Part 3: Home, sweet homeWas surprised by some free time, decided to do an update. It's the end of the first chapter and the last bit of groundwork.
Home, sweet home
Akhmet survived the day and makes his way through the city.
Towards his home.
After the transition we are in Akhmet's apartment.
Let's take a look around.
Bathroom and kitchen, both have seen better days. I mean look at those broken pipes and the bucket doesn't even have a bottom!
At least his bedroom looks a bit comfy. The safe is where you can store your belongings, and it has no space limit.
Let's take a look at the living room.
Hey, who's that?
Say hello to Akhmet's wife.
She has no name, so let's just call her Wifey, okay? She has a lot of dialog that you can discover during the chapters. It's a good idea to talk to her after events, otherwise you'll easily miss a lot of her lines. And she will not nag him that much, just a bit.
:"Why watch it on TV?...Move out! Give me some space, for God's sake!"
:"You want something to eat?"
:"I have no time. I need to unpack the stuff."
:"Leave your guns for a second. Go, relax! You're on last legs."
The whole VA in the game is pretty good, and the conversations between Akhmet and his wife will often have a rough undertone. But don't get it twisted. He loves his wife and will continually risk his life to provide a decent living.
At this point, Akhmet could go to sleep to end the chapter. But we have all this loot and a bunch of things to see, so let's keep on trucking.
Have a look at the map for his neighborhood.
Not that informative, eh?
Well, let's check out the view from his pad then.
Concrete apartment blocks.
The community area has a playground, a basketball court and a soccer field.
Akhmet's apartment is in the back. As you can see by the game removing part of the block.
The rest of the middle area is made of garages and dumpsters.
I just wanted to give you a feel for the area. I think that all of this seems very true to life.
Now, let's take a stroll through the neighborhood then.
First up, there is another flat on Akhmet's floor, and the door is locked.
Yep, no one is in here.
And given by the looks of this place, they won't come back soon.
Akhmet searches around and finds another unit of medicine and another remote.
There's more stuff to grab in the neighborhood, so let's head over to the garages.
A stack of canned beef and..
I really don't want to know what happened in here.
Akhmet grabs a fresh Makarov and some rounds. While he replaces his damaged one, a Makarov is really weak and I'll grab something better real soon.
On the street, a lone car catches his eye.
More cryptic hints.
On his way he meets one of his neighbors, and decides to have a chat.
Hard to say, buddy. With everything being wrong it's tough to pick out a single thing.
Generic civies have several quotes, so have a few of them.
:"Is there going to be light again? It's just impossible."
:"We have to get out of this place. But where to?"
:"Everything will be alright. We just have to wait."
Akhmet doesn't want to get depressed so he decides to leave and make his way to the Bazaar. He has all this stuff to trade, after all.
Would sure be nice to take the bus, but those days are gone now.
I didn't mention it last time, but the blue thingy is a map transition. When you touch it you'll get a text prompt to either leave or stay.
:"This road leads to the Bazaar. - I need to go, check out the prices."
Welcome to the Bazaar.
It's actually set up in an old, and partially fortified school.
Lots of people around.
Before we go in, let's take a small detour, and check out some of the area.
It probably saw better days.
Judging by my experience, developers often have a hard time making good water textures.
These did a good job.
The real reason for the detour was that Akhmet really wanted to root around in a dumpster.
More electronics. And you're going to see what they're used for in a minute.
Let's enter the place.
:"Hey, beard! Entrance ain't free. Gimme a five!"
:"A five? Right, here you are."
Yeah, you have to pay otherwise you can't enter. A single Five isn't a big deal, but you have to pay again if you leave the map. If you have no Fives in your inventory you can talk to a shady bum in front of the entrance. He will exchange several types of ammo and items for Fives, but his rates are a real rip-off.
There are a lot of guards around and they have good weaponry. They will yell at you when you have a gun in your hand, and will go hostile if you don't put it away.
But there is no reason to bring a gun in the first place, as this is a safe zone. You really don't want to mess with them as everybody on the map will turn against you if you attack the guards. Also they will offer comments on major story events, more dialog that can be missed easily.
And here is the actual Bazaar, in the old gym.
A strange thing is that the gym in my elementary school looked exactly like this, even with the wooden climbing racks. Another neat detail is that the bricked windows have little holes for spotting/shooting. You could actually use them, but getting in the right position is pretty difficult/almost impossible.
Let's take a look at the trader stalls.
First, the doctor.
