Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Friend Indeed: Part 3

I was alone. I had to do this mission on my own. I started to panic.

Some soldier was explaining to me what I needed to do but I couldn’t pay attention. I had to figure out how to do this without my friend Fawkes. I didn’t know what to do; I was in an unfamiliar land with unfamiliar people. This soldier finished his say and started climbing the face of the mountain. I just stood there dumbly. Was I supposed to climb this mountain? How do I climb? Did I miss the tutorial while bemoaning the loss of a friend?

I didn’t know if I hack it…

But then I thought to myself, “No, I can do this!” I had to make Fawkes proud. I had to make sure he knew that his presence had made me grow as a bastion of self-confidence in the Capital Wasteland. And damn it, if I could do it in D.C. then I can do it in Alaska!

I found my way down the path to the enemy Chinese invaders. I could hear Fawkes in my mind bellowing out a great war cry as I hacked down a soldier with my trench knife. This would be my moment to shine. This would be my glorious return as the lone savior from Vault 101.

I fought tanks, invisible soldiers and platoon after platoon of communist invaders. I blew up their artillery, destroyed their gas supply and disengaged their pulse field. I was unstoppable.

Then it happened.

I was charging the final bunker with a small army of soldiers. There was an explosion and a rain of bullets. The camera angle changed and a swell of brass instruments played as I watched my avatar slump to the ground, taken out by filthy communists. It was sobering. For the past 30 hours of game play I hadn’t died once. My streak was over.

It was a strange sensation waiting for the game to reload. I felt an emotion somewhere between woe and betrayal. The game had lured me into a false sense of security and then pulled the rug from underneath me. It made the fact that Fawkes wasn’t there that much more bitter.

It was a pretty low blow.

I finished the mission in a couple of hours and I returned to the Capital Wasteland two levels stronger and war hardened. I was rewarded with armor that never had to be repaired and guns that were previously unavailable until now. I collected my boon and once again I found myself “over encumbered”.

Being “over encumbered” normally isn’t that much of a problem. Well, at least it wasn’t when Fawkes was around. It was a painful reminder that he was gone. He could be anywhere. He probably abandoned me after I took this dumb mission. I thought to myself, “Well, this is going to be a long, lonely walk back to my storage locker.” I took a deep breath and opened up the door to the Capital Wasteland and there he was.

Just as dumbly as I had found him, Fawkes was standing there looking around and patiently waiting for me to return. I ran up to him and said, “Oh, thank you Jesus-God!” I unloaded all my extra equipment on him walked out into the Capital Wasteland.

Normally, you can instantly travel to places you have already been, but not today. I was with Fawkes. We walked all the way back to my storage locker in Megaton. On the way we fought Raiders, Yao Guai and Mirelurks. I told him about my adventures in Anchorage. Hell, I even sung him the Danny Kaye song “Civilization” when it came on Galaxy News Radio (I let him sing the Andrews Sisters parts).

All was well in post-apocalyptia.

The Capital Wasteland is big, dangerous and scary and it is best not to brave it on your own. I found my friend in Fallout 3 and on October 19 Fallout New Vegas hits the streets. Who will travel with me to the Hoover Dam? Who will go with me to the nuclear testing site? Who will travel with me to the Grand Canyon?

Who will be my friend in the deserts of Nevada?

By: James Hrom
Edited: Alex Daniel

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Friend Indeed: Part 2

Fast forward to the fall of the Enclave. The HQ was going up in flames and I narrowly escaped with my life. I climbed down the mountain and there was my friend Fawkes. He was shooting down Enclave with his Gatling Laser Gun and I was pretty impressed. “It looks like you got a new toy,” I responded to his warm greeting. I asked him if he wanted to follow me and he agreed. And with this, a new chapter of my story as the lone savior of Capital Wasteland began.

Fawkes became my right-hand man. If I was a little timid about going into an area infested with Raiders, his battle cry would inspire me to run head first into the fray. If I had become “over encumbered” with loot I could turn to him and say, “Let’s trade equipment.” He would respond in an enthusiastic growl “Yes, let's.” It never failed to put a smile on my face. I even find it poignant that he would happily kill any mutant that stood in my way.

All in all, Fawkes was a good friend. That’s not to say he didn't have his flaws. He’s a Super Mutant so he’s super strong and for a while he would kill enemies before I could even get close. This would rob me of the precious experience points I would gain if I had at least shot them once. Randomly, Fawkes would incessantly shoot at a dead creature as if in some mad panic. Though it’s obviously a glitch in the game, I told myself that he was blowing off some steam. Then there was that time in Rivet City when he started shooting at nothing. It almost ended badly but I'm a better diplomat than Fawkes.

