Fallout 3: Point Lookout Liveblog
Here we go again, with another episode of the phenomenon that’s taking the gaming world by storm: Grant’s pseudo-liveblog of games that he sort of feels like playing!
Today, we present Fallout 3: Point Lookout. It’s the fourth expansion for last year’s smash hit RPG. I’ll be playing it on the PC. Enjoy!
Friday, June 26
Wow, I don’t remember the game looking THIS green. After the oversaturated rainbow riot of Persona 4, this is like playing on an old CRT monitor.
It really was a comparison to Persona 4. Fallout 3 is a very colorful game — but usually, it’s only one color at a time.
So, of course, this is another expansion where I don’t get to use my companion. I mean, I guess that’s easier to balance from a design point of view, but you could at least come up with a better fiction for it than “sorry, I don’t do group trips.” Really? You don’t? This boat could fit about 100 people. Sigh…
I wonder what drives this decision, honestly. Is it decreed from the beginning that the player won’t have their companion? Or do the plot and scenarios come first?
Looking back at it now, many elements of this expansion would have been diluted if I’d had Fawkes — but would it have been better to just have him temporarily leave my side? I don’t know.
Interesting “down south” / Cajun music that plays as we arrive at the dock. Since I assume this is supposed to be Ocean City, Maryland, that seems a little out of place.
Huh, it turns out that it takes place in… Point Lookout State Park. I guess it’s been a really long time since I’ve visited Ocean City.
So I enter the house (accidentally skipping a line of dialogue as I do so), and am immediately thrown into a fight where people gradually become hostile to me. They should have probably introduced the “Tribals” outside the mansion first, so I actually know what I’m supposed to shoot at.
There were quite a few problems with dialogue and subtitles in this expansion. This one felt very particular, though — like maybe they should have had loudspeakers on the outside of the mansion that triggered before I got as close as I did.
Rather egregious overlapping lines of dialogue here, something that Fallout 3 has never been particularly good at preventing. Plus, the questgiver NPC at the dock said “I need your help!” about every 20 seconds or so. I already accepted your quest. Shut up.
So the first scripted encounter is me shooting three African-American people named “Tribals”. Interesting decision there.
I imagine the “Tribals” are just triggered through spawners, and their genders/races are random. But maybe they should have taken a little more care with this one — especially since many other parts of the expansion are very tightly scripted or controlled.
Wearing the “Confederate Hat” increases my Personality by 1? What are you trying to say, Bethesda?
“Go upstairs and fight them while I hide down here and watch the cameras.” I mean, sure, since I’m a paladin. But you haven’t even given me an opportunity to bluster about how evil I am. Kind of a change for this game.
Also, considering how gung-ho Desmond ended up being later in the game, this is a little inconsistent.
Good or bad omen — a moth just flew into the room and buzzed my head. I blew at it in self-defense, and it fluttered down onto the laptop, where it remained motionless. When I returned from retrieving a moth disposal device, IT WAS GONE. *gasp*
I’ve heard a lot about the supposed survival horror tinges in this expansion, but so far, that seems to be manifesting as “random doors opening to reveal slightly reskinned raiders” and “women with mohawks falling from the ceiling”. Time will tell, I guess.
And due to the incredibly scripted nature of the mansion, it appears that my 100 Sneak skill will be useless. Awesome.
Yeah, this never really got any better. I’m sneaking through the mansion, when all of a sudden five guys come dashing out from behind a door. Oh well.
Really? I can’t sleep in the queen-sized bed? I imagine the guy who is making me clear his mansion of invading axe-wielding thugs would probably let it slide.
Ugh. The subtitles for the helpful line of dialogue (featuring the rather on-the-nose “maybe there’s something near the hole you can shoot”) don’t trigger until I get within proximity of the camera… and then flicker away before I can read them. I know I’ve complained about the QA on these things before, but only because I would think things as obvious as that would have been caught before shipping.
