If there’s any game series that deserves a proper strategy guide with every release, it’s Fallout. The massive, open worlds are packed with easy-to-miss quests, special items, and interesting characters to interact with. Fallout: New Vegas feels like a bit of a throwback to the older style of RPG, and appropriately so: many of the guys at developer Obsidian worked on the original Fallout games. As such, New Vegas holds the player’s hand a bit less than many similar titles – even 2008’s Fallout 3; a good guide will blow the world wide open.
The guide opens with a seemingly endless barrage of spreadsheets for reference including briefs on all the different factions, the many weapons available, different items and characters, and good character creation practices for both normal and hardcore game modes. A walkthrough of all the different possible paths for the main quest follows, as well as brief and informative guides for each of the many side quests the game has to offer. The quests are well organized and easy to find thanks to a comprehensive table of contents at the front of the book.
The few problems with the guide stem from a question I’ve always had with regard to strategy guides. How much access to developers and game resources do strategy guide writers have? And are the writers limited to a certain page count? For example, the Stealth Boy item is a far rarer commodity in Fallout: New Vegas than it was in Fallout 3 and at one point I spent a few hours looking for one so I could move forward with a couple missions. While the individual locations in the exploration section of the guide list what items can be found there, a list of where to find Stealth Boys (or better yet, various weapons) would be nice. It’s easy to see, however, how something like that might’ve been cut due to a lack of space or information, but item location lists can be a real boon in a game like Fallout. Like any good open-world strategy guide, a huge fold-out map is included, and marked with all manner of symbol, indicating important locations to explore, collectible items, and more. It’s a welcome addition.
Unfortunately the book is rife with spelling mistakes and typographical errors. With a project this large it’s easy to see how it might’ve been rushed out the door, but many of these could’ve been caught with a once-through or even a spellcheck.
Despite that, the book is still a very helpful tool when playing Fallout, and absolutely worth the cost if you want to get everything out of the Mojave Wasteland.