Fallout 4 EP9: Jump!

By Shamus
on Jun 17, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

This episode touches on the New Vegas vs. Fallout 3 debate, which isn’t really a debate at all. Or at least, it shouldn’t be.

The Fallout 3 story was infantile, the characters were paper-thin, and the setting made no sense, but it was a pretty good open-world funhouse ride of murder and mayhem. In contrast, New Vegas was an actual roleplaying game, where your character could make decisions, meet characters that had their own motivations and reasons to exist, and interact with factions built around ideas. The game set a mood, told a number of stories, and and gave you a great deal of agency. On the downside, the “roam around and find a dungeon full of monsters with a treasure chest at the end” thing was kind of gone. The game was more focused on the main story and less interested in freelance mayhem.

The moment you exit the vault in Fallout 3 you can strike out on your own, looking for adventure. Try that with New Vegas and you’ll probably meet something that will kill you in two hits. There’s not a lot out there to discover through roaming. It’s best to stick to the intended path, because that’s where the content is.

I hate how this is always framed as an either / or kind of deal. The argument always begins with a premise with you can’t please one group of fans without alienating the other. As if adding one vibrant, coherent character to the game requires you to cut two dungeons somewhere else. As if coming up with a discernible theme and a proper motivation for the main character means you have to shrink the world map. As if giving us agency in the story means the game feel needs to be shitty and the weapons need to be unbalanced.

But Fallout 3 fans don’t hate good stories and New Vegas Fans don’t hate viscerally satisfying combat. Just because you prefer one doesn’t mean you scorn the other, and we could all be winners if we could get both things in the same game. And I don’t think that’s an unreasonable thing to ask for. You could fix the story-based problems of Fallout 4 without spending any extra moneyWell, a better writer might cost more than a poor writer, but the difference between the two is trivial when considered in context of the whole budget.. The game doesn’t need more dialog. It doesn’t need more cutscenes. It doesn’t need more characters. It just requires that the existing dialog and cutscenes fit into some kind of coherent whole. That’s not “easy”, but it’s also not an unreasonable thing to expect when a company is spending this much money on a AAA game.

Sadly, I imagine the problems have less to do with budget and more to do with company culture. And I have no idea how you fix that.

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Footnotes:

[1] Well, a better writer might cost more than a poor writer, but the difference between the two is trivial when considered in context of the whole budget.


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  1. Chris Davies says:

    Fallout 4 is the only Fallout game (on PC) that I haven’t yet completed and, like some of you guys, this season of spoiler warning did make me go back to it for a bit.

    I can’t even bring myself to be angry about this game any more, it’s just a whole pile of nothing. I completed what I think was supposed to be an important side quest, and a stage of the main quest. I was never asked to make a decision, never felt the dialogue that was happening around me was worth listening to and never felt the moment to moment action of the game was worth playing for. I was bored. I even went to the Fallout wiki and spoiled the main plot for myself, and it didn’t seem like it was ever going to get any better.

    I think I’ve finally reached acceptance. I accept Bethesda will never make a good RPG, and that they stopped trying some considerable time ago. I accept that the Fallout series was Fallout 1, 2 and New Vegas plus some weird spin-off games, and that there will never be another new Fallout game. I no longer have the bizarre urge to buy these games even though I know they’re just going to break my heart. I think I’m finally free.

    • Legendary says:

      You say you’ve reached acceptance, but you haven’t really. Because one day, Fallout 5 will be announced. It will do something that raises your hopes against all of your personal resolutions. And it will dash them against the rocks. And they’ll keep doing this until either the franchise dies, or you do.

      • James Porter says:

        Wow, so I get that complaining is what we do here, but thats like a fundamentally bleak view on things. Maybe its because I found ways of making Fallout 4 fun for me, but it seems a bit dramatic to say all of these games are basically ruined forever and that we will never be free of disappointment.

        There is a video I rather like, where the guy looks at how to play Fallout 4 the way Fallout 4 wants you to play it, and I think he may have something to that (Link). What I like the most about it, is that it does underline the ways Bethesda’s designs actually do add up to make a cohesive world. Its just something thats different, and if someone wanted to say its their favorite game, I think I could see why.

        Especially since there is a ton of great things in Fallout 4, and it really is a profound step forward over Fallout 3. Like issues about worlds that make sense in 3 are actually kinda minor to the troubling ways that it deals with issues of sex, slavery, and nuclear war.