:"Are you ill, my friend?"
:"What the fuck are you?"
:"I'm a doctor. Was a surgeon in the hospital before, and doing the same here. Name's Gennady. So what bothers you?"
:"I'm as strong as an ox. But pills could be useful. You have something for sale?"
Gennady will sell you medical supplies and can also heal you and fix wounds, for a steep price. You'll automatically heal up when you finish a chapter, but there are still times when his services can be useful.
Let me show you the trade interface.
It should be pretty obvious how this works here. A little dent in the system is that you have to manually move the Fives that the trader has to pay you. I really like it when games do that automatically. In the screen, I'm using the stack splitting function to move 80 Fives from the trader's inventory into the trade area. Told ya that medicine would fetch a pretty penny. All the ammo types can be stacked to 100, so you're going to become really familiar with the splitting slider.
Another important thing is that guns, clothes, tools and medical items can only be sold at the right trader. Food, drinks and cigarettes can be sold to any of them. It's a good idea to spread your loot over the traders. Otherwise their inventory will become bloated and takes a while to load in the late game.
On to the arms dealer, named Alik.
:"Good day. Good guns!"
:"Guns are useful. What can you offer?"
:"Look around yourself! Shotgun, Makarovs, any kind of slugs....Maybe you need some rifle, a Stump or something better? I'll find it, brother. No problem!"
Okay, "Stump" is slang for the Aks-74U, but the Russian term is "okurok" (cigarette stub). It is also known as "Ksyukha" (variation of a Russian woman name) and "Krinkov" in the USA. Supposedly that name was devised by Afghan Mujaheddins during the Soviet invasion in the 1980s. It's a short-barreled version of the AK-74, mainly used by vehicle crews, police or security forces.
Right now, Alik offers nothing good. But as the story goes on, he will stock more and more weapons, ammo types, grenades, attachments and magazines. His guns will all be damaged though. It's pretty rare for him to have something that's above 80% condition.
All traders will get better with time but I'll rarely buy the new items that they get. They have pretty high prices and everything can be found for free, over the course of the game. So keeping up with traders is only useful if you want to stay ahead of the curve, which is really expensive.
Next up is Oleg, the tobacco trader.
:"Greetings, Akhmet. How are you? How is your family?"
He'll only sell cigarettes and there is no reason to buy them.
But his real use is that he often has fresh gossip and will comment on Akhmet's actions. Think of him as your friendly shop guy, who'll give you a coffee and a chat with your newspaper. But he has nothing to say now.
Next to him is a much more interesting trader, the Professor.
:"Greetings. What do you sell?"
:"More or less, pretty much of everything. If you need tools or liquids, don't hesitate to ask me! Should you break something, bring it to me and I'll make it better than it was before. Or if you wanna upgrade your shooter, I'm your man again."
:"Upgrade? Hmm...tell me more about it."
:"I'm a jack of all trades. I substitute fore-ends and butts, upgrade barrels, tune trigger mechanics - you'll never recognize your shooter after my work. If you need anything, just show me your gun."
Now before you get all excited, know that the number of guns that you can modify is quite small. And there aren't that many upgrades. This is the first system that could have been fleshed out much more. I mean the setting offers a lot of room for tinkering and home made gadgets. But I'll still make good use of his skills.
Aside from that, he sells repair kits, tools and some attachments. He can also repair your items, at a reasonable rate. But it also depends a bit on the item and armor will be more expensive to fix up. I also brought that up with the repair kits, and it's a neat detail. I mean what can you really do to fix a Kevlar vest or a steel helmet, without some knowledge and materials?
But he also has another, sneaky, use. As you might have guessed, he will take our electronic items but he won't buy them. You have to trigger a sidequest from him, and getting it is a little counter-intuitive. You actually have to blow him off when you start a conversation with him. It honestly took me a while to realize this.
:"Greetings. What can I do for you?"
:"Nothing important. I'm just browsing. Where do you find this rubbish? It must have been gone a hundred years ago!"
:"Akhmet, you're wrong. If one is smart he can make money from any stuff. By the way, people always bring me things, but I need more. Akhmet, you're a stranger, just watch your foot - if you find any electronics, bring it to me, okay? Everything that has some electronic stuff inside, phones, stereos, even kettles. I'll give you a score of Fives for each."
You can decline, but why would you?
It's hard to say how much Fives he gives for your stuff, but what's really important is that you'll also get Xp for each item. There's a finite amount of Xp for quests so you better collect as much as you can.
