Friday, June 17, 2011

Hardcore Plundering

So, I finished Fallout: New Vegas last night.

"Finished" in that I made it all the way through the main plot line. Still a number of places I want to explore, and definitely a number of other factions I want to align with, if only in future games. For my first play through, I did it entirely in hardcore.

Hardcore means a couple of things:
Ammunition has weight
you have to watch your hunger, thirst and sleep deprivation
it's harder to heal damage to your limbs
You get a reward at the very end for playing it through strictly this way.

I have strong views on looting. When I first got my hands on Fallout III I swore that I'd loot every single bent tin can in the wasteland. While I didn't meet that objective, I did loot a lot. Quite a lot. That should come as no surprise. But seeing as I've already stated objections to the sort of game that puts too many restrictions on looting, why did I willingly play the game in such a way that I'd be restricting my looting potential? Again, as I tend to object to upkeep in games, why did I play the game with the food/water requirements. Just last post I was complaining about having to refuel spaceships, how is this any different?

The first thing, and why I started playing the game in this manner is that I've got something to prove. I've been obsessed with the Fallout franchise for years. In high school I recall having friends call me up for help on difficult parts of Fallout II. I helped them, even quoting back dialogue options from memory. My brother started playing the game again recently, and sure enough I get a ring "How do you get on to the Westin Ranch?" (you bring proof to First Citizen Lynette of Vault City that the raiders were hired by Bishop, who is in turn acting at the behest of NCR. She sends a message to Westin, which gets you on the ranch.) I'm a pretty hardcore fan of the series, and sometimes you need to show it, by being more hardcore than the game.

Also, when I first heard about the hardcore option in New Vegas, the guy writing the article said that clearly ammo requirements would mean less looting. Sometimes you just gotta prove that guy wrong.

The other thing to note is, the requirements really weren't as onerous as perhaps I would have assumed. In the original Fallout games, ammo had weight. Weightless ammo was really nice when Bethesda introduced it, but I can get along without it. Also, the ammo doesn't weigh much even so. Flamer fuel in the original games weighed two pounds per unit, where in New Vegas it doesn't weigh much at all. Rockets in the previous games were three pounds per, where in this game it's only one and a half. Now, the fact that it weighed something meant I was constantly selling it off, and stashing excess micro fusion cells somewhere I could retrieve them. This leads to some problems, where I'm ambushed by folks in power armor and don't have any energy cells to arm my pulse rifle, but as it turns out plasma bolts to the face still work.

The game still had any number of things which didn't have weight, currency notably. By the end I was carting around 60,000+ bottle caps, two fifty stimpacks and forty super stimpacks, which didn't slow me down one iota. Not that great on the realism, but plenty good for the fun aspects.

The food and drink requirements weren't so onerous precisely because they dovetailed with the looting so well. In this game they scattered various plants across the wasteland which provide fruit or some such that gives you food and water. I loot them because hey, free stuff, I eat them because they have weight and drag me down, and they provide me with a benefit, keeping the starvation at bay. I often carried around Brahmin or Bighorn steaks because of the temporary +1 STR bonus.

Even so, for my next playthrough I'm not playing it hardcore. I did it, I proved that I can, and now I can get back to looting unimpaired. Besides, that bonus wasn't all that thrilling. I got to see the wacky credits.

Heh. Push the button, Frank.

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