Fallout 3 EP8: Dead Cats and Other Treasures

  By Shamus   Jan 30, 2013   129 comments


Link (YouTube)

Wow. I forgot how terrible the dialog was here. Camera-grab railroad conversations for sidequest characters. NPC’s that ignore your questions to stick to their script. Offering the player a list of 3 dumb things to say instead of the one obvious smart one.

Which is worse? The casual stupidity of Fallout 3’s railroading and conversations, or the vapid and un-engaging conversations in Skyrim? Is it better that Bethesda force-feed us stupidity, or that they make all the dialog bland and perfunctory? You know, my instinct is to say that given the choice between the two, I’d prefer Skyrim. Then again, I clocked at least twice as many hours in Fallout 3. So… I have no idea.

Look, all I want is a gigantic world, smart quests, limitless choice, detailed characters, and branching dialog. Is that too much to ask? It is?

That sucks.


A Hundred!209There are 129 comments here. I really hope you like reading.


  1. MrGamer says:

    Well thankfully Fallout New Vegas exists despite its flaws and lack of scope compared to the older fallouts.

  2. ACman says:

    What you need is Bethesda creating the world and engine then allow Obsidian to do dialogue and quest design.

    Then you need to get somebody else to get all the cinematics and voice acting done. CDProjeckt’s management of voice acting is phenomenal, pity about their gameplay mechanics. Ubisoft has also had some phenomenal voice acting recently, pity about their DRM obsession but I caved to my principles and Anno2070 and Far Cry are some of the best voice acted games I’ve played.

    • Thomas says:

      I take it they improve on the original Witcher then. I enjoyed hearing a Welsh accent, but having really strong Welsh, Somerset and French accents in one village on multiple NPCs seemed to be pushing it to absurdity. Maybe =D

      • ACman says:

        No… I think this may still be a problem.

        But is that really a problem? At least the lines were actually read in a convincing way and all the accents fit the setting.

        It’s not like Skyrim or Fallout where some of the characters read their lines in a benzodiazepine monotone or as bad as the random Scottish guy who runs the bar in Megaton.

        And then there is the Fable series where everybody speaks in the same annoying faux-cockney nonsense.

        • Thomas says:

          Fit the setting? Shouldn’t that mean that people in the different regions share a local accent =D I guess I don’t traditionally associate my home accent with the medieval era and the culture didn’t feel very celtic (although some of the names were a bit). It must be that thing where people will only believe somethings set in Rome if everyone’s speaking in some type of British accent.

          I’m not sure how I feel about the quality of the voice acting. To me it sounds like Geralt’s is trying too hard, but then that might just be me being influenced by the game, which is definitely trying too hard to make Geralt seem like some kind of badass. (Drinking , gambling and sex-collecting mini-games? I see what you did there)

          • ACman says:

            Well technically everybody should be talking with a Polish accent.

            I guess it sucks for you that the range of accents from the British Isles have become the shorthand for “Medieval” in English.

            Personally I really enjoyed the accents in the Witcher series. Yes it was a bit cliched giving Dwarves Edinburgh accents but otherwise I thought the Sommerset farmers, Cockney and Yorkshire townsfolk and the occasional French or German intellectual/politician were fine.

            As for Geralt trying too hard…. Yeah…. The whole “Geralt is a sex-god” is very tiring. This is manage much better in W2. I played W2 first though and Triss seems much less like a clingy stalker. Recently playing though W1 I found Triss kinda repulsive.

            (Also I played the Australian version if W2 and that version limits the random sexual activity to only that which is actually plot relevant. This is probably the only case of censorship I have encountered that has actually created a better product.)

            I think the drinking and Gambling fit into the setting though.

            • Thomas says:

              If the accents had been distributed like that it would have been fine =D In the first town you go to NPCs are randomly Welsh/Somerset/French.

              I’m not going to comment on the overall quality of the game that much. I might have got into it, but there’s a certain act you can do to a witch that is almost actively encouraged. I played past it and I was thinking how I’d describe the incident to someone else and the words that would best do that were disgusting enough to me so much I quit the game uninstalled it and deleted my save files and I don’t have an intention of returning or trying the second game. (I got to this bit whilst this convo was going on which is why I might have been not so unpositive at the start)

              • StashAugustine says:

                I tried looking it up on Youtube. I didn’t even see the execution path, and it still looks way over-the-top dark. There goes any small interest I had built up.

              • ACman says:

                Well the game doesn’t really push you either way about what you do with the witch. You’re supposed to work out that the hell-hound was summoned by the townspeople’s collective evil, not anything the witch had done (Though she had facilitated their requests without any real scruple) .

                Thus you protect the witch from the townsfolk and she helps you with the hell-hound and later in the game. If you let the townsfolk lynch her then she comes back as a ghost in the last chapter and confronts you about the decision tells you what really happened and attacks you.

                Back to the accents, I just sort of accepted the Vizima was reasonably cosmopolitan and that the outskirts therefore could be so as well.

                May as well get upset about The Walking Dead mixing up Alabama accents with Georgian ones.

                • Thomas says:

                  I’m not so bothered what you do with the witch in way of execution, more that you can get a collectible from accepting sex from a person who is only offering it so that you stop her from being burnt alive.

