Vegas’s many factions and towns each have their own impression of you, from being vilified by Caesar’s Legion (a large Slaver operation) to being jovially respected by the town of Goodsprings, that RPG promise that choices and actions will directly impact the latter stages of the game are none more appropriate than here. It’ll be the key differentiator between walking straight through a slave camp with the intentions of receiving the Platinum Chip and having to level up to insane heights to fight off the Legion in the same instance. Your relationships are also likely to affect item prices, encroach on NPC conversations, and step onto the opportunity to employ companions that will help you through the game (you can have one human and one non-humanoid companion characters in your party at any one time).
411mania, 8.3/10.
Also, some speech options give you new things besides caps or influence. I talked to Ranger Andy, and ended up getting taught the Ranger Takedown melee move by passing a speech check. Magazines which raise your skills by 10 temporarily can help you pass speech checks or help with other skills needed as well. There are still books in the game to permanently increase skills as well, but they are a lot fewer because of the leveling system, which I’ll explain later.
Crispy Gamer spills its nerd-juices over Felicia Day, which seems to be the only reason she was cast (for nerd-juices).
In fact, the whole game engine feels as though it’s been tinkered with, much to our benefit. Unarmed combat is now more interesting with the addition of special moves that let you counter an enemy’s punch or knock him to the ground. Weapon sights and scopes are new quite accurate and with some weapons you’re actually better off using them across long distances than switching into VATS. Item crafting has also been upgraded with the addition of 90 or so recipes for food, drugs, ammo, and other assorted bits. Food can be crafted at campfires (but not ovens for some reason), ammo is broken down and manufactured at a reloading bench, and everything else can be built at workbenches.
Game Vortex, 90%.
As if to say previous games were child's play, Fallout: New Vegas adds systems and feature to the gameplay that actually makes it DEEPER than Fallout 3. A more improved companion system allows for greater flexibility of your small adventure seeking party (that may or may not contain a cyborg-dog.) Weapons can be outfitted with custom mods that improve their accuracy outside of V.A.T.S. and true iron sights while aiming make all of the weapons much more useful to your play style. The biggest change is the subtle karma replacement, your reputation. "Reputation" is earned by assisting small towns or groups in their endeavors. Help one group too much and you lose reputation with their rival faction, making you a high profile target. While karma stills plays a role to some extent with particular individuals, it is nicer to see a big-picture scenario of your actions. Just because you might have told a little girl her stuffed animals didn't love her and died a horrible death doesn't make you a bad person when you saved the entire town from the brink of starvation moments before. Right?
Actually deeper than Fallout 3! Wow, can you imagine a game deeper than Fallout 3?! I mean...wow!

For a quick general overview, saunter over to the gaming media's favorite MetaCritic (favored despite using opaque and arbitrary methods), which scores New Vegas at 86, 84 and 82 on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. These aren't particularly good scores but they're not bad. Fallout 3, for comparison, scored 91, 93 and 90 on those platforms.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:25

Just a reminder Interplay is still around, running at an operating loss of 205K USD over the 3 months ending September 30th, 2010. Nothing new in the Bethesda lawsuit, but again, a reminder.

On September 8, 2009 Bethesda Softworks LLC filed a Complaint for Declaratory Judgment, Preliminary Injunction and Other Relief against the Company in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. Bethesda seeks to terminate the rights Interplay holds to sell and develop certain FALLOUT(r)-branded video games, including an MMOG. Interplay disputes all claims raised by Bethesda and has answered the lawsuit and asserted Counter-Claims, including claims for Breach of Contract, Rescission, Accounting and Declaratory Relief seeking an award of damages and other relief. Interplay also seeks a declaration from the Court that it has not infringed upon the FALLOUT(R) mark and that it has satisfied the terms of the Trademark Licensing Agreement related to Interplay's production of a FALLOUT(R) massively-multiplayer online game. The Court denied Bethesda's Motion for Preliminary Injunction on December 10, 2009. Interplay will continue to defend its rights and pursue its Counter-Claims against Bethesda.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:13

Wooz' sharp eye has uncovered two new pieces of Craig Mullins' concept art for Fallout 3 from his website.

