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For some strange reason, I decided to pick Fallout New Vegas back up this month. Chalk it up to the winter slump or my disappointment with several other games from last year. I think I just wanted to get lost in a big open world with interesting things to do and see. Regardless of the cause, I’m glad I decided to give FNV another go. Fallout New Vegas’ big, open world has always been my biggest incentive to play these types of games. This same world serves as FNV’s biggest strength and weakness.

With that said, let’s talk about what types of gamers who will enjoy and potentially be disappointed by Fallout New Vegas.

On the positive side, we’ll start with:

Explorers: As I pointed out a few seconds ago, Fallout New Vegas boasts a fairly large world for you to explore. There are great sights to see, powerful weapons and other loot to be found and an interesting cast of characters to engage. Unfortunately, much of the world outside of towns and other key locations is void of activity. This made long treks across the wasteland a chore to deal with at times.

Bookworms: This Bethsidian collaboration doesn’t deviate from the same story formula Bethesda has been using for years. Instead of focusing on telling an epic linear story, they allow the world and its characters to hook you with their various subplots. These subplots are typically more memorable than the main storyline. FNV’s choice not to deviate from this formula works in their favor. I mean, what could be more interesting than being commissioned by a club-owner as a pimp to find unique escorts for clients with strange fetishes?

Builders: Aside from the sparce options for choosing how your character looks, FNV gives you many options for leveling and developing your avatar. Do you want to be a smooth-talking explosives expert? A sharp-shooting merchant? Or would you like to run through the game buck naked using nothing but your fists? New Vegas gives you a multitude of options to create a character that suits your unique tastes.

Audiophiles: Much like Fallout 3, New Vegas gives you access to an awesome radio station DJ’ed by the silver-tongued Mr. New Vegas. His dynamic commentary that adjusts to your deeds – or misdeeds – throughout the couse of the game and the excellent oldies music he plays are like sex for your ears. To sweeten the deal, New Vegas places several subtle audio nuances in the game Gunshots constantly echo over the ridgelines in the distance, letting you know that danger is never far away. The idle chatter and white noise in bars, clubs and public areas really helps you feel as though you are there.

On the negative end:

Action Junkies: While Fallout New Vegas is part shooter, you really can’t escape using the VATS. FNV’s controls are not sharp enough to allow you to play it like an FPS. Also, depending on how you play, you may find yourself doing more talking than fighting to solve problems. After all, FNV is also part RPG. In short, don’t expect to find a heavy dose of gunplay throughout the game unless you play like an asshole–which can be fun too.

Strategiests: The VATS system is very functional and its often fun to watch your enemies explode into a bloody mess in slow motion. However, VATS in and of itself does not force you to use varying tactics. Winning most fights only requires you to target your enemy in areas with a high hit percentage and fire away–This is especially true when you are closer to max level. The bottom line here is that you get out what you put in. FNV’s VATS provides you a tactical system, but rarely punishes or rewards you for using it.

Neutral categories:

Visualists: Simply put, Fallout New Vegas aint much to look at from a technical perspective. On the flip side, the artists did a great job creating a desolate world that really looks like it’s been hammered by neuclear war and the evil that men do. Whether or not you dig FNV as a visualist really depends on whether you prefer sheer beauty over style.


Fallout New Vegas is as great as you make it. Playing it vanilla and sticking only to the main story will probably make your experience feel more like an errand-running dialog simulator than a bustling action-driven role playing game. That said, Fallout New Vegas is definitely more RPG than Shooter. If you’re looking for action and mayhem to be as plentiful as the narrative-driven events, you may be better served looking elsewhere or planning to play the game as a cold-blooded-killer with little regard for the NPCs who drive the game’s subplots.