Showing posts with label DLC's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DLC's. Show all posts

June 23, 2014

Let's Talk About: Fallout New Vegas DLC

Why waste time with an introduction? Here's my thoughts on the New Vegas DLC.

Dead Money

Alot of people don't like this one. And I totally get why. Dead Money is brutal, but not in the way we've come to expect out of these DLC. There's no suped-up unstoppable enemies, no annoying bullshit boss, and it's most DEFINITELY not a monotonous grind, though the environment can grate a bit. Dead Money whisks you away to the fabled Sierra Madre; Something really cool in New Vegas was that all the DLC were constantly hinted at before they even came out, so some of you with a sharp eye may have heard of this fantastical place before you were deposited at its door. Specifically, you get kidnapped and brought there before a rather prominent figure, Father Elijah, who you also may have heard of in the regular game. He's done this because he wants you to help him break the tight security on the ancient yet pristine casino in order to access its mysterious vault full of untold treasures.

Art Deco makes everything better. It's a fact.

It's certainly an interesting take on a plot, to say the least; A bank heist on a bank that's been abandoned for hundreds of years but still armed to the teeth. To that end, you spend Dead Money running around gathering your crew, setting up the heist itself, and finally following through with it, albeit with some twists and turns. All of that sounds pretty cool, right? That's because I haven't brought up any of the HORRORS that await you playing this. Dead Money could be best described in gameplay as survival horror; You are stripped of ALL equipment, with no way of getting any of it back, and now you have a freakin' bomb collar on your neck that will blow up if one of your fellow heist members dies or you get close to the incredibly annoying and omnipresent faulty speakers that exist throughout the Madre's labyrinthine Spanish Villa exterior. There's also a fuckload of traps, and a damn near unavoidable toxic cloud that will you dead in about 4 seconds of exposure. That's not even mentioning DM's new and ONLY creature, the Ghost People. Jesus, these guys are spooky. Ghost People lurch around all slow and creepy, then they start hopping around like olympic athletes when they see you, often times hucking spears and gas bombs at you, and you can only kill them by removing a limb. Otherwise, they keep getting back up to try again!


Now, this is gonna sound crazy...I fucking LOVE Dead Money. Call me crazy, but this is exactly what difficult SHOULD be. It's not difficult because it's unfair, it's difficult because it challenges you to play the game a different way. I also think it's not so bad; If I can beat Dead Money on HARDCORE, and I DID, then people should have no trouble playing on normal mode. They just have to think differently. Aim for limb shots instead of head shots, always carry a knife to chop off the Ghost People limbs, and NEVER STOP CROUCHING. But more to the meat of this DLC, the strongest part is the story, or rather the back story. You learn all about the Madre, its history, why it was made, and about its mysterious creator Frederick Sinclair. What starts out as a fairly simple "Do what I want and no one gets hurt" story quickly becomes a tangled web of desires and betrayals. That's not even grazing the fucking impeccable design of your companions. All of them are not as they appear to be initially, and talking to them unlocks deep, wonderfully written stories and motivations. Rewards are also quite lovely this time around, awarding Energy Weapon enthusiasts with the stupidly powerful Holorifle, and lovers of Guns with a BAR! Dead Money nets a 10/10. Haters gonna hate!

Honest Hearts

Honest Hearts is certainly alot safer than Dead Money. You join up on a caravan heading to the Mormon town of New Canaan only to have your entire caravan killed by Legion hopefuls, The White Legs, just as you enter none other than real world national park Zion Valley. It is there that you meet The Burned Man, who some of you should know as the Legate before Legate Lanius. Turns out he didn't die despite being LIT ON FIRE AND TOSSED DOWN THE GRAND CANYON. Nope, he just walks away looking like a mummy with a kickass Colt .45 and Bible quotes to boot. There's also some other dudes that...exist I guess. They're kind of interesting, but The Burned Man, or Joshua Graham, effectively remains the only memorable character in this.

He just sits there checking pistols...SO COOL.

