Tag Archives: Dead Money

Games Completed in 2011, #31 – Fallout: New Vegas, Lonesome Road DLC

Fallout: New Vegas‘s side-stories had to end somewhere, and I guess the Divide, a landscape ripped apart by frequent earthquakes, violent storms, and heavy amounts of radiation, is rather fitting, especially since it plays home to the original courier tasked to deliver the Platinum Chip, the one that put a hole in your head. All throughout the vanilla game’s adventure and earlier DLC packs, hints have been dropped about this mysterious Ulysses, forcing curiosity upon the cat, making us wonder just why he refused that infamous job. When Ulysses actually reaches out to the Courier via a Pip-Boy message, one certainly feels compelled to head after him and get some freakin’ answers. So long as you can survive the journey there, that is…

It’s easy to call Lonesome Road linear, as that’s exactly what roads are–lines from one point to another, with guardrails and medians to prevent you from getting off track. Unfortunately, the Fallout franchise is at its worst when its restrictive; compare Operation: Anchorage to Point Lookout, Dead Money to Old World Blues. Walking forward is never thrilling, but unfortunately that’s the only way to get to Ulysses. So off you go, but you better have plenty of medicine for radiation and a healthy stock of weapons as the denizens of the Divide are truly nasty. Deathclaws, marked men, and tunnelers will keep you on your toes, and there’s a lot of rads to deal with. The DLC is recommended for higher level players, and that’s definitely some astute advice to follow. Luckily, you don’t have to go alone; while you can’t actually bring your New Vegas companions with you, shortly into the Divide you do pick up a modifiable ED-E, and while he’s not stellar during combat sessions, his upbeat/downtrodden beeping at least keeps you grounded. Also, you learn that you’ve probably been pronouncing his name wrong this whole time.

My biggest complaint about the DLC is with the big man himself, Ulysses. At several checkpoints, he will use ED-E to talk to you, and these chats can seemingly go on for hours. His cryptic dialogue and odd, slow drawl are to blame; some of what he has to say is important, but only if you can read between the lines. It’s like pulling teeth, and towards the end of Lonesome Road I was so fed up with these parts that I began rushing through dialogue trees so that I could shoot him in the face. Whereas the Burned Man in Honest Hearts was a disappointment for not talking enough and living up to the legend, Ulysses digs his own grave–slowly, methodically, fatefully.

The package felt a lot like this: walk forward, shoot some dudes, listen to Ulysses, repeat. There are not many nooks to explore, and there is only one way to go. The final battle was a little unfair too, but that might be because I picked to hurt Ulysses instead of team up with him. Might try that on my next stroll through, whenever that happens.

Lonesome Road‘s best perks are the updates to ED-E, the +5 to your level cap, and that your gear is not stripped at the beginning of the add-on. Other than that, it’s certainly missable DLC, much like Dead Money, and considering most of it is story-vital and not gameplay-vital, just read what happens on a wiki and be glad you didn’t have to deal with all that laborious listening.

At some point, I’ll talk a bit about Gun Runners’ Arsenal, too, as I’m now on my fourth playthrough (go, Rhaegar!) and am trying to go after some of that DLC’s challenges. Which are freaking insane. Kill adult Mojave Wasteland Deathclaws with .22 Pistols, Switchblades, Boxing Tape, Recharger Rifles, or Dynamite? Me thinks not!

Games Completed in 2011, #29 – Fallout: New Vegas, Old World Blues DLC

First, some Grinding Down linkage as I’ve already written a bit about this third DLC package for Fallout: New Vegas. Go on and catch up; I’ll wait:

There ya go.

After completing Old World Blues, I had decided that it was the vanilla game’s finest add-on, having not even played Lonesome Road yet at that point. With all four DLC now finished off, I can confirm that, yes, it is still the best of the bunch. Further proof: no other DLC to date dares call your fingers and toes penises.

