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Old 06-25-2007, 10:27 AM   #1
joshkdmw
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[EDITORIAL] - Fallout 2: an Outsider's Perspective

Fallout 2. To most gamers, the very name brings up fond memories of late nights at the computer, eagerly plugging along in search of the GECK.

Many gamers played this when it was new, and many when it was old. It is a fixture in the world of gaming. One of the few games that has proven its mettle with countless audiences, and has strayed into the realm of legend. Almost any gamer you meet will have played - and loved - it.

I am not one of them. Until today, anyways.

The entire Fallout franchise simply passed me by. When I was young, and it was released, I had not heard of it. When I was a few years older, I didn't have regular access to a computer. When I was a few years older than THAT, I had a Macintosh. As a result, I never really looked too deeply into gaming
on a Mac. I basically knew that Blizzard had all their games on it, and that was more or less it. The one, brief experience I had with Fallout was when I once played Fallout 2 for about ten minutes. I was playing on a very bad computer, and so gameplay was very slow. I quit the game because I didn't understand the combat system - It was turn-based, but the game's appearance led me to believe it had a control scheme similar to the Baldur's Gate series. As a result, my knowledge of fallout was only that which I had heard in frantic whispering among die-hard fans of the series.

Whenever a discussion about Fallout would arise, I never had anything to contribute. And for the most part, it never bothered me. As the years have progressed, however, this simple "Game" has become less so, and more an item in gaming pop culture. It began to irk me that there was a beautiful, immutable experience - shared by many of my brethren - that I could not be a part of.

The upcoming advent of The third installment of the series has only made things worse. Existing fans in the series were whipped into a fervor about it. I saw the trailer - and it inspired no excitement from me. All it was was a broken radio playing a classic song. I was unaware of the series' penchant for using such scenes in the opening. Everyone seemed so excited about the game, and as more details were uncovered, comparison with past iterations of the series inevitably came up. It was by casually observing one of these that I discovered that Fallout 2 was turn-based.

This immediately caught my attention, as I hold a special place in my heart for turn-based games. Over the past few weeks, my interest with the game became increasingly apparent - even bordering on obsession. I use Macbook for my only computer, and thusly assumed that the world of Fallout would forever be closed to me. Yet, on a whim, I decided to google the term "Fallout 2 for Mac", hoping for a hacked version, a patch to make it run on macs, ANYTHING. But I was far luckier.

The game is available on the Mac. Apparently it has been for nearly five years. You would think I would be angry that I didn't know, but I was far too consumed by joy to feel anger.

As of today, the game has been installed on my MacBook. My aim, dear friends, it to give you my impressions of Fallout - from the perspective of an outsider.

And so our tale begins:

==================

Upon initial startup, I am delighted to catch the sounds of Louis Armstrong on my ear. The cinematic isn't exactly eye-popping, but what it lacks in technical impressiveness, it makes up for in piles of style.

Now we get to character creation. As I have played Baldur's gate, as well as Dungeons and Dragons, it is not puzzling in the slightest. I make a character that focuses on strength and charisma. I name him 'Ernst'. So far, the game is good.

The initial quest. Again, the graphics aren't overly impressive, but the game is quite old, after all. I'm not expecting the graphics to wow me. However the controls for moving are quite excellent, and the Graphical Interface is very well done - which is to say, simple. The controls for battle are also simple, and don't take much time to learn. I make my way through the temple, and get to the person at the end. Here is where things get interesting, for me. I talk him into not making me fight him. And I get a shitload of experience for doing so. This is such a rewarding experience, it almost makes me feel the presence of some higher being. This game is clearly going to be interesting.

