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News for Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Posted by Per - at 22:12

It's the time of the tidbits. Moo! Firstly, DLC Trophies are now on the PS3! Even though the DLC isn't out yet! The Sixth Axis is one of many places to note this and list the trophies.

Power armour is very deep! So says Destructoid.

The Brotherhood of Steel armor says a lot about Fallout 3. Lead designer Emil Pagliarulo gave me his input, pegging they Brotherhood member’s aggressiveness as the reason for the plating and the environment for its construction.

“You know, I think in a post-apocalyptic game like Fallout 3, when you put on a suit of Power Armor, you’re saying to the Wasteland, saying to the world, ‘I’m a badass. Bring it.’ These are the guys who have gone beyond survival. They’re no longer on the defensive, and are bringing the fight to the enemy. Because, when you think about it, so much of the equipment used by the guys in Fallout 3 is pure crap. The guns have decades-old tape on the stocks, everything is near broken, lots of stuff is cobbled together from spare parts. Everyone is barely surviving. But the Power Armor is constructed, and maintained. It’s a step above what any average Wasteland dweller has. And having access to equipment like means you’re probably part of an organized group, like the Brotherhood of Steel or Enclave -- those are the guys with the resources and determination to strap themselves into Power Armor and go on the offensive.”
Finally, the Bethesda Blog notes that OXM magazine lists the 100 best Xbox games of all time! Reportedly, Fallout 3 is no worse than number 7!

Posted by Tagaziel - at 11:49

GSC Gameworld has just released a new trailer for their upcoming Fall title, STALKER: Call of Pripyat:








Link



Link: Trailer download on the Call of Pripyat website

News for Sunday, August 23, 2009

Posted by Per - at 22:53

InTheOnlineAsbestosSuit alias Ethan Taranto-Kent has finished the independent post-apocalyptic film Mad Nation that was previewed here in 2005 and 2008. In his own words:

Ladies and gentlemen, the movie is done. After 5 years, it's complete and ready to go. Last night, we had a surprise premier at Flim Fest, an annual local student film festival that I have frequented for some time. The movie was the last one shown, screening just after midnight, and the 70 or so die hard attendees that remained enjoyed the hell out of it: the movie got a standing ovation both before (when they realized it was finally finished after years of previews and trailers) and after. One person, who helps run the festival, told me that he personally felt it was the best movie ever shown there.

The movie will be hosted online soon. Not sure how soon, though. It's 47 minutes long, so I'll have to break it up scene by scene if I want it to be on YouTube. I will probably do this, as no scene is longer than 5 minutes so it'll make watching the movie a bit easier for the casual online viewer. And of course, there will be a free, downloadable, full length version available as soon as I sort out the problems with my website.
People will also be able to order a DVD stuffed full of bonus content. Stay tuned for developments.

Link: "Sneak Peak" @ YouTube
Link: Trailer @ YouTube

Posted by Per - at 22:30

Interplay recently submitted its first 10-Q since April and their FOOL funding deadline. What the 10-Q does tell us is that as of June 30th, there was no tiny hint of funding. What the 10-Q does not tell us is that the deadline was failed, because it doesn't mention the matter in the least, even though I believe it's supposed to bring up things that affect Interplay's ability to conduct business, and missing a license-eating deadline might qualify.

There's more to the picture, though. Todd Howard, in the G4TV interview, states:

As far as the Fallout MMO stuff, you probably have as much information as I do, there's really nothing new that I know of on that front, and it'll work itself out in the right ways, either legally or development-wise, I'm sure.
How is that even "more"? you scream. Well, "development-wise" might mean that Bethesda has stopped trying to kill FOOL and is actually giving it some sort of snowball-in-hot-place chance. And "legally" might be shorthand for "Don't be silly, we'll squash them like small bugs." Either of which could be some sort of news. Now please speculate on evil space spores from space or the state of Georgia disappearing into a tangle of kudzu.

Posted by Per - at 22:06

G4TV interviewed Todd Howard at QuakeCon and he said things.

I think the thing that was great here is that from a development standpoint, with myself and Bethesda Game Studios and the guys there and Id, we're very similar groups, in size and philosophy and history, we started PC games and doing all that, and so we'd like to keep kind of this independent streak where we make games that we think are really, really cool that we'd wanna play, and to give those games a lot of development time and a lot of love, and if you do that you'll find a big audience, that makes good business sense. We're not tied to some quarterly revenues, we're not a big public company, but we still have the resources to publish a game up against anybody, we kind of proved that with Fallout.
PS3 DLC and New Vegas also get mentioned in not terribly interesting ways.

Thanks to Ausir.

News for Saturday, August 22, 2009

Posted by Per - at 20:11

More reviews from sites that matter. None of that Polish translated stuff, promise.

VGChartz, 7.7/10.

It doesn't have the big, open areas and side quests of Point Lookout, or the added benefits of Broken Steel (such as the increased level cap and story extension), but this DLC is still a fun adventure that will net you some cool-looking and powerful energy weapons when you're done. Overall, Mothership Zeta takes the basic game design of Operation Anchorage and fixes many of its problems, giving the player a longer experience, with more interesting environments, enemies, and equipment, and several different and interesting small gameplay elements to break up the monotony. If you enjoyed the previous DLC, you'll probably enjoy this one as well, and the cheesy sci-fi themes will probably win over some new fans as well.
Adrenaline Vault, 3/5.
Don’t get me wrong, most Fallout 3 players will still have a good time with Mothership Zeta, but that doesn’t make it a five-star game. I think Bethesda thought the ship would be an exciting place to drop a character and decided that there aren’t too many moral decisions to be made or conversations to be had on a ship that houses creatures with whom you can’t communicate. In theory the idea is great, but in execution it’s just mediocre.
GamesRadar, 5/10.
Mothership Zeta doesn’t just feel incongruous and ill-at-ease in the Fallout 3 universe, it also plays like Dogmeat’s arse. Fallout completists won’t be able to resist downloading, but that doesn’t excuse such a shoddy climax to this standout RPG.
Console Monster, 89%.
Without spoiling too much of the adventure that awaits, you will ultimately conclude the DLC in a fantastic battle, which is the perfect end to the Fallout 3 saga – and a fitting farewell to a game which has consumed more time of mine on the 360 than any other.

As always with the DLC developed for Fallout 3 by Bethesda, the depth and attention to detail is fantastic. There is a wealth of enjoyment to be had and Bethesda has truly shown the world how DLC should be designed, developed and distributed. This year has been a grand one for DLC, a trend which I feel will only continue to grow thanks in part to Fallout 3. A definite purchase for fans of the original game and the previous content packs.
WorthPlaying, X360 review, 8.0/10.
Weak storytelling in a game with such great narrative is one of the expansion's biggest flaws, and this particular batch of DLC is far less compelling than most of the others. Since you can't understand the aliens, there's really no way of ever truly understanding what they're up to, and in the morally complex world of Fallout 3, I have to assume they're more than just little spacemen who cut up humans for the sheer fun of it. Also, while the expansion's finale is quite epic, it's not all that fulfilling. The game has spent months drilling into our heads that there's no such thing as black-and-white, absolute good and evil, but rather many shades of grey. Unfortunately that complexity isn't present here, and the lack of any emotional moments whatsoever really kills the soul of what the Fallout experience is all about.
And that's what gets you 8.0 these days.