                  Although the first time I got a negative impression from the game was when I clicked on an NPC and they said ‘I couldn’t sleep over the noise of my neighbor beating his wife last night’

                  I guess it’s funny? Well it is but more in a wow I can’t believe someone wrote that into a game. I saw a forum where someone quoted it as an example of the game being mature =D

                  • ACman says:

                    Fair enough. If you think that accepting advances from somebody desperate is worse than lynching them then I guess that’s cool…. =D

                    I avoid the sex in the game and yes the Abigail encounter is particularly bad. Then there is the prostitutes sidequest, the vampire prostitute sidequest[spoilers]. It does feel really trashy and tacked-on. I can understand the occasional opportunity for a sexual encounter but the idea that every woman and female or female appearing thing of every race in the game is available for a horizontal workout is ludicrous and demeaning.

                    It’s apity because the political wrangling in Vizima is probably the best plotted thing in any RPG ever. It’s a nice tight stouch between elven terrorist/freedomfighters, xenophobic holy warriors, kings, queens, mages, and drug dealers.

                    It’s *better* in W2 (Better said in a wincing tone.) The narrative in both games careens wildly from having respect for women to treating them as objects but at least W2 doesn’t make every woman instantaneously available for a quickie. If you’re not a woman of high magical ability in the Witcher universe you seem to get a pretty shitty deal.

                    At least it reduced the constant presence of women prostituting themselves…. They manage to limit themselves to the brothel above the tavern and they are there for just one chapter.

            • Speaking of accents, Q.I. had a rather funny bit about how they wouldn’t let Arnold Schwarzenegger do the German dub for “The Terminator” because of the effect his Austrian accent would have had on the audience.

        • anaphysik says:

          “as bad as the random Scottish guy who runs the bar in Megaton.”

          <_< Moriarty is supposed to be Irish. (Admittedly, his accent is so bad that I imagine actually-Irish people would joke that he's Scottish. Those Irish bastards ;P)

        • mixmastermind says:

          He was Irish, I think.

    • SpiritBearr says:

      Anno? Dialog? Really? it must of really evolved since Anno 1602. I might pick it up sometime

      • ACman says:

        Yeah! It’s actually really good.

        It’s a bit cliched sometimes but that seems really appropriate. The corporate fraction sound really boardroom. The scientists and engineers sound appropriately nerdy. And the enviromentalists sound like some of the girls I went to uni with.

        And it’s probably the best implemented resource-management/city-building/RTS I’ve played. The island mechanic works really well here.

    • JPH says:

      This is sounding like Shamus’s comic about how games are made in Heaven and in Hell.

        • James says:

          i feel like given recant changes in the developer world, Bioware making constant mistakes, not reaching there own bar. CD Projekt Red not making any mistakes, i mean have you seen the Cyberpunk 2077 teaser, i want that game sooooo much, Skyrim’s world being really bland, even though overall i’ve sunk so many hours into that game, none of it was standout, at all, the combat is generic elder scrolls, i didnt do any of the main plot, cus it never intrigued me, and the dungeon diving got very repetitive, oh a dragur den, how original. oh and Squeenix cut scenes dont look as good as they used to, also Capcom released a game with a not-stupid plot, just a generic one!!!

          • Jace911 says:

            For me it got to the point where I realized that I was listening to episodes of Spoiler Warning on my iPod while playing it and paying more attention to THAT than I was the game itself, at which point I asked “if that’s the case then why am I even bothering?”

            A few minutes later I was playing XCOM and actually having fun.

          • JPH says:

            “CD Projekt Red not making any mistakes, i mean have you seen the Cyberpunk 2077 teaser”

            I don’t think you and I saw the same Cyberpunk 2077 teaser…

  3. krellen says:

    So what you’re saying, Shamus, is that what you really want is a tabletop RPG campaign?

    • Klay F. says:

      Well I want a videogame with all those things…because imagination is for pansies. :P

    • Isy says:

      Yes, but with little chips in the PCs heads that electrocute them if they derail the plot, make a Monty Python reference, or throw a pie at the campaign villain whilst monologuing.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      He wants it so much he named his blog after it. We’ve got to get one going. Maybe a play-by-mail campaign?

      • Isy says:

        Play by post in the comments.

        • JPH says:

          This is why Shamus needs to pick the most trustworthy of his fans (I nominate krellen) to run and moderate a Twenty Sided forum.

        • Thomas says:

          You guys should do that, because it would be absolutely mystifying for everyone else to see 1/100th of campaign in each posts comment section.

          It’d be like those people who write long stories on Wikipedia pages and then immediately remove them again

          • Isy says:

            Night begins to settle over the swamp, cloaking
            the dense undergrowth in darkness and turning the
            water’s surface to black. With it comes a clinging,
            creeping fog, rising from the water like a spectral
            steam. The fog surrounds you, its dampness caressing
            you like cold, dead hands. The swamp seems to
            retreat from the mists, its sights and sounds
            disappearing into some unseen distance. All that
            remains visible is the cold, choking fog. Even your
            companions seem far away. For a moment,
            everything is quiet. What few sounds you can hear
            are amplified by the surrounding mists: your own
            breathing, your beating heart.

            Then the fog begins to
            dissipate, fading away as quickly as it appeared,
            leaving you and your companions alone in the dismal
            swamp.

            Who are you? Why did you come here? How did you come here? And why does the swamp seem different now, in the cold moonlight, than it did during the day?