The story is also very straightforward; The local tribes that live in Zion are torn between fighting the White Legs or merely evacuating The Valley. This is complicated by the fact that Joshua really wants to fight the White Legs, AND that Zion was untouched by the bombs and is absolutely GORGEOUS. Seriously, this DLC is worth playing for a look of Zion alone! There's also this actually very interesting back story about how the natives came to believe in a god called "The Father in the Caves", that is really worth looking into, since it's both well written and offers some damn good loot when you complete it.

The White Legs always have really good equipment to loot, which is nice.

There's not really alot else to say about Honest Hearts, which I suppose is its problem: It's rather plain. Yao Guai from FO3 make a return, but unless you count the Green Geckos, the only substantial new enemies are just super sized versions of the regular creatures. To be fair though, nothing will make you shit your pants in fear quite as well as several Giant Cazadores flying at a Mach 1 collision course with your skull. It offers some nice rewards, and there are really cool parts that shine through the mundanity, like Graham and Zion itself. 7/10.

Old World Blues

Immediately bouncing back from the blandness that was Honest Hearts comes Old World Blues, which is easily the wackiest experience Fallout has to offer. You get teleported to The Big Empty, a crater that used to be a mountain housing a massive scientific facility. The Big Empty's name is a bit of an oxymoron; It is indeed VERY big, the largest of all the DLC to date, but it is most certainly not empty.

Dotted all across Big MT are facilities where all manner of bizarre top secret experiments were carried out, so expect to find both really cool stuff and horrific monsters that want a taste of your face. You could literally explore for HOURS without so much as touching the story, but that's not to imply the story isn't also fun. In a rather strange twist of events, your kidnappers this time are brains floating in also-floating jars, who call themselves The Think Tank. These goofballs were the head scientists of Big MT before the war, and now they spend all day just capturing hapless fools and lobotomizing them. For some reason, you managed to not be lobotomized, but now your brain, heart, and spine are all out of you, and your brain has...Run away. I'm dead serious.

Writing this must have been a lot of fun.
The Think Tank, with no idea how to fight or defend themselves, then task you with defeating their traitor Dr Mobius and his ARMY OF ROBOT SCORPIONS (It's actually said this way, very loudly, every single time.) who they think has your brain, but in case it wasn't obvious by the fact that they somehow forgot what humans look like (Your toes are mistaken for penises.), they're kinda stupid. Not to mention one of them actually MADE THE FUCKING CAZADORES. Talking to them is a blast though, all of it very funny, and fans of the Venture Brothers will notice that Dr 0 is voiced by the same talent behind Rusty Venture! The story is actually somewhat heartfelt and melancholy at some points, making the title seem more fitting, but for the most part is a very funny, self-aware sort of sci-fi adventure, with plenty of swag to keep you coming back for more. 8/10.

Lonesome Road

LR was intended to be a finale of sorts, the last DLC as well as some manner of closure for The Courier. All throughout the game hints have been dropped regarding this mysterious "other" courier who turned down the job that ultimately got you shot in the head. Well, in Lonesome Road, he reaches out to you, inviting you to come face him in a hellhole known simply as The Divide. Similar to Point Lookout, you can leave LR anytime you want, which unfortunately removes alot of the urgency from what is intended to be a sort of "race against time" affair. As the name implies, you are to travel with no companions and you can bring anything you want for this, and you'll NEED everything because LR pulls out all the stops to give you one last ball pounding. Deathclaws that scale with your level are EVERYWHERE, the new enemies in the game, The Marked Men and The Tunnelers, are both crazy tough, and The Road itself has no doctors of any kind.

It's fairly normal to fight 3 at a time in this DLC.

 The landscape is what I'd imagine the world immediately after the bombs to look. The area that became The Divide was actually a stockpile for nukes, and alot of them went off before they could even be deployed, so The Divide is a savage land wracked by radioactive dust storms and consists of twisted steel and rubble almost exclusively. There's not much back story except your own, which the game attempts to put together that you are actually responsible for all this devastation, and now Ulysses, the other courier, wants revenge by using the still working nukes to blow up New Vegas...Wait, that doesn't make sense!

This guy is about as intimidating a pomeranian.

