Is NV railroaded?

Discussion in 'Fallout: New Vegas Discussion' started by Wumbology, Jul 27, 2014.

  1. Wumbology

    Wumbology Actually a sentient CRT

    Mar 5, 2013
    I've heard this a lot. In fact, it's usually the first argument against New Vegas people say. Which is fine, but I'm wondering how valid of a claim it is.

    It is true New Vegas does "push" you into making a huge horseshoe from Primm to the Mojave Outpost to Nipton then up to Novac. Admittedly, this gets boring after the third or fourth playthrough.

    However, while it would seem that the paths north to NV are blocked by high-level enemies... I really don't think this is the case. Just north of Goodsprings Cemetery, there's a path blocked only by a handful of Cazadors. You can outrun these with a bit of effort. And the first thing you see? Red Rock Canyon. Which makes me think this was intentional, as you can get a lot of dialogue from Goodsprings residents about the Great Khans. Obviously the game wants first or second time players to go to Nipton and be exposed to the Wasteland (and see the NCR and Legion), but I feel that this path was equally intentional.

    New Vegas is very forced otherwise, however, but I think that it isn't "railroaded" per se.
  2. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Nov 26, 2007
    I honestly don't see why it should matter if there are high level enemies in certain places ~making it effectively impossible to explore there. If that's where they are, then the PC should rightly not venture there until they can handle themselves. I have never seen this as an issue. It was never an issue with Fallout 1 or 2 ~and it was indeed designed that way for those games; and they were just as open world as NV or FO3 is.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2014
  3. 5545Trey

    5545Trey Underground Deviant

    Jun 25, 2014
    I find this to be of no issue at all, the game does not hold your hand when it comes to the player's choices. At least not as much as other so-called "RPGs".
  4. Walpknut

    Walpknut This ghoul has seen it all

    Dec 30, 2010
    The only barrier those have is player skill, not even necessarily character's skill. So no, they are not railroaded, they are more noob grinders than anything.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014
  5. Yamu

    Yamu Le Fromage Vieux oTO Moderator Orderite

    Jul 26, 2003
    I've never thought of the game as "railroaded," though I did used to fall into the camp who thought of it as the next best thing. The more I've played it, though, the more apparent it's become that there are any number of viable builds that can fight their way through the northern meatshields as early as level 5 or 6, and you can sneak through even earlier than that. One stealth boy is all it takes to get through Deathclaws infesting the highway north of Primm, and if memory serves, you can usually find one of those in the Goodsprings schoolhouse safe.

    The game can feel a bit like it's railroading you sometimes-- most of the points of interest are found on or near the map's major highways-- but that's less forced design than it is realism. The only places I've ever felt that the invisible hand of the devs was being a little too forceful were when confronted with some of the more egregious invisible walls while mountain/cliff climbing and in the one-entrance-only runup to Jacobstown and environs.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2014
  6. naossano

    naossano So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Oct 19, 2006
    I don't get the complains.
    Fo3 forces you to do 50 things your character might not want to do.
    In FoNV you are likely to meet Benny/House and you will fight at the Hoover Dam. Everything else respect your own agency.

    About the implied road at the beginning, it works as an optionnal tutorial, that allow you to :
    - Not get lost early on.
    - Understand who you are, who are the players involved in the Mojave.
    - Understand how the faction system works, with differents groups. Some of them will never be met again. Some of them will forgive you afterward.
    - You are free to act how you want. You are even free to ignore them or you could go through black mountain sneaking.

    But contrary to vault 101, you have many ways to past it in subsequents playthrought. Sure, it might need some skills, but at that point you already won the game once, so you have some level of skill. On the other hand, i can't imagine not taking the intended road on first playthrough. It would make no sense to play an RPG and ignore the main quest. You aren't playing GTA.
  7. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Gyro Captain

    Dec 11, 2013
    I don't think it railroads you at all. To me a railroad implies that you have only one path available and are incapable of deviating from it or circling back. This is clearly not the case in New Vegas, where the player more less sets the agenda and direction. While the player is strongly encouraged to take the Highway 93 horseshoe up to Vegas, there is nothing stopping you from circumventing this altogether, either by sneaking past/outrunning/killing the Cazadores north of Goodsrpings or taking Primm Pass.

