Game: Fallout: New Vegas
Release Date: October 22nd 2010
Platform: Xbox 360/PS3/PC

Fallout: New Vegas is not a direct sequel to the best-selling Fallout 3; thou it looks. Set in a dark, humoured, post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland that is rich with character and personality. This is a standalone product, and you do not have had to of played Fallout 3 to follow New Vegas's storyline, so those who are not familiar with its predecessor will find it easy to pick up and play. New Vegas sees the series take a departure from the Washington DC area and enter the Mojave Wasteland, and along with familiar gameplay mechanics, great new additions, and an array of technical issues; New Vegas makes great attempts to rival Fallout 3.

The storyline in New Vegas is both varied and compelling. You start off as a courier tasked with delivering a high valued item to the New Vegas strip, however you are intercepted and left for dead. You are then stitched up by some friendly townsfolk and sent on your way to find who tried to kill you, and presumably take revenge. Along your travels you will meet some twisted characters, all with their own agendas and method of survival in the wastes. The amount of side quests and ways to approach each situation is astonishing, and you will be generally astounded at the amount of tasks that will rack up in your inventory, should you choose to explore of the beaten path. This is one of those games where exploration is rewarded in bucket loads, both in quests, items, and locations' most of which are off the path from the main storyline. Everything about this dark, brutal world is open from the beginning, with every single nook and cranny drawing you in; its almost impossible to walk from one point to another without getting sidetracked in some way. One major drawback for me was the inability to carry on playing after you have completed the main quest. Considering Fallout 3 was originally shipped with the same problem, and it was later patched to please the thousands that complained, this development choice seems extremely limited in its logic, and is definitely frustrating.

People who loved its predecessor will be immediately acquainted with a similar visual style in New Vegas; there have been slight visual improvements here but nothing major. The landscapes all look fantastic from a distance, but the game still suffers from awkward facial expressions and lacklustre texture work. This isn't detrimental to the experience, however the overwhelming amount of bugs and technical problems here are too many to count. I have had so many problems from the outset; from small bugs to complete game crashes. Players of open-world RPGs will be expecting bugs of some sort, but it is completely unacceptable for so many bugs to affect your play-through.

The dialogue work in the game is also fantastic, boasting hours of recorded voice work and a hilariously compelling script. There are some great characters in New Vegas, and all of them will present you with various choices and situations for you to then deal with however you see fit. Its great that the audio work is so strong, as so much of your time will be spent coercing with the many denizens of the wasteland. The music is also really great, with a mix of an atmospheric original score and real songs alongside it.

The gameplay mechanics in F:NV are almost identical to its predecessor. This is a very good thing. Obsidian took everything that was strong in Fallout 3 and preserved it in this game, adding only what was needed. The result is an absolutely great mix of old and new, and while some might argue that the game can sometimes feel a little too familiar, I found it to be an absolute joy to return to the Fallout universe. There are additions such as the aforementioned Faction system, as well as weapon modifications, VAT's special moves and the deadly Hardcore mode, which requires you to eat, drink and sleep to avoid starvation, dehydration and exhaustion.

All these additions, as well as the extremely strong foundations laid down by Fallout 3, combine in one epic title that will provide you with tens if not hundreds of hours of play time. The bugs are very apparent, but the quality and quantity of everything that this game offers overshadows the technical shortcomings. This is a game to sink your teeth into and enjoy for a long time to come, and I would recommend it to anyone.

Presentation: 9/10

A beautifully bleak world, hilarious characters and a vast amount of content are slightly let down by the technical side of things

Gameplay: 9/10

Excellent foundations are further strengthened with the new additions. Small problems such as a clunky feel to the gunplay lets the combat down slightly.

Visuals: 8/10

Still not the prettiest game on consoles, but the art design is stellar

Audio: 10/10

Perfect score for a masterful script and incredible voice work

Lasting Appeal: 10/10

See for yourself. If you thought there was a lot to do in Fallout 3, then this will blow you away.

9/10 Overall