Fallout: New California adds an all new story around a new player character, an adopted resident of Vault 18, embarking on a journey through the wastelands of the New California Republic's Cajon Pass. An unofficial prequel to New Vegas, FPB adds hours of new gameplay and a fully voiced stand alone campaign.
Spoiler warning [just in case].
Lets start this with the positives:
The graphics and voice acting are "okay" when they don't feel forced or misplaced. They're decent, at best. The few good ones you find are likely to be one of the two appealing things in this mod.
There are a few custom items which are helpful- the backpacks are nice, the shields are cool.
That's really all I get out of this.
Time for the negatives:
The story? It's confusing, it doesn't feel like it's there. In the early portions of the mod it's easy to get lost since sometimes when completing a quest, you're not immediately granted the next part of the quest line- Sometimes having to talk to every person you see to find the next quest. The story feels almost non-existent, or if there is one, it feels forced and edgy. I'm unsure how this is really 'lore friendly' since it kind of spins off into 'your character is half-mutant' or something, I didn't get all the details of that, since the mod is also riddled with crashing. The story feels like it also forces you down the path the mod creator has decided for you- Making all your decisions ultimately pointless; I went through three checks, and even checked other dialogue options for that same event, and nothing changed. It was the illusion of choice- But really it just feels you're being railroaded into the edgy do-not-steal story the mod creators wanted for you to have.
As for the graphics and voice acting, while I do enjoy how good it looks when it works. . . There's no quality control. You have these patches of decent work, and then these expansive areas of drab, boring areas that need to be improved. You also have sound that is muffled or randomly spikes, models that clip when they speak, the lips improperly synced, graphical glitches and blitzes, and sometimes you can even fall through the world while trying to explore, not that "exploring" is something you get to do much of, what with the story being linear and intrusive on gameplay.
What's probably more worse than both those things is the random changes in difficulty. No matter what you chose at the start, or what game mode you're on, or what you're specced in, you're going to have some annoying difficulty, be it on Very Easy or Very Hard. For example, in the starting area- Vault 18, you have mobs of enemies that soak up bullets- But the named ones are worse. Much worse. They take at least five more hits than the mobs around them. I guess that's understandable, but they should be weaker since you're only just starting out in the vault- And when you're forced to continue, you run into a creature that literally exhausts every bit of ammunition you have and grenade [I personally also had to use mines], and still doesn't goddamn die. And to add insult to injury, they also kill you in about four shots, are permanently invisible, and are surrounded by [presumably] innocent people. So if you're playing a hero character, give that up right now.
Also, you'll need at least an 8 in Endurance, Intelligence, Perception, and Charisma. Because any time you need to persuade someone, it uses your special stats. Not your actual skills. And the few times it does use your skills, its typically unrewarding.
And dont even get me started on how it crashes any time I enter a new location... Room.. Building.. Or even take a nice long walk down the road.
TLDR; Story feels absent, forced; Feels like an edgy fanfiction more than anything. Graphics: Okay, but glitchy. Voice acting: Needs quality control, but alright; Difficulty spikes are too rampant, and is almost unplayable on harder difficulties unless you're an expert. Screw up persuasion system, removes decisions of the player, feels flat and boring; Crashes every five minutes.
Review would be lower, but new members cant rate lower.
[Major Spoilers]The story was alright and served its purpose to keep me interested enough to play through the mod, but the characters overall weren't all that interesting after the Prologue.
At the beginning of the mod during the Vault 18 part, you get a ton of characterization for your companions and exposition about the world of New California, but everything after the Vault 18 chapter, just kind of falls flat.
Your companions have nothing interesting to say after the Vault and the bit in that forest station, its almost as if they never existed in the first place, they have no relevance to the story whatsoever besides Kira maybe, even though your edgy boi Ben said some **** about you needing to work as a team, but even if you manage to convince them to stick together, they are nothing more than glorified sentrys, that kill all the bad guys for you. Not to mention how crowded it feels, to walk around the map with 6 guys + those 2 robots and whatever temporary companion the story throws at you.
I wouldve just left them all at the hotel, but this whole time i was hoping that they would start to get more involved in the story at hand, besides psychotic Kira and edgy Ben who sometimes have a line or two about the current mission theres really nothing.
Further into the story i met the remnants of the Shi-Clan and their Leader, with whom i ultimately sided with at the end of the game. You characterized them as proud and traditionalist warriors, that would do anything to preserve their culture and people and wish to restore their lost empire.
