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Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas (PC)


Video Games


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Are the above games turn-based or not? When were they originally released (roughly)?


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ericthecleric wrote:
Are the above games turn-based or not? When were they originally released (roughly)?

No, they are more like Elder Scrolls FPS style with an action point system that gives a bullet time like aim assist during combat if desired.

As for release 3 was released in 2008 and Newvegas was in 2010.


Also, Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition was released just this past February. If you're thinking of picking it up, I'd highly suggest that version as it will have all the extra content from DLC, etc. and be fully patched, for a very reasonable package price.

To expand on what atheral said, the Bethesda-engine Fallout games have two modes of combat:

1. More or less real time, clicking toward the enemy you want to shoot or hit. It does not HAVE to be first-person -- it has both first and third-person modes, and I play almost exclusively in third-person myself (first person makes me very ill). It is not difficult real time play (I prefer turn based myself but don't struggle with Fallout's combat).

2. VATS-mode. This mode is an homage to Fallout 1 and 2's combat, but is not exactly the same--but most notably it borrows and builds on the aiming and Action Point systems from those games.

When you enter VATS (which stands for Vault-tec Assisted Targeting System, IIRC), the game pauses and switches to a first-person POV which is shaded in the color of your PIP-boy screen, and outlines significant bodyparts you can target--much like the "target" screen in the old games. You click on the area you want to target, but each attack costs a certain number of Action Points. Some attacks use fewer APs than others, and you may have more APs or less depending on your Agility Score and various perks. When you use up your Action Points, you automatically exit VATS. It takes a few seconds for your APs to recharge so you can't just sit in VATS all the time--there are parts where you will have to play in the real time mode.

It's sort of a very complex version of "real-time-with-pause," I guess.

And an aside: the BethSoft Fallout's first person mode can LOOK like an FPS, remember that FPS's rely on the player's skill; Fallout is an RPG and the actual PC's skill with a given weapon affects accuracy. If you click near the opponent's head, the game will know you're trying to aim for the head, but it will still "roll dice" to see if you hit based on your PC's degree of skill.

I highly recommend the games if you think a post-apocalyptic RPG would be your thing--and ESPECIALLY Fallout: New Vegas, which was written by a number of folks who worked on Fallout 1, 2, and Van Buren. It is truly one of the best written RPGs I've played in a long time (although if all you want to play it for is combat then there are probably other games that are more your bag). FNV got a lot of flack because it was very buggy on release but the bugs are all fixed now (except maybe for some very minor issues).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Thanks for the replies!
I've played Fallout 1 and 2, and based on the above info think I'll pass. I'm not really interested in real-time stuff.


To reinforce the above, FALLOUT NEW VEGAS is one of the very finest RPGs released in the last decade. FALLOUT 3 is great at nailing the atmosphere, but the writing is thin and the characters are poor (apart from one or two, maybe). NEW VEGAS, made by a lot of the people who made FALLOUT 2 (and a couple who worked on FO1), is excellent.

Mechanically, the VATS mode can be made to more resemble turn-based combat if you really want (there's several perks, some achievable at Level 1 and during character creation, which radically increase its effectiveness). Also, unlike FO3 where VATS mode was purely optional, in NEW VEGAS it's actually essential. There's a breed of flying giant insect you can encounter near the start of the game which will kill you easily unless you use turn-based mode to blow its wings off, buying you the time you need to finish it off completely.


ericthecleric wrote:

Thanks for the replies!

I've played Fallout 1 and 2, and based on the above info think I'll pass. I'm not really interested in real-time stuff.

Like I said, if the only thing you care about is combat, there are better games.

But if you want to play one of the best RPGs written in years, I suggest trying to put up with the combat to experience the story and world. (And it's really not that bad. Like I said, I prefer turn based myself, but I wouldn't turn away a good game just because it isn't my favorite kind of gameplay.)


Werthead wrote:

To reinforce the above, FALLOUT NEW VEGAS is one of the very finest RPGs released in the last decade. FALLOUT 3 is great at nailing the atmosphere, but the writing is thin and the characters are poor (apart from one or two, maybe). NEW VEGAS, made by a lot of the people who made FALLOUT 2 (and a couple who worked on FO1), is excellent.

I have to agree with this. IMHO, Fallout 3 is the better fallout game, though New Vegas has, by far, the better story (and also isn't quite as bug ridden as Fallout 3, or most Bethsda games for that matter).

What sets Fallout 3 apart, for me, is situations like this: You are trapped in the ruins of an old pre-war hospital, you are heavily wounded, low on ammo, and super mutants are closing in on all sides. And then, suddenly, 'Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall' starts playing over the radio. New Vegas lacked that kind of moments, for me.


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I'll chime in again to agree with the sentiments here. Fallout 3 was (for a Bethesda game) a pretty clean experience game play wise and I thought had a decent story (though I am one of the few individuals who prefer the original ending over Broken Steel as I feel it is more "Falloutish" than the Broken Steel ending).

But F:NV is far and away a better story and now that the Ultimate edition is out nowhere near as buggy as it was on its original release.


Slaunyeh, I distinctly recall having a deathclaw tear me apart in FNV as "Ain't that a kick in the head" started playing on the radio. The game was definitely NOT without those moments. :)

OT, regarding Fallout 3's Ending, with big honking spoilers:

Spoiler:
The problem with the ending wasn't that it was a tragic ending, it's that the tragic ending was easily avoidable by elements they made plainly available in the game, AS PART OF THE GAME'S PLOT. The plot earlier requires you to specifically recruit a super mutant to get an item from a radiation infested area because they are immune to the harmful effects of radiation. If they had made the willing super mutant character die or go away, so you no longer had the choice of sending in a radiation immune proxy to do the final, THEN that would make sense. But instead, the same character who was willing to help you before, who could save the entire Wasteland and survive, refuses to solely because the plot demands it (excuse me, "because it's your destiny?")? And you have the super mutant refusing, the radiation-resistant ghoul refusing to go, and the robot refusing to go, to force the nonsensical choice between you and the one other human willing to volunteer. Even if the other characters didn't mind sacrificing you, surely they would have objected to you sending the other character to her death? Whatever. That is just terrible, terrible, lazy, irresponsible writing right there.

I'm NOT saying they shouldn't have aimed for the tragic--but they should have written it in a way that, you know, actually made sense and had internal consistency with the gameworld. And was actually well written and poignant and interesting.

