Fallout 3 preview - page 2

Discussion in 'Content' started by Brother None, Aug 28, 2007.

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  1. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all

    Apr 3, 2003
    <center>[ Page 1 ] - [ Page 2 ] - [ Page 3 ] - [ Q&A ]</center>
    <center>Walkthrough part 2 - Megaton and more</center>
    "Megaton was built in the crater of an unexploded nuclear bomb" raises the question of how an unexploded bomb would leave a crater. Ignoring that, people took this unexploded bomb as a sign from God that He intended them to survive. This encouraged them to build their town around this bomb, using salvaged parts including a downed airline carrier.

    As the PC approaches Megaton, I could clearly see what appeared to be vultures or other scavenging or hunting birds circling above the city. The PC is greeted by deputy Weld, a Protectron robot which looks, in shape, similar to Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet. He speaks to you in a typical Lost In Space robot voice:

    "Welcome to Megaton. The bomb is perfectly safe, we promise. Please hold for threat level assessment. Threat level minimal. Open the gates. Open the gates. Welcome to Megaton."

    The gate opens slowly by some unseen mechanic, while Pete Hines explains that load times still need optimising but are already better than Oblivion, plus the game has load screens full of information (from which this preview copied some tidbits) and pretty nice art. Inside Megaton, you immediately meet the sheriff:

    "I'll be damned, you're from that vault, Vault 101. *chuckles* I ain't seen one of those jumpsuits in a long time."

    <table align="left" width="310px" bgcolor="#333333" border="1"><tr><td><center>
    Sheriff Lucas Simms</center>
    </tr></td></table>He introduces himself as Lucas Simms, the town sheriff and mayor when the need arises. It should be noted at this point that both blocks of text quoted above are spoken outside of the dialogue screen, like the greeting texts in Oblivion and unlike Fallout, where floating texts never had such introductory length.

    The PC, opening dialogue with Lucas, quickly chose to insult him, going "Nice hat, Calamity Jane." The sheriff is annoyed, but states he's willing to let it slip if the PC shows he understands that "this is my town. So much as breathe wrong and I will fucking end you." Faced with the options to just go "yeah, whatever" or to state that there's a new sheriff in town, the PC picks the former, ending this dialogue.

    This conversation also saw another return of something Oblivion-esque. I noted before the dialogues are built from 3-line blocks in which expressions show the same jumpy attitude as in Oblivion. Lucas shows the next step, namely that emotions are again conveyed pretty much only by the face, and that the facial expression and voice tone has the tendency to skip through different emotions during a single speech. To back up this impression, in long speeches like those of the sheriff and of dad, one gets the distinct impression the writing is a bit inconsistent, which is kind of off-putting. This did not look significantly improved from Oblivion, though at least the sheriff had only one voice. The faces themselves look better and less ridiculous than in Oblivion, but don't expect to get blown out of the water by them, especially by their lack of expressiveness.

    Going further down the crater, it's clear that Megaton is heavily inspired by Junktown, showing the same kind of haphazard construction. No cars were used for this town, which can only be considered natural since cars explode all the time.

    <table align="left" width="160px" bgcolor="#333333" border="1"><tr><td>As seen on a loading screen: endurance influences HPs, resistances and the big guns and unarmed skills.</tr></td></table>Nearing the bottom, the PC passes a graphically very well-made (though slightly underfed) Brahmin standing in a corner. SuAside notes that it seemed to have things sticking out it's back that didn't look like hair, though neither of us got a close look. Turning the corner, the PC nears the front porch of an undesignated building, where some people are having a conversation. While I wasn't able to catch what they were talking about, Pete Hines explained that the new improved Radiant AI will mean that people carry on more realistic, personal conversations, referring to each other by name and having full 24-hour schedules. Behind the talking couple was a Chinese letters neon sign, glowing bright in purple and other colours.

    At the bottom of the crater is the bomb, lying in a pool of water in which a single person is standing praying to the bomb. The PC walks around it and looks up to a sign that says Local Cult, pointing up the ramp. Pete Hines notes that "this is my favourite sign in the game."

