New Vegas as an experience is looked upon like the kid brother of its stellar sibling Fallout 3.  It shares innumerable similarities including, but not limited to, the graphics, the gameplay, the RPG elements, and the sound design.  For all intents and purposes this game is a continuation of the world Fallout 3 has created in a similar manner to that of The Ballad of Gay Tony and The Lost and Damned were for Grand Theft Auto: IV.  It took a foundation on which a masterpiece was crafted and replicated what made it successful while still expanding to encompass it's own story.  But this comparison isn't entirely appropriate for a few reasons: New Vegas is not a downloadable title, nor was it's creation intended to parallel the story of Fallout 3 as it was in the case of Grand Theft Auto.

That being said, the similarities between the existence of Fallout: New Vegas and downloadable content of the past is a striking one.  As stated previously New Vegas was built on the foundation of Fallout 3.  It separates itself from most annual releases, however, by the fact that it is more or less Fallout 3.  A good criticism levied at games such as this is that they don't expand on traditional formulas out of either fear, or lack of creativity.  This criticism is the foundation of the argument against Fallout: New Vegas, in my opinion.  But, if a wheel isn't broke don't fix it.  Hence, the five Downloadable titles made for Fallout 3, and the four for New Vegas. 

I believe the fact that New Vegas is too similar to Fallout 3 isn't an issue with the game.  The way I look at it is in order for this to stand on it's own it shouldn't have to be judged based on how similar it is to one of the best games of 2008.  For instance, imagine that this had come out in 2008 as Fallout 3, and Fallout 3 was instead something along the lines of "Fallout: Ruins of Washington".  Would the same problems be attributed to the game?  Of course not.  But could it likewise fill in the footsteps left by Fallout 3 in 2008?  I don't think so.

As it stands by itself the game is an immersive world filled with debauched characters, a tale that is dictated by your actions, and three feuding factions butting heads for control with you in the middle.  Visuals in the game aren't entirely impressive, but they get the job done.  What is more impressive than the technical aspects of the game is how they are presented.  This world was created as a dark shadow, much like the shadows of Hiroshima, to the greed and excess that dominated American culture in the 1950's.  All of it covered with varnish and spit shine to boot.  The goal of this world was to create a place that is as flawed and corrupt as it's values, like a weed growing from the ruins in the desert. 

But, the world of the game is nothing if not for the game itself being enjoyable.  It is, and the primary joy of that is where you come in.  Everything is dependent upon you.  if you want to play the sniper, you aren't shoe horned into picking a class at the start, or letting weapon usage dictate your gamelpay, you just do it. Tying in with the Role playing elements that make the game so customizable is the gameplay that is, at the least, servicable to fans of shooters.  FPS' in particular.

Unfortunately for Fallout: New Vegas, it cannot escape the shadow that Fallout 3 has cast on it and the rest of the gaming community.  In the gaming community the simplest way to make judgments on a game is to compare it others that are contemporary, of a similar genre, or of a shared series.  The curse of New Vegas is that it cannot stand on it's own.  But, more Fallout is never a bad thing, whether or not you consider New Vegas to be derivative, an homage, or a cash-out for Bethesda, the entertainment value is still palpable in the world of New Vegas.  As for it and Fallout 3, well, I prefer to think of it as the Fallout 3 that never was, and not necessarily as a simple add on priced at retail.