News for Thursday, August 20, 2009

Posted by Per - at 22:33

The Bethesda Blog reminds us of the DLC/GotY Edition release schedule that we already wrote about.

Wanted to let everyone know (particularly those playing Fallout 3 without online access to DLC) that the second Fallout 3 Game Add-On Pack — featuring Broken Steel and Point Lookout — will be available in North America on August 25th on both Games for Windows and Xbox 360.
In the rest of the world the preliminary release date is Aug 28 because it takes three days to bake the cobras.

Posted by Per - at 1:32

The Dutch Ghost braves the mothership on NMA's behalf to see if there's any gaming goodness or just random probage.

The NPCs the player meets are rather generic overall even with their different backgrounds, and despite some services they can provide the player he or she will likely have no lasting attachment to any of them. In some cases it’s even necessary to shoot them in order to get their unique clothing or weaponry, and once these characters have provided whatever the player needs or wants, the hesitation to get those items will not be big.

Most of the gameplay consists of a rather uninspired corridor shooting session that most of us have done hundreds of times before in FPS games with far more diversity. What little RPG elements there are don't have any of the choices or hard decisions players would expect from a Fallout game, only what path in the first part of the game to tackle first. All the player has to be sure of is that he or she has retrieved all the items they wanted from most of the ship as these sections are sealed off once the player has finished the finale.
Link: Fallout 3 Mothership Zeta review

News for Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Posted by Silencer - at 17:42

The Tower of Creation website had been updated with a handful of news and updates related to the Fallout: Between good and Evil project:

So, you were starting to believe that we are dead? Maybe you've even deleted us from your bookmarks? Well, think again!

Last time, I've promised you new pictures of animated critters, new locations and, well, the things I usually promise. I have to disappoint you though - I haven't got a single animated monster for you :-P I can however offer you images from a brand new location - Phoenix...



(...)

New Phoenix is a city that tries to live the American dream and look decent, even at the cost of hundreds of lives of its citizens. The hero will have to learn about tough compromises on his journey too, but that is a story for another time.

(...)

I probably don't even have to mention that we are hiring, do I? We're still looking for a 3D graphic artists (for all those screens) and even more importantly programmers, which we still lack badly. Read more in the JOIN US section :-)

Four programmers currently dedicate their time to BGE: Tyfuz, Mihlon, C-X and Exist, where the last three have replaced Crow and Fuzzi, who have both meant a lot to the project;

(...)

Some stats to end with. We're not going to make the mistake of speculating over the release date or express our progress as a percentage, because it would have to be totally arbitrary. We can however be exact and tell you that currently there are:

- 678 scenery FRMs
- 114 item FRMs
- 760 tile FRMs
- 466 wall FRMs
- 852 critter FRMs
- 92 maps
- 139 msg files (CZ text)
- 129 msg files (EN text)

Though is doesn't mean that we'll be done before tomorrow's lunch, these numbers nicely show just how much work has been done over the last four years, even though we weren't expected to survive the winter and the initial enthusiasm phase :-)
Original post and more concept images here: Tower of Creation

News for Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Posted by Per - at 2:33

Crispy Gamer muses on endings and morality in Mothership Zeta.

Anyone who has played Fallout 3 knows what happened next. The Pip-Boy mascot popped up on the screen, and he was pissed: "You have lost Karma!" In the previous 100-plus hours I'd spent playing the game, I would have been hurt by that rebuke. I've always been the ultimate goody two-shoes in Fallout 3, resisting temptations to kill, steal, deceive and manipulate. It would be difficult to play a more virtuous game of Fallout 3 than I did. But suddenly, Pip-Boy and his precious karma meant nothing to me. Mothership Zeta had broken me and my sunshiny vision of "Post-Apocalyptia."

I wondered, is this how the story ends? Is Zeta, as the last new downloadable chapter, The End of Fallout 3? Think before you answer. Fallout 3 has had ending issues from, well, the beginning. If you have the original game with no add-ons, you could consider the closing cinematic an ending. People hated that ending, though. (I loved it, but the people who didn't were louder than I was.)

So Bethesda came out with Broken Steel. All of a sudden there's an argument to be made that the "Take it Back!" mission, which extends and then re-concludes the main story, is the "real" ending. Yet while I may be in the minority, I believe that Zeta's final recalibration of the Wasteland moral code provides the true thematic conclusion to Bethesda's great work.
Go read it before the aliens get you.

Posted by Per - at 2:08

Rounding up a few of the remaining notable reviews. First of all, GameBanshee has as usual updated their Fallout 3 database with information on the latest DLC with equipment, achievements, a walkthrough, that sort of stuff. Here's their review, 6.3/10.

Oddly, despite basing the setting on such RPG juggernauts as Space Siege and Space Hack, the campaign isn’t a lot of fun to play, and it sort of feels like Bethesda finished half of it and then said, “Eh, close enough.”