    The PC walks up a ramp, revealing that Megaton is really built in layers over the huge (?) crater walls (possibly just a pre-existing hole, not so much caused by the impact of the bomb). Taking the opportunity to go to 3rd person mode again (this and the start being the only two times he showed 3rd person mode in my demo), Pete Hines explains they're also using Havok physics to improve the interaction of the PC with the environment. Stopping at the top of the ramp at the bottom of some steps, he notes the PC will walk up the steps more realistically. And indeed he does, perfectly so in SuAside's demo, kind of missing the actual steps in Brother None's. SuAside also noted that while sounds were generally pretty quiet (outside of combat) in the demo, the footsteps, especially on metal here, are very annoying and intrusive.

    He enters Moriarty's Bar, which has to load separately from the main area (the loading time was very short). Inside the bar a man and a woman are arguing about a 50s-style radio seen on top of the bar. The woman tells the man he shouldn't mess with it, because it's only Galaxy News they're receiving badly, while the Enclave Radio is coming in fine. Hines takes the opportunity to show the radio also works for the PipBoy, which displays those two radio stations as receivable. Hines tunes into one for a Bob Crosby ("Bing Crosby's less successful brother") song called "Happy Times," which was heard through the bar's radio but is now coming in more clearly. Hines explains they licensed a number of 40s and 50s song for this purpose. Also of note is that the radio has other purposes, such as being used as a two-way radio for communication or for receiving distress signals. Additionally, the radio will occasionally broadcast news of the PC's exploits if they're relevant enough, and you can meet the DJs.

    <table align="right" width="200px" bgcolor="#333333" border="1"><tr><td>Note: no negative effects of drug usage were visible anywhere within the game, neither an addiction or negative effect from Mentats, nor the traditional later HP loss for super stims.</tr></td></table>Walking to the back of the bar the PC starts a conversation with a man sitting on a chair in an impeccably clean 3-piece suit and glasses. Introducing himself as Mr Burke, the man notes the PC could be very useful for him, being a stranger in town. Noting "I represent certain...interests," calling Megaton a blight and asking the PC if he's interested in helping him get rid of it. Here Hines notes that the speech skill comes into play during dialogues, and indeed two dialogue options show a percentage of success. An option to ask for 500 caps extra pay (29%), or to tell him the town is under your protection and he should get out. Stating that if he fails Mr Burke will like him less, Hines opts to ask for extra pay, and gets it.

    According to SuAside, Mr Burke looks like a poor man's Gizmo with a lot less personality. SuAside explains this feeling is supported by the similarity between Junktown and Megaton and Mr Burke's lines (calling you a "man from out of town," making you "good for job"). I didn't see it so much, except in that Gizmo indeed had more personality than Mr Burke, from this one dialogue.

    Burke provides the PC with a fusion pulse detonator and he moves down to the bomb again, while Pete Hines explains that quests can be solved in a lot of ways, not just one or two paths, naming the following options here: being nice to the sheriff can land the quest of disarming the bomb, you can betray Mr Burke to the sheriff, you can arm or disarm the bomb without getting a quest. Once at the bomb, he tries to use it and a big warning flashes that his skills are insufficient to even interact with it, and has to take some Mentats that he found in the mailbox earlier to boost his intelligence and thus his technical skills (no negative effects from using these drugs are seen). Clicking the bomb reveals a number of options, including disarming and attaching the detonator, Hines opting for the latter.

    After this the PC moves out and down into the subway tunnels, Hines explaining that "metro tunnels are, for lack of a better word, our dungeon-types for Fallout 3." Rummaging through an Eat-A-Tronic 5000, the PC finds some Salisbury steak (which "will survive any conflict, even nuclear") and a load of stimpaks and superstims.

    <table align="right" width="310px" bgcolor="#333333" border="1"><tr><td><center>
    Headshots make short work of supermutants</center>
    </tr></td></table>Moving down the tunnels, it isn't long until you see a supermutant climbing over the wreckage in the distance. After taking a few potshots at each other, the PC with his hunting rifle and the mutant with a Chinese assault rifle, Pete Hines pauses the game (with Fallout 1's "combat slider" sound) to zoom in on the mutant and explain that this is a supermutant, "the main bad guy in the game." He points out that you can target the torso, arms, weapon, legs and head, each area having a different effect. Each area also has a percentage to hit which he notes is the same if you try aiming for an area in real time. The effects are also unique, headshots can blind, shooting someone in the leg can slow him down, etc.

