@Keyboard Gecko has done it again! Last time he reviewed Olympus 2207 for us, this time it's Fallout: Nevada, another Fallout 2 total conversion mod. Whereas Olympus 2207 takes place in it's own stand-alone universe, Fallout: Nevada acts as a prequel to Fallout 1 and tells the story of Vault 8, later known as Vault City. What will he do next? Review Fallout: Resurrection or Fallout: Sonora? I think it's great that we are finally getting the reviews out for these ambitious total conversion mods. --------------------- A public speech. Kidding. Someone's being hanged. What makes a fallout game a fallout game? Is it a radioactive wasteland? Super mutants? Brotherhood of Steel? Bottlecaps? Ghouls? Enclave? Loads of different power armors? A wacky world to explore? Fallout of Nevada is a fan-made mod for Fallout 2 the size of Fallout 2 (let that sink a little) and acts as a prequel to Fallout 1. It has few of the typical features of the series. No super mutants, no Brotherhood of Steel, dollars instead of bottlecaps, power armor is almost non-existent and the world is strangely logical. And yet it feels like fallout to the very core. It's kind of a prequel to the both of Fallout 1 and 2, taking place 20 years before the first of them. The story revolves around Vault 8 in its early years after the opening. Some locations and characters make a return, but mostly the game stands on its own pretty well. I'm going to talk about why Fallout: Nevada is: a good fallout game a good prequel and a a good game in general. But first - how do you play it? HOW TO PLAY IT How do I play it? The game went through several major releases while being developed. The last official version is 1.02. You can find it on the nevada band site, but as I'm writing this review, it’s still in Russian only. The task of keeping the game alive was picked up by certain individuals from the Russian fallout modding community (i. e. - @Foxx), which led to the creation of "Crazy Edition". It had loads of useful fixes and changes, a handful of new locations, of varying quality, and a dog companion. But it relied heavily on the assets of Olympus 2207 and talking heads from the classic games, so it's a mixed bag. This version is now discontinued. The best way to experience Fallout: Nevada is to download the so-called «Extended edition» by @Pyran, which includes most of the fixes from the Crazy Edition, but tries to keep things close to vanilla experience. The link is in the NMA topic. This "Extended edition" already includes English translation. And its version was recently updated. Don't ask, just have a good time playing. As usual, the translation repository is open for everyone, so feel free to make changes and fix things. Especially if you want to narrate some parts - do it and put your name in the credits with big letters. Make the game better, it deserves that. Moving on to the story! THE STORY So, after a short introduction, you walk out of the vault to witness the vault city in its pre-Fallout 2 glory. Looks like you are one of its citizens - everyone around treat you as such. Your suit is different though. Maybe the chief of security can give you some details. Is that a skull on your back? You go to the security chief, and he tells you the situation: you, a common citizen, went missing some time ago. But recently some guy on a motorcycle brought you back, with your memory wiped clean. The biker demanded to see the Overseer, claiming it's important. While inside the vault, he created a diversion and stole a device that is vital to the vault's safety. Then he disappeared. You don't remember any of that, but you obviously have a connection to that biker, and to this city. So, as a patriotic citizen, your must retrieve the device. Grab your stuff and get the hell out. Your stuff. Not exactly yours. You just had it on you. Now, what do we know about vault city from Fallout 2? Advanced medical tech, good weapons, bureaucracy, slave labor, arrogance... They are great guys. And here you are - an amnesiac, seemingly affiliated with them, with a mission shoved right up your ass. Do you care about these people? Do you want to belong to them? Do you want to carry out the mission they gave to you? Well, you are free to decide. You are new to this world, and so is your character. This convenient amnesia gives you an excuse to do what you want and act how you want, care, don't care, it's all up to you. Do you feel a ludonarrative dissonance? Like, when your character does something that you don't want him to? Me neither. It's awesome. But you still have a mystery to find out who you were, which you can solve as you progress... only about two minutes into the game, by hacking the medical computer in the vault. Spoiler - you are literally no one, you did nothing significant. You didn't matter until you became a blank slate and your identity was rewritten by the local doctor, who didn't really know what he was doing. The whole thing about leaving the vault that you went through in the beginning is just a dream you had. And the inhabitants of Vault City are not supposed to have dreams. This fact further separates you from that faction. You are special, you know it. I mean, of course you are. You know why. Your fellow citizens are busy with