Ulysses goes on about this big spiel that you ruined a budding society, so his response is the same fucking thing? How petty! It seems weird that it just sorta throws this on you and expects you to care, seeing as how one of the main points in Fallout is to have a character with a blank slate. There are some nice action sequences, a fairly epic finale, and some really nice weapons and upgrades to the ED-E companion. The story is lame, which is a bit disappointing, and I was frankly expecting alot more out of it. After so many hours sunk into the game, I suppose my expectations were just too high. Lonesome Road gets a 7/10.

If you like this stuff, please comment about it! It feels good to actually get some talking in a series called "Let's Talk About", and it validates me making more of these. Aw hell, I'm gonna keep making these things anyway. Next time, we'll be begin talking about the cancelled Fallout games, starting with the Fallout 3 that never was, Van Buren! Until next time.

More Let's Talk About:

June 22, 2014

Let's talk about: Fallout 3 DLC

Author's Note: Wow, it's been awhile. I understand no one was chomping at the bit for more of these, but at the same time, I really wanted to keep coming back to work on it some more. So here I am, ready for another Let's Talk About, I hope you like it.

Downloadable content is a rather contentious issue, ya know? People are very split on it for some reason. The argument for dictates that through DLC you have a way to go back and continue to enjoy an experience without paying full price for it. The argument against says that more often than not the content provided should have been free, and that DLC's are just a way greedy developers can nickle and dime their fans. While I can certainly see both sides, and there are times when the latter is true, never has the former been more apparent than with the Fallout DLC's.

There are 8 of them in total, 4 for 3 and 4 for NV. I'm going to break each one down separately so you may draw down separately, so this might be a bit lengthy. Here goes.

Operation: Anchorage

History is really important to Fallout's overall theme. It being a "what-if" sort of universe where we all decided plastics and fuel efficiency were dumb, it's interesting to look back and see how it all turned into nuclear armageddon. Operation: Anchorage does that...Sort of. Specifically, it covers the high point of the conflict between the United States and China, that acted as the prelude to said nuclear armageddon. It's explained away with a fancy VI machine the Brotherhood Outcasts contract you to use for them, in exchange for "phat lewt". You are placed in the shoes of an American soldier, tasked with carrying out the aforementioned Operation: Anchorage.

Gameplay takes a bizarre turn in this one; As it is a virtual reality, you cannot loot bodies since they phase out of existence. You heal all damage and refill ammo and pick up new weapons at pre-determined points as you run along gunning down commies. Apparently Bethesda wanted to see what would happen if Fallout was a Call of Duty clone. To be fair, there are attempts at new RPG-sort of things here. You get to form a squad using a limited number of tokens to select members, and you get to choose what path you take to the end. Unfortunately, this is sort of lost since your squad mates kinda suck and you'll be doing most of the work anyway. There's no inherent challenge to it whatsoever, and there's about TWO FUCKING QUESTS, after which you win and get the delicious swag promised to you.

I actually forgot about this fucker. Never mind, DLC is hard as balls.
The swag alone is worth it, and it is mercifully short, but ultimately Anchorage gets a 4/10.

Broken Steel

I mentioned in my FO3 review that the game had a shit ending, and it did. It's rather funny how angry everyone got with the ending to this game, yet Bioware just went ahead and did the same thing years later, for a TRILOGY of games no less. But unlike Bioware, Bethesda was quick to fix the issue with Broken Steel, a special add-on that changes the ending, and then some. See, it lets you actually continue playing after the main campaign, and even offers a brand new, HARD AS BALLS campaign that I actually really like. This one has a lot of great cinematic moments, and the explosive climax makes me completely forget the utterly bland story presented up until this point. New enemies are added, and most of them are wicked powerful, if not utterly broken. Ghoul Reavers, in particular, soak up a stupid amount of damage while still being able to chunk your health at even your highest levels with the best armor.

Fuck these things, too.

The whole game has been reworked to be more challenging to higher level players, and it works. Broken Steel is the only DLC that I'd say is quite necessary. 10/10.

The Pitt

This was the first DLC that added a genuinely new location, and the remains of the urban tumor that is Pittsburgh is certainly one that immediately catches your eye. It's a stark, glowing furnace of hellfire, quite literally.

Play "Engine City" from Bioshock to this. It's oddly fitting.