  4. Hoffenbach says:

    Yeah, at least New Vegas was pretty great.

  5. Thomas says:

    And there’s the cat story =D +1 to the full voice-acting not being a worthwhile tradeoff. The crazy little snippets in old RPGs is way too fun

    EDIT: I always wonder why they came to that 3 day reputation reset thing. Did they expect players to go away and muck around in other places for 3 days? Because thats a lot of time. Or did they expect people to fast forward immediately, in which case 1 day would have been a lot less boring

    • You know what makes Fallout’s voice acted parts look really good? Dragon Age. They made a really interesting mistake with DA. In F3, you see your “spoken” parts as text, whereas everyone else has voice acting. However, DA shows you, in the third person, NOT talking during dialog cutscenes, which makes it come off as really, really weird-looking and sounding, at least to me.

      And I’d also say that while you COULD have more dialog options in games with text and without voice acting, very few of them DID. Dialog trees were kept fairly simple for the most part to keep from confusing/frustrating the player, and even the often-praised Fallout 1 had loads of repeat dialog, unsatisfying reply choices, etc.

      Now, I will say that the upcoming Wasteland 2 has a dialog system that intrigues me. NPCs will say things to you, and depending on your skills and/or reputation with that NPC, certain words will be highlighted somehow. You can select them to steer the conversation in that direction, in addition to making standard dialog choices.

      • Grudgeal says:

        People who had played Jade Empire and KotOR were probably already inured to that sort of thing. Those two were actually worse in a way because they showed your face when you picked your dialogue options, stuck in an endless loop of rumination over what to pick.

      • Jeff says:

        I still think Planescape: Torment did it best.

        It’s essentially a lot of well written text, but most of the first few lines and important ones are voiced. This works because it sets your brain to recognizing the voice and speech pattern, so you “hear” it even when you don’t.

        Ask any player and they’ll be able to tell you what Morte and Anna sound like, but have a hard time actually telling you which lines were actually voiced. Anything that wasn’t voiced was replaced by that voice in your head.

        Kind of like how “Good news, everyone!” causes everyone to hear Professor Farnsworth.

        • Lame Duck says:

          Baldur’s Gate did the same thing and I agree that it’s the best. Jon Irenicus is one of my favourite villains ever largely because of the fantastic voice acting by David Warner; I can still hear his awesome monologues from the beginning of the game in my head.

          • Thomas says:

            And it makes the voiced dialogue really powerful. The moment with Ravel gives me shivers

          • Ofermod says:

            I’m willing to make the claim that Irenicus is the greatest villain of all time, in any medium. The voice acting of course helps tremendously with that (and wound up being remixed into a quite excellent song, imo), but he’s also pretty much perfectly written.

            Hmm. And now I’m just thinking of how much better Mass Effect 2 (or 3) would have been if you’d replaced Cerberus and The Illusive Man with Jon Irenicus, starting the game by torturing Shepard to try to unlock the secrets of the Prothean Beacon inside Shep’s head…

    • James says:

      its a holdover from oblivion i think, becuase that game had a unique system of law and order, all crimes could either be payed for, or you did jail time, or if the bounty was too high they’d just try to kill you, at which point the game begins to fully break, because fallout has no law and order system, no real establishment i think they didn’t want to code how each faction would react to different crimes in different places, they went with a stock, 3 day memory wipe to stop it from breaking horribly.

      on a side note, just beacause i stole a lettice in anvil, dressed as a ninja, why does the Bruma guard arrest me when i’m dressed as a knight, whearing a full helm? dammit Oblivion you crazy

      • anaphysik says:

        What, you mean you didn’t know? Oblivion guards have access to extensive closed-circuit camera systems (beamed into their heads using magic, naturally), as well as radios to coordinate with each other across the whole continent.

        Plus they can read your mind. Damn that thoughtcrime.

  6. Thomas says:

    The worst thing about the railroading in Fallout 3 is it’s completely unnecessary. Not doing the main quest is the whole point of these games. You mess around, explore, do sidequests and when you’re bored you trigger the next mainline and move on.

    If you could just say ‘No’ to this lady, it wouldn’t hurt the game one iota. You could go away and if you feel like continuing you can come back and ask her again.

    The whole idea of a mainquest line is a bit archaic here really. It’s just one thing you can do amongst all the other things. At least Vegas’ quest line generally feels like it’s something different in tone than just another sidequest and the battle for Vegas actually does some up the theme of exploring this little portion of the world. Pretty much everyone has an investment in the Vegas power struggle

    Here your Dad and Project Purity, they don’t really tie into the overall world conflict in the same way. The DJ didn’t really care about your Dad, he’s not a driving motivator of his life. Dad#s just a guy he met once and had a conversation with.

    • Klay F. says:

      Yeah, Liam Neeson was always talking about how Project Purity was the most important thing ever, when in reality, nobody in the entire wasteland really cared. I mean, nobody apparently had problems getting clean water, except for like 3 hobos. The scarcity of clean water is never apparent outside of the main quest.

      • MrGuy says:

        Just riffing on this a bit…

        When you get either the Megaton or Tenpenny Tower house, you get a robot butler. The robot butler dispenses purified water – 5 every X days, then he says something like “sorry – my condensation array retires recharging.”

