War... War Never Changes...

War… war never changes…

But Fallout does. 

<Only the most minor of spoilers follow>

I never finished Fallout New Vegas.  There are various reasons for that, though mostly it was user error.  I went off the rails early on.  Rather than following the main storyline, I wandered, explored, killed whatever generally bad things that crossed my path.  By the time I actually got to New Vegas I was a level 30 killing machine, maxed out on perks, carrying a small arsenal of high end weapons and generally able to scoff at a herd of Deathclaws and Cybernetic Enhanced Super Mutants (those don’t really exist, but they totally should).

To top it off, I’d already gone out of order on a few things, destroying some major locations that figured rather prominently in the main storyline later on.  Oops.

I gave up and never even bothered to explore a large chunk of the map, but that’s not’s not what we’re here to talk about today.

War… war never changes… Microsoft v Sony, Apple v Samsung, Console v PC, the list goes on and makes for great internet trolling. 

I’m an admitted console player, though I don’t have a strong XBox or Playstation preference (and don’t pay any attention to the Wii).  My PS3 has better graphics (mostly because my 360 is first gen with no native HDMI), but like a lot of people, I prefer the 360 controller.  My PS3 has free Netflix, but my 360 steams media better, and so on it goes… and my choice between the two often comes down to which version Gamefly ships first.

Lately I’ve been going to the PC more, both because of Steam Sales, but I’m also going mostly to oldish games.  Deus Ex Human Revolution was a recent play and as good if not better than I remembered the first time through.  Now it’s New Vegas, but while war might not change, Fallout sure does with a few little mods.

Technically, a ton of mods.(*1)  I went a little mod crazy, but I had to see what all this PC/Mod fuss was all about.  Now… I won’t argue the point of PC graphics being superior.  I’m running a pair of ATI cards in Crossfire and even with a fairly major sandstorm or radrain going on the game runs smooth.  Point to PCs, but more importantly, it’s a different game and one I’m enjoying in a slightly masochistic way.

I added three types of mods.  The first are the prettifying ones, making the night sky filled with stars, making the weather change, making the horizon shimmer with a heat haze, reskinning the weapons and clothes.  Not much to say there really.

The second type is content, additional locations, more types of food to find, more recipes and a backpack with a bedroll and tools to make a campfire (that last one was pretty critical to make the game enjoyable considering the third type of mod).

The third type… rebalancing mods and hardcore mods.  My New Vegas is a roleplaying survival simulation.  Food is a constant consideration.  Fortunately it’s easy enough to acquire, but when I hear my stomach begin to grumble, I stop and eat (gecko steaks are my current go to meal).  Water is another and something that’s probably even more important.  I’m always just a few bottles of dirty water away from dehydration.  When my scratchy dry throat causes me to cough, I’m drinking and frankly I don’t care that it’s radioactive, though I haven’t succumbed to drinking out of the toilet just yet.

Health is another story.  Minor injuries are no big deal, but I’ve got limbs going out on me right and left.  I’m careful about dropping from anything more than a small hillside for fear of breaking a leg and I do my very best to keep myself from getting hit.

The other side of rebalancing is the enemies.  Unless you get a surprise shot in on someone or get up close and ugly, gunfights are brutal, especially against humans or anything with the word “Giant” in front of it (even Mantises and Mole Rats). 

The whole experience is very close to being ‘unfun’, but given I’d been complaining recently about a lack of challenge in games of late (Dark Souls not withstanding), I’d be a hypocrite to dumb it down.  Also, it’s only close to being unfun, which as Urban Dictionary defines it is “the evil opposite of fun.  That which more approximates work, school, hell.”  It’s close to hell (especially when the storms hit or when I have to run for cover and a better place to return fire), but in the way I’d think a post-apocalyptic wasteland would be.(*2)

I’m twelve hours in.  I’ve barely gotten out of Goodsprings (which spoiler alert, is where you start).  I also didn’t help the good citizens of Goodsprings like I did the first time.  It turns out they’re a lot like my courier and not all that good in a fight yet, so when one came… well, only a few people survived.  I feel a little bad about that, though not so bad it kept me from looting their bodies, though I at least left them clothed.(*3)

Footnotes:

1.       Current mods include:

  • Yukichigai Unofficial Patch (patch)
  • iHud/aHud (system – immersion HUDs)
  • A World of Pain (content – locations, quest and more)
  • Afterschool Special (content – location and quest)
  • Advanced Recon Tech (content - nightvision)
  • 31 Food Items (content)
  • Road Warrior Armor (content – haven’t found it yet)
  • The Backpack (content – includes bedroll and campfire)
  • Project Nevada (content and rebalancing)
  • Dynamic Karma (rebalancing)
  • Caesar’s Legion Overhaul (rebalancing)
  • Increased Legion Presence (rebalancing)
  • Factions Reloaded (rebalancing)
  • Bottle that Water (rebalancing)
  • Nevada Skies or Project Reality (graphics enhancements – weather… I haven’t decided on which I like better)
  • Mojave Nights and high res night sky replacer (graphics enhancements)
  • Realistic Wasteland Lighting (graphics enhancements)
  • Weapons Retexture (graphics enhancement)
  • Pip-Boy 2500 (graphics enhancement)
  • A few more to try out

2.       One mod made it so food and water could give you food poisoning.  I quickly got sick and did so a few more times before I decided that was maybe a little too real for my taste and got unfun.  That said, I may go back and try that one again, it’s incredibly well thought out and complex, I’m just not a skilled enough player at this point.

3.       Mostly because their clothes weren’t worth much, but that’s just between you and me.