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One of the great things about Bethesda is that the developer allows for open modding of its games (sorry 360 and PS3 people, this is for the PC crowd only). This takes your $50 game and turns it into its own little virtual play set. If you’ve never delved into the arcane arts of modding or mod installation we recommend you browse on over to the Bethesda forums and take a look around.
Now that the game has been out for some months, the range of mods available is getting pretty big. From total conversions to new weapons all the way to custom houses and mini-adventures, there’s a gamut of free content just waiting to be sucked through the intertubes straight into your brain. It’s almost like your own private Tranquility Lane pod…
Let’s get on with it shall we?
Essentially this mod magically transports you to a two-story building somewhere in the wasteland with four A.I. buddies. All you have to do is hold out. Sounds simple enough right? You start out with limited ammo and a few landmines to place at key choke points. Once those are in place, you simply go to sleep. You’ll be awoken at midnight and face down the ghoul horde. While it’s easy at first, we found ourselves quickly overwhelmed after one or two rounds. The good news is you’ll build up cash as you kill ghouls which you can then use to buy more ammo, mines, airstrikes and upgrade your AI helpers. Tip: only your own kills count towards cash, so make sure you get your hands dirty.
Really, this mod is not as polished or complete as some, but we’ve included it here because it’s a change of pace from the various Companions, Total Conversions and Super Items that most mods provide. It’s probably something you might only play for a couple of hours before you get bored, but hey, it’s free right?
J3X Drivable Motorcycles
One thing Fallout 3 doesn’t have that Oblivion did is an alternate mode of transportation. While there are a plethora of fast-travel points in Fallout 3, in our experience you miss a lot by just loading up new locations. Besides, we don’t know anyone that would say no to a badass Gatling gun motorcycle. And if anyone did say no, they’d be dead wrong.
Once installed, you’ll find that there are broken motorcycles outside of the major towns. Repair them by getting the right parts, and you’re on your way. We’ll be straight up: this is not a very polished mod, but what can you expect from adding a completely new way to travel around D.C.? The sounds are… annoying at times and the guns you can upgrade to are a little cheesy. But they sure beat huffing it around on foot. You can get across the entire map in just a couple minutes and you’re bound to discover a lot more of it that way.
If you’re like us and you found that vanilla F3 was a little too easy, that guns didn’t seem to feel “real,” (honestly, who can take an entire mag of 7.62 and still run at you with a sledgehammer?) and enemies were just a little too dull: this is the mod for you. Here’s a short list of what this mod adds: 120 new weapons (new models/textures too), backpacks, a ton of new armor, makes guns more lethal, enemies will throw more grenades, repairing is more versatile and the list goes on. Stimpacks are actually useful now that you’re taking more damage and the game feels a lot more “real.”
The main thing we can say about this mod is that it really makes the game feel more “post apocalyptic.” Ammo costs more, and different guns use different ammo. You will need several types of weapons at any given time because you only have, say, 57 rounds for your AK-47. The weapons just “feel” more deadly and the sounds have been completely revamped. 50 caliber sniper rifle anyone? Power armor is now trainable in more locations, with helmets now having night vision built in.
If you feel like starting another character from scratch, we highly recommend this mod. Just be wary, if you’re used to playing on expert, expect to be humbled by this mod. We started at Very-Easy and it was not a walk in the park. This mod is Fallout 3 hardcore mode, and it’s fun.