Andy Jih

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Fallout: New Vegas

I’ve played Fallout: New Vegas on-and-off for the past two months or so, and I’ve largely enjoyed my experience despite having a few hang-ups along the way.  My current playthrough is actually my second after the first came to a protracted end due to a decision I made that resulted in the game being unplayable. 

I was playing a goody-two-shoes character with a focus on the Explosives and Speech skills.  About 4 hours into the game, I’d made my way to Nipton, a town that had been raped and pillaged by a band of warriors from a group called Caesar’s Legion.  After speaking with Vulpus Inculta, the leader of this particular group, I decided to “stay in character” and kill him and his gang for their actions.  The battle was difficult, but I managed to survive and proceed to the next few quests.  

About two hours later, as I was traveling through the Wasteland, I was greeted by a group of Caesar’s assassins who promptly decimated me.  I booted up from my most recent save and attempted to tackle some different quests, thinking that this encounter was due to the location on the map.  To no avail, the same thing happened in a completely different location on the map.  I then ratcheted the difficulty setting down to Very Easy, but I still didn’t even have a fighting chance against  them. I was exasperated.

I’ve played my fair share of punishingly difficult games, but there’s always some semblance of a strategy to overcome said challenges, even if it is simply a matter of practicing the motor skill or memorizing a pattern.  What I was experiencing was different.  I suddenly had flashbacks to my WoW days where I was a level 16 Dwarf Warrior in Redridge Mountains getting griefed by a level 60 Undead Rogue.  No matter what I did, no matter where I went, this rogue would invariably find me and kill me.  My only options were to go to the major cities that were safe, but doing so effectively prevented me from progress in the game.  The other option was to simply log-off.  My experience this time was shockingly similar, with the one major difference being that I was being griefed by AI.  Different weapons, locations, additional items- nothing would be effective since Caesar’s assassins were just that much more powerful than me.  

Despite being able to reload my game from a save prior to my decision to kill Vulpus Inculta, the developers should not have presented an option that would result in the player being griefed so harshly such that he or she can’t make progress and doesn’t want to play the game anymore.  It’s possible that the AI’s behavior was unintentional given the numerous bugs that have plagued Fallout: New Vegas, but the end result is the same.