Fallout: New Vegas super review

  • The companion system
  • Hours and hours of sidequest-age
  • V.A.T.S. goresplosions
  • Crashes
  • Excessive loading screens
  • Eating radroach meat. It's still gross.

Fallout: New Vegas begins with a bang, leaving you shot in the head and left for dead in a shallow grave. But luck is on your side that night in the post-apocalyptic New West. You survive, thanks to a mysteriously chivalrous robot and a nearby town doctor. Tracking down the men who tried to kill you is just the beginning of the mystery. Before long, you'll find yourself drawn into a war over the future of the Mojave Desert and control over the Las Vegas strip.

There are several factions vying for control of the desert wasteland. Mr. House rules the Vegas strip. With his army of security robots, he calls the shots and maintains control over the casinos and dens of sin. The NCR (New California Republic) is a military faction, attempting to maintain law and order with their stockpile of pre-war weapons and supplies. And then, there's Ceasar's Legion, a powerful slaving organization that controls a vast army. They are assaulting the Hoover Dam in an attempt to wrest control over the largest source of electricity in the region from the NCR.

It'll be up to you to tip the scales to favor one of these factions as they wage war over the wasteland. Or you can decide to take everything and appoint yourself as leader of a better New Vegas. As you blaze trails through the game's main story, it's all too easy to get wrapped up in the side quests, but that's what makes Fallout: New Vegas so fun.

There are tons of smaller factions and tribes in the Mojave wasteland, and you can easily spend over a 100 hours playing the game as you discover all the gems tucked away in its expansive world. Do good deeds and earn the favor of various groups or be a villain and make the people fear your name. There are always new places to discover and new people to help (or kill).

Above: Gain favor with the NCR, for example, and you'll be able to call in support troops to aid you

The wasteland is a dangerous place, full of radioactive mutants, psychotic bandits, and feral ghouls. But this time around, Fallout: New Vegas lets you bring a companion along to share the burden. As you travel, you'll meet NPCs who will join you. Help them, and they'll help you with extra firepower and special perks that will make you stronger. You can also find non-human companions to help you fight, like an old Enclave battle droid or a mechanical guard dog.

The companion system works great and having someone watching your back in a fight makes wandering through the wasteland much less lonely. Each companion you meet comes with a set of side quests that reveal more about their back story and can change your standing with other factions in the game. Complete them, and you're companions will become more loyal and powerful. You can only bring one companion with you at a time. But later, when you settle down in the Vegas strip, you'll be able to have your spare companions wait for you in your hotel suite. It's pretty fun to visit your base and see everyone hanging out.

Above: When Cass is your companion, you'll get the Whiskey Rose perk, which will let you take extra damage when you drink whiskey

Veterans who played Fallout 3 should also consider Fallout: New Vegas' hardcore difficulty mode for their first play through. It's not for everyone. But we liked it a lot and for those who like an extra challenge, the hardcore mode really freshens up the game by adding lots of survival-themed restrictions, which make your treks through the harsh desert more realistic. Your character will get hungry, thirsty, and sleepy. So you'll need to make sure you have food items, water, and rest to prevent negative effects. Push your body too hard, and you may even wind up dying from hunger or exhaustion. Healing items, like stimpacks, aren't quite as effective either, and your ammo has weight, requiring you to make sure you only carry what you'll need to survive.

Fallout: New Vegas also adds several sweet tweaks to the weapon system. Special ammo, like armor piercing rounds and hollow bullets, are abundant - and you'll need them as you start encountering tougher enemies later in the game. You can also modify and customize all your guns with extra parts to make them more effective.

Above: Loading screens seem to last too long in the console versions

The cast of voice actors in Fallout: New Vegas is also mighty impressive. Ron Perlman reprises his role as the narrator, voicing the intro and outro scenes in the game. We still get goose bumps when he says, "War never changes." Fallout 2 players will also welcome the return of Marcus, the super mutant, played by Star Trek: The Next Generation's Michael Dorn. Wayne Newton also does an excellent job voicing Mister New Vegas, DJ for the Radio New Vegas channel. We'll take his old-timey voice over the howling Three Dog from Fallout 3 any day.

Fans of Felicia Day will be pleased that the star of The Guild and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog voices a companion character named Veronica. She's a scribe for The Brotherhood of Steel and has several awesome side quests. Also on the celebrity list is Hollywood goon-for-hire Danny Trejo, who voices companion character Raul the Ghoul. The zombified bandito voiced by the star of Machete also seems destined to be a favorite companion amongst fans.

Above: After Power Fisting a feral ghoul to death, Veronica watched as we had joyless videogame sex with a Vegas prostitute. Here's us the morning after. It was our most shameful moment in Fallout: New Vegas

Unfortunately, Fallout: New Vegas also comes packed with more than its fair share of frustrating bugs. The PS3 and 360 version of the game frequently hitches, bringing the game to a screeching halt with frozen screens. If you're not a frequent saver, you will be after about eight hours of playing. We experienced repeated crashes in all three versions of the game, which ended up with us losing all our progress. Not even key events are immune to the game's occasional wonkiness. In one play through, the game's final battle was interrupted by such as crash.