The Mothership Zeta DLC pack has a couple of fun sequences (including one battle where you essentially get to play pinball with the aliens), but most of its six-hour playing time is a boring slog consisting of killing the same things over and over again, looting the same things over and over again, and seeing the same sights over and over again. Unless that sort of repetition excites you, Mothership Zeta is a DLC pack to avoid.
GameCritics.
Far too much time is spent eliminating enemies in the cut-and-pasted environments, and as most Fallout players will agree, killing things is the least satisfying part of the game. The true value of the wasteland lies in the interesting situations players stumble into; the moral dilemmas and hard choices. Exploration and the desire to find out what lies around the next corner are another big reason why people spend so much time among the raiders and radscorpions—just wandering from place to place was endlessly rewarding. Unlike the superb Point Lookout which immediately preceded it, Zeta offers exactly none of these things, and ends up being the least enjoyable, least complex, and least interesting expansion Bethesda's offered.
Gaming Nexus, C+.
One of the things that Fallout 3 isn't very strong with is first person combat and here is another shortcoming of the DLC with Mothership Zeta doing nothing to improve on it. When the folks at Bethesda try to turn Fallout 3 into more of an action game, the results are usually not that good as it didn't work too well for Operation Anchorage, and it only fares a little better with Mothership Zeta. Trying to maneuver around and fight against a bunch of aliens can be a bit annoying as you get caught in different areas of the environment. I spent most of my time in VATS or just standing still and shooting while munching on alien bio-gels that help replenish your health significantly rather than try to run around dodging attacks. The Fallout 3 engine doesn't handle being a fast paced action game well, and here's where Mothership Zeta makes you spend most of your time in. Yes, there are a few spots of dialog and some minor puzzles to solve but the ratio of combat to role playing isn't balanced out well enough.
Xbox360Achievements, 6/10.
While Mothership Zeta's use of classic science fiction cliches could have been great, it feels flat and soulless in its execution. With a paper-thin story, bland environments a little too similar to old Sci-Fi movie sets, and none of the moral ambiguities and decision options that make the core game so great, Mothership Zeta simply lacks the impact of great expansions like Broken Steel or Point Lookout. Clocking in at 4-6 hours, with little to nothing to do upon quest completion, this piece of content can only be recommended to completionists and die-hard Fallout 3 fans.
GameZone, 7.0/10.
On the whole, it seems Mothership Zeta is a simple bit of entertainment that doesn’t last very long. Even if you don’t mind that it plays like a big shooting gallery, things tend to get rather tedious early on. There’s nothing that will keep die-hard fans from going nuts over it, but even they will be forced to admit that this is far from the highlight of Fallout 3.
Thunderbolt, 7/10.
However, in the end the fun factor that comes from the combat can’t be sustained over Mothership Zeta’s relatively short run-time. There’s just not a lot of variety here, and exploration is minimal. You can search containers for a few new items and look for audio logs from other captives on the ship, but it’s not all that exciting. The ship is definitely a cool place to navigate and seeing all of the different experimental devices is a high point, but looking at them is as far as the exposition will go. Everything still remains a mystery including a few of the new characters you meet. They seem interesting on the surface but beyond that there’s nothing else there so the story becomes extremely bland and monotonous.
Extreme Gamer, 7.0/10.
Mothership Zeta is another drastic change to the dreary old Wasteland. Unfortunately being abducted on an alien spacecraft is a lot less scary then it sounds. As you submerge yourself deep into this alien’s domain you will notice that Mothership Zeta is light on the story, aside from the initial setup, and focuses more on the combat side of Fallout 3. After spending a few hours navigating this structure and killing off alien after alien, I felt like something was still missing as the big bang ending crept near. The twist I thought was surely on its way never came and before I knew it I was back in the Capital Wasteland fighting off oversized scorpions and Mutants. Even though I feel a little let down, Mothership Zeta still strong points and is worth the purchase if you have enjoyed the other add-on content for the game.
Game Vortex, 72%.
Using the tried and true gameplay of the Fallout 3 core, Mothership Zeta expands on the formula with some new weapons, items, aid and apparel. While the variety of weaponry was nice, admittedly you'll really only need to use the Alien Atomizer, a single-handed energy weapon, because none of the enemies set before you are overly difficult.

So is Fallout 3: Mothership Zeta worthy of a download? Absolutely, but don't expect a difficult go of it. What you will get for your money is the originality (well, as far as the Fallout universe goes as least) of traveling to space for this latest mission.
Gamers Daily News, 6.5/10.
Ultimately, this means Mothership Zeta’s strong points are that it’s a fun way to kill a few hours, and it offers some really nice items for your character, both in terms of practical fighting with alien energy rifles and stylistic ’character design’ choices like the samurai outfit. This is good, because the rest of the DLC pack is poorly presented; minor to moderate glitches abound, and the layout of the ship sometimes encourages ’attrition’ shootouts; you line up opposite some aliens and take turns shooting one another. Combined with a laughably bad plot (it’s not even bad in a good way, it’s just bad), it’s fair to say the presentation isn’t why you’re buying Mothership Zeta. The real reason would be the new equipment, combined with a few hours of alien blasting being a good way to pass some time. While Mothership Zeta is probably the weakest of the DLC packs and hardly a fitting way to send Fallout 3 off, it is a decent experience and worth considering for purchase.

Posted by Per - at 1:31

Kotaku interviewed Todd Howard on the subject of Fallout 3 DLC, noting that he's "offered gamers an unprecedented amount of content for a single-player game".

The creation of the DLC is the fun part, Howard said as the designers are freed from having to wrestle with technology and have fun. That liberation produced the early suggestions to throw aliens in, but Howard delayed that desire until Mothership Zeta. "That one kept coming up: 'We should do alien abduction, we should do alien abduction.' I thought it was hilarious, and I said, 'We should wait. That isn't like the classic Fallout. You kind of want to keep the footprint of aliens in Fallout small.'

"But once we got to the fifth one, it's like: It's really funny. It's a cool concept. We should do it.' And the reason I like it is I do like the DLC to feel like something new. And that one, just on the surface, is instantly: this is different. It's not more of the same, I'm out in the wasteland."
Yeah, you kind of do want to keep the footprint of aliens in Fallout small. You kind of do.

News for Monday, August 17, 2009

Posted by Per - at 21:50

Interplay posted a press release announcing their arrival on Steam.

Beginning today, Interplay titles including Fallout, Sacrifice and Kingpin will become available for purchase via Steam, which makes PC games available online to more than 20 million users worldwide.

"We are excited to offer the millions of Steam customers online access to Interplay titles beginning with some jewels of our classic PC catalog priced below $10," said Herve Caen, Interplay CEO. "Interplay is committed to delivering the best quality titles to PC gamers and distribution on Steam is one of the many steps we are taking to increase accessibility to our content for fans around the world."
May mean some more FOOL money.

Link: Interplay on Steam

News for Sunday, August 16, 2009

Posted by Per - at 16:14

Todd Howard spoke at QuakeCon and BigDownload was taking notes:

Most of Howard's presentation went through some of the things they did while developing their last game, Fallout 3.They looked through not only the previous two Interplay made RPGs but also old reviews of the games to see what people responded to in the games.

Bethesda makes marketing part of the process of developing their games because marketing is how people are first introduced to the game before actually playing it. Even things like designing what the art will look like on the game disk is part of that process.

Admitting to mistakes is a big thing in game development. Howard said the final version of Fallout 3 was about half of the game they actually made. They don't hesitate to throw out something that just isn't fun. The company also charts how a game "feels" with Howard using a graphic that looks like a series of circles inside each other. At the center is the "perfect game" while at the outer part is the "bug and polish" part. The key is to make the "bug and polish" circle as small as they could make it before the game is released.
Additionally, Howard claimed that there are currently no plans for TES 5, leading to speculation that the follow-up to Oblivion will be pushed back in favour of TES Online.

Spotted at GameBanshee.

Posted by Per - at 15:45

Reports are in that people in the FOnline: 2238 third open beta test, which has just begun, have been killed by lizards. Next, the lizards will be taking over the settlements and filing bug reports along the lines of "too easy" and "needs more insects".

Finally, the OBT3 has begun.

It arouse a massive interest for the game, resulting with numerous players downloading the client last night and trying to log in. This caused noticeable lags and ruined the game for some players who had less luck than the others - dying in random encounters was just one of the issues.

