Happy New Year to all you fine Hooligan (and non-Hooligan) readers. Hope you had a decent holiday season. Mine was fairly quiet, spent too much time playing Lord of Ages on teh F4c3b00kz, and primarily spent my time whuppin and whompin the living tar out of Fallout: New Vegas and getting truly stuck in with Red Dead Redemption (again).
Fallout: New Vegas is dead. Long live Fallout: New Vegas! Except for a few acheivements I did pretty much everything that I could do in that game; all storylines, all NPCs, several different character builds. Granted I haven't picked up Dead Money - the new DLC - nor will I pick up any of the expansions until they are all released and on sale as the GOTY edition. One thing I realized this last playthrough was having a stupid brawler character severely limits your options as far as NPC interactions, cracking safes, hacking computers, and pretty much anything (I consider) fun goes. My brawler, "Punchy", was an alcoholic meathead who was capable of killing a Deathclaw with melee attacks but couldn't think his way out of a urine soaked paper bag. He was so stupid he couldn't even be nice to NPCs. Moron.
Red Dead Redemption has been an interesting counterpoint to New Vegas. Redemption is a superior game in many regards. I wish the two games could be glommed together like fucking peanut butter and chocolate to make a videogame with Voltron-like powers (add in Borderlands for funzies). I know I love the Fallout series but in all honesty I think I care more about the story, setting, characters, and role playing factors (i.e. Punchy the boozer) than I do the actual gameplay mechanics, the suck ass load-times, the ability to nerf a character from the get-go, the bugs, the graphics engine is in serious need of a tune-up, lack of a cover system, and third person mode -and third person camera control - is frankly fucking worthless. I get really tired of wandering in first person mode, I feel like I have blinders on.
RDR is gorgeous, 99% bug free, loading times are scarce, camera control is damn fine, the characters and storyline are better than most Rockstar releases as of late, and that's not mentioning multiplayer (even playing multiplayer in a private match greatly expands gameplay) or the excellent DLC. What's lacking in RDR is setting and RPG factors/elements. Why is it that Rockstar seems to refuse to make an honest to goodness RPG? Additionally what's lacking in RDR is Rockstar's Achilles Heel - character collision detection can sometimes mean the difference between life and death. Having your character bumbling around in front of a doorway in a Chaplin-esque manner while being shot at can be frustrating (unless you're the one firing then it's hilarious). What really set RDR apart from New Vegas is how god damn fun RDR is. A buddy of mine came over and we set up a LAN and spent the evening blasting, knifing, hootin and hollerin and guffawing like crazy people while playing (additional heavy quoting of Serenity, Firefly, and Deadwood also occured). It was awesome. I can't wait for him to get the DLC so we can have tomahawk fights (it's my new favorite weapon). The fun continues with sidequests and unlockables. One of the quests was "Blow up a mountain lion with a stick of dynamite." Much easier said than done. There's a trick to it that I learned after dying many many times (get the asshole to chase you while cooking the dynamite and hauling ass on horseback - it's all a matter of timing).
Both games are worth playing but in my opinion, for the most bang for your buck pick up RDR. Vegas can wait until all the DLC are out and the game is sold all in one for thirty bucks.
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