Fallout 2: CONTROVERSIAL!!

Discussion in 'General Fallout Discussion' started by Herr Mike, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. Herr Mike

    Herr Mike Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    322
    Jul 28, 2008
    Apologies if this has been done before.

    Amidst all the belly-aching (largely deserved, probably) about the upcoming Fallout 3, I thought it might be fun to look back on some of the more questionable directions they took with Fallout 2.

    At the time, I didn't care. I was a youngster and I was just happy to have more Fallout. And you know what, I had a blast with the game. And it was great by any standard. But now I'm at a more discerning age, and I can't help but be a little more critical of it.

    First, making the PC a "tribal". A big part of the appeal of Fallout was that you were an outsider, leaving the sterile vault for this untamed wasteland. That works a lot better than the other way around, which is the direction Fallout 2 took. Plus, it creates some gaps in logic within the framework of the game. For instance, you can tag small guns and dump all your points into it at the start, but how could you have that skill?

    Not to mention that the whole notion of the Vault Dweller founding a settlement of jumpsuit worshipping voodoo caveman dirt farmers is pretty lame. Come on, MY Vault Dweller went on to bigger and better things than that!

    Moving on.

    Talking Deathclaws. Were these needed at all? I suppose Fallout 1 alluded to it, but FO2 took it too far.

    Wannamingos. Well, they're just a critter, so I don't have a huge problem with them.

    New California Republic. It arguably makes sense in the game universe. Fragmented societies will eventually congeal to form regional governments. That said, the introduction of powerful political entities significantly hurts the "wasteland" feel. This is why I prefer the part of the game before you get embroiled in the political business between NCR, Vault City, Redding, and New Reno. It just brings too much civilization to the game.

    San Francisco. If NCR is too civilized, San Fran is friggin' utopia. Sticks out like a sore thumb. The Hubologists just make very little sense to me, as do the chinatowners. Even as I was playing the game the first time, I was like "what?"

    Anyway, don't get me wrong. The game did most things right. The Enclave works. Klamath, the Den, Modok, Vault City, Gecko, the Sierra Base, and New Reno were all near flawless chucks of Fallout. It was great fun to go back to Vault 13, 15, and the Military Base.

    But I would have done a hugely different game, if I was in charge. That is a thread for another time, however.

    Thanks for listening. 8-)
     
  2. Yamu

    Yamu Le Fromage Vieux oTO Moderator Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Jul 26, 2003
    If I may disagree with you on one point, I actually didn't feel that New Reno really did too much right at all. I mean, there were times that it gave the Fallout "feeling," to be sure. It had the right weight and grittiness, at times, and most of the humor was good, but all in all it was one of the biggest inconsistencies in the game. Logically speaking, an economy like that could never support itself in the wasteland, and thematically speaking it suffered the same downfall as San Francisco-- trying to shoehorn a 20th century real-world trope into Fallout's wasteland with little or no modification.

    Don't get me wrong: it was a lot of fun to play, but it would almost do better as a game setting of it's own. The design logic was just kind of at odds with the rest of the world. I don't have my reference links handy, but iirc there were even a number of FO2 devs who thought New Reno was kind of a bloated mess.

    Sorry to make the JRPG analogy, but for me, New Reno was to FO2 what the Gold Saucer was to Final Fantasy VII. It was a fun little diversion, but in the end, it was just kinda... there.
     
  3. Herr Mike

    Herr Mike Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    322
    Jul 28, 2008
    I admittedly was on the fence about New Reno, but in the end I decided it was a lot of fun and not particularly un-Fallouty.

    Maybe there was just too much there that didn't have to do with the plot? Of course, you could skip most it I suppose.

    The Jet subplot was maybe a bit too "hardcore" I suppose.

    No, I think I agree with you. It was too urban. That's the right word.
     
  4. Yamu

    Yamu Le Fromage Vieux oTO Moderator Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Jul 26, 2003
    Urban, yes. I think that manages to put a finer point on it than I was giving it.

    It was still enjoyable though, all the same-- really, if anything really disagreed with me as a gamer and an avid fan, it was the Horrigan battle at the end. He just wasn't nearly as impressive or layered as The Master. They made very few qualms about the fact that he was just there to be the End Boss, and to me, the very notion of having to end the game with a boss battle is as far from "real" Fallout as you can get without including orcs or first-person firefights.