As it was, I guess the original ending was "Fallouty" for me in terms of "grey morality". I sent Sarah in my place, because I refused to continue to let my jackass of a father destroy my life. He was already responsible for me getting kicked out of the only home I knew, taking me from my friends and loved ones, and throwing me into an extremely dangerous situation I didn't ask for--I wasn't going to let HIS work result in my own death--even if it meant someone else dying in my place. So yeah, I guess that's Fallouty. I just wish I could have come to the decision on my own because I would decide it was in character, not because the game (pre DLC obviously) refused to give me the more logical option).

Taldor

"If they had made the willing super mutant character die or go away, so you no longer had the choice of sending in a radiation immune proxy to do the final, THEN that would make sense"

Well I think at some point I got him killed. But I think I got an ending where he went instead of me.

Could be wrong though, it's been a while.


Quote:
I have to agree with this. IMHO, Fallout 3 is the better fallout game, though New Vegas has, by far, the better story (and also isn't quite as bug ridden as Fallout 3, or most Bethsda games for that matter).

You think FALLOUT 3 was the better FALLOUT game? Interesting. Almost all hardcore FALLOUT fans I've encountered over the years revile FO3 because it changed way too much from the first two games, such as the Brotherhood of Steel being a bunch of knights in shining armour rather than the fascist technophiles of the first two games. Or all of the Super Mutants in DC being psychopathic nutters with a grand total of two who were actual characters you could talk to (one of whom was a companion), whilst the first two FO games emphasised that some Super Mutants were good and some were bad, like humans.

NEW VEGAS seems to get more kudos from the hardcore (speaking generally) because of the involvement of many of the people who created FO1 and FO2, the direct continuation of many more storylines (the only old story continued in FO3 was that of Harold the Tree-Mutant, and that was both minor and easily missed), the superior mechanics (combat requiring you to tactically disarm or injure opponents to stop them annihilating you in a slug-fest) and the better use of skills (such as high skill points opening up more dialogue options), not to mention the much better writing and characterisation.

I think FALLOUT 3's biggest problem was that it was trying to be a post-apocalypse game, when the FALLOUT franchise is post-post-apocalypse (i.e. the apocalypse is long, long gone and society is well down the path towards rebuilding). That led to some massive logic failures (why in FO3 does it more look like the bombs fell a week earlier, rather than two centuries?) and also an issue where a lot of newcomers took on board the wrong idea of what FALLOUT was about (and FO3, for all of its initial popularity, is merely one of what are now six games in the series, and the outlier in terms of atmosphere and tone).

I liked FALLOUT 3 a lot when it came out, and I think in the wandering-around-the-wilderness bits it can nail a more powerful, post-apocalyptic atmosphere. It helps that FO3 is full of iconic buildings that are famous worldwide that are now in ruins, which sells the nuclear war image more strongly than NEW VEGAS (as a Brit, the only landmarks I know from the Las Vegas area simply don't exist in the alt-timeline of FALLOUT, or are fully intact, like Hoover Dam). But I think NEW VEGAS is a much stronger game on almost every other level, and certainly much truer to the spirit of the original FALLOUT games.

With FALLOUT 4 likely some years off, I'm also interested in what WASTELAND 2 is going to be like :-)

Osirion

Werthead wrote:

To reinforce the above, FALLOUT NEW VEGAS is one of the very finest RPGs released in the last decade. FALLOUT 3 is great at nailing the atmosphere, but the writing is thin and the characters are poor (apart from one or two, maybe). NEW VEGAS, made by a lot of the people who made FALLOUT 2 (and a couple who worked on FO1), is excellent.

Mechanically, the VATS mode can be made to more resemble turn-based combat if you really want (there's several perks, some achievable at Level 1 and during character creation, which radically increase its effectiveness). Also, unlike FO3 where VATS mode was purely optional, in NEW VEGAS it's actually essential. There's a breed of flying giant insect you can encounter near the start of the game which will kill you easily unless you use turn-based mode to blow its wings off, buying you the time you need to finish it off completely.

New Vegas made it to my Top 5 RPG list, which is quite an accomplishment. I had a hard time convincing my friends of this, but I absolutely LOVED the atmosphere, story, characters, quests, and mechanics of New Vegas. Even with the smaller map, things always felt fresh and I probably spent twice the gameplay hours exploring the Nevada wastes.

Plus

Spoiler:

I'll take a massive James Bond-style shootout on the Hoover Dam, complete with rebuilt B-29s and laser-robots over a giant robot-ex-machina. Optimus Prime is cool and all, but I actually got killed in New Vegas because I was jumping up and down cheering as the bomber rumbled overhead.


Werthead wrote:


You think FALLOUT 3 was the better FALLOUT game? Interesting.

I wasn't comparing F3 to F1 and F2. I was comparing it to New Vegas. It captured the mood and feel I associate with Fallout, much better than NV did. IMHO. Perhaps I just didn't care for the Vegas vibe, but there it is.

Whether either of them are true Fallout games is a debate I'm not going to get into here. Though, between you and me, I think Bethsda could have saved themselves a lot of headache if they just hadn't called it "Fallout 3" to begin with.


Quote:
I think Bethsda could have saved themselves a lot of headache if they just hadn't called it "Fallout 3" to begin with.

Agreed, especially as a 'real' FO3 from the creators of the first two games was almost completed when Interplay shut down, and although never released it was discussed openly enough that fans had come to call that game FO3 (and having since switched to its codename, 'Van Buren'). Bethesda also changed so much and moved the game from the traditional FALLOUT setting of California and Nevada that it may have been better to treat it as a spin-off and call it FALLOUT DC or something.

That said, I'm actually glad that Bethesda did rescue the franchise and we did get some good games out of the situation, hopefully with more to come (I'll be surprised if FALLOUT 4 isn't their next game after the SKYRIM expansions).

Quote:
Even with the smaller map, things always felt fresh and I probably spent twice the gameplay hours exploring the Nevada wastes.

According to the stats on the FO wiki, New Vegas has 50 more locations than FO3 did and over twice as many quests (including all DLC for both games). The physical map is slightly smaller (though it's also irregular in shape, not a rectangle like the FO3 map, and in places is wider than it) but there's a lot more to do. Especially considering it also has massive replay value due to the three major factions in Vegas and two outside it you can ally with, which locks out certain questlines.


