Last night, I played a couple of hours into Fallout New California. Here are a few thoughts:
Choices, Choices & Choices | My Perspective, Watching Someone Else
My Perspective – I've played Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas and Fallout 4 so I'm familiar with the series but I'm pretty open minded so while I loved the in-depth rpg options of FO3 & FNV, I also enjoyed FO4. That being said, going back into the FNV style of play via FNC…I'm starting to see why many don't like the direction that Fallout is going. Well-crafted linear story lines and sandbox games are great but they pale in comparison to the connection, investment & fun that I feel when playing a game where the choices shape my experience. I don't know of a more recent game that give me the same feeling or really fits into this kind of sub-genre, which is a real shame.
Watching Someone Else – I checked out Koubitz's play through of the beginning (https://youtu.be/YfQkgQnG7nM) and the differences between are two experiences were huge. She took the warrior route while I took the scientist route so there were obvious differences but character interactions and the options open to you were really different. I probably spent 2-3 hours just in the prelude(before you sleep) doing quests, exploring and getting some awesome passive bonuses(like 6-8). It's crazy that she didn't get any passive bonuses. It was still a great experience watching her video, it's entertaining.
Rewards for Exploring | Choices shape experience
Choices shape experience – Now I'm not going to spoil anything so I can't go into depth but it feels good that there are some quests and things that give you great rewards for going the extra mile. There's one quest in particular that's multi-phased and if you decide to jump through all the hoops, the resulting bonuses, lore & sequences are very satisfying. That's all I'll say about that.
Top Quality | Map Design, Dialog, Lore, Voiceovers
Map Design – The map design vault 18 is really good. The layout is simple with clearly labeled sections, signs and even maps. This, alongside great dialog, increases the immersion because I can find my way to where I want to go without paying attention to the map markers. That's cool but what's better is the story telling around the vault that embodies the show don't tell ethos. One example is the memorial set at the sealed vault door with pictures of lost ones and candles. Based on the background of the vault, which I discovered through side quests and exploring, I understand the context behind some of them…awesome.
Dialog – I've only a played a few hours but my starting experience in this vault better than others for a couple of simple reasons. 1. Most people have a lot to say and sometimes it can lead to quests of better understanding of the vault. I did talk to pretty much everybody so mileage may vary but instead of some people just having 2 slides of dialog there's more and I feel like it increases immersion. It's well written as well and connects across multiple characters and data entries.
Lore – I've played the more recent games and watch some Fallout videos on topics that interest me so when I began exploring vault 81 and discovering the different references to other vaults and "activities", it increased my immersion and the coolness factor of the the story. I could go into this more but I don't want to spoil anything for people who enjoy discovering things themselves.
Voiceovers – They're great. Everyone I've run into so far have had great delivery and relevant voices. Also, it's surprising how much of the dialog is voiced based on how much dialog I discovered but it's awesome. It definitely makes certain characters' personalities stand out.
Conclusion: I've only played a few hours but I have to give a big thank you to Brandan Lee and Radian-Helix Media for pushing through and creating this gem of an experience.
TL;DR Fallout New California (a new mod for Fallout New Vegas) just came out, I played it and enjoyed it because your choices make a real difference in your experience, indepth exploring reveals lore & rewards, and the content(map design, dialog, lore & voiceovers) is high-quality.
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