The Shi-Clan are whats left of the Shi-Empire from Fallout 2, who are constantly referenced by their Leader in-game, so obviously you read the lore. So why are they speaking japanese and not chinese? The Shi-Clan were remnants of Chinese Communists who were at war with the US Commonwealths, so why do you potray them as goddamn japanese Samurais??
Anyway, the last point about the story i wanted to talk about was the ending. It just felt totally contrived, because you shoe-horned it, so you would end up as the Courier in the beginning of New Vegas, so in consequence no matter what you choose to do in the end with the Nuke, the Ending is the same. Suddenly, after murdering your way through California, beating both the Enclave 2: Electric Boogalo, the Master Rebooted and the NCR, establishing on the way that you are a near invincible super-soldier, you are now getting ****-whipped by the NCR and ordered around by the Legion? (Why would I, as a good Karma character want to have anything to do with those slaver scumbags?) It feels completely out of Character. The Shi-Clan too, they would have never wanted to be assimilated by the Legion even if they were desperate, because that would mean giving up everything they fought for this whole goddamn time.
Just wheres the payoff, the consequences, anything that would have made it worth it in the end? Nothing is ever mentioned about the fate of your companions or the consequences of your actions in the end.
I would have been more forgiving if i could continue to play with my character from New California in New Vegas, but i cant. So what was the point merging the story of New California into New Vegas?
The mission design is not very good either. Its just going to Point A to B and killing hordes of enemies. Rinse and Repeat. Sometimes the formula is being mixed up with some alternative objectives, but not nearly enough. Dont get me wrong, the presentation is great, but the gameplay is repetetive and uninspired. And these constant artillery barrages from the Boomers, that you recycled for your mod are goddamn annoying. They randomly kill me and sway my camera around everytime and you reused them so often, for almost every assault/defend mission that it just really started to **** me off. Why has everyone and their mothers in the wasteland access to mortars and artillery??
This one mission, after i had taken over the survivalist/raider tribes and become their overlord i got the option to allocate my forces to defend key locations against the Super Mutant invasion. My Shi Advisor going on about how "this" is important for our long term survival and how "that location" could use more defenders and ****, and that i should look at the strategic map to decide where i should put my raiders. At least that was what i was led to believe. Instead the game just made me go from point A to G killing pockets of Super Mutants until the mission was just unceremoniously completed. No reward, no dialogue no nothing. What the hell was up with that? You had a chance to design a mission that wasnt just blowin' and goin', you even had the voice lines recorded for it, but you did nothing with it in terms of gameplay.
TL;DR: The prologue was nice, but after that it was a complete tailspin.
The visuals are nice, at least in the starting vault. Then you get chucked into the wasteland which somehow manages to be more lifeless than the Mojave. I suppose it's serviceable, but for such an ambitious mod I sort of expected a more interesting looking world to explore. The characters, however, can run the gambit from being well done to looking like someone's edgy OC. A few characters have special hairstyles that clearly don't work well in the engine, which makes me wonder why the devs didn't go with a default hairstyle instead. On the nitpicky side, shields look nice until you realize you can have them equipped while using a two handed firearm, and thus you become the amazing clipping vault dweller, able to wield both assault rifle and manhole cover at the same time it shears through your forearm.
My biggest overall complaint is that your skills don't really seem to matter all that much. Instead, the game takes everything from your SPECIAL stats. So, despite getting my Speech to 90, I was still routinely failing skill checks because I didn't feel like pumping my Charisma to 7, nor my Strength or Endurance. I can understand Strength, but why not use Survival in place of Endurance? As the game continued, I saw only Charisma being used for most speech checks, and I got pretty annoyed when after at least 6 hours of playing I had only seen 1 check actually involve the points I placed in Speech.
More on this, I also haven't seen any locks to pick beyond an early Very Hard lock, while there are more than a few terminals with incredibly high requirements. So, if you play someone who prefers "low-tech hacking," good luck actually getting any use from your picks.
I'd review the story, but I can't even find a reason to be interested in it. There's something about the NCR trying to fight back a big raider gang while the Enclave does...something. Also (Spoilers) you're a "half-mutant offspring" and that's why you're so super. That's meant to be a big "Woah!" moment but I really couldn't care less with how boring the story was.
Finally, while most of the quests are very boring (Walk to point A and kill the enemies, return, repeat) so far, I have to give special credit to one quest where you have to PERSONALLY ESCORT a caravan across half the map ON FOOT at WALKING speed. This remains the only time I've ever actually used the auto-walk button in New Vegas while I did something actually interesting on my phone. Why was this included!? What part of this was supposed to be fun!?!? This quest alone killed any desire of mine to really see the mod to the end! At one point the caravan got stuck so I gave up and ran ahead, where they suddenly decided to warp to the end anyway and invalidated any reason for me to have walked with them at all!
