FALLOUT - Week 1 Discussion

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It's difficult for me to review Fallout without putting my own cloud of personal nostalgia over it - when it came out, it was a revelation about the potential of video gaming as a medium and what could be accomplished. For the time, the presentation - user interface, graphics, audio, cinematics - was top-notch. atmopsheric, and original (despite being largely inspired by a game even fewer have probably played, Wasteland). The character creation and quest system emphasized the player's freedom and multiple paths and goals, with a fascinating post-apocalyptic world as backdrop. And unlike many procedural games or roguelikes, there was a compelling story and motivation to see it through besides random number generation. That's not to say a huge part of the fun of this game is figuring out the "right" ways to build your characters, which combinations of traits and stats will lead you further and to different quests - your typical old school role-playing game stuff. The player is deeply rewarded for this exploration with different gameplay and story paths.

It's disappointing that besides the first Deus Ex, there haven't been many games as ambitious and epic in BOTH the story and gameplay - including the harsh choices you have to make when you first play (my guess, from my own experience and other in this thread) as you will probably die many times, and reroll your character a few times before you get the full hang of it to push all the way through to the end. I haven't played the Fallout games in many years, but indeed, it still plays great. (Of course, having played through the game and already knowing the general strategies helps)

This time I made Gaffa, a 22-year-old woman - a slightly devious, silver-tongued scientist working for the forces of good, but can barely fight her way out of a collapsed broom closet. Above average Charisma and Intelligence, with a lot of Luck. Traits: Good Natured and Skilled. Tags: Speech, Sneak, and Science. I wanted a game without any combat bonuses or tag skills for weapons - this will be more difficult, but I remember at least the very end is beatable without them, so hopefully the rest of the game is, too. Also, I wanted to see how well Sneak will work without much development in Lockpick or Steal - it still lends to many situational benefits. I've played this game countless times in the past, so I wanted a less straightforward build than usual.

I convinced Ian straight off from Shady Sands to join me, which greatly helped the exploration of Vault 15. He was a definite help with the radscorpion problem, too. As for the raiders' camp... well, it was best to just take the advice of the villagers and avoid them, since there was no way to talk my way out of there without joining them and offing two slave prostitutes. I don't feel like going evil this time around - maybe another game. Or maybe I'll change my mind later! But my distinct lack of muscle means I probably won't be heading back here, at least not until the water chip is found.

The game has always been notoriously buggy, though - even with the semi-official 1.2 patch, I still ran into some weirdness in Shady Sands. Having rejected the offer to help Aradesh with the bandits in our first conversation, I was never offered it again! (Whoops. Fallout can be brutal.) So I didn't get the "Save Tandi" quest, but talking to random people in town and at the raiders' camp, dialogue options about Tandi came up, despite that the whole time she was walking around back in town. Unfortunately, that means I can't get her as an NPC. Oh well, time to go to Junktown!

Nhex, Sunday, 5 October 2008 05:34 (thirteen years ago) link

I still can't believe you can MURDER CHILDREN in this game. That's so fucked up. Even the GTA games have a policy of not inserting any kids or animals into the action.

cankles, Sunday, 5 October 2008 12:08 (thirteen years ago) link

I just spent like 2 hours wandering the map and attempting to wipe out every town of all sentient life. Hub and Boneyard fell swiftly, but I got merc'd when I tried to plow thru the Brotherhood. I started this warpath with 39 karma, a Champion, and ended it -44, a Berserker Childkiller.

Awesome.

cankles, Sunday, 5 October 2008 12:11 (thirteen years ago) link

what happened to forksclovetofu? dude was really putting on the screws for everyone to write an essay about this thing and he totally disappeared!!

s1ocki, Monday, 6 October 2008 00:18 (thirteen years ago) link

yeah, wtf. EAT SHIT, FCT

cankles, Monday, 6 October 2008 00:20 (thirteen years ago) link

reading everyone else's responses is making me want to take another crack at this game tho. first time i was really put off by the grafx actually!

s1ocki, Monday, 6 October 2008 00:53 (thirteen years ago) link

Thanks Canks! And I was just baking you a cake, too.

My mother's in town this week and I've had limited time to play/respond to the game. I'll post a few paragraphs of response for my hour and a half of playtime shortly.
I am gratified by the tenor of the discussion (well, up until the "EAT SHIT" point anyway) and by the real work everyone's putting in! I'll catch up, honest!

Mordy, could you dungeonmaster a bit and start a week two thread to give us:
- a stopping point
- a few discussion questions
- a challenge or two for players to try to overcome?

