Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Ghost's Arcade: Fallout 3 VS Fallout New Vegas

"War.  War never changes."
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This is your standard spoiler warning.  If you haven't played Fallout 3 or Fallout New Vegas and don't wish for any details to be spoiled then you should probably head on out of here.

Let's set the mood a little bit with some background music for the duration of this post shall we?
This is Ghost, thanks for joining!

In 2011 I decided to give myself a Black Friday gift in the form of a Playstation 3.  Not long after, I purchased The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim because the internet collectively lost their minds over it.  The hype was truly worth it as the game, while having it's bugs here and there, was quite excellent.  Many hours were wasted on in the frozen mountains of Skyrim... which occasionally continues today.  Since I enjoyed that so much I decided to pick up their previous game in the series, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion because so many people sang it's praises.  I didn't get very far into the game before I ran into a game breaking glitch which trapped me between a wooden door and an oblivion gate with no chance of escape or loading a previous save state...but the part I was actually able to play seemed pretty good.

Bethesda had proven itself to me to be a company with a lot of good ideas and at least one great franchise under its belt.  So when I wanted to branch out my gaming interests some, I decided to pick another Bethesda game, and there seemed to be one other franchise that people held dear to their hearts... Fallout.

In case there are any readers who don't know what the Fallout series is about, it's an action open world RPG which focuses on survival and combat after a nuclear war.  The world of fallout has a similar history to our own, however our timelines diverge somewhere in the 1950's when their world decided to develop their nuclear technology rather than our computer technology thus locking them into the the feel of the 1950's.  In the year 2077, the Great War commenced in which every nuclear bomb on planet earth was detonated at once leaving the entire world in ruin.  The games follow the survivors of the nuclear disaster, be they dwellers in the vaults hidden underground, people who were lucky enough to be out of the radiation zone, people who became ghouls (zombie flesh looking people but with their minds intact) or the unfortunate souls who mutated into unspeakable atrocities.

These games are quite excellent and the feel of just trying to survive the anarchy and strangeness of the wasteland is enjoyable.  You go on missions to help or destroy various political and powerful factions.  You can do your best to make the wasteland a better place or an even worse version of hell than it already is.  The choice is up to you.  These games offer similar but quite different experiences.  Fallout 3 takes place in the ruins of Washington DC and is concerned with purifying the radiated water and fighting the ruthless militant Enclave.  Fallout New Vegas takes place around the newly rebuild Las Vegas and is mostly concerned with a turf war between the military NCR, the barbaric Caesar's Legion, and the mysterious Mr. House.

Fallout fans can agree that both of these games are amazing... but there's one thing they can't agree on.  Which one is the better experience?  It doesn't necessarily have the fans at odds with each other as both sides of the argument easily see why someone would choose the other side.  However, with Fallout 4 just around the corner I'd like to take a stab at these two games and see if we can finally say which is the better game.  I'm going to cover a few different categories and examine the positives and negatives of each game and declare a winner at the end of each section.  May the best game win!

Main Questline
Fallout 3 - Project Purity
In Fallout 3, the beginning of the game is literally the beginning of your character's life, having been just born.  You grow up in the underground Vault-tec Vault 101 with your father as your mother passed away at your birth.  Once you become an adult, you wake up to find the Vault in chaos as your father has managed to escape from the Vault which everyone was told could never be opened.  With all the confusion and anger going around people begin to panic and your best friend helps you escape the vault as well via a secret compartment under the Vault Overseer's room.  As you leave the vault, the doors seal shut once more and you step out into the wasteland for the first time in search of your father and why he left the vault to begin with.

You begin your investigation in the town of Megaton which has a nuclear bomb in the center of it.  After disarming the bomb and having a look around town, you find that your father had been to Megaton but was heading to the headquarters of Galaxy News Radio, the wasteland's free speech radio station hosted by a man named Three Dog.  Three Dog has a problem and won't tell you your father's whereabouts unless you help fix the radio signal by replacing the broken relay on the Washington Monument.  Once that is complete Three Dog will point you towards a battleship which has been converted into the town of Rivet City where your father used to work with another scientist named Doctor Li.  Your father and Doctor Li had previously been working on a way to purify the water of the wasteland from its radiation.  Doctor Li explains that your father was looking for a power source and went into Vault 112 to find one but never returned.

