A few days ago @Keyboard Gecko posted a video review of the newly translated Fallout 2 total conversion mod Olympus 2207. I found it very good and asked him if he could also provide a written review for the site, to which he gladly agreed. See below for our very own, very thorough, review of Olympus 2207 by Keyboard Gecko! Have a nice Friday read. --------------------- This is the first ~30 minutes of Olympus 2207 – a huge total conversion for Fallout 2. The mod features a complete graphics overhaul and a new universe - similar, but not related to Fallout. It also changes some mechanics and adds a handful of new ones, plus rebalances how things work. If you squint a little, it looks like a distorted version of classic Fallout. Count every familiar thing you see You will inevitably draw comparisons to the things you know from Fallout, unconsciously looking for equivalents to everything you encounter - but for the most part your expectations will be subverted in one way or another. This feeling of subversion will haunt you 90% of the time. It's the closest thing you can get to experiencing classic Fallout, having already experienced it. The game is on par with Fallout 1 in terms of size and amount of content and the average playthrough is about 25 hours long, so the comparison is pretty accurate. And here's my take of it. I actually made a video on the subject, but it would be too boring to just put the same stuff here. So I added some bits and removed all the spoilery stuff, together with my rants about mechanics and experience. Feel free to continue reading, this review will spoil nothing. And if you have already played the game – there might be some things in the video you’ll find interesting. Spoiler: How to setup the game The game can be found on the official site. Download the game and follow the instructions. Also, you're gonna need a copy of Fallout 2 to play. There are a couple of technical issues that you can run into while installing the game. If you do, see the FAQ section in the NMA thread or ask questions on the discord channel. Everything should be just like with Fallout 2, including its general slowness. Fortunately, the game has sfall included, so I recommend fixing that right away. Also, try not to use screen resolution lower than 800x600 and everything should be fine. The English translation repository is open for everyone, so feel free to contribute if you want to make the game better. The translation is... Okay, but not perfect, so I would appreciate your efforts greatly. The history of creation Olympus 2207 was made by Nebesa games team, the development started somewhere around 2010. In its initial stages, the game was planned as a grounded story in a confined environment, even without any outside world. The basic idea was that the main character would ascend a skyscraper from its lower levels, revealing its secrets as he progresses. But in the process of creating the plot, all sorts of questions began to pop up. The answers led to an expansion of the game world, as well as its backstory and lore. A design document was created, which, among other things, explained the events that preceded the game - and not everything from it ended up being included. Nevertheless, the world became bigger. Too big to handle actually, some things had to be cut at some point. According to the lead developer, about 30% of the game didn't make it into the final version. Not in-game stuff. What a statue though. The game was released in December of 2014, in Russian. It was played by a handful of people and praised in narrow circles for its world building and graphics. But it was also hated for its strange ending - but we'll get to that. Also, it was a little broken. Then, years later, the game finally got an English translation, together with many fixes and changes from its original developers. And now it is definitely less broken. Let's have look at it! Presentation If you dig the old-school aesthetic of a classic Fallout, you're going to feel right at home. At the same time, Olympus looks very distinguishable. The comparison. That’s you over there. The developers identify the visual style of the game as art deco plus dieselpunk. And the visuals really make the game stand out. They are solid, high quality and blend together very well. An interesting thing is that about 80% of it - cinematics of insane quality, talking heads, scenery objects and tiles - are all created by one person. Shout-out to @Ursa, who does graphics for every major Fallout 2 mod out there – beautiful work. Still, I was surprised to find out that most of the human sprites were made by another team member - the lead developer. And they feel similar to the sprites from classic Fallout. Even the animations look more or less the same, while being completely different, like they were made in Russia or something. There's also a mascot - an orange man, instead of a vault boy. He is obviously not that charismatic, but you know what? This isn't Fallout, we don't need a mascot to make memes with. This is different. So, he is there and that's fine. Boys swinging’ guns around. The left one is actually orange. The music is another thing that adds to the atmosphere. Most of it was written by a French musician "The Glow Inc." and it sounds great. It's not Mark Morgan, it's different, it's good and it sets the mood. Unfortunately, the musician wasn't able to finish his work. So, the devs had to "borrow" some musical snippets from other games and artists. It's understandable, but sad. I wish The Glow could finish what he started. Moving on to the story. Story and worldbuilding, pt. 