        • James Porter says:

          Oh, and just cause I rewatched all of that guys videos on Fallout 4, a lot of his concluding statements ended up in his video on the DLC and its direction. I really like his talk about Survival mode, and its partly why I picked the game up again.

          Oh, and since I’m linking stuff, may as well include his first video on Fallout 4 vs the franchise as a whole.

        • GloatingSwine says:

          You can find ways of making Fallout 4 fun (for a while, at least), but you can’t find a way to make it Fallout.

          • James Porter says:

            Man, I get where you guys are coming from. Before the playthough of 4 I’m doing now I replayed New Vegas, and there is an undeniable charm to that world. Everything about its construction oozes theme and story, and its great. I had a real mad-on for Fallout 4 since it came out, and while I do think Fallout 4 does misremember things that New Vegas or the originals handled better, 4 does things that I haven’t seen at such a polish before.

            I think it would be better to criticize something for what it is, and not what you want it to be.

            • krellen says:

              If they didn’t want us to want the thing to be Fallout, they shouldn’t have called it Fallout.

            • Chris Davies says:

              Even taken on its own merits, Fallout 4 is a lazy, unfocused game built on the grand Bethesda tradition of being all things to all men.

              To take an example, settlement building clearly occupied a huge amount of development time, and clearly is meant to occupy a large amount of the players’ time. The trouble is, it’s a complete load of bollocks. You very quickly build up a vast number of different settlements that you’re notionally in charge of, and I very much doubt that even the tiniest fraction of players put any effort in to building up more than two or three of them. What, after all, would be the reward for putting in that effort? It’s hardly minecraft, where the aesthetics are their own reward, and the game really offers no meaningful settlement metagame to reward your progress otherwise.

              Imagine instead that the player was offered a choice of factions to join, and was put in charge of building up the one settlement of their chosen faction, while the others grew by AI. Imagine that settlement progress influenced a faction’s power in the game world, and that you could help your own settlement’s progress or hinder rival factions through questing. Imagine that progress in the main plot was gated by settlement progress, which could be done without even altering the present game’s story, because constructing the teleporter is a necessary plot element.

              Instead of a me-too game element ripped wholesale from a genre of game that was at the time of Fallout 4’s development very popular, and dumped in a half-hearted way in to the game seemingly just for marketing reasons, it could have been a core part of the game that added massive depth to the roleplaying possibilities.

              • James Porter says:

                I would reccomend looking at the videos I linked, since I feel he explains this a lot better, but I don’t think Fallout 4 was lazy in its design. There are a ton of things I don’t like about it, sure. And most of it is writing. However I think the game works wonders as a nuclear survival simulator, and the decisions and compromises I have had to make in this past week when I gave it another shot have blown me away.

                Maybe I like Survival mode a bit too much, but it has definitely kept settlement building varied and interesting, since every new settlement is a new free bed and a place that I can keep my stuff. Right now I’m planning out trade routes between all of them, and since the city is still far too dangerous right now, every settlement that I make is one shorter trip. Getting a doctor to fix me up has been my biggest recent priority.

                And since the mechanics are so harsh, I get to give the quests this pragmatic edge. Preston is still really boring and uninteresting, but I have to work with him and his people if I am going to survive. Seeing Diamond City in the distance, across the river actually is pretty effecting, since I know I can’t make the trip right now. I take the fusion core out of my power armor whenever I am exploring, since I lost a suit once by leaving it in and a raider jumping in.

                It may just be me. I do also have a couple minor mods to fix a few things, but I can say that this experience has been a blast. Its certainly not this great betrayal as I use to think it is.

                • Perhaps “lazy” is too harsh a word. “Unfocused,” perhaps? They put a lot of work into a lot of things, but not many of them came out in what I’d consider to be a polished form, apart from perhaps the combat.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Fine,lets assume for a second that settlement building is actually an interesting addition as you claim it to be.You say that its implemented well.Ok,so explain this to me:
                  Why is it broken as hell?
                  Why do stuff float around and dont follow the terrain?
                  Why does running not work when you are in the building menu?
                  Why do you have to pick up every piece of debris one by one?
                  Why does rebinding keys not work at all?
                  Why is everything in the state of decrepitude,no matter that you have JUST built it new?
                  Why is everything unlocked practically from the beginning,and there are no interesting cool recipes to be found somewhere in the game?
                  And most importantly,why does a 15 year old game have WAAAAAAAAY easier to learn,easier to use,quicker and better looking base building?

