Scourge of Humanity

Tread softly in these caves.

Sneaking through the Deathclaw Sanctuary (with a Stealth Boy or two) was arguably Homicidal Harriet’s most dangerous excursion yet. Especially when the second Stealth Boy wore off just as I collected Vengeance, leaving me armed and exposed for the trek back out of the cave. Thankfully, as one would expect, Vengeance reduced everything to giblets, and being seen wasn’t nearly as fatal as it could’ve been. I’d been buying Electron Charge Packs for some time, and while I didn’t have enough for continued usage, I did have enough to get this ludicrous weapon back home.

And now I carry it with me always.

Vengeance is a costly acquisition, though. It tears through Electron Charge Packs as quickly as it tears through the opposition. It’s also difficult (and expensive) to repair, as its condition degrades quickly, and there are few who can fully repair it. But it fundamentally changes the build.

Homicidal Harriet can’t usually deal ranged damage, and Big Guns allow her to, which won’t necessarily be a concern once I’ve recovered the Chinese Stealth Armor, but some enemies are super-absorbent bullet sponges. Even a sneak attack critical with the Deathclaw Gauntlet won’t be enough, but the rapid fire of Vengeance might be. Operation: Anchorage was now, due to my unusual approach, necessary for the continued success of the build, and so to Alaska she went. If you’ve invested in Small Guns (as most do) the simulation isn’t that difficult, but if you haven’t then you’ve got few ways to actually deal damage. Sneaking isn’t an option, either. Stealth Boys are rare and any that you’ve found are lost when reporting to General Chase. Not that it’s impossible if you’ve not invested in Small Guns. It’s just tedious.

Gaze upon the Mother Punga in awe.

Having previously crafted the Deathclaw Gauntlet, the acquisition of the Chinese Stealth Armor, alongside the acquisition of Vengeance, meant that this build was rapidly realising its true potential. Proving to be as diverse as I’d hoped that it would be. Not all situations are created equally, and while the Deathclaw Gauntlet is powerful, it’s not going to be the answer to every problem. Vengeance still has its uses. And that’s why I enjoy these quirky builds, as they encourage you to be creative and that creativity often results in seeing things that you’ve not seen before.

Or it highlights glitches.

As was the case with Haley, of Haley’s Hardware, in Point Lookout, who I had always believed to be one of the few NPCs who could fully repair equipment. When inherently he can’t, and it’s actually a glitch, as his Repair increases with each visit, and so he eventually gains the ability to do so.

Revisiting Point Lookout is one of the highlights of this build. I do love it so. Sailing in through the fog on the Duchess Gambit to greet the eerie shores of Point Lookout, then meandering through a decaying shell of society and hazardous swamps. It’s a great atmosphere. One of being truly alone in a harsh, unforgiving, and unpredictable world. Something that Fallout 3 done incredibly well. Fallout: New Vegas was impressive in its own way, but it never felt as lonely as Fallout 3 did, and that’s why I’ve always enjoyed the Capital Wasteland. It feels like a post-apocalyptic landscape. Devoid of humanity, but rife with dangerous creatures and murderous marauders. Fallout 3 also allowed the more distasteful pursuits, which suit this character, and suit the wasteland, but were absent in later instalments.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Homicidal Harriet

The G.O.A.T. couldn’t predict this.

You could try to blame Butch for her predilection towards violence, but her childhood trauma doesn’t explain why those who haven’t done her wrong are just as likely to be ceremoniously dismembered. Or atomised by a nuclear bomb. As was the fate of the inhabitants of Megaton. Who welcomed her, and whose kindness was repaid with undoubtedly the most heinous atrocity that she will ever commit. Executed under instruction from Mr. Burke, in service to Alistair Tenpenny, owner of the illustrious Tenpenny Tower, which is soon to experience a hostile takeover.

An incredibly hostile takeover.

If the residents of Tenpenny Tower weren’t insufferable elitist bigots a peaceful resolution might be possible, but they are, so a violent resolution becomes necessary, as she proudly advocates equality for all who reside in the Capital Wasteland. They’re all equally as likely to be murdered.

Following the success of Murderous Mabel, the courier who sowed despair across the entire Mojave Wasteland, Homicidal Harriet was born, and after being exiled from Vault 101 began her own misadventures. Homicidal Harriet will attempt to experience the aspects of Fallout 3 that I’ve not seen before, much like Murderous Mabel did in Fallout: New Vegas, and will be unequivocally evil. I’ll be building around Melee Weapons, Unarmed, and Big Guns as I’ve not (solely) built around those before. I’ll also be relying on the Intense Training perk for the first time. Her S.P.E.C.I.A.L. distribution requires adjustment before she can fully realise her potential. Notably her Charisma, as I’d hoped to avoid the Child at Heart perk, but it’s the easiest way to bypass Little Lamplight without making Paradise Falls hostile.

I’m glad that she survived the nuclear detonation.

