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Fallout New Vegas Day#2: My Time as a Vigilante

Day 2 of Fallout is getting back into the rhythm, but I am starting to see some of the bugs and flaws people were talking about. The session is a set of conversations that lead to a fight, and both are pretty good examples of what Fallout does well. However, the game doesn’t seem to save after major points, so I end up having to replay a long major scene when I’m killed by apparently thin air before I get to a save point, and there is an absolutely atrocious mini-game. The narrative takes a slightly interesting turn at the end, but nothing earthshaking yet. Spoilers within.

I begin the session going to the gas station to find Ringo. It has nothing to do with my main plot as a courier, but this is what you do in Fallout — wander around until you find a plot and then hunt it to the end. There’s usually something interesting there. I find Ringo when I enter the gas station. He immediately asks to play a game of Caravan, some kind of card game that you play with whatever cards you have. I agree to try it out, and WOW is it not intuitive. You’re placing cards across from opponent cards and stacking cards on your side in some weird on top of or next to ways. You’re trying to make a total without going over it, I think, because my cards get cleared away after I make a play at one point. I have no idea how you’re interacting with your opponent or what the strategy is. In short, it sucks and makes no sense and takes too long, and any one of those ALONE would be the death knell of a card game in a video game. Hey designers, I didn’t start your game so I could play Mao in the middle of it. If you’re going to have a mini-game to suck my time, at least make it comprehensible. I quit and as a result lose all the coins which I anted. SUCK.

So Ringo wants to fight the Powder Gang, but he can’t do it alone. I agree to help him gather forces.  I leave to go find Sunny and she agrees right away.  But she wants me to get a bunch of other people involved — Trudy who can rally people, the doctor to give us stimpacks, Easy Pete to get explosives, and the general store guy for supplies. I’ve leveled up, so I raise my lockpicking and my computer, and then I take a moment to open the safe back at the school for a few more coins and ammo. I then find Trudy and use my Speech ability to get her on our side. I go to the doctor and he readily gives me the stimpacks. On my way out, I take some stuff from his house.  Normally in Fallout, actions that are going to get people pissed at you are in red to warn you, and that’s usually how you know you’re stealing from someone, but none of this stuff is red, so it’s all mine. I then meet Easy Pete at his house, but he only wants to give explosives to someone with the skill to handle it, and that someone is not me.  The shop is a similar wipeout – I don’t have the barter to get chet (the general store owner) to help me. Having exhausted possible allies, I go back to Ringo and he agrees to fight. He tells me to meet Sunny outside and I do. She tells me that Trudy and other allies are getting cover. She further reveals that we’ll have to fight six of gang members including that Cobb guy from before. I’m ready to go, so we start running down the hill to the fight.

The fight basically revolves around a couple of ruined buildings with a variety of guys appearing on the other side and sweeping around them. My allies and I win fight pretty handily — I kill about half of the baddies, but I don’t get Cobb himself.  When the fight’s over, a window pops up to tell me that I’m villified by Powders, and liked by town. That’s kind of neat that there’s localized reputation in Fallout once more. I get some coins from Ringo for my help and he tells me to look him up in New Vegas. I start to search the bodies when I’m suddenly machinegunned from nowhere and die. Sigh. And I respawn BEFORE THE START OF THE FIGHT? FUCK YOU GAME. I do the fight again, and this time I kill four guys myself including Cobb, so I guess it’s more satisfying. I noticed early I can drink water to heal a little, so I exploit that degeneracy and go back to the saloon to drink water until I’m fully healed. It’s a cheap exploit that takes about a minute, but I do it with gusto. I then loot the bodies and sell the stuff in classic Fallout style. I think I’m down with this town for a bit, so wander off to Pimm for my story mission proper. I get a last chance as I leave town to change character but I pass. As I walking along the road, I see a Powder camp on the edge. There doesn’t seem to be anyone there, so I walk off the road into it and I’m killed when … no wait … I guess I didn’t die. A weird bug caused me to fall but I lost no health. Anyway, I go back down to investigate and I trip a mine, getting really hurt. When I get back on the road, that robot from Good Springs is back here to keep an eye on me. Weird. Anyway, I fast travel back to the doc in Good Springs and have him heal me up for free. This hardcore mode is not so hardcore, I’m noticing. I get back on to the trail and reach to Primm, which was located as promised by an old rollercoaster.

The city is surrounded by a gate, and I’m getting shot at from inside by escaped convicts. Huh? That’s not what I expected to find in Pimm. I wander around the perimeter and see a NCR trooper who tells me Primm is off-limits. When I try to ask him what’s going on, he tells me to talk to Lieutenant Hayes. I find his tent after getting really hurt from potshots of prisoners inside Pimm.  Hayes tells me that escaped convicts from the same escape that created the Powders took over the city. He’s assigned to take the city back, but he needs more supplies and gunpower. I’m not sure what to do now, so I fast travel back to Good Springs, heal, and call it an night.

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