========================
Day 2
===============
I thought of the game often today. In a lull at work, I pondered much at the nature of this magical experience I have tapped into. I can see why it's so popular. It is becoming very obvious why the game is so popular. I do not immediately start the game when returning home, but dither for about fifteen minutes. I then boot up the game. A small smirk crosses my face as the chorus tells me to 'Duck and cover'. It is time to play once again.
===============
In the village of Arroyo, with 13 Jersey in tow. I speak with many villagers, many of which have the same speech. I am delighted to find that speaking with certain people can raise some of my skills. As I focus on Melee, I take up the men on their respective offers to train me in unarmed combat and the spear. Better skills with no work? Yes, and YES. Upon conversing with my aunt, I discover she is not exactly inclined towards liking me. In compensation, I decide to steal from her. I have 15% in the steal skill, so I am successful. I take the flint from her. Why the hell not? She is being quite rude, and I can probably use the flint to start a fire later on.
===================
I approach the last Arroyan tents before the bridge. I come across a fellow whose spear is better than mine. Apparently, he says if I bring him a flint, he can make my spear better. Suddenly, my prior actions seem entirely worth the bad Karma, as I now have a bitchin' spear. I ponder at my seemingly random choice to rob my kin. This had an immediate effect. A random choice. But what further effects could this have? This game seems very far-reaching. It would not surprise me if I ran into this aunt again. I am slightly nervous, but what's done is done. Also, I'm pretty sure my new spear could make short work of my aunt. I press onward.
===============
Upon arrival in the first town, I find myself pleasantly surprised. The detail for the town is actually not bad at all. The broken flagstones, the warped street signs. The...cow fence!? Why are there cows in the city? Of course, I quickly reason that in a post-apocalyptic world, they would want to keep food close by. And, oh. The cows have two heads. Hmm. Well, radiation could do that. Still, the extra attention to detail is obviously apparent. I see a man, claiming himself to be an 'official greeter'. I give him five dollars, and manage to get some useful information. I wonder if I could have just shaken him down for the information. I consider it a lost opportunity. I come across an obviously very stupid man, asking me to help defend the cows. Why not? I could use some XP, and I want to build up some goodwill in the town. After that, I go in search of a woman named 'Jenny'. Upon inspection of a bathhouse, I find a way to get in contact with her. As soon as the proprietor mentions 'Bath attendants' and 'Special services', I know what's up. I'm hip to their game. After about five minutes, I make the agonizing decision to pay $125 to get a 'bath' from Jenny. I wince at the money lost, but I figure I have a couple antidotes and some healing powder. I'll take the risk. She tells me where Vic's house is. Upon arrival at the house, I see the sign with his name on it. If a smart person had thoroughly explored the town before spending all his money, he would have seen it. I search the house, and find a treasure trove. Abntidotes, healing powders, a relic of Vault 13, but most importantly, A rifle. I ponder for a moment about stealing this man's gun. But as I have no money, the chances of me being able to buy one are slim. I decide to take the gun, and everything else as well. In for a penny, in for a pound. Yet I am fearful. What if Vic gets angry with me, and decides not to help me? Well, what's done is done. I leave the house, heavy-hearted, and full of doubt, as well as excitement at finally having a gun.
========================
Day 3
No update today - long day at work, and didn't play.
========================
Day 4
========================

The thought that I didn't play yesterday seemed perfectly justified at the time, but I found myself reprimanding myself for it several times. The thoughts that passed through my head at what must be happening in the game haunted me in the lulls at work. I wonder briefly if it is possible to get a version of Fallout running on my Treo.

I find myself thinking of my character, and what I want him to be. I want him to be kind, and strong. A true leader and saviour that the world of Fallout so desperately needs. I re-enact all the scenes from days one and two in my head, at times wondering what I would have said or done were I actually in my character's corporeal body.

Though it is only day 4, I find myself feeling warm and safe wen I hear the voices say "Duck....and cover!" upon opening the game. It feels like an old friend who has come by to say hello, or the feeling one gets when pulling the covers over themselves, while the rain beats on the pane and they are safe and warm inside. Upon the startup, my day no longer exists. The time between my last login and this one has been reduced to hazy memories, half-lived, or perhaps imagined. I am in the world of Fallout now, and I am glad to be there.

The game begins.

=======================
Today was the day I died. Not once. Not twice. Thrice.