                  • James Porter says:

                    So I think those are issues that the settlement game has. I actually think there are reasons for those issues, and in some ways they included some half baked solutions. And while there may not be as much objects to build in later tiers, stuff like shops and supply lines are gated behind perks. Actually in Survival mode, getting a doctor in your settlements is invaluable, since antibiotics are more valuable than gold, and she can do the same for 15 caps. That requires getting Local Leader 2 and Medic perks.(I got rid of the level requirements, and I think that also helps).

                    Also I don’t like the 20 min cleanup time either. I think a “scrap all” option would be a bit too harsh though, since there is something to scraping a whole house and how that feels. I think the bigger issue for me is that you have to alternate between r and e. And if you mess up, e accidentally builds something. If scraping just had you press r twice, I think my issues would be solved.

                    Oh, and before I was talking about the settlements mechanical benefits, which food and water are some of the easiest things to set up, and is the thing I worry about the most.

                • Jeff says:

                  “nuclear survival simulator”

                  You realize that the settlement system (with supply chains) effectively trivializes the whole survival thing, right? Endless water and food, and with the WW DLC you can even get meat.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Its not really that hard actually.I played very little of f3,seen spoiler warning,and never regretted not going through that game myself.But I finished new vegas and all its dlcs.So I never hoped for anything that good when f4 was announced.And that way,I got to be genuinely surprised how good getting into the power armor looks.But,like everything else in the game,thats just fluff that I dont care for.I can look at it,say “thats nice”,and move on.

  2. Hector says:

    To me, this game is just a hop, skip & a jump away from being an absolute classic, but it’d be functionally impossible to fix those problems with mods.

    Fallout 4 needs one thing more than anything else: an engaging central conflict. I didn’t notice this at first, but there’s really no central conflict or theme to the story. Unfortunately, the various half-hearted conflicts don’t quite come together into any one thematic clash. People complain about the little things – but I think these little things matter because of the void at the heart of the game.

    • James Porter says:

      So if we are being honest, I bounced off Fallout 4 for a long time up until recently. I picked it up a bit ago, and I have to admit I kinda found my own central conflict in Survival Mode.

      I know that its pretty popular to hate on, but I actually think Survival Mode really made everything in this game click for me. The limit to saving only when you rest in a bed may be annoying for people who like to save everywhere, but its basically a more forgiving way to play Iron Man Mode, You just try to never die.

      And to do that, I have used every single crafting menu and skill to my advantage. Since I have to eat and sleep, I am constantly looking for food and water. And not all food is created equal. Radstag chops will give you +15 carry weight, which is invaluable, especially if I get tired and my Str goes down. And the way these systems are treated are way better then Hardcore Mode in New Vegas, since we don’t get to see the scores for them. Now hunger and sleep deprivation are things that just *happen* to you, and having to deal with this issues in such an immediate short term is really great.

      Also, I scoffed at getting power armor so early before, but man, I wouldn’t be able to stand a chance without it. Every combat dungeon I have went to I have had to use it, I just cant take any hits. I just did the Corvega plant the other day, and I ended up sniping everyone from super far away on the outside, and then sneaking my suit of power armor though the sewers to the elevator, where I then hacked the Protectrons to distract the turrets while I sniped them, and then blew up the cars to kill the mooks.

      I actually had never made that many decisions in a shooter before, and I kinda want to say that moment has been my favorite from any Fallout game I have played. Survival mode I think is actually the best, and even though Preston is still super bland(and I think it may just be voice acting, that guy probably got no direction at all) all I care about right now is that by working with Preston, I get more safe areas with beds in them. One day I may make it to Diamond City, but until then I need to stay practical.

      Besides, nervous Travis is best Travis.

      • Jace911 says:

        I loved Survival mode when I first tried it, it transformed how I played the game…but by level 40 or so I was just sick of the tedious lack of fast travel and after a particularly nasty succession of deaths while trying to reach the same quest over and over I shut it off.

        • James Porter says:

          yeah, I imagine ill have to pull some mod magic later on. Until then I’m having the most fun surviving in the wilderness that I’ve ever had.

