This week, Zero Puncuation reviews Fallout: New Vegas.
As if it weren't clear enough already from it being on the same engine with the same controls and having the same thing where all the female characters look like a more boyish Natalie Portman, New Vegas is functionally just an expansion pack of Fallout 3, and I said everything I needed to say about Fallout 3 in my Fallout 3 review of Fallout 3.
There is one interesting new feature, though: hardcore mode, which has the need to regularly eat, sleep, and drink while traveling, which sounded like fun, in a Bear Grylls-y kind of way. And this is a role-playing game, so let's motherfucking roleplay!
Woke up in a doctor's office with some guy telling me I'd been shot in the head and may have suffered brain damage, but I've learned not to trust the opinion of giant mustachioed spider people, so I made my excuses and left.
The town I found myself in was pleasant enough, with all kinds of useful supplies that residents were just giving away - that is to say, not supervising. But everyone seemed to think I wanted to go in pursuit of the bloke who shot my brain, but I'd have thought the fact that he shot me in the brain was a fucking good reason to not pursue the guy.
I keep hearing about this New Vegas place that sounds like a happening kind of town, daddy-o, and the most direct route is north, so after loading myself down with other people's packed lunches I set off on the north road with a song in my heart and was immediately eaten by giant killer flies. Starting to feel I might not be the master of my own destiny.
Fine, whatever. After reloading - I mean, err, reincarnating - I went south instead, and thankfully no cosmic anvils descended from on high. After a peaceful walk through the lovely countryside, I began to feel thirsty, so I drank some pilfered soda bottles that boasted a +H2O effect and was about to set off again when I suddenly became dehydrated. While double-checking that I wasn't wearing fucking arctic gear, I noticed that my bottles of purified water had a -H2O effect. Oh, I see, the H2O stat refers to how much water you need, not how much you have. Well, that's fucking confusing. When does a plus sign ever indicate a negative effect? Wait a second, drinking soda makes me more thirsty? How does that make any fucking sense? Is it made of seawater?
Anyway, the sun was hanging low in the sky like the carrot being dangled from the fishing rod of destiny, and I needed somewhere to sleep. Fortunately, I stumbled upon a repurposed prison populated by the gang whose members have been randomly attacking me all day, but I didn't bear a grudge, because they'd all learned combat from watching their hamsters playfighting and died easier than the fucking flies. They wouldn't let me in until I paid 100 caps, though. I'm pretty sure Disneyland doesn't charge that much, so I turned away and moved on. Then I stood on a mine and my legs blew off. Perspective thus gained, I sheepishly dragged myself back to prison and gave them all my money, but then the prison doctor wanted another 75 quid to glue my legs back on. But just as fate had lodged its spiked butt plug as far as it could go, the kindly prison storekeeper was nice enough to just give away 200 caps out of a strongbox in a locked room behind several armed guards. So with a net profit and two shiny new legs fresh from the wrapper, I settled down that night on a prison mattress that smelled like it'd seen its fair share of brutal romantic conquests.
As I stole breakfast, I was beginning to sense some hostility from these murderers. I decided there and then that I had to stop stealing things. While there didn't seem to be any negative consequences for having low karma, it was sucking all the survivalist fun out of the game -- I mean, my life.
I set off on a southeasterly direction and was attacked by bandits who I could now kill from a smug position of moral superiority. Then I took all their stuff, which isn't stealing because they attacked me, making it mine by international law of go fuck yourselves.
I've been using a pistol and rifle and found myself relying less on the VATS aiming system, because I don't want to have to go to make a cup of tea every time I pull the trigger, but when manually aiming, my pistol seemed more accurate than my rifle, because the rifle sights look like I'm aiming down a fucking brick.
I reached the next settlement on the road to find it taken over by Roman legionaries, but they seemed like quite friendly chaps who just want me to admire their modern art project, which unfortunately involved nailing everyone who could have sold me supplies or a bed for the night to bits of wood. So after letting one of their dogs bite my arm off, I hiked northeast to the next settlement, where I found a doctor for my arm and a kindly old couple who let me drink out of their toilet.
The morning got off to a flying start when I blundered into a hostage situation at the next town between local law enforcement and some gang who had taken two of their members hostage. I managed to convince the leader of the soldiers to let me try negotiating, but really I only wanted to loot the abandoned buildings for water and breakfast cereal. I felt bad on my way out, though, so I shot one of the gang members in the head and ran behind the soldiers as the battle broke out. Tee hee. But then the soldiers massacred the gang with no difficulty. You lazy motherfuckers! What did you need me for? They didn't even shoot the hostages, the pussies. I didn't realize the gangs were hiring from girl scout troops.
Anyway, I was now within groping distance of my destination, and I strolled confidently up to the magnificent steel barricade of New Vegas. Then I had to stroll confidently all the way around the fucking thing looking for the entrance. Eventually that got sorted out, and I found myself in a delightful little suburb on the way into New Vegas proper, which security wouldn't let me into because I didn't have 2,000 caps on me, which I estimated was slightly more money than there existed in the world. But I'd come too far to pull out and spoil the bedspread now, so nearby I found a bar willing to employ me to collect some debts from some locals, and then I just kept all the money for myself. Ha! Stupid trusting jerks.
And then I made it. I stepped out into the glittering lights of the city, the towering buildings noisy monoliths to the sheer potential of why the fuck can't I move? The game froze up! I mean, my life froze up! I mean, all that radioactive toilet water must have given me some kind of paralyzing - oh, bollocks to this. Roleplaying in Fallout 3 is difficult enough with the interface and the terrifying fixed-eye contact conversations without it bugging out as well, and it will take more than having to stop for a sandwich and a piss every now and again to make Fallout 3 more immersive. Maybe if you ground it into powder and dissolved it in a swimming pool, but it'd probably only turn the water brown.
- Why yes, I am quite rad: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
- Keeping the debt money didn't count as stealing 'cos there's no karma loss and no time limit on the quest, you see
- I hope the war in Las Vegas destroyed that ice machine I threw up in