Upon arriving at Vault 112 you find that your father has been trapped inside a computer simulation known as Tranquility Lane.  Going in after him, you activate the fail safe to free your dad and the other vault dwellers from a digital nightmare.  You and your father return to the Jefferson Memorial to re-start Project Purity.  While helping your father repair some components, the Enclave appear and attempt to take over Project Purity forcing your father to fill the room with radiation killing himself and the Enclave members inside Project Purity.  It is your job to escort Doctor Li and the other members of the team through the tunnels to the Citadel (formerly the U.S. Pentagon) and ask for help from the Brotherhood of Steel.

The Brotherhood of Steel point you in the correct direction of a power source that would be enough to make Project Purity functional, a piece of machinery known as a G.E.C.K.  When you arrive at the creepy Vault 87, where people were experimented on and turned into Super Mutants, you eventually find a Super Mutant named Fawkes who is willing to join you if you free him from his cell. Fawkes is freed and runs through the extreme radiation to get the G.E.C.K.  As you leave, the Enclave ambushes you and takes you prisoner.  While a prisoner, the President of the United Stated asks for an audience.  When you come face to face with the president you find that he is a computer who has been running the Enclave for 200 years.  At this point you can simply leave or convince the computer to blow itself up.

As you leave Fawkes re-joins you, having tracked you down to the Enclave stronghold and notices that all of the Enclave were leaving.  Returning to the Brotherhood of Steel, you find that the Enclave has decided to defend Project Purity with their entire force so that the Brotherhood cannot access it and help the wasteland.  The Brotherhood decides to see this threat head-on and activate their massive robot, Liberty Prime to take on the Enclave.  Eventually, Liberty Prime blasts through the enemies and allows you access to Project Purity.  You input the code to get the machine to start working properly.  However, in your attempts to save the wasteland, the radiation inside Project Purity kills you.  You died the way your father did, saving the wasteland... (or at least that's how the game ended till the Broken Steel DLC Came out)

Fallout New Vegas - The Platinum Chip and 
the Second Battle of Hoover Dam
New Vegas opens up with your character being shot in the head and buried alive in a semi-shallow grave for making a delivery of some sort.  The man doing the shooting is a guy called Benny... along with several hired thugs at his current command known as Khans.  A local robot pulls you out and takes you to the doctor in town.  Once you've been patched up it's time to track Benny down for some good old fashioned revenge and perhaps some answers as to why he shot you to begin with.  After helping out the locals in the town of Goodsprings against some thugs calling themselves the Powder Gangers, the townsfolk tell you that they saw a man with Benny's description heading south towards the town of Primm.

Now, in all reality, everything that I'm about to say in the next paragraph can be completely ignored if you just head straight to the game's namesake town of New Vegas.  However for the sake of explaining the game as it's "meant" to be played I'm going to pretend I didn't know that. 

Arriving at Primm, you run into a town taken over by raiders who have captured the town deputy.  After freeing the deputy and restoring order to the town, the deputy remembers seeing a man with Benny's description heading towards the town of Nipton.   Arriving at Nipton gives your character a shocking sight.  The town is burning and people are being crucified for their "sins" by a group known as Caesar's Legion.  They offer for you to expand your mind to their thinking but leave you alone for the time being to think about their offer.  As you keep going down the road you run into a small town called Novac who is having some problems with feral ghouls (irradiated people who have lost their mind) and the Legion who have been taking people as slaves in the night.  You help solve this mystery and the local watchman mentions seeing Benny heading towards Boulder City.  Arriving in Boulder City you stop a quarrel between some members of the NCR (The New California Republic) who are a group of military personnel who serve as a parallel to our own current military, and the Khans who were with Benny before he ditched them.  The Khans mention the Benny left them to head back to the Big Tops Casino in New Vegas and that is your next goal.

Upon Arriving in New Vegas you are offered a place to stay in the Lucky 38 casino by the mysterious Mr. House, the man who owns all of New Vegas who has ambitions of spreading his influence to the surrounding areas.  Eventually you confront Benny who spills most of the beans to you.  The item you were supposed to deliver before the game was started was called a Platinum Chip.  A lot of people want this though few know exactly what it does.  Another courier was supposed to take the platinum chip to its destination, but backed out at the last minute forcing you to take it and be captured by Benny.  With Benny taken care of (usually with aggressive negotiations if you catch my drift), the many factions you have confronted over the course of the game thus far approach you for help.

