(Disclaimer: Of course I will try to avoid spoilers but there are some experiences that don’t technically qualify as “spoilers”, per se, and I’m going to talk about them so if you want a pristine, unspoiled experience, you probably want to avoid this post. But, if that’s the case, you probably already knew that.)
I was charmed by the opening sequence where the “war never changes” monologue turned out to be a guy practicing for a speech in front of the bathroom mirror which morphs into the “create your face” opening (those who wish to play as someone who presents as female, the right button will have the wife switch places with the husband for face sculpting) and that helped ease me into the whole “they’re using voice actors for the protagonists” thing.
What I did *NOT* expect was that they abandoned the whole “karma” system. I had kind of expected a series of events like those in previous games where I could pick a side between two (or more!) factions and nudge the world in a better direction.[amazon template=image float left&asin=B00YQ1NOPM] Honestly, it never occurred to me to *NOT* expect such a thing. Well, the guys who made this game picked a side (at least, as far as I am into the game, they have). I can be snotty, I can be jerky, but my missions so far have all involved choosing to be either the upstanding person who helps those who need help or the sarcastic guy who helps those who need help. I don’t seem to have a karma meter… which seems to mean that I won’t have to/get to play through a second time to see what happens if I choose the Dark Side.
Don’t know what I feel about that yet.
Now, I have encountered a handful of quests where I can pick whether this person wins or that person does in a particular dispute… which brings me to something I hadn’t really expected which ties into the voice acting.
Here’s the scene. A couple of drug dealers are engaged in a standoff with a lady and her son inside of their little store. The drug dealer wants money from the mom for the drugs he sold her son. The mom says “you shouldn’t have sold it to him on credit!” When I tried to end the standoff without violence, it involved me talking the mom into paying for the drugs. Wait! I thought. I didn’t want to end the standoff without violence like *THAT*! So instead of me knowing what I was going to say when I pushed the button, I just knew the general tone of what was going to be said.
And that meant that, maybe, I’d end up talking myself into a situation (perhaps even resolving it) with an outcome that I didn’t really want. I mean, I wanted to end it without violence… but…
In any case, it’s interesting and fun and I’m looking forward to exploring this variant of morality.
I miss Karma, though.
A mild nitpick: one of the things I was most looking forward to was the radio station and the DJ explaining the universe as the game progressed. The DJ is pretty cool but a good handful of the songs are songs that also appeared in Fallout 3. Butcher Pete, Civilization (Bongo Bongo Bongo), Into Each Life, Way Back Home… now, don’t get me wrong, these are good songs… but I listened to them approximately one million times when I played Fallout 3. (I wouldn’t have minded, say, if we found a second radio station halfway through the game that had these songs on it. I just was disappointed when they were playing on the main radio station.)
All in all, I’ve completed maybe 5 quests so far. I’m really enjoying the game and exploring the differences but… some of them have me a bit worried and some of them leave me confused.
That said, I can’t *WAIT* to see what Obsidian does with the engine.
So… what are you playing?
(Picture is “Untitled” by our very own Will Truman. Used with permission.)