on Jun 15, 2016
The synth paranoia is great for illustrating the frustrations with the dialog system. The game creates a conversation seemingly engineered to make you curious about some piece of information, and then it gives you several dialog prompts that pointedly refuse to let you ask about it. It’s an interesting way to camouflage the holes in the story: You can sort of imagine there’s this grand tale of paranoia and treachery going on around you, if only your idiot character had the wit to ask about it. It sweeps all of the problems with the story into one location.
Why do you think your brother is a synth? How common are synths? How long has this been going on? When I kill synths, I always find synth parts on their body… can you detect that stuff? Do you even know ab out it? Have you ever conclusively proven someone is a synth? How do you know the Institute is behind all this. Given how they operate, how does anyone know the Institute exists in the first place?
In this conversation (the one in this episode, I mean) a whole community is working on this psych profile test supposedly designed to detect synths because they’re too subtle to detect by other means. But then elsewhere you’ll find people who are willing to murder loved ones over suspicion of being a synth. And they’re right! Which would be fine, except you’re not allowed to ask them what tipped them off.
On one hand, it’s better than Fallout 3. In Fallout 3, the plot told you water was a problem but the characters in the story never gave any sign that this was the case. At least in Fallout 4, when the game claims synths are a problem the behavior of the characters supports this premise. It’s still a dumb story about nothing where nobody ever has a coherent goal or motivation, but at least the writer has mastered the art of putting the premise of the story into the actual story. And as much as I rant about the game, I really do appreciate it. It would be so much worse if you spent the whole game fighting against a synth invasion that was never depicted.