It also seems like scripted events, which require NPCs to move about, often unravel in unexpected ways. So, don't be surprised if an in-game cut scene finds one NPC giving an inspiring speech to the wall in one room while his audience stumbles about in the corner of another area. It's disappointing to see such a lack of polish in a high-profile game like this. But these glitches never stop the game from being fun, and patches are on the way. Earlier this week, just one day after Fallout: New Vegas released, Bethesda Softworks responded to player complaints about the game's technical problems, promising patches for all versions of the game. 

Above: As frustrating as the bugs were, they never stopped the game from being fun

Is it better than?

Borderlands? Yes. New Vegas bests Borderlands as both an action game and an RPG. We'll take the cinematic gore show provided by Fallout's V.A.T.S. combat system over Borderlands straightforward shooter affair in a heartbeat. The world of New Vegas has so much more character than Pandora, and leveling up your character with your Pip-Boy feels way more rewarding than Borderlands' character system.

Fallout 1 and 2? Yes. Without the first Fallout titles, Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas just wouldn't be possible. But even though these games were amazing when they were released, they just feel too dated to go back to today. On the other hand, fans of the original games will like that New Vegas is more like the originals than Fallout 3, in that it has more wacky and weird occurrences.

Fallout 3? No. At every turn, Fallout: New Vegas seems determined to one-up Fallout 3, but despite all the extra content, it never does. New Vegas may have more swagger in its step, but stomping through the sandy plains of the Mojave desert isn't quite as exciting as exploring the Capital Wasteland after taking your first steps out of Vault 101 in Fallout 3.

Just for you, Metacritic!

Despite the crashes and technical hiccups, New Vegas makes up for its rough spots with an engaging main quest and an ocean of side quests to keep you busy for hours as you prepare for the game's final conflict. It may not have the same 'wow' factor as Fallout 3, but Fallout: New Vegas still delivers the goods with an expansive new region of the wasteland to wander through.

Oct 22, 2010

More Info

Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PC, PS3
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: Bethesda
Developed by: Obsidian
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Use of Drugs, Sexual Content
PEGI Rating:


  • Tardiff830 - May 15, 2011 6:09 p.m.

    I picked up this game yesterday after wanting to try it for a while, and I am so glad I did.I love this game! It sometimes freezes & crashes though, but other than that this game is terrific!
  • 360dopeBOY - December 4, 2010 7:07 p.m.

    this game is the shit. the graphics are awesome. love how you can play it in so many ways. already waisted 200+ hrs of my life playing:[, lol. like every1 else says the glitchs are a bitch, but the gameplay makes up for it.
  • pots555 - December 1, 2010 11:15 p.m.

    I think New Vegas is better than F3. The atmosphere and factions are great. Plus, the Strip and the gambling bring something new to this already awesome franchise.
  • zombieslayer3344ten - November 13, 2010 11:40 p.m.

    I love Fallout: New Vegas. For some reason though... I feel like somehow in fallout 3 I knew the character better, I decided what he was like when he grew up. Although, New vegas does have more options and more personality, it built upon the karma system on fallout 3 by adding reputation, but New Vegas is absolutely amazing.
  • Amatarasu - November 9, 2010 5:54 a.m.

    I personaly like New Vegas better than fallout 3, the bright, sunny atmosphere of the Mojave is...better than the bleak brownness of the CW also, i think their just trying to pull some stuff out their ass for the "We Hate" parts. those crashes existed in Fallout 3 too, turn auto save on, it may leave you scrambeling to find proof as to why you had boone shoot that girl because it autosaved on you, but it keeps you from loosing 10 hours gameplay, witch, these crashes only happend at 6+ hours anyway.
  • 6osslife - October 31, 2010 6:20 a.m.

    i think it deserves a 9. I love the game, im not finished with it but i plan on playing over again after i do. The only things i have problems with is the glitches, and with the music. I loved the music from fallout 3. the stuff is just annoying. i just think they should have made more control over certain factions, like you should be able to take them over and run them would have made it more fun. overall i love it.
  • lilspooky - October 25, 2010 6:46 p.m.

    I'm playing on the PC, and after the first few days and patches, its running like butter on my system! Already started modding the shit out of it. i <3 Fallout!
  • str8facekilla - October 25, 2010 3:15 p.m.

    i needed a 2nd opinion for this and now i got it, thanks GR
  • VMPSaberwolf - October 25, 2010 12:12 p.m.

    I bought the PC version from Steam. Decent game, Fallout 3 is better currently but then again FO3 has had years to patch and expansions to make it better. This game also has the capability to be something great given patches and time. Overall happy with the purchase, if a bit overwhelmed with the new mechanics, ammo, and other things.
  • Billiam101 - October 25, 2010 12:31 a.m.

    I can feel the rage from the comments. (gets knocked down) Wow, the rage from the comments just hit me in the face, better stay out of this one. Just walk away before it turns into a war, just walk away... (War never changes)-FTW!
  • CandiedJester - October 25, 2010 12:01 a.m.