    I also think that the arrangement is somewhat deliberate, and allows for some interesting roleplaying: One of my most interesting couriers was a criminal who joined up with the Powder Gangers, killed a number of NCR troopers during the assault on the prison, and then after the facility fell to NCR forces fled north to Red Rock Canyon, where he joined up with the Khans, and then entered Vegas. The layout of the roads allowed this unusual progression to feel fairly natural, given the character's choices and background: taking a dangerous road, away from the Mojave outpost and other bases ensured that NCR patrols and hid squads would not be able to follow him, and the Vault 19 Powder Gangers and Khans along the route were natural friends and allies.

    For that matter, even if you take Highway 93 there is nothing stopping the player from abandoning the main quest entirely and branching out; right now I'm playing a character who took the horseshoe, but after meeting Veronica I opted to make contact with the BoS, complete their questline, obtain power armor, and visit all of the Vaults before even venturing onto the Strip. Another character I played became so outraged at the Legion's atrocities that they joined up with Boone in Novac and completed a considerable portion of the NCR's questlines (Return to Sender, clearing out Nelson, etc) instead of heading to Vegas.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
  8. Korin

    Korin So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Aug 6, 2010
    It does early on when you're a lower level but it's not a problem later when you've leveled up a bit and have gotten some gear. It also depends what difficulty you're playing on. If you're playing on hard/very hard you probably aren't going to traipse boldly through deathclaw/cazadore territory when you're level 3. While it's technically possible to kill just about anything if you want to be lame enough about it some of these areas do have a "level wall" where you just aren't doing enough damage because your gear sucks and you've got no skill points allocated.
  9. sigma1932

    sigma1932 Banned

    May 25, 2013
    Very little in the game is forced unless the player can't think for themself, refuse to try stuff to see what works, or doesn't take the time to understand the mechanics the game was built on.

    On the specific point of going north at the start of the game, anyone that says you absolutely cannot go north at the start of the game has no clue what they're talking about... there's a good half-dozen or so well-known methods of doing just that spread over various locations across the middle of the map... for example:
    -- If you're not playing in HC mode, just run through the cazadore/deathclaw area, spamming healing items as needed since their effect is instant.
    -- Use a stealthboy to pass by the cazadores/deathclaw unseen.
    -- Head east from Sloan over to Neil's Shack and travel through the "blind" area between Black Mountain and where the deathclaw spawn.
    -- From Neil's Shack, run up the first stretch of road leading up black mountain to the first turn while dodging the Nightkin (don't fight, just heal as needed and keep moving), and then run down the northern face of the mountain and it's a clear shot all the way to Vegas.
    -- Head far east over to HELIOS One, then head north from there.

    FTR, I even recall one of the developers saying in an interview that they purposely put less-obvious ways to go north that weren't so dangerous in the game as a reward for players willing to make the effort to explore and look for them.
  10. SnapSlav

    SnapSlav NMA's local DotA fanatic

    Jul 1, 2012
    No, the game is never railraoded. It's no more Railroaded than the original Fallout, in fact; it uses the EXACT same methods of discouragement to keep players on a "predetermined path", yet does nothing to actually prohibit you from accessing it. No Ocarina of Time fetch quests to unlock a door. No FO3 step-by-step quests. You're not prohibited from heading North straight to New Vegas right out of Doc Mitchell's door at all, it's just suicidal to newer players who don't know how to avoid Giant Radscorpions, Cazadores, and Deathclaws. I find it quite easy to skip past them, but I usually choose not to for the exact same reason I don't head directly West to the Military Base when I start up a new character in FO1: I want to enjoy the full story again. But the key words there are "I choose".

    The only railroading present in FONV that remotely resembles the step-by-step questline is once you reach the final objectives of the story, and even then the similarities are far and few. Unlike in FO3, where you could not access a section of the game until you were on the quest to activate it, FONV lets you stumble upon these at your liesure. If you proactively approach the Great Khans and "resolve" them before anyone asks you to handle them, then when the time comes for that to be assigned you, you can just tell them "been there, done that" and the game moves on. If you DON'T accomplish these objectives prior to being assigned them, then it can seem like it's railroaded, but it's still not.