We are currently working on resolving them. The hardware seems to be quite overloaded, causing the abnormal lag peaks. This is due to the fact that some of our features are very complex, yet they have never been tested massively. This is the perfect opportunity to test them together, so that we may investigate any possible problems that could choke our hardware right now.
FOnline: The Life After is also supposed to have gone online at this time.

Link: Fallout Online home page (currently "suspended")

News for Saturday, August 15, 2009

Posted by Per - at 1:39

We wait long for good things, but sometimes, they come. There you are expecting nothing in particular when a brand new post-apocalyptic game appears, mixing exploration and combat. First you'll be equipped for your journey, then there's the hazardous trek into the wasteland towards your destination, your mission one of assistance and relief. Harrowing encounters with strange life forms are all but guaranteed. You may be able to weather some of them through diplomacy, but almost certainly it'll come down to conflict in the end. That's just life... after the apocalypse.

Link: Little Red Riding Hood: A Post Apocalyptic Adventure

Spotted at Jay is Games.

News for Friday, August 14, 2009

Posted by Per - at 19:59

Kotaku posted the latest Rage trailer "that some fans of Fallout 3 might find surprisingly familiar" and which is here embedded for your viewing convenience.



Things that flash by may include a reference to underground vaults, a raspy narrator going on about doomsday, broken overpasses, a town greeter, a shady bar, killer klowns, a sheriff with a hat, running ghouls approaching en masse, buggy chases, sentry guns, and a mutant behemoth. You can see a bigger version at the official site.

Posted by Per - at 2:37

Russian mod group TeamX, which at this point consists pretty much of Wasteland Ghost, has updated its unofficial Fallout patch to version 1.3.5. This means new fixes and new versions of the NPC mod components. There's also a new but non-finalized version of the 1.2.1 patch that consolidates fixes from various official 1.2 versions. You need this if your disk drive has been eaten by a gerbil on a Thursday or something like that, I don't know.

Additionally, Wasteland Ghost has announced the inception of a restoration project for Fallout along the lines of killap's Fallout 2 mod. Already there's a component which adds scheduled in-game super mutant invasions of locations other than Necropolis. No raccoons, phew!

Finally, Mash has released new versions of his High Resolution Patches for Fallout, Fallout 2 and the Fallout 2 Mapper. These resolutions couldn't be higher if you put them on a pole.

Note that as of this time you will not find these updates in the NMA file section, since everyone who knows how to enter the file dungeon has been eaten by a grue. Please follow random links until we find a way to remedy the situation.

Link: Unofficial patch 1.3.5 @ TeamX
Link: Unofficial patch 1.3.5 @ NMA
Link: Fallout Restoration Mod @ TeamX
Link: Fallout Restoration Mod @ NMA
Link: High Resolution Patches

News for Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Posted by Dragula - at 22:50

The Colony is a reality show that aired on Discovery Channel July 21, 2009. Four episodes have aired and the next one is scheduled to air August 18th.

"The series takes place over the course of ten weeks and was filmed in an industrial area bordering the Los Angeles River on the edge of downtown Los Angeles, and follows ten volunteers in an environment that simulates life after a global catastrophe."
In an interview the creator states:
"In a sense, the show is a 'Survivor' set in a civilized community after civilization gets shredded."
Link:Official Website
Link:Interview

Posted by Per - at 1:45

NMA member SNorth (or Stephen A. North as some may call him) is known in the community as former lead writer on the Mutants Rising project and author of horror novel Dead Tide, which features zombies. His second novel Barren Earth, co-written with Eric S. Brown, is now available for purchase, and it's a post-apocalyptic story of spacefarers returning from their five year mission to... zombie-ravaged Earth! The kind of story I know you people have been waiting for forever.

News for Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Posted by Per - at 1:40

What is a rock? Why is the moon? When will computer games enjoy the same status as older fields of culture and entertainment? These are all hotly debated questions, and Wired's Game|Life blog proposes that one way to help the latter cause might be to create a games category for the annual Hugo award for science fiction, using Fallout 3 as an example of a possible nominee.

Fallout 3 and Dead Space were exercises in world-building — one a vast, sprawling post-apocalyptic dystopia, the other a claustrophobic vision of Hell in space. That’s not to say that the stories in those videogames can stand up next to the prose in the novels and short stories that earned Hugos this year.

But videogames tackle science-fiction from a unique angle. Science-fiction has always been good at asking, “What if?” Games pose the same question slightly differently: “What if you were there?” They transport gamers someplace alien, letting them try on a new skin. Granted, a good many sci-fi videogames are shooters, but don’t hold that against them. After the Aikido-style pacifism of Portal, all game makers need is a little more encouragement.

Put a Hugo for videogames on the table and game developers might be inspired to create a “what if” scenario where the answers don’t involve gunplay.
The idea has some merit - finding themselves competing to impress a crowd different from the usual gaming business and press, developers might be pulled in directions they previously hadn't considered. On the other hand, Hugos are awarded by a popular vote at Worldcon and those people are probably all crazy.

Thanks to Ausir.

News for Sunday, August 9, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 23:58


Y'know, fellow Fallouters, I've always found myself confounded by the insistence of reviewers to note Fallout 3 as having a great story and great dialogue. Sure, some have no problem distinguishing terrible from good, and freely recognize that neither writing nor voice directing represent strong points in Bethesda's skillset, but the game has gone so far as to win awards for writing. Why? Is there any plausible reasoning behind this? My personal prediction is that the journalists will do an easy 180 on this when previewing TES V and "suddenly" "realise" the previous product was not that good, at all, as Matt Peckham does here. Why do we all know they'll do this? They did it before, and seem completely unabashed about it.

But rounding up Mothership Zeta meant being faced with another idiosyncrasy. While many lambaste the title, only a few (such as WorthPlaying) address the issue of the problems in verisimilitude caused by the spaceship, and attached hints of aliens causing the nuclear war. It is quite possible we should ascribe this only to the fact that most "game journalists" tend to be untrained generalists, with no knowledge stretching back more than 6 years into gaming history, and thus they are simply ignorant of why none of this works. But many instead seem to adopt an attitude by which anything that is "cool" is fine to include in the game as long as it is peripherally tied to the central themes.
The logic is superficially solid; this Sci-Fi is tied to Fallout by being 50s Sci-Fi. But one can easily poke through this by pointing out that Fallout is clearly not tied to all forms of 50s fiction. This logic "anything from the 50s is appropriate to Fallout!" is in no way new to Fallout gamers, as it was first used by Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel producer Chuck Cuevas:
Q: just because it has been beat to death, is the thong gone for good?
A: Not to my knowledge. Here's the story ... The now-notorious character with the thong was based on photos of Betty Page, a 50's pinup girl who was notorious due to photo shoots of her that featured black leather, bondage, and (believe it or not) skimpy clothing. We thought that a sadistic female character might pattern herself after Betty Page at her seediest. So the character's attire was based upon some research into 50's pop culture.
That's right, people, "50's pop culture research" can be used equally to explain away thongs or aliens in Fallout, and the connection is faulty for the same reasons in both cases.

