Friday, July 6, 2018

Independence : Fallout : New Vegas

So, for the entirety of June I was lost in gamer hell playing Fallout: New Vegas. I got bored with working on my story concepts and sort of reached a creative slum so decided to pick up a game I had started last year in November... I hadn't got very far so I was essentially starting a new game. A few days ago I finished it, getting both the Independent and NCR ending. Right now I'm starting a new playthrough for a Mr. House ending, probably will make another character for a Legion ending (just for the achievement).

This is where I left off - on a quest to help a bunch of ghouls go on their "Great Journey" to the tune of Ride of the Valkyries. For some reason this quest and being in Repconn Test Site was why I put the game off for many months (excluding university and having to shuffle between two places) because for some ungodly reason I would get terribly lost in Repconn. That was my biggest issue in general while playing - I would get lost inside buildings and the minimap just wouldn't help. I honestly feel it doesn't show the terrain properly and I hate navigating. 

Until I got power armor this was my "look" - I wanted to make this my Courier's "official look" as a gag but the more I played the more the characterization of my Courier (who is named after Tobias, an OC) changed. I will elaborate on that later, as in, under the cut after my story on playing the game. Nevermind that I'm 8 years late but everyone loves FO:NV so sue me (I've only played the first game and parts of the second). I'm just gonna write what I like about the game, its characters and I will explain some of the characters and events of the game so I hope nobody minds that too much.

 Ok, blogger sucks at formatting so I hope to God this works out. These four pictures are of my favorite minor side characters. They're the Misfits of Camp Golf - a bunch of NCR recruits who have no discipline, no proper training and just can't get along to save their lives.

I was very happy when I found out there's a sidequest where you can try to get them in shape in 4 different ways (that affect their ending when you finish the game).

 Basically, you can talk to any of the Misfits and they will give you their opinion on the situation and based on that you can either listen to them or choose another option.

If you go with Poindexter, the smartass glasses dude, you can falsify records that the Misfits are actually performing well. If you go with Raz, you can give them Psycho (a drug) to "enhance" their performance. Following either plan will result in a bad end for the Misfits.
 If you take Poindexter's advice the Misfits die when the Legion attacks because they're under-prepared. They flee the camp and are later hanged as deserters.

If you take Razz' advice, they kill the attackers but are so toked on the drug that they start attacking allies, which also ends with the team being executed.

If you want to earn their happy ending, you either listen to O'Hanrahan or Mags.

Regardless of which one you choose the ending is the same - the Misfits distinguish themselves and repel the Legion, Mags gets promoted to Seargant (which was her dream before being shafted to the Rejects camp) and the rest serve with honor.

The only difference is that if you take Mags' advice you train them, so they actually know how to shoot a gun and throw a grenade. If you take O'Hanrahan's advice they just talk to each other and start working together - essentially beating the Legion back with the power of friendship, which is really cute. Honestly, I'd love some sort of spinoff story about the Misfits.

Yay, a happy ending! Which is honestly rare in the Fallout universe, so at least someone got what they wanted.

Now for something completely different - Fisto, a sexbot, whom you can "try out" before bringing it to an NPC who had a request from customers. Basically your Courier gets assblasted (in front of your companions even) and then just moves on with their lives. Amazing.
Sure you aren't.... This was part of a guest to find "escorts" aka prostitutes for the Atomic Wrangler casino - you find a ghoul babe, a "smooth talker" and a sexbot. Clearly the sexbot wasn't for the customers.

Just some graffiti on the walls. I just enjoy little details like that.

So, if you rack up negative reputation with the Legion, assassins are sent to take you out. They are a pain in the ass at first, since they have a set path they take once they spawn, essentially following you until they find you. Though I started enjoying meeting them in later levels because that's when I finally realized I can strip them naked for loot and sell it to merchants (yeah it really took me some time to figure that out). 

I had a blunder when I was going to NCR territory and suddenly I saw the NPCs shoot at me (though they were non-hostile) and I got confused - the assassins had sneaked up from behind and I didn't even notice them. I accidentally shot an NCR character just because I mistook them for the assassin in the heat of the battle. I immediately got mixed rep so I reloaded a save... and beat the assassins again. Once a bunch of assassins followed me to the Follower's Safehouse, one even went in the building. That was fun...   

