I realized, As I was checking out the new podcast (the speed and skill of it's publication shall take its place among the Epics of our age), that I left something unsaid while reviewing Fallout: New Vegas. Two things actually. Two? Yeah....Two. Don't look at me like that, I didn't get a degree in counting.
The first of these unspoken aspects is the game's quest system. The quest system, if that's even the best name for it, is quite different from those featured in other roleplaying games. Most games seem to present their stories consecutively, with each story leading to a different story. In the best of scenarios a change is made in the world by the end of that particular story. New Vegas, however, is far more complicated. I don't think I've played anything quite like it.
You see, many choices, down to the areas you go to and the Companion whom you take there on your first visit, is noted. Some such choices are activated in a quest, some while exploring, and many quests are not made available to the player until certain choices are made in certain ways. While it can be said that this creates a very organic world in which the choices you make changes the gaming experience minutely, creating a better experience.......go back to the last sentence. Some quests cannot be accessed, unless you jump through certain hoops and the player is rarely if ever informed before those choices are made what the consequences might be, nor afterward. Many players are completely unaware that they cannot play large chunks of story, until they go online and ask what totally fun or funny moment everyone is talking about.
When I found this out, I became far too attached to the concern that I might miss out on a detail, and made sure to look up many possible stories I wanted access to, and what I would have to do to make sure I could play them. In doing so, I spoiled A LOT of these stories for myself. Would the alternative had been better? I don't know, but I'm not playing the game again just to have a certain conversation with a certain character.
This is directly related to the other aspect I foretold. As many people who play the game already know.....this game is extremely buggy. My computer, which only crashed twice before, crashed twice while playing it. However, this relates to the quest/choices dynamic because the rampant bugs make the hoops you have to jump through to access certain quests far more specific. In fact, I narrowly avoided getting into a repetitive loop, which would have made the ever friendly Brotherhood of Steel even more unaccessable to me, had I not looked up the problem online and then broken out of it by talking to people in a certain order. These arcane details are lovingly chronicled in the annals of The Fallout Wiki, so I would point any players of this game in that direction.
Or don't, you may not want to spoil anything for yourself, but if you take that route, be happy with the parts of the game you can see. Don't think about what you might be missing.
Over all...I like this game. But there is a dark side.