Nice effect for sealing off “the breach”.
Very nice implementation of falling through the floor to the basement.
There were a few very polished sequences like this — falling through the floor, getting caught in an explosion, etc. It feels like this expansion was specifically designed to show that Bethesda could do this kind of thing.
Oh, okay, maybe “survival horror” means “really cheap scares” like someone blasting through the door right as I approach.
Why is VATS just lying about how much damage I’ll do to these guys? It says 1-2 shotgun blasts to the head will kill them, but it’s taking, like, ten. I don’t understand.
After a while I just gave up on VATS and just shot everyone with my Tesla cannon. I’m still not sure why VATS just lied for the whole expansion, though.
They’d better have a good excuse for using a ridiculous word like “Punga”. Is there an African shaman leading all of them?
Nope, this was never explained. Well, maybe it was explained in one of the two side quests I missed. But I doubt it.
I don’t know if it’s intentional or not, but I like hearing the shotgun click when I pull the trigger, followed by the blast after a short delay while in VATS. Feels very satisfying for some reason.
The stealth is maddeningly inconsistent in the mansion. It seems like if I’m in an enemy’s direct path, they’ll spot me instantly. If I’m stealthed two feet off the path, they don’t notice me.
I believe Trumpet has found the moth. Goodbye, moth.
Ah, there’s the cat I know and love. “Any second now… get ready!” …and Trumpet presses the “Component” input switch on the projector remote. “Uhh… hang on a sec there, Desmond.”
“You now do more damage and have better defense when standing still.” Wow, after four expansions, I’ve got quite a lot of perks. Bring on the PVP! Okay, not really.
I think that’s all I have in me for tonight. We’ll pick this up tomorrow.
Saturday, June 27
Some weird choices here. With no one around, I go down into a basement to explore. It’s a dead end. So I come back out and there are two enemies. I guess that’s interesting, but it feels pretty jarring after a full game and three expansions where that never happened.
Wait, the hardware store guy “woke up with a headache a couple of years ago and just started trading”? Okay. If you didn’t want to come up with a back story for him, then just don’t give me the option to ask about it. Because that was… silly.
I don’t know, I’m just not feeling this one. Maybe it’s because all of my weapons are inexplicably pea shooters against everything I’m fighting. I spent a lot of time and money getting my character as powerful as she is. I’d like for that to be reflected in the actual experience.
I’m very glad I didn’t give up, since a few minutes later, it really kicked into high gear.
Sunday, June 28
I’m not really sure what they’re going for with the mutated rednecks. Maybe I’m not the right audience, but it doesn’t seem to fit with Fallout at all.
This was especially jarring since I was annihilating Super Mutants without breaking a sweat back in D.C., while these mutated backwoods enemies were hardier than anything else in the game.
I like the underground swamp area with the big hole in the ceiling. Very pretty.
Definitely digging the swampy area with the Mirelurks and SWAMPLURK. This is the kind of environment I was imagining when I heard “survival horror”. Good stuff. It doesn’t hurt that my stealth is finally usable.
I guess the dolls are supposed to be creepy, but I just find myself wondering if there’s a doll factory nearby that made them. Otherwise, it’s just weird.
Specifically, I meant the fact that every single doll is exactly the same. Maybe if they’d mixed up the colors a bit, it would have been a little more acceptable.
I’m sorry, but my Tesla Cannon should really be fucking these guys up. IT’S A TESLA CANNON.
Nice, I never noticed before that the Pip-Boy actually lights up when you have your light turned on. I guess because I never had a shoulder-mounted weapon before the TESLA CANNON. It’s a very nice touch — I feel like they should have showed it off before now.
Hmm, I guess I was doing it wrong. My TESLA CANNON really is fucking these guys up. That’s… weird.
I’m wearing Enclave Power Armor. Why are the spores from the GIANT PUNGA PLANT affecting me, exactly?