It's a shame I don't take screenshots mid fight (because my reaction time sucks and I have better things to do than to smash F10 for Fraps) but honestly the hijinks with the assassins are pretty amazing.

FO:NV is known for being glitchy and weird so here is an odd NPC interaction - the King goes to sleep and Rex just stands on him. Rex was a cute NPC - I didn't wear any hats because he apparently doesn't like them (if you wear hats you can't "talk" to him, he'll just growl at you).

In general AI in NV is pretty dumb and you can easily find a vantage point where u can snipe enemies because their pathfinding sucks. But from the other side - if I take a "shortcut" by carefully dropping down a ledge my companions will diligently go around the long way.

I really like Marcus, I know he appears in the second game and has canon wacky adventures with the MC so I wanna get into Fallout 2 for that (idk why but it just seems ungodly hard, I could crack FO1 with a guide but FO2 is torturing me). Also I take a lot of pictures of dialogue because the story is what makes FO:NV, a lot of characters have clever insights.

It's a bit inappropriate, but for some reason the word "assrape" makes me chuckle. In game it's not that funny - you have a side quest of taking down leaders of a raider gang (who are all doped up on drugs and are batshit insane) and one of them is a literal rapist who actually raped an NCR ranger and in scrapped dialogue would taunt a female Courier so there's that. 

The NCR ranger actually takes her trauma in a macho way being all "so what? it didn't phase me!" but you have another side quest where you either diagnose her yourself or convince her to actually seek help because she's flirting with all the women as a bad coping mechanism. That's why giggling at Buster's comment makes me feel bad after all. Though the game is quite mature about handling serious topics and usually just implies anything worse than torture (the Legion canonically uses women as Baby Factories and are highly misogynistic so you can imagine what happens to captured female slaves).

Ok, so the first picture of a companion so I can start my rant. I am genuinely the most upset that Veronica gets shafted no matter what you do:

1) if you do nothing, she gets exiled from the Brotherhood because she "spreads subversive ideas".
2) if you convince her to stay with the Brotherhood, she self exiles because, again, she doesn't want the Brotherhood to die out due to their isolationist, tech hoarding ways but nobody gets her and pushes her away.
3) if you convince her to leave, a bunch of paladins murder innocent people, and after that Veronica exiles herself to a life of scavenging and never making friends since she's afraid the Brotherhood might kill anyone she gets too close to (unless you wipe out the Brotherhood but then she's sad about losing her family).

I liked the Brotherhood in the first game, they didn't seem so bad but in NV I almost understand why most people see it as fine to just wipe them out (in certain quests you are obligated to kill them all with no chance of truce) and Veronica is why I was nice to them (and apparently a lot of other players are).

I'm considering killing her and the Brotherhood in my Mr. House playthrough because I honestly think dying with her family is the best you can do, as dramatic as it sounds. 

Ironically I tell myself I like bittersweet stories or "realistic" stories where everything doesn't end Happily Ever After but if a character I like gets the short end of the stick I get really mad, I guess nobody is truly a masochist. 

Also she's voiced by Felicia Day and this was the first time I recognized a voice actor: my immediate thought was - she sounds like a nicer, cuter Zojja. I was right.

A little hooliganism of Powder Gangers to segway into next topic.

This is one of the rare combat pictures only because I found the situation ridiculous - I had a bunch of NCR troopers with me who mercilessly gunned down one gang member, I didn't even have to lift a finger. 

Another companion! I actually really like Boone, he was the first companion I recruited and I found his stoic attitude and manpain endearing, oddly enough. He was just completely over the top dramatic, even though his story is quite sad and there is a lot to him, his constant "ah yes, this is my punishment, I must die" was a bit too much.

Though I guess I can kind of relate a sort of Death Seeker mentality, where you don't just blow your brains out but get yourself in trouble hoping to die, or just have a "if I die then it's destiny" mindset.

I did his personal quest and told him to let go of the past, so he can move on, because I think that's for the best. Honestly, a lot of characters have a story arc of letting go of the past versus embracing it and I just told everyone to leave it behind. It's a philosophy I live by myself. 

Kicking Legion ass is what he does best. 