With its DLCs, Fallout 3 has fallen into inconsistency roughly as much as Fallout 2 had (though with a significantly less plausible game world), but unlike Fallout 2 it seems to be evading a lot of criticism, both of blatant internal inconsistency and of missing the mark thematically. And that, my dear friends, is the second idiosyncrasy: game journalists want to have their cake and eat it too, they wish to claim Fallout 3 has a great world design and writing - design elements that necessitate adherence to internal consistency - and yet shrug their shoulders whenever Bethesda follows its main design philosophy, which Istvan Pely essentially described as slapping on cool li'l bits and at the end of the day, "as if by magic, all of this comes together in a consumable form that is hopefully entertaining". Anyone who thinks that is a valid design formula needs to go back to college.

But it really falls apart when we start ascribing philosophy to this obvious mess. A closing speaker at The Philosophy of Computer Games 2009 will speak on Fallout 3 and Philosophy Amidst the Ashes. It is one of those pieces that is instantly recognizable to connoisseurs of semi-professional literary or cinematic criticism: one that takes an obviously flat and badly thought-through piece and ascribes philosophic meanings by ignoring bits that don't fit their own theory. The speaker - Sarah Grey - cites one of my favourite moments of Fallout 3, and one of the few occasions when I felt Bethesda "got it", Signal Oscar Zulu. But despite the fact that they're right next to Oscar Zulu's location, she opts to completely ignore the Republic of Dave and Canterbury Common's The Superhuman Gambit, a pair of locations that can honestly only be described as "lulzy", events the author opts to ignore in her attempt to present Fallout 3 as a preconceived juxtaposition of violent moments with dark stillness.

This creates a downward spiral: game journalists would like to see their profession and thus the industry as a whole taken seriously, and thus they would want more games to engage in philosophical themes. But most games simply don't. The solution is either to wait for more games to strive to exploit game mechanics and narrative for philosophical purposes, or to ascribe deepness to them despite it not being there. They opted for the latter. This attitude engenders a conservative attitude from game developers; they don't have to try to write intelligently, since game journalists will simply ascribe writing skills and philosophical themes to their games despite the fact that they are simply not there. Call it an innovation killer.

The fact that I had to compare Grey's piece to semi-professional writing from other critical professions really says it all. It is self-defeating nonsense that game writers are trying to present Fallout 3 as top of its class in writing or even a "philosophical piece" while simultaneously embracing its "if it's cool, use it" school of design. But rather than bash the overall level of professionalism in game journalism (they waste half their time grinding their teeth over it themselves, after all), let us sit back and quietly contemplate an industry that is fine with giving design and writing awards to a studio, yet when that studio throws in a heap of inconsistent garbage, this same industry asks us to ignore the elephant in the room, and cops out by hammering on the gameplay instead.

I am smugness, hear me roar

This was an unscheduled blog-style post, since I didn't feel like just newsposting the pieces by Grey and Peckham. Back to your regular programming after the break.

Posted by Brother None - at 23:06

Destructoid 6/10.

By this point, I began to see a somewhat alarming trend. "Mothership Zeta" consists of you walking through corridors, fighting a few aliens, walking through more corridors, coming into a room, pressing buttons, more fighting, and finally tampering with cooling systems to open doors. This would be absolutely fine if Fallout 3 had a decent first-person shooter mechanic, but that simply isn’t the case.
(...)
As the last of the downloadable content for Fallout 3, I was really looking forward to "Mothership Zeta," and it kills me to say that it’s not up to par. Apart from the very end where you get to walk on the exterior of the ship in a spacesuit and one other cool section I won’t spoil, the gameplay is more or less you walking for long distances, fighting a ton of aliens, and then blowing up some section of the mothership. In other words, it quickly becomes repetitive, and doesn’t play to Fallout 3’s strength of allowing players to tackle quests in multiple ways.
GameSpot 6/10.
You aren't a lone captive on this bleak vessel. A few other unwitting hostages are there to keep you company, including a gracelessly voiced young girl who knows her way around the ship. One of them imparts a few different theories as to what the aliens are up to and what they want with their captives. His ideas are as good as any, as it turns out; you'll never know what the ETs are up to, what they want, and why they've got a death ray aimed at planet Earth. Nor does anyone seem particularly disturbed to have been abducted, as stiff animations and stilted dialogue make your cohorts seem more annoyed than traumatized. The only narrative elements likely to pique your curiosity are the various voice logs scattered about, which hint at the atrocities these aliens visit upon their unfortunate victims.

You may have cringed at the idea of Fallout 3 in space, and if you have, you already know Mothership Zeta wasn't created with you in mind. Carrying alien zappers from space around the postapocalyptic wastelands while wearing samurai armor (another possible bit of loot you can carry back with you) certainly won't appeal to every Fallout aficionado. Open-minded fans will glean some enjoyment from this sci-fi-skinned dungeon crawler, but by isolating its game's weaknesses without catering to its strengths, developer Bethesda Game Studios has ended Fallout 3's run of downloadable content not with a bang, but a whimper.
GameTrailers 8/10.
Does it live up to its predecessors, or is it an anal probe for your wallet?
Boomtown 6/10.
Computer says no

And it’s a decision taken by Bethesda that I can’t quite understand. There is no real reason given to stop you from travelling around the ship. You’d expect all of the aliens to have been defeated trying to save the ship from being taken over by you. Or at the very least, will have teleported away from the ship in an evacuation. Even if there is still the odd alien on the ship, it’s not a good reason to confine you to the ships Bridge.

