“War…war never changes. ” That is the opening line in the open world, post-nuclear game series called Fallout. The game focuses on giving players freedom to do whatever they want – from wandering the wasteland alone to joining a group against a common enemy. The series allows players to carve their own paths. The two games – Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas – both have the common theme of player freedom, but they differ in the mechanics and atmosphere of the game. The Fallout series are popular, but which one gives players the best experience?
From playing Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas extensively, I’ve discovered that deciding which one to play is hard without knowing the differences and similarities. Each game has different factions. Factions are groups of people who work together for a common goal. For example, a main faction in Fallout 3 would be the Brotherhood of Steel who are soldiers that are trying to rebuild the country. Fallout: New Vegas’ main faction, though, is the New California Republic – they are also soldiers, but they are trying to take back the Hoover Dam from enemy soldiers.
Even though the two games both have factions, the big difference is how the factions apply to the game. In Fallout 3, players can join the Brotherhood of Steel as I had mentioned before, but players can also join other factions like the Republic of Dave – a small society of people who have created their own government. Fallout 3 has no repercussions for joining many different factions, even if they were enemies. Fallout: New Vegas, however, has a system where players have reputations with each faction. Let’s say a player joined the New California Republic.
This group is hostile towards the Caesar’s Legion (the group of raiders from before). Unlike Fallout 3, if players join a particular faction, the enemies of that faction will vilify players and attack on sight. This adds an interesting dynamic to the game that Fallout 3 lacks. Although, if players would prefer the game without the Fallout: New Vegas faction system, the player should look further into Fallout 3. I personally enjoy Fallout: New Vegas’ faction system because it makes me feel like I’m choosing a side, and that decision has major effects later on in the game.
I remember when I first played Fallout: New Vegas, I had no clue about the different faction system. So when I joined Caesar’s Legion, I didn’t realize that all of the New California Republic wanted to kill me. It was a surprising situation to see these once friendlies attack me. Immersion is a major factor in gameplay – especially Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. Immersion involves the perception of feeling like players are actually in the game’s world. This atmosphere is created by many different factors in the game such as setting, color schemes, and cultures.
In Fallout 3, the atmosphere is desolate due to the setting being in a complete wasteland. Large civilizations are out of sight. Most societies are small and don’t communicate well with each other. These factors draw players into the world of isolation and the peaceful beauty of the landscape. This immersion gives players many feelings different from Fallout: New Vegas. The world of Fallout: New Vegas is shifted in another direction than Fallout 3. Fallout: New Vegas has a western, civilized feeling to the game.
This game pushes players towards quests of greater adventure. There are huge cities that spread across the map. One of these cities is called New Vegas – hence the name of the game. New Vegas is spectacular. Players are pulled around from casinos to vendors. Where Fallout 3 sends players on a lonely but peaceful journey, Fallout: New Vegas gives players a kick into the wild world. I remember staying home from school due to having strep throat, and the day was slow and boring. I tried playing Fallout 3, but the game made me feel lonely and sad.
But when I put Fallout: New Vegas into my gaming console, I felt a rush of exhilaration because I was already being chased by enemy groups and trying to stop an attack on New Vegas. Immersion can be subjective, but the quests in the game are factually different. A quest is where players complete a mission assigned from another person. Sometimes these quests are activated automatically. Fallout 3 has many different quests, just like Fallout: New Vegas. The only difference that could attract different players is the way players can complete the quest. Fallout 3 has one certain way to finish a quest.
Fallout: New Vegas, however, has multiple ways that a player can complete a quest. Some players may find that they enjoy having options to complete a mission while others like the idea of having a more straightforward quest. I remember trying to finish a particular quest in Fallout 3 where you had to deliver a message to a group of cannibals. I wanted to save the small girl that the cannibals had taken hostage, but the game would not allow it. It was a bit disappointing. In Fallout: New Vegas, h owever, there was at least five different ways to complete this one quest.
You could join the New California Republic and beat the quest, or you can join Caesar’s Legion and defeat that same quest. It was very different from Fallout 3. The last and most major factor that allows a person to decide which game to play is the map locations. Each game is set in a different place, usually followed by many different civilizations and landscapes. Fallout 3 is set in Washington, D. C. , where the player can actually wander throughout the city, admiring the old architecture like the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol Building.
I actually had my character live in the Lincoln Memorial, and it was a beautiful sight. I also love the location of Pittsburgh in Fallout 3. It was filled with lots of radiation and had many extra quests pertaining to the location. Fallout: New Vegas is set in Nevada and some parts of California. The whole landscape is different from Fallout 3. Fallout: New Vegas has deserts and canyons while Fallout 3 has flatlands with radiated pools of water. This difference in location could affect players’ decision greatly. I preferred the western desert in Fallout: New Vegas, though.
The game even had an extra location called the Sierra Madre, and it was the spookiest part of the whole series. It’s hard to understand the differences and similarities between two games in the same series, but I’ve been playing these two games my whole life. They might seem the same, but the differences are huge once a person finally digs into it. The quest, locations, immersion, and faction system all change the games in significant ways. I have no preference on which one to play because I enjoy each game immensely, but perhaps another player will.