I’m Going To Finish Fallout 2 If It Kills Me

First off, I apologize for the recent lapse in posting. Real-life routines have recently kept me away from my own computer for days at a time. Fortunately, the few sporadic minutes I’ve had to check e-mail over the weekend has been enough to stave off the withdrawal symptoms.

And speaking of withdrawal, I’ve managed to become addicted to Nuka Cola. (See what I did there?)

Yes, before I got pulled away from my desktop last week, I loaded up Fallout 2 once again, along with the Fallout 2 Restoration Project. I’m trying to finally get through it without crippling my character, (whom I’ve named Dufresne,) with poor stat choices or running into any save-corrupting bugs. I think this is my fifth or sixth attempt to get through the game, and fortunately, the glitch that ended the last one, which involved setting off dynamite in the Modoc outhouse, was absent this time around. (I still made sure to back up all my save files before trying it again.)

I’ve actually managed to get the car for the first time, and holy cow, does that junker make the game more enjoyable. Shorter travel time + no more inventory woes = happy Dufresne.

I’m still not a fan of the game locking away whole quest chains just because I chose a wrong bit of dialogue two towns back. In one particularly brutal example, I inadvertantly caused a war between two neighboring settlements, leading to one’s annihilation and the other’s eventual starvation, just because I’d given some money to a drunk guy in a bar 100 miles away.

I’ve run into some great characters, though. My favorite so far is the leader of the ghoul town of Gecko, who has a small tree growing out of his head that he’s named Bob. What makes him particularly interesting is that he’s a holdover from Fallout, and remembers the Vault Dweller from the first game.

It’s become quickly apparent, however, that to really experience most of the game’s content, intelligence is the most important stat in the game. It’s a lot like another Black Isle Studios effort, Planescape: Torment, in which wisdom was by far the best stat to boost during character creation. If you don’t give your character enough of the stat in question, you’ll end up earning fewer experience points and less of the game’s story will be delivered. Obviously, I simply cannot tolerate the latter consequence, so I made sure to make Dufresne a gun-toting genius.

Ultimately, I’ve found that, like with Planescape: Torment, the writing in Fallout 2  is fantastic, but to get most of it you have to slog through some tedium. Errand-boy quests can be an even bigger pain than usual, since towns are often arranged linearly, so you have to run through the same three or four areas over and over again as you run back and forth. Another small complaint I have is that the benefit of stealing is so immense that it’s nearly game-breaking. At first, I tried to play a character who wasn’t a petty thief, but that quickly went out the window when I realized how much ammunition I could get for free if I pumped up my “steal” skill and treated everyone I talked to like a walking grab bag.

And yes, I got Dufresne addicted to Nuka Cola after drinking just one. That’s actually less implausible than you’d think. I know a friend of my mom’s who used to go through four or five Diet Cokes a day.

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