          So far, my lowest point had to have been when I was sick, hungry, and tired. I was filling up waterbottles at base, but i kept loosing Str, so I would keep getting out of the menu to give Preston stuff out of my inventory. This continued until I started stripping armor and clothes off, until I was butt naked, half dead from exhaustion with the single minded goal of cranking that pump and filling these waterbottles before getting help. It was amazing.

          • Fists says:

            One of the biggest things that ruins it for me is the level scaling is still there and seems so arbitrary. When you need to make every shot count it’s annoying that you can’t tell whether a given enemy is going to take ten bullets or two to put down.

            That and the cheap kills like teleporting minerats and molotovs which for some reason deal explosive damage and work through walls.

            And when the game crashes.

            And when it bugs out and I’ve got to treck across the map so I can try sleeping and saving and quitting to reset an NPC.

            I don’t know why I’m still playing this, I probably need help…

          • Jace911 says:

            At first I got around it with Vertibird rides, but the inability to plot courses to places I hadn’t been yet and trying to play in Far Harbor without them wore that thin after about ten levels.

            I did enjoy how Survival mode really incentivizes you to establish new settlements so you don’t have to haul ass all the way back to Sanctuary to sleep, store junk, or craft. I think I’d go back to it if sleeping wasn’t the only way to save, because that was the source of 90% of my frustrations with it. At the very least you should be able to carry around a bedroll so that when you’re out in the wilderness but not in immediate danger you can unpack for a quick nap and save–that way it’s not something you can do in the middle of combat or conversations, but also isn’t tied to fixed locations in the game world.

            • James Porter says:

              I think I would rather change it to beds and chairs. I get so disappointed when I find a small shelter and it has like 2 chairs and no bed.

              And your late game experience sounds a lot like what i’ve heard. I think some diegetic fast travel mods may help me out later, but I completely agree how it messes with how you play the game

        • acronix says:

          I tried Survival for half an hour. I was shot in the head and died instantly to a raider enemy, after opening a door. I made my way back, got the upper hand by being more careful and shot the raider in the head.
          Five bullets to the head later the raider finally died. That’s when I was convinced to drop Survival mode and never look back. If I’m going to be squishy and die to enemies who can see me through dense folliage and shoot with precision over their cover without LEAVING that cover, every human should AT LEAST be just as squishy.

          • Jace911 says:

            For me the point where I nearly quit Survival Mode early on was after making my way through Concord and carefully picking off raiders outside the Museum of Freedom, I walked in the door, killed two raiders, and walked into another room and died instantly from a molotov that was thrown before I was even in the doorway. I grit my teeth, reloaded a save from twenty minutes ago, and abused my own grenades and VATS to clear out the building.

            Survival can be very fun, but man it does NOT go well with the scripted encounters in this game. I don’t even want to know what the battle of Bunker Hill would be like.

            • James Porter says:

              Oh, I had to cheese the Deathclaw encounter, even with full power armor he would kill me with one swipe. I completely agree that scripted sequences are the worst, or enemies that just spawn in. Ghouls do that a lot, just crawl out of a tight space. You really arn’t equipped to deal with that. I try and not hold it against the game since it wasn’t designed around that, but yeah, thats a bummer

    • James Porter says:

      Oh, also stimpaks heal over time and immediate raise you one level in thirst, usually taking two Purified Waters to fix. If stimpaks worked like this in Fallout 3, I wouldnt even need my dad for motivation, I am purifying the water of the wasteland myself!

    • Fists says:

      For me I wouldn’t say the conflict is un-interesting, more so that the solutions are all unintelligent, there’s no nuance, compromise, alliances. It just boils down to
      What do you think about the conflict between X and Y?
      A) Nuke X
      B) Nuke Y
      C) Nuke X (Sarcastically)
      D) I’ll nuke someone later, brb.

      It’s not all the conversation wheel either, you make a lot of your decisions with your actions rather than through words but those actions are still almost exclusively murder. In New vegas you had many different combinations for the endgame, what did you do with helios? Did you help the NCR or Legion? Who is in charge of the strip? and those weren’t all binary choices either.