The NCR wishes to maintain a lawful control over the whole region as they have in New California and eliminate Caesar's Legion as well as take New Vegas over from Mr. House.  The Legion wishes to take over the lands and purge all they see as unworthy.  Mr. House wishes to extend his peaceful reign over New Vegas into the surrounding areas by means of robots so that there is no need for military rule in any variety.  However there is a 4th option.  By running into a robot named Yes-Man, you can have the option of taking control of the whole area yourself by killing Mr. House, and destroying both the NCR and Caesar's Legion from the area.   No matter which path you choose, the ultimate goal is control over the Hoover Dam which controls not only the water but most of the power to New Vegas and the surrounding areas.  You are tasked with gathering as many people to the side you have chosen in a gigantic battle for Hoover Dam which concludes once the faction or side you have chosen is successful thus ending the game.

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On paper, both of these questlines are really solid.  Actually on paper, New Vegas' main quest seems quite a bit more interesting with multiple choices, different outcomes, and a gigantic war with multiple factions.  However in gameplay Fallout 3 actually has the superior advantage.  To start off with, Fallout 3 gives us a brand new person just being born into the world.  We can mold that person into anything we wish and our actions wouldn't be out of character no matter what we do because we created the character.  New Vegas gives us a character that supposedly already has a personality and back story.  Sure we could have acted the way you have chosen to act before the game but who really knows when it's an existing character you are just picking up for part of their life?  That's a very nipticky thing I'll admit, but it did slide the favor in Fallout 3's way.

Something else that helped Fallout 3 was that the game made me actively CARE about the main quest.  When I play a Fallout game I can't help but play as a good character.  Something inside of me just looks at the absolute hell these people are living in and just can't bear to make life any more miserable.  The fact that in Fallout 3 you get to do something that's actively helping people is a big plus.  Not to mention that your dad is such a loving and wonderful man in this game...it makes you really want to find him, to reconnect with him, to help him, and to finish out his work when he sacrifices his life for the good of the people.  Fallout New Vegas' questline is split in half.  Half of it is traveling around tracking down some dude for revenge and to figure out what's happening, and the other half is just a gigantic turf war.  The Hoover Dam turf war didn't much interest me because the game ends as soon as your chosen faction won. If you could continue the game with the dynamics being changed based on who won the turf war that would be great but you don't.  It's just fighting a war and BAM end of game.  I spent more time going around the world doing other things than actually following the main quest in New Vegas.

One final thing is the time it takes to finish the main quest.  If I were to do nothing but the main questline it would still take me a good 12 hours or more to just complete that while doing nothing extra credit.  Fallout New Vegas however is far less.  The first time I played the game I didn't go to Primm.  The game was called New Vegas so I wanted to see New Vegas, therefore I made a beeline straight for the place ignoring everything else.  As soon as I got in there the quest line to see Benny at the Tops was given to me.  After disposing of Benny, I decided to help the NCR and within about 4 hours and only at level 6 or 8 I had completed the game because the main quest is just that short. 

So this Category's Winner is....
Current Score: Fallout 3 - 1          Fallout New Vegas - 0

The Main Storyline can be wonderful but if the places you are going or things you are seeing are lackluster then you can still come away with a poor experience.  So let's see what these games have to offer us for locations.

Fallout 3 Locations
Since Fallout 3 takes place in the D.C. Ruins, there are a lot of landmarks that not only US Citizens can appreciate but some are famous enough that people all over the world would be interested in seeing.  Just to name a few, you can visit the Capitol Building, The Museum of Natural History, The Museum of Science, The Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, the Pentagon, and even the ruins of the White House.  The whole thing just shouts of the former American glory in this world.

Not only are the REAL landmarks a great sight but there are several original locations that are pretty great as well such as the original town you find, Megaton being centered around an atomic bomb.  You also have Rivet City which is a giant battleship converted into a city, as well as other strange inclusions like Tenpenny Tower, a large building in the middle of nowhere with rich bigots.  Let's not forget the Republic of Dave which is a small couple acres of land in which the leader has set up his own independent state.

The only problem with the locations in Fallout 3 is that... historical significance aside it doesn't actually LOOK that good.  The wasteland is dull and brown as it should be since nothing much can grow in a nuclear wasteland, but even the cities, towns, and surroundings are unimpressive.  While the world of Fallout 3 does give you the feel of living in a ruined city with a dangerous subway system connecting everything....everything just looks the same.  It's all just a mass of gray buildings, cement this, metal that, and it's all incredibly same looking.  I just get tired of seeing the same old crap.