        OK. Back the truck up. Condensation from the air produces purified water? Which apparently means evaporation and re-condensation (i.e. distilling) produces purified water? Then why the heck do we need this crazy advanced project purity nonsense? We could just take the water and, y’know, boil it.

        This makes the main quest line feel like a quest to build a minature tactical nuke to kill a chained-up dog when you could just throw a rock or two and have done with it. Sure, the quest will eventually get the job done, but it’s overkill to a ridiculous degree.

        • Keeshhound says:

          http://www.dew-drop.com/purificationofradioactivewater.html

          It’s an interesting read, although I’m not sure how reliable a source it is. Of special note, however, is this bit at the bottom:

          “- Water Hyacinth – this rapid growing water plant is excellent at purifying at a very fast rate.

          – Sunflowers – another winner. The sunflower can clean 95% of all toxins out of soil and water usually within 24 hours. An incredible plant, sunflowers were used on floating styrofoam in the Chernobyl clean up. After 24 hours, the roots contained 8,000 times their volume of strontium radiations which was rapidly reducing the total radio active particle count in the contaminated area.

          Finally

          – Cannabis or Marijuana – an excellent contaminant cleaner for water and or soil.”

          That’s right; Dad-Neeson could have done all of this by growing pot instead of searching for that stupid creation device.

          • Jeff says:

            I just read the beginning paragraph of that article, and was already nodding in agreement.

            Fallout 3’s writers really failed at basic chemistry/science. I don’t know about plants, but the same water filter you use to filter coke into water for a high school science fair will also filter out radioactive particulates.

            Essentially all you need is enough dirt.

            • Pete says:

              Isnt fallout supposed to be all about 60s SCIENCE! though? Radiation is the big scarecrow in this setting, so it makes sense you cant get rid of it just by sprinking seeds over the place. Not scientifically, sure, but regular people back then wouldnt know that.

              • Shamus says:

                I would be fine with the game running under the assumptions of 50’s / 60’s SCIENCE(!!!). But when you’ve got a robo-butler who can deliver pure clean water for you with simple condensation, then the game shouldn’t turn around and tell you it takes four scientists, a giant facility, AND magic technology to make MORE clean water. My frustration isn’t whether or not the science is correct, but whether or not it’s consistent and makes sense in-universe.

                • MrGuy says:

                  Yep, that was my point. :)

                  P.S. New Logo!

                • Jace911 says:

                  But Shamus, you don’t GET it. They didn’t want to just make clean water, they wanted to make a LOT of clean water ALL AT ONCE!

                  …Because! Or else…people continue getting by, I guess?

                  • newdarkcloud says:

                    And how exactly do they get by? I mean, there’s no real sustainable source of FOOD here. Plenty of water, but no food.

                    I mean, if we had a GECK, we could start a farm and revitalized the wasteland. It’s a shame no such thing exists. Even if it did, it certainly wouldn’t go into Dad’s giant dehumidifier, right?
                    Spoiler: It does exist, and it does get thrown in Project Jackassery

                    • Ciennas says:

                      Well, it depends on how badass you are, plus a little luck. There’s scavenging still somehow (I always just assume that DC was too hot to touch until about 2 or 3 decades ago. It made me feel better about the setting.)

                      There’s mole rat and brahmin farming, and then there’s hunting.

                      And then there’s the Lone Wanderer, baddest of them all, hauling in lightly singed/shot/brass knuckled scorpion/bear/deathclaw

                      (Tangent: deathclaws are intelligent. This I thought was a major plot point in 2. Whatever.)

                      But as for Wadsworth. I suspect there might actually be two good reasons why nobody uses the Mr. Handy’s like this all the time.

                      1) limited resources- the collectors are now rare or damaged, or otherwise don’t really solve the problem- the ground water tables are still contaminated, so crops will continue to fail or glow in the dark, and wadsworth only makes enough for eight ounces a day for five days, if you ration it.

                      2)Like all good Robco products, they refuse to be repaired without an authorized Robco Technician, or the schematics for that part are missing. You wouldn’t try to make unauthorized modifications to your Mr. Handy, would you, you communist?

                      (See kids? DRM screws over not only you, but future generations trying to understand you!)

                      In short, these nitpicks could have been brushed off or diffused. But they goofed the delivery slightly.

                    • MrGuy says:

                      @ciennas, the problem with the water purification isn’t whether they could lampshade an issue like “Mr. Handy’s can do this – why don’t just use a large number of Mr. Handy’s to purify water?”

                      The problem is that it’s directly explained that the SCIENCE the Mr. Handy’s use here is simple condensation. I don’t need to crack open a Mr. Handy to get a condenser module. Condensation is an easy, low-tech approach. If it was that simple to purify water, there would be no need for other solutions to purification of water. If Mr. Handy’s can use condensation, so can you.

                      By the way, forgot in the original post. It’s ALSO the case that Megaton has a water purifier. This is what Walter maintains. It supplies enough purified water to serve all of Megaton (though, interestingly, you never get any, even if you’re helping him). Maybe Walter didn’t BUILD the Megaton purifier, but if he can maintain it, then it can’t be THAT complex. And apparently it can purify water on a town-level scale.