    Furthermore, Pete Hines notes that each area shows an individual health bar, which shows the relative health of the area. The PipBoy 3000 also contains a health screen for the PC with a health bar for each of his limbs, which shows the same effects are true for him, Hines explaining that if the PC gets shot in the leg, he will limp along until healed.

    Additionally, while aiming for areas the green AP indicator in the lower right corner shows how many APs the PC will lose trying to make that shot, while the red health bar in the bottom center blinks to show how much HPs the NPC will lose if the PC successfully makes the shot (presumably for a normal shot, not a critical).

    Aiming for the head and unpausing, the PC took a single shot at the mutant and missed, shooting again while the mutant was shooting back. The second shot (the first aimed shot in SuAside's demo) was a critical hit which made the head explode (this has been described to elicit some surprise in earlier previews, but can now be assumed to happen every single time). As parts of the mutant's head rolled everywhere, Pete Hines repeated the "Is that his eye?" remark that we've also seen before. In fact, people who have read multiple previews probably won't miss the repetitive factor here, so let me answer your question: yes, lots of remarks and jokes were repeated both runs through.

    Whether or not you can pause to aim depends on the number of action points you have left. This demo did not really display how that would limit paused action, because the AP regeneration in RT was pumped up beyond normal levels, to the point of being nearly instant.

    <table align="left" width="310px" bgcolor="#333333" border="1"><tr><td><center>
    V.A.T.S. in action
    The supermutant is holding a super sledge, not (as speculated) a car differential</center>
    </tr></td></table>Moving to the next part, the PC encounters two supermutants. One, who we already know from released screenshots, is described by Pete Hines as being armed with a super sledge, the second one is not visible at that point. The PC pauses the game to aim and shoot at the super sledge-wielding mutant's leg, and moves away so Pete Hines can demonstrate the mutant is slowed down. He finishes him off with another shot (in SuAside's demo, the mutant's entire leg was blown off with a .22 calibre hunting rifle). Hines explains how this is a good tactic against enemies with mêlée weapons, while the other mutant, armed with a Chinese assault rifle, might be best dealt with by aiming at the rifle itself or shooting it in the head, perhaps blinding it.

    The second mutant seemed to have wandered off a bit in my demo, though both attacked at the same time in SuAside's demo. Pete Hines shows that when pausing the game the system will automatically zoom in on the NPC if the PC's perception is high enough, even if the NPC is hidden by a wall or another object (in this case he's behind a pillar, though in SuAside's demo his assault rifle had some collision detection problems and was sticking through the pillar). The hit-percentages will be 0% as you can't shoot through stone, but you'll know where he is. Running around the corner, the PC aims at the mutant's head and quickly dispatches him.

    If this all seems to go pretty easy, it's because all of the PC's abilities (HPs, APs, to-hit-chance) are pumped up for the demo, according to Pete Hines. Additionally, the PC did have to take stimpaks and superstims fairly regularly. In the normal game, they're trying to replicate that feeling of Fallout where you'd only have two bullets left, aim and just pray to please let this shot kill this guy so I can survive this fight. "We're trying to reward the role player, not the twitch player." You can play the game using solely VATS (though that might involve quite a bit of realtime hide and seek), VATS/RT or solely RT. One thing left that's worth noting is that it appears that VATS auto-reloads for you, but that was not very clear.

    Picking up some Chinese assault rifles (from a trash can), Pete Hines explains how weapon stats also influence combat, flipping through weapons in his inventory, which reveals the Vault Boy icon is shown with whatever weapon the player equips. The main stat here is DPS, Damage Per Second, which seems to be about 20-40 for the rifles. It was higher for the Chinese assault rifle than for the hunting rifle. It is worth noting that the Chinese assault rifle appeared to use 5.56mm ammo. SuAside notes this might be 5.56x45mm NATO, which would be kind of weird since that's a Western type of ammo, not Chinese. The hunting rifle uses .22 calibre bullets, unspecified whether it's LR or WMR.

    The other most important stat for weapons is their condition. To demonstrate this, the PC equips a Chinese assault rifle and fires a magazine into a nearby broken train. Then he opens up the inventory and uses parts from one rifle to fix the other. This action basically consists of going to your inventory, picking the option to scavenge/repair, which will also show what results you can expect from your repairs, and then clicking one button, the computer doing the rest. The PC repairs the bad assault rifle using parts from the relatively good assault rifle, which is kind of odd but does increase the rifle's DPS to 41. Firing into the train again, it is clear that the repaired Chinese assault rifle has a higher rate of fire and a lower spread than the battered version. Pete Hines explains that this means the player will have to take care of his weapons and ammo if he wants to preserve good weapons.