Stereofm wrote:

"If they had made the willing super mutant character die or go away, so you no longer had the choice of sending in a radiation immune proxy to do the final, THEN that would make sense"

Well I think at some point I got him killed. But I think I got an ending where he went instead of me.

Could be wrong though, it's been a while.

No, that just means you played post Broken-Steel Patch. The ending I'm talking about basically was patched out of the game (Mass Effect 3 is not the first game to offer to change its ending to appease disgruntled fans).


Werthead wrote:
Quote:
I think Bethsda could have saved themselves a lot of headache if they just hadn't called it "Fallout 3" to begin with.

Agreed, especially as a 'real' FO3 from the creators of the first two games was almost completed when Interplay shut down, and although never released it was discussed openly enough that fans had come to call that game FO3 (and having since switched to its codename, 'Van Buren'). Bethesda also changed so much and moved the game from the traditional FALLOUT setting of California and Nevada that it may have been better to treat it as a spin-off and call it FALLOUT DC or something.

That said, I'm actually glad that Bethesda did rescue the franchise and we did get some good games out of the situation, hopefully with more to come (I'll be surprised if FALLOUT 4 isn't their next game after the SKYRIM expansions).

Or a Fallout MMO.

Which, mind, would bum the hell out of me because I'm a single player gamer. But the video game marketers keep telling me I don't exist...


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DeathQuaker wrote:


** ending spoiler omitted **...

Point taken, they fumbled big time on the companion aspects but as I absolutely despised the companions in 3 as I played a sneaky/talky/science hero and the AI logic was the complete antithesis of my play style so it was down to the default 2 choices at the end and I played a "good" guy so yeah...

The changes they made to the companion mechanic in F:NV on the other hand was a fantastic change I don't think I went anywhere without Boone and EDE with me except to finish other companion quests.


Quote:
Or a Fallout MMO.

After Bethesda secured the FALLOUT ONLINE rights, I strongly suspect this will happen. However, I doubt very much that Bethesda's core team (the one that made OBLIVION, FALLOUT 3 and SKYRIM) will be involved. They'll likely hire some new developers to work on it.

I'm hoping that the MMO would be in addition to more SP FALLOUT games rather than instead of them. That would suck. Given the development times involved in making MMOs, it may even be that Bethesda would set up a potential MMO in FALLOUT 4.


I know that ZeniMax Online, a sister company to Bethesda, is working on a super secret MMO project. I'd be very surprised if this was not either a Fallout or Elder Scrolls MMO.


My review of FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS.

Quote:

Two centuries after a nuclear war destroyed the United States and much of the world, civilisation is slowly reasserting itself in the American West. Two powerful blocs have formed. The New California Republic follows the ideals and goals of pre-war America, believing in a land of freedom and opportunity. Caesar's Legion is an army of fascist thugs who believe in rule by strength and superiority. Between these two forces lies the Mojave Wasteland and the city of New Vegas, a fiercely independent state ruled by the enigmatic Mr. House and his army of security robots.

A courier, bearing an important parcel for delivery to New Vegas, is shot in the head by an unknown assailant and left for dead. Nursed back to health by a local doctor, the courier sets out to complete his mission, find the assailant and recover his commission. But as the courier delves deeper into the Mojave Wasteland, he (or she) discovers a land poised on the brink of a great change, and that she (or he) may ultimately hold the balance of power.

Fallout: New Vegas was released in late 2010 and is a stand-alone successor to the first three Fallout games. It was developed by Obsidian Entertainment, the successors to Black Isle, that company that created the franchise and the first two games in the sequence. Bethesda, who bought the licence for the franchise and made Fallout 3, contracted Obsidian to make a new game in the series. This move was popular with fans (particularly those doubtful over Bethesda's handling of the series), since it allowed quite a few team-members who worked on the first two games to produce a new Fallout title. There were even able to incorporate some elements of the cancelled 'original' Fallout 3 that Black Isle were working on when they were shut down.

Anyone who's played one of Bethesda's Gamebryo/Creation engine games (Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Skyrim) will be at home here. The game is played from a first-person perspective, although a third-person viewpoint is available as well. You create your character, deciding his or her name and gender and deciding their appearance. There are no classes, with instead you pumping skill points into the areas you want to develop (guns, speech and science are highly recommended). Every two levels you also get perks, special bonuses to certain skills or abilities. You're then set loose in the game world with an initial mission - find the guy who shot you - but also the freedom to wander off, explore, speak to people, pick up initial jobs and so on. It's also up to you whether to play as a heroic wanderer, a practical money-hunter or a psychopathic maniac.

The opening town in the game, Goodsprings, has a number of missions you can do for money and experience (some of which also act as tutorials for the game's combat system). Due to the geography of the Mojave (as depicted in the game), your pursuit of your nemesis leads up a valley through several other settlements, where side-missions are never far away. In this fashion the game encourages you to build up your character before confronting your enemy in New Vegas itself, without restricting your freedom (you can simply ignore everything and go straight to the city if you really want to).

However, there is one massive difference between New Vegas and the Bethesda games: Obsidian have some of the best writers in gaming working for them. Bethesda, to be charitable...don't. In particular, they have little truck with either violence being the only solution to problems or in moral absolutes of black and white. You often find that missions can be accomplished through dialogue or bargaining rather than violence alone. Your skills impact on your dialogue choices in a way that didn't happen in Fallout 3, immediately opening up a vaster number of options. If you have a high medical skill, for example, you can simply tell a medic how to make the best use of his resources rather than going on a long and dangerous mission halfway across the map to find the same info in a textbook. In addition there are situations where there are two options and each option has both positive and negative consequences and neither is obviously the 'right' choice to make. You have to make the choice which makes the most sense for your character, given their allegiances.

There is also a faction system at work in the game. On the larger scale, the armies of the New California Republic and Caesar's Legion are clashing for control of the Mojave, and in particular the tactically important location of Hoover's Dam, which provides power for most of the region. You can ally with either side and perform missions for them, but this will ultimately destroy your reputation with the other side and close down your ability to do missions for them as well. New Vegas doesn't allow you to have your cake and eat it. It forces you to make decisions and stick to them. There is also a second layer of factions at work in New Vegas itself, with Mr. House determined to maintain the city's independence whilst the local representatives of the New California Republic tries to convince him to join them. There's also another faction in New Vegas which seeks to eliminate Mr. House and seize control themselves. Once again, you can choose which side to join.

