Mods make games better. They allow a person to cater a game experience to their own style of play. Fallout 3 and its brothers like Morrowind and Oblivion allow you to change and/or add virtually anything. With some skill, patience and a few tools you can even make your own RPG. In many cases you can just find and download mods made by others. Find something annoying or truly obnoxious in your game? Then find or make a mod to change it.
I have downloaded nearly 3 Gigs of mods and extra content for my Fallout 3. Everything from annoyance fixes to extra content to better or different graphics. Forgive me but when I buy a game with an M rating I expect nudity, foul language and graphic violence. I got the violence and even some of the foul language, but nudity and sexual content seems to be controlled by censorship rules for TV in the fifties. I had to download some kind of body replacer to get rid of the diaper and t-shirt look. I mean a stripper or a hooker in a T-shirt? That’s just the beginning of the little changes I have made.
I also found a mod to make the alcohol bottles match the previous titles in the Fallout franchise. I really don’t like it when I can’t recognize something on sight. I shouldn’t have to walk all the way up to something and look at it from inches away to tell what it is. That applies to cigarette packs and cartons too. I had no idea what they were till I almost stepped over them and realized that I could pick them up; they looked like oddly shaped bricks. One mod later and I can spot a carton of smokes from across the room. And why can’t I actually smoke them? I can get drunk, and even take drugs that are harder than stuff in reality but I can’t smoke? I’m still looking for a decent mod for that little weirdness. While I’m on the graphics subject, why is it that with a 1600 x 1050 resolution on my monitor the interface doesn’t scale to match? Another mod later and I can see more and even in more detail in my pipboy and even on the pause and loading screens.
Mods can also add content to the game that wasn’t there to begin with. Like a decent flashlight, or night-vision goggles. You’d think that if there are such things as powered armor, laser rifles, and plasma weapons that night vision would be well within the technology limits of the setting. After adding a few more mods I have nighttime that is actually dark, weather effects that make a difference on how I play, a good flashlight, streetlights that work and night-vision. Cool eh?
The repair system was one of my pet peeves and something that drove me to insanity till I found some decent mods. I cannot imagine a world where a sniper rifle can only be repaired with another sniper rifle. What’s the point of the repair skill if you can’t actually repair things? I mean, I don’t have a problem with needing raw materials of some kind to make repairs, but come on people. Finding a good mod was a tricky business though. Seems that most people just wanted to turn the equipment degradation off completely or make repairs take no materials at all. I finally found a mod that slowed the degradation down and another to make repairs possible with more materials. I also found one to turn apparent junk into materials to use for repairing stuff.
Too much clutter with no purpose also annoys me. It’s cool to be able to pick up every fork, empty can and plate that I see but after a while It gets tedious when you try to get rid of it. Merchants can’t buy it all (another annoyance) and after a while you just start passing it by. A mod or two later though and I can put that junk to use or at least turn it into a more salable thing. I even put in a merchant mod or two. I know it’s sort of breaking out of the setting to have a merchant with a lot of money, but it is supposed to be a game after all. I don’t want to spend two hours sitting at my computer selling then waiting in game for a day to pass then trying to sell again. It was annoying the hell out of me to be honest. So I found a richer merchant that will buy everything. Sue me, it’s close to cheating but keeps my sanity.
Not all mods are good, as a matter of fact a lot of them suck. Since you can add or change anything, there are a lot of what I call “cheater mods” out there. Mods that add super-duper kill everything in one shot weapons, mods that add player houses with a fully stocked armory, etc. I get the need for a player house, really I do. I even have one. I need a place to store things right away instead of waiting until I can earn a house in one location or another. It’d be nice if I could just lay claim to any empty house I come across or even just kill someone and take their house, but I kinda want something right away that has the features I need all in one convenient location. I did find a mod that will let me take over any house with dead owners though. I can even rent it out.
Back to the topic of not all mods being good. When I went looking for some kind of decent body replacer, I came across all sorts of other nude mods that frankly I don’t know why someone made them. I can understand wanting to replace the posters and books etc with something more adult but I’m not looking to load down my game with porn everywhere. What was my solution? I downloaded at least 4 different mods that change those graphics and I hand pick and choose which bits to put in. Annoying but effective. Now I get the dirty, ugly, mean and vicious wasteland that isn’t completely covered in nothing but porn. Nothing wrong with 50’s style pinup posters or a few girlie mag style hangings here and there. Raiders and survivors in a post-apocalyptic world rape, rob, murder and pillage just to survive. What would a vicious game like Fallout be without the adult content? I like my mods that put it back in. Prostitutes that I can actually hire, damsels in distress that I can save and then sell into slavery.
Some mods just put stuff in that’s nice to have. Like an mp3 player for your pipboy so you can listen to your own music. More clothing styles are good to have provided they don’t screw up the game balance. Nothing quite like a barely there chain-mail bikini that can stop more damage than powered armor to really get me annoyed. A better, easier to read map is good too. I also like having more ammo choices like the previous Fallout games, and weapons that I recognize. I know that licensing is a pain for game makers but mods are wonderful. I like being able to pick up an AR-15 instead of an “assault rifle” that always looks like an AK-47. The game is set in DC isn’t it?
Speaking of just cool stuff to add, how about mannequins to display that armor you just collected but you don’t wanna sell because it’s just so cool? Better, smarter companions made just to fit your play style are another very cool thing to add. It’s good to have help, but you need it early in the game not just halfway through. I also added more ambient sounds and high-res textures across the board. Better blood textures, improved energy weapon visuals, higher res gun models. Now I just need some gambling that’s simple and easy to play.
The developers put in a lot of work but we players always want more. Anything that adds to the immersion and realism. Modding allows players to do just that, whether you want to improve the visuals, add functionality, fix an annoyance or just add an in-game mp3 player. Download some mods, or open the toolset and make your own. Try it, and you’ll never want to play an un-moddable game again.