I have been playing New Vegas since the day of release and I am now playing with a second character. For the most part I have, compared to other people, had a fairly alright experience with Fallout: NV, up until I reached the strip. I am not entirely sure why I played the game the way I did, but I ignored going to the strip for as long as I possibly could, I literally got there when I had done all side quests available to me without going, discovered most of the places and was level 30. During this, which I spent an un-godly amount of time on, I hardly had any problems. I had the occasional Molerat stick their head in a rock and get stuck. The odd Radscorpion, that would try and run towards me but just stay where they were, dogs with floating eyes, the odd mission that couldn’t be finished because the dialogue refused to come up, guns refusing to fire and of course the odd freeze. Most of my problems lay with the companions, they would disappear, stand still, run off, die for no reason, spawn inside one another and not move, refuse to fight, refuse to stay still, just generally not do what they were told. In the end I decided my character probably wasn’t a people person any way and decided to let them go…well I fixed Rex’s brain, however all in all nothing too serious.

I figured at this point I had gotten off rather lightly, people all over the internet were talking about black screening, corrupt game saves, getting stuck in buildings, not being able to launch their game at all, in some extreme cases the amount of hard resets people had to do eventually yellowed lighted their PS3’s. I was looking at this people and thinking that is harsh, but luckily ol’ faithful (my PS3 fat) was still going strong, like the hard core trooper it is. I am sure by now that most of you can sense a ‘BUT’ coming along, one of those big fat ‘BUT’S’ that seem to take up more than their fair share in a plane seat. Well yup you are right and I am sure that it is connected with the strip itself.

I eventually figured ‘well there is a storyline to be had in New Vegas and it lies with those shinning lights on the strip, and besides, I am a tad curious why someone would shoot little old me in the face’. I used the monorail into the strip, as I was on very good terms with the NCR. At this time I was still with companion, but heard so much on the internet about them getting confused and stuck on the strip (must have been the bright lights) that I decided to leave them at McCarran. I think the glitch gremlin must have also been riding that monorail at the time because since that journey hell hit New Vegas with all its rich, creamy, buggy and glitchy goodness. The second I got of the monorail the game froze and it went downhill from there.

Once I reloaded from that I figured that it was just one of those things and carried one…well I tried to because as I got of the monorail a second time it froze again. Restarting and considering buying a passport, I thought third times the charm and it was, I was in the NCR monorail building. Everything was ok for a while, I was walking and chatting, watching half naked women dance in the fountain, you know all the good stuff Vegas has to offer, but then BAM, Elzar style, another freeze up. So reload and again I was walking the strip walking the strip…and BAM again. Getting annoyed I figured clearly New Vegas is annoyed at me for some reason, so I left it alone for the evening and decided to go see some real people for a change. Came back the next day and things were a little more stable, until I started exploring casinos. The Ultraluxe was first. I lock picked my way round the building, accidently ending up in some secret White Glove dinning room, the dinners got up and started thrashing me with what looked like walking sticks, this wasn’t too much of a problem mind, as after 10 seconds they froze in place. If I went near them they would attack, but otherwise they were frozen and amusingly in perfect lines. I thought ‘nice’ and carried on out of the room, except they spawned in every room. No matter where I went they spawned, all stuck in place which once again wasn’t a problem but was weird.

After that I decided to revert to a previous save as I didn’t know what damage it would do to the story, that the White Glove society hated me…and were paralysed. So I left that casino alone and went in the Tops. Surprisingly this place was stable, I didn’t have a single problem which was refreshing. I made Benny run from the strip, although in game time, it was probably like a year since he left me for dead, so the fact that he was still wearing the same suit was a bit gross…it also raised other questions about what exactly he had been doing for a year with the chip but anyways. I carried on and then Gomorrah happened, I understand why God destroyed the place, he probably coded it so badly and he couldn’t be bothered making patches for it so he got rid of the damned thing with a brimstone virus.

I was one of those lucky people to kill McCafferty before entering, and sure enough, as I tried to leave I was stuck there. Black screened and wouldn’t do a thing. After getting the answer of wearing his hat (well obviously, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before) I managed to get out. Ever since then the game has been like an old wreck of car, it feels like it is going to break down constantly. It took me four (real life) days to get to see Mr House, see the vault, embassy and barracks and get out. I had to abandon some of the side quests just so I could get out with an intact game save. I have had 10 corrupted game saves and 2 saves that just load a black screen and repeatedly play the words ‘I’ve got spurs that jingle, jangle, jingle’ (that song is now what plays in my nightmares). Everywhere now is like the strip, I go into places and I get a frozen loading screen, more and more glitches around dialogue have popped up. Just before the end of the first game, my faction statuses were reset, luckily I had a previous save that wasn’t jingle jangled and managed to keep it. Veronica starting to disappear of to Vault 21, which I know is common for some people, but never happened to me before the strip, I had even been to the vault previously and done the side mission there and had no problems.

What I am trying to get across with this rather long blog post, is that for me the basis for all my problems were when I visited the strip. I did a test run before I started my second character properly, where I progressed quickly to the strip and the game broke down, like it did at the end of the first character. I had all the same problems, freezes, lowered frame rate, companion problems. I started the second character again two days ago, and have been playing a fairly stable game since then, playing it like the first save and have not visited to the strip. I don’t know if this is just in my case, but would be interesting to see if anyone else has experienced this. For me, the strip is an intrinsic part of the game, all the main game changing missions are started there pretty much and it seems to have a fundamental problem with how it is coded. Its seems to be like a domino effect, especially if you kill McCafferty (something I won’t be doing again), it’s like you have wounded the stability of the game by going there, killing him, and now the game is drifting in and out of consciousness.