Fallout: A newborn Vault baby

(This is part of my journey playing through Fallout.  You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

fall1You voted — and now my next journey is back into the post-apocalyptic landscape.  Instead of the basics of Wasteland, we’re going to jump forward ten years or so to that game’s spiritual successor.  Fallout was and still is an incredible classic in the RPG arena and a great example of a series that kind of kept getting better as it went along.

By the time I was aware that Fallout was a thing, Fallout 2 was already out and became my game of choice.  So I basically leapfrogged right over the first installment and have only been back on occasion to sample the fruits of the Vault Dweller.  I think my enthusiasm for doing so has been dampened by the time limit that exists in the early game (I hate being under the gun like that, although I hear it’s not that big of a problem).  So I’m glad y’all encouraged me to dig this out and give it a genuine go.

Say it with me, folks:

WAR.

WAR NEVER CHANGES.

fall2So one of my gaming resolutions for this coming year is to get out of my comfort zone — particularly in RPGs — and start trying new and different things.  Therefore, with Fallout I’m not going to be rolling my standard safe character.  I’m going to go a little nuts here.

fall3So here’s our hero of the hour: Betty, a 35-year-old guy who (at least in my mind) has a dented skull but plenty of muscles to make up for it.  I did a major trade-off by jacking down his luck and intelligence to disastrous proportions while boosting his agility, endurance, and strength to compensate.  Think of a dim-witted strongman and there you go.  The bruiser and gifted traits helped to boost his stats further (lookit that strength at 13!) and I picked melee weapons, first aid, and lockpick for his tag skills.  Betty really isn’t going to be winning any science fairs, but he should be big and tough enough to brute-force his way through the wasteland.

Actually, the screenshot up there isn’t accurate — apparently you can’t start with a stat over 10.  So I took a few points off of strength and gave it to luck.  Guess it’s Betty’s lucky day after all.

fall4Gotta say, the opening cinematic and then the post-character creation cutscene both gave me the chills.  Even though the CGI is not quite up to 2013 standards, it’s actually not that bad.  A big talking head — Vault 13’s overseer, I’m guessing — tells me that the vault’s water purification chip is on the fritz and they have about 150 days left before… well, I guess before they’re all forced to the surface.  Maybe they should start doing that now?  Just in case?  The guy tells me that I’m the vault’s best chance of survival, which is laughable considering my 40 IQ.

Quick as a bunny, I’m outside of the vault and wondering if this is an elaborate prank on behalf of my friends.  “Guys?  Not funny!  Lemme back in!  Please!”

fall5Man, I am so in love with Fallout’s aesthetic.  The retro-futuristic look just works for this game in a great way, suggesting that this is some sort of parallel Earth’s future and not our own.  Pip-Boy and Fallout Boy are great icons of the series, and how about that isometric look?  Beeeautiful!  OK, a little grainy, but still beeeeautiful.

At least the game doesn’t fall into that trope of the villagers saying that I’m their last, best hope and then kicking me out to save the world with just the clothes on my back.  I actually have a good starting inventory, with a pistol, lockpick, medical stims, and ammo.  But it’s the knife that interests me the most.  Betty likes knives.  Betty can do art with knives.

The last guy to fall for this water purification chip scam is lyying nearby with a severe case of anorexia.  I take his ammo and knife and then desecrate his corpse.  Just to be sure.

fall6With a knife in the hand and a song in my heart, what else is there to do than to (drum roll please) kill ten rats?  Yup, that hoary old RPG trope is alive and kicking from the start in Fallout, as the introductary cave is full of easy-to-kill mutant rats.  Hey, I don’t feel bad doing them in; I got a half-level from this fun.

After playing Wasteland a few weeks ago, the huge leap to Fallout’s looks and gameplay is a wonderful relief.  The turn-based combat’s pretty simple to master and I’m greatly enjoying the simple act of walking around and stabbing rodents.  As I should be.  As I should be.

Enough of this — it’s time to head out into the world, Vault Baby!

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