Cass is another great companion because she's a potty mouth drunkard who doesn't cry over spilt milk. I can relate to her in this clip because it's how I feel about grief. Life moves on. I didn't play with her much so I don't have much to say on her. Though I might take her in my travels in different playthroughs. 

And a quote from my favorite companion - Arcade. I love him for many reasons and I pretty much played 75% of the game with him. Mostly because you get his personal quest a few quests before the Final Battle so I wanted to drag him along as much as I can.

I could probably write an essay why I like him, but one aspect is that he's a bit like an old school hippy - cares about the people/environment, hates rich people and is overly critical of the establishment.

Sometimes NPCs react to the kind of companion you have so here are some Powder Gangers talking shit about Arcade. Pretty bold since I have found power armor at this point. Also this has become an official Arcade Gannon intermission.

I think this is something Arcade says after he gets killed in a battle and then gets up. that happens a lot. I'm notoriously bad at minding my companions. When the Legion assassins first came I tried throwing grenades at them but somehow I ended up crippling my companion's legs instead. 

Killed a Death Claw. The regular ones aren't too bad if you manage start striking from afar. Got instakilled by a special type, not sure if it was the Alpha or the Legendary one...

Riveting imagery in Legion territory.

Again - amazed at old technology but sad that it causes bloodshed.

If you do his personal quest and urge him to stay with the Followers of the Apocalypse, he gives you his father's power armor which not only looks cool but is one of the best (?) armors in game. Needless to say, I felt cool. Even though the Enclave are evil... I like their power armor design, I dunno why the helmet makes me think of a cat or some other cool animal.

Also when you accept the armor you can simply go "Thanks, I guess" and Arcade sounds genuinely upset at your ungratefulness "No big deal, just the only thing I have left of my father whom I never met.". Yeah, okay, never choosing mean dialogue options ever. Killing a bunch of people by blasting their heads off is fine, being ungrateful to an NPC about a favor they did is too much.

Your companions also comment if you point a weapon at them, which is cute.

Yes Man is one of the greatest NPCs because he's a robot that's programmed to never say no (so you can easily work with him) and he's cheerful no matter what happens. Also I chose the Independent ending because I felt that's what my character would do - he has no loyalty to either factions and through his travels he just... happens to liberate Vegas.

Also because Arcade wanted an independent Vegas and I can never say no to my favorite characters. Ironically, in the ending, independence is not "what he hoped it would be" but Arcade is also the character who never really gets what he wants, similarly to Veronica, but he has more choices. 

The absolute worst you can do is sell him to slavery, but even some better endings have him totally fucked over - if you convince him to fight in his father's armor, someone snitches him as being related to the Enclave (which, in his own words, was a "fascist paramilitary organization" that murdered anyone and anything that didn't come from the vaults) and simply because of being born into it, despite his work with the Followers, he gets imprisoned as a war criminal. Or hunted down by bounty hunters and driven far away, never to be seen again.

If you side with the NCR he just goes away from the Mojave to either become a teacher or a family doctor, which is better but still seems bittersweet.

ANYWAYS, before I end up with an essay...

I installed a realistic lightning mod that would make the world go dark in the evening unless there were external light sources and so in the final battle I would always end up at the Legate camp late at night. Basically I could see jack-shit.

Which is funny because Legate Lanius is the final boss, you can talk him into fighting one-on-one but still - he runs fast, hits hard. I couldn't see anything and I think I got lucky with his shit AI because I was just shooting around and somehow killed him. Also I was probably over prepared - I am a hoarder so I had like 50 stimpacks, 10 Doctor's bags and what not.
On my NCR run I ran out of ammo for my main weapons so I killed him with a pistol... Though it seems pistols aren't that bad.

 In the Independent ending, you get to confront General Oliver and there are many things you can do - just tell him to gtfo, ask Yes Man to throw him off Hoover Dam or kill him yourself. I actually sent him away peacefully but in this certain dialogue tree I chose the first option only because... it was so over the top macho. 

Also because the General is an asshole, you can be nice and just tell him to go, meanwhile he straight up says that if the roles were reversed he'd see the Courier hanged.

I was being the bigger man, though the cutscene of Yes Man hurling Oliver over the dam is hilarious.

That's it! I might post about my other shenanigans soon...

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