Oh yeah, there are companions but none of them have anything interesting to say. There's Ben, who's supposed to be a real tough customer or something. He mostly just growls and says generic tough guy survivalist lines. Kira keeps nagging me to find her tribe but I can't talk to her about information I've gotten on them. There's a blonde girl I literally can't remember the name of because she doesn't have anything to say, never has any new dialogue, and has the personality of a cardboard box. There's a big robot named ALPHA and a little robot dog you can get too, and these are the best because you automatically have 0 expectations for any sort of character arc for them as they are mindless robots. (This is not a good thing.)
3/10, there are far better uses of your time.
Very lore friendly, excellent voice acting with believable characters. Despite some criticism from users, the vault is well laid out and easily navigable and is a truly interesting place to explore with plenty of attention to detail.
I'm happy to report that I've found a mod here with plenty of text based fluff, leading to greater immersion and a more believable world.
Some fantastic jokes and sometimes some jibes at the players expense (for my second playthrough I maxed out some of my S.P.E.C.I.A.L skills to make life a little easier leading to some...unintended dialogue options) made this mod a joy to play.
The only thing that has prevented me from giving this a 10 is some minor bugs that occasionally crop up. I'm sure these will be fixed in due course.
Congratulations to the team that built the mod, and I for one, will be looking to the next instalment with baited breath.
I'm just popping in to leave a few thoughts in case the mod devs actually read this. I understand that a 4 out of 10 looks really bad, but with the understanding that this is a beta and that the mod devs fully intend to continue working on this and improving it, it's really not.
Warning, spoilers ahead.
Now, a few of my criticisms (as these are the most important).
1. You start out really powerful and with a plethora of ammo. When I'm walking around with a 10 mm pistol leaving piles of 30 ncr troopers in my wake as the scientist build, I think there is something wrong. Not only does having access to hunting rifles straight out of the gate make a character really strong regardless of their level, but the scaling feels off from other fall out games. This feels particularly off when I'm a lvl 6 tanking shots while one shotting enemies.
2. I hate the infinite spawns. I understand that you're trying to build immersion and that these spawns are supposed to represent thousands of enemies entering the battlefield at once ectr. ectr. Unfortunately, I want to kill all the bad guys. After the 50th super mutant and the second lvl up because the infinite spawns provide access to way too much ammo in other areas, I'd get overrun because of grenades. Furthermore, after I die and restart and just try to run away, I can't because of perfectly thrown grenades that almost always cripple me (causing me to run out of stimpaks and die). This annoys me greatly. I don't think failed supermutant abominations should infinitely spawn with grenades because it prevents me from doing what I'm supposed to and running away. Furthermore, while I was doing a raider playthrough, I missed the checkpoint for getting off the vertibird in the part where you have to go kill the ncr commander. Because of this I went and killed the commander, and probably over 100 ncr. I ended up with around a thousand round of 5.56 rounds and a few lvl ups before I found the vertibird I had hopped out of and walked around it a few times to get the checkpoint.
3. what happened to the enclave?
I like the enclave and more importantly, I like their equipment, where can I find and kill more of them for their stuff? It feels like after your vault blows up they kinda just disappear. To be fair I have yet to finish either of my playthroughs, so maybe they do reappear later.
Lastly, I dislike all the charisma checks. Why? Because they should really be speech checks. Particularly when you are on the computer in the vault messaging the wasteland girl. Letters through a screen are entirely what you say, not how you look or say it. Also I request more locks to pick out in the wasteland please. Maybe I just didn't look hard enough but it seems like there isn't much.
On to the good things!
I love the starting vault, and how it looks and feels. I love how the computer in the nerd path is a jack***. I love how you have companions from the start and you don't feel alone, and how the story builds itself. I think that the devs put their hearts and souls into this, and I'm sorry for all of the bad reviews, but I have high hopes for this mod, because it deserves them.
Alright I'd like to start with the positives to this mod before I tear into it.
Starting up a new game I felt hooked into this world, the vault was great even if it lagged my machine up quite a bit, but I was still excited to wander around and look at everything. The voice acting is great for some NPC's others such as in the raider camp have ear rending high pitched crackling audio which can be fixed with a quick re-record and replace.
That's about where I feel the good ends.