Old World Blues begins with the Courier being transported to the Big MT research crater, a place thriving with robots and Old World mentality. A strange group of post-human researchers collectively known as the Think Tank take your brain out of your skull and then ask for your help. Cue Michelle Tanner: “How rude!” Off you go to explore the Big Empty, which is not as barren as you might expect, battle dangerous foes–such as robo-scorpions, nightstalkers, cyberdogs, lobotomites, and, if you have a certain trait turned on, one freakishly small, but deadly Deathclaw–and find the craziest equipment science can think up. It’s a grand ol’ time.

The DLC opens up with one extremely lengthy cut of chatter, but the writing and voice-acting make it worth sitting through. Kudos to Jim Ward, Cam Clarke, Jocelyn Blue, and James Urbaniak for really selling these robots as once human beings. After all that talking, the Courier then gets to go out and explore, but it’s no place to just go gallivanting about. Recommended for Couriers around LV 15 or higher, I found parts pretty difficult still at LV 28. Getting attacked by three nightstalkers is no walk through the park, and there’s a severe lack of available ammo to begin with; thankfully, one does eventually pick up the X-2 Antenna, a unique melee weapon that works wonders against enemies with either soft or hard skin. As you play, you’ll begin to upgrade the Sink, your home away from home, and the amount of new things is astounding; I now actively seek out random junk like cameras, hot plates, and irons because Toaster, which is an evil toaster, can break them down for me into microfusion and energy cells.

Both the DLC’s main quest and side quests are equally rewarding. “Picking Your Brains” is a side quest that has you talking to all the robotic doctors in the Think Tank, and while you may be tired of chatting with these super egos after the long intro, I suggest still doing it. You can gain some decent XP with skill checks, as well as early information about Ulysses and Father Elijah. “Field Research” will help make your biological research station and Blind Diode Jefferson even better–like that’s possible, you quip. “Sonic Emitter Upgrade” does exactly what it says on the tin, but it’s well worth the time as the Sonic Emitter is a powerful Energy gun that has a variety of mods to it, my favorite being Gabriel’s Bark, which rocks a unique “critical strike knockback” effect.

I’m hesitant to dive back into the Big Empty so soon on my fourth playthrough, but once I’m around, say, LV 20, I think I’ll risk it. It’s a pity to let such an awesome base go to waste for too long into Fallout: New Vegas, plus many of the perks gained from completing the DLC are important to creating a strong character. If there’s one DLC to get, this is it. Also raises your level cap by 5. Science!

Old World Blues DLC for Fallout: New Vegas delayed until July 19, 2011

Notice that I didn’t say “scheduled for release” or “dropping on” or anything official or fun like that. That’s because, when all crime scene components are scrutinized and reviewed, when the coroner is done determining the cause of death, this is actually a delay, not an official release date. See, we were told some months back that a rush of Fallout: New Vegas would be hitting us after the lengthy quiet period from Dead Money until Honest Hearts. That last DLC add-on came out in May on time, and the next two–Old World Blues and Lonesome Road–were lined up to follow in June and July, respectively. Bing, bang, boom–one after the other after the other. As an admitted Fallout junkie, this sounded heavenly to me.

Part of the delay of Old World Blues is to make room for yet another patch to fix further problems in the game. That’s good and all, but now I have to wait until the middle of July or so to explore new content when, all along, I’ve been getting ready for such adventuring since the beginning of June.

Not gonna hide it, but I’m pretty bummed about this. I’m going on vacation next week, and it’s the sort of vacation where one just lounges around, drinking peach-flavored sangria and playing games and enjoying the peace and stillness, the walks to WaWa, the carpet beneath bare feet. I was hoping to purchase this beforehand and then spend some time kicking back in the Big Empty. Guess not. And it looks like Bastion also comes out right when I return from vacation. What a shame. Don’t gaming developers know my schedule and plan accordingly?!