      With the Institute there would be much more of an ethical conflict if your chosen faction affected what the Institutes resources were used for, the minutemen becoming a proper humanitarian hub, the railroad taking over as the source of technological advancement, BOS installing martial law across the commonwealth with an army of gen 1 synths. Then have those choices actually played out in the other settlements, diamond city and bunker hill, change the balance of random world encounters. I mean, they kind of touch on those topics with various side quests and stuff but nothing actually changes, everyone still lives in squalor, ghouls and super mutants are still everywhere. Raiders still attack settlements constantly and you’re the only one that can save them.

      • Hector says:

        Well, that is essentially what I’m getting at: the reason there’s no central conflict is that none of the major players (including the player character) have any real goal and their activities, values, and so forth are left vague and half-formed. The net effect of this is that no choice the player makes to favor one side or another ever feels as though it matters.

        For a contrast, look at the Fallout 2’s New Reno. That one location had four major factions, and as many ending impacts as all of Fallout 4 put together. Each faction could be destroyed or helped in a couple different ways, but all of these choices mattered because you could had a strong sense of each one’s identity through their actions. I’d also argue that while the central conflict of Fallout 2 was The Quest (that is, the search for something valuable to the character), the theme was one of Civil War. Almost every single location you journeyed to was split down the middle between two or more groups fighting over resources or values, in most cases without any need to. Even the Enclave was essentially a giant version of this, threatening to destroy humanity again out of a false vision of purity. And at the finale, you don’t just find your own people, but the other part of your family that had been split long ago, reuniting the whole.

        In contrast, all of Fallout 4’s factions lack agency. They don’t do anything without your prompting, and their activities are always left vague or pointless.

    • Rayen says:

      Could a large DLC expansion fix this problem? And by large I mean creative assembly Large DLC pack. We’ve established the base game works well enough it just needs a better story and role play elements. Could a large DLC pack with a whole new story (possibly a sickness that doesn’t affect synths, tying back to its main premise) make fallout 4 worth it?

      • James Porter says:

        I haven’t tried it yet, but don’t people really like Far Harbor? Like as a setting its great and has a ton of imaginative locations, monsters and people?

      • Hector says:

        Probably not. DLC can be as good as it likes, but it’s just not going to fix the basic problem. Hypothetically it could be fixed if they used some major DLC that integrated right into the main plot and cleaned up the basic issues, but Bethesda basically refuses to even try this. Heck, Bethsoft refuses to even fix bugs.

  3. Gruhunchously says:

    I’m surprised nobody jumped on the obvious joke opportunity- “The old Fallouts let you create a character that the story accommodated for, whereas this one gives you a pre-made character that the story fails to accommodate for”.

  4. silver Harloe says:

    “But Fallout 3 fans don’t hate good stories and New Vegas Fans don’t hate viscerally satisfying combat.” No, that hate they reserve for each other. Because on the internet, if you have a different opinion, you’re wrong, stupid, wrong, evil, and wrong.

    • Sunshine says:

      “The moment you exit the vault in Fallout 3 you can strike out on your own, looking for adventure. Try that with New Vegas and you’ll probably meet something that will kill you in two hits. There’s not a lot out there to discover through roaming. It’s best to stick to the intended path, because that’s where the content is.”

      On the other hand, it does let you out as soon as possible (much quicker than FO3) and points you at the tutorial but only if you want it. Even if going north means giant insect will kill you, east means giant scorpions will kill you, west leads to Deathclaws who will obviously kill you and south leads to the plot. But unlike, say, Saints Row 4 gating the full extent of the open world behind progress in the main plot, everything’s out there if you can make it. That’s why the first part of speedruns is “Aim at the Yangtzee Memorial, then the dishes of Black Mountain, abuse fast travel and run past everyone until you reach the monorail.”

    • I find that they’re just two different games, and the only thing I’ve seen that’s “wrong” are the impressions of freedom in both games.

      There was this meme image that was pro-F3, and it said something like “In New Vegas, you can choose one of three factions and be their bitch. In Fallout 3, you can be the biggest badass in the Wasteland.” I don’t think anyone will fault me for saying that’s completely incorrect, as it ignores NV’s “Wild Card” questline as well as the fact that in F3, you’re always working for your dad or the Brotherhood of Steel, possibly until you decide to blow everything up and poison the water supply. Even if you choose those two options, you have to work for them and against the Enclave.