    Yeah, completion of the game requires a very specific checklist be ticked off before the credits can begin rolling, but that's not the same as railroading. This isn't Mercenaries 2 where 90% of the map is "outside of Satellite range" and causes you to violently explode if you exit the grid for too long. This isn't Grand Theft Auto III where the walled-off portions of the map are literally IMPOSSIBLE to reach until the game allows you to as you progress through the story. This isn't Time Crisis II where you are ACTUALLY playing a rail shooter. This is Fallout: New Vegas, and the map is your playground, to approach or ignore as you see fit. The number of story-triggered locked areas is startlingly few, and only noticeable because they stand out so starkly from the vast majority of the game, but even then, like the BOS Hidden Valley Bunker, locked doors with story triggers can still be bypassed by the player independently of the story, if they choose to and are able to.

    Long story short: no, it's not railroaded, no, it's not a valid criticism.
    • [Like] [Like] x 3
  11. woo1108

    woo1108 Vault Senior Citizen

    Sep 27, 2012
    Well spoken.
    but I think it's still valid criticism thanks to beth's auto journal and quest marker system...
  12. TheChosen1

    TheChosen1 Moving Target

    Nov 8, 2012
    Railroading? Next thing, people are going to say that Fallout 2 is railroading you by placing those Enclave patrols around Navarro.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014
  13. sigma1932

    sigma1932 Banned

    May 25, 2013
    A better criticism would be that Beth's auto-journal and quest-marker system is overly hand-holdy and coddles the player too much, limiting the "exploration" experience and hindering the opportunity to use their own ingenuity to complete tasks.
  14. 5545Trey

    5545Trey Underground Deviant

    Jun 25, 2014
    I could not have typed this better myself.
  15. Mohamed2001

    Mohamed2001 HATE NEWSPAPERS

    Jan 28, 2013
    Meh, any person can escape those.
  16. Languorous_Maiar

    Languorous_Maiar A Smooth-Skin

    Oct 25, 2011
    Like any person can escape cazadores (just by jumping) by using fastest route (via north from Goodsprings) to Vegas.
  17. Mohamed2001

    Mohamed2001 HATE NEWSPAPERS

    Jan 28, 2013
    I did not say that was hard.

    However.. Escaping them is one thing, living with their venom is another thing.
  18. Courier

    Courier Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Apr 10, 2011
    Cazadores got nerfed with the patches anyways, iirc they were a lot more deadly when the game first came out.
  19. SnapSlav

    SnapSlav NMA's local DotA fanatic

    Jul 1, 2012
    The patches didn't nerf them at all. They just got nerfed indirectly with each subsequent DLC. Perks that made killing bugs way easier. Accurate weapons that made quick work of low-armored targets. MOST of OWB content, which made players particularly stronger against Cazadores and provided players immunity to poison. So they became much less of a threat if players utilized the newer content that each DLC provided. But they still remained just as much of a threat as they were in the vanilla game, hence unchanged by patching.
  20. Wumbology

    Wumbology Actually a sentient CRT

    Mar 5, 2013
    I'm going to have to disagree with pretty much everyone and say that Fallout: NV is "railroaded" or "linear" within certain bounds or certain ways. Not a bad thing, and it was done for good reasons, but it is a definite that the devs wanted the player to follow a certain path (especially for first-time players). Just the way that high-level enemies make passages to the north more difficult to pass makes it really obvious. Does this make the gamer "railroaded"? No, not really, but within some sense of the word, yes. Just look at the concentration of content from Goodspring south to the Mojave Outpost versus the concentration of content north to Red Rock Canyon and Vegas, or the way that the way south slowly introduces the PC to both the NCR, Legion, and Mojave.

    Is it a bad thing? No, but if one path (south) only requires the player to walk and absorb while the other (north) requires the player to either run and smash spacebar to escape Cazadors/Deathclaws, then the game is definitely pushing the PC is one way. Note I say pushing, not forcing.