Fallout New Vegas Locations
New Vegas offers a completely different look at the world from Fallout 3.  Since this happens in the desert, buildings and ruins are more scattered around making there more room for just scenery.  Some of this scenery is quite lovely to look at such as Red Rock Canyon with it's deep reds to break up the standard gray dirt.  You have the snowy Jacobstown which actually has green trees still growing.  Various locations around New Vegas are full of sharecroppers growing the few plants that can survive in the wasteland.  It's not just the same old gray and brown that Fallout 3 kept throwing at us.

Most of the towns look very different from each other.  Goodsprings is a small Western community like you'd see in a Clint Eastwood film.  Novac has that giant dinosaur and a motel.  Freeside and North Vegas are run down slums with trash everywhere.  New Vegas is the most clean and shiny of any place around.  Each place has a different feel.  That being said New Vegas was hyped like crazy throughout the game but it was mostly a disappointment.  Actually despite looking pretty most of the towns are a disappointment as well.  The stuff is wonderful to look at but there were no individual landmarks that really stood out to me as wonderfully amazing...just pretty.
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This one actually changed in the process of writing it.  I was originally going to give it to New Vegas but the more I got to thinking about how little I cared about the landmarks but absolutely adored the designs and colors (and also how much Fallout 3 was the exact opposite) there was only one clear choice at the end.  I have to give a half point to both of them.  3 is dull and boring looking with a lot of places I was thrilled to see whereas I could stare at the blank scenery of New Vegas all day and not give a rip about going anywhere.

So this Category's winner is
Current Score: Fallout 3 - 1.5          Fallout New Vegas - 0.5

Every good story needs good solid and memorable characters.  Without that you have a recipe for disaster.  Let's see what sort of characters these games can provide.

Fallout 3 Characters
Fallout 3 has some wonderful characters you get to interact with throughout the game.  Many of these characters are extremely kind and beneficial to you along your way such as your father, Doctor Li, Three Dog, Elder Lyons, and Sentinel Lyons.

There are a few other characters you can meet along the way that are memorable for good or for bad such as the kindly sheriff Lucas Sims, the nosey writer and shopkeeper Moira Brown, the ruthless bigot Alistair Tenpenny, the runaway android who modified his memory and face Harkness, the slave master Eulogy Jones, and the computer president himself  John Henry Eden. You also get two very memorable companions in the form of the faithful German shepherd Dogmeat, and the friendly Super Mutant Fawkes.  There are several more characters I could mention but we'd be here most of the day if I did that!

Many of these characters were incredibly likable either because of their kind helpful nature or just because of how big of a devious jerk they could be.  The characters drew me in to the game even more and made me truly care about each and every action (or bullet) I decided to take.  From an NPC standpoint these characters are amazing for the most part! 

Fallout New Vegas Characters
New Vegas on the other hand has its character strengths in a different spot.  As far as the NPCs go, you only have a few that really stand out and these are generally just the leaders of the various clans or factions.  You have Benny who is a 50's gangster, Mr. House who is a mysterious Howard Hughes sort of man with a secret, the sick (both physically and in the head) Caesar, the pretty awesome King and the blind but fairly kind Papa Khan.  There are also a couple of people I remember such as the Raider leader Motor Runner, and the Boomer elder mechanic Loyal.  They stand out in my mind but most of the rest of the NPCs in this game I don't even remember.  It's one thing to be "bad" but it's another crime all together to be completely forgettable and unfortunately when it comes to the majority of the NPCs in this game they are just plain forgettable.  I don't remember a single name of an NCR character whatsoever.  On top of that, even if I remember them I don't really give much of a rip about them either.  Most everyone is pompous or insane to the point that I just flat didn't care about these characters in particular.  There are a few exceptions but it's just lackluster.

