Pointless Nonsense

Posted in video games by Bill on July 13, 2011

Steam’s summer sale included big discounts on both Fallout: New Vegas and Batman: Arkham Asylum, so I will be struggling to keep up with TV and comics for the next few weeks. And it turned out to be timely, as I got sick Sunday night and barely left my room for 2 days.

New Vegas is what Fallout 3 should have been. Not that Fallout 3 was bad, but it barely tied into the rest of the series, mostly due to the geographical differences (1 and 2 being out west, and 3 in D.C.). I imagine this game was much easier from a technical standpoint (with the same engine and what looks like a lot of models, textures, features, and annoyances (opening a door from the wrong angle pins you against the wall still) completely unchanged from Fallout 3), allowing them to focus on content. This one ties in to the first two games much more than Fallout 3 did, with the NCR playing a big role, at least one character still alive from Fallout 2, and lots of locations and names from previous games coming up. Only one callback to Fallout 3 that I’m aware of.

Anyway, the game is enormous. I feel like for every quest I complete, I acquire two more. I can tell that I like New Vegas a lot more than Fallout 3 because in Fallout 3, I found that I was near the end and just finished the game, intending to go back and replay to catch some of the side quests I missed (which I only got about 1/3 of the way through). In New Vegas, I’m too wrapped up in what’s going on to leave stuff undone. There are two active quests (out of, I think, 13) I have to advance the plot, but I’m putting those off to finish up other quests and to explore. I suspect someone determined to finish could do it in about 20 hours of gameplay, but I’m well over 30 at this point and I expect at least 15 more.

I’m still not clear what faction(s) I want to side with. There’s only one group I’ve found that I seem to be completely in line with, but they’re small potatoes (and somehow my reputation with them is not nearly as good as it is with some people I think are nuts, and don’t plan on helping anymore). And this kind of gray area, lose-lose thing is exactly what belongs in Fallout and to a certain extent what was missing from Fallout 3.

Random things about the game, which will contain some minor spoilers:

  • Even though nothing happens (beyond the screen fading to black, a “you are well-rested” message, and, if it’s a prostitute I can’t smooth talk, the loss of caps), I feel compelled to have sex with any young-ish non-ghoul lady character I can. Though the supply of these is surprisingly low, I’ve only found three. Though there’s also one non-prostitute I think I get to bang if I go through a time consuming quest, which, as I said, I’m compelled to do.
  • I did not select hardcore mode, thinking it would be impossible, which I now regret. The differences in hardcore mode (that I’m aware of): you need to eat, drink, and sleep from time to time to avoid negative effects, your companions can die, and ammunition has weight. The reason I thought it’d be very challenging is because the supply of non-irradiated food and water was low in previous games. Constantly having to eat seemed like you’d need to be knee-deep in RadAway to handle the radiation. But the introduction of both Sunset Sasparilla and the ability to find food from plants in the waste means a much larger supply of healthy food to keep you going.
  • My long-standing Fallout tradition of giving away lots of endurance points in character setup turned out to be a mistake, due to a particular game mechanic. Suffering through a period of lesser stats with an END of 9 would actually have been optimal, due to a particular game mechanic. Oh well.
  • One thing I did differently was not make my CHA very low (6) and I took speech as a tag, so for the first time the companion limit (one humanoid, one “other”) is really hurting. I really like the first two I got, so other than the story-dependent time I had to lose one (and picked up another to do its quest), I haven’t changed any, but I’ve already turned down three offers.
  • They introduced the idea that certain companions give you certain perks. I have no idea what most of the others others are (my temp non-humanoid would highlight some stuff on the ground or something, I never actually saw it happen), but the first two I picked up give me a larger radar range and to highlight enemies in red when I’m zoomed in. Since I tend towards sniper-type weapons, this combination is invaluable. Plus, for a while, one of my guys was way more powerful than the stuff I was fighting, and I could basically ignore fighting and just wander around and get random bits of XP while he went nuts.
  • The introduction of Caravan, a strategy card game to play against random NPCs for money, is both good and bad. Good in the sense that it’s kinda fun to whip people’s asses, but bad in the sense that after going 3-3 during the game learning (and deck building) process, I’ve won 9 straight to the tune of about 10,000 caps. Which is nice, but as long as the game exists, I’m never really short on cash.
  • They introduce the ability to use survival to cook things, repair to make regular ammo, and science to make energy weapon ammo. I’ve basically ignored it entirely, due to the aforementioned Caravan money thing, and because my survival/repair skill was very low early on (my science is good, but I haven’t found an energy weapon better than whatever regular gun I was using at the time).
  • One thing better in Fallout 3 was the music. The Vegas-y Rat Pack stuff is ok, but the country is pretty unbearable. I find myself going back and forth between no radio (which kicks in the game’s “spooky music” default soundtrack) and the New Vegas radio (when the spooky music gets annoying, and/or for the DJ).
  • The selection of voice actors is interesting. I’m afraid to consult imdb for fear of spoilers, but so far I’ve picked out Michael “Tigh” Hogan, Wayne Newton, Felicia Day, Danny Trejo, Rene Auberjonois, Dave Foley, Michael “Worf” Dorn, Alex Rocco, and I think Matthew Perry (though that seems kinda slumming it for him).
  • They introduced the “Wild Wasteland” perk to keep the less serious content optional (the only thing I’m sure was due to this perk was a gang of old ladies attacking me with rolling pins, but I suspect some of the radio content (like “Stay classy, New Vegas”) might be perk-dependent as well). Making it an option was a very good idea, since Fallout 2‘s use of a lot of SciFi references was something I loved, but many fans of the original did not care for it.
  • Actually arriving on the strip for the first time, I got what I assume was a scripted event off to the side of the street that was nothing short of brilliant.

One Response

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  1. Pointless Nonsense said, on November 30, 2011 at 9:01 am

    […] as many episodes to watch to complete a season and due to a number of other distractions (replay Fallout: New Vegas trying to do pretty much everything this time (I ended up with roughly triple the playing time as I […]

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