Wednesday, June 1

Neon Wasteland: Against the Odds

Despite the fact that Fallout: New Vegas is somewhat broken, there is still some fun to be had; sometimes on account of sheer luck, or, as in another particular instance, some questionable physics come into play. Either way, let me regail you with two tales of defying certain demise thanks to a little good fortune (or some busted game design, whatever you want to attribute it to).

Cutting Remarks
When I first came across Jean-Baptiste Cutting, I had a feeling that one of us would end up killing the other. There was a strong sense of tension in his voice. Every one of his lines delivered with an uncharacteristically - as far as Fallout: New Vegas' general standard of voicework is concerned - high level of passion; you could feel that he genuinely wanted to do me harm. That was fine by me, as I had brought some sassy, country muscle in the form of Cass. She told me of her love of fisticuffs and explosives, a fine counter-argument to the Van Graff clan's impressive arsenal of energy weapons.

She may not look too tough, but if you're unarmed: Watch out!

Upon performing a few odd jobs for Gloria Van Graff, I was referred to Cutting - her half-brother - for some dirty work. He tasked me with finding and retrieving Rose of Sharon Cassidy for a "friendly chat." As he continued with the description of my intended target, it became apparent that Rose of Sharon Cassidy was standing right beside me. She was my feisty, red-haired companion. She was Cass. I was now somewhat perplexed as to why Jean-Baptiste had not simply opted to brush me to the side and commence "chatting," with my colleague.

Realising what game I was playing however, my bemusement was quickly replaced with exhaustion.

In spite of this, I opened another conversation with Cutting who made it very clear that Cass was soon to be vapourised. I objected and then died a quick, presumably painful death. Several times. Cass fell even quicker than I, and my death, in most cases, was dealt in a matter of seconds. It turns out fists and even explosives are no match for eight or so plasma rifles aimed at one's face.

Not content with being on the receiving end of fate's cruel design, I began to look through my inventory for a way to steal myself from death's cold hands. I only had three stimpaks and mostly-ineffective ballistic weapons. I did have a pulse mine though. Though they are usually only effective against robots, I was desparate to even the field; take one of the Van Graffs out before the fight began. My first attempt to plant the explosive was only half-successful. Successful in that Cutting lost his legs and a failure because I could not initate the confrontational conversation fast enough. The second effort brought success though. After declaring my intent to protect Cass, my enemy's legs flew across the floor of the Silver Rush and after rushing to a nearby bathroom, I managed to hold off my would-be assassins with a few critical shots to the face.

Cass survived and victory was attained.

Victory from the (Death)claws of Defeat
As advised in my previous post, I want to finish the game's main questline before progressing to any of the downloadable content. That meant though that I had start heading south. Way south, as in from one corner of the map to the other. A couple of hours and quests later, I found myself staring down the edge of an imposing cliff. So, with no bridge in sight - all quips about the draw distance aside - began to consider my options. I could start heading west (Go West! as it were), leap from the edge and hope to hit the large body of water below or abseil down the mountain.

Now strictly speaking, there's no formal abseiling mechanic in Fallout: New Vegas. Rather the face of this imposing bluff wasn't entirely flat, and I tried my luck falling into it. It worked, and I found myself on the shore below after three non-lethal stutters. What to do now, but swim; swim for civilization.

For about twenty minutes I bathed in the waters of Lake Mojave. Finally, in the dark of the night, I found a path out from the water. I tentatively ventured up the mountain and came across Deathclaws; not just a few, at least twenty of them. Deathclaws, it turns out, weren't named for their friendly nature. They're actually quite deadly.

Who wants a hug?
After expiring several times it became apparent that my strategy of panic-firing at these abominations wasn't going to deliver me to safety. Upon one the beast's frenzied attacks, I was forced back to water. The tall, grey creature immediately lost interest and my way forward became obvious. With nothing but pea shooters, I painstakingly lured a whole family of Deathclaws to their murky demise and levelled-up in the process.

Essentially, I'm taking these lemon-like gameplay mechanics and I'm making lemonade.

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