Fallout: New Vegas vs Fallout 4: What Are The Differences?

Fallout 4's Vault Boy mascot depicted by in-game colored screens

Fallout: New Vegas vs Fallout 4: What Are The Differences?

Fallout is one of the most recognizable franchises in the modern video game landscape. With a rich history dating back to 1997, this post-apocalyptic RPG franchise is well-regarded by many generations of gamers. However, in recent years, controversy has struck the franchise. Fallout 76, the franchise’s first online multiplayer title, was a notorious failure when it launched. Bugs plagued the experience, and some players said it underperformed even when it worked properly. Subsequent patches and updates have addressed some of the bugs and added more content. However, the disastrous launch has left a sour taste in many fans’ mouths.

Because of this, people are more likely to seek out one of Fallout‘s single-player titles. The two most recent single player games in the series, Fallout 4 and New Vegas, have a five year gap between them, with New Vegas releasing in October of 2010 and Fallout 4 arriving more recently in November 2015. Despite its advanced age, many still consider New Vegas to be the best the series has to offer. Fallout 4 isn’t without its appeal either, though. The games have many differences beyond their release dates. New Vegas offers a more intricate RPG experience, while Fallout 4 provides a more streamlined experience. If you’re looking for a trip to the Wasteland, here are some of the most important differences between the two.

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Settlements and Base Building in Fallout 4

A settlement constructed in Fallout 4
A settlement constructed in Fallout 4.

It would not be a stretch to say that the biggest change Fallout 4 brought to the franchise was its settlement building-mechanic. Throughout the post-apocalyptic Commonwealth, you can find sizable plots of land where you can freely build structures, and the options are extensive. You can build houses, furnish them as you like, and construct defenses like automated turrets and barricade walls. If you construct sufficient power generators, you can add electric utilities like lights. DLC packs offer even more useful devices, like a decontamination arch that can instantly cure you of radiation sickness you’ve accumulated during your adventures.

By constructing a recruitment beacon, you can instantly turn any of these homesteads into a functioning settlement. NPCs will arrive to work the fields, man the defenses, or even operate stores. By managing resources and constructing enough beds for everyone, you can maintain a network of thriving, populous settlements across Fallout 4’s open world.

Player Housing in Fallout: New Vegas

A securitron in a cowboy hat standing in front of a car on a casino floor
A robot in one of the many casinos of Fallout: New Vegas.

There isn’t really a system in Fallout: New Vegas to compare this base building to. While you can gain access to safe houses and hotel rooms throughout the Mojave by ingratiating yourself with various factions, these amount to little more than a safe place to sleep every night. You can unlock a VIP suite in New Vegas, which is where your companions will gather while you’re not traveling with them The customization options here are still limited, however. You can pay to furnish each room, but you have no say in what the furnishings actually look like.

If you like the idea of creating a civilization in the post-apocalyptic wasteland, Fallout 4 is the way to go. However, the many plots of land required for buildable settlements mean that Fallout 4 has much fewer pre-built cities to visit than Fallout: New Vegas. If you’d rather walk into a visually distinct, vibrant town with a pre-established history and connection to the world around it, you might prefer Fallout: New Vegas.

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Gameplay Mechanics in Fallout New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas' Vigor Tester
Fallout: New Vegas‘ Vigor Tester.

Fallout: New Vegas has gameplay mechanics that are complex but approachable, and allow for a great degree of customization. Like every Fallout game, New Vegas relies on the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system. The seven stats listed in this acronym (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck) govern what your character is good at in broad strokes. You can then customize further by specializing in skills like explosives, guns, medicine, bartering, and many more. You can also choose perks to change up your playstyle even more. The list of perks in New Vegas is massive. It features straightforward upgrades like damage increases with certain weapons, and more outlandish options like the franchise’s infamous Mysterious Stranger, who has a chance to appear at random during combat and finish off an enemy for you.

Fallout 4 heavily streamlined its RPG mechanics in comparison to New Vegas. While you still allocate points into the same stats at the beginning of the game, leveling up is much simpler. You get one point which you can either use to increase your score in a SPECIAL stat or use to unlock or upgrade a perk. The skill list seen in Fallout: New Vegas and other earlier games in the series is completely absent; perks are the only thing governing how your character advances.

Fallout 4’s Weaponry

A Fallout 4 character wielding a Fat Man nuke launcher
A Fallout 4 character wielding a Fat Man nuke launcher.

The customization of Fallout 4 is more prevalent in the weapons and armor system. Players can use junk scavenged from the wasteland to enhance and upgrade just about any weapon in their arsenal. You can even enhance Fallout 4’s more outlandish weapons, like an old-timey ship’s cannon or a gun that fires garbage. This customization extends to clothing and power armor too.

While weapon mods can be found in Fallout: New Vegas as well, they’re much more restricted than the customization system in Fallout 4. Fans who are eager to build and customize their own arsenal of weapons will surely have a better time with the newer game. RPG players who are more interested in customizing their character themselves, however, will likely prefer New Vegas.

DLC Expansions

Fallout: New Vegas' Old World Blues expansion
Fallout: New Vegas‘ Old World Blues expansion.

Both Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4 are supported with DLC expansions of varying sizes. New Vegas boasts four major DLC expansions, each adding a new area to explore. Honest Hearts, Old World Blues, Dead Money, and Lonesome Road all build on the lore of the base game in meaningful ways, while at the same time offering distinct standalone adventures. Players can also pick up the minor Gun Runner’s Arsenal expansion, which adds powerful new weapons to New Vegas.

Fallout 4 has a much broader array of DLCs. Nuka-World and Far Harbor are the game’s biggest expansions. Like the four New Vegas expansions, both of these DLCs offer a sizable new map to explore filled with new content. The Automatron expansion adds new story content to the base game’s map, and also introduces new crafting components. Using the DLC’s new mechanics, you can build your own robotic follower and customize it with a wide array of weapons and even body types. Fallout 4 also boasts three Workshop expansions which introduce new furniture and structures to add to your settlements.

If you’re interested in more gameplay variety, Fallout 4’s DLC might have the advantage. In addition to larger expansions like Nuka-World, the Automatron expansion offers a massive overhaul to the game’s companion system. That being said, the narrative value of New Vegas’s expansions shouldn’t be overlooked. One of the things that has made Fallout: New Vegas such a beloved game, even thirteen years after its release, is its narrative. The way the game’s expansions build on what is established in the base game is truly impressive and worth experiencing.

Venturing Into The Wasteland

Fallout 4 and New Vegas are both impressive games, and both excel in different areas. New Vegas offers a more immersive world with greater control over the character’s development and their role in the story. Fallout 4, on the other hand, boasts an impressive amount of creative potential. You can create impressive structures across the map, and customize your weapons to your heart’s content. Depending on what you want out of your time in the Wasteland, both games are worth your time.

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