Fallout New Vegas has beaten me again. Once more I find myself at the precipice, staring down at an impassable gaping canyon [insert ex-girlfriend joke]. First it was the bugs. Then it was a swarm of cannibals dressed as the Phantom of the Opera. Now the Legion has me on their shit-list and I can't get to Novac without a squad of their l33t assassins blowing me into sexy man chunks. I never had this problem with Oblivion or Fallout 3. I'd get myself into some merry scrapes but I always found a way out. Why New Vegas!? Why do you do this to me every time!?
I should make an expensive ashtray out of this game disc. After all, I am the master and commander in this relationship. Such insolence must not be tolerated. Alas, I am poor so, faced with only one option, I start again, play it on Hardcore mode and unleash my malevolence on the sad little peons of the Mojave Wastelands.
(Note – I am playing this on the Xbox 360 and don't have a screengrab facility. I do, however, have a scanner and the artistic skills of Pablo Picasso so screenshots will be replaced by my own beautiful artwork.)
Day 1 – The birth of Jonty Bastardson
I prepare for my epic quest (presuming I don't die the second I start the game) with coffee, some weird organic energy drink (half price at Morrisons) and a packet of Salt & Vinegar crisps. How can I possibly fail now? I pay no attention to the opening sequence because, well, I've seen it four times already but I am reminded of when I worked with couriers and what a bunch of cantankerous, miserable bigots they were. They were just delivering mobile phones. Imagine what they'd be like if they were shot for making a delivery. This strengthens my resolve to play the game as a complete bastard – you know, for realism - and I even toy with the idea of making decisions based on the race of other characters. I decide against it. Jonty Bastardson hates everyone equally.
I lose patience with the character creation screen. You'd think with a game that allows you to choose between good and evil there'd be a Hitler moustache and side parting. Not a bit of it. I pick a preset and give him a Hombre beard/'tache.combo. I look like a right dick. My S.P.E.C.I.A.L. ratings favour endurance and agility. Doc Mitchell's little psychology test gets the following responses.
- Dog – Kick
- House – Demolish
- Night – Silencer (?)
- Bandit – Reasonable
- Light – Dark
- Mother – Human Shield
Doc isn't happy about this. He's even more perturbed by my attitude to conflict, self-image, new ideas, my approach to new challenges and other people. He nearly soils himself when he does his little Rorschach test. I'm unimpressed with the skills he selects for me and make a mental note to come back later and kill the fucker.
I leave Doc Mitchell and scold him for going through my stuff. He's far too understanding about it. He will die soon. I step into the Mojave wastelands, survey my surroundings and prepare to unleash my furious anger on anything that steps in my way.
Victor, the robot who rescued me from a shallow grave, trundles past. I decide I want to call him a rusty, rectangle-headed bellend but the conversation tree is limited to questions about my attackers. I can't even threaten him. I toy with the idea of shooting him but get the impression that he could kill me just by looking at me. I make my way to Sunny Smiles instead.
Assuming that Jonty is a shameless mysogynist, I want to make lewd comments to Sunny but, again, I'm foiled by the conversation tree. It's simply impossible to be dickish in these early stages. I resolve to kill her dog, and ideally her, but until then, I decide to get my free Varmint Rifle. Now I'm faced with a dilemma. On one hand, Sunny needs help killing Geckos. On the other, I like killing things. What do I do? Tell her to kill the Geckos herself and wander off into the sunset or go with her to kill stuff? I elect to kill the Geckos during the first part of the mission then, in the second part, leave her and the dog to get attacked while I watch.
It works out quite nicely. The geckos attack Sunny's dog and kill it. Unfortunately Sunny is a decent shot so doesn't meet the same fate. I decide to strip the dog's corpse and eat it's flesh in front of her. She doesn't react but I still feel quite evil for doing it. When I speak to her, she is quite upset about the death of Cheyenne. I look at Jizz Mop, my own idiot hound, farting in the corner and can't work out why. The tutorial mission throws up no more opportunities for evil so I head back to the Prospector Saloon.