Posted by cunningandvalor - at 5:38

IGN reviews New Vegas for the third time. Why am I highlighting this specifically? Because:

The gameplay system is a disjunctive network of overlapping lists, stats, statuses, items, quest information, character notes, curiosities, and upgrades. It's nearly inscrutable in the beginning but after 10-20 hours the most obscure corners of the system will be at least functional, if not entirely clear. It took me over 50 hours to reach my ending and I managed to not upgrade a single weapon. It took me five hours to realize that active quests could be toggled on and off in the voluminous quest log, automatically changing the markers on the game's map. I'm still not sure what sorts of ammo my Plasma Rifle was using, but I know that I could create more by finding an ammo station and transforming one strange thing into another. In the early hours I got a leftover journal from a character and searched in vain through my Items menu hoping to read it. It was nowhere to be found in the sub-categories of Apparel, Weapons, Aid, or Miscellaneous. Only 20 hours later did I realize that these non-essential character flourishes were stored in the Data section under the Notes sub-category.

Combat is no more slippery, though its consequences are more immediate. Enemies all have a health bar the same size, though the rate it will be depleted by your various weapons depends on myriad factors, most of which are folded into sub-menus. Combat is a two step-process that involves first discovering a threatening creature, then deciding whether or not to fight it. All fights play out nearly identically, though the numbers being crunched in the processor are different every time. When an enemy is aware that you're near it bull-rushes, with different enemy types have different speeds of bull-rush. The only real response is to run frantically backwards while shooting, hoping there aren't any fences or big rocks waiting behind you. If prefer to use melee weapons to projectiles, you can move forward tentatively, hoping to time your attack animation so as to catch the enemy as she passes through your view. This can be reduced to the inane struggle to keep an enemy in the center of the screen while you both take turns whiffing at one another.
This is why we can't have nice games, people.

News for Monday, December 6, 2010

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 19:00

The patch is almost out, says Bethsoft's Fallout twitter account:

We’ve wrapped up work on the Fallout: New Vegas patch and submitted it. We’ll let you know when it’s up on PS3, 360, and Steam.
Of course, we of No Mutants Allowed will let you know too.

News for Saturday, December 4, 2010

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 13:05

Not content with their last round-up, the guys at The Vault churned up another one comprised of quotes from various forums from lead designer Josh Sawyer.

His take on raising the level cap in Dead Money:

I'm not the project director on Dead Money, but personally, I don't care about the presence/absence/raising of level caps haven't in any game ever. I think a lot of players like having level caps raised because it allows them to continue with character progression.
On similar lines from generic NPCs voiced by different voice actors:
The way voices are organized "under the hood" in the engine promotes consistency in lines for a variety of reasons. It's a little time-consuming to describe, but that's basically why.
And a couple from Formspring:
Does it bother you that F:NV is considered Fallout 3.5 even with large structural differences as far as quest design and exploration go? Which by the way, a lot of players seem to have noticed judging by the complaints and praise on the official boards.

Not at all.

Do all the terrible mods on the Nexus sites make you angry? I don't understand why some people think playing with a character that looks like a barbie doll with a ridiculously over the top hair style is cool. Never mind all the pedophile mods.

My tastes are not the tastes of the average gamer, and there are obviously gamers that have very specific tastes that are even more different. I may not like the aesthetic or mechanical changes that people make, but it's hard to really get worked up about what people do in mods. It's their game and they've put in the effort to make it more to their tastes.
They also have a Fallout tidbits article that puts together some miscellaneous stuff that deals with New Vegas. It rightly puts in the spotlight this thought-provoking mod, as well as informing us about Fallout: New Vegas being apparently momentarily sold out in Poland.

Thanks Ausir.