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In context: Ask 10 different gamers what they think about the Bethesda Fallout series (that would exclude FO and FO2), and you'll get 10 different answers, both positive and negative. However, most will agree that Fallout: New Vegas was the best of the three first-person shooters – we shall continue to pretend Fallout 76 does not exist.
Fans often cite Fallout: New Vegas as the best in the franchise, with many attributing the success to Obsidian Entertainment's return to development duties. If you haven't played New Vegas, you now have no excuse because Epic has rotated it into its free game catalog. The Ultimate Edition usually sells for $20, but from now until June 1 at 10 am EDT you can grab it for the same as a five-finger discount.
Fallout: New Vegas is hard to criticize. From its roleplaying elements to its classic Western soundtrack, Obsidian managed to nail it on all fronts, getting right everything Bethesda got wrong in Fallout 3.
Unlike FO3 and FO4, which Bethesda set in its own stomping grounds of the American Northeast, Obsidian set New Vegas in the southern Nevada and central California region, with a ruined Las Vegas being the primary focal point. The setting was a nice aesthetic change and appealed to those from the western US familiar with the locales.
The dialog felt more meaningful in New Vegas, and interactions with factions were also significant. Unlike Fallout 3, ticking off or helping the various gangs has tangible consequences. Bethesda tried to copy this in FO4, but it felt forced.
For example, early in FO4, Bethesda deliberately steers players into an encounter with the Minutemen faction. The situation is so dire that the player feels compelled to help them – the entire goal being to introduce Bethesda's faction-building gameplay mechanic.
Regardless of your feeling toward the franchise, Fallout: New Vegas for free is a no-brainer. Even those who played it on the PS3 or XB360 back in the day might want to take advantage of Epic's offering. The game is old enough that a potato could run the title on max settings without breaking a sweat. Plus, after 13 years, a replay will feel like a whole new game.