yeah, for some reason, i skipped over the topic i hinted at two weeks ago last week, so we should probably rectify that now. and that topic would be… Fallout 3. now i’ve long touted the excellence of this series of RPGs (or turn-based strategy or whatever you want to label Fallout: Tactics as) and have played the hell out of them in my day (and even convinced my Irish sidekick to do the same, because he’s impressionable like that). they’re excellent and gritty games, they allow you to shoot guys in the eyes with large-caliber weapons instead of slaying them with some ridiculous Final Fantasy-style sword, and, as i have often said, they had some excellent voice acting. yeah, okay, i’ve probably run this into the ground, but here we go again: Fallout: Tactics featured R. Lee Ermey and Kurtwood Smith (best known around here for his “bitches leave” line in RoboCop) along with series stalwart Ron Pearlman, who overcame his caveman origins to become a great video game narrator. the whole series has a great “here’s what would happen to the world of the future that guys from the 1950s saw coming if it got exploded by nuclear weapons.” and since the only thing i rep harder than zombie apocalypses (yeah, hey, we’ll get to a Left 4 Dead post soon enough) is nuclear apocalypses… well, you see how i could get enthralled with this series.
however, in a moment of great sadness to nerds everywhere, some years back Black Isle Studios got killed off in the middle of developing a proper third entry in the series (operating under the title of Van Buren) that was considered 80-90% complete, though that might just have been nerd optimism. and many of us nerds feared that we’d never see another entry in the series… until 2004, when our local heroes at Bethesda Softworks announced they had the rights to make a sequel and were going to make one. what? but they were working on Oblivion and i think us cynics assumed we’d never see an actual product.
but then in 2007, we heard Ron Pearlman was involved, and teasers featuring my beloved Ink Spots appeared; you might recall the Ink Spots from… uh… well, they’re a group from the 1930s, so i guess just Fallout and that one Guinness ad where the drinker of Guinness is hallucinating about seeing Guinness everywhere to the tune of their “My Prayer.” and so, starting to think this was the real deal, i pre-ordered this game and prepared to be disappointed (because i am super-negative like that and, in fairness, there WAS that one console game that i am pretending didn’t happen). so what happened then?
THAT awesomeness arrived. i am not ashamed to admit that i did a little dance. eh, fuck you, don’t judge me, that bobblehead is awesome. and it also came with a copy of this game called Fallout 3. and a lunchbox!
as for the game? having not beaten it yet because i spend a small amount of my time a) working or b) running around in a fictional wasteland fighting with robots for the hell of it (fuck that “plot progression” thing), i will still say it’s completely awesome. some points:
–voice acting is still excellent; beyond Pearlman, names that came in are Liam Neeson and Malcolm McDowell, both of whom we can probably agree have cool voices, even if McDowell DID have that whole “fisting” thing in Caligula that’s caused a co-worker to replicate it and FREAK US OUT all the damn time. also, you know, the no-names are quality as well. they’re just not at Ron Pearlman’s level of coolness.
–the game seems true to the originals, or at least true enough that you shouldn’t bitch about it. personally, i dig Fallout: Tactics, but apparently it was odd enough to be declared non-canon; that shouldn’t be an issue here. the soundtrack and atmosphere have that “future world based on an old vision of the future” feel, the Ink Spots returned for the game’s trailers, and all the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. and V.A.T.S. stuff is back for character-building and combat, respectively.
–as far as V.A.T.S. goes, you know, it’s definitely different because the game went from 3/4-overhead to first-person, but it still works in its current form. i’m a big enough man to take the gift of what V.A.T.S. is, even if it’s weird, because most current games would just say “fuck off” to the fans of turn-based gaming (me and, uh, i don’t know who else, but there’s got to be someone), whereas Bethesda Softworks didn’t and gave us this compromise method, which isn’t perfect, but which works.
–as a native of Maryland, as much as i enjoyed crawling around on the nuke-blasted remains of the west coast (Fallouts 1 and 2) or the midwest (Fallout: Tactics), it’s much neater in this game to crawl around in the nuke-blasted remains of the DC metro area. oh, and to play with Abraham Lincoln’s hat!
but most of all, having heard an old favorite was back in this game, i had to find out of this was the case. so what about your canine sidekick Dogmeat?
i have to admit that when i finally tracked this scrappy little dog down on his trashy hiding place, i was way more excited than i should be about a computer-generated character
he’s back and he’s awesome and there’s not much that i find more awesome than adventuring with a loyal dog. i get legitimately nostalgic for the times i had an awesome dog, but since i don’t anymore, this computer-generated one is going to have to do. i mean, i COULD go play with the dog that lives next door, but that fucking thing is CRAZY. it bites at the back of my head and it’s never once helped me kill a super mutant! Dogmeat is way better.
i don’t give a fuck WHAT kind of “master” you are, super mutant, if you hurt my dog, i will fucking KILL YOU, and probably in a way that involves your head exploding after a critical strike
so buy Fallout 3 immediately and play it right after you get home and enjoy it, because it’s awesome. especially if you’re one of the guys i know who hasn’t been wild about all RPGs, but who really liked Bioshock; you should like Fallout 3 as well. you know what you have to do.
no, not that kind of PSP
standard house of hate news: originally, i was going to pick up another “assault weapon” around this time, what with president-elect Obama not being a huge fan of my hobby and all the gun dealers and purchasers either jacking up their prices or buying furiously in the throes of “Obama fever,” as i call it, but then this little guy came to me at a bit of a reduced price and i felt i couldn’t pass it up. i did that with a nicely-priced S&W M29 one time and i STILL feel bad about it. and recently i got this adorable little box!
awww. and the insides are even better:
that’s right, it’s a little HK P7 (as seen used by Hans Gruber in Die Hard). that one there’s a little PSP model, which means it’s got some years on it (much like i do) and the magazine release is European-style, but it still has the squeeze-cocking and fixed barrel and all-around quality German engineering that we all love so much, even if the magazine capacity (8) might leave a little to be desired. but like i said, they love to price these things so that no man can afford them, so i’ll just be thankful for what i’ve got. okay? okay.
also, i wouldn’t expect a Left 4 Dead update next week, even though it drops shortly, because i have a lot of Fallout 3 to play. oh yeah.