1. Okay, you ram through the tutorial, then stuff happens and you are thrown into a local wasteland. At this point you have a quest in your pocket and you are free to do whatever you want. You may have some questions though. For example, where do I go? Why am I being irradiated so hard? Why everything is so hostile and so good at killing me? God bless Ol’Willy from codex for a beautiful screenshot. Right on point. Gradually you learn about the world around you. The wasteland is called Radius. There are several valuable things in Radius - food, water, guns to protect yourself with and meds to, uh, prevent yourself from dying. Each of these things is provided by a certain major faction. They trade and they survive. But there is one place which has it all - safeness, food, water, meds and happiness. Every child in Radius knows that. Obviously, it's that looming skyscraper that you can see from any point of the valley. Somehow, it is still intact after the bombs fell. If only to get inside... But you have already learned the tricky part about that, haven’t you? Typical attempt to get near the Olympus, a.k.a. first 5 minutes in Radius. That’s you over there. Game mechanics Here's the thing about the game's content - there's a lot of it. Almost every quest in the game has at least 2 solutions, often more. Some mechanics are changed to differentiate the experience from the one you get in fallout and the changes are sometimes significant. Plus, there are some great additions. Unfortunately, the flaws are also present. Let’s look closer. Example #1: you can’t save-scum the stealing skill anymore - it is completely reworked: you need a specific skill level to even look into someone’s pockets. And after you do, there’s a check on a success, depending – again – on your skill level. You also have the chance to critically fail and get punched in the face for being a thieving little villain. Deal with it. Typical stealing. That’s you- okay, screw it. Locked doors are reworked in the same way. Now you can’t just throw a grenade at the door to open it, because doors don’t get damaged in combat mode. You can still use explosives, but good luck with finding them. Example #2: Character creation. Olympus has something new here, not present in classic Fallout. It's called "archetypes". And there is literally 0 info on the subject around, so I feel the need to cover it. The archetype is defined by the combination of stats at the beginning and it determines how the game will react to you. But not on a "better or worse" basis, as in the case of low-intelligence and high-intelligence characters. It looks like this: you have low int (3) and high luck (7) - this is a "Forrest" archetype. You obviously have less skillpoints per level and higher crit chance – that one you already know. But also you get 2 additional movement points right from the start for free. Sometimes, a hostile character will suddenly suffer a fatal accident in the middle of a dialogue. Or you get the chance to completely skip a REALLY long quest and still get all the experience and the best reward, just because you are so blunt to say just the right stupid thing in the right moment. Your luck and stupidity are paving the way for you and it is hilarious. Typical Forrest playthrough. Feels like, a completely different game, right? When you have OTHER, BETTER options, which don't rely on how high your stats are, it works differently! You know, ROLEPLAY! REPLAYABILITY! What's more, is that three starting characters are assigned to a corresponding archetypes, so they actually WORTH trying, to see, how your experience changes. The downside here is that it could be fleshed out a little more. It's there and it's noticeable but this "Forrest" archetype could be an experience similar to the Malkavian play through in "Bloodlines". Also, the game could be a little longer to elaborate on that. And, as it was said before, there's still an issue with stats and skill progression. So, this is a great idea in its current form, sometimes it is a lot of fun, but it definitely needs polishing. Another thing that can change your gameplay experience is one of the traits called "mechanical memory". All your stats are lowered by 1 point, but your skills grow as you use them. This has some limitations, of course. It is tedious to use and interesting to try. In my opinion, the reduced stats are too much of a penalty, but it's definitely not a Fallout 2 gameplay - and at least you can make something of your low-int character. On the topic of game mechanics, the game offers you some more things: 1. You cannot pick the gender of your character. Instead, you can pick the skin colour. Bear in mind that the appearance mod for Fallout 2 didn’t exist that time. It is a weird trade-off, my guess it's done to give the game something to set it apart from the Fallout. It may even sound like an interesting topic to explore, but all difference is the amount of quests. If you're black, there's more. It's pretty underwhelming. A touching quest actually. If you can get it, I mean. 2. There are hints implemented. Looks nice. 3. There is a tutorial stage. It does its job well. The quests are mundane and simple, but they do the job of teaching you the basics. Also, the moment of being kicked out is super cool. And the impact goes much harder if you've spent some time in Tartarus, getting accustomed to its dwellers and the local way of life. People here are just trying to make it better for everyone around. You get to know them - and that's what tutorial does best. Oh, and it can be completely skipped, unlike the temple of trials, for example. 4. The gambling skill is replaced with Casanova. Which is a total waste and has no actual use. Despite nearly every female character having check on this skill, you have around a couple of them to seduce - and this skill affects around one, which is a poor statistics for Casanova. Again, this one feels underdeveloped. Not her. She is too good for that. 5. There is a life-cycle system for the settlements. Inhabitants go to sleep at nights and walk around doing stuff at daylight. It adds a little liveliness to the world. Especially considering that in some quests you get to interact with these "static" NPC's, which also adds to the effect. 6. Are there any companions? Why, yes! But they are all spoiler material, so I’ll keep it at “yes”. They are hard to find, but they are there. 7. There's the crafting system. The game offers you a neat crafting system, coming in two different forms. One - you can use workbenches in some locations to make an average gun from gun parts. Two - you have a special "Hand-Made System" button on the interface panel. With a necessary skill high enough (and with some junk lying around) you can assemble yourself a piece of armour or a rocket launcher. By the way, the loot in this game is generated randomly. An example of assembling a unique gun. The one and only, unfortunately. You need to learn the recipes. It happens naturally, when your skills increase. You can also learn them from someone. This system looks pretty good, especially for a Fallout game. There are even some quests, where you can use crafting as a mean of solution (it's completely optional). I imagine the developers intended it to be optional, so you could enjoy the game without ever using it. But the way it's implemented is not very good. In most cases you have another, easier way of dealing with the problem than to go through crafting. There is a chance to assemble a unique gun though, but there are also better ones just lying around. And you can’t make healing items or antirads. It makes sense, because you are a Technology Servant. But this fact limits the need to craft something at all. Mostly you don’t need it, there’s no additional reward for doing it. Also, there is no function for disassembling items back into junk, no function to upgrade something – and that actually would be cool. You are, again, a Technology Servant, so it would make sense if you could upgrade armor or weapons or assemble a unique ammunition. I assume there might have been a plan to make it all possible - just look at the amount of useless things around you. All these glass marbles and metal plates and sporks and crayons everywhere. For now it’s just trash, not worth keeping. All in all, there is a potential, but it’s not fleshed out enough. Quiz time! How many useless things are pictured here? But there is one sort of new mechanic that is fleshed out PERFECTLY. The first thing you're going to notice in Radius is radiation. Travel to other place - prepare to get radiated. Sleep on the street to skip a little time - get radiated. Stand still - radiated. If you get too radiated you’ll lose your stat points. If you get too radiated for a long time, you'll lose your stat points PERMANENTLY. Get ready to be overloaded every time you come to a new location, because your strength is the first in line to take a dive. Pile up your antirads, you're gonna need them. Your radiation sense is tingling. And this, of course, is super fun. To be on your toes, watching out for vital meds to stay alive. No more "I need antirad stuff only for one location" (cases in point – the Glow, Gecko reactor). Now it's your LIFE. Get used to it and consider buying yourself a protection suit. Or you can turn it off. It's optional too. Just set the difficulty to easy and play on a baby-mode. Okay, proceeding to the worldbuilding. Story and worldbuilding, pt. 2. In addition to the Tower of Olympus there are four major settlements in Radius, not counting several smaller ones. There's a little military establishment, currently occupied by a gang of raiders known as Jackals. Do you know why they are settled here? Because this place had a stash with weapons, together with functioning facilities for repairing them and producing ammo. And the good weapon is literally the FIRST thing you should get in Radius. They need to trade for food, so their market is completely safe. There's a village around a partially functional pharmaceutical facility. It produces meds and drugs. There are some raiders in charge and they are constantly high. There's a democratic-looking little town, formed around a canning factory. A tight-knit community, working hard to solve the food problem - because, obviously, there is a food problem in the wasteland. Canned meat answers a lot of needs of the people of Radius - and these guys can provide it. And there’s the vault. A single one. No vault experiment, just a bunch of rich people, who foresaw a nuclear disaster and bought the vault for themselves and their families, equipping it with all the necessary state-of-the-art technology. After three or so generations, the vault's equipment, such as clothing machines and food synthesizers, started to break down, so the residents had no choice but to open the door to the outside world. What they did have was the way to produce clean water. And hell of a lot of arrogance. I really like what they did with the music here. Don’t mind the doggie. Eventually, trade relations were established. Each of these major settlements is located around some facility that produces something of value, which makes them a) greatly