The world space is filled to the brim in some places causing a lot of lag in the location dropping me to the low 20's in fps, these areas are fun to explore and held my interest for a little bit, then it's out into the wasteland where there is nothing and nothing more a little farther down the road. I feel like there is a huge gap in encounters where it's massive amounts of combat then a dry spell for 30 minutes while you walk down the roads looking at rocks and some trees, wandering around is pretty much pointless since the world space is a desolate wasteland with there being little to no life at all wandering around. To really sum it all up quickly, it just feels empty and devoid of a soul that the base game has.
Combat, where to begin on that. Spending so much time fighting the mobs that are bullet sponges such as the super mutants just is not fun, the constant re-spawning of them really set me off since it made trying to level and loot no fun at all since I would just get shot in the back and re-spawn to just die again while fleeing. I feel like it could be an easy fix with maybe toning the spawns down and maybe not throw a few hundred mutants at the player.
Now to the meat of the mod itself the story, The first part of being in the vault is fun, a new take on who the player is and its interesting. Leaving the vault was exciting I was ready to go out and about to see this new landscape and explore to my hearts content but instead I found myself passing a charisma check and ending up as a prisoner in a bandit camp, this was lame and it felt forced to make you progress the story line. The first event where you leave the vertibird to fight the NCR broke for me several dozen times and it made it infuriating to try and play (This was the only area this really happened to me). So after all that and progressing the story line attacking Daggerpoint pushed me to almost uninstall the mod due to the absolutely stupid amount of mutants I only got to about level 12 throughout the whole time playing so you can guess how much fun it was to try and fight my way through that. Getting to the father, I felt his speech was interesting but then I was hit with the whole "You are a clone I devised for my own evil purpose" bit and I groaned, the ending had the best bit of voice acting with bragg screaming at me it felt satisfying to hear the man yell and I found it genuinely funny to listen to him have a meltdown, then it just ended, no summary nothing, just a slideshow of images that meant nothing to me since I as the player never felt connected to anywhere in the world space since none of my choices seemed to have any effect on the world.
To quickly sum the story up, It was lackluster and boring, a very VERY linear experience that made me as the player feel disconnected from my choices and made the overall experience disappointing to play. I don't think I would ever replay the mod since the whole experience has left such a bad taste in my mouth of a force fed horrible story.
But in order to really understand why I have a dislike like of the mod, go play it but keep in mind the things I have mentioned and the problems that are there, Don't go in with the thoughts of this is the best mod ever since it's not.
Pretty awesome mod. Extremely buggy but that's to be expected in a beta. Will definitely come back to it once they've ironed the kinks out.
An ambitious mod that aspires to be the best unofficial expansion ever released for New Vegas... but has a handful of problems and glitches that weigh it down.
The best way I can describe this mod is "everything but the kitchen sink". Ranging from new outfits, weapons and armor to an entire landmass and a full assortment of quests that run across several distinct factions, there's no denying that the team behind the mod had their work cut out for them, and for the most part, they nailed it.
Vault 18 is chockful of areas to explore and different questlines and stories to pursue, starting right from the opening moments when you're given a choice to pursue either a "Warrior" or "Scientist" path. Both of these options give wildly different starter quests and offer some great replayability, buoyed by some solid voice acting and amusing character moments (the Charisma checks with Jenifer's father and resulting conversation between both of them is some of the funniest material in the game).
The problem with this prologue, though, is that there are a lot of conditional perks and boosts that are easily missed, and it seems that the game is weighted far too heavily on one path, to the detriment of the other. It's hard to see what the rationale for going down the Scientist path is when being an Athlete nets you a potential boatload of skill books, several perks that directly increase critical stats like Guns and Charisma and some of the strongest character work in the game.
Additionally, the ensuing post-prologue sequence severely punishes you if you side with the Enclave, as everyone either tries to kill you on-sight or the potential companions you wanted to recruit get gunned down moments after allying with you. As far as I can tell, there is no real point to joining the Enclave after you leave Vault 18, and you lose out on a LOT of character development and side content if you leave those potential companions behind to get blown up.
(There may also be a way to prevent the reactor from blowing up, but I haven't experimented enough with that scenario yet, as it requires a massive assortment of anti-rad drugs just to survive.)
After escaping, the mod starts to take a dive... but not necessarily in the way you'd expect. For a mod that claims to have a sprawling overworld and plenty to see and do, the first half of what I assume is a full NCR playthrough was extremely linear. In quick succession, you are given two timed quests -- escape the blast radius and escape a horde of Survivalists who are hunting for you, with multiple chances to be captured and put on a different path altogether in a different part of the world.