    The Master and The Lieutenant could both be thought of as boss figures in FO1, but only insofar as their presence impeded your objectives, and killing them was one of many ways to achieve those objectives. The game didn't force you to fight. The Lieutenant in particular was an optional battle-- I didn't even FIND him until my third playthrough. Up until then, I thought they had just put him into Harry's dialogue at the Watershed for worldbuilding purposes.
     
  5. Slaughter Manslaught

    Slaughter Manslaught Vault Senior Citizen

    Dec 11, 2006
    Being critical is always good, because it helps the developers and the gamer, as they know what is fitting and what's not.

    I think making the player a tribal was wise and weird at the same time. Everyone hates the Temple of Trials, so that's not even a argument, I mean, why they didn't move to live in the temple?

    I think the descendents of the Vault Dwellers were more likely to turn into a poor town, like Klamath, or something more advanced, but still poor, like Gecko or Modoc. Turning into a tribe is VERY strange for a band of Vault Dwellers. That was a region full of tribals, though, so there may have been some influence.

    But the outsider thing happened, as you pretty much lived in a sucky tribal village in the Middle of Nowhere, Oregon. Arroyo was pretty isolated, with only some trading done with Klamath. And there was the outsider feeling due to the discrimination of tribals, which was the reason I liked Sulik so much, he was the only guy in Klamath who was really friendly with me.

    Your skill talk makes sense, though. I could imagine The Chosen One learning to use small guns in Klamath, where he learned to use with Vic's Pipe Rifle and that 10mm handgun in the Rat Caves.

    I agree with ya.

    I think they were kinda like parrots. Don't forget that FEV is pretty erratic, so most were as intelligent as children or Super Mutants. There were the smart ones, like Gunthar (I have a whole respect for that big guy, you know), Goris and the Mother Deathclaw. I think they needed a darker edge, though. There was that guy, Matt, who said that those intelligent deathclaws were a threat. He was kinda right. Can you imagine those big monsters being SMART? If they were agressive as their wild pears, I think they would've wiped out human civilization in a thousand years. That dark edge would've been pretty interesting, although I love that the once-predatorial deathclaws were more civilized than the old race of sentient "civilized" humanoids who nuked themselves back to the dark ages. Tells you a bit about human nature. :lol:

    Alien homage. I love them. I love turning them into chunks of hard shell, soft meat and blood with a Gatling Laser, too!

    I'm mixed here. On one side, I love the NCR because, after venturing though the desert, you find what is your ancestor's greatest legacy. When I saw NCR, I thought "Saving that girl and shooting these raiders really paid off." It was a pity the Vault Dwellers didn't bang the chick back at 2161, though. Ross would pretty much be your cousin, and it would be kinda of scary (although he would be older). :lol:

    On the other side, I liked how the NCR appeared to be the "Goody-Two-Shoes Governament of Nice People", but the whole political bussiness game between NCR, Vault City, Redding and New Reno showed what NCR really was, although they were still better than scum at Vault City.

    "Too much civilization" is really weird, specially because I caught myself wondering why didn't the NCR just take the weaker towns of the north. A 700.000 strong state would have a army with more popullation that all other towns combined. Maybe they wanted to be more legit than mere conquerors? Still, the whole "too much civilization" was going to be solved in Van Buren with the war between the NCR and the Brotherhood. They don't tell what really happend with both, but it seems the Brotherhood blowned the Congress Building, although the Design Documents say that General Coleridge was the real culpirit. I liked the "New Civilization is collapsing" feel of Van Buren, with those rail-roads and Hoover Dam going to hell.

    San Francisco was pretty civilized, too. They made perfect sense to me, thought. But the Shi were much more inescrupulous than NCR, as I saw when they killed Badger. There was a lot of gangs capable of killing my entire party in a few rounds, though. They should've put some rougher parts of the town, where gang violence ran rampant. It would make it much better than Boneyard and the gang atacks nearby would make much more sense.

    Same here.

    I think that the devs should've explored the Enclave better. I really felt Richardson as a patriot (although he's still a damn corrupt bastard). Who I really liked there was Dr. Curling, the one who designed FEV-Curling. He is the better Enclave character of the game. He should've received greater atention from Black Isle and a Talking Head. Dr. Curling is awesome, he could've been Fallout 2's Master.