      Anyway, the best reasons for liking both games have boiled down to these:

      – New Vegas: Great role-playing, decent plot, good NPCs, skills matter, and it captures the spirit of F1/2.

      – Fallout 3: Captures the cold war vibe and post-apocalyptic visuals most people want in “after the bomb” games/stories. Combat/looting is fun, as are the dungeon crawls. You get to blow up a town and behave like a wasteland scoundrel and follow around a huge nuke-throwing robot, watching stuff explode.

      I guess it comes down to gradients on what one enjoys more: plot or power trip.

      • ehlijen says:

        I just have trouble seeing where anything in the main plot of FO3 offers a power trip.

        You start by following dad around until you get kicked out of the vault for his bad behaviour.
        Then you follow a breadcrumb trail to find your dad, with everyone with a clue lording it over you and asking you to do sidequests.
        Then you find him trapped in a computer simulation where a madman subjects you to his whims unless you break his toys enough to make him let you go.
        Then dad dies and you’re conscripted into the brotherhood.
        Then they send you on a sidequest, involving a brat hiding behind plot invulnerability.
        Then you are captured, imprisoned and freed through plot fiat, always involving the destruction of the enclave base (but not until you pick up the evil ending plot ticket even if you don’t want it!).
        Then you follow Liberty Prime and desperately try to actually contribute to the battle.
        And finally, the choice: Are you The Evils and let blondie die? Are you a moron and sacrifice yourself for other morons (or to poison other morons)? Or are you childish and wait for the boom?

        Nothing about that feels empowering.

        Also, I’m not sure where the idea that there were no dungeons in NV comes from? Isn’t the Mojave Desert littered with like a dozen vaults, FO3 style? And the DLCs certainly offer grindy dungeon crawls.

        • It’s got about 6, about three of which actually fall into the Bethesda-style dungeon definition. A lot of the locations in the Mojave don’t really have a “fight-end-boss-loot-chest-leave” pattern in them, mostly existing to flesh out the world.

        • By “empowering,” I mean “can make stuff blow up good, either directly or indirectly.” If one is a fan of plot over action, then yes, NV is far more empowering, but I was talking about those for whom the more things are being destroyed, the better.

          So in F3’s case, this includes indirectly blowing up Raven Rock, and Liberty Prime’s assault. Directly, you can nuke Megaton, activate Highwater Trousers, and nuke the crawler or the Pentagon at the end of Broken Steel.

          Those that like F3 better might just think there’s less directive-driven questing, and that may be so. Almost every place in New Vegas has someone who’ll send you there somewhere, while F3 has more places just sitting there, waiting for you to stumble upon them.

          • Can’t you blow stuff up good at the solar plant in NV? I seem to remember there being options to turn the death beam weapon thing towards various locations, but it’s been quite a while and I was busily looting the place of all the old world tech I could carry as I’d decided “screw courier, I’m going to be an archeologist, it seems slightly safer.”

            Oddly enough I followed the plot all the way through in FO3, possibly because my added head fanon of “crazy dad, should find him before he does something really stupid” lent a sense of urgency to proceedings, whereas with NV, I had no urge to go after Benny. Just counted myself lucky there was a very helpful robot and doc around and wandered off to find a new profession where people shot at me for obvious reasons. I keep meaning to go back to that, but I’d either have to restart or figure out what mods I had, and I can’t be arsed.

            • Archimedes 1 (the satellite) can only be fired at the HELIOS One grounds, but if you manage to get Arch. 2 from the kid in New Vegas it becomes a once-per-day “fuck that area in particular” energy weapon.

              I never use it personally, partially because it screws the region slightly more iirc, but mostly because by that time I’ve got so many weapons coming out of my ears I look like an NRA wet dream.

      • LadyTL says:

        The reasons everyone ignores the Wild Card outcome is because it basically was an FU for not picking a side. It by far has the worst outcome for some reason by having everything go to pieces despite however much effort you put into trying to get people to get along.

        • galacticplumber says:

          Which makes goddamn sense. Peace and ”getting along” are always predicated on some manner of people cooperating even if forced by a powerful government so long as they see the system itself as ultimately a better choice than alternatives. Giving a robot with the ability to endlessly re-download his own mind, thus being functionally immortal and ultimately free of any real accountability, an absurdly powerful robot army sure to end in peace right? Wrong. What’s even better is that he’s not unkillable because of bullshit essential flags. He can’t truly be killed because no matter how many bodies you destroy he always has more hosts to inhabit.