However, and this is where New Vegas really impresses, the game also gives you a very important option: to be yourself. Can't choose between the NCR and the Legion? Ignore both of them. Or wage war on both of them whenever you find them. Don't like Mr. House or his enemies? Eliminate both of them, seize control of Mr. House's immense army of robot sentries and rule New Vegas yourself. No character in the game has plot-armour. You can be in a high-level strategic conference with the NCR's senior-most general, but you can, if you wish, shoot her in the head. There are consequences (the NCR will turn on you and try to hunt you down wherever you are, and further missions from them will not be available), but you can do it if you wish. The game doesn't force you to do anything you don't want to, and gives the player an impressive amount of freedom.

Where the game also scores big over Fallout 3 and Skyrim is its treatment of companion characters. In those games, companions are basically extra weapons platforms and a mobile bonus inventory. They don't really talk to you and after a while there is no point interacting with them other than what they can do for you on a practical level. In New Vegas, each potential follower has a quest associated with them and their own allegiances and preferences. Bringing ex-NCR sniper Boone into a Legion camp will result in Boone going on a killing spree. Come into conflict with NCR troopers and Boone may leave or even turn on you. This applies to all of the companions, who also seem a bit chattier than in Bethesda's own games. In short, in New Vegas companion characters bring a lot more to the table than their Bethesda counterparts.

Graphically, the game looks a little lacking compared to Skyrim with its high-res textures installed, but otherwise looks credibly impressive. There are some great environment and sound effects that convincingly sell the illusion of being in the desert. There is some clunkiness; rock faces and mountains are sometimes surrounded by invisible walls to prevent you climbing over them, which is odd. But otherwise the graphics and sound effects are strong. The interface is unchanged from Fallout 3 and is mostly fine, but there is no way of instantly accessing your quest log, inventory or skill sheet with a single button. Instead you must activate your PIP-BOY (a wrist-mounted mini-computer) and cycle through the pages, which is a cumbersome process, even though the game freezes whilst using it. You can assign weapons, healing packs and other items to hotkeys, however, which does help.

For combat, you can either engage in direct combat FPS-style (now enhanced by the addition of iron sights) or use VATS. In this mode combat is paused and you can target an enemy's limbs before resuming the battle. This was generally nice but not essential in Fallout 3, but is more important in New Vegas. Throughout the game you will face a relentless type of flying insect called a 'cazadore', which is exceptionally deadly. Blowing their wings off, ridding them of their devastating speed, in VATS is a good way of dealing with them. Combat is thus a bit more involved and satisfying than in Fallout 3, with a larger and more interesting array of weapons. There's also more focus on melee combat, which is useful in close-quarters battles where stopping to reload a firearm could be fatal.

Like the other Fallout games, New Vegas is set in a radioactive environment where the very soil and water is hazardous. Unlike the other games, the New Vegas area did not take a direct nuclear hit during the war so these hazards are much less prevalent than in Fallout 3. Coupled with a lack of famous landmarks (aside from Hoover Dam), New Vegas sells the idea of being in a post-apocalyptic world less effectively than Fallout 3. However, it does do a better job of selling the illusion of a post-post-apocalyptic world, where the apocalypse was a long time ago (now more than two centuries) and civilisation is starting to reassert itself. For those who do feel the environment is less threatening than previous games, you can activate a hardcore mode which forces you to sleep, eat and drink on a regular basis, as well as giving your ammo weight (preventing you from lugging tons of it all over the place). A further optional mod by the game's project lead also makes the game more challenging still (by halving the amount of experience you get).

New Vegas has a formidable array of memorable characters to talk to and deal with. Your companions are fully fleshed-out individuals with complex motivations and backstory. Boone, a devastatingly competent sniper and soldier, is working through the pain of the loss of his family to raiders. A Super Mutant who allies with you is suffering mental problems (the result of exposure to a dangerous technology) but is also tormented by memories of her grandchildren, who died decades earlier. Mr. House believes he can restore peace to the world and presents you with rationales as to why this is so, but is also an egotistical narcissist with no real idea of his true nature (as a hilariously over-the-top obituary - penned by himself in the event of his death - proves). Caesar himself is a deluded sociopath who justifies the mass-slaughter of innocents through dubious rhetoric (which you can attempt to argue him out of, or can choose to remove his head instead). Even minor characters, like the explosive-obsessed 'Boomers' who've taken over an old military base or the doctor who patches you up at the start of the game, have their own stories and characteristic tics. The voice acting is also superb, with a special shout-out to Michael Hogan (Saul Tigh from the new Battlestar Galactica) whose voice is the first thing you hear in the game (after Ron Perlman's traditional opening narration, of course).

The combination of these factors is that Fallout: New Vegas is the best game released by Bethesda to date (although it was not developed by them). Obsidian have crafted an open-world storyline based on choice and freedom of action to go with the open-world setting. There are complex moral choices to make, memorable and three-dimensional characters to interact with and the ability to solve problems without always resorting to guns and violence (you can even defeat the end-of-game enemy through dialogue, rather than weaponry). The faction system gives rise to a large number of different possible endings as well. With New Vegas Obsidian have finally added a freeform, flexible and complex story worthy of the freeform, complex and open nature of the game engine that Bethesda have created.

Unfortunately, the game is let down by some minor technical issues. The game is now in a much better state than at launch, where it was a bit of a mess. Most of the bugs have now been fixed, and I actually had less crashes than I did with Fallout 3. However, an ongoing bug prevented me from loading saved games from the start menu, which was a bit silly. I had to start a new game each time and then load from within the game world. Fortunately, loading is so fast that this was not a problem (adding maybe 5 seconds to the load process). Still, the fact this known issue was not fixed (and, with support for the game now ended, never will be) at some point is irritating.

Fallout: New Vegas (****½) is a long, impressive roleplaying game set against a complex, morally ambiguous backdrop which gives the player real freedom in the narrative sphere as well as the simplistic exploration-and-shoot-things area. Despite some minor technical issues, it is a brilliant game and the best thing released by Bethesda since Morrowind, and the best game produced by Obsidian to date. It is available now, packaged with its excellent expansions (which I will cover separately), in the UK (PC, X-Box 360 and PlayStation 3) and USA (PC, X-Box 360 and PlayStation 3).