                      Something that bothered the heck out of me is that Dad’s BEEN to Megaton. Several times. He’s obsessed with building a water purifier. They HAVE one. That WORKS. That supposedly can purify on an INDUSTRIAL SCALE (so much so that they can have multiple spurting leaks and still apparently see that as only a minor annoyance). Hey, Dad, maybe see how THEIRS works? Why not build one of those?

                    • Keeshhound says:

                      The intelligent deathclaws of 2 were an anomaly; the Rats of NIHM, if you will. Except replace “Rats” with Deathclaws. And “NIHM” with The Enclave.

                      I would buy the shit out of a book called “The Chosen One and The Deathclaws of The Enclave.”

        • Nidokoenig says:

          Not only that, boiling the water isn’t a major concern when you consider the sheer number or energy weapons around, one shot from each being enough to reduce a supermutant or deathclaw to ashes, which is evaporating all the water out of them. That has got to be pushing 200 kilos of water at the low end, and using it on plain dirty water could only be more efficient. You could make a serious impact on clean water availability by refitting laser weapons to heat small retort flasks, or even using the power supplies from those billions and billions of nuclear cars. Or refit all the robots in the wasteland as water purifiers. Or just teach every mechanic who will listen how to do those things. The only way Project Purity could make any sense is if it was designed to invoke a powerful Aedra who would cleanse the land.

          And while water can be radioactive, it can only happen if it contains tritium, or very heavy hydrogen, which has a half life of little less than 13 years. For that water to still be radioactive in a way that can’t be filtered out by distilling it or using clay filters after 200 years, it would have to have been about thirty thousand times more radioactive than it is now immediately following the war, which I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess is physically impossible. There are radioisotopes of oxygen, but their half lives are measured in seconds.

      • Vect says:

        Fun Fact: WIth a high-enough survival skill, you can make Mass Purified Water in New Vegas.

        When asked about this, J.E. Sawyer didn’t think he was spitting in the face of Fallout 3’s plot by including this.

  7. newdarkcloud says:

    And so we come to Operation: Anchorage. One of the worst DLCs for Fallout 3 (and depending on your opinion of Mothership Zeta, the worst).

    I remember all of the bile you guys were spewing on those episodes.

    • qwksndmonster says:

      My order for the DLCs, from best to worst was:

      Point Lookout
      The Pitt
      My Armpit Stench
      Walking on Hot Coals
      Operation Anchorage
      Mothership Zeta

      (I never played the actual Broken Steel quests)

      • I’d place Zeta above Anchorage. The abominations were kind of creepy, and you got loot throughout the DLC and could actually use your skills/weapon proficiencies.

        The best thing about Anchorage was watching everyone kill each other at the end (more loot!) and finding “Gary.”

      • newdarkcloud says:

        Point Lookout was my favorite of the Fallout 3 DLC. It was a great new, expansive area that you could explore and gave off a nice contrast with the Wasteland proper.

      • Paul Spooner says:

        You’ve walked on hot coals? Me too! It also happened to be easier, shorter, and more fun than most of the DLC. Imagine that.

      • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        Am I the only person who enjoyed Operation: Anchorage? Getting dragooned by the Outcasts seemed perfectly in character (if not the “help yourself” at the end), and the simulation itself was a chance to get some interesting backstory, get to play commando or military man. It made my old Twilight:2000 heart soar.

        • newdarkcloud says:

          I though the STORY of it was okay enough and the spoils were awesome. What I hated was the gameplay of it. This great, open-world RPG was reduced to a linear shooting gallery.

          This is what Mothership Zeta was to me, except I could use my equipment, yet got no good rewards.

      • Jace911 says:

        Eh, I’d personally place Hot Coals above Armpit Stench. The main quest might have been painful but the characters in the latter just stink.

        • Ciennas says:

          I don’t get to watch these episodes. Does anybody mention how The Pitt was entirely avoidable? The conflict didn’t ever have to occur like it did. They could have used the steel mill to bring working components for a new steel mill somewhere where people don’t turn into slavering zombie things, and they could have set up a rest community outside the contamination zone- shuffle their workers out around every six months, and then everybody would have won, with a great deal less suffering on all parts.

          They mention that the real cure for the disease that’s taking them all is to simply get fresh air and sunshine for a little while.

          They could have done the angles right, and still had their story arc.

          (That said, it was very well done atmosphere wise. I still remember the ruins of pittsburgh around me on top of the conning tower. Eerie still.)

          Also, you’d think Pittsburgh would have a couple of Vaults hanging around in there, but that’s neither here nor there.

          • Viktor says:

            There is a Vault, the residents took one look outside then barricaded the door. They’re no fools, going out into that mess just isn’t worth it. /headcanon.

    • Nytzschy says:

      I had forgotten that the Anchorage DLC comes only 8 episodes into this season. It seems too soon, like the end of a golden age at its peak, or like when Techno Viking only dances for 23 hours in a row.

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    There were a lot of crazy things crammed back in the days before full voice acting.My personal favorite is still the end game of hordes of the underdark,where you can make a huge 5m tall devil be a maid in your inn.Nothing can top that.I mean thats one of the endings for the entire game,not just some random side quest.

    One of the things about new vegas that made me sad is that they decided to dump all the silly in a perk,and take it out of the main game completely.I get that they were going for serious tone,but a few laughs here and there is a good thing.Old world blues proves it.