The companions however... I can name each and every one of them.  We have the cyborg dog named Rex, an ex-caravan merchant Cass, an ex-NCR sniper named Boone, a robot ED-E, a ghoul mechanic Raul (who can also become a vaquero), the friendly and slightly crazy Nightkin Lily, the Brotherhood of Steele scribe Veronica, and the scientist Arcade.  These eight wonderful characters have been completely fleshed out and interact with their surroundings.  They will comment on their surroundings and the quests you have completed or are in the process of completing while they are with you.  You slowly gain their trust and have more options open to you for conversation and side content.  Even other characters will comment on your companions as you walk past them.  When you no longer wish to travel with a companion you can send them back to their usual haunts or you can send them to your home where they interact with all the things in your house as well as each other.  I may not have cared about the majority of the NPCs but I cared deeply for each of the companions I had.  I truly wanted to travel the wasteland with each and every one of them.
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Just like the Locations section this one ended up changing as I was writing it.  This one was originally supposed to go to Fallout 3 hands down.  There are so many NPCs that were so great I couldn't possibly see how Fallout New Vegas could even compare.  Then I started thinking about the companions.  Dogmeat was a wonderful companion in Fallout 3 and Fawkes was helpful but incredibly annoying and I never had any other companions other than those two... which I only found out in the writing of this blog that it's because gaining companions had to do with your karma through the game and since I was always a good character, half of the companions were closed off to me.  While that's a neat idea for immersive purposes it's still kind of silly to lock off characters just because you aren't evil.  All eight of the companions in New Vegas however are amazing.  It's one thing to have a world full of wonderful people you want to help save but it's just as important to have a small group of friends you'd go through hell with.  Both of these games provide one piece to the essentials.  So as a complete surprise to myself I'm going to have to do this again...

So this Category's winner is
Current Score: Fallout 3 - 2          Fallout New Vegas - 1

Items and Equipment
I'm going to drop any pretense that this section is going to be a compare and contrast like the rest of the article.  In fact, there is one and only one reason this was included and that's because one of these games did something amazing in regards to your items and equipment.

Both games have a grand selection of handguns, shotguns, grenades, mines, laser weapons, plasma weapons and various melee style weapons.  Both games have tons of different types of armor with different perks and stats.  Both games showcase the ability to craft unique weapons at a crafting table to assist you with your journey.  Also, both games showcase the fact that weapons degrade with time and must be repaired or replaced as necessary.  There doesn't seem to be much to compare here at all with everything being so similar.  Well... there are two big changes that Fallout New Vegas made to the game which made this section necessary.

New Vegas, with it's importance on different factions and how the world relates to them added an additional dynamic to the armor you are wearing.  You can disguise yourself as a member of a certain faction and it will have certain effects.  If you find some NCR armor, even if you have sided with the Legion, they will attack you.  If you chose to help the people of Goodsprings against the Powder Gangers and show up to their headquarters normally they will shoot at you but if you show up wearing a Powder Ganger uniform they will let you in so long as you don't dawdle and allow them to realize you aren't one of them.  It's an insanely interesting idea that allows you access to areas more peaceably or violently depending on what you're wearing and it makes choosing your armor more than just seeing what stats are the highest.

Also there is the addition of adding modifications to certain weapons.  You can have a sniper rifle yes, but you can also have a silence sniper rifle with extended zoom or whatever fits your needs.  It makes your journey much more interesting while having custom weaponry rather than just any old gun looted off the corpse of an enemy.
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Don't really need to summarize but I will.  Both games have an excellent variety of armors and weapons but since New Vegas actually did something unique with the idea the winner is clear.

So this Category's winner is
Current Score: Fallout 3 - 2          Fallout New Vegas - 2

Side Quests
While having a main storyline that is interesting and exciting certainly is a must, the side content can be almost as important.  Surely you want to care about the main thing that's happening but you also want to be able to do more optional content to add to the atmosphere or gaming experience.  It's in these side quests that you can get more character development, a greater understanding of the lore, or just some awesome action.  I'm going to take a look at both Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas and list just a few of the more memorable side quests to see who has the superior content.

Fallout 3 Notable Sidequests
Blood Ties - Upon arriving in the town of Arefu, you find out that the town has been terrorized by a group of people known as the Family, where a young boy has been taken away and his parents murdered.  You track down the family to find that they believe they are vampires and only came to the town to fetch the boy who was undergoing the thirst for blood and took the fall for him as he killed his parents to drink their blood.  Will you destroy the vampires or find a peaceful way to settle this therefore gaining the vampire ability to heal more from the consumption of blood?

Head of State - Through your travels you will most likely come across the Temple of the Union or the Lincoln Memorial.  The Memorial is the temporary strong hold of a group of slavers wishing to keep runaway slaves from using Lincoln as a beacon of hope for their cause.  The Temple of the Union however is a group of runaway slaves who have found the severed head of the Lincoln Memorial and wish to drive the slavers out and restore the memorial to use as a stronghold for runaway slaves all across the wasteland.  Will you side with the slavers to wipe out the slaves or will you side with the slaves to restore the Lincoln Memorial?

Reilly's Rangers - When you reach the Underworld, a part of the Museum of History which is a safe place for ghouls, you find that their doctor is trying to take care of a woman named Reilly.  She is the leader of a group of freedom fighters who attempted to find medical supplies in an abandoned hospital.  Unfortunately upon their arrival, a group of Super Mutants charged in and trapped them on the roof with dwindling ammunition and supplies.  Reilly attempted to sneak off the roof but was injured severely.  Can you patch up Reilly and make it to the hospital and save Reilly's Rangers before it's too late?

Stealing Independence - (Insert Nicholas Cage joke here)  While on board Rivet City you will probably come across a museum to the United States History.  The curator sends you to the National Archives to get the Declaration of Independence.  While there you  team up with a woman named Sydney to navigate through the defenses of the National Archives including a robotic version of Button Gwinnett, the second signer of the Declaration.  Can you keep Sydney alive and convince Button to turn over the Declaration to you as to keep this historical document safe?

Fallout New Vegas Notable Side Quests
That Lucky Old Sun - As you travel through the desert wasteland, you'll eventually find Helios One, a large solar power generator which is currently held by the NCR.  Helios One helps provide power to the New Vegas region to take some of the burden off of Hoover Dam.  Each faction wants the generator to power different parts of the world.  Will you attempt to give everyone power, only power to a certain faction's interests or will you sabotage the whole thing causing power issues across the land?

Come Fly With Me - Nipton has been seeing a lot of ghouls coming from the old factory nearby.  Upon your arrival you find that the ghouls which are not feral are part of a religious group known as the Bright Brotherhood led by a glowing ghoul named Jason Bright.  They wish to escape the wasteland and head into outer space toward their version of heaven and have recruited a man who believes himself to be a ghoul to help.  In order to get them to the rocket you must clear out a group of Nightkin in the basement to clear the pathway for them.  After arriving at the rockets it's clear they they won't fly without some repairs.  After repairing and refueling the rockets ti's up to you to either assist them with reaching the stars or cause the rockets to crash into each other destroying the ghouls.

Beyond the Beef - When arriving at the Ultra Luxe Casino, you find that the workers are really odd.  They are nice to the point of being creepily too nice.  While in there, a rancher asks you to help find his son who has gone missing.  After asking one of the managers you find out that the White Glove Society (the people working the casino) used to be cannibals but the practice is now forbidden.  After speaking to the other manager Mortimer, you find that he is trying to bring the White Glove Society back to their roots of being cannibals by secretly preparing a meal for them made of human flesh from the rancher's son which he kidnapped.  Will you save the son but still allow the White Gloves to become cannibals?  Will you let Mortimer's plan continue?  Will you save the son and sabotage the feast outing Mortimer and keeping the White Gloves free of cannibalism?

Wang Dang Atomic Tango - This seems like one that people would probably miss if they didn't talk in detail to the owners of the Atomic Wrangler bar.  The Atomic Wrangler has "something for everybody" and that includes willing prostitutes.  They have found some of their clients have specific requests and have asked that you procure these new employees.  They want a cowgirl ghoul, a smooth talker, and a sexbot so it's up to you to track down people with the proper skills or programming to do the job.  I laughed pretty heavily at this one.

But the best side quests of all in Fallout New Vegas are...

Companion Quests - I had previously mentioned how great the companions are in New Vegas as they interact with the surroundings and so on.  However what makes them even more amazing are the companion quests that you get while you have them as active companions.  After you have been traveling with a companion for a certain amount of time and they witness certain trigger points in the game you can start a quest specific to that companion.  A couple of the more notable ones is getting Rex a new dog brain as his has been dying, or helping Cass take revenge on the people who destroyed her caravan.  The most interesting however is Arcade's who sends you on a mission to gather the rather old remnants of the Enclave and with them all gathered they swear allegiance to you in the battle for Hoover Dam.
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As you've probably noticed by now, almost everything that Fallout 3 does well or poorly, Fallout New Vegas does the exact opposite.  The Main Storyline in Fallout 3 was wonderful whereas the main storyline in New Vegas I felt was lacking.  When it comes to Side Quests however, New Vegas shines!  I spent far more time doing the side missions and loving every minute of it than the time I spent doing the main quest.  The things I was doing and the places I was going just seemed far more interesting than revenge and a turf battle.  The companion quests were just the cherry on top of something that was quite enjoyable.

