The Fallout TV show made me finally go back to New Vegas after over 10 years

Fallout: New Vegas
(Image credit: Bethesda)

When it comes to open-world RPGs, I have a problem with binging. I absolutely absorb as much as I possibly can until I can no more, and then I want nothing to do with it for a very, very long time. I've repeated this model with every modern Fallout game, in part because my literal job at the time entirely hinged on Fallout, and yet somehow the new Fallout TV show has convinced me to do something I'd thought I would never do again.

Lord help me, I'm playing Fallout: New Vegas again after 10 years. And I'm even enjoying myself.

If you're somehow not already aware, the Fallout show on Prime Video takes place out west, and in terms of the modern Fallout games, there's really only one of those that's anywhere near that. And if you've seen the show the entire way through, well, you can probably imagine why New Vegas, specifically, was calling my name.

I knew from the jump, thanks to having returned to several other older games before, that I wanted to mod the game to the hilt. Not to fundamentally change the gameplay in any real way, but to smooth the pain points like UI and so on. I still wanted the experience all that New Vegas had to offer, and without cheating, but on my own terms.

Old world blues

Fallout New Vegas

(Image credit: Bethesda)

That doesn't mean it's been all roses and rainbows. Some of the early allegations against New Vegas remain broadly true. It can feel a bit empty, for example, running through the desert from place to place. And even with all the visual upgrades and fixes that a decades worth of patches and mods have applied, there's still an excessively brown color to just about everything, making it wildly difficult to pick out anything from the environment.

If this sounds overly negative, understand that it's meant to set the tone for the following: what an incredibly delightful piece of work. Fallout: New Vegas doesn't have all the bells and whistles of Fallout 4, but it has easily shot back to the top of my list of modern favorites. The writing alone (no surprise there; Obsidian regularly kills it in this department) makes a compelling case for this.

In an ideal world, there would be a totally new Fallout game to play here and now. The fact that Bethesda had basically nothing ready to go when the show was released beyond a couple of quests in Fallout Shelter is baffling. I have to imagine someone, somewhere, is really kicking themselves over that decision. But there's also probably someone, somewhere that's being given plenty of kudos after the meteoric rise in folks playing what is essentially every other Fallout possible, including the ongoing MMO.

Having poured a bunch of hours into New Vegas for the first time in over a decade, even with the caveat that I'm intimately familiar with it and therefore nothing is particularly a surprise, I do think Fallout 4 remains the best option for someone looking to get into the games for the first time. That's especially true for anyone that's not really someone that plays traditional video games. If the world of the show interests you, and you want more of that feeling ahead of Season 2, play Fallout 4.

But if you're someone that does regularly play games, and you just so happened to miss out on Fallout: New Vegas the first time around, it is easily my top recommendation. The tone and vibes of New Vegas are a closer match, in my opinion, to those of the show. The show embraces the truly weird and wacky and unusual aspects of Fallout lore to a surprising degree, and none of the modern games have done as good a job at this as New Vegas – and, frankly, given how well New Vegas does it, it may never be topped.

Look, there's a reason that Fallout: New Vegas tops our list of the best Fallout games.

Rollin Bishop
US Managing Editor

Rollin is the US Managing Editor at GamesRadar+. With over 16 years of online journalism experience, Rollin has helped provide coverage of gaming and entertainment for brands like IGN, Inverse,, and more. While he has approximate knowledge of many things, his work often has a focus on RPGs and animation in addition to franchises like Pokemon and Dragon Age. In his spare time, Rollin likes to import Valkyria Chronicles merch and watch anime.