Despite being an atypical close quarters build, I’ve been deliberating between the Chinese Stealth Armor and the Winterized T51-b Power Armor. With certain perks, such as Ninja and Better Criticals, she could deal ludicrous sneak attack critical damage with the Chinese Stealth Armor, and would be rendered (mostly) invisible while crouching. Whereas, the Winterized T51-b Power Armor favours the traditional approach. Taking damage and dealing it in equal measure. I’d never considered sneaking through Fallout 3 to be viable, but it could be with an appropriate build.

This could be that build.

I’d assumed that Homicidal Harriet would visit Point Lookout first, as my characters usually do, but Operation: Anchorage would be unusually lucrative should she utilise the Chinese Stealth Armor. It’s not particularly difficult, either. So it’s possible to venture to the Outcast Outpost early on.

Her progression has been slightly disjointed, though. I’ve been completing the Wasteland Survival Guide quests, but have been deviating when the opportunity presents itself, such as during The Replicated Man quest, which coincided with learning about the true history of Rivet City. I’ve also been trekking across the Capital Wasteland to put specific locations on the map. These will be of crucial importance when collecting Bobbleheads, or when searching for unique equipment and schematics. Few locations, such as the perilous Deathclaw Sanctuary, have both. Not only does it house the Endurance Bobblehead, but Vengeance can be recovered from deep within its caves, which I’d always believed to be governed by Energy Weapons, but is actually governed by Big Guns. I’ve just got to survive long enough to recover it.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Under New Management

Best described as a hostile takeover.

Despite what the corporations might suggest, Halcyon has issues with everything from providing basic necessities to an infestation of aggressive wildlife. Starvation and sickness plague those within settlement walls while lawlessness and indecency plague those outside of them. Due to the incessant mismanagement, it’s time for a change, and I can think of no better candidate than a recently defrosted colonist. They couldn’t do any worse at least. The Outer Worlds is a delightful narrative-driven RPG which tasks you with uncovering the truth behind the colony of Halcyon.

Which is exactly what I did.

I didn’t get immediately distracted by numerous side quests and miscellaneous objectives. Or by aiding companions in their personal quests. Or by revisiting the Groundbreaker to acquire new equipment. Or by repeatedly looking for the UDL Lab Weapons Terminal Keycard. No. Not at all.

I certainly didn’t revisit (and search) the facility multiple times to no avail, only to discover that the UDL Lab Weapons Terminal Keycard was on the table upstairs the entire time. That’d be silly. Definitely not something that the captain of the (aptly named) Unreliable would do. Exploration is where The Outer Worlds is at its best, though. Travelling from planet to planet and discovering new locations, then obsessively searching those locations for their secrets. I wasn’t anticipating the experience to be as content-dense as it was, and I was pleasantly surprised by how Peril of Gorgon seamlessly built upon its impressive foundation. Seldom does the opportunity to become wholly absorbed by an open world present itself, but the developers’ dedication to this nightmarish universe have made it possible.

I’d be lying if I said otherwise.

Companions have a similar prominence. Not only are they surprisingly useful, but they have distinct personalities and motivations which help them feel like they’re a part of this universe. They’ve often got contextual dialogue to share when encountering factions, visiting locations, and making decisions. Supporting them during their personal quests will unlock additional benefits, further improving their effectiveness and developing (or altering) their personality. They’re reasonably capable in combat, too. Despite their proclivity to mindlessly soak up incoming damage.

But you’d expect them to do that.

They’re also customisable and can be developed much in the same way as you develop the protagonist. However, the character development mechanics are underwhelming, and you’ll rarely find anything that fundamentally alters a build in the assortment of skills and perks available.

I had hoped for greater depth to the character development mechanics and for a wider variety of equipment, but the lack of either doesn’t detract from the experience. The Outer Worlds isn’t your typical adventure, though. It leans on its narrative-driven approach throughout the main campaign, and is defined by its action-orientated combat, and it favours build diversity through skill checks in dialogue, but the majority of character builds lack individuality due to uninspiring mechanics. It might not have been exactly what I’d expected it to be, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t an enjoyable experience. It was just, at times, an overly simplified one. And I’d still wholeheartedly recommend it to those who enjoy first-person narrative-driven RPGs but are looking for something refreshing and unusual.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Space Farin’ Capitalist

Cue an appropriate corporate jingle.

Alex Hawthorne, the principled captain of the Unreliable, who was most assuredly not dismembered in a horrific accident, believes in the stability of corporate leadership. Even if their employees are paid abhorrently low wages, have no job security whatsoever, have even less personal security, and are as likely to be eaten as they are to retire. But it’s better than the alternative. Living in the wilderness in a mostly competent self-sufficient society unshackled from the chains (and woes) of capitalism, only for an aspiring captain to arrive and destroy all that you’ve built.

Not exactly his finest moment.

But if you can’t dismantle capitalism you might as well embrace it. Martin Callahan can attest to the rewards afforded by a lifetime of corporate servitude, as he wearily advertises numerous Spacer’s Choice products while confined to his spherical prison. Not that he’d escape if he could.

