Combat’s similar to Fallout 3 with the addition of iron sights aiming added in. The addition though still makes it tough to play as a first person shooter and I found myself spending most of my time in VATS unless I was out of action points. It was just too hard to aim and I never felt comfortable playing this way. I just don’t think the engine is conducive to making combat through a first person view any fun. Those kill cams that were only present in VATS in Fallout 3 does appear randomly in Fallout: New Vegas on regular non-VAT kills so you can at least experience the carnage that can happen if you don’t go into VATs. Also, melee weapons get some special moves so this might entice you to use some more melee attacks.
Obsidian decided that one partner wasn’t enough as now you are able to have two companions with you, although there’s a catch. You’re allowed one humanoid and one non-humanoid companion to travel with you. For example, you can pick up Craig Boone, who is an ex-NCR sniper and have an eyebot tag along as well. Where you had to glitch the game to get a few companions in Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas gives you this supported although I can see people trying to glitch the game to get multiple humanoid companions.
A cool thing added with companions in Fallout: New Vegas is that companions have their own perks that can enhance your experience. With Boone, he has a perk that will highlight enemies in red when you are aiming so you can pick them out easier. With the eyebot, you’ll be able able to detect enemies are a far range and target those that are cloaked in VATS. So, while companions give you more fire power, they also add other special abilities that will benefit you making the choice of companions to be a little more strategic.
To easier facilitate control over your companions, Obsidian added a companion control wheel which gives you a nicer, more visual approach to giving your companions orders. You can still talk to them and tell them how you want them to follow you or open up their inventory that way, but the wheel makes it quicker. It’s a nice addition to controlling your followers reducing the time needed to perform certain actions with them.
As with the previous game, all the enemies that your companions kill will add to your experience points. Now, leveling up is the same as you can increase your skills and get new perks but there’s been a minor change with New Vegas. You’re now only able to choose a new perk every other level up. With Fallout 3, I thought it was too easy to just build up an uber-character with perks out the wazoo. I like the change in Fallout: New Vegas as you won’t be some super character by the end of the game and it makes you think even more on what perks you want to pick up to define your character. Some are going to hate it, but I like the change myself as I still felt challenged in the later levels of my character because I didn’t have a plethora of perks to help me out. Speaking of perks, there are 80+ in the game with some familiar and some new so there are a few new ones to utilize in New Vegas.
Spread throughout the world are magazines that you can read to temporarily boost some of your skills. Reading them can boost a skill by 10 points or so and they are pretty handy when you need a certain skill level to complete and objective but won’t be leveling up anytime soon to get the needed points. There are still books than can permanently raise your skills a few points but the magazines are a nice addition for that quick boost.
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