It does slightly spoil the content for you as well, as once completed there is no real replay value. I made the mistake of not exploring the ship too much at the beginning of the quest due to the difficulty I was having killing the enemy aliens. I was also expecting to be able to freely explore the ship once I had completed the quest.
SPOnG.
Or am I just being paranoid? Certainly it doesn’t seem that difficult and, granted, I’ve had a few perks on the way to boost XP, but I feel under appreciated now, like I ought to be taking on swarms of Deathclaws to win a house or something. I ought to be carried aloft through the wasteland or hung, drawn and quartered after being found hidden in a hole or something. But perhaps that is the Bethesda message to us: life isn’t all “This was a triumph”, most of us bumble through it looking out for number one for the majority of the time, surviving, not crusading. Reality and verisimilitude, so longed for by the geek fraternity, isn’t a heroic victory or a cruel martyrdom, it’s endless corridors and faceless others. It isn’t entertainment. And neither is Mothership Zeta, sadly.
GamePro 3.5/5.
Another Fallout 3 DLC winner, right? Not so fast, Dogmeat. While the premise for Mothership Zeta sounds great, its execution is lackluster. MZ has all the ingredients but just doesn't cook up a good batch of UFO abduction intensity.
Gamez Traffic 9/10.
In conclusion I give Mothership Zeta a 9 out of 10. While it may not encourage adventuring, it is still a fantastic add-on, and the best gameplay wise out of the series.
Gaming Heaven 7.5/10.
Overall I enjoyed the game, and the graphics are still first class, but the one thing I took from the experience was the fact that nothing was very original or different from the previous outings. Sure, you are in a new alien environment but they could have gotten more from this than they did at the end of the day. It ends up basically a straightforward alien run and gun title.
Big Download Blog.
For the most part, the Mothership Zeta is one of the most straightforward content expansions to date. The pleasure in playing is found in exploring the ship, fighting aliens (which have never been seen alive before in Fallout 3) and using the new powerful alien weapons like the disruptors, all in a retro-scifi style. Other aspects fans expect from Fallout 3 like moral choices and a variety of branching side quests aren't covered quite as well. Trigger happy players will lose karma for shooting the red suited alien workers, since they don't fight back, but it comes off as an extremely arbitrary means of discerning goodness. After all, even the docile aliens are complicit in keeping you captive. Otherwise, there isn't much else for indulging one's dark side.

Posted by Per - at 22:36

The even crazier chaps developing FOnline: The Life After are on the lookout for a voice actor, more specifically "a native English speaking male with a mature, deep, strong voice". Basically you're looking at doing Ron Perlman's gig with not so much of his usual pay. If you're a natural born American with a flair for "dramatic narration" and a desire to make this game all that it can be, then head on over.

News for Saturday, August 8, 2009

Posted by UnidentifiedFlyingTard - at 0:02

Zombie Apocalypse games edge into the material NMA covers, but the fact that it looks like a turn-based, Fallout-style RPG puts it right into interest material.

Brian Mitsoda (Vampire: Bloodlines) and Annie Carlson (NWN2: Storm of Zehir) have formed DoubleBear, an independent studio that, using Iron Tower Studio tech, is making a survival-style RPG set in a zombie apocalypse. More details on the official forum.

Was hoping to save this for a rainy day, but it is cloudy here in Seattle today, so here we go. As the speculators have correctly guessed, yes, DoubleBear’s first game is indeed a Zombie RPG, which we have fondly referred to as a ZRPG internally. Before people start running in all kinds of directions with that, here’s what I will confirm:

-Set during the breakdown of society as emergence of zombies causes widespread panic and disorder.

-Slow, shambling zombies. Spreads like a virus/bite transmission. No, you are not a zombie, that would be stupid.

-Serious examination of a national crisis or natural disaster. Humans and a lack of order are a bigger threat than the undead. Think Hurricane Katrina, Children of Men, Dawn of the Dead NOT Resident Evil, Return of the Living Dead, zombie shooter-type games.

-Game is about survival. Scavenging resources, exploring the area, dealing with other survivors, and managing a “shelter” of sorts are the main focus of the game. More on this later.

-Game is open-ended. There are characters and events that could happen, but the story depends on where you go, what you do, and who you meet. Of course, there’s a lot more to this and we'll go into more details as time goes on.

News for Friday, August 7, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 17:44

Caleb Cleveland is a concept artist who has done some work for FOOL. While that work, like all things related to Interplay's project (including the fact that it is FOOL), is behind lock and key, he has revealed some of the art he did as a response to the brief. So unused, but as close to FOOL art as we'll get for a while.


Link: Caleb Cleveland on Deviantart.

Thanks patriot_41.

News for Thursday, August 6, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 21:54

What's wrong with these guys? Can't they see that anything related to Fallout 3 is brilliant by default, and that all these ideas of Bethesda's only "appear" "stupid", and are in fact genius? Whatever. GameSpy 3/5.

But I was hoping for some more interesting combat scenarios in Mothership Zeta, as the aliens should have been far more formidable opponents, especially when fighting alongside their droid companions. It felt like I was fighting the same enemies I have always encountered in Fallout 3, only this time they were a little shorter and a little greener. They still just traded shots with me despite my superior weaponry, and only by cranking up the difficulty could I keep from being completely bored. Nothing changed from an AI perspective, but at least it took a full clip of ammo to take down an enemy instead of just a single shot.
Giant Bomb 6/10.
These are the two aspects of Mothership Zeta that I take issue with: structure and variety. Once you're on the ship, your sole concern is getting off the ship. There are a few distinct steps to this process, but they usually come down to fighting a bunch of aliens and then blowing up a power generator. The whole thing plays out a little more predictably than I'd hope, without any of the terrific left-field twists or the queasy bad-or-worse moral choices that have been the hallmark of Fallout 3's best missions. The aliens are formidable foes, and the sleek energy weapons they drop will serve you well once you return to the wastes, but there's effectively only three types of enemies that you'll face in Mothership Zeta, and you do enough fighting that you definitely could've used more.
WorthPlaying 5.5/10.
Aliens aren't new to the Fallout world. Both of the original chapters of the Fallout franchise had random Easter eggs that weren't meant to be taken too seriously; one of them featured crashed spacecraft of dubious origin. Fallout 3 also drops in its own hint, although it's a fixed location that isn't so much of a joke as an homage to the original series' sense of humor.

The first Fallout had a flying saucer, two dead aliens next to it, the requisite ray gun and a velvet painting of Elvis, which was worth a few caps. The second one had a few tributes to "Star Trek," such as a crashed shuttle with several dead red shirts and a usable phaser. Even the venerable PC title, Wasteland, referenced a Martian campaign within its scene descriptions to throw off players who wanted to spoil the story by reading ahead. Knowing that each in-joke was part of the random humor that would occasionally make life a little more interesting in the wastes, these were taken in stride.

But with Mothership Zeta, Fallout 3 has essentially taken an Easter egg and made it into one, long, drawn-out joke. That's the same as LucasArts taking the death sticks guy from "The Phantom Menace" and turning him into an add-on for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.
(...)
The problem isn't so much what fans of the older series might think. The fact is that the DLC comes across as a boring shoot-'em-up with a premise that's riddled with more holes than the moon. Operation: Anchorage's heavy focus on action tempered it with something directly related to the main arc of the Fallout universe, and it had interesting missions to boot. Mothership Zeta comes off as a linear and repetitive shooting gallery, and it feels more like an arcade version of X-Com than a story flush with postapocalyptic, face-melting material like Point Lookout's inbred mutants. I like a lot of action, but not in the overwhelmingly numbing doses that Mothership Zeta crams into its hallways.
Cheat Code Central 4/5 (finally! Still too low though, it should be at least 5 out of 5!).
Most of the time, the gameplay is anything but fresh. You'll often wind up navigating tight, mazelike corridors in a mostly linear fashion, stopping all-too-frequently to pump energy beams into the noggins of aliens and droids that pop up at nearly every turn. The action-heavy element is enjoyable at times, though there are several points in the middle of the adventure that it feels like you're just shooting the same creatures while crawling around in the same corridors. There are opportunities to branch off and explore a bit, but you're really only required to do so at one point further along in the relatively brief quest. However, the repetitiveness subsides during intermittent shining moments that really make all the effort seem worthwhile - like giving a young kid a high-powered grenade to play with, unfreezing and chatting up some of the ships human cargo, engaging in a crazy Star Trek-like ship-to-ship death ray battle.
Teletext 4/10 Wall.
Bethesda still seems to be under the delusion that the gun play in Fallout 3 is one of the central strengths of the game, rather than a peripheral novelty.

