Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fallout: New Vegas (First Impressions)

So after trading in a lot of dust covered games and a spare console or two, I picked up the highly anticipated Fallout: New Vegas for the PC. Now let me get this out of the way by saying that I fucking LOVED Fallout 3. Many's the time I can remember sitting in front of my monitor in the early hours of the morning, just exploring the wasteland, about to turn it off when I come across some crazy new character with a quest he wants me to do and bam! -- another 2 hours of my life gone.

Sadly, I must have spent a little under 2 hours of my life getting this fucking game to even load...
Yes, I should have come to expect bugs in games using the Gamebryo engine (Oblivion, Fallout 3) but this just took it to a whole new level. I quickly rushed to the official Fallout forums only to find a mob of other angry gamers who were not happy chappies either. I mean, take into account that this is the kind of release that people schedule time off work to play, fake being sick to get out of's a big fucking deal, and when you read some of the problems that people have been having, I can understand why they may be a little bit upset. I didn't expect my evening to consist of editing config files and searching desperately for answers. I didn't even expect to write this blog. It's all time that should be spent playing the game but I simply cannot.

     I know Fallout 3 had bugs, I know Oblivion was plagued with them, I'm sure they still do have issues but it seems to be a general consensus that Fallout: New Vegas is by far the worst yet. We're talking crashes to desktops on main menu, not being able to even begin loading the game, performance issues, not being able to install the game, issues with losing save games, quick save not working properly, custom weapons displaying huge exclamation marks, dogs with no eyes to name a very few. Check it out for yourself. From what I've been reading, the PC version seems to be suffering it the most, with fans questioning whether or not they even tested it on PC whatsoever. As I have only played the PC version, that is the only version I will talk about. 

     The game itself installed just fine on my machine. I was a bit miffed to find out it used Steam as copy protection. So naturally, I enter the product key and sure enough, it activates and begins to install. So far so good. I launch the game from my Steam library and the launch screen comes up, accompanied with an error telling me that SteamOverlayGUI has caused an error and needs to close, bringing the game down with it. I try it again, same thing. I try it a third time and miraculously it works. I instantly hit play and the game begins to load. After starting a new game and watching the introduction cutscene, the game crashes to my desktop. I researched the issue on the Fallout forums and well, to cut a long story short, I finally get a game going. First thing I notice, missing character sounds. As in, the's not there. I later find I have to manually set the games priority to high in the Windows Task Manager. Strangely, it works. At this point I think to myself that I can just deal with it, I just want to play the goddamn game. I play for a good 2 or 3 hours. I notice various graphical glitches. The most disturbing of which being a dog with no eyes and instead, has two eyes coming out of it's neck. My first reaction was to chuckle and think of it as a mutant dog. I notice people half way in the ground, I noticed doors not opening for me when they were unlocked and available, all kinds of madness. My biggest issue I noticed while playing is probably the performance drops when interacting with characters. I would be exploring the wasteland at around 60+ frames per second, then as soon as I start talking to someone or so much as get near them, it would plummet to around 10-20 frames per second. I don't seem to be alone as pretty much every topic I've seen has been relating to this. I finally get to the town of Primm in search of the sharply dressed man when I decide to save it, exit the game and check to see if any of my issues are being experienced with anyone else. Ten minutes later I decide to go on the game only to find that only my first save game was available, and an autosave from a long ways back. It seemed to have only 'remembered' the first quicksave I made and at some point in time, the autosaves must have just...stopped. After researching this issue further, it seems to be the most troublesome. Something to do with Steam wanting to syncronize savegames and Fallout reading another location. I don't know, but it's something that I, the consumer, should not have to worry about. All I know is, I've played the game for a few hours and have absolutely nothing to show for it due to a broken save system. I can understand games having bugs but that is something major to have missed that.

     I should probably end this mini rant here before I begin to ramble. Let me say that I am fully aware that all games have bugs. All games have issues that should be addressed and with games as open and as vast as these, it should come as no surprise. But for a series as well respected as Fallout, and considered a major release title, I'd expect to at least be able to save my game. Sure, there may be a third party fix or tweak to a config file that I may have to edit, and it's a good thing the game is genuinely as good as it is, because any other game I would simply shelf until an official patch was released. 

...with all that being said, it's a brilliant game though. From what little I played, the atmosphere, setting and the characters seemed to interest me much more than those of Fallout 3. I wish I could share a more detailed opinion on the games new features, the storyline and what not but I simply have not been able to. I will hopefully give my full opinion on Fallout: New Vegas on the next episode of the Mad Overdose podcast. I don't like to
recommend games this early on. But if I had to rate it in it's current state:

Wait for a patch or two/10


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