    Also,one other thing,I get the reason behind having multiple shops being peppered all around the world for the sake of realism and what not,but at some point it would be a really smart idea to introduce a hub where everything will be right there,so you dont have to trek for miles just to repair and restock.Far cry 3 gives you a shop in every base,and thats awesome.Old world blues gave you a hub with everything just steps away from everything else,and thats just as awesome.

    • StashAugustine says:

      Not all the silly. “They asked if anyone had training in theoretical physics, and I said I had a theoretical degree in physics.”

      • X2-Eliah says:

        That is a pitifully lonesome occurence, though, left as a caged animal in a zoo exhibit.

        And condisering the fact that “all the silly in the perk” amounts to .. whatwasit, 19 or 22 things *in the entire game*, well, it’s just miserable. Moreso because they are such minor things (e.g. a fridge and a skeleton in it. OMG SO SILLY BETTER LOCK IT OFF ASAP U GUISE). Bah.

        • StashAugustine says:

          See, while I agree with the idea that Fallout needed more levity, I think the good thing about Wild Wasteland was that it walled off the fourth-wall content: the Monty Python references, the aliens, the jab at Crystal Skull, etc. I don’t mind having silly things, but I can see a good argument for eliminating the stuff that breaks suspension of disbelief. And there were other funny moments in the game- Tabitha comes to mind, as does Fisto, and Arcade and Cass could be pretty funny when they felt like it.

          • anaphysik says:

            That’s all that Wild Wasteland is: references to pop culture.

            But 1) it shouldn’t take up a precious Trait slot – it should just be selectable like Hardcore mode is; and 2) if you turn it on, there should be pop culture references FUCKING EVERYWHERE, ALL THE FUCKING TIME. Instead of being barely there at all. The wasteland is WAY too big for the tiny “wild” effects to make a noticeable impact.

            (Up until Old World Blues I’ve had to specifically go out of my way to see most of them (& even had to do that to some in OWB (and on point, Kilroy Was Here shouldn’t count as a pop culture reference; it was popular in the 40s & 50s)). Even in OWB, which adds 50% more than the base game, they often feel anemic at their best (barring the ‘dogs playing poker’ one, which was excellent) & invisible at their worst.)

    • newdarkcloud says:

      The Wild Wasteland perk doesn’t even do all that much. So few things in the game are made “wacky” when you take that perk. It’s just not worth it compared to perks like Skilled or Small Frame.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        I always wondered why they didnt give some extra to the perk,like they did with black widow and similar.For example,make it so that wild wasteland boosts all the chances for criticals,both for you and your enemy.Or boosts the loot tables.Or anything like that.

  9. Kevin Wagner says:

    I have been replaying fallout 3 as the mighty Regina Cuftbert using the mod that requires thirst and hunger. If you use Darnified UI and download the compatibility patch between it and the needs mod you can get the hunger sleep and thirst percentages placed on your hud.

  10. For those at home keeping score, at 34:37, Rutskarn made a reference to the sketch “Last Will and Temperament” by the Canadian comedy troupe, “The Frantics.” You can hear the whole thing via this YT link, with visuals from the pixilated cast of Phoenix Wright.

  11. Indy says:

    I feel that the forced stupidity is more comment-worthy than the bland and uninteresting conversations. I prefer Fallout’s conversations for this reason. Add to the fact that not every conversation was stupid in Fallout but every conversation in Skyrim is bland, well, it’s better. I can’t imagine a decent Skyrim LP where a host would keep coming back to what the NPC is saying. Rutskarn’s LP is text-based and can add dialogue to spice up the world. In Fallout, you get frustrated by what is said but sometimes, just rarely, you hit that little gem. Kind of like “You are not a mercenary”.

    Saying all that, I’m okay with voice-less games and would prefer them if it gave a great deal of variety in the conversations. Being able to ask random people about anything in the first two Fallouts was a great feature that I wish would come back.

    • I’m not sure what you mean by “ask them anything.” In both Fallout 1 and 3, if someone has a dialog tree, you get access to it (unless your dialog is an opening salvo of bullets). However, in both games, most of the NPCs have generic dialog you can’t respond to. For example, I just fired up Fallout 1 and loaded a save from the hub. The dialog for many of the NPCs consists of one line only, like:

      “I’m not paid to talk.”
      “I wish I was stationed closer to home.”
      “Move along.”
      “The Crimson Caravan are a bunch of idiots and lunatics.”

      There was one longer (and funny, as the two NPCs were debating killing you for talking to them) conversation between two guards, but it was only with each other and you couldn’t interact.

      Don’t get me wrong, F1 was fun and had several elements I wish had been incorporated into F3 and even FNV (like a ticking clock on some of the quests), but I fear you and others might be remembering the early games with a bit of rose tinting on the ol’ CRT monitors.

      • Indy says:

        It’s the “ask me about” thing on the side of the screen. You could ask any person you actually get into conversation with about anything. Most of the time, they’ll respond the same but I know every person in Shady Sands has an opinion on Radscorpions even if it doesn’t come up in the dialogue tree.

        • Just fired up F1 again, and I have to confess I completely forgot it was there. However, it’s only for those NPCs that have a dialog tree to begin with. As in F3 (and from what I can see, they took the “tell me about” button out of F2), the majority of NPCs just have their standard lines that never change (F1) or cycle (F3).