And my review of the expansions.

Quote:

The phenomenon of DLC - downloadable content - is a controversial one for many gamers. On the one hand, the notion of adding additional content to your game after release, extending its lifespan, is a welcome one. On the other, there is a temptation for developers to hold back features that could have been incorporated into the game at launch to make more money from fans later on, which is not acceptable for many.

Happily, the approach to DLC for the Fallout franchise has been exemplary. Fallout 3 - itself a massive game - was followed by five expansions which added a fair bit of new content to the game. These expansions were varied in tone and structure, but packed a lot of content into modest prices. Fallout: New Vegas continues this fine tradition, with four extremely large expansions released after the main game which expand the playing experience. They are now packaged with the base game in the Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition. For maximum enjoyability, it is recommended you play the expansions in order of release (Dead Money, Honest Hearts, Old World Blues and Lonesome Road), though it's not too much of a problem if you don't. However, I would recommended that New Vegas players get their character to Level 25-30 in the base game before tackling them, as they can be a lot more unforgiving than the main game. Note that installing the DLCs without playing them still raises New Vegas's level limit by a cumulative 20 levels, however, which is extremely helpful.

First up is Dead Money. Investigating a distress call leading to an abandoned Brotherhood of Steel bunker, the Courier falls into a trap and is knocked out. He wakes up in a town near the Sierra Madre, an opulent casino built just before the nuclear apocalypse. His equipment has been taken and a bomb attached to a collar around his neck. A man named Elijah contacts the Courier and informs him that he has been recruited into helping stage an audacious raid on the Sierra Madre's treasure vault. The Courier has to find the other members of his team (a schizophrenic Super Mutant, a mute woman and a dapper ex-entertainer ghoul) scattered about the town, break into the casino and carry out the heist. Needless to say, there are numerous complications. Radios in the town and the casino interfere with the bomb collar and can cause it to detonate if the player is not quick to disable them. Extremely hard-to-kill 'ghost people' lurk in the area and can rise from the dead if not dismembered. Weaponry and ammunition are difficult to find, and the area is also patrolled by invulnerable security holograms equipped with lasers.

Dead Money is probably the weakest of the four DLCs, which is a shame as it is packed with good ideas. It is tremendously atmospheric and exploring the low town whilst dodging clouds of a killer substance and trying not to blow up your own head is effective for a while. Unfortunately, this section of the game goes on for a bit too long, and the last haul before you get into the casino itself (when you have to cross most of the town hunted by packs of ghost people with weaponry and health supplies both in low supply) can be an exercise in frustration. The casino itself presents a fun series of puzzles to overcome, and there is a powerfully-written narrative to follow (via diaries and computer terminal logs) as you uncover the secrets behind the founding and building of the casino, and the doomed romance at the heart of it. The DLC also has a flexible ending, with several options available for the player to wrap up the quest (though be aware that one of them effectively ends the game for good). Overall, it's solid stuff, likely taking 4-6 hours to complete, but the gameplay is a little lacking compared to the strong narrative.

Honest Hearts has the player recruited by the Happy Trails Trading Company, which is trying to open a new caravan route to the township of New Canaan via Zion Valley in Utah. Upon reaching Zion Valley, the Courier's employers are wiped out and he finds himself recruited by the mysterious 'Burned Man' to help end a devastating conflict between the tribes of the valley (a former nature reserve). The Courier has to visit the different factions and either forge a peaceful resolution (an evacuation of one of the tribes) or a more violent one (siding with one of the factions and wiping the other out).

Honest Hearts is an entertaining expansion, featuring some of the best vistas and views in the entire Fallout series to date (and makes one wish that the upgraded Creation Engine from Skyrim could be retrofitted onto it, to make it look even more impressive). Unlike the more restricted environment in Dead Money, this is an open world setting which you can explore at leisure. The quests are strong and the characters memorable, but the narrative is less powerful than Dead Money's, with the expansion ultimately ending with a shoot 'em up sequence no matter what choices you make. The expansion also has a very clunky opening in which it's impossible to save your travelling companions from death (which given New Vegas's normal flexibility is a bit weak) and then almost immediately depicts a confusing melee in which it's very easy to kill your potential allies, resulting in you auto-failing every quest in the DLC instantly. Once you get over that bump, the rest of the expansion is fun with some cool companion characters, good gear and a solid moral conflict at the heart of the story (and a great choice of two endings, neither of which are totally good or bad and have their own advantages and disadvantages). If you power through the game you might take 6 hours to complete it, but a thorough exploration of every cave and point of interest in the valley could take a lot longer. It's more fun than Dead Money in gameplay terms but isn't quite as atmospheric or well-written.

Old World Blues is the jewel in New Vegas's crown. The Courier is drawn to a mysterious broadcast at a drive-in theatre in the Mojave which teleports him to the Big MT, an advanced scientific research outpost located in the middle of a huge crater, isolated from the rest of the world. The scientists there lost their mortal bodies to age decades ago, but have transferred their brains into robots. They apologise to the Courier, as they removed his brain for analysis and have since misplaced it (the Courier is effectively piloting his body on remote-control for the duration of the expansion). The Courier's quest, therefore, is to retrieve his own brain! He also has to discover the secrets of the facility and uncover it's backstory.

Old World Blues is flat-out bonkers. Inspired by 1950s American B-movies, there is a silly - maybe even camp - tone to events. As the expansion was created in early 2011 and released late in the year, I suspect an influence from Portal 2, particularly the Cave Johnson-like voice announcements from a long-dead scientist that accompanies one particular journey. It's the funniest slice of Fallout to date and in places threatens to become inconsistent with the rest of the setting (particularly the teleporting technology, which is an order of magnitude more advanced than what even the occasionally-glimpsed aliens in the series appear to be capable of), though they just about dodge this. It's very funny, but as the Courier completes the quests and uncovers the secrets of the facility it also takes a turn for the tragic, as elements of the backstory come into sharper focus. Completing the main quest in Old World Blues will likely take 8-10 hours (longer than many full games) but exploring the full map and the various facilities will take a lot longer. The reward for completing the DLC is impressive as well: a technologically-advanced house inhabited by various AI assistants (including a homicidal toaster, possibly a tribute to British SF show Red Dwarf), a medical suite and a buy/sell terminal. A cool place to hang out once in a while.