their daily routines. They are strolling around the streets, adjusting to the outside world after years spent in the vault, playing darts, doing their bureaucratic work, and exploring the sexuality of the opposite sex when no one is looking. They don't really seem to want to leave the city premises, nor do the guards allow them to. They are not at all like the faction you meet in Fallout 2 - more like scared kittens. They are cautious, not really adapted to this world and look for ways to keep the danger to a minimum. They even use robots to scout the surrounding areas. And there are no slaves around... Yet. You can directly influence that. A security officer asks you to find some people willing to exchange their freedom on benefits of the vault technologies - that means safety an food. And you can do it. But if you don't there's no guarantee it won't be done without you in the next 100 years. You know it will. Anyway, let's explore the world. THE SETTING The road. The game takes place in the Nevada region, mostly in an area between three major cities - New Reno, Las Vegas and Salt Lake. This region was much less nuked than California, so even while the game is technically happening before Fallout 1, the state of things here is on par to Fallout 2, which means that everything is mostly fine. People around here are trying to live, not to survive. California is separated by mountains and a scorched desert, so it makes sense that there are no communications with that region. Each of aforementioned cities had a difficult civil war period, following the Great War. And each of them dealt with it in its own way - some rebuilt their city with slave labor, some let local gangs sort things out and some got their hands dirty and paid the price for a peace. There's a history to every place and it's always fun to learn more about it. The biggest little city in the world. The cities are connected with half-destroyed highways, called by locals "the great Nevada ring", which allows caravans to traverse freely. This, of course, means that raiders are prone to ambush them there. On the other hand, the further you stray off the road, the more wildlife you encounter; that can be even more dangerous. So there's kind of a logical balance. Also, the area is full of mountains and general nothingness. If you are not aware of a settlement (i. e. no roads) then there's no reason for a caravan to go there. So trading routes mean a lot around here. Again, logic. No one knows about your settlement. Guess why. Smaller settlements have history too. A little town, founded by New Reno refugees, tired of a big city life; a little commune of strict customs, because any failures can mean putting the whole town in danger; a tribe of peaceful indians, abused by a raider gang; a little derelict town around an uranium mine; a village around a ski resort - these locations are not centred around some crazy gimmicks. They are logical and mostly connected to some real landmarks, which gives the game a strange feeling of authenticity. Also, factions don't play major role here. There are bikers and slavers, vault city dwellers and military fellas of the Wind of War settlement, but mostly towns are just towns, with common people who lives there. And if these people don't like to live in a certain place, they move to another. That happens many times during the game, and makes the world much more lively. Bikers chilling with the locals. Also, the region has its local peculiarities - for instance, there is a unique breed of geckos, encountered only in Salt Lake City's surroundings. They spit acid. Broc flowers and Xander roots grow in bushes, which means they can be harvested multiple times. There's even a miracle of nature - a mutated water lily growing around the SLC lake. Its nuts, called vocas, remove radiation poisoning from the body. Just chew some every day, and you'll be fine. It sure is. As this region was bombed a little less than the coast, there are still some functioning vehicles around. There's even a caravan using buses to transport people around and you can buy a ticket. The bikers drive their motorcycles across the place. They are a great bunch and a quite commonly encountered faction. You could even find yourself a car, if you're lucky. All in all, the world exists fine without you. No bleakness, no unsolvable conflicts, where everything depends on you. You are passerby here, you have your own personal mission. So it's not mandatory to influence everything and everyone - but you can, if you want to. It can be interesting. Or fun. Or both. GAME MECHANICS Dinner time! Fallout: Nevada has plenty of new mechanics. For example, huge heaps of metal most likely emit heavy amounts of radiation, so you'd better be careful when walking around. There's also an infection, similar to radiation, which you get... Somehow. You basically accumulate it as you go, fight the wildlife, touch dirty things and so on. The vault city dwellers have a weak immune system due to years of living in a vault - that makes perfect sense. The thing is, you don't have an indicator for infection, so when you start vomiting, maybe find something to cure yourself with. Or just ignore it, maybe it'll go away. Actually, the doctor in your vault told you