Why Fallout New Vegas is Still Worth Playing in 2024 Obsidian

Why Fallout: New Vegas is Still Worth Playing in 2024

Amazon’s Fallout TV show is currently the talk of the town in the entertainment world and in celebration of its release on Prime Video, we thought about revisiting some of the video games that the series is based on. In particular, we’re taking a second look at Fallout: New Vegas, the acclaimed 2010 title developed by Obsidian Entertainment to see if it’s still worth playing in 2024.

Most viewers of the Fallout TV show might already be redownloading older Fallout games and apart from Fallout 4, Fallout: New Vegas seems to be the second most popular choice. It’s for a very good reason too. After booting the game up again after almost a decade, not only does it hold up fantastically as a deep, rewarding RPG but it’s also arguably the best game in the franchise to date, and here’s why.

Why Fallout New Vegas is Still Worth Playing in 2024 Obsidian

At first glance, Fallout: New Vegas might seem like a glorified expansion of Fallout 3 – a mere side project outside of the mainline games. Obsidian Entertainment faced an uphill battle during the game’s development, having only 18 months to push out a complete, functional product. We use the term “functional” sparringly because it didn’t launch in the most technically sound state back in 2010, though several years and updates later, New Vegas is in the best form it can be, assuming you’re playing it on Xbox Series X/S.

Looking back at it, it’s nothing short of a miracle that Obsidian Entertainment managed to create New Vegas with such a tight development cycle. One might assume that shortcuts had to be taken in order to adhere to that 18-month frame but that’s not the case at all. In fact, New Vegas is stacked to the brim with quality content, offering dozens of hours of gameplay, detailed quests, clever writing, branching narratives and an open world map. Obsidian pulled off something almost unheard of in modern gaming development and that deserves the highest of praises.

Why Fallout New Vegas is Still Worth Playing in 2024 Obsidian

Fallout: New Vegas puts players in the shoes of a customisable protagonist called the Courier. Unlike previous Fallout games that send you out into the wastelands in search for Water Chips, Geck or fatherly figures, New Vegas‘ protagonist just wants to find out who shot them in the head. You awaken in the outskirts of a small town called Goodsprings (you’ll be returning here often) with a hazy memory of the people who put a bullet in your head and buried you in a shallow grave.

After gathering clues and recollecting your memory, you set off for New Vegas to kill a slimy bastard, though there’s a lot more going on than just that simple revenge story. The region is caught in a vicious war for the occupation of the Hoover Dam, the source of New Vegas’ power, by a handful of rival factions. Who you choose to side with or make enemies is entirely up to you. Hell, if you just want to go on an unhinged murder spree and kill every NPC in sight, you can do that too.

Why Fallout New Vegas is Still Worth Playing in 2024 Obsidian

Unlike Bethesda’s Fallout games that clearly have the training wheels on regarding what you can and can’t do (like kill important NPC’s), New Vegas just lets you run wild with almost boundless freedom. There are still main quests and goals to keep you on track, though those can easily be overlooked for a life of your choice as soon as you step foot into the world. Obsidian hands the player the keys and tells them to go wherever they want and do whatever they want to do. The story? It’s just framework that can be bent.

Of course, that’s not to say the freedom is completely limitless. There’s still a fascinating narrative at its core that’s difficult not to pursue. Most of your actions feed into the development of the story, as any good role-playing game should accomplish. To that end, where Bethesda’s Fallout games lean a little harder into the “action” part of action RPG, New Vegas fully embraces the RPG side of it to incredible results.

Why Fallout New Vegas is Still Worth Playing in 2024 Obsidian

By seamlessly merging the best qualities of the Fallout universe – the intricate lore, layered storytelling and top-tier world-building – with Bethesda’s new vision for the series at the time, Obsidian managed to create a memorable RPG that elevates the franchise. Dare I say, New Vegas was actually the point when the franchise reached its full potential. Sadly, that potential was never carried over to Fallout 4 and I’ll never understand why.

