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Fallout 3 [Jan. 31st, 2010|07:36 pm]

Possibly minor spoilers.

I've mentioned this before, but I've now played enough to know: I find the setting for Fallout 3 deeply, deeply flawed. This doesn't mean that I haven't enjoyed the game, and there are even individual missions that have been fun. But every time the game mentions dates, or I have to look at one too many of the loading screens, I start getting upset about what they're trying to sell.

The premise of the world is that there was a nuclear apocalypse...in 2077. But Fallout is devoted to a very particular aesthetic style, one often called retro-futurism, drawing on imagines from the 50s and 60s to shape the technology and a lot of the background art. So, basically, the game is setting up an alternate timeline where that style dominated not just the immediate years after WWII, but an additional century beyond. Culture isn't that stagnant, and there would have been sufficient changes over time that the style would feel outdated to most people. Certainly, a company like Vault-Tec could easily have used that stuff in its advertising, but that doesn't mean I should encounter it everywhere.

The other obnoxious part is the date post-catastrophe. This one always makes me roll my eyes, because it's supposed to have been 200 years since the bombs dropped. And yet, every time I open a new medkit in a building that is full of human raiders, it's got some stuff in it. Not everything, granted, but at least something worth stealing. Vending machines standing out in the open usually have a bottle or two of soda left. Every time you get addicted and go to a doctor to have your system flushed, they tell you "it's going to cost you, but I've got pre-war stuff that will clean you out". Excuse me? What kind of stockpiles did everybody lay in, huh, that can last for 200 years without going bad?

Now, I haven't finished the main plot, much less done everything in the game, and maybe it will reveal that there are a dozen tiny manufacturers spread across the wastes that do turn out new products according to old recipes. And they don't advertise because they don't want to be taken over by raider hordes. And nobody wants to talk about them for fear that they'll get cut off by the paranoid recluses. Uh...yeah. Like I said, still worth playing, but many do I wish Fallout 3 and TES4: Oblivion had been made in the other order.

[User Picture]From: nathan_lounge
2010-02-01 01:20 pm (UTC)
Boo-urns. We've played soo much fallout in the past few weeks. Hit the level cap and we just got to the citadel in the main quest.

The stuff you're negative about doesn't really bother me in the slightest. At a certain point, there being health and ammo pick ups are a necessary facet of it being a game rather than the extended director's cut of The Postman. I think about it more along the lines of tabletop rp'ing. You have to throw your players a bone now and then (really often) and sometimes it's better to just sacrifice your plot for the fun of the session.

Additionally, I actually really like how stylistically cohesive the world really is. Especially to the point where it's shocking to find "nice" things here and there.

I will say that I think what happens with your game dad isn't really built up robustly, especially considering how much time you spend trying to find him.

PS- if you haven't been doing the sidequests, you really need to. I'm currently running around the wastes holding a copy of the bill of rights while killing stuff with Honest Abe's old-timey repeater. I *love* that I recognize where things are geographically related to one another and can regularly figure out my way based on my knowledge of real world DC. So much poli-sci geekery!
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[User Picture]From: darkskywatcher
2010-02-02 04:26 pm (UTC)
Yes, I have been doing sidequests. Just finished up the part in Oasis, if you've been there.

Also, I have the Game of the Year edition, so I did one of the DLC story arcs, Operation: Anchorage. The missions were fun, easy and the rewards were GROSS. The treasure room you get at the end basically gave me more than 3000 caps, and that's not counting all the stuff I kept.

I'll concede the point about throwing the player a bone, especially in the early part of the game, and in a open world where you don't know what level they will be when they get to any particular place. But my lvl 15 primary character now has 30 stimpacks, and 5 good weapons each with plenty of ammo. Kinda gross.
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[User Picture]From: nathan_lounge
2010-02-02 05:53 pm (UTC)
Let me know how the add on material is. From reading it over briefly, it looked a lot more fps. We just got the original game.

The economics of the game really broke down when we hit the library quest for the wasteland survival guide. The loot and then access to future loot there was gross.

I think we're really methodical about capitalizing our situation. At this point we're lvl 20, have 12 bobbleheads, read almost 60 books, 14k caps, 500+ stimpaks, a fully upgraded house, riley's rangers body armer, ghoul mask, shady hat, and our gun profile is something like combat shotgun, unique named chinese assault rifle, unique named sniper rifle, unique named hunting rifle, silenced pistol, and shishkabob. We took no points in big guns, so all that stuff is sitting in our locker at home (we have like 25 mininukes), but our last few levels were focused on putting points into energy weapons so we'll probably switch weapons into more laser guns soon. The bottom line is that, yes, the game got real gross, real quick. I'd say we died pretty often during the first 5 or 6 of the wasteland survivor guide missions, but by the time we stopped hanging out at Megaton all the time, there was very little that I worried about. Giant Radscorpions and Deathclaws can still kill us, and stupid NPCs who fire missile launchers point blank. But lately I've just been sneaking and sniping, so such things rarely come up.

I will say that I'm surprisingly still enthralled by the game even after hitting the level cap. I'm pretty happy with our character even if it's a bit broken (our last perk was the one that fills up our AP whenever we score a kill in VATS).
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[User Picture]From: darkskywatcher
2010-02-03 04:37 am (UTC)
Right, Grim Reaper's Sprint is absolute nuts and everybody will take it.

I've actually started the second of the DLCs, The Pitt, which actually sends you to Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is, incidentally, where slaves go to work until they die, and so I had to give up all my fancy gear in order to break in. It's been a nice change.
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[User Picture]From: nathan_lounge
2010-02-03 01:00 pm (UTC)

In the main game we've met some brotherhood who tell long stories about "Scourging the Pitt". Does the Pittsburgh add-on take place contemporary to the main game or is it some kind of historical reenactment?
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[User Picture]From: nathan_lounge
2010-02-02 05:55 pm (UTC)
BTW, I don't know if you played the previous games, but the ghoul in the Oasis quest is the only reoccurring character from all three games. I was pretty tickled to interact with him in this game, even if the quest was super depressing.
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[User Picture]From: darkskywatcher
2010-02-03 04:40 am (UTC)
Surprisingly, I missed the first two, even though they were Mac games. I read that he was recurring though, and that was neat.

What option did you pick? I killed him, and I was pleased that Oasis didn't die off immediately as a consequence.
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[User Picture]From: nathan_lounge
2010-02-03 01:02 pm (UTC)
We went with the option to make his heart beat faster and spread the oasis across the wastes. Then we went back and replayed the other options (including the fire option) to see what would happen. As far as I can tell, you get the best stuff from the option we initially picked (Popler's Hood and Yew's Charm), though all the endings are kind of depressing.
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[User Picture]From: rianwyn
2010-02-02 01:30 am (UTC)
I am totally digging that game.
So much, in fact, that I'd almost rather skip seed-planting tonight and cozy up and play.
* Don't tell Nathan.
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