    Approaching the turnstiles further on, the PC spots two supermutants. Hines decides to avoid them and sneaks into a corridor on the side. The sneak bar that pops up here, SuAside notes, is a single bar for everything, so no splitting up between light and sound (like Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines). This simplifies sneaking to a level quite below, say, Thief and makes it hard to determine what exactly made you fail to sneak (noise? Light conditions? Heavy armor?). Entering the toilet there, Hines announces he can take another sip of water as he is hurt, but not hurt enough to warrant use of a stimpak. Despite the fact that the toilet is obviously filthy and might be full of germs or at least somewhat unhealthy, Hines notes "water from the toilet actually has the least amount of radiation per health," as it is underground, as opposed to the fire hydrant.

    Moving into the nearby room, a Protectron is seen in its storage bay, with a nearby RobCo computer (all in-game computers appear to be RobCo). Pete Hines decides to try and hack into the computer to activate the Protectron, and a number of computer interface screens (hacking into the computer's BIOS) later he enters a mini-game. In this mini-game you have a number of words, you have to guess which word is the password, and with each wrong pick the game will tell you how many letters were right. Whether or not you can access the terminal to begin with and he number of tries you get depends on your science skill. If you fail, the terminal locks down and can not be entered again. Except in this demo, which has a conveniently placed security card nearby for Hines to use once the terminal is locked down. He reactivates the robot.

    The Protectron powers up and moves towards the main hall in a well-done 50s-clunky walking animation, while he audibly detects lack of contact with the network, identifying the threat level as "omega, lethal force authorised."

    The following struck me as an obviously scripted event, though I could be wrong. The robot exits the room and bumps into the mutants, asking them for their tickets, apparently because they're approaching the turnstiles. They stand at about 5 feet distance of the robot, point and laugh going "foolish robot" and "let's tear off its arms" with kind of gruff, gravelly voices. The robot's right hand double as a laser, and he uses it to shoot down both offending mutants. Imagine this as him having three mechanical fingers on the end of his arm, and the "palm" of this hand is where he shoots from. The PC then moves right past the robot without any reaction from the Protectron.

    While it is vaguely implied that robots can provide a "cheat" mode for science characters to get past difficult fights in this manner, no other robots were seen and Pete Hines did not explain further.

    <table align="right" width="310px" bgcolor="#333333" border="1"><tr><td><center>
    A BoS soldier</center>
    </tr></td></table>The PC goes out of the metro. He runs into a Brotherhood of Steel/supermutant battle, Pete Hines explaining the the supermutants have spread through the metro tunnels, but are locked in combat with the Brotherhood of Steel, "the noble knights of the wasteland" who are trying to drive out the supermutants. The part of the world the PC just entered is about 1/4th of the map, and it's "a very dangerous place to come." If you go here in your lower levels, still fairly weak, you can expect to die if you don't have any help, as Oblivion's style of level scaling is out. Looking around at the bountiful destruction, Pete Hines notes "destruction is our new trees."

    The PC approaches a little Fallout shelter, which "takes exact change only." He opens it, and as a bunch of supermutants approach, the PC shoots at a car to start a chain reaction, then backs into the Fallout shelter. However, the door is left open, so that the PC is radiated as he normally would be. Oddly enough, at the start of this battle the PC is automatically given the quest to help out the BoS against the supermutants, before he talks to (or even sees) any BoS member.

    The supermutants were destroyed by the exploding car and the cross-fire. The PC walks past a number of BoS soldiers, none of whom react to him at all, though they're talking or shouting amongst themselves. The BoS Paladins appear to have the behaviour of US army soldier clichés, swearing a lot and going "all right, now that's what I'm talking about!" and "that's how we do it Alliance style, you fucking freaks!" Very macho, very Rambo.

    Hines moves to one helmet-less BoS paladin (it should be noted here a surprising number of BoS paladins do not wear helmets, which seems somewhat impractical), a woman by the name of Sentinel Lyons, apparently the head of "Lyons' Pride Platoon." She wonders what the hell the PC is doing there, and then invites him to tag along if he so wishes.

