‘Fallout: New Vegas’ proves timeless


IMAGE / Wikimedia Commons

Approaching the10th anniversary of its release, “Fallout: New Vegas” provides RPG fans a nostalgic and entertaining experience full of unique characters and enthralling quests.

As Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order forced me to keep to my house, I fired up my Xbox and popped in the classic open-world RPG “Fallout: New Vegas.” The game will reach its 10-year anniversary October 19.

Senior Cameron Gohs appreciates the game’s quality.

“I think it’s a great game compared to all games and my personal favorite of the ‘Fallout’ games,” Gohs said. “It had an interesting setting and diverse characters.”

In the sixth release in the “Fallout” franchise, players act as the Courier, a delivery person in a post-apocalyptic world devastated by nuclear warfare.

The Courier is tasked with delivering the Platinum Chip to Mr. Robert House, a businessman whose technology saved Las Vegas from annihilation and resurrected it from the ashes of the post-Great War world.

As the Courier travels up the Long 15 to New Vegas, a mobster named Benny (voiced by Matthew Perry) springs an ambush with the assistance of a group of Great Khans, a local faction. Killing the Courier and burying him, Benny and the Khans leave.

A Securitron named Victor digs up the Courier and delivers him to Doc Mitchell in the local town of Goodsprings. Mitchell patches up the Courier and the player takes over as the character, embarking on an unforgettable adventure full of detailed side quests, riveting characters, and fascinating locales.

I can’t rave enough to do this game justice; it’s simply a game that every enthusiast should fire up at least once in their life.

Whether you enjoy exploring vast worlds, fighting with enemies, or completing tasks, “Fallout: New Vegas” proves chock full of entertainment value.

For players wanting an added challenge, the game offers a hardcore mode that accounts for hunger, thirst, and sleep as their levels impact the player. Limb damage requires the use of a doctor’s bag rather than the direct application of a Stimpak in hardcore mode.

If a game full of occasional odd encounters suits a player’s fancy, the Wild Wasteland trait will spice up the game with 15 encounters referencing pop culture with an often dark humor. Many of the references carry over from past installments of the “Fallout” franchise.

The storytelling of the game keeps players coming back for more. Every angle to every quest or encounter is built like a Swiss watch.

Think of the classic scene where Spongebob Squarepants spends hours making an elaborate drop cap of the word “the.” That’s the level of effort evident in every little detail of “Fallout: New Vegas.”

Every time a player boots up the game, they can easily find something they never encountered.

Even the soundtrack provides the perfect accompaniment to long hours of gameplay.

IMAGE / Wikimedia Commons
A collectors edition of “Fallout: New Vegas” gave players chips representing the major casinos in the game, a deck of specialty cards, a DVD detailing its creation, a graphic novel, and a platinum chip.

Classics like Marty Robbins’ “Big Iron” and Dean Martin’s “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” generate an optimistic, adventurous mood that marries the high society aura of New Vegas with the cowboy undertones of the Mojave wasteland.

Faction encounters drive the story of the game perfectly and the development of a reputation with each group makes “Fallout: New Vegas” perfect for those who enjoy playing the lovable hero, those who love being a treacherous scourge, and every gamer in between.

Interactions with New California Republic troops and Legion recruits can turn ordinary journeys across the Mojave into chaotic encounters.

And if players want to expand the game, the “Dead Money,” “Honest Hearts,” “Lonesome Road,” and “Old World Blues” downloadable content packs add hours of extra content.

Even the game’s graphics hold up surprisingly well despite being a decade old. Just don’t take off Craig Boone’s sunglasses.

While aesthetics hold up, issues lie in terrain generation as Gohs noted.

“Its main negative is the occasional poorly made terrain like hills you fall into,” Gohs said, “but that’s pretty standard for open world games.”

The only true downside I see in “Fallout: New Vegas” lies in the player’s choosing of a side in preparation to fight on Hoover Dam.

Seeing the outcome of every side requires multiple playthroughs or the use of multiple save files. The game inevitably prevents players from having their cake and eating it too.

But maybe that downside serves as the driving force for the game’s quality. The constant deliberation of every action in reference to factions helps build a sense of realism in which the player projects their own values and emotions into the game.

By building this connection, the game’s developers masterfully harness players’ emotions.

Gohs believes “Fallout: New Vegas” holds up at it nears 10 years since its release.

“I would say it holds up since its only competition is ‘Fallout 4’ which most people liked to play but disliked the story of,” Gohs said, “and ‘Fallout 76’ which is no competition to most games ever.”