Irreversibly altering the lives of the general populous is the ambition of any decent protagonist, though. Often without prior consultation with them. And usually while considering what’s best for you- or what yields the best rewards- rather than what’s best for them. The Outer Worlds does this particularly well, with the majority of decisions not necessarily resulting in a good or an evil outcome. There are (often significant) repercussions for your actions but they’re subtle. You’ll need to revisit locations, speak to NPCs, and consult your companions to fully appreciate your decisions. For those reasons, exploration is arguably the most enjoyable aspect of this adventure. Combing desolate ruins for abandoned equipment, exotic technology, or valuable information may help you to resolve quests in unexpected ways.

If you’d met his mother you’d understand.

However, character development is not nearly as impressive, and what appears to be comprehensive at first, is fairly shallow upon closer inspection. Flaws should appeal to me, but I don’t feel that weakening my build (in certain circumstances) is worth an extra perk. Especially when the majority of perks are unexciting statistical adjustments. Skills (and skill tiers) aren’t incredibly exciting, either. But I’d rather have extra skill points instead of an extra perk. I had expected better from The Outer Worlds but they’re still functional mechanics, even if they’re not inspiring ones.

Companions are equally perplexing.

I’m not sure whether they gain any benefit for equipping weapons that best suit their abilities. Or whether their proficiencies are adjusted by wearing equipment with appropriate statistical bonuses. Or whether I should just favour defensive statistics and equip them all with heavy armour.

The Outer Worlds is a competent narrative-driven RPG if not a simplified one. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the experience is pleasant enough. Despite not having an abundance of planets to travel to, and revisiting those planets with new landing locations, exploring each new planet is delightful. I’ve scarcely enjoyed picking through desolate ruins as much as I have here. I just wish that the character development mechanics were as impressive. Especially when modifying and upgrading equipment, which becomes so absurdly expensive (even with Science) that it encourages you to replace your equipment. Thus nullifying the bonuses from tinkering it. But my criticisms shouldn’t dissuade anyone, as I’m certain that everyone can find something that they enjoy about it.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Render Unto Caesar

A bleak future for humanity.

At the end of her surprisingly long campaign, Murderous Mabel delivered one final gift to the Mojave Wasteland and its people which ushered in a new era of oppression and slavery. No faction was left unscathed (even Caesar’s Legion) as disharmony became the foundation for future generations. Her actions won’t soon be forgotten should anyone be alive to remember them. No-one can be entirely sure of what the future holds, but the recently promoted Legate Lanius, who became Caesar following his predecessor’s untimely death, minted a coin in her honour and that’s neat.

Sure to be worth the hundreds of lives that it cost.

Of the many builds that I’ve attempted in Fallout: New Vegas, Murderous Mabel is definitely one of my favourites. Being unable to rely on Speech to resolve quests, the (most convenient) answer was usually violence, and that often meant aligning with factions that I don’t usually align with.

Of her achievements, of which there are a few, successfully completing Return to Sender was arguably her finest moment, and perfectly illustrates how diverse her approach to things had to be at times. Which is especially true of her time with Old World Blues, where scrounging and crafting ammunition was the only way for her to successfully complete its campaign with her conventional weaponry. Dead Money was (oddly) less challenging for similar reasons. Despite the opposition being super-absorbent bullet sponges, the abundance of Police Pistols (and varied ammunition) meant that I was able to avoid using Knife Spears. Using weapons adjusted by Guns or Explosives was always preferable, even if they weren’t affected by her perks, as her middling investment into Melee Weapons offered few viable alternatives.

Ensure that the mistakes of the past aren’t repeated in the future.

This is also the first time that I’ve experienced Dead Money in its entirety. It’s certainly an interesting concept, but one that feels absurdly convoluted as you haphazardly dash through hallways haunted by the ever-present beeping of your bomb collar. Searching for radios or speakers only to discover that the majority of them are shielded or otherwise inaccessible. Wondering why anyone would construct this elaborate scheme, when a single mistake would result in the deaths of those that they’ve brought together for this specific purpose thus nullifying their efforts.

It was a truly perplexing expedition.

Given that one of the reasons that I conceived this build was to see things that I’d not seen before and do things that I’d not done before, I’m quite pleased with how this build has developed. I don’t tend to stringently adhere to the ideas that I had at their conception and this is why.

I like to see how builds adapt to the challenges that they face and Murderous Mabel has faced many. I was most impressed at her ability to effortlessly complete numerous Gun Runner’s Arsenal challenges, while being a walking arsenal ensured that she always had a weapon suited to the situation at hand. Whether it was the explosive fury of Thump-Thump or the deadly accuracy of La Longue Carabine. The versatility of All-American or the thundering shells of the lever-action shotgun. There was always an answer. I didn’t intend for these posts to form a short series, but I’m glad that they did as I wouldn’t be able to express everything that I enjoy about Fallout: New Vegas in a single post. Nor would I want to. Even ten years after its release it’s still one of the most engrossing post-apocalyptic RPGs that I’ve ever played.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie