Posted in Retro Gaming

Fallout New Vegas: The Mr. House always wins

(This is part of my journey going playing through 2010’s Fallout New Vegas. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

As we come to the final post in this playthrough, I found that it was a stunning coincidence that this past week, Star Trek actor René Auberjonois passed away. Only when that happened did I read his obit and discover that he was the voice of Mr. House in Fallout New Vegas, a fact that everyone seemed to know but me. It certainly makes playing the game that much more poignant, and I am even more glad I’m siding with Mr. House now.

Let’s move into endgame, shall we? The goal here is to put Mr. House and his army of Securitrons in a position where they’re sure to win the final battle, and part of this means to remove the Brotherhood of Steel from the equation. They hang out in a very confusing bunker full of high-tech gear and gizmos. Veronica, my companion, has a funny moment when she uses an intercom as if she was ordering drive-thru.

I’m always about the more elegant solution to quests than simply shooting up the place, so in this case, it requires stealing some keycards and then activating the bunker’s self-destruct sequence. I mean, would you be able to pass up the chance to activate self-destruct just to see what happens? Definitely not.

Veronica is somewhat less than pleased that I entombed her whole faction, but those eyes and the slight smile tells me that she’s not going to hold it against me. She takes off, and I head back to Novac to grab Boone as my travel companion.

There’s one other quest that Mr. House wants me to do, which is to protect the NCR’s president. He shows up to make the world’s loooooooongest speech, and if I was a better secret service agent, I probably would have found and eliminated the sniper that took off his head. But I didn’t. And that’s OK. The game continued anyway.

Thus we come to the final mission of the game, and boy is it a showstopper. A massive battle breaks out all over Hoover Dam between the NCR, Legion, and Securitrons. I dive into the midst of this, attempting to power up the dam for Mr. House (who needs the juice), while the Boomers send in giant bombers to help out. Going through this shortly after beating The Outer Worlds, you can definitely see similarities in how Obsidian did both of those games’ final missions (complete with friendly factions coming in to help out).

With Boone, Rex, and a securitron of my own, I had a private army to help me navigate the battlefield. Wasn’t tough at all, I just let them do most of the fighting.

Eventually I took the fight right to the big head honcho of the Legion, who shows up in this intimidating mask and begs for a fight. Again, I’m not about fighting if there’s a better way… and there was. My speech skill was 93, but I had a couple of “Meeting People” magazines that gave me a +10 speech bump. Therefore I was able to talk him into taking his dirty Legion and performing a full-on retreat without having to shed any more blood. Then, with the same speech skill, I told the commander of the NCR army that Mr. House was now in control of the Dam and he needed to bow out. Everyone left, I didn’t have to fight, and I felt awesome.

Thanks for a great time, Mr. House. I don’t regret fighting for you at all. Robots are the future!

With that, the game came to an end, and a series of narrated slides told me the fates of various characters, cities, and factions. For the most part, it was pretty upbeat — I helped more people than hurt, although it was sad to see Rex die at the age of 200 because I didn’t spare time to get him fixed.

And that’s Fallout New Vegas, folks! Obviously, I didn’t explore every locale or finish every side quest, but I feel that this was a good run even so.

So what did I think? First of all, I definitely agree with those who say that this is more of a true sequel to Fallout 1 & 2 than Bethesda’s games were. It has that classic wasteland feel, gritty humor, and tons and tons of choices. Obsidian did a pretty good job letting me play the character I wanted and working my way through quests in a variety of ways. The combat was decent (I used That Gun from the moment I bought it on, as it was that amazing), the perks fun, and there’s some legitimately funny moments.

I also appreciated that even though New Vegas was the key location, the game didn’t get as much into urban exploration as I feared. Most of it was out in the wasteland, even toward the end of the game, and I enjoyed that a lot more.

Criticisms? Probably the look: The graphics are a little rough and I got so sick of tan-and-brown-and-gray by the end. I know that there are some mods out there that make the landscape look more interesting and attractive, and I can understand why people did it. Also, I wish that there could have been an on-screen minimap instead of having to pull up the Pip-Boy each and every time I wanted to look at where I was and where I was going. That got old, fast.

That’s it! Join me in the new year for a new retro gaming series. I hope you’ve enjoyed this one as much as I did writing and playing it.

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