Old relationships are something that we all, regardless of current ones, we all think about. Memories triggered by little sights or sounds, your taste buds tantalized when at a familiar restaurant, the first time you looked her in the eye and she smiled….all of it makes you smile and grateful that you got to experience that.
But then they change. What was pretty is actually ugly underneath, conflicted and glitches beyond repair, with the capacity to smile yet break your heart. To take days of your life yet leave you feeling empty and unfulfilled. Something so wonderfully maintained with a lot of care (and believe me, they look like a million dollars to you) yet a shallow surface so penetrable that the smallest thing can crack it.
I do not speak of past girlfriends or holiday romances. Here readers, I speak of Fallout New Vegas.
I spent a summer with FNV once and what a summer it was! Together we explored the vast lands meeting so many new people along the way and getting to play with lots of cool things. We even got to gamble a cap away or two whilst getting caught up in the odd bit of political conflict/assassination attempts. Still, New Vegas is exciting, what’s a little bit of danger nowadays? Once I got rid of my headache that I had when I first started my adventure, I was fine (although I could have sworn that the doctor’s head was rotating whilst he was speaking to me…I must have imagined that).
But still, it feels bittersweet now. We have been through so much together yet at roughly 25 hours in, she broke my heart. She knew I needed that key to her heart, to take things further yet I mistakenly picked it up before it was due and thus I could no longer open the chamber.
Deadlocked. And there I was alone with no means of moving on. “It’s okay, you can try again” a friend told me. “There will be others” another said. It doesn’t matter. The same thing happened with a friend of mine and another one like this but he at least managed to see it through to the end even if he did not get to explore everything she had to offer or meet the whole family.
I tried to walk away but I somehow got my leg stuck between a tree and a rock. Funny, because I was already stuck between a rock and a hard place but oh well. I digress. After taking a nap, I woke up back at my room on the Strip. Nothing had changed, it all looked the same but I had no incentive anymore. I couldn’t go on like this, the key was gone and looking at those around me and the barren wasteland surrounding us, I felt disdain and anger. I tried to talk to somebody but they kept saying the same thing, my follower…well I couldn’t find her even though my Pip-Boy had her location identified.
Typical, friends abandon you during your hour of need. I literally ended up running backwards away from some Powder Gangers after accidentally straying South in a state of despair. I was outgunned, outmanned and on my own. I tried to fight back and aim my gun but strangely, the environment froze and I couldn’t move my arm.
Needless to say, I felt I had to start again only I don’t want to. How could I do it differently? I heard there were more places to explore but was I going to get let down again?
Metaphors aside, FNV is a very good game on the outside. A vast world of exploration, an engaging storyline revolving around control of the Strip and you are stuck right in the middle. There are so many character classes, weapons and customization options that the choice becomes truly baffling and requires many playthroughs just to experience the game in it’s entirely. Want to sweet talk your way through the main quest or blast the way through? It’s your choice. Some partners like it smooth, others like it rough and this is why I compare FNV to a relationship.
Ultimately you devote lots of time to the cause, you get attached to the game and you develop a persona in the meantime. The strength of FNV is that you care about the story and everything you do matters. When you experience a game-breaking glitch, you get angry. It’s like everything you imagined to be is no longer real and the wool was pulled over your eyes. You just do not want to go back and a product, regardless of cost should not do that to you.
Minor glitches (aforementioned getting stuck in the environment, NPC’s randomly flying through the air, lag) you can tolerate. A game so complex as this should be able to handle (Spoiler Alert) when you collect the Platinum Chip early before the quest is activated – not glitch to the point when you cannot progress the quest. To me, that is beyond frustrating and the 25 hours spent already are wasted. And don’t get me started on the crashes and incessant freezing, again they are tolerable but should a title be released in this condition? I think not.
Fallout is a brand and a relationship that with its loyal consumers should be maintained and improved. You sometimes have to change for the better and lessons that should be learned from its predecessors and other similar titles are sadly non-evident.
A well written story and great looks are not a trade-off versus fundamental flaws that ultimately ruin the whole fairytale. For that, I have to put this episode down to experience and hopes that next time, those issues are fixed and that this relationship will be treated with a lot more respect. It feels that you are being taken for granted and that’s that.
It’s a shame because these games at their best, are engaging titles with so much potential and I can honestly say I would not have bought anything else for a long time had this been as enjoyable as it should have been.