Trudy of the Prospector Saloon is the matriarch of the town. When I arrive she is being threatened by a mean-looking fellow named Joe Cobb. Obviously there's only one person here I want to speak to. He offers to meet me outside of town to discuss taking Goodsprings over. I like his style but don't like the way he talks to me when I ask about why he was in prison. I'll help him first then kill him later. No-one talks to me like that, no matter how handsome they are.
I leave the saloon to find Joe Cobb as soon as I can. Cobb demands that I kill a chap named Ringo before meeting the rest of the gang for some indiscriminate murder. Ringo is my least favourite Beatle so this presents no moral quandary whatsoever. I run to his hiding place, kick open the door and scream “Octopus' Garden this, you Thomas the Tank Engine-voicing motherfucker!” before unloading my Varmint Rifle into his poor, betrayed face. Turns out he's quite hard to kill and I'm nearly dead when I finally get to icing the little knobhead.
This presents a problem. Now I must escape Goodsprings and get to Joe Cobb but that little commotion has possibly turned the villagers against me (it hadn't but I didn't know that). I'm also unable to heal quickly. Instead, I have to sit around with my thumb up my arse slowly supping Sunset Sarsparilla before I'm in any condition to make a run for it. This is not a very enjoyable process but, hey, I'm nothing if not well-hydrated - and possibly diabetic - now.
When I do escape I'm greeted with 'What do you want now?' from Joe Cobb. I inform him that Ringo is now dead while writing a second mental note to whack the cheeky little rat ASAP. Now he wants me shake down the supplies store and Doc Mitchell for gear. I have no problem with this. Doc Mitchell is already on my death-list and I know from previous playthroughs that Chet at the supply store is an irritating little gimp well-deserving of a hot lead injection.
There's evidently some means of getting Doc Mitchell to hand over his supplies but my Speech points are too low. I shoot him several times in the head until it literally falls off. This is what you get for presuming I want to specialise in Energy weapons, you bald wanker. I steal his stuff and ransack the house. There is loads of great stuff in here. I even find a chemistry set and make a load of drugs. Can I sell them to children later down the line? I look forward to finding out. I move on to Chet - who makes the mistake of being alive - and quickly realise that I will have to kill him too. So I do...and then I steal all of his stuff. Surprisingly for a 'Supply Store' the supplies are sub-par when compared to Doc Mitchell's (no meth lab for a start) but he does have a neat Magnum pistol on his corpse which will come in very handy when it comes to massacring the entire town. Nice guys finish last is a phrase that is becoming more and more resonant.
I return to Cobb, who signs a third death warrant with his fat mouth. I hand him the supplies and we head into Goodsprings for a bit of wanton murder. Easy Pete gets it first. This was for all those times he refused to give me explosives because my skill level wasn't high enough. Then Trudy's head explodes without me doing anything. I like to think I did it with the power of my mind but suspect it was Joe Cobb (Death Warrant Number 4). Last, but not least Sunny Smiles joins her beloved dog. Thanks for the Varmint Rifle, love *teabags corpse*.
With the residents of Goodspring lying around like eviscerated, discarded shoes, everything falls silent. I have been shot a tiny bit but it's nothing a bottle of purified water can't fix. Joe Cobb is waiting for me in the saloon. I find him fully intending to shoot his face off but, when I speak to him, he directs me to a Correctional Centre. There I can find missions from the most effeminately named gang since the West Side My Little Ponies – The Powder Gangers. I allow him to live for now, not least because I'm surrounded by his gang and don't stand a chance. Besides, it's late, my bloodlust is sated and my sleep-o-meter is disconcertingly high. I retire to the late Ringo's filthy mattress and sleep on exactly the kind of surface you want to lie on with barely-healed bullet wounds. Tomorrow I have a trip to a prison to make.