High life in the big crater

It’s embarrassing enough that my blogging mojo has been thrown out of sync because I’ve been playing a stupid computer game. To make matters worse, now I’m going to write a blog post about the bloody thing.

Well, it’s sort of on-topic, right? I mean, it IS a game. And there are definitely a lot of war-like aspects to the thing. So. Party on.

My character, Max (which is the name of every character I’ve had in every one of the Fallout games), lives in one of the little outposts of humanity scattered around the Capital Wasteland. His particular outpost is the first town typically encountered in the game, Megaton – so named because it’s built around the crater left by an unexploded nuclear bomb.

Max lives in a rough shack of a ‘house’, awarded to him by a thankful town after he managed to disarm the bomb at the bottom of the crater. He’s a bit of a do-gooder I suppose, although he does slip up from time to time and blast people who rub him the wrong way.

Many of the actions you take in the game generate ‘Karma’ – either good or bad – which impacts how other characters in the game react to you. From time to time Karma also affects in-game options like dialog points and which NPC followers you can recruit. It’s an interesting mechanism for assigning longer-term consequences to in-game actions.

Through customization of statistics (‘raw’ attributes like strength, perception and agility), skills (like small guns, science, and stealth) and ‘perks’ (like Sniper and Better Criticals) you can build a character to fit any number of playing styles. Personally, I favor silent slaughter so Max is optimized to sneak around and deliver critical hits against unsuspecting targets. He tends toward precision weapons, except for the combat shotgun he enjoys using at close range in place of a melee weapon.

Well, Max also really likes his Chinese Assault Rifle. It’s considerably more powerful than the normal ‘American’ assault rifle, and really handy for taking down roving clownshoes like the ‘Raider’ in the screenshot below (who, you’ll notice, made the fatal mistake of bringing a lead pipe to a gun fight).

Rifle beats lead pipe

Rifle beats lead pipe

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m really impressed with the scope of the game world. A few of the areas (generally in the city) are ‘rubbled off’ from the rest of the world and connected to other areas only by the underground Metro system, but pretty much every place else is accessible to the dedicated wanderer.

The screenshot below is your basic unimportant random location in the game world. Of course, the same rubble ‘construction kit’ is used in all of the locations like this but there’s still plenty of detail included.

Large, radioactive playground

Large, radioactive playground

The roads actually go places, by the way. In fact, one tried-and-true method for wandering around to find new places is to follow roads or powerlines around the wasteland. Infrastructure – even infrastructure that’s been blasted to flinders – is still important in the post-nuclear future.

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