Looks like I should try to save some L.A. Noire for vacation time then. One million bottle caps says that Lonesome Road doesn’t come out in July; more likely in October to help celebrate one year of the most unpolished game ever. I still like it though, but yeah…

Games Completed in 2011, #20 – Fallout: New Vegas, Dead Money DLC

I’ve decided to count DLC as completed titles for my super cool and impressive ongoing megalist of games I’ve conquered for the year so far, considering most of the DLC I’ve bought 1) is purchased with real money, 2) takes a decent amount of time to complete (3-8 hours), and 3) has end credits. That’s good enough for me, and so I figured before I get to discussing the Honest Hearts DLC I’ll first have to tackle musing gravely on the Dead Money DLC. Oh wait. I’ve already done that…like a ton. Just click on the links below so I don’t have to regurgitate for y’all:

Take the Dead Money and run

All my greatest critics in the Mojave Wasteland think I’m a hack

Fallout: New Vegas – Dead Money DLC is more like deadweight

In summary, Dead Money is too frustrating to be fun, even if it is more Fallout: New Vegas. Next!

Why yes, Fallout: New Vegas, I am a stim-ply amazing desert survivalist

Unlocked two Achievements last night in Fallout: New Vegas, and they’re both tied to one another in the form of healing X amount of health points:

Desert Survival (15G): Healed 10,000 points of damage with food.

Stim-ply Amazing (15G): Healed 10,000 points of damage with Stimpaks.

For the Desert Survivalist one, I was playing as Zelda, my character specifically crafted to eat a lot of food and rough it in the wild. By the time I had finished up the Dead Money DLC, she had already healed around 8,000+ points of damage, and so I stocked up on some free food from the kitchen area in the H&H Tools Factory. Then I had her head over to the Samson Rock Crushing Plant where I had her continuously climb up to the top of one of the buildings, jump off, and damage herself. Don’t worry…she had plenty of crunchy squirrel bits and InstaMash to make her feel better. This went on for some time, and while it wasn’t the most exciting way to go about it, it would’ve taken a lot longer to do by trying to find enemies to fight.

For the Achievement tied to using Stimpaks, I switched over to my original, first playthrough character Jareth since Zelda barely used any during her 30+ hours in the Mojave Wasteland. He, too, was around the 8,000+ points healed amount, this time for Stimpaks, and he was just lounging around in his fancy casino suite, looking bored. Checking his inventory, I found around 56 Stimpaks just begging to be used–but how could I do so quickly? I decided to throw karma to the wind and have him attack everybody on the New Vegas strip; this incited all NCR troops and RobCo security bots into attacking Jareth, damaging his health fast and constantly, and within a few skirmishes, he had healed more than enough to ping Stim-ply Amazing and earn an extra 100 XP. Double win!

I’m probably going to start a third playthrough soon, with a character focusing on explosives, energy weapons, and sneaking (for pickpocketing purposes). Feel free to suggest a name. Not sure if I want that playthrough to also be the Hardcore mode one. Need to consider what factions I want to side with, and who would make virtual life in the harsh wild easier.

Take the Dead Money and run

Man, Dead Money, the first DLC add-on for Fallout: New Vegas, had the potential to be great, to sit somewhere between Fallout 3’s Broken Steel and Point Lookout in terms of quality and content for the right price point. Alas, it does not get to sit on such a pedestal, but rather in a dark, desolate corner where it will wait to be slowly poisoned to death by an unforgiving toxic cloud.

My first go at exploring the canorous Sierra Madre and its nefarious surroundings did not go well. The DLC is tough, like end-assault-on-the-dam tough, and seems to slant more towards stealthy players that use melee and unarmed weapons, as well as having a high survival skill. Alas, my initial playthrough character relied too much on guns and stimpacks to make it very far. I quit out to an old save before even leaving the Villa, which is where roughly half of the DLC takes place. I would not experience the second half for awhile, waiting until my second playthrough character was high enough in skills and levels to tackle Father Elijah’s cruel maze once again. Having already played this part made it much easier to progress through, and there were new surprises here. The only thing I did differently was let Dog out of his cage, keeping the voice locked away inside; he ate a lot of Ghost People, except for that one time when he glitched across the screen and ate a trash can instead. Sigh.

Once inside the actual Sierra Madre casino, the Courier needs to locate the three companions used to help get inside and…deal with them. You may interpret that any way you want. To spoil, I ended up murdering Dog/God and Dean, but kept Christine alive. Zelda probably felt some kind of connection with her, I guess. Only after you’ve dealt with them can you sneak beneath the casino to find Father Elijah’s vault and the secrets its holds. And sadly, it’s nothing too exciting.

