Category: Fallout


Upgrading!

Well, in between my intense suffering at my family’s hands and being dragged around everywhere, I have actually gotten to play a little bit of Dead Space 2 from time to time, and have gotten enough of a taste to really talk about one of my favorite parts in gaming: weapon upgrades. The Power Node/Workbench system is the primary focus, but there will be honorable mention to Fallout soon enough. And again, I would like to sincerely apologize, this post was supposed to go up yesterday, but once I got dragged out by the family I didn’t make it back until the wee-hours of the morning. I am truly sorry. Hopefully, this article will scratch that mechanical analysis itch some of you have!

Upgrading weapons is a time-honored trope in gaming, and can be viewed basically anywhere, in any game. World of Warcraft and MMO’s like it have enchanting, giving bonus stats or effects to your weapon, Dead Space 2 has Workbenches which can be used to upgrade weapons in a variety of ways, and Fallout: New Vegas has weapon mods which allow for personalized touches to your preferred weapon. Like always, I’ll start with the poorer ways this mechanic is used, and then highlight the good cases.
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It’s not an article by Cracked, I promise. Pity though, it’d probably be funnier than my ham-handed writing. Which is why, today, I have a special treat. A friend of mine wanted to write a colab article about things video game companies really need to stop doing, and I thought it would be a fun thing to do. So you’ll get three things from me, and three from my friend, DDDreamer. So let’s see how this works out! First up, my three that games need to stop having…

(Kana-Chan)
Broken Pre-Oder Bonuses:
We all know what a pre-order bonus is. Everyone loves those! Buy the game early, snag some sweet stuff to enjoy in-game. Heck, I do it all the time if I like what comes with it. The last (physical) game I pre-ordered was Halo: Reach, and I got a nice little multiplayer skin out of it. Now, that is fine. Cosmetics and other things that don’t disrupt the balance of the game are the perfect little treat to entice a buyer into reserving a copy early. The problem is when you do stupid things that break the game.

Like unlocking this 1 second into the game

If you’ve ever heard of it, pre-ordering Fallout: New Vegas got you the Caravan Pack. What was in that Pack? Oh, some food, water, and the best leather armor and shotgun you’ll see for a few hours. The pack completely broke the balance of the game and rendered all of the starting armor useless and the guns inferior to the Caravan Shotgun. That’s bad. Care to guess what’s worse? When you do that in a multiplayer game. Battlefield 3 has a pre-order bonus of several weapon modifications that give an edge in a competitive environment. Now, they have said the bonuses will be available to everyone for free later, but come on. You’re selling power-ups to people that shell out money, assuming they even live in a country where the deal is going on. If you don’t, tough luck. There will be better players in multiplayer because they pre-ordered and you didn’t. Fix your pre-order rewards game companies, don’t give stuff that make single player boring and multiplayer broken.

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Artistic Gaming

Well, it was only a matter of time before I did something high-brow to look like a smarty art type who knows what she’s talking about, so let’s get on to it. I’ve a lot to say, and a lot of ground to cover. To start with, go watch this (Or scroll to the bottom). And if you don’t normally watch Extra Credits, check it out sometime. They cover a great number of topics and go over the state of the industry. Always a joy to watch an episode. Now, after that episode went up, there was another post were the writer of EC, James Portnow, had a friendly argument with Thomas Grip of Frictional Games, who you might know for the game Amnesia: The Dark Descent. You can read the entire conversation here, but I’ll be talking about my main views with quotes here, so don’t worry about having to read the whole thing before this.

NOTE: While I intensely disagree with Thomas Grip, I respect his own philosophies. Do not try to twist this into me going off on someone, or I will hit you with a frozen tuna. Maybe and old mail box. You get a cookie if you can name the game that reference is from. Now, without further ado, let’s begin.
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Side Job: Horror

I’ve been thinking about the new Elder Scrolls game coming out, and thinking back to another couple of Bethesda’s games I’ve realized what might be a trend. While I know it’s too late for Skyrim, I can still hope for the best for that and future games. What exactly am I referring to? Why, the horror section of course! Oh don’t play coy. You know there is one in virtually every rpg ever designed. That one level or area created to evoke a sense of fear or terror. Most of them fall flat on their ass, for a multitude of reasons. My example for today is going to be the one and only Vault 22 of Fallout: New Vegas fame. It was a Vault I personally loved, for a little while at least. Needless to say, there will be spoilers. You’ve been warned.

Ambiance: This is probably the single hardest part of any little horror based section to get right. Go too far one way and the play might swing right out of fear and into amusement. Not far enough and the player won’t even notice. It has to be subtle, but noticeable. The music in Vault 22 played a large roll in what made it feel alien. There wasn’t anything truly noticeable. The sound wasn’t trying to fight for attention. Every few seconds it would be slightly over takenĀ  by the sound of something moving, usually behind you. I’d argue that particular sound effect was used on too short a loop, but it worked good for awhile. Every single time I heard that I’dĀ  flip around, shotgun at the ready to find… nothing. It’s unnerving at times. Likewise, the zone was really well designed. Flora that hid the monsters (and we’ll get to them soon), particles in the air, overgrowths of plants around. That’s good, it felt like truly being alone. The monsters were well paced to keep from becoming too predictable. The atmosphere was done well, and one of the high points of the area.

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