All posts for the month July, 2016

Is full of seemingly deliberate little shout outs to Red Dead Redemption, from the horse mechanics to the way you skin an animal (when you occasionally, in a quest, take a trophy that is.)

It’s pretty amazing to me just how hinky the 3D work and animation can be in a AAA title, though. I guess I notice this stuff more now even with my intermediate experience level, but holy crap the Witcher leaves environmental art to a standard I’d be embarrassed to release if I had their team and their budget.

Last night, I felt all Joan-Crawfordy when I got into a gunfight at Finch Farm. Actually, in Johnny Guitar, Joan only squares off against Mercedes McCambridge, so my gunfight was much better.

By Republic Pictures (source) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Anyway, you may recall that Finch Farm sits in a very troubled zone. It’s surrounded by enemies on three sides. First, you have the super mutant satellite station to the south (I’m not sure about the exact directions). Then, across a river to the east you have a Gunner camp. Finally, to the north there’s an abandoned plant occupied by Forged raiders. This omits all the wildlife that wanders in from various directions.

To make matters worse, the river is a favorite travel guide for provisioners and caravans, who for some reason pass right beneath the Forged plant and within spitting distance of the Gunner camp. This goes on all the time, so they constantly draw fire.

So I was visiting the farm last night to install a robot workshop. I had just finished a really nasty bot when some shots rang out. A caravan guard had attracted the attention of a gunner on an overpass above their camp. This alerted the Forged raiders, who also started shooting at the guard and a new arrival — one of my provisioners. Of course, everyone from Finch Farm ran over to the river to participate, which resulted in a giant mess. Everybody was shooting everybody.

In the midst of all this, a nearby Brotherhood of Steel platoon was engaging the super mutants to the south, and yet another passing provisioner got mixed up in the fight.

I’ve never seen anything like this. The entire area was lit up. Total pandemonium. It was one of those insane moments when I wished I could record a video because it’s the kind of thing you don’t believe until you see it. My robot went nuts and started massacring every enemy it could find. I lost track of it and still don’t know whether or not it survived.

Somehow the provisioner in the BoS/mutant fight got hit in such a way that he went hostile on me, so at this point I decided to run away and hide. After a very long time, the fight was over and the Finch Farm people went back to farming and sitting on the porch. I was about to leave when I started receiving fire. It was the idiot provisioner again. The guy had a real grudge for some reason. I must have hit him accidentally and he hadn’t gotten over it. So I ran away again and barely escaped.

There are times when I love this game. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to populate Finch Farm and send lots of provisioners on that route.

I’ve been busy playing two of Fallout 4’s DLC offerings. As I was disinclined to spend $50 for the season pass (or even $30 before the price hike), I decided to wait until the most interesting items went on sale. Steam obliged me during their July-something extravaganza, during which Far Harbor and Automatron had some nominal money knocked off, so I got ’em.

Far Harbor


Me standing on Far Harbor’s dock

I won’t go into the plot except to say that it involves a conflict among three factions — synths, the Children of Atom, and the residents of Far Harbor township. I would like to say that one of these groups is less annoying than the other two, but that would be untruthful. They’re all equally in need of extermination by the island’s indigenous lifeforms, which include cryptobiological curiosities like gulpers, anglers, and my favorite: the giant hermit crab, which lies in wait for victims by using a seafood catering van as its shell. Otherwise, the fauna is collectively pedestrian. There are wolves, super mutants, and a new raider faction called “trappers,” and that’s pretty much it.

The island is a very large land mass, so Bethesda was telling the truth about that. Unfortunately, it’s mostly deserted. I haven’t seen everything, but I’ve covered enough ground to know that if you’re looking for a new theme park on the order of the original Commonwealth, you’ll be disappointed. Mostly you’ll be schlepping around in dark brushy areas — that is, when you’re not wading through swamps. There’s very little to discover, and when you do discover it, the loot is not worth collecting. The most prevalent feature is the radioactive fog that covers pretty much every square inch of this depressing megabog, so bring your power armor or biosuit or plenty of Rad-X and Radaway.

If anything stands out, it’s how much talking you have to do. Practically every interaction with every NPC involves passing a speech check, so you’ll want high Charisma. I think mine is 7 or thereabouts, and I constantly had to climb out of my power armor and don a sequin dress for the Charisma boost. Not infrequently, this wasn’t enough, so I had to pop a berry grape Mentat or some other chem to raise the stat even further. It’s a very talky business, especially if you want to reconcile all the disputing factions, which I did. This struck me as the most profitable course because I wanted access to all the fast-travel landing pads I could get. Not using fast travel was unthinkable, at least for me. There was nothing to see and no sense of adventure in walking around this soggy mess. You may feel differently.

I will say that you can get some pretty neat armor. It’s called Marine Recon and comes in three flavors, none of which are distinct enough to worry about. The stats are quite good, though. You can buy the armor at various merchants for a staggering sum, or you can find it by doing a miscellaneous quest, or you can get it for free as I did, but I won’t spoil that. Here’s a pic of the armor:

Me in the Marine Recon armor. This is the “Assault” version.

Rating: 5/10 bobbleheads (would advise waiting for a deep discount)



This DLC was considerably cheaper and, to my way of thinking, far more entertaining. There’s not much of a plot. Basically, rogue robots are committing various depredations and you have to get to the bottom of the mystery. The ending is quite funny, sort of sweet in a non-sappy way, and you get to make robots.

Here is one of the robots I made at Warwick Homestead:

One of my robots. For some reason, you can’t name them.

If you have enough Science, Robotics Expert, and certain other skills, such as Gun Nut or Blacksmith, you can make some extremely formidable bots. The process is pretty intuitive and fun, and you can collect lots of spare parts when you kill enemy machines. There’s also a new raider faction called the Dust Devils, who run around with their own bots, but otherwise they’re not very unique apart from their armor, which I did not especially covet.

Rating: 8/10 bobbleheads (again, wait for a sale)

This is turning into one of the best FPS games I have played in awhile. Its a little bit hard, the story is interesting(even for me who pays zero mind to story usually), you have to pay attention or you are dead, its creepy, something different around every corner.

Much of your time is spent navigating through the Moscow tunnel system which is very dark and atmospheric but hard to get a decent screenshot. The surface is a wasteland due to nuclear war but is also creepy as hell because of monsters. This was one of my first trips outside near the library.

Monsters are fast and when you see new ones you are like, WTF was that? This guy in particular you can kill but it takes a massive amount of ammo(which is sometimes scarce) to do it. There is a chance(I said, a chance) though that if you keep still and stare them right in the eyes like a grizzly bear, it will calm them and they will move on and leave you alone.

The game is just very well polished. Enemies won’t see you if you use cover or darkness.  If you try flanking, they flank you right back. There are Nazis, yes…..NAZIS! I was captured and though I was dead for sure and out of nowhere these two Comrades saved me in the nick of time: