Tag Archives: Honest Hearts

Crushing the White Legs never felt so easy

As y’all should know, I’m working on my fourth (but not final) playthrough of Fallout: New Vegas, with the focus being to side with Mr. House all the way to the end, as well as complete some miscellaneous challenges and unlock the final few Achievements just begging to be released before the next two months of intense, Skyrim-heavy gaming begins. With the following now popped, I’m only ten away from getting ’em all:

O Daughter of Babylon (30G): Crushed the White Legs.

Yup, I stored some heavy stuff away in Lucky 37’s Penthouse Suite and then took Rhaegar all the way to Utah’s Zion National Park from the Honest Hearts DLC. Only took a loading screen or two. He’s probably rode a dragon for most of the trip. My first time through I wrapped up the add-on fairly quickly, with my then Courier helping to evacuate the locales instead of fighting back. I didn’t save beforehand, meaning I couldn’t reload and go after the second method, which involves a lot of river-walking and shooting. And most of it wasn’t even done by me; for choosing the “destroy them all” path, you gain Joshua Graham as a companion, and he’s pretty wicked with his unique .45 Auto pistol–awesomely called A Light Shining in Darkness–so I let him do most of the grunt work, still earning XP all the way.

It was not very difficult and only took a few hours to breeze through. This is the easiest of the four DLCs, and unfortunately also the most uninteresting. I still found no reason to go exploring all the numerous caves, but I did complete a quest that I missed my first time through, helping a lost bighorner calf back to its mother. Other than that, I played through Honest Hearts exactly the same way, shooting more or less the same animals and hostile White Legs; there was only one strange happening, which involved exiting a cave and coming face to face with a giant green gecko with the power to swipe once and knock poor Rhaegar’s head off. Otherwise, not much else to report.

I emptied all of the end DLC’s lootbox’s contents into Rhaegar’s pockets and now he’s over-encumbered and far from home, but I’m hoping to make it to a vendor soon as those new GRA weapons are freakin’ expensive. Then, when stocked up, lighter in the pants, and rich, I’ll pursue some more opportunities across the Mojave Wasteland for those tricky new challenges and then make sure that the house always win.

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, #21 – Fallout: New Vegas, Honest Hearts DLC

I managed to type up my first impressions of Honest Hearts, the second slice of Fallout: New Vegas DLC, back when I was playing it, and I meant to write more about the Courier’s trip to oppressed Utah, but, unfortunately, I completed the DLC shortly thereafter, clocking in at a surprising few measly hours. I guess that was my fault…for, um, following the main story missions? I don’t know. It was over fast, and that’s a bummer as it, from a design perspective, stood mountains taller than Dead Money.

Add-on DLC for Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas has always struggled with overpowered characters because the majority of us have already been building our stats and weapon caches up long before these new bits of adventuring come out. To compensate for this, we’re often stripped of our gear, forced to survive with whatever new stuff we find. This always feels cheap and annoying, but Honest Hearts tries something different, enforcing a weight limit as to how much we can realistically carry from the Mojave Wasteland to Utah. I still wasn’t in love with dropping some of my beloved weapons and armor to the ground, but it worked better in that it allowed me to continue on with what I was already comfortable with. So, um, two irradiated thumbs up for that idea, Obsidian.

Dead Money was very claustrophobic…on purpose. You were meant to feel stuck, closed in, on your own as you tried to get inside the Sierra Madre, and even then, with the massive hotel filled with poisonous red clouds and broken hallways, things got cramper. You don’t feel like that ever in Honest Hearts. It’s all open sky and winding rivers and abandoned campgrounds and tiered landscape and a good sense of scale. This was, pun intended, a breath of fresh air. I liked looking up at the clear sky, or listening to the rain fall (yes, rain!) as I slept under the stars. They nailed the atmosphere for sure.

