The House Always Wins

I was a bit suspicious of Fallout: New Vegas. I had two issues with it. Firstly I had played Fallout 3 so thoroughly that I had actually sickened myself of it. That’s not to say I played all the DLC for it. In fact I found I couldn’t bring myself to play much of it because I’d  scoured every inch of of the Capital wasteland in the main game and just couldn’t face any more content. I should say I thought the entire game was brilliant. It was more a matter of too much of a good thing. I began to get bored of its consistent awesomeness. Like eating a whole cheesecake, the cake never gets less tasty, your capacity to keep eating it just diminishes. So my fear with New Vegas was that coming just two years after the last game and using the same engine I would still be full up. Of course that could easily be remedied by just sticking it on the shelve and playing it some other time but my second fear couldn’t be fixed so easily.

Fallout 3 was a game about history, honour, freedom and decency. It was about the best of humanity always rising from the ashes to found and build civilisations. It was clear that this wasn’t what New Vegas was going to be about. It’s about greed and vice. It’s about choosing sides and tipping odds in your favour to everyone else’s detriment. I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy this game. I was hit by the malaise of seeing the same old engine right off the bat and my first fear was confirmed. This was followed by the realisation that New Vegas is as seedy a place and the game as charmless an experience as I had feared.

I played on because I had a couple of missions on the go and I just wanted to see how they panned out.  I couldn’t finish them though, at least not with the result I wanted because I needed a higher speech skill and better science ability to have the missions resolve in the way I wanted. So I pressed on through the brown and miserable Mojave desert taking on more missions to level up my character and get the skills I needed to finish those first few stories. More and more missions kept building up though and I kept switching on my 360 for just one more shot. If I could just complete this next mission. I learned how to play a card game that I could use to bleed suckers dry of their bottlecaps, that I met on my travels. There have been some really hard times when I’ve been out of money, out of ammo and out of luck but there was always just one more mission that could dig me out of trouble and keep me in the game, keep me playing. It’s a seedy hand to mouth existence out there in New Vegas. The natives are a sad bunch, all looking to get a win over each other and I’m just keeping my head above water doing what I can to get by. I’m no hero and so far for me this game has been no epic fight to save anybody but myself. Of course you’ve probably realised by now that Fallout: New Vegas is an absolutely genius game, so subtle in its way of twisting your mind to the gambler’s experience; the down at heel, crushing existence of capitalism at its worst. New Vegas holds a rusty, flaking mirror up to western society’s current woeful situation of debt and degradation. It took me 24 levels and many, many hours to see the artistry with which Fallout: New Vegas has been woven together. As gamers we’re simply not used to this level of subtlety and I fall at the feet of Obsidian Entertainment for having such vision, such a gentle, esoteric touch.







3 responses to “The House Always Wins”

  1. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    I had gotten a little fed up of building up missions I couldn’t fulfil in the manner I preferred; it felt like I was levelling up how missions required it as opposed to developing my character how I wanted to. While I was on missions, I was happy enough being back in familiar Fallout territory, I like the game just not as much as Fallout 3. So far I haven’t managed to get enough cards together to play Caravan but I will.

    Good cheesecake analogy too. 🙂

  2. Duncan avatar

    Great, now I want cheesecake!

    And to give New Vegas another shot after it bugged out on me and I rage quit for a month…

  3. Dave Irwin avatar
    Dave Irwin

    It is just a shame that there are more bugs in this game than you’ll find underneath a fallen log. The actual glitches with character models are hilarious. The freeze moments? Not so much…

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