Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Still Wandering the Wasteland

There is a brief list of reasons why I should probably not have been allowed to buy Fallout: New Vegas.
  1. I am a completeist.  I can leave no quest undone!
  2. See #1.  Even if two quests are diametrically opposed and mutually exclusive (if A is "Go kill B" and B is "Go kill A"), I will probably try my hardest to complete both before I give up and pick one.
  3. I am an explorer.  I can leave no corner of the map uncovered!
  4. I am an adult with a full-time job and a partner.
I am between 45 and 50 hours into the game, somewhere around level 24.  I have recruited all 8 possible companions, completed 20 achievements and a pile of Challenges, and am still only maybe 50% through with what I want to achieve in this game.  I am still playing my first character through and other people have already rolled their evil toon and completed *that* game.  
At this rate it'll be 2012 before I get to play anything else and by then I'll be in Bioshock Infinite.  Which at least will probably go straight start to finish like the first two and leave me off my own just-one-more-location, just-one-more-quest hook.

I'm impressed with a lot of elements of New Vegas, though.  The whole cycle of drugs, prostitution, and gambling in New Vegas is handled with more personality and nuance than I've come to expect from gaming.  RedJenny once asked me what was different playing a female Wanderer in Fallout 3, and of course I had no idea because I've never played a male one.  The same is true so far of New Vegas but given all of the options, and the Perks and such, I suspect it's actually the exact same game for both a male and a female Courier -- including who's available for seduction and so on.

If I ever finish the game I'll write more about it.  And until I do finish it, I'm not going to get to play much else.  Except Uncharted 2, which we started yesterday and I enjoy yelling at. ;)


  1. I'm getting NV for cheap off ebay. Assuming it actually works, what mods do you use? I definitely want to add a playlist expander at the beginning this time instead of the end!

  2. Yeah, I'm pretty indifferent on one v. the other, I just generally switch it up every couple of cards, just like my processors. Let me know when you get closer if you want any input :).

  3. Your diametrically opposed comment (#2) reminds me of the opening bits of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. "But you know, he was trying to pay me to kill you...and you know I never leave a job unfinished."

  4. I think I'm very, very lucky that I somehow missed the completionist aspect of obsessiveness (which I plenty of). There are many angles of games that I obsess over but (and I'm actually constantly surprised that this happens) somehow I just don't care that much about getting 100%, or getting "badges", etc. In fact, sometimes that metric drives me away - I know looking at that huge list of things I'd never have in Starcraft 2 made me less likely to want to play every time I saw it. Or take City of Heroes, which has a huge number of badges... I think you can get over 1000 now - my most accomplished "badge hunter" only has 350 or so.

    The one game I can recall getting really into hitting 100% on was one of the old Castlevanias... the one with the upside down map on top of the basic map? I think it was for the PS2... can't remember the name. Symphony of something maybe.

  5. have you gotten to the train sequence in uncharted 2? that and one other extended sequence a bit later on in the game stand as two of the craziest, most awesome action sequences i've ever watched.

    also, that opening scene is so cool. i love stories that start in medias res, but even the linear and mostly safe tutorial was nerve-wracking.

  6. Shout out! Woooo! I've read a lot of complaints about New Vegas appearing overly buggy and incomplete at release, so I'm glad you're moving through and enjoying it. I'll aim to buy it next winter assuming I have access to something that can play it! I assume I won't be living with M&D and D's computer by then.

    Speaking of which, what would you estimate the total cost of building a decent gaming rig at? Unless something better with better bang/buck is out by the time I have a steady place to live I'd use the Intel Core i5 750 which is $200. Quick estimation is all I'm asking for, you don't have to look up parts or anything. Also, I already have Windows and a monitor.

  7. I'm starting to wonder if that was the inspiration for this game, given how many Western themes it has...

    (I think right now I'm simultaneously working for two factions that both want to kill each other. I suspect it will end with someone trying to shoot me. These things usually do.)

  8. I can live without trophies or achievements, and in NV really they're mostly just a yardstick for what I've been up to. But I have two huge weaknesses: map exploration, and sets of anything. If I'm in a game with, say, armor or weapon sets, if I don't find any pieces that's fine but if I find one piece I then must track down ALL OF THEM.

    There is a game out there that this trait has caused me to put 200+ hours into but now I think I've just given myself inspiration for a later post. ;)

  9. We just left it for tonight in chapter 12... so just under halfway through. That tutorial / opening is nuts. And resulted in conversations like:

    Husband (the one actually with the controller): Is there anything else here that can explode?
    Me: Probably.
    Train: *explodes*
    Husband: Why is everything exploding!
    Me: To try to kill you.
    Husband: Why is everyone trying to k-- oh, yeah. Nathan Drake.

    It's also immensely fun to know what's coming next. Because it's that kind of story. For example, after the mirrors and the huge thing in the temple, and going down there -- while messing with the statue, Husband and I agree that the minute we've finished doing the hard work, the Bad British Man will show up. Because that's what villains do, when the hero is an adventurer. We've alllllll seen that movie...

  10. It was a well-timed question. Made me think. ;)

    New Vegas is buggy as all damn hell. I love the game but last weekend I crashed for two hours straight and today I had to use the console to retrieve an NPC -- one of my companions, who I needed in order to finish a quest, had apparently vanished entirely out of the world. Sigh. Bethesda's bringing patches online fairly quickly but honestly, given that it's exactly the Fallout 3 engine, that already had 3 years worth of patches and DLC, you'd think maybe it could actually, you know, WORK.

