Fallout

What I like about New Vegas: You can make lots of choices, but you almost always get a warning before pissing someone off or initiating hostilities.

I love Fallout: New Vegas and I know a lot of people do, but I want to make posts critically examining what New Vegas gets right and wrong. With the right design decisions, I think a choice + consequence RPG can be appealing to a fairly mainstream audience.

Recently, a post on r/gaming highlighted one of the memorable and bizarre conversations the player can have in New Vegas – shooting a memorial plaque and getting into an argument with an NCR trooper. If you choose to say "You're a little bitch and your brother was, too", he will go hostile. Both shooting at the memorial and then killing an NCR trooper will raise your infamy with the NCR of course, but essentially you get one warning to back off before hostilities commence and you potentially piss off an entire faction. Choices and consequence, combined with quality dialogue. It's part of what New Vegas fans love about that game.

From a game design standpoint, New Vegas provides forecasting and padding that prevents players from accidentally making choices they want to make, but still provides that freedom to make choices. NPCs will typically give you some forecasting about consequences, and you typically get a warning before making someone hostile. Refuse to surrender your weapons at a casino or the fort? You get one warning before committing to that decision. Piss off a sickly Caesar? You get a forecast and a warning before the Legion turns hostile. Go to a Legion camp with Boone in your company? He'll pull you aside and tell you he will open fire on any Legionaries; you can have him leave your company, or you can turn around. Jacobstown having trouble with mercs? Marcus will tell you not to kill them to avoid hostilities with NCR. And so and and so forth.


on part of Josh Sawyer and other developers. In conversations about RPGs and choice/consequences, some people have the impression that having choices + consequences means having "gotcha!" choices that will leave players mad because they closed off a potential pathway. I think this perception leads to an overcorrection from game developers into removing choice and consequence from RPGs, such as in the infamous "HATE NEWSPAPERS" line not getting any long-term reaction from Piper in Fallout 4. With two exceptions I can think of, New Vegas doesn't have "gotcha!" moments that would leave the player angry*.

Read:  useful info from a level 84

* The exceptions being accidentally shooting Follows-Chalk at the beginning of Honest Hearts and Boone aggroing the Great Khan in the Bitter Springs caves.

I need to play more RPGs. I've heard Divinity 2 does a better job than Morrowind at choice + consequences.

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