With just one week left now until launch, I figure now would be as good a time as any to do my next part. Originally, I was going to do make three parts but as I would imagine most people are familiar with Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, I decided I'd combine them into one part and create a sequel showdown instead for a different experience.
Fallout: New Vegas was released two years after Fallout 3. As of such, much of New Vegas' gameplay can be considered to be largely a refinement over Fallout 3's. One of the improvements I think was the extensive crafting and weapon modification system added to New Vegas to create all manners of food, medicine and to pimp out your guns. In Fallout 3, the only way you could have mods on weapons was if you found special or unique weapons with them already attached. Companions were also way easier to control in New Vegas due to the companion wheel which allowed you to change their weapon use, wait or manage their inventory without having to talk to them. Armor class was once again added from the original games in the form of damage threshold, meaning you would need to make use of the different types of ammunition available to use to more effectively fight enemies. Finally, reputation was also re-added from Fallout 2 meaning your choices would have more of an impact on communities. Many times I remember enslaving people from Rivet City only to have them forgive and forget after returning a day later. Or the times when after donating lots of water and giving money to the churches and Talon Company mercs come after me. Seriously, who runs these guys, Cobra Commander? If you piss off a faction badly in New Vegas once, they will remember. It really made you think about what you do.
Because of these refinements, Fallout: New Vegas gets the edge.
Both Fallout 3 and New Vegas try to go for different types of stories. Fallout 3 tries to go for a more straightforward story and make you more of a central character from your birth to deciding the fate of your father's dream with the help of the Brotherhood against the Enclave. New Vegas goes more for you're an outsider with the potential to do amazing things and help any of the factions you want to win Hoover Dam. I suppose both can appeal to everybody in some ways but I just prefer the way New Vegas handled its story. Fallout 3's to me felt weak in some places, what with being forced to search for your dad, even if your character most likely wouldn't do this. (My prick who blew up Megaton wouldn't necessarily care much for searching for his dad). I also never understood why the Enclave are treated as such evil villains in Fallout 3 when their actions are just discernible from a more stricter Brotherhood. I also just don't get why it's important to fight them as the game doesn't give a good enough explanation, Eden's plan to poison the water is his own, Autumn completely disagreed with him. The story can be summed up with what Dr. Li says to the Brotherhood Elder:
"Lyons, they can't be allowed to have control of the Purifier. It's not right!"
Um, why exactly? It's by no means a bad story, but it feels pretty weak and forced, at least to me. The story ultimately boiled down to: "No, we want to turn the Purifier on." I'm not saying New Vegas' story was perfect either, I mean it starts the same way with looking for your attempted murderer, but it felt more fleshed out than 3's. It was more of a story of politics and shouldering the burden of how you will decide the fate of the Mojave when there's no clear right decisions. Do your ideals agree with the pragmatic but cold Mr. House, the democratic yet overblown and in some ways corrupt NCR or the totalitarian and extreme Caesar's Legion? Or, do you dislike all of their weaknesses and just want to go it your own? It was a much grayer in morality game that I think the Fallout series needed after Fallout 3's black and white.
Because of these, the New Vegas story takes a lead over the Fallout 3 story.
It's clear that Fallout 3 and New Vegas go for a vastly different design in their worlds. Fallout 3's world is destroyed, crumbling and dark but New Vegas' world is restored, vibrant and bright. In Fallout 3, Raiders, Super Mutants and mutated creatures are found all over but in New Vegas your main enemies in the Wasteland will be mutated animals with the occasional raiding band. As much as I liked the breath of fresh air that New Vegas gave with its bright world and colourful plants, restored and operational buildings, it's Fallout 3's world that stood out the most for me. It's exactly how I would envision a world to look if nuclear bombs had just fell. Although you could argue that it shouldn't look like that after 200 years, I mean are the people of the Capital just that lazy? Regardless, playing Fallout 3 in 2015 still manages to give me a feeling of awe with its wrecked world.
Because of this, the Fallout 3 world design manages to one-up New Vegas' for me.
Being the big games they are, both of these titles have an extensive cast of characters. I have favourite characters in both of these games like Moira, Sarah Lyons and Malcolm McDowell's President Eden, but I just felt that New Vegas had so much more with depth and personalities. Many times have I been so absorbed in conversations with House, Caesar, Yes Man and Marcus. Then there's also the greater attention given to companions like Veronica, Arcade and Cass who each have their own personal stories and tragedies. It certainly made a change to the boring likes of Charon, Paladin Cross and Clover (Fawkes is still ace in my books though). I suppose my main point is I just got more engrossed in New Vegas' characters where more attention was given to writing and development.
The characters of Fallout: New Vegas get the edge.
It's a lot of little things in a Fallout game that can bring it together and the music choice is no exception. Both games had a great variety of chosen music that fit the style of the game. Fallout 3 goes for a lot more oldies from the 30's and 40's like The Ink Spots and Ella Fitzgerald whilst New Vegas goes for more guitars and rat-pack music to accompany the casinos and liveliness of Vegas like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. I love both of them but I personally like the Fallout 3 soundtrack a lot more, especially with battle encounters and the quiet wind rustling through the Capital Wasteland.
Fallout 3 gets the point for music.
After looking at these categories, Fallout: New Vegas seems to be a winner for me. Fallout 3 may have excelled in the tone and look of the world but it's the story, characters and those extra refinements that really set New Vegas apart for me. Fallout 3's forceful way of pushing you through the story made the game lose impact for me near the end, especially with the writer's apparent focus on the theme of sacrifice at the end... whether you had a radiation resistant mutant or not to go in the chamber for you. In New Vegas you never truly feel as if you're making the 100% right decision due to the subjectiveness of what is right or wrong and the endings portray this. By an extra point, Fallout: New Vegas comes out on top for me.