From the perspective of someone who absolutely fell in love exploring the world Bethesda created in Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas comes across as a hard pill to swallow. Though by no means a bad game, it truly is a lesser one. There's much less to see and do and what is available is a whole heck of a lot less interesting. For me, one of the things that made F.O.3 so amazing was the care put into making the Capital Wasteland feel like a living breathing place. Whether it was encountering a band of Brotherhood of Steel outcasts on some lonely deserted road for the first time, following mysterious radio transmissions to the remains of a downed alien saucer, or chancing upon some unfortunate wastelander captive of the super mutants, the D.C. ruins were an explorer's paradise. Every location was memorable in at least some small way, even if it was only to help add to the overall mood of the environment. By contrast, Vegas feels gutted and empty. While this may seemingly be justified by the fact the Mojave Wasteland is located in a desert, and not a big east coast city, it still doesn't excuse the relative lack of creativity that permeates the game. See a cluster of buildings out there in the distance? Don't get too excited, they're most likely boarded up. Get used to that. The Mojave has no room for little gems like Andale (remember those quirky cannibals?) Story-wise New Vegas is a lot less linear than its predecessor. That might sound like a good thing but, unfortunately, with no firm hand to keep it under control the plot ends up getting away from the developers. F.O.3 knew how to create and sustain momentum by parceling out its many great setpieces. The linear path guided the player to such highlights like an insane battle against a mutant juggernaut at Three Dog's and the horrors of a 1950s-style VR nightmare. But why bother with such things in a game like New Vegas where you can simply go up to any faction leader and blow their brains out, thereby bypassing a lot of quests? To sum up my feelings with a useful example: (MINOR SPOILERS) A quest has you investigating reports about (among other promisingly cool things) mutant legionaries attacking an outpost. But when you arrive there you are simply told no such things exist. The obvious question then: BUT WHY THE HELL DON'T THEY, OBSIDIAN?!
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