Posts Tagged ‘Scaredy Kat’

Fallout 3 Appreciation: All in the Atmosphere


Seeing as how the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim releases in a little over a week (Vote for what console you want Kat to play Skyrim on!), I wanted to take a look back at another game brought to us by Bethesda, Fallout 3.  I know that this game is old news; heck, even the full game expansion pack is likely old enough to be under $30 at your local retailer.  But I wanted to take a step back and examine what made Fallout 3 great.

When Fallout 3 first came out, I was only mildly interested, if that.  A game about a post-apocalyptic, war-torn land, with crazily mutated beings wasn’t exactly up my alley.  A friend brought the game over and showed me the gory head explosions (or whatever limb you happened to target) and seemed even less likely that I’d want to try it.

Fallout 3 Centaur

Yeah, this is really NOT what I picture when I think 'Centaur'.

Months later, the Game of the Year edition went on sale at Target.  I decided to purchase it and give Fallout a try.  After all, Bethesda had also given us the Elder Scrolls games, so that should say something good about Fallout.  Fallout 3 starts off pretty safe, with you growing up as a child in a vault that has protected you from the ravages of the radiated Wastelands.  Escaping the vault was both nerve-wracking and thrilling.  And stepping out into an eerily empty town with partially or mostly destroyed houses set a great, lonely tone.  It was a relief to finally make it to Megaton, knowing that there actually were survivors out there.  I decided to keep up with the ‘Following in His Footsteps’ quest.  I wanted to see Liam Neeson *ahem* – dad – again.  Unfortunately, since I’m such a Scaredy-Kat, going into the tunnels caused me minor panic attacks (Feral Ghouls, Super Mutants?!!!  Limited ammo?!!), and I gave up.  You have to admit, some of the creatures are very creepy.  (Centaurs!!?)

A month ago, I decided to pick the game back up, and was sucked in.  I found Dogmeat, and having a companion by my side made me feel much better about traversing the Wasteland and even… tunnels.  Once I had this confidence, I was able to see Fallout for the great game it actually is.  There are so many aspects to Fallout, so much to do and see.

Fallout 3 Couple

*ahem* This couple was clearly enjoying themselves when disaster struck. And the creepy part is, you still have the option of sleeping in that bed...

For one, this certainly is no kids game.  There’s the more obvious limb exploding and violent deaths, but there’s also a lot of rough language, sexual aspects, and just plain horrific events.  Visiting Minefield and seeing a smaller skeleton than most in a room that contains kids toys is just heart wrenching.  The whole deserted mood of Minefield is haunting (no pun intended).  Did anyone else pick up through their conversations that Jericho raped/attempted to rape Jenny Stahl?  And of course, there are the perks:  Lady Killer, Black Widow.  There are actual sex benefits to choosing this perk (at least for a woman as a Black Widow), and one being a threesome, in fact.  Nova is there for more than just viewing pleasure.

Fallout 3 Springvale

Telephone Poles: Built to Last, even through Nuclear Catastrophes!

Another is that this game, the whole Fallout series, presents a unique idea that hasn’t been explored as much as a genre like fantasy has.  And they do it damn well.  The vistas, while fascinating as a torn apart and gritty world, don’t exactly make me want to live in such a world.  But they speak strongly for what the game is portraying.  The mood created in the game is often lonely, always eerie, and deserted.  Most of what you encounter in the Wasteland is going to try to kill you.  Finding a town might be a safe harbor, but you can’t rely on that.  In fact, a lot of the towns will have something nasty lurking inside; Raiders, mines, fire ants, super mutants.  But in a world like Fallout, that fits perfectly.  It’s to be expected.

The story of Fallout is great because, while there is plenty of tension waiting around every corner, and you never know what you’ll encounter next, but there’s hope in this dark world.  There’s hope that life will continue, despite all the hardships, and that what’s been destroyed can be rebuilt.  And that’s really what keeps me playing.


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Can you imagine living in a world where all the myths, old wives’ tales and urban legends were true?  What would that world be like?  Apparently, it would be The Secret World, as one might assume.  And it will be revealed in an MMO by Funcom, tentatively set for a release sometime in 2012.

She's not setting a very good body image now, is she? Oh wait... she's dead.

Needless to say, this game sounds insane.  And I mean that with the best of intentions.  I can’t imagine a game bringing together so many various elements successfully, and on top of that, to have it be an MMO?  It’s mind-boggling.  It sounds like this game will have some hefty promises to fulfill, and if it does, the Secret World will be EPIC.

The Secret World’s website draws one in with its eerie visuals and authoritative characters.  An example of just one of the many legends this game has brought to life:  Mummies in the tombs of a hidden city in Egypt.  Not interesting enough?  How about this:  Construction of an amusement park began amid threats and warnings that the land was cursed.  Freak accidents, suicides, ghost sightings and unknown whispering began occurring again and again, and finally the park was forced to close.

My favorite part is the sign now reading "Kingsmouth Dead" instead of "Kingsmouth Ahead"

Obviously, we can see that this Secret World is not at all a place of fantasy.  Or at least, this isn’t a place filled with happy (or noble) elves, with intoxicated (or proud) dwarves, where you fight skeletons and dragons.  This is modern day dark fantasy, where your battles are against the stuff of nightmares.  That includes:  Zombies, Mummies, Vampires, Werewolves, Demons, Golems, Spectres, and I’m sure much, much more.  The game’s director, Ragnar Tornquist, says that the game draws inspiration from sources such as H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Edgar Allen Poe.  This speaks not only of what kind of references we can expect, but also the atmosphere the game is trying to create.

And it’s not just about battling these dark creatures.  The game also has you investigating, solving puzzles, hunting for clues, exploring.  That way you get a mixture of both battling and investigating.  But it’s up to the player to decide what route they want to take, or if they want a taste of both.

"Down, boy. Down. I said DOWN. Fido, DOWN! Why are you growling at me?!"

Now let’s get into the nitty gritty.  This game… honestly, from the pictures, descriptions, and videos, I’m already scared of it.  I am absolutely fascinated by it, and if Funcom can pull all these elements in to create a unique MMO, but I don’t think I’ll be able to play it.  Seriously.  Even if I’m in a team.  I’m too much of a Scaredy-Kat.  I’ll definitely need more information before I make a decision.

A final question:  Will the Secret World be similar to Anarchy Online, in that it was free to download and free to play, unless you wanted to purchase special items in game?  EDIT: The ‘Free to Play’ period for Anarchy Online, while it does appear to be an available option on Anarchy Online’s website, refers to new accounts, and does not include access to expansions.  ‘Free to Play’ has not always been an available option.  Thanks to The Secret World Forum for pointing that out.  END EDIT.  It seems with how long the Secret World has been in development and how much detail they seem to be putting in the game, it should be worth purchasing or paying-to-play.

But that aside, I’m anxiously looking forward to what news will come out next on this colossal MMO.


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