Reminds me of the wheel-turning in inFamous. I have to turn this crank, but I can’t possibly avert my eyes or face while I’m doing so! It would be physically impossible!
Speaking of averting my face, I was all stressed out because I thought the game was making me slow-walk all the way back. I figured something was going to leap out of the water and eat me. Turns out I had accidentally hit Caps Lock. So let that be a lesson, devs! If you want to stress people out and create tension, make the player have to walk really slowly through a swamp.
The “Schmault-Tec” bobblehead dolls are a little strange. I mean, I assume I’m hallucinating here, but still — I don’t know. Let’s see if it pays off.
Okay, holy crap, that ghostly red handsaw is freaking my shit out. I take back everything I said, Bethesda. You can do scary.
I like the increased motion blur when I turn. This is just a really well-done sequence — one that I wish they’d employed in the main Fallout 3 storyline instead of in their fourth expansion. Although the Pleasantville-style virtual reality area was pretty close.
Yeah, overall, that sequence was stronger than pretty much everything in the main game, I think. Something the main story of Fallout 3 lacked was any real connection between the character and the story. Sure, the character’s father featured prominently, but there was nothing nearly as affecting as the hallucination sequence I just played.
Picking all these PUNGA fruit makes me want to mix potions in Oblivion again. …okay, not really. That was kind of a pain in the ass.
That certainly didn’t stop me from doing it al lthe way through the end of the game.
Seeing a place called “House of Wares” brings me back to the “software pirate” from Ultima VII. Ah, good times.
My friend Joe and I were talking the other day about how the Ultima series could use a reboot. There are very few projects that I’d leave Seattle to work on, but that would be one of them.
The “I’m out of oxygen and I just came back up to the surface” noise is slightly disappointing. I don’t think anyone’s made a better one than Quake 1‘s. I wonder if Trent Reznor did those himself. I would assume so, right?
I’ve always found it kind of strange that taking an object from on top of a physics-enabled object seems to “turn on” the physics on the surrounding objects. Is it a bug? Or a feature?
Monday, June 29
Is this the first new voice for a Ghoul? THANK GOD.
That’s something that was always a little distracting in the first game — every ghoul seemed to be voiced by the same actor.
Looking around on the internet, though, maybe that’s not accurate? Hmm. It certainly seemed that way.
“Against which you must defend yourself”? “Are these they?”
This will probably not be the last Venture Bros. reference on this blog.
Very nice water splash effect when I fire the TESLA CANNON into the water.
Wow, the text is not matching up with the VO at all here. Weird.
This seemed like a mistyped reference or something. The spoken line didn’t match up at all with the text. (For reference, it’s when you talk to “Jackson”.)
The jargon used in the crashed jet’s black box recorder was pretty cool. But… now what?
Yeah, they never did anything else with the crashed jet, or its black box, that I could tell. It was definitely well-written, though.
Well, that quest (find the soil survey samples) was disappointing. The big reward was… a couple of radiation suits? Huh.
429 total Stimpaks taken. I imagine half of those were during the expansion pack. I do like games that keep track of weird stats like that, though.
Wait, what? How’d you know that I talked to the brain? Have some conversational consistency, game.
This was in reference to Desmond bursting out with a line referencing the brain before I could even get a word out. Like I said, conversation strangeness abounds.
“He was once a man”. Oh man, that just makes me want to watch the GI Joe movie again.
As long as we’re getting all meta, I do love the line “Right, right. You’re mean, we get it.”
What’s this? A choice that isn’t OMG GOOD versus OMG EVIL? Take note, other games.
This was the “choose to help Desmond or the brain” event. It wasn’t immediately obvious which one would be the best choice for me, which was quite refreshing.
Aww, man! I chose the option that doesn’t help out the guy in the mansion, and there are INSTANTLY a dozen enemies on top of me. That’s just sloppy.
I mean, there’s not much else they coul do here — otherwise, I could have just fast travelled somewhere else. But they solved bigger problems than this elsewhere in the expansion.
