September 27, 2011

War Never Changes… Just Our Games.

There are more than a few dif­fer­ences between the Cap­i­tal Waste­land and the Mojave Waste­land. This stems from a dif­fer­ent devel­op­ment team for each game, both of which fall under the Bethes­da Soft­works umbrel­la. Obsid­i­an Enter­tain­ment added some inter­est­ing new ele­ments. Hon­est­ly, I would like to see most of them worked into a Fall­out 3 update/overhaul.
First off, hard­core mode is bril­liant. It adds a lev­el of real­ism, chal­lenge, and com­plete immer­sion that just isn’t there in Fall­out 3. I find that, when I’m play­ing Fall­out 3, I tend to get bored as I progress through the game. With so many inven­to­ry items like ammu­ni­tion, and a few oth­ers being com­plete­ly weight­less, it’s far too easy to be able to afford absolute­ly any­thing your heart desires. It also keeps me aware that I’m play­ing a game at all times, at least on some lev­el. I nev­er have to think of what I might actu­al­ly need in a waste­land sur­vival sce­nario, as I can just afford and car­ry it all. This same immer­sion-proof wall is rein­forced by nev­er need­ing to sleep, eat, or stay hydrat­ed. Com­bat is nev­er fright­en­ing when you can have thou­sands of instant-effect stim­packs ready for spam­ming on your hotkey of choice. For all these rea­sons and more, hard­core mode made me fall in love with Fall­out all over again, and com­plete­ly from scratch. It got me out of my bad hoard­ing habits, and put me in a bare-essen­tials-only sur­vival sim­u­la­tion. The change couldn’t pos­si­bly have been more refresh­ing.
A close sec­ond for me is weapon cus­tomiza­tion. It’s not a very big deal for some play­ing styles, but as an avid fan of the stealthy approach, its absence in Fall­out 3 cer­tain­ly leaves a void. Why would a stealthy char­ac­ter ever pur­sue mas­tery of ener­gy weapons, for instance, if there are no scopes for laser rifles? It also adds a new col­lec­table area to the game. Dur­ing my first play-through of New Vegas, I made a point of try­ing to have one of each cus­tomiz­able weapon on dis­play in my suite—fully upgrad­ed. It was some­thing else to seek out and work towards. Even if the weapon upgrades don’t affect all play­ing styles equal­ly, their col­lec­tabil­i­ty is uni­ver­sal, and increas­es their val­ue for barter.   Those are the two big ones for my list of improve­ments in New Vegas. I will say, how­ev­er, that there was one thing in par­tic­u­lar that I can’t believe was left out of that game from its pre­de­ces­sor: the Vault-Tec Bob­ble Heads. Their ben­e­fits are obvi­ous, and clear­ly bril­liant. Why would Obsid­i­an ever do away with them? Even if they were just try­ing to dif­fer­en­ti­ate and carve out their own niche, I still say with absolute cer­tain­ty that it was a bad move.
Well, as usu­al, let’s hear your side! Any­thing you think I missed? Feel free to leave a com­ment below. Even if I missed one of your favorites, I think we can all agree on hop­ing that we see the best from both games in the next Fall­out install­ment.

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