One common thread links the first three DLCs: the Courier keeps finding evidence of a man called Ulysses - codenamed 'Courier Six' - who has taken an interest in the Courier's activities. In Lonesome Road the Courier receives a message from this individual, who has taken up residence in the Divide, a once-prosperous community (visited by the Courier himself many years ago) that was destroyed when some nuclear warheads kept in a nearby silo were accidentally detonated. The Courier is challenged to traverse the length of the radioactive Divide and meet with Ulysses personally. As they move towards a showdown, it becomes clearer that Ulysses and the Courier have an important shared history...even if the Courier cannot remember the significance of it.

Lonesome Road is the most divisive of the four DLCs, mainly because it's very linear. Whilst there is some scope to go off the road and investigate passing areas, most of the time you simply have to press forwards. This linearity seems to go against the ethos of New Vegas and its immense flexibility in allowing players to do what they want in the game, but in this case it may have been a worthwhile sacrifice, as it allows Obsidian to do something very interesting with the narrative. Essentially, the expansion asks the question about what would happen if you were just a randomly-passing NPC in someone else's epic story? Ulysses was the main character of his own Fallout narrative and the Courier a passer-by, but one whose actions had an immense impact on Ulysses, sending him on a huge journey across the Mojave, the Sierra Madre, Zion Valley and the Big MT. The Courier himself barely remembers the incident and is bemused by the whole situation, but must play a crucial role in resolving Ulysses's story, one way or another.

For all its linearity and brevity (at around 4 hours it's the shortest of the expansions, but is still a fair bit longer than the shortest Fallout 3 DLCs, Operation Anchorage and Mothership Zeta), Lonesome Road is still a lot of fun. Combat is entertaining and varied, with a number of side-missions which can be challenging in themselves. The series' most iconic enemies, the deathclaws, are back in force after being low-key in the other New Vegas games, resulting in some tense battles. There's also some interesting narrative developments later on which open up areas further back along the map, allowing for some additional exploration. However, everything is building up to a powerful showdown between the Courier and his apparent nemesis, which is gripping stuff.

Ultimately, the four expansions to Fallout New Vegas are all worthwhile. Even the weakest, Dead Money, is well worth playing and the best, Old World Blues, should be required playing for every Fallout fan. All four are enjoyable and between them they add a significant number of new perks and weapons to the game (cazadores need never worry you again after completing the relevant sub-quest in Old World Blues). But most impressive is the way that each expansion contributes to a genuinely innovative and interesting storyline, which is flexible enough to be played in any order (though it makes slightly more sense to play the expansions in order of release), light enough not to restrict your choices too much but weighty enough to have a real impact. It's no surprise that the writing team behind Planescape: Torment (the greatest western RPG of all time) were behind this offbeat storyline.

Dead Money (***½)
Honest Hearts (****½)
Old World Blues (*****)
Lonesome Road (****½)


Both very good and thorough reviews.

My personal assessment of the DLC would be in order of what I felt was best:

1. Old World Blues -- generally agree with your assessment. Loved all the 50s sci fi references and the world was fun to explore.

2. Dead Money -- I didn't have as much of a problem with the earlier gameplay as you, and I loved the survival horror feel (even if it wasn't quite how they intended it to work). Its characters/companions are absolutely without a doubt, hands down my favorite characters that show up in any of the DLC, to the point I find it tragic--yes, tragic, I'm going to entitle myself to some gamer hyperbole--that you can't take the companions back to New Vegas with you (especially to orchestrate a certain reunion). I understand why you can't--they wouldn't be able to reprogram them to interact with the main game properly and vice versa, but it still makes me sad. My only complaints are that I think the vending machines make things way too easy the way they eventually come to function (and I actually hate that you can keep accessing one after the DLC is over because it can make playing the main game too easy), and the ending had a lot of railroad problems that I got very frustrated with--it has the one incidence of NPC immortality which stands out in particular since that kind of thing tends not to happen in the rest of the game. It's also a little frustrating you can't go back, but I understand why a bit. But the end was the only part I felt truly frustrated by, and I can live with the vending machines.

3. Honest Hearts -- It's generally solid, but doesn't have a lot stand out to me--I think it plays more evenly than Dead Money, but the events and characters I just could not get into the way I did with the events and characters in Dead Money. The world is gorgeous, and I love the story you uncover as you explore the area. I don't find it stellar, but it's a nice place to hang out for awhile, and I like that you can return to the world later (as you can with Lonesome Road and OWB).

4. Lonesome Road -- Boring, trudging dungeon crawl with a lot of items that would be useful when you're about 10th level, but not the massively high level you will be if you play everything through in order, with this DLC being the last. Idiotic boss I can say I enjoyed killing because he was such a d-bag, but not much else; I really fail to understand why a lot of people enjoy this character because I just thought he was a selfish idiot and not in a very interesting way; to each their own, not saying anyone's wrong for liking him, just saying I didn't feel that way personally. I liked the exploration aspects at first--I love to explore--and I especially liked a lot of the creative use of the terrain (toppled buildings you can walk across, etc.) but it got very samey very quick. I generally felt like it was a waste of time and was extremely disappointed after the huge hype it got as the last DLC--I'd be fine with the simple monty haul dungeon crawl it was if they'd advertised it as such and/or it wasn't the last DLC, but it was made out to be the be all, end all awesome finale to the whole thing, and I personally found it to be extremely lacking as such. If I bother to ever play through it again at all it'll be as a lower level character (the lowest I can get away with) to get some of the equipment, and that's about it (whereas if I get back to my FNV new playthroughs, the other 3 will all get replayed as much as I have time to able able to do).

All my personal opinion of course.


I love both of them, but FO - NV is my favorite.

Qadira

The Vaults were a Social Experiment not designed to save lives

I like the Fallout Vault comic strip http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/185trkhhq0tpnjpg/original.jpg

Vault 69: where women outnumbered men a thousand to one.
Vault 43: 20 men, 10 women, and one panther.
Vault 77: One man and a crate of Sock Puppets.


Cool article, yellowdingo. The strip is also awesome.

I really liked the vaults in New Vegas. It was interesting to see ones in various states of abandoned to occupied--and when they were abandoned or why.

