Friday, 9 March 2012

What am I playing? - Fallout 3 Vs New Vegas

Hey guys, What am I playing is going to be a column that delves into the games I am currently enjoying, be them 1 or 10 year(s) old.

So recently I have been playing through both of the more recent Fallout titles from Bethesda. With Steam offering the ultimate editions complete with all DLC for reasonable prices, I thought 'why not'.

The House always wins...

Today I want to objectively look into the points that make a game good for me and see what each game has to offer and which I prefer, so ready your Pip boys it's time to leave the vault.

Bethesda are very good at making open RPG's and keeping away from having a set in stone path for your character follow. Whilst there are some constraints, you have a lot of freedom in how you wish for your character to act, be it a slick talking, stealthy scourge of the wastes or a righteous, all guns blazing warrior you have the freedom to be what you would like. In this aspect, Fallout New Vegas offers a lot more freedom - this is down to the multiple factions you change your standing with throughout your gameplay. New Vegas offered multiple completely different outcomes to completing the standard game, and surpassed Fallout 3 in that aspect, where you were confined to a few different speech options or choices in the final moments of the game.

Vault 101

That being said, the storyline of 3 gripped me a lot more than New Vegas - A lone vault dweller seeing the wasteland for the first time in an effort to find his lost father. As for New Vegas, the storyline definitely worsened after you get hold of the platinum chip, your epic quest for vengeance is kinda stopped short, not to say it doesn't have its moments afterward, but I definitely reached a peak in mystery and intrigue before you approach Benny.

NV does offer a very interesting story throughout the available DLC's however, which all have minor links to eachother, which was nice and kind of made up for the lack-lustre main storyline.

So NV offered more open ended gameplay and choices and had nice storylines within the DLC but 3 had a gripping storyline throughout and for that the victory of this section goes to Fallout 3

2. Gameplay
'SHIT!SHIT!SHIT!SHIT!SHIT!' were my exact words I think.
With Fallout, my preference is to play on Very Hard Difficulty. Before I invested in the games myself, I played with a friend for many hours on Normal. The problem with normal is there's only really the risk of death in the first few levels while you adjust and you tend to just stockpile Stimpaks and food without much need to use them. Very Hard difficulty offers much more of a challenge, nothing gets the blood pumping more than meeting a Deathclaw or Super Mutant Behemoth on this difficulty.

New Vegas bought something I loved to the table, Hardcore mode. Activating this just added to the challenge and you can spend a good half hour trying to get past a certain group of enemies over and over, you can't just instant heal up with a few spammed stimpaks. You actually had to live like a wastelander - keeping hunger at bay and feeding yourself whenever you could. New Vegas also added a couple of mini-games to the table, being casino orientated, so you get the option to kick back in post-apocalyptic Vegas and play some card games or slots which was a nice feature.

For both games on PC I did have the issue that the vanilla games crashed - a hell of a lot. Sometimes I'd go a couple of hours with no crashes and sometimes I would have 3 in 15 minutes. Didn't experience any issues with the DLC on either game but I had to make sure I was constantly pressing F5 (quicksave) as not to lose my progress. Very annoying, but I guess it built up a good habit.

Anyway, I digress. In terms of gameplay New Vegas is the clear winner, a forseeable outcome as it was built on the foundations of Fallout 3.

3. Atmosphere
This is one of the key points for me, as this attributed to or detracted from my enjoyment of both titles. The overall feel of the games. Fallout for me has always enticed me due to the feeling of mystery and exploration into the unknown whilst walking the wastes, finding places untouched by humans for many years, and the sense of wilderness and lonliness.

I found the Capital Wasteland in fallout three was amazing. Be it walking the Super mutant infested streets of DC or finding an abandoned vault in the wastes the sense of adventure was always present.

What I also liked about the Capital Wasteland, is that you could eventually stumble on a place that has had no contact from anyone since the war, be it just a house where the inhabitants perished when the bombs dropped. Or the underground remnants of a factory basement - now full of nasty creatures.

New Vegas, on the other hand, doesn't seem as barren at all. One of my major gripes with the game was the fact I wasn't so much as wandering a lonley wasteland anymore, I was just moving from settlement to settlement and it seemed humans were everywhere. Sure the Mojave had its share of abandoned buildings and facilities, but nowhere near the amount as 3. This annoyed me. I lost that feeling of imminent danger and it didn't feel so much as a wasteland as it did in 3.

Yeah it did have big barren areas, but there was -never- the thought that you could have been the first in 'x' place since the bombs stopped dropping and people hopped out their Vaults. This gave the game a completely different feel to 3, which in some ways is good, keeping it fresh and new, but in other ways it was a little disappointing.

So with that being said I'd say the winner here would be Fallout 3

While both games are awesome in their own right and both have good and negative aspects, I will have to side with Fallout 3. This is mainly because of my third point, and the fact that it kept me playing a lot more than New Vegas. Once I had completed the main story and DLC in New Vegas, I never got the urge to trawl through the Mojave and Explore every single nook and cranny, but with Fallout 3 I did. Fallout three has definitely consumed many more hours of my time than new Vegas also, and even with a smaller amount of guns and armour and extra features, it managed to grip my attention much more than its successor.

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