So this Category's winner is
Current Score: Fallout 3 - 2          Fallout New Vegas - 3

Downloadable Content
For our final category we look at DLC.  In this day and age, the ability to have continued gameplay through the continued support of game patches and DLC is a must.  Both Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas have given us various types of DLC and we'll take a look at each of them to figure out which is the superior content.

Fallout 3 DLC
Broken Steel - Broken Steel allows you to continue with your game after the main storyline is over.  You wake up from being knocked unconscious to see that Project Purity is working.  There are several things added to the world now that the water is pure.  You are tasked to join the ranks of the Brotherhood of Steel to wipe out the remaining Enclave at their mobile base.  With the help of Liberty Prime (who eventually gets destroyed by airstrike) you find and destroy the Enclave's mobile base by means of the same satellite airstrike they used against Liberty Prime thus ending the Enclave.

Operation Anchorage - The Brotherhood of Steel Outcasts are sending out a help signal.  They have found a pre-war facility and believe there is some wonderful pre-war tech there to learn from.  However, the only way to open the door is to survive a military simulation of the Liberation of Alaska from the Red Chinese.  Just as they say in the Matrix, if you die in the simulation you die in real life.  So it's up to you to finish out the simulation and keep your health and ammo full with the use of recharge stations in the simulation in order to open the doors and grab yourself some sweet tech including a suit of armor that never degrades!

The Pitt - The Pitt is a DLC pack with a lot of morally ambiguous choices.  After answering the radio signal of a man named Wernher who takes you to the ruins of Pittsburgh which has become a Raider town filled with slaves and people falling to a disease similar to radiation poisoning.  It is said that the raider leaders have a cure for the disease but are not giving it to any of the slaves.  You go undercover as a slave to find out what's going on.  After doing some odd jobs and fighting in the arena you are awarded your freedom and go to see the Pitt's raider leader.  It is discovered that the cure is actually a baby born with radiation and disease immunity.  Will you side with the raiders allowing them to lovingly keep their child and search for a cure through her blood while keeping people enslaved but alive, or will you side with the slaves by taking the baby away from their loving parents and give the slaves freedom though their new found absolute freedom will probably kill them in their reckless abandon?

Point Lookout - You take a ferry ride up the river to Point Lookout Maryland, a place where no atomic bombs actually landed but a place that was abandoned by the rest of the world and has therefore turned into a swamp.  There is an old battle that has waged for 200 years between a brain in a jar who has taken control of a group of natives that worship him, and a ghoul in a mansion.  Will you assist the tribals and the brain or will your aid go toward the ghoul who has shown you kindness?  There are more things to this DLC than meet the eye but that's the short-hand version.

Mothership Zeta - Turning your radio on you hear an unintelligible sound.  Following it to the source you found a crashed alien ship but are then immediately beamed up the the Mothership Zeta.  Aliens have been abducting people for centuries and you are their latest catch.  Together you, a slaver, a pre-war soldier, a pre-war girl, a samurai, and a few other soldiers team up to break free from the alien craft, take over the Mothership Zeta, and defend the earth from an invading spacecraft similar to their own.

Fallout New Vegas DLC
Dead Money - Welcome to the mother of all DLC and the standard to which I hold any and all future DLC against.  Upon following a radio signal to an abandoned Brotherhood of Steel bunker, you are knocked unconscious and awaken without your gear and a slave collar on.  A hologram of a man named Father Elijah tasks you to track down three other "slaves" to attempt a heist on the Sierra Madre Casino, the worlds greatest casino which never opened and holds an untold fortune.  Together with a mute ex-Brotherhood woman, the a ghoulified ex-lounge singer, and a nightkin with two personalities, you open the Sierra Madre while trying to avoid your slave collar exploding due to interference or toxic clouds.  This eventually leads to you breaking the vault and having to escape before the Sierra Madre explodes.

Honest Hearts - After signing up to assist a caravan to the region of Utah's Zion National Park, you are ambushed by tribal "White Legs" and the majority of your caravan killed in the process.  In order to get out of Zion, you must settle the tribal dispute between a man known as the Burning Man, and a New Canaanite Missionary to decide who will become victorious over the unspoiled lands of Zion.

Old World Blues - You are abducted and experimented on by a group of ancient scientists who have completely replaced their bodies with machinery.  They have removed your brain in order to get themselves a body back, however a rogue scientist named Dr. Mobius has taken it.  You search the area of the "Big MT" to recover lost technology and find your brain.  Upon reach Dr. Mobius it turns out that he has not been evil this whole time but has been plaguing the other scientists so that they do not continue their horrific experiments on the entirety of the wasteland.  It's up to you to either convince them to stop... or kill them!