          It is a nice touch, and it does bring the game a bit back to the Infocom days of text adventures, but it probably won’t make a comeback in a AAA game as long as consoles (and their lack of a easily used keyboard) are a major part of the market.

    • Artur CalDazar says:

      I don’t think the dialogue in Skyrim is so consistently boring. But then I buy into the fantasy stuff, like how everyone talks like a poet in the afterlife.

      • Indy says:

        Maybe not boring, but nothing really standout-ish. The only lines I can remember are from the opening sequence, and even then only because I feel like I’ve heard them often. I’m open to the idea that I’m completely wrong in this regard, but I remember the meetings with House and Yes Man far more than I remember meeting anybody in Skyrim.

        • It’s been a while since I played, but the two most memorable characters for me dialog-wise were:

          – Golldir, the guy who you helped to rid his ancestral tomb of a necromancer. He was unusual because he was the only one who commented on your rampant grave-robbing habits as you looted the place.

          – The bandit you team up with in Ravenscar Hollow. If Spoiler Warning does Skyrim, they have to go visit this idiot. You release him from the hagravens, give him some meager weapons, and then go and kill everything in the cave together. This bandit then apparently fails to notice your armor, weapons, spells, and everything else you’ve been using to lay waste to the monsters with, and decides trying to mug you is a brilliant strategy for survival.

          • The Rocketeer says:

            Just once I’d like one of these guys to have a simple script to gauge how badass you are, and if you are sufficiently badass they say something like, “You know, I was planning to beat up and rob you, but you’re totally metal so I’m just going to thank you and be on my way!”

            • newdarkcloud says:

              I had this same problem in Oblivion as well.

              “I am the head of the Fighter’s Guild, Archmage of the Mage’s Guild, The Grey Fox, Listener of the Dark Brotherhood, Champion of Cyrodill, the Grand Champion of the Arena, a member of the Blades, Champion of the Nine, and the living embodiment of madness, and YOU, a measly bandit, DARE to challenge me.

              Buddy, you’re dead.”

              • X2-Eliah says:

                If it’s oblivion, then he probably is stronger than you, though.

              • Artur CalDazar says:

                The common bandit might not know who you are though.
                I mean when not killing people they spend all their time in a cave or ruin.

                I liked in DA:A, the one time you can talk to any bandits and tell them who you are, most have a reaction of “panic and run away” and only the crazy and stupid stay. Something like that isn’t very common really.

                • newdarkcloud says:

                  When everyone else seems to know everything about you at a glance, I find that hard to believe.

                  Doubly so when your the God Emperor of all guilds and organizations.

                  • ? says:

                    Once I had a random encounter with a guy that tried to mug me on a road and game gave me the chance to point out that I am the Guildmaster and he is about to do something monumentally stupid. Sadly it did not give me a chance to skin the bouncer in Ragged Flagon for saying “I don’t care if you’re best buddies with the Guildmaster. I’ll still smash your skull if you try anything” one time too many.

                  • Artur CalDazar says:

                    Ah, you forget the Oblivion bandit economic system.

                    Step One: Spend 90% of time in a cave.
                    Step Two: Rob passers-by during your 10% non-cave time.
                    Step Three: There is no step three.

                  • Not just the head of everything, but someone with eldritch energies pouring out of every orifice, armor forged from from the hides of the deadliest creatures on the planet, and most likely someone whose pockets and belt loops are filled with glowing, deadly-looking objects.

                    Plus, if they’re genre-savvy, they could note that you have a name and don’t dress like every other NPC in the area.

              • anaphysik says:

                At the very least, they could have the decency to just attack you unprovoked, rather than launching a dialogue spiel first. That way, they might get some lucky shots in before dying, with you confusedly wasting precious moments thinking you’ve encountered some bug or another.

                • Hmmm… I wonder if players would accept the possibility of a backstabbing attack taking place without reloading a save. I mean, let there be a chance that (assuming the attacker “makes their rolls” or whatever) that they can, say, knock out half of your health in one go because you weren’t paying attention.

                  Perhaps if they tied these attacks towards an achievement or perk, players would take it without starting that particular stretch over again.

  12. Sleeping Dragon says:

    That’s a tough question you ask and the answer will probably depend on the individual. Personally I think I’d be leaning slightly towards “the bland” being a minimally better thing since it doesn’t “poison” the elements of the game that you may find fun, mods or stuff like “challenge playthroughs.” Whether it is better to aim for mediocrity and achieve it or aim for greatness and miss it completely is a separate question and I’m not saying it applies to these particular titles.

  13. Indy says:

    Earlier in this thread, JPH wanted somebody to make a Twenty Sided forum. Somewhere we can go to have discussions not just about the current episode of Spoiler Warning, but about past ones at the same time. A place where the shenanigans of the commentors can be expressed in full. A place where the blogs of everyone can be discussed. Well, JPH said that he wanted a forum, I kind of added the rest.

    Anyway, I decided to go ahead and make one for the community here. It’s called “Roll for Insanity”. Here’s a link to it. Right now, it’s a little bland. It’s almost as if it were brand new. But the point remains, we have a forum!

    A few basic rules: Don’t intentionally be a duck. Avoid excessive profanity. Members can post and make topics but guests can only read and nod in silence.

    And finally, I don’t care if there’s an adBlocker going for this site. I won’t see the money for it anyway and the ads would only serve to get in the way.