The Mojave wastelands of New Vegas are quite immersive, even with the dated visuals today. Obsidian did a great job at building a palpable atmosphere. You feel the scorching heat of the sun, the howling winds and sting of the desert sands, the almost mystical nature of this post-apocalyptic world where danger and death lurk around every corner. You can take things further with PC mods that drastically improve the visuals, though even if you’re playing the original game, it’s still such a well-designed world.

Combat is where the Fallout series feels the most outdated and I can’t say anything positive about the combat in New Vegas either. Melee is clunky and shooting without VATS is a matter of luck rather than skill. It’s by no means unplayable or terrible but you need to know what you’re getting into if you’re revisiting the game.

Why Fallout New Vegas is Still Worth Playing in 2024 Obsidian

Thankfully, the mad lads at Obsidian also took Fallout 3‘s jank controls into account and built smoother gameplay into the experience by giving you stats that actually feel like they improve your skills including the gun play. Certain skills increase your critical hit chances while others give you steadier aim, faster reload, no recoil or increased damage. It’s not going to feel like Call of Duty even with most skills maxed out but it at least negates some of the frustration.

New Vegas also features some of the most well-written characters in all of Fallout. Some of them might not be as instantly likeable as Nick Valentine but with characters like the enigmatic ruler Mr. House, Benny (excellently voiced by the late Matthew Perry), Caesar, Mr. New Vegas, Arcade, Yes Man and more, they all make up some of the most memorable characters in any Fallout game regardless of their screen time or impact.

Ultimately, Fallout: New Vegas is all about the role-playing and that’s where the game feels infinitely replayable. Apart from tweaking builds and specialising in various skills for your Courier, the branching narrative seemingly takes everything into account. I’m not joking. You can kill one seemingly unimportant NPC early on, fail a quest or two and then realise you’ve accidentally doomed an entire faction through the butterfly effect later on in the story.

Why Fallout New Vegas is Still Worth Playing in 2024 Obsidian

How you talk to NPC’s is also taken into account. Fallout 3‘s dialogue rarely gave you room for experimentation, only going as far as the “good” answer, the “not so good” answer and the “I’m just a dick” answer. It’s a lot more nuanced in New Vegas. Dialogue options can often include up to five or more choices for a response, each wildly different than the next. You’ll eventually want to win your faction’s trust (and the trust of many NPCs too), though you can’t win all of them because your right answer is always bound to be the wrong one by someone else.

I absolutely adore this level of detail in Fallout: New Vegas. It really feels like your choices, no matter how inconsequential they might seem at first, have a ripple effect throughout the game’s world and characters. There are always going to be consequences to almost everything that you say or do. How Obsidian managed to construct this deep, intricate role-playing in only 18 months is, again, miraculous by all standards.

Why Fallout New Vegas is Still Worth Playing in 2024 Obsidian

To drive home my point, New Vegas has six story endings depending on the factions you chose, though the ending is presented in a series of slides that go over all your choices and resulting consequences throughout the game. One person worked out the maths on Reddit and came to the conclusion that the game has 1,113,652,592,640,000 different endings. That’s one quadrillion, one hundred and thirteen trillion, six hundred and fifty-two billion, five hundred and ninety-two million, six hundred and forty thousand unique endings. Yeah.

Fallout: New Vegas is absolutely worth playing in 2024 whether you’re a newcomer or just want to revisit a classic (preferably on Xbox Series X/S, thanks Xbox FPS Boost). There’s a reason why New Vegas constantly tops lists of the best Fallout games (including ours), which is even more baffling that it doesn’t have a sequel yet. It’s a deep, stacked RPG masterpiece with terrific world-building, engaging gameplay and dozens of ways to replay it just to see what storm you can create from shooting a butterfly in the head.

Editor-in-Chief of Nexus Hub, writer at GLITCHED. Former writer at The Gaming Report and All Otaku Online. RPG addict that has wonderful nightmares of Bloodborne 2.

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