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Tom Buck – Staff Writer

Switching into the capable hands of Besthesda Softworks proved to be the right idea for 2008’s hit role playing game, Fallout 3, but as Fallout: New Vegas again changes hands to new developer, Obsidian, the proven formula loses a bit of its freshness.

Fallout: New Vegas’ storyline is a missed opportunity, especially after its promising opening. Many years after a nuclear holocaust lays waste to the area surrounding Las Vegas, a player controlled courier is held at gunpoint and has their cargo, a mysterious platinum poker chip, stolen by a man who says, “It was all rigged from the start.” The greater plot alluded to by the quote never comes to pass and depending on in-game choices, the chip may not factor at all into the ending. The story instead comes within each of the games separate towns – vignettes with mini plot arcs and plenty of characters. It’s a shame, however, that none of these characters stay for long enough to build any attachment or become full characters.

Though the game’s name would have one believe it takes place in Vegas, the majority of the player’s time is spent interacting with the surrounding wasteland. Every city, faction and non-player-character’s fate is decided by the player’s influence. An average play-through will take at least 20 hours, but there is easily 100 hours of single-player content on the disc.

The most important thing to note before purchasing this game is that it does not play in any way like a traditional shooter. The controls don’t feel anywhere near as fluid as something like Call of Duty, and success in a gunfight is governed by how you build your character. As your character gains experience, you will be able to enhance various attributes like strength, effecting how much your player can carry, or speech, allowing for more dialog options with the game’s characters.

Fallout: New Vegas was a game that felt incredibly stiff, provided graphics that were just good enough and had far too many glitches. This subpar presentation is not in line with the change in standards since 2008. Fallout: New Vegas should not have been released with the amount of bugs it had.

The game does redeem itself somewhat by crafting a convincing replica of the Las Vegas area. The Hoover Dam in particular is impressively authentic, but authenticity cannot make up for poor game play.

Enjoyment depends on an ability to ignore the heavy amount of glitches and to get past what may seem like a steep learning curve. Its minor hang-ups make it an acquired taste, but those who want something that strays from the typical run-and-gun affair should take a gamble on Fallout: New Vegas.

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