Great explosion effects on the mansion. And finding the panic room afterwards was a very nice touch.
So we can just waltz into the Underground Lab? Not much of a well-secured position if it just opens up for any ghoul in a suit.
This was pretty strange. I assume the lab was gated because I wasn’t allowed to go there before I was supposed to. But Desmond should have done something, or hacked something, to open the door. Just having it slide open at his approach was weird.
So, the turrets aren’t active even though the alarm is sounding. I open the door, and NOW they start firing? Again, sloppy.
Gatling Laser? DON’T MIND IF I DO! Was there one of these available before now?
It looks like yes, there were plenty available in the main game. I just either never found them or never kept them.
“No, NO! Destroy HIM!” Awesome.
Just a funny interaction between Desmond and the brain at the end of the game.
I think I’ve heard Desmond say “fuck” more in the last two minutes than in the entire rest of the game.
Whenever I heard someone use “fuck” in pretty much the entirety of Fallout 3, it sounded kind of… wrong. It was like the voice actors never got used to their ability to use the queen mother of all dirty words.
No. Bad developers. Don’t make your characters repeat their conversation immediately upon finishing it.
Hmm, so you have to fight both of them no matter what at the end? Let’s try this the other way.
The answer is no, you don’t, but I just ended up killing Desmond anyway.
Wow, you even have to shoot the glass multiple times before the brain dies. I mean, is it an homage? It has to be, right?
I’m talking about destroying the brain at the end of the expansion. And if you don’t get the reference I’m making, first, what the hell are you doing reading this, and second, click here.
Well, that was anti-climactic. I’d rather have had a slow buildup to actually having to beat the brain than choosing between the two of them at the end. Or, in my case, choosing between them, and then killing them both anyway. I’m already a paladin. One little slipup isn’t going to hurt anyone. Heh heh heh.
For some reason, there’s a lot of flange on the “waves lapping against the dock” sounds.
Nice! I really like the “play a holotape in the vicinity of something for voice recognition” concept. Too bad it’s, again, used as kind of a throwaway thing in this expansion.
This side quest is actually pretty cool. Find a safehouse, go to the bank to find a way into the safety deposit box (although I wish they’d have let me figure out to use the holotape), go to the morgue, then blow up a sub. I like it!
And it keeps going! Good stuff. Maybe I’m just disappointed by the other quests in this expansion, but this one obviously had a lot of time and effort put into it.
And wearing the special glasses to see the marks on the vases… REALLY nice touch. This is the best quest ever!
Great reward, too, with the giant pile of ammunition boxes. And having to escape after the double-cross… I don’t know, I just really enjoyed it. Hats off to whoever did that quest.
This was “The Velvet Curtain”, by the way.
And since the last achievement is the wholly unsatisfying “find all the locations in Point Lookout”, I think that’ll be it for this liveblog. How about that — I finally finished a game.
Well, okay, I did finish Persona 4 this weekend as well, but it took me eighty-two hours to finish that one. No liveblogs for games that last longer than eighty hours. That’s my rule.
Overall, I’d say this one is definitely worth the $10, if for no other reason than the mindfuck part of the swamp, and the Chinese operative side quest. It may not feel much like Fallout 3 for the most part, but it’s different in a good way, for the most part. I guess I’ll be picking up the fifth and final one when it comes out soon.
So looking at a FAQ afterwards, it looks like I missed out on two side quests. I guess I may knock those out tomorrow, but with Star Ocean: The Last Hope and Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise in the mail, that may not be guaranteed.
Actually, I missed out on two, and deliberately didn’t do a third. The third was given by the ghoul with the new voice. But I wasn’t interested in murdering a bunch of ghouls… this time.
And this all for this episode! Like I said, this one’s definitely worth the $10, as is Broken Steel. The other two… not particularly. But I’m glad Bethesda is still supporting Fallout 3.