I hate that I hate the conclusion of Fallout: New Vegas. The immersive and deep Fallout universe has had me hooked for years. The franchise’s detailed back-story, the spectrum of quirky characters and the freedom of story development all combined to create the most entertaining time sink I have experienced for a long time.
I am drawn into the style and themes of Fallout. I enjoy the 1950’s based b-movie aesthetic and the nostalgic homage to Americana shrouded in the grim realisation of cold war paranoia. I love the figurative tilt-of-the-hat to terrible sci-fi, the clunky and often ridiculous technology that could be lifted straight from Forbidden Planet or Flash Gordon. So much of the make-up of the game appeals to my inner geek. In both Fallout 3 and New Vegas, the story is engaging varied and can be approached from various angles depending on player disposition. The main story, the seemingly limitless number of side-quests and the ability to roam and explore endlessly combine to provide longevity of gameplay that far outstrips most other titles.
New Vegas’s gameplay isn’t a leap forward from Fallout 3, but I still enjoyed the mix of RPG and 1st/3rd person shooter. The game allows players to approach combat in a variety of ways, employing stealth, strength or guile to achieve their aims, lay waste to foes and progress toward a player-choice determined conclusion. Unfortunately, despite the best part of 70 hours of gameplay and a series of excellent quests and encounters, glitches and plot holes in the ending have left me deflated.
In the story strand that I followed, my ending resulted in an encounter with a character I had not yet met in the course of the game, but who greeted me as an old comrade and referred to a previous meeting and conversation that never happened. To my great annoyance at the height of the final battle the graphics became glitchy, although I had experienced glitches in-game prior to this juncture and an internet search has assured me that it’s not a universal problem. It’s because of the excellent gaming experience leading up to the end that the below standard conclusion annoys me as much as it has.
I do not expect the game to be perfect; perfect probably isn’t possible. However, considering the time and detail put into the game, these few problems at the crescendo of the game should have been ironed out. I’m not sorry I played New Vegas – it was my favourite game since Mass Effect 2 – but I am disappointed that I hated the execution of my story’s conclusion, if not the content. I don’t feel the urge to revisit it immediately and follow the other possible conclusions, but when I do get around to it I hope they will lead to a more complete understanding of the relationship between my character and the random NPC I encountered this time. Hopefully my 360 will choose not to glitch at the critical moment too.