I wanted to give this its own post, since it's going to be a bitch and a half.
First off, this mod is entirely too big. It reaches into too many things, and consequently causes conflicts all over the place. Seriously; goddamned near every non-clothing mod I run shows a conflict with FWE in some respect.
Second, it's not realism they're pushing; but difficulty. Granted, to people who have never fired a weapon, and think a KOA is "roughing it", the two may seem interchangeable - but there is a difference. Everything is simply made harder; the game is not a challenge to overcome so much as an ordeal to be endured.
Expect to be constantly out of ammunition, high on rads, and have something crippled.
My companion and I have to carry six or eight weapons between us, because on the rare occasion you do find ten rounds of ammo, it won't be for a weapon you normally use.
Probably the most annoying thing, though, is the weapons. Accuracy? HA! With a small guns skill of 40 and a hunting rifle at 50% condition, an average of one out of ten rounds of ammo will hit a raider at sixty odd yards. The assault rifle is even worse; firing a "group" about twenty feet in diameter at the same distance.
Is this what people who've never fired a gun think it's like? I mean, wow...
I owned a '37 K98 made by Mauser-Werke Berlin, years ago. It had been through pretty much all of WWII, as far as I could tell - and not maintained well. To be specific: the bore was shot out of the thing. Years of battlefield conditions and mercuric-primed ammunition from the poor schmuck who carried it through the war, followed by surplus purchase by a total Fudd who didn't understand that rubbing a steel cleaning rod against the bore is bad had left the rifling in horrid condition. It was nearly gone in the six inches of barrel nearest the muzzle. Still, even with some of the worst surplus ammo I've ever used (heavy ball, made in Ecuador in the '50s) it could keep them all in a six-odd inch group at a hundred meters. Better, with ammunition loaded by people who weren't farming dirt the week before.
Wish I still had it... I miss the old girl.
Sorry. Nostalgia moment.
The "realism" also seems to include the weapons having some sort of failure every other round. Severely annoying when you're being shot at. I guess they don't have gun oil in 2277.
Damage is ostensibly increased, but somehow it still takes four times as many hits to kill something. And shotguns? Worthless. A scavenger took three rounds from a shotgun to the face, at less than five feet, and didn't go down. Without any "improvements" running, the same weapon will drop them in one upper torso hit.
Damage to the player, on the other hand, is heavily increased. You get crippled limbs when someone looks at you funny, and can't heal them without medical equipment.
Again - sounds good to people who have no idea what they're talking about. I have injured myself a lot over the years, and I can tell you first hand that the human body can take a shit ton of punishment and keep on going if it has to.
We won't delve into just how much I know about nerve damage and joint injuries.
Some of the medical stuff is okay. Stimpaks not healing instantly? I can get behind that. The medical kit seems okay, too. Have a blow-out kit, myself, that either rides on my vest or gets packed along in a rifle bag when going to the range. Hemostatic agents and those spiffy Israeli-designed combination tourniquet/cravat/bandage things are quite handy to have when there are firearms involved, even if any shootings will be unintentional. Also keep a fully-stocked M3 "aid bag" in the closet for a wider range of problems. You'd be amazed what you can handle with gauze, surgical tape, rubbing alcohol and heavy doses of aspirin. (Though yes, I'm aware that aspirin is not ideal when clotting is desired)
FWE's supposed improvements to the AI don't exist, as far as I can tell. Raiders are less intelligent in FWE than without it. I fired like seventy-five rounds at a group, unsuppressed - had to fire that many to kill four of them, I shit you not - and no one ever came looking for me. They walked back and forth a lot, but none ever figured out that the guy with the gun pointed at them was doing the shooting.
The version of IMCN in FWE is less annoying by a wide margin than the standalone I tried months ago. That one had protein and "nutrition points" and how full your stomach was and a bunch of other uselessly complex shit. The one in FWE blessedly only has hunger, thirst, and tiredness. Annoying to keep up with, but realistic enough that I'm willing to put up with it.
The "sprint key" sucks. Plain and simple. The fucking thing won't uninstall no matter how many times you tell it to. Replacing the move forward key with it was an even worse idea. I ended up rebinding it to backslash just to get it out of my way.
"Bullet time" was a stupid gimmicky idea in Max Payne, and it's a stupid gimmicky idea now.
Most of the new drugs seem to be fairly useless. One of them, for example, is Dextromethorphan, more commonly known as DXM, or "that stuff in Nyquil". It's a cough suppressant, and in high doses - or smaller ones for certain sensitive individuals - a hallucinogen. Realistic? Sure, I guess... but I don't recall chest congestion being something you can become afflicted with in FO3, so I really don't see the point.
Ditto for Diazepam. I don't recall the digital me ever being afflicted with depression or panic attacks. Not even sure how they'd simulate that one...
Morphine I can see, as the game effect for it is the temporary ability to ignore crippled limbs. I'm pretty sure the dosage would have to be high to get that effect, but it's plausible, at least.
The menu setting system is sort of nice, I guess. It's clunky for my taste, but I can see the appeal for some people; having the ability to change timescale, experience and such like that. Useless to me, personally, since timescale is just a console setting; and once exp rate is set where I like it, I don't feel the need to change it again. The ability to set the amount of effect certain parts of the mod has is nice in theory, but mostly pointless in practice.
The repair changes I don't care for. Scrap metal I can see being useful for repairing weapons and armor... but tin cans? That stuff is generally useless for anything more than making shims.
The CRAFT additions are... odd. As I said, the medical kit is an okay idea. I haven't managed to assemble the pieces yet, but I assume the tool kit will be similar. "Repair parts" don't seem to have much in the way of useful function, other than being one more thing to carry around. The ability to make a medical brace is nice, as central as they are to the medical changes.
The bonus to repair within a certain distance of a workbench is believable. After all, it is easier to work on something when you have a proper place to do so.
On the whole, the mod is pretty much what I thought it was the first time I looked at it: fifty of someone's favorite mods shoe-horned into one repackage and called a total conversion.
If you're a micro-manager/compulsive item collector who thinks the Resident Evil series are the greatest games ever, you'll love it.
I'll probably keep it running, because it does a few things I like; but they won't be getting an endorsement out of NosCo, and it won't be making the must-have list.