Each of Fallout 3’s DLC gave the player something to look forward to. Operation Anchorage strayed too far from the path of familiar gameplay, but rewarded the player greatly at the end with some unique weapons and armor; The Pitt plays home to some cool melee weapons like the auto-ax; Broken Steel introduced a new level cap, harder Super Mutant enemies, and removed the game’s ending; Point Lookout gave players a huge new place to explore; and Mothership Zeta, despite its linearity, showcased some fine alien tech. You will most likely leave Dead Money for the Mojave Wasteland empty-handed. There’s no amazingly unique weapons or gear to be found here, and much of the secrets inside Father Elijah’s vault is moot, weighing too much to be properly carried out. A dang shame. Seems like the greatest thing Dead Money gives players is a new level cap of 35, and they don’t even need to visit the Sierra Madre to get it.

Dead Money is not fun to play. Yup, it’s true. There is always something to stress over: broken limbs, lack of food, poison toxic cloud, Ghost People, setting off traps, crazy deadly holograms, radios and speakers setting off your explosive collar. It’s a hefty list, and I’m sure one Obsidian guy was like, “Hey, do you think we could throw in some Deathclaws, too?” I felt immense relief upon returning to Arizona’s colorful sky, and stood still outside for some time, taking it in, and not just because I had to wait for the game to recount, one by frakking one, every single thing it was adding back into my inventory. I couldn’t fast travel to Gun Runners because I was overweight, but the walk there did a lot of good for Zelda, and the air had never tasted sweeter.

Oh, and I saved and then reloaded to get both of these Achievements at the end because I truly never want to go back to Dead Money:

Cash Out (30G): Confronted Father Elijah in the Sierra Madre’s Vault

Safety Deposit Box (40G): Trapped Father Elijah in the Sierra Madre’s Vault

The Courier, signing off!

All my greatest critics in the Mojave Wasteland think I’m a hack

Still working my way through Fallout: New Vegas – Dead Money. I’ve realized one reason why this DLC is so dang slow, and that is because, if you’re playing anything like I am, you are sneaking all over the Villa, careful to scan every square of ground for traps, careful to hear that terrible beeping, careful to not end up taking on two or more Ghost People at once by yourself. I can’t ever really imagine moving fast through this one, and I even know what to expect (at least for the first half of things), but I will forever err to the side of caution.

Anyways, thanks to some locked doors and unfriendly turret systems, I was able to get this little pinger:

Hack the Mojave (15G): Hacked 25 terminals.

Woo, science! Actually, nah to that. I never tag science as a skill, and only did it because, just like in Fallout 3, knew there would be an Achievement tied to it. And thank goodness this one wasn’t just a carbon copy of the Achievement in the former game. That was called Data Miner and required the player to hack 50 terminals. Fifty…I swear I don’t even think that many exist in the Mojave Wasteland (and Sierra Madre section). It really felt like slim pickings in terms of hacking computers. At least the science skill came in handy a few more times during my playthrough, but otherwise…it’s not very exciting. And I kind of wished Obsidian had updated the minigame for hacking a terminal; it’s too easy to just save before you hack in case you mess up, and obviously they don’t love it immensely otherwise there would’ve been a whole ton more throughout our travels.

Well, in the end, that’s another Achievement done for Fallout: New Vegas. Now to, uh, simultaneously confront and trap a certain someone in a certain something. Maybe the science skill will help me again? Maybe, baby.

March 2011’s flotsam and jetsam

It seems like, at least a few times every year, I am a little overwhelmed with multiple games at once and little time to play ’em to their fullest. Such is March 2011 then, a month where I’m playing three to four new titles, as well as working on older games or miscellaneous purchases. Throw into the fight the fact that I’m also scrambling to get Supertown minicomics drawn and printed for MoCCA 2011, and well, yeah, there’s a lot to juggle. Here’s kind of a short rundown on what I’m currently playing:

Torchlight (XBLA)

Right. Diablo II on a console, but much more cartoony and fast. I’m digging it, and normally by now I’d have written up some early impressions of the title, but the truth is that I’m almost at the end, meaning all my big boy thoughts will have to wait for the final review. Still, I like a lot of it except for one big caveat–the tiny font size. And when a game stands on a mechanic such as loot, being able to read and compare magical spears is vital. I’m pretty sure I’ve sold a lot of excellent gear simply because I couldn’t read what it did or its requirements for wielding.