about everything mentioned, but you didn't really pay attention, did you? He can even explain how to craft antibiotics if you are away from civilization. So yeah, crafting is also present here. You can assemble items with workbenches, or use camp fires to cook something. It all feels very natural and adds additional layers to the gameplay. You find recipes as you go, junk like empty syringes or mutafruits has some use. There are a lot of new items, which have new graphics, not from Fallout 1 and 2. In fact, there are a lot of new graphics in this game. And while the quality of some things, like talking heads, shall we say "differs", items and scenery objects fit the style of the classic games like a glove. Yeah. In all other aspects, it's the same Fallout 2, with all its quirks. And just as long, which is quite an achievement. There's A LOT of content, some parts of it are mutually exclusive and some are not. It's interesting to explore and to find new things and new stuff to do. But you have to do it alone - no party members this time. This game is personal. Music And the music. It is just perfect. Made by Alexey Trofimov, also known as "Nobody's nail machine", it's genius, rivalling, if not beating, Mark Morgan's classic soundtrack. The feeling it conveys is unmistakably fallout-y, but still very distinctive, and memorable. A GOOD PREQUEL AND A GOOD GAME The game is full of familiar things, connecting your experience to previous games. You meet Harold and visit the-place-soon-to-be-the-town-of-Gecko which is quite ironically, full of geckos, attracted by the radiation of a local nuclear power plant. There's also Skitter from Fallout 2. Try not to murder him, he has a fuel cell controller to give to someone in 100 years, that can be important. The vault city itself is a big callback and a great variation on "what it could be in the past and how it came to be the way it is". There's even an enclave - kinda sorta. I guess that's a minor spoiler. There's a guy from Union of Atomic Workers and a couple of Shi refugees from San Francisco, a caravan from The Hub and an old model of Gauss pistol. New Reno is full of ancestors of mob families from Fallout 2 - Mordino, Bishop, Salvatore. All these little things don't contradict what you already know about the fallout lore. They look very plausible. This guy is something else. The quests are usually of two types: either they offer you many choices in solving them, or they are akin to "sierra" 90s quests: about using an item - or a skill - on some objects. You will have to find a loose plank in brahmin's corral, poison food (multiple times), examine computers with science skill, examine street lamps with science skill, examining newspaper machines with science skill, examine slot machines with science skill... You get the point. But there's always something interesting to do, and sometimes it fleshes out the mechanics of fallout 2 better than fallout 2. For example, you can set up traps here. Crafting is also the case, but I already talked about that. Also, the game is structured in the way that you will have to get back to some locations to get more content. Some parts are inaccessible to you from the start, some even unknown. So there's a lot of backtracking, but in a good way. And there's the main quest. THE MAIN QUEST Yes you did. General consensus of the community is that Fallout: Nevada has great side content, but a REALLY MESSED UP main quest. And I have A LOT to say about the matter here, but without spoiling anything, there's only this: the translation is updated, now it makes more sense. Play it, then leave comments. Don't let the previous experience fool you - now it will be better. I HOPE. Here are some general words about what I think about it without any spoilers: It is full of memorable and interesting ideas. The <REDACTED> fits the story of Vault City from Fallout 2 very organically. The idea of <REDACTED> to <REDACTED> from <REDACTED> is also pretty cool. The idea of <REDACTED> and <REDACTED> is simply brilliant. Their story of <REDACTED> too. The <REDACTED> is a great concept. It's something not done in the series before - to <REDACTED>. No <REDACTED>, no <REDACTED>. He's basically, a <REDACTED>, another spin on <REDACTED>. You can even justify his actions, just like with <REDACTED>. And the best thing about him, is that he makes things personal. How, you ask? Well, with just a tiny little detail. Remember how he <REDACTED>? It really pissed you off, didn't it? Also, the <REDACTED> is a cool concept too. The design is great. Now about what's not so good about the story: Approximately one third of the game's locations have no connection to it. You have OTHER reasons to visit these places though. If you kill the <REDACTED>, the <REDACTED> feels quite detached. You have no connection to him. He is basically a random dude. The <REDACTED> is a wasted opportunity - story-wise it's completely optional. Also, you can't avoid a fight with him, which pisses me off! Anyway, I hope it was helpful. CONCLUSION Train. Take it. Here I should put some words on how I like Fallout: Nevada and explain that it's my favourite fallout game, and that it is fantastic, especially for a free mod, and that I adore the developer for pulling it off