  14. MrGuy says:

    What’s a pity with how railroady the Replicated Man quest hook is here is that the backstory and lore here is pretty interesting – one of the more nuanced plots in the game.

    So there’s this place called The Commonwealth “somewhere to the north.” They have crazy good tech. They build android slaves. By the name, probably Massachusetts, which likely means we’re talking either the remains of MIT, or possibly some of the Route 128 corridor tech centers. That’s a kind of cool concept of “what’s going on elsewhere in the wasteland” while still leaving some details to our imagination.

    An android ran away, and hired someone to wipe his memory and change his face so he could hide. He’s on the run from the folks that created him. Interesting concept. If you want, you can try to find him.

    There are even some alternate hooks to this quest. There are a few people in the wasteland who have copies of a message “discrete surgeon wanted” that start the quest. The doctor is Megaton is one, there are a few others.

    And there’s some cool twists like Zimmer is actually an android himself or it’s implied that the replicated man was a bounty hunter himself at one point

    Here’s my theory on how this quest was originally designed. Originally, the ONLY quest hooks were the alternate ones – you stumble across a message that lets you know there’s this android out there. There’s a reference to a man named Zimmer who’s chasing him.

    When you get to Rivet City, you’ll potentially find Zimmer (he’ll be in a prominent place), but UNLESS you have the quest hook, he won’t talk to you – if you ask what he’s doing here, he’ll say “None of your business.” But if you have the hook, you can ask him about an escaped android, and he’ll give you the quest. He’ll be subtle – he’ll say his android malfunctioned, he cares about it, and he only wants to bring it home. He’ll try to convince you he has the android’s best interests at heart. That it malfunctioned and went all paranoid. That he wants to fix the android, repair it.

    Then you do the quest, and find out Harkness is the android. You also maybe learned a few things about the commonwealth along the way, like that he’s NOT paranoid and they really are using androids as slaves. Maybe even add some flavor about them being sold to wealthy people. Cool possible twist – the androids are programmed to be spies, and they’re secretly programmed to steal secrets and send them back, maybe even tip them off on who to send contracted raiders to strike.

    Then it comes down to a binary choice. Knowing what you know, you can either turn the android in to Zimmer for some sweet lootz and bad Karma, or you can kill his slaving, murdering butt and loot some less amazing stuff and good Karma. Pretty solid quest.

    Then they worried that players might miss it after they put all that effort into it. So they nerf the alternate hooks by throwing the quest in your face in Rivet City. They decided if there’s a bad guy there needs to be a “good guy,” so they throw in this stupid organization called The Railroad who will deliberately offer a supposed “good guy” option (which, by the way, is not rewarding and doesn’t even yield the max of good Karma). They also force there to be a way for you to force the android to remember, so the android gets closure (and a supposedly “good” Karma option), even though that seems to make less sense technically. Finally, they don’t in general force you to kill Zimmer (you get the option, but it’s not required), which means you don’t get to learn Zimmer was an android too, thus negating the interesting androids hunting androids sideplot.

    By the way, The Railroad is one of the dumbest organizations in the game. By the name, in a world full of slaves, they should be the noblest group around. Then you talk to the woman and learn their mission is to liberate androids. Just androids. In a world full of human slaves and slavers, where we’re just a few miles from Paradise Falls, they only care about androids. You can even ask “what about human slaves?” and get the hilarious answer “There are other people trying to slave human slaves. Androids only have us!” That’s like leaving Doctors Without Borders to join the Toaster Liberation League on the theory that “there’s no one else trying to save the toasters!”

    • Keeshhound says:

      Harkness seems sentient enough, so I don’t think it’s fair to compare androids to toasters. So it’s a bit more like leaving MSF to practice in one country.

      Otherwise though, The Railroad should definitely been an anti-slaver organization (perhaps with a tie-in to the Temple of the Union) in general that also happened to help androids whenever possible.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      You can turn him in to Zimmerman, and then immediately kill Zimmerman to get both his reward and the reward for keeping quiet.

      It’s what I usually do.

    • anaphysik says:

      So what, Blade Runner-but-less-nuanced-and-without-the-flavour-dripping-out-of-its-streets’-pores? Anything else going on here?

  15. Chamomile says:

    As an update on the drinking game, the average male is probably dead from alcohol poisoning at this stage. By the end of the next episode, it should go from “probable” to “guaranteed.”

  16. Wedge says:

    Wait, did the cat story come up again recently? Because I’m 100% sure I’ve heard the story before, but this is the first time I’ve watched this episode.

  17. swenson says:

    My thing to steal in Oblivion was apples. I don’t know why, but it got so bad that I would be thankful when someone turned out to have tomatoes on their table instead of apples because it’d mean I wouldn’t compulsively pick it up!

  18. Axion says:

    That road at the end is actually where I first discovered the wonders of nuclear cars. Sadly, I discovered this as a result of a frag grenade that a raider had punted at me. The results were not pretty.

  19. anaphysik says:

    I can hardly believe that I only just realized that the credits are composed SOLELY of explosions.

    Grav, I wished those car explosions where in them too, though :S

  20. anaphysik says:

    “Quick! Add another to see if this message changes!”

    IT KEEPS TAUNTING ME!!! GRAAHHHHHHH!HH!H!

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