    Moving into a building (Early Dawn Elementary school), one of he soldiers notices the PC and asks another soldier if this is a new recruit. The other soldier laughs it off and says he's not. Nearby, a BoS soldier can be seen half-dead on a stretcher and Pete Hines, noting that "he won't need this anymore," takes his laser rifle and ammo, which elicits no response from nearby paladins, most of whom appeared to be armed with Chinese assault rifles.

    The PC tags along as the BoS, including two paladins identified as Vargas and Reddie, runs into battle with the supermutants. Moving through a messy battle, occasionally pausing combat to aim, a few things should be noted here: at one point a car explodes right between two BoS soldiers, who do not react at all nor do they appear hurt. Later in the battle, the PC's lack of skill with energy weapons is emphasised as he fires four shots at a supermutant from close range, missing each time. Walking around, Pete Hines pauses in front of a poster, which shows the classic Bert the Turtle advising to duck and cover in case of a nuclear attack. Finally, during this fight and the earlier ones, I must note that the ragdoll physics used for the slow motion death animations sometimes provide some really awkward deaths.

    <table align="left" width="150px" bgcolor="#333333" border="1"><tr><td><center>

    Action is violent, messy, and slightly FPSish</center>
    </tr></td></table>This fight goes on for some time, moving into an open space with a Galaxy News globe in the centre. SuAside notes at this point that it would be more tactical from them to open fire from within the building, but instead run into open space to shoot at the supermutants, occasionally at point blank range. The space opens up to a large tower, which houses Galaxy News radio station and, as Pete Hines notes, is Tenpenny Towers.

    After all the supermutants are dead the PC walks up a few steps towards the Tower, when an ominous tune starts. Turning around, two vehicles exploding nuclearly can be seen in the distance, and in walks a gigantic supermutant that Pete Hines identifies as the Behemoth. Armed with a fire hydrant as a club, a car door as a shield (which is odd as a car door wouldn't stop bullets) and carrying a shopping cart on his back to keep corpses in, Hines explains that this is the "boss creature for the supermutants," who can deal and take tons of damage. The BoS paladins all open fire on him. The PC joins in for a while with his laser rifle, then finds a corpse and picks up a weapon off of it. It should be noted here the game appeared to pause automatically when the PC opens his inventory to equip that weapon, the Fatman "portable mini nuclear bomb catapult."

    As the Behemoth approached, the PC shot at him once. Circling around the central fountain while the BoS paladins were still shooting at him, the PC approaches him from behind, taking aim at the Behemoth's leg from about 30 yards out. The camera follows the bomb in slow motion, revealing it to look like a foot-long mini-version of the classic 40s and 50s nuclear bomb. The hit was successful, as the Behemoth died in the nuclear explosion.

    In SuAside's version two things are of note here: the Behemoth did engage in combat with a BoS paladin, beating him up with the fire hydrant. At the end of the fight, a BoS soldier in the visual explosive radius of the Fatman (though apparently taking no damage from it) simply shoulders his assault rifle the moment the bomb hits and before the Behemoth actually falls down. It should be noted that at no point during this fight did a radiation warning show up.

    Pete Hines notes ammo for the Fatman will be extremely rare, but it's a fun weapon, which he again demonstrates by firing off in the distance, producing another mushroom cloud. The Fatman's DPS is 3550, which stands in shrill contrast to the Chinese assault rifle's 41.

    For some reason one the BoS paladins decided to sit down on a bench and stare blankly ahead the moment the fight was over.

    Climbing to the top to meet Mr Burke, Pete Hines notes "I would love to know how he got here before me," and I agree that between Mr Burke somehow having an impeccable three-piece suit 200 years after the war and apparently not needing to fear the mutants, this is one strange individual.

    He points out you're facing Megaton as he turns to a portable suitcase-remote detonator. Flipping the switch, you can see an enormous nuclear explosion in the distance, followed by a shockwave which hits the PC and Mr Burke. For some reason, no radiation is measured, and Pete Hines apparently forgot Bert's advice here: when blowing up a city with a nuclear bomb while inside its blast radius...Duck and cover!

    Note that SuAside saw the demo together with a group including GameInformer and Gamespy reporters, who laughed at all the right moments and applauded at the end. Brother None was in a more unfriendly audience, only one of whom occasionally guffawed at the jokes, and no applause given.

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