The less said about the even more awful melee combat the better.

Not even any of the new weapons or items are of any real interest, which given the liberties that could have been taken seems a particular waste.
GamerLimit 8/10 Smile.
Moving forward and explaining the story is tricky, because once you’re set free from your martian bonds you collect some very entertaining logs containing some of the last words of many of the other humans abducted from earth. They come from every time period, each bringing with them a small anecdote. From a 1600s priest, to a basketball star, to a late 90’s Brooklyn punk with a dirty mouth, each record some of their final moments before the aliens probe them through. The other live characters you meet on the ship will bring you a lot of laughs, and really make you appreciate Bethesda’s ability to create unique and interesting characters.
Platform Nation (no score, so we'll just fill in a 10/10 for them).
The plot in Mothership Zeta was very well written, and I actually cared about the history of the people I ran across during my trek through the metallic landscape. All of the holotapes you acquire (if you search hard enough, which you will want to do to get an achievement) are worth a listen as well. This was also one of the only DLC where the ending was satisfying in my opinion.
GamePro Arcade 3.5 (out of? They don't say, so we'll assume it's 3.5 out of a possible 3.5).
Taken as a whole, the DLC for Fallout 3 has been fantastic. But this final round of content just doesn’t feel like the ending most gamers are looking for. Unlike Broken Steel (which should have come first) and Point Lookout (which should have come last), the fun in Mothership Zeta is few and far between. And while set in just as unique an environment as The Pitt and Operation: Anchorage, MZ lacks their sense of purpose.

Posted by Per - at 21:10

FOnline newsbits seem to be popular despite a lamentable shortage of lizards and whatnot, so no doubt many will be happy to learn that the soundtrack to FOnline: The Life After can be listened to or downloaded in its entirety. Some of it is very Fallouty, other tracks are more bombastic or metalish, but it's all suitably post-apocalyptic and professional and an excellent showcase for composer Alexandr Bulgarov a.k.a. Xcentric Noizz.

Posted by Per - at 3:34

Ausir just pseudo-blogged that The Art of Fallout, an art book with Fallout 3 concept art by Craig Mullins and Adam Adamowicz, can be pre-ordered from Amazon for $30. If this seems familiar you may be in possession of the Fallout 3 Collector's Edition, which included a smaller version of the book.

Posted by Per - at 2:45

So you thought handing out GotY awards was so 8 months ago? Not so! G4 does this thing all over again in their G-Phoria event where viewers of G4tv get to vote on their favourite games released within a year's time.

Fallout 3 was nominated in the categories of Game of the Year, Best Role-Playing Game, Best Downloadable Content (with Broken Steel), Best Voice Acting, Best Soundtrack and Longest Lasting Game. So which, if any, of these awards did it win? All of them! It's not like the game didn't already have a wall of trophies, though.

Thanks to Xevrex.

Posted by Per - at 1:31

Since last time we posted a Wasteland 2 rumour, Rufus Luccarelli has pointed out there's a new Content Designer job opportunity at Brian Fargo's inXile that hints directly at this precarious project. The tasks delineated are quest, character and world design as well as dialogue crafting. Even if you can do all this you need a four-year minimum of business experience and marvellous teamwork skillz, so don't all get your hopes up. The really interesting parts are found under the "Bonus Traits" heading: knowledge of "classic CRPGs" as well as familiarity with "PAW" - which, the cognoscenti tell us, stands for "post-apocalyptic world" and nothing to do with furries whatsoever. So what else could it be?

News for Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 10:11

Mothership Zeta has hardly been out a day, but man is it seeing waves of reviews. This round is a bit more positive than the last one, though opinions are still all over the place. IGN 7.

Perhaps the most disappointing part of Mothership Zeta is its lack of imagination. The idea of taking players to space as part of an alien abduction is a great start, but the follow through isn't quite here. There was a big opportunity to get creative and push the boundaries. Instead, Mothership Zeta is about as straightforward as they come.
Kotaku.
As the last of the planned Fallout 3 downloadable content, Mothership Zeta isn't quite the ending I had hoped for. As grand finales go, it's got grand in spades, but is sorely lacking in the finale department. Don't get me wrong here...it's an excellent experience, but it just doesn't deliver the sense of closure I'm looking for in Fallout 3. At the end of your adventure you're back on the surface, a bit older, a bit wiser, a bit better armed, and wanting more. Bethesda has said that taking the level cap past the 30 established in Broken Steel would unbalance the game. Fair enough. If we can go no further, give us a grand finale.
Game Revolution B+.
Mothership Zeta has various different areas to explore, with some added in without any relation to the main branch of the story, but that contain interesting tidbits to discover, including a handful of cult film references in a particular foul-smelling area. Exploring the ship is a blast, as you never know what you'll find next, and trust me, there's a lot of bizarre crap going on - those aliens are sick, disturbed folks. These guys will come at you in a number of ways, carrying shock batons, ray guns, or even calling in the local security robot, which is a pain in the nether regions to beat, but carries an awesome reward in their innards. The variety of units isn't very high, with them being either invisible-ish, helmet-wearing, or bare-headed spacemen. On the other hand, similar to Point Lookout, the environments are far different than anything you've come across in the Capital Wasteland, with clean and futuristic settings as opposed to the grays and browns you've gotten used to in Washington DC's remains.
Edge 6.
Design flaws include a bizarre decision to cordon off most of the ship after completion, locking away any unique items you previously overlooked. Much of the game commendably favours stealth players but the rest can feel shambolic. The much-vaunted spacewalk in the souvenir Gemini Spacesuit gets plenty of build-up, and could have been extraordinary had it not been 30 seconds long. And there are a fair few nagging Bethesda-isms in there, too, such as you losing karma for shooting often indistinguishable alien workers.