Although I grew to hate... 27? The one with the plants. Just because there's so much stuff you have to go through it for. It had an interesting story though.

I also thought it interesting that the Fiends took over 3, using it basically as a fortress/headquarters. Most people leave the Vaults behind once they figure out what they're about, but they're still rock solid bunkers, usually with food and water (depending on what the social experiment was...).


Won't go into a thorough review here but I'll lay my 2 cents down.

FIRST OFF, they're both worth playing.

Now, I believe:

Fallout 3 has an infinitely better atmosphere.

New Vegas has undeniably better mechanics (more polished versions of the same).

Fallout 3 has a much wonkier, "Lol the 50's were so funny" feel to it, which I absolutely adore. New Vegas had a much more serious tone. It's up to you to decide which is better.

Both games have amazing music.

Fallout 3's DLC are...more fun to play. New Vegas' DLC actually have something to do with the main plot and have interesting storylines to them. New Vegas' Dead Money is a slog. However, Fallout 3's Point Lookout is balls difficult (a whole buncha people complained the game was too easy, and Bethesda is run by a bunch of smartasses), because all of the enemies are hillbilly swamp people with uber DR and shotguns that do more damage to the PC than they do in your hands (it's a listed stat in the game files if you take a look). And the difficulty slider is essentially locked on Very Hard, since switching to Easy and to Very Hard yielded identical combat difficulty.

New Vegas' companions have actual thoughts, feelings, and 3d personalities (sorta). Fallout 3's companions are the kind of 2d personalities that are extremely fun to interact with.

Fallout 3 has Liberty Prime. 'Nuff said.

New Vegas lets you fire an orbital laser thingy. That's cool but still not as cool as Liberty Prime.

I've completely run out of serious things to say.


Rynjin wrote:

Fallout 3 has an infinitely better atmosphere.

New Vegas has undeniably better mechanics (more polished versions of the same).

This pretty much sums up my opinion. While I think New Vegas was the better game, by far, I kinda like F3 better.


Rynjin wrote:


Fallout 3 has Liberty Prime. 'Nuff said.

Personally I'll take Veronica Santangelo slamming Legate Lanius in the face with a superheated Saturnite Power Fist and watching him fly backward 50 feet, but that's just me. Always been much more of a sucker for adorable yet hard-hitting lesbian scholars than giant robots.


DeathQuaker wrote:
Personally I'll take Veronica Santangelo slamming Legate Lanius in the face with a superheated Saturnite Power Fist and watching him fly backward 50 feet, but that's just me. Always been much more of a sucker for adorable yet hard-hitting lesbian scholars than giant robots.

That way lies heartache. Giant robots are much safer.


Slaunyeh wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
Personally I'll take Veronica Santangelo slamming Legate Lanius in the face with a superheated Saturnite Power Fist and watching him fly backward 50 feet, but that's just me. Always been much more of a sucker for adorable yet hard-hitting lesbian scholars than giant robots.
That way lies heartache. Giant robots are much safer.

Sometimes the pain is worth it. :)

Silver Crusade

I really like Fallout 3, it's AWESOME! :)


I always wonder if ericthecleric got a chance to try these. I always feel sad looking at the top of the thread and knowing someone decided not to play the game for an assumed game mechanic when both games are so much fun (and VATS really makes it easier for people who don't like to deal with real time play).


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

One can hope that they eventually gave it a try especially now that the GOTY editions can be acquired at very reasonable prices. But I have friends who have expressed similar opinions about the game mechanics on the old vs new and I've spoken to quite a few people who frankly just dislike the "Oblivion with Guns" feel that at least 3 has.

Personally I find the story and atmosphere trumps the mechanics and will say that these are still two of my favoite games. This being said despite my NV almost 90% complete play through is now on a permanent hiatus due to a lovely game engine induced bug that freezes the game and forces a reboot every ten minutes.


DeathQuaker wrote:
Rynjin wrote:


Fallout 3 has Liberty Prime. 'Nuff said.
Personally I'll take Veronica Santangelo slamming Legate Lanius in the face with a superheated Saturnite Power Fist and watching him fly backward 50 feet, but that's just me. Always been much more of a sucker for adorable yet hard-hitting lesbian scholars than giant robots.

Veronica's cool and stuff but I always liked to play the Unarmed (and Explosives) guy so she was kinda redundant a lot of the time.

Hence Boone (If I wanted EVERYTHING DEAD) or Raul (If I wanted the game to have some challenge) were my usual companions.


Quote:
Fallout 3 has a much wonkier, "Lol the 50's were so funny" feel to it, which I absolutely adore. New Vegas had a much more serious tone. It's up to you to decide which is better.

True, but OLD WORLD BLUES - the NV DLC - is the absolute zenith of the series in referencing 1950s B-movies and tropes, and is probably the funniest slice of FALLOUT ever (whilst also being somewhat tragic, once you get to the end).

Quote:

Fallout 3 has Liberty Prime. 'Nuff said.

New Vegas lets you fire an orbital laser thingy. That's cool but still not as cool as Liberty Prime.

Liberty Prime is indeed cool (and a Transformers reference is always enjoyable), but it does give FO3 a rather major problem, and in fact the same problem that OBLIVION had: you're reduced to standing on the sidelines watching someone else fight the final battle and win the game for you. Yeah, there's a little bit afterwards which you have to deal with, but it's both lame and illogical (and had to be retconned in the DLCs).

In NEW VEGAS you're personally leading the charge across the dam whils all the allies you recruited earlier in the game joined in. When the B-52 comes flying over and cluster-bombs the hell out of the Legion troops, and only does so if you helped locate and salvage the aircraft 40-odd hours earlier, that's a brilliant moment and one that you brought about yourself. And of course it just helps out in the finale, you yourself have to resolve the final confrontation with the Legion.

This does sum up the two games for me: FO3 is very much Bethesda desperately wanting to show you the cool ideas they've had, to the point of making NPCs invulnerable and having you sit out part of the final battle to ensure you see what they want you to see. NV basically gives you the keys to the game and lets you run totally wild yourself.


Werthead wrote:
Quote:
Fallout 3 has a much wonkier, "Lol the 50's were so funny" feel to it, which I absolutely adore. New Vegas had a much more serious tone. It's up to you to decide which is better.
True, but OLD WORLD BLUES - the NV DLC - is the absolute zenith of the series in referencing 1950s B-movies and tropes, and is probably the funniest slice of FALLOUT ever (whilst also being somewhat tragic, once you get to the end).

