You didn’t think I was finished with PAX yet did you? What, because it was like three weeks ago? Pfft. That won’t stop me. More avid Tanooki and Holly Green fans (I use that word in the loosest sense possible) are of course familiar with my Fallout obsession, so my trip to the Bethesda booth at PAX was a major highlight of the convention, especially when they started handing out the New California Republic T-shirts that I’d panted after during E3. I got some pictures of the display, which you can see down in the gallery below. Here’s the only shot of actual gameplay that my photog managed to get in before getting hollered at by the booth attendant. Actually, not hollered at. Nicely told not to take videos or gameplay shots. I’d have pouted if they hadn’t been so cool about it. All right, I did pout. But only a little.
You may be asking yourself why such a Fallout obsessed fanatic such as myself took so long to get this review. You’d think I’d be loaded with commentary yet, I’m finding it difficult. Fallout: New Vegas is so close to Fallout 3 that it feels like there isn’t much to say, that discussing the graphics or controls or VATS, the in-game targeting system, would be redundant. It uses the same engine as Fallout 3, and the gameplay is based on its wildly popular predecessor, with few significant changes. New Vegas is clearly not a sequel, but the differences lie mostly in the color palette, the weapons (and new modification system), and some new additions like the reputation system, the new companion command wheel, and gang and faction activity. I did not get to test the wheel, and my gang interactions were limited to blowing their heads off, so that leaves me mostly to talk about atmosphere and weaponry.
While the general feel of the E3 2010 version of Fallout: New Vegas left me overwhelmed by the rust palette, this new PAX 2010 build did not. I got a more solid impression on the range of hues, from the piercing blue sky to the green of the local flora, an uplifting change from Fallout 3. I was also given more freedom to roam as compared to the linear, guided tour they had at E3, and so I took that opportunity not to fulfill goals, but just check out some of the undiscovered locations while testing out the weapons. It was while I was wandering that I encountered some faction members, who I promptly dismembered with my assault carbine, prompting a message from the game informing me of my decreased reputation with the gang in question. So far, I’m not sure how I feel about this reputation system. It seems like it’s going to add a billion more ways to play a game that already has a billion ways to play it. This may sound wonderful to some, but I’ve already put over 700 hours into Fallout 3 alone, and that was in less than eight months. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Surprise, that phrase doesn’t just apply to booze.
Regarding aforementioned weapons. There’s nothing I’m really in love with yet. Actually, that’s a lie. The assault carbine is a lot of fun, packing the speed of an assault rifle with a lot more punch. I’m just more interested in the unique weapons, which we haven’t heard so much of a whisper of yet. The rest of the gameplay was pretty standard. Buggy, but beautiful. Richly textured. Despite my preference for the gloom of the D.C. ruins, I felt inspired to roam solely for the sake of roaming (and looting, don’t forget looting), which is nice to feel again. Maybe the difference in color will make the eye strain a bit less when I liveblog the first 24 hours of my first file. Yes, you read that right.
Fallout: New Vegas, and its Special Edition, are both due on October 19 for Xbox 360, PC, and PS3.