KK Vault (Fallout 3 mod) review…

KK Vault (Fallout 3 mod) review after the break…

KK Vault (Fallout 3 mod) review…

Another day, another incomplete house mod.

Fallout 3 modders must have learned from their predecessors, the Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion modders, about managing expectations. The new trick is to declare that the mod is incomplete (or some other such weasel word) right up front, release it onto Fallout3Nexus & then decide whether or not to actually complete it.

I wait with baited breath as to how Fallout: New Vegas or Elder Scrolls 5 modders will top that. Already, there is a sub-class of Fallout 3 & Oblivion modders who no longer even release mods… They just “reserve” a spot in the respective “Nexus” website for a mod that doesn’t even exist yet!

Fortunately, “KK Vault,” a house mod by “Freakscar” is more complete then incomplete. That’s how low my expectations for Fallout 3 house mods has sunk; As long as a mod is at least playable & doesn’t completely break the 4th wall of immersion, that’s become the new standard for “good enough.” Pathetic.

Like most Fallout 3 house mods, this mod comes with the .ESP file & nothing else. Did you forget where the actual house mod is located in the wastelands? Well, usually you have just one option – Surf back to Fallout3Nexus & check out the “Description” tab for the mod. However, Freakscar has actually had the decency to display the location icon for the mod right from the start. Therefore, if you look in the general area, you’ll find it. I’ll save you the trip – Look near the town Canterbury Commons. Since the icon is already there, you should be able to find it once your eyes hit the general area.

Still, it would be great if there was a README file attached to the mod for those who don’t want to take the trip back to the Internet to find out where your mod is. That would be very courteous of the mod makers. VERY COURTEOUS. HINT HINT.

Now, before I begin the review, let me preface it by writing that I’m reviewing the “V1.5” version of the mod. There was a previous version of the mod that didn’t have a texture or a mesh & that resulted in people seeing the Fallout 3 equivalent of what Oblivion does when it needs to display something in the game world but can’t – Display a huge exclamation mark. This version does not have that & I thank Freakscar for caring enough to eliminate obvious errors from the mod. If only all mod makers could fix their errors…

When you enter the “vault,” you enter into a fairly non-descript, utilitarian concrete-sided room. The only item of interest is a computer terminal sitting on a desk. The single computer command on the terminal is written in German (I’m guessing that German is Freakscar’s native language). Since Freakscar’s English will always be better then what my German would be, I can’t complain about any attempts to translate into English. Indeed, throughout the mod, you’ll find German words interspersed with their English counterparts.  My only advice is – If the German language is meant to accent the mod, then use it appropriately & interweave it into the mod itself. Were the occupants of the house German? Were they German military, businessmen, some retro-futuristic-fascists? As there is no backstory to the mod, this type of language barrier would create a nice foundation for both the look & feel of the mod.

The computer terminal command lowers the wall (you may have to issue the command more then once) beside the terminal & you can now enter the house proper. I liked this little feature of the entire wall coming down, with the entrance being hidden like that. My advice would be to sell the “false room” even further with a makeshift bed & some clutter on the shelving units. Maybe even a temporary straggler writing in the terminal something like, “Gee – found this single room shelter. Not bad.”

The vault proper isn’t really a vault at all but more like the interior of a posh, slightly gothic building. All the clutter amenities are there – A pool table, a jukebox (doesn’t work), a soda machine… Various rooms have all the perfunctory items a house mod ought to have.  There’s a “My First Infirmary” in the bathroom which might be a bit on the cheat side if you’re looking to play the game “clean,” at least for the first time around.

There are several features of the mod that either aren’t complete or simply haven’t been fully realized. A central room is meant to house mannequins that aren’t there & a robot that should be able to be revived can’t.

One feature that does seem to work is using a strange radio to activate a secret “panic room” which was once a subway tunnel of some kind. The tunnel has seen it’s better days, being blocked off at both ends. I’m not sure what the purpose of the “tunnel room” is for – Maybe some clutter should be added in to suggest that this was where someone kept all of their special gear. Maybe if the previous occupant was a drug dealer, you’d find a lot of jet & psycho down there. Or, if the previous occupant was an arms dealer, find some ammunition boxes & a gun cabinet down there. Just something other then a whole bunch of nothing. The carpet over the “panic room” stairs seems to appear & disappear as needed, breaking immersion. Perhaps have a smaller rug that fits inside of the “stairs” or otherwise eliminate it? That’s not up to me to decide.

I could comment on Mr. Fluffykins (a custom teddy bear) & the chessboard pieces (shrunken meshes) & things like that but I’m not really going to. The overall architecture is competent enough although the bathroom is rather awkward with a long “U”-shaped walk to the toilet. If memory serves me correctly, the bathroom & the bedroom aren’t exactly close by. While it’s a nitpick, I certainly wouldn’t want to live in a house mod for real where there’s such a long walk to the bathroom at night.

If you’re desperate for a house mod near Canterbury Commons, I suppose that this mod is good enough if you can overlook some of the rough edges (The German language, the features that aren’t fully implemented yet, the overall interior design, the somewhat nonsensical layout). When faced with nothing, I’d prefer a bit of back story just to get an idea as to why the place exists & who used it previously if nothing else then to flesh the location out & distinguish it from the bajillion of other places in the wasteland.

As it stands, it’s good enough to be played but not good enough to stay on my hard drive. However, I hope that the mod is completed because it seems like it’s one of the few that is closer to completion then so many others that I’ve viewed recently.

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