Lonesome Road - The origin of the courier's story is finally told as the original courier who was supposed to take the platinum chip (but vanished) contacts you.  The original Courier, Ulysses, promises to explain why he did not deliver the platinum chip but only if you do a job for him by heading into The Divide.  Upon arriving there you make your way through a long road full of nuclear warheads and unspeakable creatures eventually finding Ulysses yourself and hearing the story.  Either by killing him or convincing him to join your side you are given an option.  You can send a nuclear missle to the NCR, Caesar's Legion, both, or cancel it all together.

Courier's Stash and Gunrunner's Arsenal

The Courier's Stash was a collection of pre-order bonuses and other content to add additional items to the game as soon as you downloaded it.  If you downloaded it during your playthrough all those items would be given to you instantly, but if you got it and re-started the game you would begin your game in the doctor's house with all those other items.  Gunrunner's Arsenal added a ton of unique and expensive weapons and items to the game to enhance your playthrough.
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Now as you read, Dead Money is the DLC to which I hold all other DLC to.  It's my high standard of which most other things fall desperately to achieve.  It's nothing short of an absolute masterpiece and makes New Vegas worth purchasing alone. Yes it's that good.  However, that being said, the other DLC in New Vegas was nothing compared to that masterpiece.  Honest Hearts and Lonesome Road are just an annoying waste of time.  I remembered and enjoyed basically nothing from those sets.  Old World Blues was neat because of the Doctor Who references and the talking appliances that always crack me up but the Big MT just left me kind of "MT" as well.  It was missing something vital to make me really enjoy it.   The other two DLC packs were just item packs which did add some awesome content and made the beginning of your game easier.  There is also the fact that one key thing is missing, which thankfully Fallout 3 decided to do... there is no post-main quest line gaming.  No matter what DLC gets added as soon as you decide which faction wins Hoover Dam..that's it!  Fallout 3 added DLC to allow you to continue exploring the wasteland after the main storyline is complete... a feature that I have been used to since...oh  THE FIRST RPG I EVER PLAYED
(to be fair coding a post-game for every faction ending would be difficult but not impossible)

Fallout 3 on the other hand, as I have already stated, allows for you to continue playing the game after the main storyline is complete.  You get to see the fruits of your labor.  On top of that, Operation Anchorage is a different kind of experience where you can't loot from bodies, you can only interact with certain elements in the game and you can command your own squadron...which gives you armor that cannot degrade whatsoever!  The Pitt is kind of weird but it gives you the experience of making the best out of two bad decisions.  Point Lookout gives us something different to look at for a change in a game that gives you nothing but gray and brown.  It also includes one of the weirdest sequences I've ever seen and if chosen the right path, a couple plot twists to keep you guessing.  And then, of course, Mothership Zeta is something unlike anything else in Fallout.  It's ALMOST Dead Money good!  With that being said there is a clear winner here.

So this Category's winner is
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Now that gives us a final score of....
FINAL SCORE: Fallout 3 - 3          Fallout New Vegas - 3

That's maddeningly unhelpful.  Let me be completely honest with you.  I know having a tie between them is the easy way out of the entire debate, however that was not my intention whatsoever.  In fact, when I wrote down the notes for this, I had every intention of declaring Fallout 3 the better game overall.  However as I began thinking about each of these categories, my realizations changed and we ended up with a tie purely because that's how I really feel at the end of the day.

So, in the end we haven't decided a single thing.  Both Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas are exquisite games.  Sure they have some flaws here and there, and yes, there will be copious amounts of glitching as it's a Bethesda product.  When they slap so many things in a game, bugs and glitches are pretty much guaranteed.  Both games are so great that I find it hard to put into words, and you should honestly give both a try especially since the Game of the Year and Ultimate Editions are becoming so cheap to purchase!

Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas are two sides to the same coin of absolute awesome.  What one game does excellent the other game does poorly, and vice versa.  This is why the fans are so split on which game is the better.  If you were to take the best elements of both of them, you would have quite possibly the ultimate Fallout game.. and quite possibly one of the greatest games to ever be created.  Here's hoping that Fallout 4 does just that and becomes that breathtaking masterpiece we know it can be.

Thanks for listening, chiiiildren.  This is Three Ghost AWOOOOOOOO And I'll catch ya later!

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If you want to see my other Video Game discussions and reviews, click here!

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