Pokémon White (Nintendo DS)

Only have two gym badges so far, but that’s okay. It’s not a race, no matter what my rivals say. I like finding a good team of ‘mon and then training them to be, roughly, around the same levels. Right now I’m rocking Victini, Snivy, Timburr, and Audino, and the other two spots haven’t been truly filled yet. I’m giving that trash bag Pokémon a chance though since many others probably won’t. Its Sludge move is pretty good. But man, oh man…it’s a trash bag?

Radiant Historia (Nintendo DS)

I was stuck for awhile in this one, unsure of which timeline node to jump back to, but Greg Noe steered me in the right direction. Now I’m working my way through the Closed Mine in hopes of learning a sword dancing move from somebody to help Stocke progress with a circus act in the alternate timeline. Yeah, it can be a bit confusing. Still, the combat is fantastic. Really do need to schedule more time with this one.

Fallout: New Vegas – Dead Money (Xbox 360)

Having now beaten this game twice, my second character, an evil woman named Zelda that loved hitting enemies with s-weapons only–sticks and shovels and sledges–was perfect for attempting the DLC add-on again. My first fly with Dead Money didn’t go very well. But it’s going much smoother now that I can handle the Ghost People more effectively, as well as heal better from radiated food. Just finished gathering Dog, Dean, and the mute. Now to get each of them where they need to be…

Penumbra Overture (Mac)

Started this on a whim, and have only played a wee bit of it, but I dig its mood and atmosphere and the way opening a drawer feels. Seriously. It feels good, true, like I’m actually doing it myself and not with a mouse. I would have loved to see this technique used more in games like Fallout, as it makes searching a room actually feel like searching. There’s a special kind of warmth that comes from opening countless empty drawers and then opening one to find batteries there, yours for the taking.

FlingSmash (Nintendo Wii)

Every week, usually Friday, sometimes Saturday night, Tara and I go visit her brother to play some videogames. We call it “games night,” and we focus mainly on all things Wii (but I swear to teach him Munchkin before too long). Wii Sports Resorts is so much fun with a good group, but two players had to share one remote, and I got tired of this after several weeks. So I purchased FlingSmash, which is basically a Wii MotionPlus controller ($40) with a game thrown in for good measure ($10). The game is just an excuse to shake the remote around, but I hope to examine it more closely soon.

::deep exhale::

Whew. Too many games. There’s the possibility that I’m not even writing about more.

Also, a friendly reminder that by the end of this month I’ll also be picking up Monster Tale and a Nintendo 3DS…so yeah, more to come. Woe is me? Naaaaaaaaaah.

Humor is not the weapon of unarmed people

I’m pretty sure I’ve mused before about all the things I’ve never done in the Fallout universe, such as keeping a good distance from using big guns to actually not seeking out Dogmeat as a companion. Another tactic I’ve never tried in my 300+ hours logged over Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas is that of fighting unarmed. Now, to clarify, unarmed doesn’t necessarily mean totally unarmed; some weapons like spiked knuckles, a bladed gauntlet, and the zap glove count, as does using just your bare fists. Regardless, one will have to get pretty dang close to their opponents to do some heavy unarmed damage, and I generally like to keep my distance, imitating a ninja or dustwheel as best as possible. This sort of guerilla style gameplay took a while to get used to, but I did eventually, and soon found myself charging fists-first into battle, ready to uppercut NCR troopers to their new home above the clouds.

And so I’m pretty proud to see this baby pop late last night after I gave a large fire gecko a swift smack to the back of its head:

Old-Tyme Brawler (15G): Caused 10,000 damage with Unarmed weapons.

Zelda, the fiend of the Mojave Wasteland, is around level 17 currently, with an unarmed skill of 55 points. Not bad, and it will surely grow as she’s already rocking a 100 cap in melee weapons. She also has a wonderful perk, which will sometimes knock an opponent to the ground from an unarmed attack, allowing for more free punches and kicks. Teamed with ED-E for support from afar, she’s a decent warrior (except against Deathclaws). And this weapon helps a lot:

What a beauty! That’s a power fist for the uninformed. It’s an armored gauntlet that uses a pneumatic ram to really send the message home. There really is something special about watching Zelda, a thin, redhead dressed as homely as possible, wielding this fist of death and knocking the heads off enemies with ease. I really have to make a conscious effort to make my evil characters appear more evil.

Anyways, I can’t believe I went this long without trying out an unarmed character; it does have its downsides, as big groups of enemies can basically surround Zelda and riddle her with bullets, but otherwise it’s been a lot of fun. And once she hits around level 25 or so, I think I’ll give Dead Money another try, now that I’ve got a character built specifically to handle all their melee and unarmed weapons, as well as a high survival skill for turning junk food into the most delicious thing ever.

Fallout: New Vegas – Dead Money DLC is more like deadweight

I really wish I could properly review the first bite of DLC for Fallout: New Vegas, but alas…I cannot. Why? Well, I was unfortunately stuck in the DLC at an unbeatable section with truly little hope to hope for and had to reload an old save from many hours ago (and levels, grrr). Dropped from level 30 to level 26 in a matter of seconds. I absolutely hate doing that as it totally ruins my perception of roleplaying; undoing all my actions, changing my stats and gear and perks yet again, retconning, allowing me to know forthwith what could and could not potentially happen in future locales before I even get there…that’s just not right. But I had to do it. I’ve not yet beaten the main game with my first character, and if I hadn’t made the early save slot, I’d have lost everything.

For shame.

But let me set up Dead Money first. Because, storywise, it’s pretty potent, sinking its hooks in right from the start. The DLC starts like all previous Fallout 3 add-ons, with a mysterious radio signal leading you to a specific location. In this one’s case, it takes you to a hidden bunker where your character is gassed, stripped of all possessions, and forced to wear an explosive slave collar. You wake up near the Sierra Madre hotel before the hologram of Father Elijah. He gives you the big mission: break into the Sierra Madre casino, get into the vault, and pull off a heist. You’ll need to recruit three others for the Ocean’s 11 job, and they also have exploding slave collars on them. They die; you die. The first part of the big mission is to round up the companions; the second part is to open the hotel; and the third is, I assume, raiding it for whatever good loot is available.

I was only able to complete the first two parts…never even making it inside the Sierra Madre. What a crock of Blanco mac and cheese!

The problem with the Dead Money DLC is its gameplay. In the same fashion that Fallout 3’s first add-on of Operation Anchorage was a completely different direction (Call of Duty wannabe), Dead Money is more like a survival horror game with a heavy emphasis on melee and unarmed weaponry. That foretold bad news for my character who, going in at level 26, never put a single point into melee, unarmed, or survival. I’m a stealthy guns dude. The villa around the Sierra Madre is filled with traps, a poisonous cloud, and Ghost People, who are very hard to kill without weapons that dismember. Also, health supplies, ammo, and food are very limited, and the Mojave Wasteland caps currency are tossed aside for Sierra Madre casino chips which, while at first seem bountiful, quickly lessen. So yeah…I got screwed pretty fast.

I’m probably not gonna try this DLC again with my current character. Sadly, it’s the sort of add-on very specific for a type of character, one I’m not ready to build. I can only imagine how impossible survival the villa is in Hardcore mode. No thanks.

That said, God/Dog is a marvelous companion, with topline writing. I wish Dead Money let you take them back with you to the Mojave Wasteland, but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that in the last chunk of the heist mission some vital decisions about your comrades-in-collars are made. I’m currently now working on some other side missions like Crazy, Crazy, Crazy and trying to recruit Raul as my last main companion. If anything,for 800 Microsoft Points, Dead Money does boost the level cap from 30 to 35, which will give me a bigger excuse to explore before trying to protect the Hoover Dam from destruction.