So these past few days, amongst the partying and family gatherings, I’ve struggled with maintaining my study schedule and blog schedule. In fact, my New Year’s Resolutions are based around organization! So what exactly are my New Year’s Resolutions?
* Keep a to-do list
* When feeling lethargic, work through the lethargy anyway
* Ensure that more games are finished!
Yes, I admit to having a backlog of about 300 games. I am also aware that it’d take a million years for me to complete them, but still! I am trying here!
Anyway, I’m almost done with my adventures in New Vegas (according to my maximum hours needed to play this). I have even gained much insight about WRPGs and myself throughout this project.
Today, what I’d like to focus on is the audio, visuals, and story of the game, whereas the next blog will detail my thoughts on the gameplay.
Here, let’s ask the one prime question that began this project: Will I come to love Western Role-Playing games?
Simple Answer: Nupe
Now for the analysis.
Point One: Story
A story must remain prominent throughout any Role-Playing game. This is almost a well-known fact (although still highly subjective). WRPGs and JRPGs do carry well-written tales, but WRPGs are far more world-driven than story-driven or character-driven (in WRPGs, the character is almost always an avatar of the player). Having a world-driven focus in games isn’t necessarily a terrible statement, but personally, I found myself having major issues with world-driven experiences.
Unfortunately, during the hours that I have played of Fallout: New Vegas, I couldn’t attach myself to the world or the story. Even the characters didn’t appeal. I have attempted, with an extreme amount of effort, to gain interest, but it hasn't been plausible for me.
Because of its realism.
How exactly do I mean by this?
Simply put: The game is too real, despite being placed in a fantasy sci-fi future. The setting feels all too real, and the locations are spitting images of the western United States. The developers wanted to create a realistic feel, to give the player a sense of desolation and loneliness. They achieved it, certainly! However, the setting itself became a challenge for me to endure. Admittedly, I had to stop short a couple of sessions due to having panic attacks. The game just felt too real and lonely. Though I admire the realism, it actually pushes me farther away from the game.
Would anyone really want to be in this environment?
The story, however, lacked… emotion. I wondered if this was also intentional, but the voice acting feels halfhearted and that every person appeared to have lost hope. Once again, could have been intentional, but it creates a very downtrodden or monotone story. The writing, admittedly, was okay, but it was never quite vibrant or expressive.
I can only remember the general gist of the story, but hardly any details. There are names that I cannot remember, nor do I recall location names (I want to say Goodwill? Or Goodridge...?). A pity, because I truly wanted to delve into that world, and there was never a moment where I felt compelled to learn more about everything.
Without bias, I would give the story a 7/10. Slow to engage in, depressing, without hope… it’s what the developers were aiming for. However, the execution seemed halfhearted, and the quests jumbled the main story. I should’ve just made a straight shot through the story, but my ADD does run rampant.
With bias, 5/10.
Point Two: Audio
Here is the shortest opinion I could give for this category, “…”
The music doesn’t stand out, and oftentimes the radio melds with the actual game music. In fact, I was eventually coerced into turning off the game music, opting for the radio. Even later than that, I shut off both and decided to listen to my MP3s while playing.
For the first few hours, I listened to both the radio and BGM, but the music does become pretty agitating. In fact, there’s hardly any music at many points of the game. It’s probably for atmospheric reasons, but the music wasn’t memorable to begin with.
The sound effects, on the other hand, are quite decent. Pretty realistic, on sync, and does provide some immersion. Unfortunately, in regards to overall audio, I believe the sound effects had a stronger impact than the actual music.
Rating without bias, 5/10
Rating with bias in check, 3/10
Point Three: Visuals
Ah, well, I must admit, this is an older game, and I need to play nice. The graphics aren’t nearly as vivid and detailed as several of the current PC games, which is why I will be judging them fairly.
That being said, I still find the aesthetic downright… realistic?
Everything appears brown, gray, and devoid of life. Once again, this is the intent of the developers. The fact the environment looks so decrepit turns me off entirely. In fact, it downright frightens me. I hate being in such an environment, where nothing exists. Where life seems to come at a standstill, and everyone appears so sullen.
I was serious about the gray part.
The earthy tones brushed onto the scenery push this emotion to the edge. If I was into such aesthetic, I would give the developers an 8/10 for rating.
This doesn’t, however, include the animation. The animation feels stiff and unrealistic, and running in such an expanse world couldn’t have been more frustrating (even with Fast Travel, but more on that later in gameplay).
Overall, for visuals, without bias and with animation included, I’d give Fallout: NV a 7/10. With bias and my aesthetic tastes implemented, I’d give it a 3/10.
Remember, folks, this is only the first half. The latter half will include nothing but the gameplay, so please look forward to it!