Disappointingly, Honest Hearts features a severe lack of new enemy types. The best Obsidian could do was create larger cazador and bring back Yogi Bear yao guai. Otherwise, it’s the same wildlife we experienced from before, and the human enemies aren’t anything to get excited about, even if they have crazy names like Stare-at-Sky and Eats-Dirty-Shoes. At least there were no “unkillable” Ghost people, I guess. But still, would’ve liked to have shot at something new and different for a change as everything has become predictable after many hours of using V.A.T.S.

At this point, I barely remember much of the plot. The Courier goes to Utah with a traveling caravan, watches them get slaughtered by the angry natives, meets Joshua, also known as “The Burned Man,” does some effortless fetch quests, and then makes a decision to either evacuate the people of Zion National Park or stand and fight back. I high-tailed it, which still felt like fighting back in that there were a lot of skirmishes before reaching the zone’s exit. I feel like there were missed opportunities in speaking with Joshua and that other dude between the few quests, and while a few sidequests for others popped up, I decided to stay focused on the plan at hand, and for that I was punished with a quicker conclusion. You can return if you want, but I think I’ll just wait for the third add-on, Lonesome Roads, to hit sometime this month.

It was nice exploring a new place, one rather untouched by bombs, but still plagued with problems. I only wish it had lasted longer and gave us, the players, more decisions to think about in terms of siding with Joshua Graham or the White Legs or the flaming bears. I guess it was worth it to get the black coffee recipe for crafting at campfires. I do love me some coffee.

Honest early impressions for the Honest Hearts DLC

As expected, things go horribly wrong the minute you begin the Honest Hearts DLC for Fallout: New Vegas. First, the Courier needs to meet up with Jed Masterson, a traveling merchant working for the delightfully named Happy Trails Caravan Company. He tells you a bit about the caravan’s history, as well as his need for someone with a Pip-Boy 3000 to help him and his groupies navigate safely through Zion Canyon in hopes of trading with the Mormons in New Canaan. And off you go, zipping from state to the other in a matter of a single loading screen. However, once you arrive, your caravan is attacked and, sorry to say, you’re the lone survivor…which is a shame as Ricky would’ve made for a hilarious albeit annoying companion all the way through.

Speaking of companions, you can’t bring anyone with you in Honest Hearts. Sorry, ED-E. You’ll also need to drop your inventory down to only 75 lbs, which is irksome, but understandable. Thankfully, I was only at like 112/215 at that point, so I dropped some stupid things like lunchboxes and clothes I’ll never wear. At least they didn’t strip you of every awesome thing you worked really hard for like Bethesda has done in the past with Operation Anchorage, The Pitt, Mothership Zeta, and Dead Money.

So far, I’m enjoying Honest Hearts a thousand and five times more than Dead Money. It’s less claustrophobic, focusing more on exploring and looting through abandoned places considered too taboo for the native folk. The landscape itself is varied, but sparse of life, and at this point I’ve shot some geckos and steered clear of cazador groups. I was particularly surprised to see the Courier coming face to face with Joshua Graham, also known as the Burned Man, so soon into the adventure as I figured he’d be too pivotal and big for open chatting. Guess he’s desperate for help.

Also, kind of like when one first arrives at the Strip, the player is overwhelmed with a great number of quests to do. Like three at once, and then another five at once. It’s both great and maddening. I’m currently working on Rite of Passage, a side quest that’s more than a little trippy, while I figure out exactly how I want to go about Zion and saving its people (or not). I got to the end of the quest and quickly met death so I’m not sure if I’m ready for this or just if I need to plan better. We’ll see…right, Ghost of She?

And here’s what I’ve gotten so far Achievement-wise, both of which are simply tied to completing specific quests:

When We Remembered Zion (20G): Arrived at Zion.

Restore Our Fortunes (30G): Resupplied Daniel and the Sorrows.

Sadly, the Achievements for these DLC add-ons are never very exciting. If only the brains behind them would open up and get creative; I mean, the in-game challenges do a much better job of getting players to express their characters fully, encouraging my current Courier to melt enemies and damage limbs, rewarding us with bonus XP. Why not go the extra three feet and make some of those into Achievements? But I digress…

Looking forward to exploring more Utah territory. Most likely this weekend.