fortified, b) a pillar to the local economy. Also, EACH of them has problems that worsen their contribution - but not fatally. And it's up to you to help or to make things worse. This huge device is the local water filter. And it’s broken. Just like in every Fallout game ever. You can also become the leader of each settlement and impose your will on everyone. There are karmic achievements for this, which is nice. And it influences the ending in a major way. I recommend trying it at least once. Smaller settlements are made with some amount of logic too. There's a subway station, which holds refugees from all over the Radius, because together is easier to survive and the station provides some degree of protection. There is a little tribe to the north, surrounded by mountains. These mountains soak the radiation like a sponge, but at the same time, they emit it in smaller quantities. So, over the generations, the villagers have grown quite tall. Oh, and their land is not very suitable for farming, so, naturally, they are quite omnivorous. A great place to visit. Strongly recommended. You are able to enter. Being able to leave is another question. And sometimes the game openly teases you with things. Like, you can learn about a place called Renaissance. No one's been there. Some kind of an underground city. Maybe you'll find it. Or the Lumeniers. You may meet them on some occasions. Suspiciously well-equipped guys in power armour. If you have good karma - they will high-five you, if the opposite - they will attack and probably kill you, considering their weaponry. Apparently, they have "lists" of karmically bad. They hate the Skyscraper and everything associated with it. Could they be the good guys? Anyway, while dealing with this world and its factions, you can at one point make your way back to Tartarus – and suddenly find out that you had a main quest all this time: to help your father, who is dying of radiation sickness, which you learned about before getting kicked out of Tartarus and totally forgot by now. Your equivalent of "find the water chip". Let's talk the main quest and game structure. Main quest and game structure On the cover the game promises you the absence of the main quest. That's not exactly true. Actually, the game is structured just like Fallout 1 and, to some extent, 2. You have a semi-main quest, limited in time – which, by the way, you can totally fail and continue with the game. And even get a reward for doing it. And you have a kind of a "main" main quest - to ascend the Olympus. Now, why would you want to do that? Your mother. She dies. That’s, strangely, not a spoiler. Well, maybe because since you were a child, you had some questions for the Gods of the Olympus. Your mother died from radiation poisoning, Catty's mother died the same way and who knows how many others. Could it be prevented, if the Servants of Tartarus had been treated differently? Why is it the way it is? Can it be changed? If you want answers, you have no choice, but to ascend the tower and ask the Gods all of these questions. You can also do it out of nothing to do or from a sheer curiosity. I mean, look at this friggin’ building. Don't you wonder what's there? The game's ending, that's what. Do it. The door. I mean, THE door. Not the only way in, by the way. Anyway - you have a path to walk, you have a settlements to influence. Classic. Moving on. Story and worldbuilding, pt. 3. This part was originally made of spoilers, so I will try to generalize as much as I can. Eventually you'll make it through the game to the final boss. If you're lucky, he'll tell you a little about his motivation. Whether you share his point of view or not, you can't take his side. As it turns out, you're not the first person to come to him. Every once in a while someone tries to take his place, so he is a little nervous. You have to deal with him - with or without a fight - and at the end you're given a choice, which, in the latest version of the game, doesn't even feel shoe-horned. Then you get an ending, which depends heavily on your karma and actions. There are quite a few. The final boss. Sorry for the quality. He doesn’t like cameras. But you won't get all the answers. For example, what is the Olympus and who are all these people? How did the place come to be, how Radius came to be and why? What's with the Skyscraper’s caste system? What’s the point? Read the answers to these and other questions in the next issue of “Who the hell knows”! Just kidding. You can get a partial picture from holodisks, I mean vinyl records, scattered around the game. There’s also an exposition spewing machine you will encounter at some point (can you believe that it was actually optional in Russian version?) Some info can be salvaged from design documents, though as I’m writing this, they are not available to public. It may change – just ask the developers. Anyway, I did my best to put together a complete picture from everything I got. I think it’s interesting, a little silly, good and believable. If you have already completed the game, feel free to look under the spoiler: Spoiler: ”The story of Olympus 2207 as Keyboard Gecko sees it. ENDGAME SPOILERS INSIDE.” The story kicks off in Silicon Valley in 2013, with the Olympus being built. The skyscraper is owned by the NCASTR Corporation, which has also invested heavily in the region. The corporation's area of interest is the production of weapons and military technology, as well as research of all shades of shadiness. The Silicon Valley area is filled with labs and facilities supporting it. Olympus itself is also packed with tech. There is even an experimental AI designed to solve the global fuel crisis that is obviously rampant. In addition, the AI is tasked with keeping the tower functioning and safe. And then the nukes fall down. For some reason, which is totally explained, they don't hit the Olympus and its surroundings. There's still radiaton, nuclear winter, blast waves and all that. Personnel from the facilities, as instructed, immediately rushed to the tower. The CEO of NCASTR understands the situation like this: the apocalypse is happening, he has the tower full of working cutting edge tech, enough brightest minds by his side to research everything that is necessary to make it through and enough manpower to protect it. Everything they lack can be salvaged from the facilities of the valley. With a certain amount of luck and hard work, humanity has a chance of survival. All they need is a leader. He takes the responsibility. Soon after, the lower levels of Olympus are flooded with people trying to escape the radioactive fallout. Obviously, the tower will not last long like this - there is not enough food and water. Something must be done to sustain the lives of those who matter. With the support of his military dudes, the Administrator decides to lock the crowds of people in the lower levels, convincing them that it is for their own good. Means of producing food and water are hastily developed and installed in the lower levels. The trapped people are forced to work. At the same time, a plan is set in motion to gradually turn them into obedient servants. It is designed to last for generations. All in the name of the survival of the skyscraper. The lower levels are now called "Tartarus". Next, the CEO wants to ensure the implementation of his plan to restore humanity. And the first thing to do is to ensure control over the people at his disposal. The best way to do this is to use the resources of the tower. He integrates himself into its systems. Scientists are tasked with research, the military with protecting the tower. Newly appointed Seekers are sent into Radius in search of anything that can benefit Olympus. The Heralds are ordered to keep the Servants at bay with their made-up religion. The factions are naturally formed. And after some time, CEO dies. Another person from his inner circle replaces him. Someone who can continue his legacy. And then it happens again. Several times. But despite all the changes, the CEO's plan for humanity stays in motion. Or maybe not, maybe it is completely ignored and forgotten at this point. No one knows, no means to figure it out. Years pass, generations change. Scientists research and produce, military is being military, Seekers seek all kinds of junk and shit to bring from the Radius, the Servants from the lower levels... you get the point. The factions are not quite fond of each other, which sometimes leads to an interesting interactions, but they do what they have to do. Now Olympus is a living organism with an unknown purpose, living on its own. At the same time, the settlements appear in Radius, mostly based around abandoned NCASTR facilities. A shaky balance is formed - Olympus is interested in what happens around, Radius is interested in getting into Olympus. Then the eastern wall in Tartarus collapses. There used to be a sewage system, but rainwater has done its job. Now there's a huge network of caves filled with feral ghouls - thanks to the inhabitants of the subway station, who occasionally dump Ferals there. Naturally, guards are placed near the hole in the wall. And then you happen. Anyway, the last thing that I'm going to mention is that the universe of Olympus is different from ours. World War 2 never happened, the countries you see are not what they seem to be. Like, the USA is a vassal of Great Britain, because of the debts, hence the name "Great States of America". and United Empire of Russia is actually a democracy. Maybe developers will retcon this, so don't quote me on that. As I talk about polish all the time, maybe let's get to the downsides of the game. The downsides The English version, 1.2 and beyond, is significantly improved over the previous Russian version. The dialogues are polished, many bugs are fixed. The choice you make at the end was completely absent before... Which looked as if the character's actions didn't make any sense. And it made people furious. Still, this version is different, so you may not even notice that part. But maybe some will see the story as "nothing special". The others will be underwhelmed by the endboss fight. Maybe you'll notice that some graphics and music are borrowed or based on the ones from other games. And you know the reason behind that - three people. It’s still a hell of a lot of work and it still looks great. There are questionable design choices sometimes, dialogues are also not something exceptional, despite some characters being somewhat memorable. A self-explanatory screenshot about game design. Such a rarity these days. Conclusion I'm going to be honest with you: it is not the best game ever. It is not even the best Fallout 2 mod out there. Muh personal top of F2 mods. Yeah, don’t ask. Every mod here is great. This game is bugged, full of jank and missed opportunities. But there's fun to be had and things to remember. And this world - it's fascinating, interesting to explore and it's logical. It looks cool and it is memorable. And that alone makes it worth playing. For now, Olympus 2207 is what it is - a rough, solid game with a great world to enjoy. I recommend playing it, if you are itching to experience classic again (and still haven’t).