Let's turn in our items.
:"See what I have for you."
:"You know your business. Here's the reward I promised."
Check out Akhmet's Xp bar and compare it to an earlier shot in the update. That's a pretty neat chunk for five items. Of course you'll need more Xp for later levels, but it's still a nice boost.
On to the clothes trader, Masha.
:"Hey pretty guy! Wanna improve your wardrobe?"
:"What do you mean, miss Blondy?"
:"Take a look at my goods. You won't find any clothes like these in the whole Big Thirty. Backpacks, army waistcoats...I can even offer an armored vest, although it's been repaired a few times."
True to her word, she'll sell armor and clothes, but all the armor pieces will be damaged and quite expensive. And she also has a quest for us.
:"Hey pretty guy! Wanna improve your wardrobe?"
:"Hi, Masha. You don't like me undressed, do you?"
Hey! What would Wifey say to that?
:"Sooo...no, you're poor, dirty and....uff.."
Okay. Fuck you too!
:"No thanks, I'm the prettiest around even without it. Moreover, your prices are insane."
:"Don't be lazy, earn your money. I'm not kidding. Half a magazine of fives for a single dog skin. But only for a safe dog skin, not ruined or covered in blood."
Don't tell PETA, okay?
I'll take some time till we'll encounter dogs, but let me tell you that they are dicks. And there will be a special time when they'll be double-dicks.
Next to Masha is an odd fellow.
He sells firewood, but only wholesale and Akhmet doesn't need any, ever. I suspect that he is related to something that was cut as he'll disappear in the late game. I really tried but couldn't find any use for him.
The old locker rooms of the gym have been turned into a kitchen and an eatery.
Here resides the last trader.
:"Hey, it's Akhmet here. Salam, Salam Akhmet, Salam my friend!"
Akhmet is indeed a Muslim. This is never explicitly stated, but a handful of occurrences will confirm it.
You can either see his wares now, or continue the conversation...
:"How are you, Sanek?"
The game labels him as "Osetin" so I assume that there is some slang/nickname thing going on. In the same way that Akhmet is also called Akhmetzyanov. This will happen with several people and I wonder if it's related to the Russian language?
:"What can possibly harm me now, Akhmet? Everything bad has been done already - I think it'll be only better in future.. Sit down, wanna eat? I've got roast, Lagman, Harcho is about to be ready."
Lagman is a noodle soup with lamb meat, though it can be done in many ways. I think it originates from Usbekistan. Harcho is another soup, with vegetables and lamb meat that originates from Georgia. This is another hint at Akhmet's religion as both soups are with lamb meat.
:"No thanks, Sanek. I'll pass."
:"So would you like a drink? I probably have something tasty."
:"Why not! Bring me a glass. By the way, where do you get all your alcohol? It's been a while since it disappeared, and you still have whiskey and cognac."
:"You know how many people, either locals or from the suburbs, are settling their business at this place. And when you're friendly to people, they always try to do you something good in exchange. You should know, I'm not greedy. Bring me a bottle of whiskey and I'll give you half a hundred of Fives right away. I'll still make a profit out of it. There are always some rich people around, they will pay. Look, brother, if you see some fine booze or smoke, bring it to me, I'll make it worth your while."
And this is the last sidequest from the Bazaar. You can sell good booze and smokes, but Sanek will give you a slightly better price and Xp. Following all three sidequests can net you a good amount of extra levels, and you really want them.
As a last tidbit, the generic civis around have their own set of quotes, so I'll sprinkle the interesting ones into the parts that deal with the Bazaar.
:Not a piece of bread for two days..
:None wants to buy me for a handful of cereals!
:Nice outfit! Could you lend me some Fives?
If you think that the second quote is ..just wait, there are even better ones!
Let's finish our business around here. From selling and turning in, Akhmet made almost 300 Fives. There is nothing useful at the moment and he already found a sack, so he can save the 75 Fives that it would cost him. He invests in some buckshot and slugs, and then heads back home.
It was a long day for Akhmet. He encountered renegade soldiers, cops that turned into ruthless bandits, got betrayed and had to fight for his live all the damn time. But he survived and came out on top, so I think he has earned some good rest.
Author's note: The Bazaar is the first time where translation errors will become really evident. I'll fix up the glaring ones or those that could hamper your comprehension. But I'll leave the rest for the full experience, you know?
Also I'll always mark the end of a chapter with a colored banner, for your convenience.