Have you gone back and started hitting up the Mojave wastes to see if you agree with my claim so far? If so, what do you think? Is the soundtrack all I made it out to be, or are you still not noticing it? Well… Maybe after today’s post, you’ll think twice about disagreeing with me.
One of the greatest things about the Fallout series is the fact that they use real world locations (not buildings, but places) in their conceptions of the post-nuclear-apocalyptic future. That’s what I really loved about Fallout 3 most. You could go to the Library of Congress. You could walk down the Mall. Hell, you could even go to the Bethesda offices themselves. Of course, if you downloaded the DLC you could hit up the White House, but I’ll leave that for you to discover.
I still remember messing around on Google Earth after I had first started playing New Vegas and heading over to Nevada. “Oh hey, here’s Goodsprings. Oh hey, look! There’s Nipton! Oh god. Novac is a real place!” It’s so exciting to see that they put that much work into their game. They actually try to make it as real as possible.
Well, real to a certain extent. They do take certain liberties with aspects of the game, but it’s so respectable that they actually care about the player enough to try to make a semi-realistic game. The Goodsprings town store and the Goodsprings saloon are real places. How cool is that?
But the other great thing about New Vegas is that the developers go out of their way to make places that make you feel immersed in the world they’ve created. We all know and love the Fallout universe, the lore, etc., and it was great to see the original creators of the series come back to their roots. (A few employees of Black Isle studios, the original creators of Fallout, eventually banded together to form Obsidian in 2003.)
Every single location has been thought out. Even the smallest little cave with (seemingly) no real purpose has a story to it. You can find bodies there, people there, who were once just like you – a wanderer of the wastes looking for loot.
All over New Vegas there are these various ‘useless’ locations that don’t add to the main story of the game. They don’t add to any part of the game. They add to your overall experience, and you’re actually rewarded for your curiosity and exploratory nature. And that’s really what the Fallout series is all about, isn’t it? You’re supposed to go and loot every single box you can so you can find things to repair your guns with. You’re supposed to get as much XP as possible so you can get your explosives skill up to 100.
I don’t think it was until my 3rd time playing New Vegas that I started to realize this, and I went up all the way into the leftmost corner of the map. While walking along the lonely road, I stumbled upon a tiny bunker that I had no idea existed. It turns out (I had to figure this out in a later playthrough since I’d already killed Arcade Ganon) that it was an old Enclave bunker. Something that I would have totally missed had I not explored (and admittedly, Googled) to figure out what it was.
Also located up in the top corner of the map is the settlement of Jacobstown. I never knew about this place. Ever. I wouldn’t have known about this place had I not explored and found it on my own. And that’s the beauty of any Fallout game. You can log hundreds of hours into it, start a new game, and still find new things when you go out exploring. That’s what makes a good game to me – replay value. In a time where video games cost $60, I want to get my money’s worth. And I’ve never regretted buying a Fallout game for that very reason. I’ve actually bought multiple copies of Fallout 3 and New Vegas just so I could get the GOTY and Unlimited editions that have all the DLC.
Whether I’m playing for just an hour or for five, I can go in and explore, have fun, and enjoy the world the developers have built for me. Every time I turn a corner, I find something interesting. Whether I’ve seen it before or not, it always feels like a first.
Be right back. I’m gonna go play some Fallout.