That goes back to the diffculty, which wildly oscillates between easy and extremely hard. One minute, you're trying to fight off a horde of Enclave troops backed by Bragg, then the next you're casually taking potshots at the odd Bloatfly and Tarantula, before being confronted by a horde of Survivalists who've flanked you, to more serenity, to an even larger attack force that has access to weapons that can instantly knock you down. This is all within the first half of the mod.
I echo many of the other complaints users have had on the reviews page. Your companions turn into near-mute ciphers right after you camp out in Pinehaven. The story starts meandering once you leave the vault, with the potential villain (Eldragon, a distant relative of Elder Maxson from Fallout 4) not having enough screen presence or compelling dialogue to make a noticeable impact. There's a whole subplot about Ben (who you meet on the way out of Vault 18) having a split personality that reasserts itself when someone threatens him, but that doesn't translate into any real gameplay or character moments. There's a twist midway through the story that makes little sense and seems at odds with everything known about Fallout lore.
That said, the game is absolutely gorgeous to look at, and the worldmass is easily on par with any of the DLC expansions like Honest Hearts or Old World Blues. While some of the buildings and locations could definitely stand to hold more loot, the ambient encounters you find are varied enough, and the settings are compelling enough, to see you through to the end.
I wouldn't know that, though, because I ran into a fatal bug while doing the NCR questline and trying to get to Union City. Over, and over, and over without fail.
In the end, New California has a lot to love. The problem is that you have to tough it through a lot of jank to admire the beautful world and care put into the custom elements. As of this version (Oct. 2018), it's a conditional pass, though I will likely reappraise it when it hits the "final" version.
The start was amazing, well written, interesting but as soon as you leave that point into the wasteland. It becomes buggy, incoherent and a non-stop grind of fighting and walking. The mod is geared mostly to combat and I felt my int/charisma character was useless. The combat was unbalanced, I ran out of ammo and medicine so easily without means to recuperate them. A big let down after the long wait, the map is large but empty of content and is simply for you to walk between places. It's extremely easy to sequence break NPCs, alternate options and paths are obscurely hidden.
I don't know what they did in the several years building up to this release, I understand it's two people who obviously have other matters in their life to attend to. But after you leave the vault, it feels like everything was thrown together in a few months. That includes the map which is poorly navmeshed, the combat encounters which are just hordes of enemies which makes for artificial difficulty and poor performance and the storyline which is disjointed and unconvincing. Your character has little agency or motivation, especially for the scientist path. The ending was beyond disappointing, I felt the rest of the story mattered little to what it built up to and feels like a cop-out and is unimaginative. I very much wanted to love this mod, but one playthrough took 7 hours and it was a struggle the whole time.
There was a lot of fun parts, but it gets dragged down by aforementioned flaws.
Project Brazil has to be one of the most hopeful mods ever. If it were to be picked up by ZeniMax, and offered as a DLC - I would pay for it tenfold. This is honestly one the best mods I have ever played, with an amazing storyline and astounding voice acting, very professionally-done. The new Enclave "Patriot" uniforms are amazing, and despite my personal enmity against America, I wear one often. I guess I can coldly state "I wear this as a big ****-you." Even in its current state, this is incredibly enjoyable, I find myself wandering about aimlessly enjoying the grim outlook and darker atmosphere of the California Wasteland.It perfectly captured the meek outlook, and melancholy meant to be experienced by New Vegas flawlessly, even in the music from the NCRPR *I love the blues feeling given off by most of the songs chosen, and the voice actor fits perfectly with the idea of the station.*. I eagerly await the chance to watch giant wars take place across the wastes of California. Astounding work, and I wish you great success with Episode Two. I should give this a ten, but I will keep it here - at a highly-respectable nine, and bump it up to a ten whenever we get to see Episode Two, or whenever that bug I get with Robotodog is fixed (I had to reload an Autosave for wasting a Science-magazine while attempting to get to A.L.P.H.A, and I could no-longer interact with Robotodog, only his terminal.) Well, regardless. Thank you for an amazing mod experience, and I wish you all great luck and speed with the last two episodes.
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Highest Rated (14 agree) 9/10
Project Brazil has to be one of the most hopeful mods ever. If it were to be picked up by ZeniMax, and offered as a DLC - I would pay for it tenfold. This is honestly one the best mods I have ever played, with an amazing storyline and astounding voice acting, very professionally-done. The new Enclave "Patriot" uniforms are amazing, and despite my personal enmity against America, I wear one often. I guess I can coldly state "I wear this as a big fuck-you." Even in its current state, this is incredibly…
Jun 5 2013 by TB-755