The Pitt, as Pittsburgh is now called, is a massive ammunition plant, run by an army of slavers and their respective slaves. You are presented with the choice of liberating the slaves or siding with the slavers but before any of THAT happens, you start out as a slave. You are tossed in with all your gear confiscated, forced to fight the new deadly creatures called Trogs as you collect metal for the furnaces and fight in a gladiator arena for your freedom. Aside from the ridiculous amount of new armor and weapons The Pitt brings to play, the story is the only one of all the DLC's that actually allows choice in how the conflict is resolved. The Pitt itself is a very interesting locale, and I wish there were more quests in The Pitt itself. The Pitt also comes with a morale choice, as the people of the Pitt all suffer from this bizarre disease that's never explained in great detail.

Deciding their fate ultimately has little impact, and it feels tacked on. The Pitt gets a 7/10 from me.

Point Lookout

Point Lookout is pretty much what I wanted out of a DLC; A vast new and unique land to explore, with new quests and characters to love. It's a shame it's so horribly unbalanced, but who cares?! Fallout in exotic locations is one of my immediate deal makers, and Point Lookout puts Fallout on the swampy islands of Maryland, so sign me up!

Fallout: Louisiana needs to happen!

The best part about this particular DLC is that if you get frustrated or don't have the levels to take it on, you can just leave! The story is not forced on you like every other DLC, and this is for the best considering the insane difficulty of this particular item. Point Lookout makes you its bitch with artificial difficulty that is out of this world; Tribals that should take and do as much damage as Raiders suddenly fight like they're Enclave troopers, and don't even get me started on the fucking Inbreds, that, despite being...inbred, are incredibly smart and can accurately shoot you square in the face with a double barrel shotgun at 500 kilometers. Were it not for the locale and variety, I'd tell Point Lookout to kiss my ass.

The story's a pretty good one too, despite its distinct feeling of unimportance, and like most DLC has some very nice rewards that are worth working for, so ultimately Point Lookout scores an 8/10.

Mothership Zeta

This is the worst time I've had with the series since Brotherhood of Shit. Granted, anything is better than THAT, but this is still absolute garbage, despite the loot. Do you remember in Fallout 1 that you could find a wrecked alien spaceship, complete with alien skeletons and working gun? Well, Mothership Zeta attempts to follow up on that by having you straight up abducted. Though the presentation is cool enough, and the alien spaceship has some cool scenery, it stops being fun about 5 minutes in, when you suddenly realize in horror that the entire run through the ship is going to be the same: A monotonous grind through nonthreatening enemies and the occasional bullshit hard moment. The game TRIES to add variety with a group of NPC's, all of which are people abducted from Earth over a long period of time and cryogenically frozen. You can even meet an honest-to-god SAMURAI WARRIOR, who even speaks Japanese!

You aren't important, are you? 'Cuz I really like your armor...

Awesomeness of that aside, the gameplay consists of running through increasingly uninspired and boring alien ship environments, gunning down the same weak and ineffectual "Grey"-styled alien for about 3 goddamn hours. There are some attempts at variety, with a spacewalk section, some sort of strange "Alien Pinball" sort of thing, and the conclusion in which you fight another ship (This is not even close to being as cool as it sounds.). There's also these insanely powerful "Abomination" creatures, which are implied to be alien-human hybrids. Implied meaning there is virtually no story in this thing and you just have to infer. The game goes all Bioshock on you by leaving a crap load of Audio Logs that frame a story but it ultimately falls flat because there IS NO FRAME. It is never explained what the aliens want, why they abduct people, or why they create these hybrids that just end up killing them too, anyway!

Fuck Mothership Zeta, not even the incredibly powerful and high value alien weaponry would make me play this shit again, 1/10.

Don't agree with me? That's awesome! Share your love for Fallout and comment DLC feels bellow, from the best to the worst (if there is the worst one in your world), and you try to rate them. It is the whole point of "Let's talk about" series, to talk about and share love for Fallout. Make sure to read the next Let's Talk About to learn what I think about the New Vegas DLC.

More Let's Talk About:

Fallout 1, 2 Tactics, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4