Of course, this could have been the best of Fallout’s downloads. They all could have. It’s not easy giving consecutive middling scores to these updates because, as DLC goes, they’re more generous, creative and adventurous than most. Released according to a gamer’s schedule rather than a developer’s, each coming mere weeks after the last, they beg for whatever sympathy you can salvage. But in the case of Mothership Zeta, for all the love that’s gone into it, that’s as uncertain an amount as ever.
The Hachiko 4/5.
The pinball and spaceship scenarios are the best moments for breaking out of the box when it comes to what Bethesda has done so far with Fallout 3 content. The pinball scenario actually happened by accident for me, as the game floods you with aliens and robots at one point, which proved just too much for me. After experimenting around with the ship, however, I saw that if you pressed the right button when the aliens came close enough to the support structures, you could do damage to them and send them flying. The ship-to-ship battle is also fun as you take on the role of a one-man crew. You've got to juggle your energy output from your shields to your laser, fire, run around to repair damage when it happens, plus you're defending your bridge from an onslaught of aliens at the same time. It's hectic, but a blast and one of the best moments out of all the DLC.
Gamervision 8.5.
We’ve all got our own ideas about what the interior of an alien craft will look like, and Bethesda manages to pay homage to classic sci-fi ideas while making the alien aesthetic completely their own. From the polished metal of the ship’s interior, to the holographic indicators on switches, to the horrifying experimental labs, the developers are able to capture the quintessential essence of the general perception of extra-terrestrial life, and not once did I feel that something didn’t belong. The aliens themselves are stylized versions of the bigheaded green men with almond-shaped eyes that adorned countless sci-fi periodicals during the genre’s height of popularity, but they’re not quite as small as those magazines liked to “report.” Their weaponry is as eye-catching as the ship, and each armament has a wonderfully simplistic, yet advanced look and feel to it.
Digital Battle 6.
In Mothership Zeta, the player assumes the role of a prisoner on an alien ship. The aliens, apparently with nothing better to do, are kidnapping humans from Earth and using them as experiments. As clichéd as that sounds — well, it is actually quite a cliché (even the aliens are quite familiar; big heads, big eyes etc.). One would’ve expected the great writers and storytellers at Bethesda to come up with something better and more original. Anyways, you must now fight your way through the alien space ship and get back on Earth. You’ll get some help, as you’ll be allied with a few other humans as well. The entire point of the game is to navigate through the massive aline ship (which is quite massive btw), and find your way to the command bridge, where rescue awaits.
GameDaily 8.
Zeta keeps Fallout's trademark humor intact, with bizarre conversations between fellow abductees, Alien Captive Recordings that add an odd audio history of abductions (except for #2, which features a guy from Flatbush who isn't so happy about his alien probe -- seriously hilarious).
Thanks GameBanshee.

News for Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 15:34

Nothing like some quick reviews to get some quick "is it worth it?" answer. Eurogamer says no, 5.

The same applies to how you feel about the new enemies. You'll want to believe that Bethesda will do something interesting with this race of alien invaders, but it does nothing more than stick to the most obvious archetypes possible. They cannot communicate with humans, so react with ill-advised and unsophisticated aggression. Disappointingly, almost all of these little fiends are felled by a single shot, and any hope of tense firefights with intelligent foes soon fades. On occasion, the game throws up resilient variants, armed with shields and cloaking devices, but even these prove to be incapable of doing anything other than charging headlong into your line of fire. Often flanked by robot drones, and assisted by turrets, things can get hectic once they start to throw everything at you, but the outcome is never seriously in doubt.
(...)
Where Mothership Zeta really falls down is the complete lack of inspiration in the mission design. Generally you can rely on Bethesda to intelligently weave complex scenarios around practically anything, with the key characters each having their own specific agenda. Once you've taken in the situation, it's entirely down to your own moral leanings as to which direction you decide to take any given mission. Never quite knowing who is really the good guy, or the least bad guy has made for some thrilling missions in past Bethesda games (and past DLC), but none of that applies here. At best, you can rope in some characters to help kick arse, but for the most part you're reduced to the most soulless of gameplay tasks - breaking machines by pressing buttons.
AtomicGamer says yes in a kind of weird way, 81%.
As an endcap to the DLC saga for Fallout 3, I admit that I'm a little disappointed overall in Mothership Zeta's return to linear, corridor-style FPS action, lack of choices for the player, and flashy but ultimately mediocre gadgetry to bring back with you to Earth. It's still a damn fine add-on that you simply must buy if you've already picked up the four previous ones, but just like before, if you feel burned by past DLC, this one's not going to become a sudden revelation for you. Aliens, cowboys, robots, zombies (sorta), and samurais are included and do spice up the experience, but if you really want to crank up the craziness, Bethesda, we'll need some pirates and vikings, too.
VideoGamer.com says no, 6.
Fallout 3 is an awful shooter. It simply doesn't work played as a typical first (or third, but we can't imagine anyone plays the game in the poor third-person view) person shoot em up. But that's okay, because when combat is required, the brilliant VATs system does a great job of making the rampant destruction of your enemies fun and very, very bloody. And then, usually, there's some NPC interaction and beard-scratching decision-making for pacing. Mothership Zeta disappoints because it basically asks you to kill hundreds of aliens and other enemies we won't spoil in samey corridors and rooms for five hours without any role-playing to mix things up. There are so many aliens and guard drones to kill, usually at the same time, that it's impossible to use VATs and VATs alone to survive. You're forced, by sheer weight of numbers, to shoot stuff in first-person. This isn't a good thing.
And GameFocus loves it, 9. with this to say:
Gameplay wise the overall experience is great as it is more of a first person shooter this time rather than a quest driven role playing action game. You will love the new weapons the aliens have and once you get your grubby hands on a few of them you will be blowing everyone apart. I was very happy with what I had and even left with around 4000 caps of weapons to sell to add to my bonus.
Dude...wtf?

Posted by 13pm - at 11:54

While Fallout 3 website clearly states that Mothership Zeta is the final DLC for the game, you can never be confident when you're talking about Bethesda. So everyone wants a confirmation. Here it goes. Kind of..

Joystiq reports:

Bethesda says "never say 'never,' but this is the last DLC we have planned."
It really feels like déjà vu. So maybe we'll see more aliens abducting samurais.

Link: Joystiq: Mothership Zeta is 'final' Fallout 3 DLC.

News for Monday, August 3, 2009

Posted by Per - at 16:10

Mothership Zeta is available at Xbox Live Marketplace for some 800 pseudo-monies. Reviews and stuff to be expected. The description, for those who didn't already see it:

A strange Alien signal is being broadcast throughout the Capital Wasteland, originating from a crashed UFO. Is it a distress call, or something far more sinister? That question is answered when you find yourself beamed aboard an enormous Alien spacecraft, with only one alternative – to fight your way to the bridge of the ship and secure your escape. Mothership Zeta takes Fallout 3 in an entirely new direction – outer space. Meet new characters and join with them in a desperate bid to escape the Aliens’ clutches. To do so, you’ll wield powerful new weapons, like the Alien Atomizer, Alien Disintegrator and Drone Cannon, and deck yourself out in brand new outfits, like the Gemini-Era Spacesuit and even Samurai Armor.
On that last note, here is a little movie showing how many blasts of deadly particle energy to the face it takes to down a person in bamboo armour (thanks to Alphadrop).







Link