Tuesday, May 8, 2012

This ain't no wet-blanket, this is Fallout doll face!

For this week's discussion, I have been fiddling around with Fallout 3 and its sequel, Fallout: New Vegas.

I've beaten both games dozens of times but I've never really looked beyond the usual maiming and stealing I've (shamelessly) done to the hordes of Mole Rats and Feral Ghouls. And boy, do Feral Ghouls have a truck-ton of bottle caps on them or what?

So here's the basic run down for the two games: it's a first-person shooter meets action RPG. They both take place in the post-apocalyptic future which is filled with all sorts of irradiated critters and sci-fi weaponry. For Fallout 3 in particular, you are the son/daughter of Liam Neeson this scientist named James and you both live boring, regular lives in Vault 101. One day, daddy dearest decides to up and leave the Vault--and consequentially you--for the Wasteland and some mysterious goal. Unfortunately for you, "leaving the Vault" is easier said than done and the Vault's Overseer takes a page out of any Dictator's diary and puts the whole place on lock-down. You must flee from the Vault police and survive the Wastes in order to find your father. The game developers add a nice little touch to the whole game when you exit the Vault too. Having lived all your life (18/19 years) in a cozy underground fallout shelter, it's a real shocker to see actual sunlight: once the blinding white light clears, you're left with a disturbing view of Washington D.C. absolutely destroyed. What ensues from that point out is a "Where in the world is Carmen Sandiago" scenario except more like, "Where the hell is dad?"

And you thought the Obama Administration was bad!
As for Fallout: New Vegas, it's been four years after the previous game and you are on the opposite side of the country. Instead of waking up in a posh bunker, you wake up in the grave. What's that you say? Are you a ghoul in this? No... but on second thought, that would be a neat trait for your character. Actually, you are just an average mail courier making your average mail drops when you are apprehended by this not-so-average guy in a checkered suit. This hard-boiled egg's got some beef with you, dig baby? Apparently, you've got a fancy poker chip inscribed with God's word (or equivalent) and half of New Vegas wants a piece of the action. Too bad Benny, checkered-suit, got to you first and now he's leaving no evidence behind (in case you didn't read, the evidence is you). He does a shoddy job of putting some lead through your noggin and burying you half-alive. You're ultimately saved by a plucky robot with a penchant for cowboys and Col. Saul Tigh a nice old town doctor. Now that' you're awake, it's time for revenge! Thus begins your catch-me-if-you-can game of--you guessed it--"Where the hell is Benny?"

I don't know about you, but this Sheik is the cat's meow.
As for the series on a whole, it carries the weight of a coherent fictional world. It's the future for USA, albeit tossed around by war and nuclear bombs. The games are the "what-if" scenario if our Cold War had gone a little bit differently. It's not completely outside the realm of possibility that through powerful amounts of radiation and constant exposure, you might get scorpions the size of tiny horses or even mutated cows with 2 or more heads. The Fallout series also follows Juuls Six Game Feature definition, but I am more interested in the aspect of time as described in chapter 4.

Time in both games is generally fast--you may be playing realistically for an hour, but your character has gone through an entire day at the very least in the Wastelands. Some of the sunsets/sunrises in New Vegas are breathtaking (especially if playing DLC "Honest Hearts") and I find myself sitting for a few minutes just to watch them. Because actually watching the real sun rise/set would be incredibly long and possibly blinding... You even have the option to choose to wait time out by sleeping. Or you can skip time by simply standing in front of that one shop that has the only bullets for your favourite gun and it's 7am in the morning but apparently they don't open until 8:43am and you're trying real hard to play the good guy so you don't want to pick the darn lock otherwise you won't get your bullets and everyone will start shooting you and you'll have nothing to shoot them back with!!

Er... moving on.

Fallout is also really handy-dandy in that there are helpful little pieces of objects or tidbits that provide you with knowledge of past events. In Fallout 3, you collect a lot of notes and recordings made by your father and his friends that slowly unravel the mystery of your birth, your father's work, and how you both came to live in Vault 101. Those things happened outside of the present game-play but nevertheless help explain the current time while still staying chronological. As for Fallout: New Vegas, there's an interesting DLC called "The Lonesome Road" which is all about discovering who the you as the Courier was before the events of New Vegas (spoiler: you were a jerk).

There's also another DLC ("Dead Money") that tries to explain the mysterious disappearance of a few Brotherhood of Steel members, but it all falls a bit flat in my opinion. The characters all act on the assumption that you never knew who they were in the first place, despite having gone to great lengths to find out via Veronica (an outcast Steel member). And when you do get back to the Vegas sandbox, you can't even impart what you've learned/discovered with Veronica. So not only does interaction fall flat, but you've created this weird, wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey ball of chronological confusion.

So there concludes my mumblings and ramblings of quite an entertaining series, even if it's rather glitchy and bound to send you rag-dolling into the sun.

There's nothing wrong with this situation. Not at all.

1 comment:

  1. I love this series. I was actually playing NV only a couple of days ago because of the Ultimate Edition they released. Do you play with mods? o: