All the cool kids with their fancy new graphics cards are playing something called Fallout 4 these days, but Fallout: New Vegas is still alive and thriving thanks to its mod community. There were several major mods released in the weeks leading up to Fallout 4’s launch, and Autumn Leaves is a story mod that claims it has a DLC-sized experience. We played our way through it, and were pleasantly surprised to discover that it lives up to that claim.Autumn Leaves adds a new location to the New Vegas map, a hidden library just outside the town of Novac. It’s easily accessed by low-level characters, and it is close to a place that players will visit during the main story. As soon as the mod is activated, a fast travel option become available, so it can even be played with newly-created characters.The new area is a vault-like library that was built before the Great War, to keep a selection of pre-war books safe in the event of an apocalypse. It isn’t an official Vault-Tec vault, and there is no cruel social experiment happening there, just a sincere effort to preserve knowledge.When the Courier arrives, they find that only the robot caretakers are still alive. Their human creator is quickly revealed to be long-dead. It is a mystery that only the player can solve. However, the suspicious circumstances of his death are but one of the problems that plague the library. The robot librarians, have allowed a handful of outsiders into the library over the centuries, in an effort to share their knowledge while also seeing if humanity is ready to appreciate the higher learning of the old world. Several wastelanders have come and gone, most of them leaving behind some unfinished business that the Courier must resolve.The robots are an enhanced version of the Protectrons, much more intelligent than the standard issue. These robots have all been given distinct personalities, and are self-aware. They are not quite human, and they are tragically cognizant of their limitations. Most of them are tormented by this knowledge, others have learned to deal with it. The dialog and interactions with these characters has a great deal of philosophizing about the nature of self-awareness. Sometimes this is done for laughs, but often these poor bots are sympathetic characters, struggling to evolve.Each of them has been programed to display a specific character trait, and in terms of narrative design, this makes them great NPC’s for a game. The curious one is compelled to ask the Courier to solve mysteries. A compassionate medical bot wants to ease suffering, and prevent deaths, so she’s ready to help with many of these quests. Another bot is programmed to be a jerk, so the player has to jump through hoops to get information and quest items from that character. These sort of traits are usually present in game NPC’s, but here there is an in-game excuse for why they exhibit such extremes.The bulk of the gameplay consists of talking to these characters, and trying to pry information out of them. There is no combat, unless the player chooses to attack first, or makes a catastrophic dialog choice. The rest of the time, players will explore the library, looking for clues about their current mission.The quest design is more like Resident Evil than Fallout, though. The vault is rather small, considering that there’s about seven hours of content here. The designers cleverly make the player bounce between a handful of NPC’s and rooms, unlocking new dialog options and locations as they progress. Many areas of the library are off limits at first, and the player has to find keys or access codes to reach them when the appropriate quest appears.There is a new set of perks with this mod, but these aren’t gained by leveling up, as with the standard perks. The perks in Autumn Leaves have to be learned by reading special books. That’s right, Knowledge Is Power — for real! These perk books can only be acquired by finding collectible items hidden around the Library. Other collectible books will provide an experience points just for reading them. Again, Knowledge Is Power!The library also has books with no game-play purpose; they just have hilarious titles that spoof real-world books, or that have humorous implications about the person reading them (the book on taxidermy has a particularly macabre implication).There is a clever new use of the “Hardcore Mode” in New Vegas. A certain moment requires the player to invest time and effort in completing a tedious project. The character becomes very hungry and thirsty, in order to represent the in-game time it takes to do the job. It’s an interesting new mechanic that won’t appear unless players are using Hardcore Mode.The writers take a meta approach to some aspects of the story, by forcing the player to examine their own actions when playing the game. Not the actions of the character that they control, but how players themselves behave when controlling a video game character.The main storyline of New Vegas involves the playable character getting shot in the head, and this mod has a robot therapist who points out that violent, erratic, easily-distracted behavior is common in people with brain injuries (And gamers). This is probably a metaphor that was intended by the developers at Obsidian all along, but here it’s pointed out directly, and players can try to defend their gameplay style, and story choices.The voice work is excellent, particularly for the funny moments. The ambient music is utterly haunting, as well. It was composed by Pablo Coma for this project, and it is liable to stick in players’ heads after they finish the mod.Autumn Leaves arrived at an interesting time for Fallout fans. Many players will see it as a last hurrah for New Vegas, before switching to Fallout 4 forever, but other players will see it as an excuse to go back to New Vegas after they’ve completed the most compelling parts of Fallout 4.Returning to New Vegas after playing Fallout 4, there is very little difficulty. New Vegas stills plays wonderfully, although there is a phantom limb sensation when trying to hit the sprint button, or fumbling with the activate and cancel buttons when looting a corpse. Some players will struggle to overcome the urge to grab every desk fan they see because they need more screws.With these high production values, and the new mechanics, Autumn Leaves feel like a genuine piece of DLC, rather than a bundle of fan-made quests. The story is often thought-provoking, and these robots can elicit genuine pathos. The overall theme of a post-apocalyptic library that must conserve humanity’s knowledge while also sharing it, is an idea the fits very well into the Fallout universe.Although Fallout 4 will eventually allow mods on consoles, Autumn Leaves, like all other New Vegas mods, can only be played on PC. Longtime Fallout fans who have had their fill of collecting screws and adhesive in the Commonwealth should immediately try this mod.For more Fallout: New Vegas mods, check out out the video above.
Top Stories Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Your browser does not support the audio element. LISTEN: Herm Edwards, ESPN NFL insider At 7-2, the Arizona Cardinals have the second-best record in the NFC behind the undefeated Carolina Panthers.But ESPN Analyst and former NFL head coach, Herm Edwards thinks otherwise when it comes to the Cardinals.“They’re probably the most talented team as far as both sides of the football,” Edwards told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 on Tuesday.Through Week 10, the Cardinals lead the NFL in total offense, averaging 421.1 yards per game. On the other side of the ball, they rank third in total defense, allowing an average of 316.1 yards per game. 0 Comments Share Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington leaps into the end zone for a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling They also lead the league in interceptions alongside the Panthers and the Giants, with 14 so far this season.“They have offensive talent at the skill positions as well as the running backs. They’ve got an outstanding defense as well. So I think when you look at their roster, compared to everyone else’s roster, I would say they’re probably the most talented team,” Edwards said.However, Edwards said that there’s a difference between being the most talented team and being the best team. But he’s not counting the Cardinals out of the conversation.“Whether they’re the best or not, we’ll find out because the best will actually be in the Super Bowl,” Edwards said. “Because you’re going to have to go through a gauntlet of games and I think they’re applying to do that with Carson Palmer being healthy.”The Cardinals’ win at Seattle on Sunday was proof of how valuable Palmer is to Arizona. Edwards said that how Arizona head coach, Bruce Arians responded to Palmer’s two costly turnovers in back-to-back series in the fourth quarter was evidence of the confidence that the Cardinals have in their quarterback.“Most quarterbacks would go in the tank and the coach wouldn’t allow him to continue to throw the ball,” Edwards said. “That wasn’t the mindset of Bruce at all. He trusted the quarterback.” Palmer ranks second in the league in yards per attempt, passing touchdowns and passer rating in addition to having the top Total Quarterback Rating in the NFL.So where do the rest of the Cardinals fall on the NFL Leaderboards?Here are some of the standouts through Week 10.Carson PalmerQBR 82.3 (1st)Passer Rating: 108 (2nd)Total Yards: 2,749 (4th)Yards/Attempt: 8.9 (2nd)Touchdowns: 23 (2nd)Chris JohnsonRushing Yards: 734 (2nd)Rushing Yards/Game: 81.6 (4th)Larry FitzgeraldReceptions 20+ Yards: 14 (3rd)Receiving TDs: 7 (4th)Receiving First Downs: 41 (5th)Receiving Yards: 836 (5th)Receiving Yards/Game: 92.9 (6th)Chandler CatanzaroExtra Points: 34 (1st)Points/Game: 9 (3rd)Total Points: 82 (4th)David JohnsonLongest Kickoff Return: 108 (1st)Yards on Kickoff Returns: 469 (4th)Average Kickoff Return: 27.6 (4th)Deone BucannonTackles: 51 (12th)Tyrann MathieuPasses Defended: 12 (7th)Interceptions: 3 (9th)Tackles: 47 (17th)Rashad JohnsonInterceptions: 4 (3rd),Justin BethelForced Fumbles: 4 (1st) The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact