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FTG Gameguide: Fallout New Vegas on Hardcore

fallout new vegas, bethesda, obsidian

When I first got the game, I wish future me could have sat down with past me and gave me a few pointers to get started on the best way to play through Fallout: New Vegas on Hardcore mode.   This article is that opportunity for you if you’re just starting out.

For the sake of full disclosure, I’m only level 20 right now and have not stepped foot on the Vegas strip. I’ve been busy doing side quests and rummaging through every decrepit vault and burned out building for loot.  However, I think I’ve picked up on a lot of keys that have kept me alive this long and I’m here to share them with you.

What is Hardcore?:
An added layer of difficulty and realism to an already difficult game, Hardcore forces the player to eat, sleep and drink water regularly.  Starving, sleep deprivation and dehydration all come with gradually more painful stat penalties over time.  While this may sound daunting, it’s really not that bad…unless you let it get that bad.  Food and drink is plentiful across the wasteland, and you can generally sleep in anyone’s bed or sleeping bag.  It is a minor annoyance at best.

Healing is a whole different ball game as well; you cannot heal injured limbs with stimpacks, and stimpacks/food does not heal you instantly as they do in the regular game.  This can be a pain in the middle of a fight, as you’re watching your health slowly come back as the bullets are whipping past your head.  Super stimpacks are your combat remedy to this, as they are a quick blast of health in a short amount of time.

Ammo actually has weight, which for a packrat like me, is a pain in the ass.  Sure, that bullet may be one-tenth of a pound, but once you’ve got a hundred of them rattling around in your pack of each and every caliber, it can add up quickly.  I wouldn’t be surprised if over a quarter of your encumbrance weight is taken up with ammo alone!  Finally, get ready to reload often, because if your companion falls in combat, they don’t get knocked out, but they are killed.

Difficulty vs. Hardcore:
Difficulty does not affect your Hardcore trophy.  So guess what? You can play the game on the “very easy” difficulty setting, where your weapons all do 200% damage, and still get that gold trophy to pop at the end!  Although that’s obviously not recommended, the other way of going to “very hard” is equally not recommended.  Weapons don’t do nearly the same damage, while enemies regenerate their health at a remarkable speed without the bonus of extra experience points.  I ended up taking it back down to “normal” and still find myself having to reload frequently from getting killed or having my follower die.

I Think I Broke My Arm!
I strongly recommend against getting the “small frame” trait at the beginning of the game (which I did, whoops).  While it gives you a +1 agility stat, your limbs take 25% more damage and you become more susceptible to being crippled.  This is obviously that much more annoying not being able to heal limbs without a doctor’s bag or visit to the doctor. You can later on in game counteract this by getting the “adamantium skeleton” trait, which only causes limbs to take half damage.  I also wouldn’t sweat getting high Medicine skill; outside of the occasional skill test to heal an NPC or do some random challenge, I’ve got a stockpile of stimpacks and super stimpacks that I’ll never be able to polish off.

More tips on the next page!

  • http://Website dingledodie77@yahoo.

    Personally, at the beginning no matter what playthrough I raise my guy's (McLovin) Charisma to 8. Then I tag the speech skill. A high speech means you can avoid a lot of fights, saving on the ammo and food and stimpacks. I'd also recommend ditching points to barter. Many situations have speecg checks,or barter checks which lead to the same result. If you don't have the speech, maybe your barter level may cut it. Plus the higher your barter, the cheaper the merchants will sell to you, and they'll pay higher prices for your gear.

    The for me it's just a question of ditching the points so I can get around safer and get some better swag. My playing style means I lean towards Science over lockpick, since many locked safes can be opened via terminals and may require a lower skill. Having said that, a good way to boost earned XP is pick the lock and get the XP for that, then hack the terminal anyway and gain XP for the hack.

  • http://statusofthequo.com/ Crel

    Food is inconsequential. There is so much of it, and it is so cheep, you will never run out. If you do for some reason find yourself running low on food, a survival skill on 25 is all you need to make Gecko steak, and it is a very good food (-150 hunger, +6(15s)HP). Go kill some very common (and easy) baddies, and eat for the rest of the game.

    Water however is tough to find, and expensive to boot. At Survival 50, you can convert 30 dirty water into 30 purified water. You also need 3 glass pitchers, 3 surgical tubing, 1 pressure cooker and 1 rad-away. If you start the game and hoard this stuff, you can make 3 or 4 batches, and have enough water in your room in Novac to last the entire game as well. This is a much more efficient use of the Rad-away.

    Oh, and I feel sorry for anyone who makes a close combat character on hardcore mode. Doctor's Bags and Hydra is FAR too rare.

    • http://Website Obie

      I'm doing a melee/unarmed build on Hardcore and it isn't that bad. It was really a pain up until level 12 or so, but the good thing is you are finding so many weapons and ammo that you don't need that you become rich very quickly – So, making a quick trip to Doc Mitchell's for a 50 cap limb fix is easy enough. Now that I'm around 18, I'm starting to get some serious weaponry like the Knock Knock and Pushy and I'm doing great damage. With the perks Obsidian put into this game, it was quite obvious they wanted people to do a run as a melee/unarmed build and it's a much more viable route than it was in 3.

  • http://talkingship.com ColbyTS

    First off, nice run through. Secondly I didn't have to much trouble with hardcore it was a bit of a pain whenever I wanted to sleep or wait I would become dehydrated pretty quickly. I would have been just fine with starvation except, like many I am a pack rat and when you lose 1 point of strength for first level starvation its a real pain in the ass. Other than that the only battles I even come close to struggling in is the occasional run-in with cazadores (mind you I'm only playing it on normal) and the occasional surprise Legion assassination attempt. But normally me and Boone can handle ourselves. Also if you play your cards right you can own a room at the Dino-Dee-Lite and that is my main base of operations due to the ridiculous discounts I get because the townsfolk like me. I also haven't had any problems with limbs. Like Obie said Doc Mitchell does work and as you advance in level he becomes quite the stockhouse for doctor's bags, Stimpacks, and Super Stimpacks. BTW The Rebar Club and the Thermic Lance are awesome.

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