    Also, Frank Horrigan was Richardson's Dragon, like they in TVTropes. He was the big bodyguard who pounds to death whoever bothers his boss. He is the guy who makes messes and cleans them, too. I liked him. He was the Enclave's cleanup guy. I think they did the foreashadowing about him pretty well. When I saw him first, I thought "Damn, I must kick this guy's ass. I feel it. But man, look at me! He could rape me with his pinkie! And his buddies have machineguns! I must get a bigger gun so I can kick his... whatever ass." When I saw him taking a plasma shot in the gut and laughing, damn, I knew that bastard was though. I got pretty angry when he killed the Deathclaws and Matt. It added the whole "I'LL GET YOU, BASTARDS!!" Curling talking about Horrigan was pretty scary, too. When I came to him, damn, I knew I was walking into hell. He was a awesome bossfight, specially when you fought him one-to-one or fought him AND Granite along your pals! The game gave you a alternative to fighting him, though - Get the passkey and help from Granite. Watch Granite & Pals being murdered along the turrets until someone puts him down.
     
  6. Vault Maker

    Vault Maker Vault-Tec Cartographer

    149
    Jun 27, 2006
    Playing v.2 of the Killap restoration mod has got me thinking of Fallout...well, more than usual.

    In Fallout, after living all your life in a Vault, why would you be able to Tag skills like:
    - Steal (in a population of around 1,000...how would you get away with enough to get good at it?)
    - Barter (making really good deals with...the Vault Suit Extruder?)
    - Outdoorsman (book learning for outdoor survival sounds dubious)

    Tagged skills don't necessarily have to be things that you have practiced, they could be a result of talent. Most likely some kind of mix, I guess.

    Besides, just because you can't barter for or steal a gun in Arroyo doesn't have to mean there aren't any there. If they had any working guns, I imagine they'd be pretty valuable. Even the Chosen One might not get one. But he might get to practice.

    Think of all the examples of real people and fictional characters, or their descendants, who become less civillized, often as an adaptation to their surroundings. The book "Guns, Germs, and Steel" names several islands in the south Pacific where that actually did happen. Lucifer in "Paradise Lost"; Kurtz in "Heart of Darkness"; Ish's children and grandchildren in "Earth Abides"; they all undergo some variation on this change.

    Fallout and Fallout 2, in this respect, are mirrors of two things that factor into "epics":
    - a hero leaves his civillization for the wilderness, changes the world (often as it changes him), and returns to change his civillization.
    - a hero journeys from the wilderness into civillization, and changes the civillized world (often as it changes him) with his "outside" knowledge or values

    The first type was more common in our early history, when much of the world was not yet "civillized" (in terms of western culture anyway). The latter type has become more common in the modern world, where most of the world is civillized. Another feature of latter epics is the tendency for the hero to ultimately fail...as in Fallout.

    A genre where both types show up regularly (often as a central theme or dramatic causation) is Westerns, which for Americans depict the period of transition from wilderness, through frontier, and finally to civillization.

    That sucked.

    Left as a mystery, like they get explained in Redding, I like them. Definitively "aliens" or "genetically engineered weapons"...kind of ruins it.

    Back to the epic thing, civillization is a foil for the wasteland. Central to much post-apocalyptic science fiction is exploring what kind of societies grow up in the aftermath. I think FO2 explicitly makes this a theme (though I can't recall where it's said exactly).

    Reno would be better if it had some viable economy, and the families (we could say "warlords") merely serve up vices for the people. Any economy: brahmin ranching, caravans heading east into the desert, whatever. Implying that it serves as a tourist destination is silly.

    Beyond the setting though, the strings of quests for the 4 families and the ability to do all of them was beautifully done. A minor masterpiece for 1998, all the more impressive considering how many bugs made it into the game.

    Sigh. Yes. Of course, now we've had 8 years of a real-life Enclave running the US, so maybe there's nothing left to explore here. Just denunciation.

    Notice how I cleverly got back to the too-much-civillization theme again?
     
  7. Lord Elden

    Lord Elden Still Mildly Glowing

    229
    Apr 27, 2007
    There's a revolver in the first video when you speak with the village elder (she has it in her hand IIRC).
     
  8. Herr Mike

    Herr Mike Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    322
    Jul 28, 2008
    I havent read your whole post yet but I'll just comment on this real quick.

