PAX 2010: Fallout: New Vegas Hands-On
September 4, 2010, 3:21 pm
When Fallout 3 came out in 2008, it garnered widespread praise for its open world design and non-linear gameplay mechanics. Bethesda hopes to recapture that magic with Fallout: New Vegas. However, whereas Bethesda Game Studios developed Fallout 3, the baton has been passed down to Obsidian Entertainment for its follow up.
Unlike Fallout 3, New Vegas does not take place in the wastelands of Washington D.C., but, you guessed it, Vegas. Unlike the Vegas you know and love (or hate), New Vegas takes place in a similar post-apocalyptic environment; as a matter of fact, New Vegas borrows a whole lot from Fallout 3. The shotguns, pistols and rifles, while not necessarily the same make and models, feel very similar to their Fallout 3 counterparts. In addition, from what we’ve played so far, the mission objectives aren’t too different than what you might encounter in Fallout 3. The Game asked us to track down a certain man, from there you ask the man where some bandits are, and then from there you go and try to hunt down the bandits. Pretty standard mission objectives from what we’ve played so far.
While the game does not take place in D.C., the landscape of the wasteland isn’t too different than that of Fallout 3’s. You’ll still encounter plenty of run-down buildings, rocky terrain, hills, and beat-up and abandoned machinery. One noticeable difference regarding the surroundings are the colors of the environments. Whereas Washington D.C. featured more grey tones, Obsidian Entertainment has seemed to opt for a more western-themed brown color palette. The atmosphere seems to have a more desert Wild West feel to it; however, that is not to say that you should expect to see John Wayne strolling through on a horse anytime soon. Fallout: New Vegas is still chalk full of all the bandits and mutated monsters you love to kill so much. Because East Coast wildlife and West Coast wildlife differ, you’ll find different creatures in New Vegas. During our hands-on with the game, we encountered new bug and lizard-like mutants not previously seen in Bethesda’s previous game.
Because New Vegas is still using the same two-year old graphics engine as featured in Fallout 3, the game is looking quite dated, especially when you compare it to some of the newer linear FPS out there. Granted, one can argue that’s like comparing apples to oranges, but you just can’t help but make that comparison as a gamer. While the game still isn’t done yet, I felt it looked noticeably worse than Fallout 3 in certain areas. Because I played Fallout 3 on a decent PC, I noticed right away that New Vegas, running on the Xbox 360, didn’t look nearly as crisp and sharp in the texture department. This is especially evident in buildings that are far off in the distance, which look insanely washed-out in comparison to your surrounding environments.
One gripe that I had with Fallout 3 are with its glitches. While New Vegas is still a work in progress, we did notice a variety of technical issues. During my relatively short 15 minutes or so I had with the game, I came across enemies and bugs that would get stuck in the environments. In addition, there was a mission objective that asked me to talk to a man, but the guy would, for whatever reason, run around all over the place and not stay put so I could ask him my question and carry on with my mission. As previously noted, the game isn’t done, but if you were irked by the glitches in Fallout 3, you might want to take note that this may also be a problem in New Vegas.
In summation, if you loved Fallout 3, then there’s a strong likelihood that you will at the very least enjoy New Vegas. The same enjoyable VAT system is still present and the core gameplay mechanics remain nearly identical to its predecessor. This also means that if you didn’t care for Bethesda’s previous effort, there seems to be little in the way of New Vegas changing your mind.