It has been awhile away from the Wastelands of the 23rd Century, and with good reason. By the time I finished Fallout 3, I had been playing for over 100 hours and every encounter ended in all-too-predictable violence, depravity, and what should have been utter horror, was just another day in the life of Jerquin McGlockenspiel, survivor of Vault 101 and scourge of the Capital Wastes. Our hero was a terror to all who knew him. He pickpocketed people and killed them when they caught him. Sometimes he killed them when they didn’t. He rescued people from dangerous situations only to be in a position to take their lives himself. He tried to sell kids into slavery, but he accidentally killed one of the slavers and poisoned his relationship with them. When that happened, Jerquin killed all the slavers. Then he killed the slaves. Jerquin McGlockenspiel once blew up a peaceful town with an atomic bomb. The bomb was only cosmetic, however, as he slaughtered every living thing in the town himself shortly before detonation. After being paid for this deed, Jerquin killed the guy who paid him, and then killed that guy’s boss. He entered every establishment he could to steal from people, breaking into rooms, going through people’s things, killing witnesses, and basically being a real cock. Get it?
Fallout: New Vegas follows the story of Jacklyn McGlockenspiel (no relation?), everybody’s friendly, four-faced klepto cannibal. The interesting thing about Jacklyn’s mode of operation is that she agrees to help everyone and anyone without regard to payment or motive, solves their problems, but then goes and helps their enemies. She maintains popularity with most factions, but continuously negates or neutralizes it by taking on jobs that require devastating some number of her new admirers. While Jerquin killed mercilessly, hoping to be despised by all, Jacklyn kills with all the colors of the wind just to keep from being liked too much, as well as to gain respect from those who have a lowered opinion of her. She is the essential warmonger, building up the internal strength of all sides and simultaneously raising the tensions between them. Despite her fear of Caesar’s Legion and her loathing for the New California Republic, she eggs them on ever-closer to all-out confrontation. There will be no lack of bodies to pick of treasure and nourishment, and that serves Jacklyn just fine. She also eats people, did I mention that? Here’s an example of what on the table for Jacklyn McGlockenspiel aside from human flesh:
Jacklyn will soon be solving the supply problems of a small, washed-out NCR camp. What they don’t know is that once hope has been restored and they run out of jobs for her, Jacklyn will be killing everyone in this very camp at the request of the Legion. She’s also been tasked with upgrading the radio codes at every NCR station in Nevada, but cannot wait to hand them over to the enemy as well, starting this fun game all over again. And like her distant cousin, Jerquin, Jacklyn loves to steal. At first it was for caps and supplies, but now it’s just for the joy of depriving people. The NPCs don’t even react after awhile, but I know that deep, deep down inside, they feel sad, hopeless, and molested when they find their shit missing. She steals so much that she needs to constantly drink alcohol to increase her carrying capacity. One time she walked into a bar, jumped behind the counter, and stole everything off the shelves. She ended up stealing too much and was so weighted down that even booze wouldn’t help, so she turned around and sold it back to the bartender standing there the whole time.
There are many ways to play a Fallout game, but to play it truly sickeningly is one of the most rewarding experiences in all my days of video gaming. When 100 hours are up, I hope to be so disgusted with myself that I need to take a decontamination shower.