After a long break, I come back to Fallout for a session that actually shows a few more of the game’s warts. I spend a lot of time in a badly explained and hard to navigate board to not complete a quest on my list even though I meet the criteria. I find a number of seemingly interesting locations where I can’t do anything. On the other hand, I do complete a significant quest and get a sub-plot that is maybe the most true story to the old Fallout games I’ve seen since the old top-down games. So let’s call this session a wash, but the game is still quite good. Spoilers within.
I restart after this long break back in my hotel in Novac. I sleep, eat, and drink and leave my hotel for the wastes. First thing is to go back to vault 34 to finish that thing up. Man is that place a maze. After going in circles for about ten minutes, I finally find the armory again, but I need a whole bunch of keys I don’t have. I find a terminal and can turn off the pumps and do. I then find a whole other section, but given how much of a maze this place is, I have no idea if turning off the pumps opened this wing or if I just didn’t see it before. I enter a Security Station A and kill two more ghouls just inside there. I then find another terminal and unlock the overseer’s office. I guess the radiation has gotten much worse without me noticing, because now I have critical rad poisoning and that doesn’t sound good. I consume a bunch of Rad-Away to cure myself and keep going. I head back to the overseer’s office and open the door. There are a few enemies inside, including the overseer at some kind of turret cluster. I die almost immediately because (again) Veronica runs into the room and thus into the turrets, getting herself killed and leading me to kill myself trying to stop her. I restart and die again from the turrets because I misjudge cover. The third time, I finally kill the overseer by having Veronica hang back and darting behind the turrets to hit the overseer from behind. My surround tactic works great, but I’m dying of radiation now. I level up (all new points in speech this time) and get the perk Light Step to avoid ground based traps. (I hate mines and there isn’t much more I need by way of perks.)
The armory is now unlocked, but the real challenge is finding it. God this is SUCH A MAZE, IT’S TAKING FOREVER!!!!! I can’t find the hallway with the armory, and I am truly dying of radiation. Fuck it. I leave and heal. I walk out of the vault and fast travel back to Novac. I heal up and head back. Another ten minutes of retracing. The local map function on the PipBoy is truly useless sometimes. It conflates all of the levels of a location, so you can’t tell if you have to go up and down stairs to get somewhere. That means in a complex level the map has just about NO relation to what you are seeing, and at that point, it’s all guesswork. I finally find the stupid hidden door. I die once in the fight with the ghouls inside because I get overradiated, but then I win and find the pulse rifle Veronica wanted. I also get a bunch of broken-ish but nice new weapons. Interestingly though, the quest milestone for finding the pulse rifle isn’t checked. What the hell? Anyway, I get out and fast travel to the clinic. I heal up, but I still don’t have enough caps for an implant. Some time soon then.
As long as I’m in the area, I go to try to get to that Brotherhood repair place again. GODDAMN it’s scary when your companion kills someone and you’re not prepared for it. With no warning at all, the camera cuts to a slow-motion shot of some monster dying. It gives me a heart attack every time. No dice getting to the repair place. There is a hideous deathclaw family on the way there that absolutely kicks my ass. Another time then. I guess I should get on to the next mission, but I decide instead to go to the Follower’s outpost to see if I can get Veronica hooked up with them instead. When I arrive, everyone is dead and those stupid Brotherhood guys who threatened us are there. We exchange idle threats and then fight. They kill me the first time because I’m switching weapons but then we take them out. The doctors here are all dead. The Brotherhood tracked them down because they thought Veronica was going to give up their secrets. Veronica feels guilty. I tell her that there was no way that she could control their actions. She says she’ll stick with me now. This result closes out all of her quests and causes her to sort of level up: now she’s a rebel and has a bonus to her unarmed. Well, that plot was kind of fucked up and a little obvious in the betrayal moment, but I have to say that it’s the most Fallout moment of dark ambiguous story that I’ve seen since Fallout 2, so kudos to New Vegas.
I back to Novac to heal quickly, but the doctor’s not around or at least nowhere I can find her. I go to Stop-and-Shop and buy some repairs for my weapons instead. I then go to the cistern to drink water and heal up cheap, but huh, I guess I didn’t find it in this save. Oh well. I fast travel back to Primm to see if I can get something for the Vance 9mm I picked up a while ago. I go into the casino and weirdly no one is there but this band of deserters. They try to shake me down for caps, but I speech them out of it. They are ex-NCR, but they are running away before Legion comes. I could kill them and kind of think I should (they are bandits now, after all), but I guess I’m just weary of killing people and I let them go. I go back outside and then come back to see if the people will reappear. They do but no one recognizes the gun is gone so it seems I can’t sell it here. What to do next? I guess I should complete that bomber quest. I fast track out to Boulder City (the closest city to the lake) and then start walking.
As I walk, I find the beach. I kill some new creatures called lakelurks — they go down easy. Oh that’s the DAM. Ok, well given this is what everyone is fighting over, I should at least check it out. I go to the visitor center on the NCR side to start. I’m not finding anyone important yet, so go deeper into the power station. There, I meet Mike Lawson. He rebuilt and runs the dam. I’m sure there’s more here but this place is just too huge. I go back to the wastes and walk across the dam. Wow this thing is gigantic. I find a Col. Moore, the person in charge, but I have nothing to say to her so I leave the dam. As I continue to the lake, I find Ranger Station Delta. Officer Scheffer doesn’t want civilians here, so I keep wandering. I figure out that I’m not going to get to lake from here, because I can’t cross the dam. I’m still wandering though, and I find a house resort as I do. It’s an NCR base. I stop in, but I really don’t need to explore another one of those this session and I wander on. After a bit more walking, I find an empty fisherman’s shack. I think these locations are just here to be save points and fast travel locations. But this place is right by the lake, so I have no problem with that.
So the first step is me walking into the water to find the plane. I have no idea how I would do this without the rebreather. I find the plane deep in the water. Looking around the plane, there are highlight spots where I can plant the ballast on it. I do so on all of the spots and exit the water. Once I’m on shore, I blow the detonator and the bomber comes to surface. That quest is done; I just need to go back to the air base to let them know. I walk back to some hangers here and kill some rats in the shack and coming out. There are all of these wasp like insects popping up. They aren’t that tough, but they have a nasty poison that I have to cure each time I’m hit, so I get smart about popping them from a great distance. Annoyingly though, Veronica dies a couple of times from poison from insects when I can’t find a way to heal that poison for her. I want to be harsh with my companions and accept their deaths, but this just feels cheap, so I reload and beat the insects by protecting Veronica fiercely. I keep walking and this desert is all pretty red rocks. Coming from the south instead of the west, I now find the Brotherhood repair place. I unlock the door and go inside. There, I find more recon armor and repair my stuff a little but boy is there still more repair to do. Now in a safe place, I decide to save and call it a day.