The landscape of Fallout 3 was scary. It’s nice to have someone there to help you out. I'd compare it to watching a scary movie alone and being truly horrified or watching it with a friend and making fun of it the whole time. Since Fawkes joined me, I hadn’t died once, which brings me to the reason why I started writing this.

The other day I went all the way out the Patton Creek Game Stop to pick up the “Game of the Year” edition of Fallout 3. This version of the game comes with all the expansion packs and I was equipped with a gift card I received for Christmas (Thanks, Ryan and Krystn). I was ready to take on the streets of Pittsburgh, shoot down redneck mutants, and liberate Alaska from the Communist pigs. What I got was a harsh lesson in losing a friend.

I installed the expansions on my Xbox 360 and waited for the game to inform me that it was time to start my new missions. I wanted to take on Anchorage. In the trailer it looked cool and I was excited. I traveled southeast, fought past some mutants (with the help of Fawkes, of course), and finally met up with some folks with rather bad attitudes.

They were from the Brotherhood of Steel (the group I had allied myself with in the game) but also sort of bounty hunters. They told me that if I wanted a share of some valuable equipment I would need to complete a simulation, the liberation of Alaska. I reluctantly agreed, put on a neural suit and was whisked away to a snowy cliff side. I looked to my left then to my right. Fawkes was not there. I looked down the face of the cliff, nothing. I checked my radar and there was nothing.

My friend, my foundation, my mutant were gone.

I literally gasped aloud.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Friend Indeed: Part 1

So, the other day I convinced a computer to destroy itself and therefore bring down the evil regime known as the Enclave. I only had a 25% chance of persuading the machine to self-destruct but lady luck smiled on me and I was successful. I took the FEV and quickly escaped Raven Rock. There were explosions, fallen Enclave, downed allied robots and finally Fawkes.

I love Fallout 3. It is one of the best games I’ve played in a very long time. I love the story, I love the characters, I love the way it plays, and I love the way it’s stylized. It all reminds me of playing Final Fantasy 7 and if you know me even remotely, I wouldn’t say something like that if I didn’t mean it.

The game spends a lot of time trying to immerse you in a world where you feel like you are a legitimate moral agent in this post-apocalyptic wasteland. And I must say that it does a damn fine job at that. Who you chose to help or kill determines your “karma”. You can help reunite a family, which accumulates positive karma, or shoot up a room full of innocent civilians, which bodes quite ill for your karma. One of the consequences of your good or bad karma is the people who choose to ally themselves with you. I killed the Slavers, I never stole nor was I simply ugly to anyone arbitrarily. My reward was Fawkes the Super Mutant.

I think it’s worth telling Fawkes’ story before I tell you why this NPC has made my experience of Fallout 3 memorable. I accidentally ran across Fawkes on a mission. I was supposed to investigate a Vault, a safe haven for those who were seeking shelter from the fallout of nuclear war. Something had gone terribly wrong and experiments were being conducted on humans and animals.

I passed by one of the locked labs and saw a super mutant trapped inside. He cried out in a sad vacuous tone. He wanted help and I was the only one who could help him. I remember feeling conflicted because I had killed so many mutants. Was it a trick? Did he know? If I helped him would it seal my fate as yet another victim of the mutants?

I decided to hear him out. He talked about how he wasn’t one of the brutish mutants of the wasteland. He used to be a scientist but the mutation had made him forget who he was and what he had learned as a human. He had spent his time in the locked lab accessing the computer and learning about the world. A self-educated brute, I found it touching.

I decided I would help him. I unlocked the doors, released him and there he was, a super mutant that, until this point, I would have given a buckshot makeover. Instead, hell, I gave him a gun and he started mowing down all the marks that showed up on my radar. Because of his mutation he had become immune to radiation and ran through the highly irradiated underbelly of the fallout shelter Vault (92) while I waited patently for him to bring me the G.E.C.K. (an item I needed to complete the mission). After we left the Vault we parted ways. I wouldn’t see him again for weeks.

By: Jimmy Hrom

Edited: Alex Daniel

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fallout Series. Re: Fawkes

So, there is a new Fallout game coming out next week and I have a 3 part series based on Fallout 3 to celebrate the occasion. It was started a while ago so some of it is a little dated but I think you all will get the idea. I hope you will enjoy it!

Keep your eyes open for later today.