Odd Gamerscores are perfect for palindromic numbers

I had a busy day of pinging Achievements, unlocking several from a number of games: A Kingdom of Keflings, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, and Fallout: New Vegas. When all was said and done–and by that, I mean when it was time to stop gaming and make dinner–I noticed that my Gamerscore looked kind of special. It read 23132. Here’s the moment frozen in time too:

Oh boy! Zaaaany. There’s even a name for this crazy happenstance, and it’s called a palindrome. Basically, a sequence of units that can be read the same forwards and backwards. It occurs a lot in life, and I can now check off “palindrome the heck out of my Gamerscore” from my bucket list.

I know, I know. It’s all rather silly, but I found it amusing, and it’s probably never gonna happen again, at least not like this because I’ll be getting the 88G Achievement soon from LEGO Pirates which will turn my ‘score back to a nice, even number. In fact, I’ll probably do some more gaming tonight, messing up my ‘score most certainly by morning’s time, which is why I’m pushing this post out sooner than later.

Another fun example of a palindrome? This phrase: rats live on no evil star.

Honest Hearts DLC for Fallout: New Vegas drops this month, honestly

It’s been some pretty quiet months since Fallout: New Vegas‘ first DLC Dead Money came out, and it seems like Bethesda is ready to open the so-called content floodgates. The next piece of DLC is called Honest Hearts, and will be released for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on May 17, 2011. There’s also two other chunks of DLC–Old World Blues and Lonesome Road–primed for future V.A.T.S.ing headshots, coming over the next few months.

Here’s what Big B has to say about it all:

Honest Hearts™Old World Blues™ and Lonesome Road™ will further expand upon Fallout: New VegasFallout: New Vegas takes all the action, humor and post-apocalyptic grime and grit of this legendary series, and raises the stakes.

Available on May 17, Honest Hearts takes you on an expedition to the unspoiled wilderness of Utah’s Zion National Park. Things go horribly wrong when your caravan is ambushed by a tribal raiding band. As you try to find a way back to the Mojave, you become embroiled in a war between tribes and a conflict between a New Canaanite missionary and the mysterious Burned Man. The decisions you make will determine the fate of Zion.

In Old World Blues, releasing in June, you will discover how some of the Mojave’s mutated monsters came to be when you unwittingly become a lab rat in a science experiment gone awry. You’ll need to scour the Pre-War research centers of the Big Empty in search of technology to turn the tables on your kidnappers or join forces with them against an even greater threat.

Lonesome Road, available in July, brings the courier’s story full circle when you are contacted by the original Courier Six, a man by the name of Ulysses who refused to deliver the Platinum Chip at the start of New Vegas. In his transmission, Ulysses promises the answer as to why, but only if you take one last job –a job that leads you into the depths of the hurricane-swept canyons of the Divide, a landscape torn apart by earthquakes and violent storms. The road to the Divide is a long and treacherous one, and of the few to ever walk the road, none have ever returned.

Reviews of Fallout: New Vegas have called the game as “an utterly essential purchase” (MSN UK) and as “addictively, rambunctiously fun” (Entertainment Weekly). The Associated Press awarded it a 4 out of 4 stars and said “Bottom Line: It’s a Blast”, while GameSpy gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars and called Fallout: New Vegas “one of the best games of the year.”

Looks like each DLC will be priced at 800 Microsoft Points, too. So…May, June, and then July. Kind of an odd schedule, but I guess at this point, what with all the problems the vanilla game has been having, it’s better to give than hold back.

Looks like it’s also safe to download that new patch, too. Now I’ve got even more reason to work on my third playthrough character. I really didn’t have a good time with Dead Money, but Honest Hearts–and more importantly, Old World Blues with its focus on crazy mutated ghoulies–sound promising.