Oh god this. If you like 1950s retro-future insanity, playing Old World Blues is an absolute must.

There was a bittersweetness to it, yes, but that's also what makes it Fallout and not just a random tribute to 50s sci-fi. I liked my ending. I just wish I could bring my companions there.

Quote:


Quote:

Fallout 3 has Liberty Prime. 'Nuff said.

New Vegas lets you fire an orbital laser thingy. That's cool but still not as cool as Liberty Prime.

Liberty Prime is indeed cool (and a Transformers reference is always enjoyable), but it does give FO3 a rather major problem, and in fact the same problem that OBLIVION had: you're reduced to standing on the sidelines watching someone else fight the final battle and win the game for you. Yeah, there's a little bit afterwards which you have to deal with, but it's both lame and illogical (and had to be retconned in the DLCs).

In NEW VEGAS you're personally leading the charge across the dam whils all the allies you recruited earlier in the game joined in. When the B-52 comes flying over and cluster-bombs the hell out of the Legion troops, and only does so if you helped locate and salvage the aircraft 40-odd hours earlier, that's a brilliant moment and one that you brought about yourself. And of course it just helps out in the finale, you yourself have to resolve the final confrontation with the Legion.

This does sum up the two games for me: FO3 is very much Bethesda desperately wanting to show you the cool ideas they've had, to the point of making NPCs invulnerable and having you sit out part of the final battle to ensure you see what they want you to see. NV basically gives you the keys to the game and lets you run totally wild yourself.

I think you've summed up a lot of how I feel about FO3 vs FNV and why I will always prefer the latter to the former.

Mind, there was stuff I LOVED about FO3. But most of it had nothing to do with the main plot. I could be Moira's test subject forever. I loved wandering and exploring (I got the same joy doing that in both games, although FNV gave me a firm fear of both deathclaws and cazadores that made wandering/exploring hard in some areas). I loved exploring the fallen monuments and such. There's little random moments that happened like Charon essentially sacrificing his life to save mine from a behemoth (NOT a scripted event, just kind of how a scene played out). I think Bethesda did do a good job reviving the series. But I think the main plot especially made feel more like I was being pushed through a movie I had to watch rather than play the hero--or villain--myself, with the outcome based very much on my actions and decisions. I think that's also why FNV feels more "Fallout" than FO3, because your decisions have more consequences on the shaping of the world, as I recall happening in FO2 as well (I never finished FO1).

And yeah, I think that's also why I'm a bit "meh" about Liberty Prime. It's cool to watch, and funny as hell, but it doesn't really have anything to do with me or the characters I've worked with or befriended. Likewise the plot has everything to do with my father, what he wants, and what he's done, and I'm just stuck finishing the job (at least if I want to see the endgame credits).


Also, I know I'm fangirling ridiculously over FNV and please don't take any of my statements as judgments against anyone's own opinion. It just happens to be one of my very very very favorite games ever made, so I tend to get enthusiastic talking about it.


I found exploring to be my favorite part of FO3.

I think that was my biggest issue with NV. The area was supposedly bigger (the mojave desert vs DC and surrounding areas) but they crammed so much stuff into FO3 and the Mojave just felt...empty.

I guess you could say it was weeding out "unnecessary" bits, having almost every place in the Mojave have some sort of story/sidequest significance, but I really liked finding those random gas stations with Rube Goldberg machines in them and stuff.

And Bobbleheads. Much more fun to find than Snowglobes.

I like NV's gameplay a lot more, but if they decided to update FO3 to use the updated stuff I'd take it over NV any day. But we'll see what FO4 has in store first, eh?

OH!

And one other thing: NV made being evil essentially impossible. I hated that s%~%. WHY oh WHY does stealing make you lose karma but murdering a town full of innocent bystanders not?

I liked seeing the evil level up things and being an unrepentant a*$#$+* in FO3 (Hey you, repair my stuff. Okay thanks. *"Terrible Shotgun to the forehead, takes caps back.*).


DeathQuaker wrote:
Also, I know I'm fangirling ridiculously over FNV and please don't take any of my statements as judgments against anyone's own opinion. It just happens to be one of my very very very favorite games ever made, so I tend to get enthusiastic talking about it.

It's infectious! :)

This thread (and your comments about the game especially) always inspire me to revisit NV - happened this evening, and I managed to snaffle the upgraded stealth suit in Old World Blues, so now I'm wandering around Big MT with some sort of robot cheerleader whispering in my ear. Could be worse...

@Rynjin - you're right about Karma behaving oddly in NV. Why is it I can loot the corpses of the Caesar's Legion legionaries I've killed without any consequences but not take stuff from their footlockers once they're dead? I assume it's a bug, but I may be wrong.


I felt like no matter where I went in the Mojave, I found something interesting. We must have played very different games.

In NV, killing a town full of people would and should drop your karma. The one thing that irritated me was gaining karma for killing fiends--which you often needed to do for mere survival if you were going through their territory. It's how my fairly neutral PC became "good." I was glad in one of the DLCs (I think it was Lonesome Road) they had some perks to reset your karma. They were aware it was a little screwy. Also, there's Josh Sawyer's patch which fixes some of the karma stuff, IIRC.

Limeylongears... hostiles detected.

Just kidding!


It would not. I killed everybody on the Strip and the surrounding areas and was still a "Shining Beacon of Hope" or whatever the level 30-50 good Karma thing is.

And I never said there was nothing interesting in the Mojave, I said there were less (a LOT less) areas that weren't directly connected to some sort of quest or sidequest.


Pre patch bug maybe?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DeathQuaker wrote:
Pre patch bug maybe?

I don't think so. Lots of neutral people don't change your karma.


Hm. I admit to not having run around and killing a lot of innocents, so I don't know. It does seem odd.

Maybe look up some mods to fix it?

Josh Sawyer's mod adjusts karma all over the place, amongst other things. It is available here:

http://twofoldsilence.diogenes-lamp.info/2012/09/jsawyeresp-v5.html

Note a lot of his changes also generally are to make the game much harder, to give it that hardscrabble surviving in the apocalyptic desert feel. I plan to try it someday myself though.

Josh Sawyer is the lead designer of the game, BTW (and was lead on Van Buren).

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