    The 6-cores are starting to come out so by the time you build, if it's more than a couple of months out, the quad-cores should be getting cheap. Depending what parts you already have and can Frankenstein, a gaming rig that will play all of the 2010 titles will run basically between $800 and $1300 these days. Obviously you can spend $2500 on parts but it doesn't get you much right now -- that pays off three years later when you aren't upgrading yet.

    The two biggest expenses are the GPU and then the CPU. The 480 was nVidia's flagship card when I built my rig this past spring but they just unveiled the 580 this week... anything in the 400 series should keep you good to go for a while and for future upgrades (I built my machine to be a 7-year-min rig, so I plan a series of small annual-ish upgrades) it should in theory be easy to get a cheap-ish second card and run them in an SLI set-up.

  11. Yeah, don't get me started on the 40+ hour weeks I put in MFing in Diablo 2....


    Sets are indeed also a weakness of mine. Hell, I designed and built characters just to USE the "crap sets" that everyone thought were lame.

  12. I've heard lots of good things about this game - is it the kind of game a non gamer can/might enjoy? I've been trying to find something else to play with the wife for years (she played City of Heroes with me a little back when it started, but mostly just for designing the costumes).

  13. I just upgraded for <$600. Given I had a case, vid card (ATI 5750 I think) and PSU already...
    Athlon 6 core 3.0: on sale for $175ish
    mob: $100
    ram: $75?
    OS: $100
    HD: $50

    ...then I got myself a 25.5 inch LCD for my birthday :). I love the 6 core proc, just love it. Maybe the intels hit harder but there's just something uber geeky about having 6 cores.

    I'll throw together a list if you want some part recommendations. It sounds like K may favor the Nvidia cards - my last 3 cards were Nvidia so I decided to switch it up for the hell of it this time and went with an ATI. So far I've been very please (plus Nvidia seems to have some issues with City of Heroes right now soooo....).

    [edit: My last rig lasted 4 years (and never actually stopped, I use it for my main house server & as my 3rd box when I 3box), so I expect this one to last about that long.]

  14. That's basically "Fistful of dollars" right there . . . to be fair though it'd be hard to think of a Western style anything that didn't owe the Man With No Name series massive debts. That'd be like a music video that didn't take inspiration from Madonna.

  15. It's, like, a smart-ass modern Indiana Jones whose sidekicks are J Jonah Jameson and a cute girl with a realistic body who doesn't suck as a character. Some of the gameplay itself is tricky (stuff I'm not good at) but I've enjoyed being the sidekick while I make husband do the actual controller work. Also I'm a really good spotter (for ammo, snipers, treasures, possible routes out of a room, etc) so when he's all flailing because there's too much going on at once, I've actually been in a position to be for really helpful, rather than just a pure smartass.

  16. Yeah, I've had some bad experiences with ATI so I tend to steer clear. I'm sure their desktop cards are fine but ATI drivers completely cannibalized my last laptop and rendered Windows pretty much useless on a regular basis. (Basically, the ATI driver would inexplicably clone itself infinitely, until 20 instances of it were sucking up all the RAM and HDD resources and I couldn't even get enough free juice to run task manager and shut them down. And it was a design flaw -- newer drivers, updated software, etc never helped.)

  17. it's also pretty fun to watch, because it has a very cinematic feel. the dialogue and character chemistry, in particular, is leaps beyond what you see in most games (though still, of course, action-movie fare).

  18. Right now I'd probably get the Core i5 750 which is $200 EVGA GeForce GTS450 SuperClocked 1 GB GDDR5 for $120.

  19. Wow. That is nuts! No issues for me at all, luckily. Both my workstation & my laptop with NV drivers still have graphics issues/crashes with my main game (CoH), which was part of the reason for me trying ATI again. But yeah, like with the Intel/AMD thing I don't really swing one way or the other - other than whatever is a better shiny at a particular moment in time. I guess I'm bi-processoral.

  20. *nod* Those are pretty much the core parts I've been recommending to a friend who's working on her first home-made PC. All prices being equal I recommend EVGA for the parts they make (GPU, mobo) because their customer service is easy to deal with (time-zone and language wise).

  21. Thanks Andy! I'm not actually building in the immediate future, playing on my dad's desktop until I move out. So I don't really need specifics yet but I'm always up for tips. And I've found Nvidia to be a lot more reliable on the software side of things so unless there's a really compelling bang/buck reason to go ATI I prefer Nvidia.

  22. Addendum: That train is effing awesome.

    Also, they do a really good job putting Drake in the player's shoes -- making him the audience, as it were. At least six times in a row tonight, I'd say something aloud and Drake would echo it not two seconds later. (i.e., Me: "Helicopters are never good. They are bad. I hate helicopters." Drake: "Oh shit, I hate helicopters" etc.)

  23. the train sequence and the sequence in chapter 20 (no spoiler) are so damn good as action set pieces. seriously, just wait until the next one gets there--i had at least two moments in it where i leaped off the couch and shouted "HOLY SHIIIT", because it was so intense and engaging.

    i also think the reason drake works so well as a protagonist is because of how at the edge of his abilities he seems. objectively, he does things that are utterly inconceivable for an actual person to accomplish, but it never feels that way because he looks like he's trying so hard.

    and then, of course, there is the easygoing chatter he and his companions keep up. i love chloe in particular--she's a perfect foil for drake.

  24. We just left it for tonight at the intro to the Monastery, so I know exactly what you mean. I was commenting while we played that the level design was really well done. Completely engaging -- they managed to make you actually feel like you're in an action movie. Some great stuff!

  25. Even if two quests are diametrically opposed and mutually exclusive (if A is "Go kill B" and B is "Go kill A")

    I did that! I helped Desmond destroy Calvert's brain, then I gunned down Desmond. Ahhhhhh . . .