Fallout 4 has been with us for over two years now and it is rare to find a fan of the franchise who doesn’t love it. However, there is a sizable population of Fallout fans who still rank New Vegas as the best game from Bethesda’s ownership of the Fallout brand – despite liking Fallout 4 a lot too. So, what is it about New Vegas that makes it, in many people’s minds, the superior Fallout game?
Fallout New Vegas is something of an oddity in the series, which is why it wasn’t given the Fallout 4 name itself, despite coming after Fallout 3. One of the significant differences from a meta point of view is that it was made in collaboration with Obsidian, which many players who had experienced the original two pre-Bethesda Fallout games felt gave it a more ‘Fallout’ feel even though it still had the same game engine as Fallout 3 and Skyrim, rather than the three-quarter view, turn-based gameplay of Fallout 1 and 2.
Freedom of Role Playing
In the Bethesda years, New Vegas is the only Fallout game where you have complete freedom to play as whatever kind of person you want, and it still works with the plot. In Fallout 3, you play a 19-year-old who has grown up in a vault and who ventures out to find their father (the fact he’s played by Liam Neeson is awesome). In Fallout 4, you play a mother or father who has been cryogenically frozen since the war and is looking for their abducted baby.
If Fallout 3 gave you some restrictions with the hero’s premise, at least establishing your age and that you were inexperienced in the outside world, Fallout 4 went even further. While it is certainly possible to play as an evil character in 4 it just doesn’t mesh with the loving husband/wife and father/mother we see at the start of the game. It also feels like a bit of a problem with the main story in Fallout 4, so unless you want to rush through the main quest, which you probably do not, you’re putting off finding your lost son to do a load of random stuff and have fun.
In New Vegas, you’re a courier who has been shot in the head. You have no other backstory, so you can play as whatever kind of person you feel like playing as, and since you haven’t come out of a vault, you aren’t a fish out of water – it isn’t weird that you might have the skills you put your points into.
New Vegas’ setting is another thing a lot of players preferred. The Mojave wasteland was a sunnier landscape that felt more open and adventurous. While you may not learn certaib skills, and it certainly isn’t a training game for playing real money poker, the game’s extracurricular activities are a fun break when you want them, and also a way to up your funds in-game.
It was also an interesting addition to Fallout lore to see something of the West coast. This allowed new, interesting factions like the NCR and the Legion to be introduced. Being so far away from DC, it was perfectly acceptable that these had never been mentioned before, and that the Brotherhood of Steel in Nevada would be somewhat different to what we see in DC and Boston.
Of course, New Vegas did have some issues – mainly the same ones seen in Fallout 3 with glitches in the game engine – and Fallout 4 was naturally the more technically accomplished game, yet for some fans, a sequel to New Vegas would be a more exciting prospect than a Fallout 5.