My wife got me Fallout: New Vegas shortly after it released as a gift, and I played the hell out of that game. I put over 100 hours into it, and that was before any of the DLC’s.
PS: Though its over 2 years old by now, spoilers, right?
Its a glitchy, freezy, buggy game, and if I was any other person, I’d have probably tossed it out the window by now, but I powered through it. Westside is the largest problem, in that it often slows to a crawl, if it doesn’t just outright freeze up. I’ve also encountered animals in rocks, invisible enemies, and infinite gaps in the world. But, for all its flaws, I still love the game.
I had finished playing Fallout 3 some time before I picked up New Vegas, so I wanted something a little different: I turned on Hardcore mode. This unlocks a specific set of variables that makes the game decidedly different. I won’t go so far as to say that the game is harder: Food and Water is plentiful, sleep is rarely needed, and ammo does not weigh all to much; but the game definitely feels more desperate. There are popups warning about your hunger level, hydration and sleep, as well as the typical HP and Rad awareness. The biggest change, though, is the weight of the ammo. in Fallout 3 there was no need to wonder whether or not you’d use a specific ammo type, and it was light as a feather. Hardcore changes that, especially with the heavier weapons like missiles and grenade launchers.
And my new friend, the Anti-Material Rifle.
From the very beginning I wanted to play a sniper. I grabbed what rifles I could and made a go of it until I found myself an Anti-material rifle. And man does that thing roar. Sadly, I didn’t think I’d need strength as a sniper, but it turns out the the AM rifle is heavy, so for the longest time, I just dealt with a swaying set of cross hairs. It sucked, but it did make me good at timing those head shots!
I spent a ton of time and even beat the game with the sniper build, clearing every location (making sure by taking Explorer), getting very used to the way the game works. I took Boone and ED-E to up the sniper-quotient. Boone Marks out enemies in a red color, and ED-E allows me to see extremely far, upping my perception. Adding gear to increase my perception, and going to visit Dr. Usanagi to increase both Perception and Strength made it so that I was a nightmare to all the walked the wasteland. I could, and did, one-shot Deathclaws with head shots. It was glorious!
I tackled Dead Money and Honest Hearts when the game came out, but the wait I had for Old World Blues and Lonesome Road were to long, and they fell off my radar. However, a friend mentioned playing New Vegas recently, and it kindled my interest again. I picked up the game, and downloaded what I thought was the next DLC: Lonesome Road (I was wrong, and damn it, that makes me angry). I Immediately went north, Rifle in hand, and entered the Divide (I assumed it was the Grand Canyon. Maybe not?)
The divide and all it offers is a blast. I’m not going to do a walk through, though I am tempted by my predilection to do so. Instead, I am going to try to just give impressions and thoughts. Its a very cool place. The environs of a blown out canyon are cool, though they offer little in terms of a different feel. The main enemies are irradiated, trapped and insane Marked Men, who are both former Legion and NCR members. They are tough as nails, and have a pair of very aggravating traits: They tend to wear helmets, making getting head shots much more difficult, and they have the Rad Child perk, regenerating health in a land full of regeneration. If I don’t kill them right out with a head shot, its very likely that they will come and try to cave my brain in with Thermic Lances, Blades of the West and other very gruesome means.
Many times you have to explode undetonated nuclear weapons in order to get through to the next place. I’m not really sure how that works, though, as the explosion radius seems not to be to large. Maybe they are just small nukes.
Anyway, the whole time you’re chasing down Ulysses, another Courier, who is using a modified ED-E robot you found in order to communicate with you. He leads you through ruins and tunnels and back out again to where he’s planned to launch a nuke over to the NCR’s lifeline to the Mojave. From there, you can choose who to nuke, once you remove Ulysses as a threat.
Honestly, there isn’t much new, but there is a ton of content. 25 new locations filled with Marked Man and the other new bad guy: Tunnelers. These tunnelers are one of the things that really left me aching to find a secondary weapon to my AM rifle. Tunnelers, well, tunnel, and you can’t target them below the ground. They pop up close to you and do some serious damage, especially for one used to wearing light armor and crouching. Most often they would 2 or 3 shot me and I wouldn’t have time to get more than a single shot out. Add on the fact that they’ll actively swarm you with clusters of 2-3 of them, and you’ve just got a recipe for dead sniper.
Thankfully, one of the first Marked Men I killed had a Plasma Defender on him. I love energy weapons, so I figured I’d give it a shot. I’d been working up my Energy weapons, so it seemed a good fit. Thankfully, it did everything I wanted. With the extremely fast rate of fire and the low AP usage in V.A.T.S, I was able to pretty regularly overcome the Tunnelers I did face.
The hardest part of the whole mission, though, was completely optional. You end up sending a nuke to land just outside of Hopeville, the first area. If you go back there, it ends up being overrun with Irradiated Deathclaws that are extremely aware of their surroundings and are overly durable to anything but a AM rifle round to the head. While I enjoyed clearing the area, it was a brutal slogfest that didn’t end up giving me a whole lot more than I’d started out with.
In the specific instance of the Irradiated Deathclaws, being a sniper was a significant disadvantage. However, most often, the habits of wandering around in crouch mode as well as having a sniper rifle at the ready most times made the Marked Men and many of the normal Deathclaws trivial. In one spectacular instance, I exit into the wasteland from the top of a building. Thanks to my perception being so high and ED-E’s help, I can see there are enemies all around. Because I am at the top of the building, I have height advantage on every one of them. Though it took me almost an hour real time, I cleared every one of them out without needing to leave the roof of the building. It was glorious!
When I get to the end of the DLC, I wanted to see what the discussion would be with Ulysses, even though I was positive I wouldn’t save it. The discussion is interesting, but wasn’t anything I could live without. So the end battle was, as many of my battles, anti-climatic. I reloaded and then shot Ulysses twice in the back of the head from very far away, and then dealt with the many, man Marked Men that come to his aid. It took me a few tries, though. Ulysses is extremely hard to kill if you don’t drop a shell into his Noggin at least once. You a neat weapon from it, Old Glory, an old eagle-headed flagpole, and his duster and mask, which both are pretty good. You also can open up new areas on the map depending on who you nuke, and the legion camp I bombed was pretty neat.
I enjoyed the experience Thoroughly, and I look forward to playing Old World Blues. Makes me happy they are doing Fallout: Boston. At least that’s what the rumors are!