    @Shuuvuia Please, don't call yourself a Fallout fan if that's how you think about the games. Fallout 3 was so far removed from Fallout it shouldn't really be considered a sequel but rather a Fallout-inspired separate game. Fallout is meant to be in the desert, in the south, not in a cold northern city. How long have you been playing New Vegas? How did you not find the mojave exciting?? It's full of life! And full of FALLOUT. And full of awesome. You have to be doing it wrong. And have you even played 1 and 2? Because if you played 1 and liked it how could you NOT appreciate all that they brought back into new vegas, and all the nods to the original game?! Fallout 1 is my all time favorite game, ever. There is no way I would ever choose Fallout 3 over New Vegas when New Vegas is so much closer to the real fallout feel. And btw, Fallout 3 is NOT the culmination of everything good about Fallout. It wasn't even funny at all, while New Vegas is hilarious and brought back the goofy, which makes me love it even more. And Fallout 3 had hardly any choices, good luck "staking out your own story" in that one, your path is chosen for you. Whereas New Vegas, you really DO get to stake out your own place in the world via the faction system, and the million ways you can get to the end. There's a mind-boggling amount of choice in New Vegas, which is one of the big reasons I love the hell out of it. And I don't see how Fallout 3 has any more satisfactory leveling and experience gaining, it's pretty much the same damn thing in that way. I don't know how anyone sees anything wrong with New Vegas, at all. Aside from the bugs of course. It's a DAMN fine game, and makes so many improvements if I went back to 3 I'd feel as if I were back in the stone age.
  • JADENkOTOR - October 24, 2010 10:17 p.m.

    @Kit07 I'll go and grab a cup with you.
  • Shuuvuia - October 24, 2010 6:46 p.m.

    I like New Vegas so far. I don't think it's as good as Fallout 3, nor do I think it is better than one or two, but it is still really good. The Wasteland just isn't as exciting to me as the Capital Wasteland. While I'm probably going to get some mean looks, here is my ranking of the Fallout series: Fallout 3 > Fallout2 > Fallout > Fallout: New Vegas. Fallout 3 gets knocked around alot for being "different" from the originals, but it is, in a lot of ways, the culmination of everything that is good about Fallout. A great sense of (dark) humor, action, the satisfaction of leveling up and gaining experience, and staking out your own story in the world.
  • JosefMotley - October 24, 2010 3:45 p.m.

    wow this page is now drowning in spam. well, finally played it... and here's my verdict. i can't be arsed with a game that expects you to spend 45% of your playtime slowly "running" across an oversized map, 45% deciding what to drop from your inventory due to pointless weight system, and about 10% actually playing a game. i'd need to be on a LOT of drugs to make that in any way entertaining. didn't play it long enough to see any crashes or glitches, but that's cause after about half an hour i was so bored i decided to uninstall it and spend my time playing something that's actually fun
  • Eliath - October 24, 2010 12:45 p.m.

    @N1kc Yes, definitely. There are so many other things that I could or should be doing that when a big game like FO:NV comes out I want it to be as good as it can get so I can sit down and lose myself in it for 50 hours or so. ReCaptcha: declare ohness Oh yeah!!! (in the koolaid man's voice from Family Guy)
  • CandiedJester - October 24, 2010 8:59 a.m.

    @Jose33 I agree with everything you just said. Well put.
  • N1kc - October 24, 2010 7:31 a.m.

    For all the people who want tested games, are you willing to wait a few more months?
  • Jose33 - October 24, 2010 4:07 a.m.

    I'm only a few hours through, but damn this game is the shit. There's tons and TONS of side quests, (Fallout 3 only had about 30, while Vegas has about 80) its hilarious, the companion system is far more developed, and the main quest has loads of variations and depth. The bugs become so unnoticeable the more you become immersed that complaining about them becomes useless. DEFINITELY superior to F3.
  • kit07 - October 24, 2010 4:05 a.m.

    @brettelston i didn't mean to offend you guys, as i respect and agree with pretty much every single review you guys write up. but i haved played TES4 and FO3 and i know how much of a buggy mess those games can be (im talking ps3 here) so i can only imagine that FONV is the same if not worse. (reading from the comments alone there seems to be a bunch of issues already with it. for me, if this is such a problem then i dont believe the game should get that high of a score. with a score like that im to believe that when i pick this up and sit down with it, it should run smoothly. not crash, not freeze, nothing. but of course it will and i will swear out loud. and this is why i accused you guys. sorry i love this sight and trust ur reviews all the time, just this one i couldn't stand by. maybe sites should start doing two reviews. one right before launch and one a couple months later when patches have been put in. @thevoid your pretty cool man. coffee sometime?
  • taylornolfi - October 24, 2010 3:34 a.m.

    too bad there are glitches, won't be getting this until there is a game of the year/ updated version. I loved fallout 3 and im sad that the new developer made the same exact mistakes as the bethesda. With gamecrashing bugs. WHY

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