Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fallout Boy

Well, I meant to have the optics uberpost done today, but Fallout 3 has eaten my brain; so instead I'm going to give you some tips.

First thing, I'm not even going to bother reviewing it; because if you've been paying any attention at all, other than the stability problems, this is probably the best game since portal came out. It's almost certainly the best action RPG to come out since the original DeusEx.

So, if you're a fan of the genre, you're going to love the game. In fact I'm presuming the only reason you don't have it already is because you haven't bothered upgrading your system since the LAST good game of the genre came out (Oblivion probably; and that was almost three years ago).

For this game, you really do need a recent processor; either a dual core of 1.8ghz or above; or a single core in the 3ghz range. You also need at the least a Geforce 8600, or something similar, to run at a reasonable resolution at high quality.

It runs just fine on my $80 GeForce 8600gt 512 (DDR3); even with everything turned all the way up at 1680X1040 windowed. I'd say that's about the minimum I'd want to run it on though. I do have to turn the details down from ultra to high when I go fullscreen 1920x1200.

Oh and it runs just fine on my laptop, which has an 8600GS 512mb discrete card, running at 1440x980. Again, if I shrink the window a bit it runs on ultra high in windowed mode, but wont run well at full rez on ultrahigh. I get jitter and slowdowns (unfortunately it also crashes like mad either way - less in full screen than in windowed - ; but that has nothing to do with performance, because it happens no matter the settings).

So it doesn't take THAT much horsepower. Crysis is far worse.

Alright first things first, character creation is CRITICAL. You don't get to increase your basic attributes (called S.P.E.C.I.A.L. in this game) very often, if at all, during the game; and they effect everything that comes after them very strongly, so you have to get it right.

No matter what type of character you want to play, intelligence is the most important stat by far; and should be prioritized above all others. You should start the game with a minimum of 8 in intelligence, and give serious thought to 9 or 10. Remember, intelligence determines your base score for all your technical skills, as well as the number of skill points you receive per level; so max it out.

Also critically important are agility and perception; again no matter what type of character you want to make; because they control your gun skills, your sneaking skills, and your manual dexterity skills like lockpicking (a CRITICAL skill in this game).

The wildcard is endurance; because it controls basic toughness, but is also the relevant stat for assault weapons like rocket launchers, miniguns, and cannons. Dont reduce it below 4, and consider taking a 6 just to have it for later.

Physical strength it relatively unimportant in this game. It accounts for inventory capacity (which is important certainly), and melee damage; but that's about it. Since you can't really play an all melee character successfully I'd deprecate strength. Don't go below 4 though or bad things happen (you lose access to certain perks etc...)

Just after chosing your SPECIALs, you'll be asked to "tag" three skills. You will then get an initial bonus to those skills. I recommend you chose your tagged skills out of the pool below.

I don't see how you can build a socially oriented character in this game and win; or even have fun. Although there is a lot of social interaction, the game doesn't give you many social ways to avoid combat; and most of the quests are... not quite combat oriented, but would be very difficult to accomplish without combat.

You MIGHT be able to get by with a sneaker though, by putting everything into sneaking, stealth oriented stuff, and science(for terminal hacking). Also, at some point you can pick up a sidekick (actually, you can apparently pick up several simultaneously; though I haven't got there yet)and it may be possible to survive with stealth alone until you do; then have them handle combat for you.

...Maybe... I kinda doubt it though. Sidekick characters in video games tend to do dumb things, like wander randomly into the line of fire, fall into things, and set off traps. Stealth is not their friend.

Now, onto game play.

In general, conserve and collect like mad. Everything is saleable, so if you see something that has a value more than 4 times its weight; it's worth picking up to sell later. This is a HIGHLY resource constrained game, so you're going to want to explore everywhere you can, grab and conserve all the ammo, stimpaks, and money you can.

Dont ignore Karma; it does make a difference.

Also, don't ignore luck. It determines how much ammo and money you find.

Once you get past the first storyline quests (past Moriarty in "following in his footsteps") stop following the main storyline.

Go and talk to everyone in megaton, and get their quests. Then talk to all the people you meet on those quests and get their quests. Do the little side quests etc...

Unlike most open world games, Fallout 3 ends when you complete the last mission of the main storyline; so do all the side quests as they come, don't save them for later.

Get up to level 5 or more (I'd say take it all the way to at least 8), and build up your stats.

Get your repair, and lockpick skill up into the 75 or more range. These are by far the two most important skills in the game. You will be using them constantly; and I recommend putting them up to 90 fairly quickly (it's easy to have items bring them to 100)

Medicine and light guns, are also important; especially in the beginning of the game; and again I'd say bring at least light guns up to 90 eventually.

Science, Explosives, Heavy guns, and energy weapons get more important as you go; but are little help in the beginning. You'll want to get science up to around 50 at least by the time you hit level 7 or 8.

Honestly, although the other skills do provide some value, and some interest; You really need to concentrate on the core skills I've mentioned. You need to get good to survive the higher level enemies; and "barter" doesn't help you much there (though it's certainly useful in the shops).

When you do your side quests, build up inventory and caps. If you haven't already got your intelligence at at least 8 (10 would be better... actually I'd say start the game over if you didn't initially set it to 8 or more), and your perception to at least 6 (8 would be better) take the "intense training" perk every level until you do.

Grab the Thief, Gun Nut, Educated, Toughness, and Swift learner perks as soon as possible (prioritized based on your play style), and consider taking multiple levels in each. Oh and hunt those bobbleheads for the skill and ability bonuses.

Then, when you're well sorted, get back on the storyline. You'll be much more likely to survive, use less stimpacks, deal with the big baddies a lot better in general etc...

Did I mention conserve ammo? Use your VATS; and use the cheap ammo weapons, like the 10mm pistol and 10mm submachine gun. Wait until they get close, and then go for multiple headshots at high percentage.

Get good at light guns, and use the hunting rifle A LOT. It is by far my most used weapon. Once you're good, you can do some serious long range sniping with it using VATS. No, it's nowhere near as accurate as the sniper rifle; but the ammo is far easier to find, and far cheaper.

The combat shotgun is the best close quarters weapon of the first half of the game. The hunting rifle, the best for medium to long ranges, until you can get the lincoln repeater (and the .44 ammo for the lincoln is a pain to find in comparison). The assault rifle and SMG are useful for the midrange as well, but are wasteful of ammo, and inaccurate. I much prefer using my hunting rifle and VATS to make precision kills.

You're going to be in the washington DC metro tunnels a lot. Take every opportunity you can to pop up out of the stations, so you can set a map marker, and fast travel back there when you need to.

Repair, repair, repair, repair. Gather a half doezn duplicates of items you want to use and keep, and repair constantly. Keep your armor and wepaons as close to 100% as possible.

Lots more to come as I continue playing.