The first time, I was foolish enough to attack a robot. Unfortunately, my aim with a gun is not stellar, and despite my newly acquired pipe rifle, I was not able to slay the mechanical monstrosity. The second was in the toxic caves against two golden Geckos. They are deceivingly hard to beat. The third was against A gang of spitter plants, which I came across in a random encounter. I slew three of the beasts before the remaining four took me down.
=================
I gathered information in the village, mostly. I used the barter system for the first time, and accidentally gave away fifty dollars. I won't be doing that again.
=================
The pipe rifle is not as awesome as I had hoped. Apparently, I have to reload it after every shot. I believe I will wait on using firearms until I get a semi-automatic weapon. The spear serves me just as well, for now.
=================
The innkeeper's daughter talks down to me, as I am a "Tribal". I took the high road, and made no mean or sarcastic remarks towards her. I learned from her mother that a Trapper may be in need of an assistance. It was then that I came across the aforementioned Golden Geckos.

I reloaded.

I explored the village, and came across the Robot, as mentioned above.

I reloaded.

I wandered the world map, running into three random encounters. The first was a hermit, who traded Healing powder to me at half it's value. Good deal! he second was more plot-heavy. I stumbled across a group of mechanical men, talking to three humans. The humans seemed to be withholding some sort of information. The result was a swift death - by hail of bullets. The mechanical men advised me to move on, and keeping in mind my level and inventory, hastily agreed with them. The third encounter was with the spore plants, as mentioned above.

I reloaded. But only to get my character info, as requested, and put it up.
=================
Speaking of which:

Character name: Ernst
Gender: Male
Age:18

Attributes:
ST-09
PE-06
EN-08
CH-07
IN-05
AG-07
LK-05

To get these stats, I loaded up one of the pre-made characters (Narg) and diddled with the stats and skills.

Special abilities:

Gifted
-Excellent benefits, too good to pass up.
Fast Metabolism
- I like to fight, so a fast healing rate is always good.

Skills Tagged:

Small guns
-I did this one mainly with pistols in mind. I can't wait to get a pistol.
Melee weapons

-One of the most practical skills on most given games, and as I want to fight a fair bit, seemed appropriate.

Speech
-Helpful for interacting with humans, and apparently lowers barter rates.
=================
I made this character with the following in mind: Any Humans or Humanoid creatures I come across, I want to be able to befriend. Any monsters, I plan to more or less kill without hesitation. This is why I tagged speech, and sacrificed some perception and intelligence to boost my Charisma. I feel I have a good character for my intended playing style - though my amount of consecutive deaths would suggest otherwise.
=================

Day 5

=================

Today was a half-day at work, so I thought a longer session of Fallout would be in order. Up until this point, the sessions have typically been an hour to an hour and a half long. Tonight, I started playing at 12:30 AM, and am writing this at 3:23 AM. A lot of progression was made today, both in quests as well as character capability.

It's easy to see how people could lose track of many hours playing this game.

I loaded up the game. Duck...and cover!

============
Upon starting the game today, I realized one contributing factor to why i kept dying - mainly, I had no armor. The shopkeeper at the Golden Gecko had a leather jacket for just over $500. I sold my rifle, as well as a few other items and got the jacket. The difference it has made is phenomenal. I no longer had an issue with the spitter plants - provided I play the tactics right. Realizing they can't move, I would approach them one at a time from the outside of the ring, where only one or two could hit me with their missile seeds. As I had the jacket, they only did 1 or 2 damage. The, I levelled up!
============
My level three skill points were invested entirely into melee combat. I was tired of constantly missing. The investment has been well worthwhile. I had some difficulty choosing my third level perk. I was torn between Kama Sutra (for the sheer coolness factor), Quick Learner (extra XP is always good) and Here and Now. I ended up needing that little bit of extra gratification, and so chose Here and now. I stand by my choice.
============
Also, I was lucky enough to stumble across a very valuable magazine. I talked the shopkeeper at the golden Gecko into lowering the price, and my dream of having a pistol is finally realized. Only problem is, Ican;t shot too well. Regardless, I am capable of ranged combat.
============
What with my buffed up melee skills, Fancy new Pistol, and Jacket, I decided it was time to save Smiley from the Golden Gecko cave. I was able to fight past them without too much difficulty - but I was steadily losing HP. I just had to try and press on. But I needed a quick way to switch active items. I was sure there would be a hotkey - and I proceeded to press almost all the keys no the keyboard and find out their purpose. It was then that I stumbled across the rest function. Say what!? Up until now, I only thought I could rest at an Inn, or over time. I was ecstatic. I rested, and pressed through more Golden Geckos. Now, the Toxic caves have a certain amount of toxic waste you must wade through, which does 2 damage. The total amount of damage inflicted when going the shortest route possible is 56. My total HP at the time? 58. Lord, It was nerve-racking, and so relieving when I got through. When I grabbed smiley, I tried to get the elevator working, but I have invested no skills in repair or science and so quickly gave up on that. I left the caves with Smiley in tow.
==============
When returnign to the Inn, I asked for some recompense for helping Smiley. I asked them to release Sulik from his debts. He is now a valued party member, and pretty handy with a hammer. I will enjoy questing with him. After a battle with some giant Scorpions, I gained another level. This time I focussed all my skill points into small guns. I have only tagged three skills in the game so far, and here they are, as most recently taken from the character:

Small guns: 89%
Melee weapons: 106%
Speech: 55%

This has helped immensely in combat. So much so that next level, I intend to put all my skill points into Speech - and hopefully unlock more talk.
===========
While talking with Whiskey Bob, he referenced Star Wars:

"Not 'A den', 'THE' Den'. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."

The people who made this game weren't just executives or programmers. They were people like the rest of us. I guess a lot of games have this factoring into the development. But with this little quote, I was able to see a bit of their personality. I could hear them say: "We love star wars, and we want you to know it." The reference didn't take me out of the game, it only made me more interested in what it had to offer.

The game continues to get more interesting every day.
===========

There. Day 5. I will not be updating this article until This coming Monday, as I am out of town for the weekend, and unable to access my computer.
==============

Last edited by joshkdmw; 06-29-2007 at 02:53 AM..
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Old 06-25-2007, 10:30 AM   #2
Vyzov
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I really should get around to playing the fallout series one of these days...
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Old 06-25-2007, 10:48 AM   #3
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Interesting news submission. Necessity or newsworthiness aside, still interesting in the context of all the Fallout 3 hubbub.
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Old 06-25-2007, 10:51 AM   #4
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I figured it might help to stir up folks' appetite for Fallout 3. And, to be fair, comic reviews regularly make the news.
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Old 06-25-2007, 10:55 AM   #5
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I really wish I could try the Fallout games. I loaded up one of the games a couple months ago, and while I don't usually consider myself a graphics whore, I just couldn't take looking at it. Not sure why, as I've enjoyed some time with Planescape recently and that didn't bug me too much.
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Old 06-25-2007, 10:57 AM   #6
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This is making me want to pop in Fallout 2 and finally finish the game...
I've finished the first Fallout a couple of times, but somehow got sidetracked every time I played Fallout 2. Very similar to what keeps happening when I play Baldur's Gate 2.

Apparently, I am unable to finish Black Isle sequels.

Anyway, enjoy the game! And watch out for Sulik, he can be a nasty one with an SMG.
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Old 06-25-2007, 11:00 AM   #7
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Goronmon: I know, it's not much compared to usual fare. Just try and get through the first temple (not long, twenty minutes, maybe). If you still don't like it after that, you probably won't at all.

das_uberwaffen: Sulik, you say? I shall be sure to try and befriend him.

Please, everyone - No spoilers! It's my first time, so be gentle.
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Old 06-25-2007, 11:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by das_uberwaffen
This is making me want to pop in Fallout 2 and finally finish the game...
I've finished the first Fallout a couple of times, but somehow got sidetracked every time I played Fallout 2.
I think I should make this my summer goal too. I've started Fallout 2 over countless times but I always get sucked into side-quests and inevitably play less and less everyday until I finally stop and am forced to restart when someone starts a thread like this.
It's weird to think there are still gamers out there who have never experienced Fallout. It's also sad to think there are gamers out there who will not know the wonders of Fallout because the graphics aren't cutting edge.

Good luck with your play through Josh. Remember you promised to take breaks to give us updates!!
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Old 06-25-2007, 11:13 AM   #9
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wierd, i finished Fallout 1 for the first time yesterday and started Fallout 2 today too!

I find No.2 a lot more cohesive, i'm getting lost less and i actually have a vague sense of direction. The world is slightly more detailed and interesting compared to the first and so far the quests have been a damn sight more interesting. Really liking it so far, despite the fact that huge rats keep ripping me apart. That's an obstacle i'm hoping many fallout veterans have experienced before...
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Old 06-25-2007, 11:15 AM   #10
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Great impressions. Ironically, I just installed Fallout 2 (again) the other day and have started through once more. This is the kind of game you can play over and over and have almost a completely different play through every time.
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Old 06-25-2007, 11:20 AM   #11
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I just don't see myself paying $30 to try out such an old game. I always miss it when GoGamer has it for cheap.
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Old 06-25-2007, 11:21 AM   #12
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I envy you sorta - while I've played through fallout2 w/ about 6 times, I miss the experience of playing such a wonderful turn-based RPG without predisposition.

Enjoy - soon you may join the masses who believe that F2 may have been one of the best games ever.
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Old 06-25-2007, 11:29 AM   #13
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I preferred the first on better. Two is more fleshed out, but lacks focus... And has a less compelling narrative. Both endgames are kind of weak. Enjoy. It's fun.
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Old 06-25-2007, 11:32 AM   #14
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Ive beaten the first game like 5 times and ive beaten the second game like 5 times and ive beaten tatics probally 9 times.
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Old 06-25-2007, 11:36 AM   #15
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Are they keeping the new game turn-based or are they going to real-time?
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Old 06-25-2007, 11:38 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshkdmw
Upon initial startup, I am delighted to catch the sounds of Louis Armstrong on my ear. The cinematic isn't exactly eye-popping, but what it lacks in technical impressiveness, it makes up for in piles of style.
10 years ago, when these games were first released, they had some of the most stunning CG cutscenes I had seen in a game. Just to provide you some context.

Congrats on joining the club. I have a feeling you'll enjoy it. These games really do still hold up from a gameplay perspective. I just finished replaying the first game a month or so ago and it's still fantastic. Started a playthrough of Fallout 2, but my Vista install crashed before I could finish it.
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Old 06-25-2007, 11:38 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telefrog
Are they keeping the new game turn-based or are they going to real-time?
It sounds like an interesting mix of the two... With the option of real time for easy battles and pausing with called shots when things get rough.
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Old 06-25-2007, 11:38 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telefrog
Are they keeping the new game turn-based or are they going to real-time?
They're going with a hybrid type system. You can pause the action and plan out your moves, but when you run out of action points, you can drop into real time combat while your APs regenerate.
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Old 06-25-2007, 11:55 AM   #19
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I never thought in a million years I'd be happy with a first-person perspective Fallout, but the screens in game informer made me a believer, and now I don't thnk I'll even use the third person view. Walking around in such detailed environments just screams for a first-person immersive view, and suddenly I'm glad that's the route they went. I think the VATS system could be a brilliant blend of tactical/visceral combat as well, and I can't wait until I've armed my first character with a plasma rifle. And a perk every other level? Sweet!

EDIT: I also recently tried to run Fallout 2 on my PC but it just crashed all the time. I think I was running XP then, about 2 months ago, and I'm running Vista now. Maybe I'll try to run it on my laptop.

Also, for anyone who thinks the graphics aren't nice, I think if you could somehow play in a window you'd be MUCH happier with them. Playing 800x600 on a 21" monitor (or something) is really NOT very nice. I played Diablo II in a window, by comparrison, and that game looks REALLY nice in a window. The problem is, there is no real way to play Fallout 2 in a window, as near as I could tell.
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Old 06-25-2007, 12:06 PM   #20
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Fallout was simply amazing...and I still think about the story and characters all these years later. An absolute CLASSIC.
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