TWICE, with both Fallout: Nevada and Fallout: Sonora. However, instead here are some random things about this game in no particular order without any context. Mild spoilers, I guess. Spoiler Doing the quest about the missing prospectors, you will find one of them in Black Rock. You can say that you will complete his mission for him, and he will give you a metal detector. In addition to finding mines, the detector can also be used differently: almost every location in the game - and I mean almost every location - has hidden stashes that you can discover using it. It works like this: you use the detector, and if you're lucky, it will tell you how many steps away from the treasure you are. All that's left is to find the right tile, repeating this while moving around. When you hit the right spot, you need a successful outdoosman skillcheck to actually dig the treasure up, so there can be a multiple tries. And it can result in getting something worthless, like a couple of dollars, but also - a something unique, like a broken pipboy which you can use to upgrade yours. You'll never know until you get it. So the typical gameplay scenario looks like this: you run across the location mashing the use button of your metal detector, then you get a signal and check every tile around, getting annoyed in anticipation. After finding the right spot you mash button like crazy, wanting to eagerly run your shaky hands through the loot, and hoping it's something good. You run around, mash button, open the box, run around, mash button, open the box, again, again, again, rinse, repeat. So yeah, basically Fallout: Nevada invented lootboxes! But more important, by doing some optional quest, you get another layer of gameplay! The music here is awesome. Remember the perk to skin geckos from Fallout 2? A certain trapper could teach you, if you save him. To get this perk here, you have to actually do a multi-step gecko hunt, where you'll learn to use traps and a whistle to get your prey, and then steal a dozen of gecko eggs from their lair without killing them. To the south of New Reno there is a mountain range. Walking through it, you may more than once encounter a tribe of cannibals - they use weapons made from old agricultural machinery. Their chief has a unique power fist, called "flaming kiss", which sets her victims on fire. Also, this tribe somehow domesticated deathclaws. Don't want to bother smacking tribals for that unique power fist? You can MAKE ANOTHER unique power fist from a toaster bought from some tribal. Or to find an EMP powered fist and go punch robots to the north of the worldmap. There was supposed to be a secret location - "sigma base" - but it was cut from the game, and all that's left are these encounters with crazy robots. Want to move around faster? You can repair and then buy yourself a pickup truck! Then go to any tech-savvy person in any town and chat about cars, there's a lot to talk about. With some luck, you can put a staggering amount of money into pimping your ride. Because you can afford it. If you want something else to repair, why not to rebuild a dilapidated town? A place called Uranium city. It's located near an old uranium mine. The locals have a "tremors" situation, so there are not many people there. Want to get a power armor? There are two of them around, and they are both WRECKED and already worn - one by a very tough biker and another one by a general in "Wind of War". That settlement was founded by descendants of a certain military base's personnel, who survived the nuclear war in a vault used to test materials for their construction - literally a demonstartion vault. So to get a power armor for yourself, you have to make one. And to make one you have to run around. A LOT. You can try to undress any of these guys after killing them, but the suit is not going to be in working condition. I mean, it's basically a can, what did you expect, to simply put it on? But you can try to use what you managed to strip off in building yours. Still not satisfied with building a power armor? Build your own Nuka-Cola trading empire! Become an official representative of the factory that produces it - there is one, yeah - make deals with the largest venues, organize the delivery lines, sell tons of product every day and drown in profits. You can go through the whole plot of Blind Fury in a chain of quest. Scratch that - you can play a drinking game, drinking every time the game quotes a movie! You can become a private investigator and solve a super convoluted case for a shitload of money. You can become a sheriff, a pizza delivery boy, a ring champion - twice! Organize a movie screening, or a heist. Make the son of a mafia boss commit his first murder. Gather a jazz band and play live. Make a huge-ass raider boss become a successfull singer. Rob every nuka-cola machine you find, using counterfeit coins that you crafted and get an achievement for this. Pick a female character and become the most famous new reno stripper. Avoid being raped by a crowd of fans and meet Ted Bundy. The game is best thought of as a Fallout 2 experience and that you want a little more of it. It's the DLC it never had and with its spirit intact. If you can't stand "OG Fallouts", then it's better to just avoid it.