Much obliged!

forksclovetofu, Monday, 6 October 2008 01:09 (thirteen years ago) link

im sure cankles is just kidding dude. and so i was i kinda...

s1ocki, Monday, 6 October 2008 01:20 (thirteen years ago) link

I know; so was i kinda.

forksclovetofu, Monday, 6 October 2008 02:36 (thirteen years ago) link

No seriously; I really am loving the commentary here... I was less than overwhelmed by my first experience within the game world and was afraid I might've gone on a fool's errand. The notes above (a TARDIS? Really?) have me jazzed to give this another try over the upcoming week.

forksclovetofu, Monday, 6 October 2008 02:49 (thirteen years ago) link

come on, dude! make all these threads worth it!

s1ocki, Monday, 6 October 2008 02:59 (thirteen years ago) link

I often feel like there's a way in which grown-up rpg emotions are kinda tied to bugginess, somehow? I am not meaning "grown-up rpgs" here! Like: the example of this I always think about is playing a badly cd-imaged grandia 2 on dreamcast, playing the same 10 minutes over and over (save point to crash), each playthrough seeming to make what was going on weirder and more complicated? I dunno - something about bugs does it for me in this sort of game, it makes the world seem unpredictable, alien, limitless? I have told this anecdote like 100x here but there's a bit in Baldur's Gate where Minsc (crazy, "chaotic good", talks to hamster) and Edwin (crazy, "chaotic evil", talks to himself) both task you to rescue some chick at the centre of a gnoll fortress. And you hack your way there, killing everything in your path, without really thinking about it. Until we got there, and she'd gone. And we'd been murdering away on the words of lunatics. That's a bug, and it's one of the most amazing moments in videogames, for me?

I am thinking of Pathologic too! (http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=67124) - I think that would be really good, for a next game?

Gravel Puzzleworth, Monday, 6 October 2008 13:54 (thirteen years ago) link

On rolling a character:

I've not really thought about it much before, so I hadn't really realised I do this. But when I start a new RPG, my first playthrough will always be as me. So I'll try to give my character a set of attributes that match those of real-life Jim, as closely as possible. I don't know whether other people do this much, or whether it's a behaviour that's usually reserved for The Sims. I guess the point of an RPG is that it says to you "hey, play a role! You can pretend to be anyone you like!"...but then it doesn't really give you anywhere near the freedom you'd need for that to be a truly enticing prospect. "You can be a mage! Or a Thief! Or a Ranger!". Yawn. I think for me, it's always more interesting to think "ok, here's an imaginary world...how would I get on in there? What would real-life Jim do if he found himself in a post-nuclear wasteland?". So, this is how I roll.

And the thing that's made me aware of this is the fact that this time is different. I think I started out with a rough shape of me, but then snippets of info from these threads have led me to tweak stats here and there, and I've ended up watering down my original character, and ending up with something more generic. This raises two questions, I guess. 1) Will it actually make any differnce? I don't honestly know whether, 5 hours into the game, I'm feeling more or less ownership of the character than I usually do. I suspect it's no different - I think of the guy on screen as me, regardless of his stats or abilities. And 2) is my perception of this game going to be influenced more by this "reading group" than it is by the actual game content itself? I've never taken part in any kind of book group before, but it seems to me that I can't help but play Fallout differently, knowing that I'll want to have interesting things to say about it as I go along, than I would've done if I'd just been playing it straight, on my own (in which case, to be honest, I may well have grown tired of the dated mechanics and given up by now anyway).

Anyway, here's my guy, as dumped by that cute built-in character print option.


VAULT-13 PERSONNEL RECORD
17 February 2162 0806 hours

Name: Jim Age: 32 Gender: Male
Level: 04 Exp: 6,972 Next Level: 10,000

::: Statistics :::
Strength: 06 Hit Points: 048/048 Sequence: 06
Perception: 07 Armor Class: 016 Healing Rate: 02
Endurance: 06 Action Points: 08 Critical Chance: 002%
Charisma: 06 Melee Damage: 01 Carry Weight: 175 lbs.
Intelligence: 07 Damage Res.: 030%
Agility: 06 Radiation Res.: 012%
Luck: 02 Poison Res.: 030%

::: Traits ::: ::: Perks ::: ::: Karma :::
Bloody Mess Swift Learner Reputation (General) 8
Chem Resistant

::: Skills ::: ::: Kills :::
Small Guns ..... 111% Men ............ 010
Big Guns ....... 016% Women .......... 003
Energy Weapons . 016% Radscorpions ... 010
Unarmed ........ 071% Rats ........... 075
Melee Weapons .. 061%
Throwing ....... 046%
First aid ...... 083%
Doctor ......... 022%
Sneak .......... 051%
Lockpick ....... 026%
Steal .......... 026%
Traps .......... 026%
Science ........ 039%
Repair ......... 027%
Speech ......... 056%
Barter ......... 032%
Gambling ....... 026%
Outdoorsman .... 019%