    My thinking was that they would have much better training capabilities in the vault. And some skills, such as barter and maybe stealing, one could just be naturally good at.
    :wink:
     
  9. alec

    alec White heterosexual male Orderite

    May 21, 2003
    First of all, let's make myself perfectly clear: I have no problems whatsoever with above mentioned inconsistencies concerning skills. Fallout isn't realistic and it doesn't have to be. But this small discussion has made me think about the possibilities to prevent such inconsistencies from happening.

    I can envision a somewhat more complex skill system where you can only start dumping points into a skill ONCE you've got hold of the tools/instruments/guns/training that is needed for the skill.

    E.g. in FO2 you'd only be able to put points into your Small Arms skill ONCE you've managed to obtain a gun or one of those Guns & Bullets (or was it Ammo?) magazines. If you'd try to put points into it BEFORE you would have a gun/magazine in your inventory, the character creation screen would display a pop-up stating "You can not study/tag this skill/discipline yet."

    I think such a complex skill system would be more challenging. You'd have to think ahead: do I tag three skills in Arroyo, or do I only tag Hth or Melee now and wait a little longer to tag two other skills? I think I'd like a system like that.

    You could then also add npc's to the game that can give you a basic training in a certain discipline. For instance a locksmith who is willing to give you your first lesson in lockpicking if you do a quest for him. And so on. Or an npc thief character who can teach you the basics of Stealing. And you'd have to find him/talk to him/do a quest for him to be able to start putting points into your Steal skill and/or to tag it.

    Yeah, I'd like that. I think that would be neat.
     
  10. Kanhef

    Kanhef Vault Dweller

    793
    Sep 2, 2007
    It's going a bit far to say you need some kind of training before you can put any points into some skill. For example, you start off with a ~30% Steal skill. You're able to steal things from the start, so why should it be impossible to get better at it until you find the right NPC to talk to? It would be better to have a cap at 70% or so – the limit of how much you can figure out on your own before needing to be taught by someone.
     
  11. alec

    alec White heterosexual male Orderite

    May 21, 2003
    I was thinking more along the lines of the Arcanum skill system where you start with 0 in each discipline.

    It was just a thought, btw.
     
  12. Yamu

    Yamu Le Fromage Vieux oTO Moderator Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Jul 26, 2003
    I actually really like the slant of what you put out there. It would fit really well in a survival-oriented mod, methinks. You seem to have implied that your proposed system wouldn't allow you to tag skills that you couldn't level yet, though, which I don't quite agree with. After all, there is a such thing as a "natural"... even if the Chosen One didn't happen to have any guns sitting around in Arroyo, perhaps the first time he used one he'd find that he took to it quite well.

    Also, I know that this is a hypothetical diversion on something that's already branching off the main thread, but under your proposed system, I think that simply owning the PipBoy would provide the opportunity for establishing a very low baseline in Repair and Science (the hardware and software skills, respectively).
     
  13. Scare

    Scare It Wandered In From the Wastes

    100
    Jul 25, 2008
    What about the bloke at the bottom level of the military base that was like some kind of wizard?
     
  14. Destroyaz_

    Destroyaz_ First time out of the vault

    87
    Jul 8, 2008
    um, have you walked outside and figured out that fallout is a video game, its not supposed to be realistic, damn matix wanna bees
     
  15. Scare

    Scare It Wandered In From the Wastes

    100
    Jul 25, 2008
    Very helpful, thanks for contributing.
     
  16. Herr Mike

    Herr Mike Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    322
    Jul 28, 2008
    Yeah, what the heck was up with that?
     
  17. Per

    Per Vault Consort Staff Member Admin

    Apr 1, 2004
    He wasn't a wizard, he was a stage magician of sorts. His minions were small creatures mutated by the goo just like the super mutants.
     
  18. Scare

    Scare It Wandered In From the Wastes

    100
    Jul 25, 2008
    How did a stage magician get to be such a bad ass?
    They're usually kinda foppish.
     
  19. Per

    Per Vault Consort Staff Member Admin

    Apr 1, 2004
    You run into some FEV.
     
  20. Buxbaum666

    Buxbaum666 Heterostructured Nanorod oTO Orderite

    Dec 5, 2003
    Ever played Gothic? That's pretty much how the Games handle it: You can't just spend the skill points you earn when you level up, you have to find a teacher first.