          • Loonyyy says:

            He follows your orders though. He’s actually exceptionally obedient.

            The reason it’s a “Fuck you” is because the dialogue choices are MUCH too limited for you to make any real choices for running your independent government.

            Like you mention, you can motivate peace with strength (Though I disagree that that’s the only way). But say, you agree largely with the NCR, but don’t feel that they should run the strip, as they’re broken and corrupt. Say you don’t want to compromise, that’s why you’re an independent. You spend a lot of time solving other people’s problems to get their support in the endgame, but you get very little say in how the relations work. For all the extra choice in NV, the dialogue wheels are just the same conversations which are easily exhausted. As in the earlier example, characters don’t develop, they stop when the PC encounters them.

            The other thing that NV does is it has a series of different points where the player encounters points of no return for certain questlines, which feel entirely meta, and also hurt the player playing as an independent, because they’re trying to do most of the same stuff, but for them.

            If you follow a specific factionline, NV becomes a lot like Fallout 3 with better writing. Feels like Wildcard should be the area which allows the open ended nature to shine, and lets you craft the world in your image, and to have the conflict come, not from watching the choices you made get interpreted poorly, but by having reactions and pushback to your choices, and forcing you to pick factions based on their reactions, not based on their alignments with each other.

            • galacticplumber says:

              Problem is that even assuming yes man remains obedient to you for the rest of your life, that your orders will never be misinterpreted, and that he will never, ever have to take an important action while you’re out doing stuff somewhere else (What a laugh), you won’t live forever. What exactly do you expect him to do without any oversight from anyone? Further the fact of the matter is that even in a peaceful society built upon the will of the people you need some manner of controlling force to protect the general populace from those who would threaten them from within or without the society itself. This is less a political argument on the ideal of society and more a practical acceptance that SOME sort of police force and military will always be necessary.

              • Gruhunchously says:

                Maybe you appoint a line of succession, and assign somebody else (a companion, one of the more trustworthy family heads) to watch over Yes Man while your gone. That’s assuming, of course, that you haven’t been a total dick to everyone while you rose to power.

                The problem the Wild Card ending is that it can’t really go into specifics as to what happens in order to avoid a situation where a specific player is told that they did something they would’t want to do. It has to compromise by being vague, as the game doesn’t have the breadth to accommodate that degree of player expression.

                That’s what fan fiction is for…heheh.

                • galacticplumber says:

                  Is there really anyone you’d consider more trustworthy than the NCR or House? Does literally anyone else in the entire game make a bigger commitment to creating safe streets without literally murdering everything that so much as looks in their general direction? I wouldn’t even trust the brotherhood of steel with this. They’re prickly at the best of times and have a very authoritarian stance on who should and shouldn’t have any kind of tech.

        • Wait, what? Everything falls apart? When I did my Wildcard run, the Followers and the King kept Freeside running well, the BoS and the NCR got along, the Khans got their happy ending, the Boomers were fine, the former Enclave dudes and Arcade made up for their pasts, Caesar’s Legion was no more, House was dead, and an independent New Vegas kept the peace with the help of the Securitrons.

          What fell apart for you? How is that any kind of FU?

  5. lloolaid says:

    I would like to respectfully insert a personal pet peeve/nitpick/objection! regarding the “not much to discover by roaming in New Vegas” idea. I played my game actively avoiding all things mainquest, setting my own objectives, following arbitrarily chosen landmarks, discovering locations, and completing DLC maps (within which I’d again set my own objectives and avoid or postpone the central quests). I think it was about fifty hours into the game when I began recording the process; it was around 80th episode when I finally started nudging my steps towards Vegas Proper.
    Now, my game conduct represents a somewhat particular roleplay flavour, but there sure was a lot to discover!

    • Coming_Second says:

      Yeah, I feel the whole “NV has no free-roaming killer hobo-ing and F3 is all that” is overstated, largely because NV’s opening few hours seem so rigid and the wayward monsters much tougher. You listen to some people talking about NV and you’d think they were describing an FF game – it’s nowhere near that rigid, and has plenty of bonuses and interesting stuff for those who want to explore.

      Fallout 4, meanwhile, is like an MMORPG with no other players.

