"War. War never changes."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -This is Ghost, thanks for joining!
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?
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.
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 QuestlineFallout 3 - Project Purity
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.
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.
Fallout New Vegas - The Platinum Chip and
the Second Battle of Hoover Dam
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.
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.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -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
LocationsThe 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
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
CharactersEvery 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
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
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 EquipmentI'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.
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.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -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 QuestsWhile 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
Fallout New Vegas Notable Side Quests
But the best side quests of all in Fallout New Vegas are...
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -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 ContentFor 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
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?
Fallout New Vegas DLC
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
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -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
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -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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