Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Better late than never: exploring the D.C. wasteland

Having strongly renewed my love for Bethesda's vast open world games, I just had to "get with the times" so to speak and get a game I had skipped because I was at the peak of my interest for EVE Online when it came out. I am talking about Fallout 3 of course. The fun part about this game is that because it came out the same year my computer was put together, the hardware doesn't even bat an eyelash with the graphics on high. There may be an ultra setting but I prefer fluid gameplay over eye candy any day of the week. It's always a bonus when you can get both because Fallout is a very beautiful game, in a barren post-apocalyptic kind of way.

So far I'm still pretty early in the game, being a whopping Level 6, with specializations in Small Guns, Repair and Medicine. I'm putting the main quest line on hold for the moment because I'm doing the Wasteland Survival Guide quests from the amazingly annoying Moira Brown. Unlike what I usually do in deep and open games, I didn't read much about it before hand and any tutorial/training the game can offer will be done before I even think of going out and getting my ass kicked. I did do a few other quests like disarm the Megaton City "Fat Man" bomb in order to get my house, but soon after I downloaded the Underground Hideout mod which gives you a great base of operations. The hideout is located just off the port bow of Rivet City and the entrance can be fortified to no end.

Speaking of Rivet City... I have to say this place is spectacular! I wonder how often US navy personnel get lost on the real life Nimitz class carriers. The only other video game city I've seen that got me lost would be the city of Vivec in TES III: Morrowind, but the carrier comes close. Now that I've discovered it I have access to a much better market than Megaton and I was able to buy my current favorite weapons: the Chinese Assault Rifle and the Combat Shotgun. I also bought some decent armor so now I can take more of a beating. At least there's no shortage on stuff to fix you up because God knows I need it often!

Here goes with the things I love about the game. Being a Gen X'er and having lived through a good chunk of the Cold War (I was 21 when the USSR fell), it's great to see the spin that the Fallout universe puts on history. I absolutely love the retro-tech and early 50's look to everything, right down to the music on Galaxy News Radio. When my dad comes back from Thailand I will just HAVE to show him the game; hell he just might start playing! I also love the wasteland itself, even if it's a tad greenish; that's my next mod in the pipe by the way, some graphical prettiness. I have yet to do some serious exploring as I have done in Skyrim but I'm close to finishing the Survival Guide quests so I think that once this is done I will head out into the wild before I start questing it up.

But to oppose the things I love there are things I don't like as much. The first would be the repair system. Cool that you can fix your stuff with other stuff of the same family, but for some reason I don't find a lot of what I use, especially for the armor. I also find that stuff gets damaged too easily; maybe I'm just too used to Skyrim by now. The second thing would be the scarcity of ammo, especially before you find Rivet City. Yes I could console command 20000 bullets, but running out of ammo just sucks. I don't know, maybe I'm too much of a bullet hose! And last, you guessed it, bottlecaps. How often do I have to explain that I absolutely fucking DESPISE making money in video games. If I don't find a fun way of making caps, I just may break down and console myself a couple million. It's a good thing that the rest is so awesome!

Another mod I found just yesterday is one that transforms the leveling up mechanics to the one found in the Elder Scrolls game where you skill up what you practice. Fittingly the mod's name is "Practice Makes Perfect". Being a TES veteran and a Fallout n00b I am much more used to the former's mechanics so this mod was right up my alley. I may have to start a new game though, which is no biggie because I haven't done too much yet, plus I'm still in the learning process. And like in all Bethesda titles, there's a lot to take in! Before I applied and activated the mod my character specialized mostly in small guns, repair and medicine, but what I hated the most was leaving a lot of locks unpicked and computer terminal untouched. As the mod author said in his readme file, why should killing a bunch of Super Mutants allow you to raise you computer hacking skills? Because I applied the mod to my level 6 character I think the balance may be a bit off, but I've seen nothing but good comments about the mod so I'll give it a shot with a fresh start.

So there you go, another jaunt through a universe filled with danger and excitement. I realise I'm four years late on this game, but I'm glad I finally got around to it. Now let's see if i can find my virtual dad!

Happy wandering, and go easy on the Rad-X!



Naoru Kozan said...

Fallout 3 was fun. Scare ammo is common through all the Fallout games at the start. I found carrying a few different guns helped. Also using a weapon that uses the same ammo as the enemies your killing. The crappy bandit SMG is a good one here.

As for making caps, once the game starts rolling you will be swimming in them. The repair skill is helpful for this. Since a fully repaired weapon sells for more than a busted weapon. You can repair one gun over and over. Helps reduce inventory weight as well.

Benoit CozmikR5 Gauthier said...

Thanks for the advice :)