Monday, June 4, 2012

Fallout 3 Vs. Fallout: New Vegas

The Elder Scrolls IV: OblivionFallout New Vegas

Image found here.                                                   Image found here.

The image of your father's dead lab partner still burns in your skull as you race for the vault door.  The whole vault is after you, though the reasons why are hazy, something about your father (they're after him too, though he's already gone).  You've never been out of the vault before, but now, you have no choice.  You must run, or you will die by the hands of the only community you've ever known.  As you go through the door, you get your first taste of real sunlight.  You're eyes finally adjust, but all you can see are destroyed buildings, and a wasteland as inhospitable as a nightmare.  This makes you reflect on your supplies: a vault jumpsuit, some rat meat, and a pistol with about eleven bullets.  It makes you want, so badly, to find civilization.  You need people, not just because you need a friend, but because they are the only way for you to survive.

What makes Fallout 3, arguably, my favorite video game of all time?  This opening.  When Fallout: New Vegas first came out, a lot of my gaming buddies asked me how it stood out against Fallout 3.  I fumbled around with each of them until I finally figured out which I liked better, why, and why some might disagree with me.  The evolution of my thoughts is what made this take so long to write, but now, I think I have my thoughts in order enough to compare the games.

Mechanically, both Fallouts are incredibly similar.  There's a huge world to explore, one in Washington D.C. and the other in, you guessed it, the desert of Las Vegas.  Both environments are interesting and unique, full of fascinating people, terrifying monsters, and landmarks that make it all believable.  It was fun for me to come to certain metro stations in D.C. while my wife was around because she spent a summer working in D.C. and often knew the stations I was at, along with where she worked.  All the important buildings were there.  I don't know much about the surroundings of Las Vegas, but when I played, my wife and I had taken a trip through there just a few months before, so it was fun to see what was left of some of the towns in the game when we'd seen the town in real life just a little while before.

Both games have tremendous arsenals, but New Vegas's is much larger.  There are more subsets of guns and a larger variety of bullets.  There are also attachments and augments for your guns in New Vegas, where there really aren't any in Fallout 3.  These changes will be a welcome expansion for the gamers who love huge arsenals, but for me, it was too much.  I didn't need that many options, I really just wanted a sniper rifle and an assault rifle.  So, the change wasn't bad, it just wasn't my style.  For a lot of gamers it was probably a very welcome change.

The graphics are just about the same in both.  The art style tries to make your surroundings look real with a bland pallet and dim lighting.  The people look the same in both, including somewhat unnatural looking movements and lack of facial expressions.

Maturity wise, both games are also similar.  New Vegas does have more frequent cuss words, including a lot of 'f-bombs' in one particular area, and it does have 'dancers' outside of clubs while you're on the strip, so it would probably be considered 'more mature' than 3, but for me, that was a little bit of a turn off.

And the main similarity is in gameplay.  You have weapons, you run around, you kill/run away from monsters, and you do side quests while dodging the main quest line for as long as you can.  It's really what makes both games so great.  Both have melee combat the feels clunky and unpolished.  Both have the V.A.T.S. system, which allows you to forget about aiming and let your characters shooting expertise take over to hit specific body parts, and if your character's stats are good enough, make them explode into little pieces that you can find later.

So, what really makes these two game so different?  The opening and reason for your character to do what he/she is doing.  3 is a game of survival, and trying to reunite with your dad.  It's full of moments where you feel unprepared and a little nervous about what's on the other side of that tunnel.  New Vegas gives you a totally different feeling.  It starts off with your character getting his head blown off, some old guy putting it back together, and the rest of the game is about you seeking revenge.  It does have more compelling decisions at the end, but getting to the end felt pointless to me.  I didn't care about seeking revenge, I don't care about that in real life, so doing it in the game wasn't all that fun. In my opinion, the base storyline of the game goes to Fallout 3, and it is so much better that I felt like it spring-boarded the game well above New Vegas.  It's one of my all time favorites and will probably always be, because even on my second play through, stepping out of that vault still gave me butterflies.

The Bottom-Line:  I'm playing through Fallout 3 again, and will probably do so several more times, while I took Fallout: New Vegas and sold it so that I could buy and Assassin's Creed game.


  1. I agree. Great effects and graphics are all well & good, but when it comes down to it, a good story line can make all the difference.

    1. Exactly. And, this is no disrespect to anyone who likes the New Vegas better because it's a little shinier, or because of the guns. I just think survival story trumps revenge story any day.