::: Inventory :::
7x Stimpak 3x Antidote 1x Geiger Counter
1x .223 FMJ 1x Knife 7x .44 magnum FMJ
2x Dynamite 2x Grenade (Frag) 1x Rope
1x First Aid Kit 215x Bottle Caps 6x .44 Magnum JHP
1x Leather Armor 2x Buffout 4x 10mm JHP
2x Mentats 3x Molotov Cocktail 3x 12 ga. Shotgun Shells
1x Lock Picks 2x Flare 1x First Aid Kit
2x Water Flask 1x Desert Eagle .44 1x 10mm Pistol
1x Bug 1x Tape Recorder 1x 10mm SMG
1x Shotgun 1x Metal Armor

Total Weight: 143 lbs.

JimD, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 08:21 (thirteen years ago) link

Aw, all that lovely formatting, lost! :/

JimD, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 08:23 (thirteen years ago) link

Trying to break back into this after a hugely frustrating reminder that the autosave is a recent invention. Managed to get myself killed after inadvertently "stealing" molotov cocktails from the raiders bookshelf after negotiating the release of whatsherhead.

Which of course, brought me back to the rat cave. fuck. SO now i guess i will try to devote today to getting back to square one.

Running a very different first character than usual - more intrigued with the weird dialogue and events, so i'm all luck and int and chr. normally on a first playthrough, i maximize hit points so i can blunder into things without taking too bad a hit.

will rejoin the conversation if i don't get unduly frustrated with repetition.

some call him "crazy", some call him NEWTIMES JESUS (John Justen), Tuesday, 7 October 2008 16:47 (thirteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...

This game is infuriating. I suppose that's a symptom of being mollycoddled by games with tutorials and intuitive controls but I am finding this thing slow, repetitive and, yeah, infuriating. I wanted to talk to the guy at the end of the Temple of Trials and couldn't figure out how; thought maybe the design was so wack I would use the target action used to fight other things and now this guy is running after me trying to kick my ass. I don't know how much longer I can hold out. It is ugly and runs at a snail's pace; I mean, I'm sure it kicks into overdrive story and choice wise as the game progresses, and that it is intelligent as all hell but I am today's pampered youth and I demand instant satisfaction goddamnit. I will persevere cause I'm the self-hating kind but dagnammit if I amn't frustrated right now.

coznebb (cozwn), Monday, 27 October 2008 15:16 (twelve years ago) link

Sorry, I am talking about Fallout 2 and not 1. I heard that 1 is/was buggy as all hell so I skipped to the sequel. Don't get me wrong, I'm no graphics whore but I guess I am an engine whore: this game's engine is rotten to me.

coznebb (cozwn), Monday, 27 October 2008 15:17 (twelve years ago) link

did u read the manual?

fo1 isn't really buggy btw, probably less so than fo2; also fo1 is a superior gaming experience imo~

also ur dumb (no offense) i mean i NEVER play this kind of game (closest i've come is diablo 2) and i could still figure it out after an hour or two, i'm p. sure i'm younger than u 2

also SWEET JESUS the game INITIATES CONVERSATION WITH THE GUY AT THE END OF THE TEMPLE *FOR YOU* YOU DONT EVEN HAVE TO CLICK ON HIM ONCE

and i mean... you DO click on him and it just takes you up to him and starts a convo. did you actually initiate combat and then click on him? why the hell would you do that? :(

sorry for being a dick and i actually do agree that there's a lot of unintuitiveness to the interface (tho i just sorta take it in stride as going hand-in-hand w/older games) but just save often and use ur noodle imo

ಥ﹏ಥ (cankles), Tuesday, 28 October 2008 10:56 (twelve years ago) link

manual lol; sorry, no I didn't but reading around it seems like I should so I will

I'm figuring it all out anyway and I'm wandering through the world aimlessly

SWEET JESUS I was running away from an ant the first time I got to the dude and so was still in 'combat' mode; it took me two goes to figure out there's a diff betw. combat mode and normal run about like a loony mode; I hadn't yet learned how to turn combat 'off' the first time I got to the guy hence my confusion; third time through you're right it auto-chatted to the dood

"an hour or two" is quite a long learning curve for picking up the core gsme mechanic, surely you shd have tht all figured out inside the first 10 mins, which I didn't; yes, I am dumm

coznebb (cozwn), Tuesday, 28 October 2008 11:21 (twelve years ago) link


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