    • I free-roamed my way through my first New Vegas session, and I indirectly screwed up having a peaceful “good” outcome with the BoS and the NCR. I found the Hidden Valley Bunker before I’d even gone to Vegas, and by the time I was done, I’d replaced the Elder with a new guy, because that seemed like something interesting to do.

      Apparently, Elder Hardin doesn’t want to make peace with the NCR, and I got the bad ending for that one. I liked that there were multiple ways for that to play out.

      • lloolaid says:

        Indeed, I had some similar snubbed outcomes happen in my maingame (even though I purposely avoided “solving” most things). Like, I only found out later that this one dude in prison could have been recruited as Primm’s sheriff; at that point I’d already settled for the robot or “solved” the prison situation (can’t remember which way it was). IIRC there were a few more of such “discovery = resolution” things going on where I might have chosen differently, but then again all those “wrong choices” still carried the world and its story along in a meaningful manner :)
        Ah yes, one was Dean Domino! I got sassy with him early in the dialogue, and that apparently bruised his ego so that keeping him friendly and alive later was a no go.

      • Coming_Second says:

        I always thought it was clever how that quest actually rewards you for not replacing the ol’ stick-in-the-mud who’s in charge when you get there with the frustrated guy who wants to see change. It requires you to actually listen to what each of them is saying to realise you’re making a big mistake if you do. Neat subversion of how things usually work in RPG quests.

        • I probably metagamed a bit. Hardin approached me and I thought, “Oooh! A secret quest from someone who’s not this area’s main questgiver. This must be the real stuff that I’m supposed to do!”

          My instincts are not good.

  6. Gruhunchously says:

    Paradoxically, on the corners of the internet in frequented before I ever became interested in the Fallout series, Fallout 3 was the one with the better story, and Fallout New Vegas was the one with better gameplay. New Vegas was the farmed out not-sequel from a different developer that didn’t have Bethesda’s writing chops, but were able to make incremental improvements on the shooting and looting aspects.

    With internet arguments, crossing from one side to the other is sometimes like entering another reality.

    • Bropocalypse says:

      Wow, what the heck?
      I’m actually, unfacetiously curious how they could come to the conclusion that FO3’s story was better than New Vegas.
      Though in my opinion I do think New Vegas DID have better combat. Then again I tended to cheese.

      • Gruhunchously says:

        It’s all subjective. Fallout 3 does a pretty good job at establishing who you are and what you’re doing. It also has a pretty strong hook-both you and your character have a good enough reason to want to find your father, whereas tracking down a guy who shot you in the head less than a minute after he was introduced is a harder sell. Sure, your father is a raging suicidal imbecile, but you won’t know that until later, and he’s bland enough that you can project any personality or happy memories you want onto him. At the time that Fallout 3 came out, player characters with a significant level of backstory that get experienced by the player wasn’t so common, so I can imagine that impresses a lot of people by virtue of originality.

        Fallout 3 has also got a ready line-up of ‘Oh Wow!’ moments. Things like leaving the Vault for the first time, or the fight with the Behemoth or the sequence with Liberty Prime. The main plot from the halfway point onward keeps whisking you along from dramatic moment to dramatic moment that there’s no real incentive to stop and think about how dumb it all is, especially if you just want to enjoy it. The part of the story most people complained about was Little Lamplight, not because it was any dumber than any other part, but because it was annoying obstruction that shoved it’s stupidest aspects in the player’s face.

        In New Vegas, most of the plot is carried entirely through dialogue sequences with (admittedly impressive looking) quest givers who send you out to do things for reasons you might not agree with. The transition from tracking Benny down to siding with a faction is a little awkward and likely put some people off. Not to mention that all the non-Legion factions are a little dull at first glance and you can’t really figure them out without navigating dialogue trees. In Fallout 3, you know the Brotherhood are the good guys because they’re badasses in power armor who are at first dismissive towards you and then accepting. They live in the fortress that you can’t access until halfway through the plot, so it feels like an accomplishment when you do so. By contrast, Mr. House lets you into the Lucky 38 almost immediately upon you discovering it, so it doesn’t have the same impact. You know the Enclave is bad because they killed your father, so you have reason enough to hate them (assuming you cared, which apparently a lot of people did-I’ve seen Dad’s death attributed to inciting tears). All the Legion did was burn down some random town you came across. The NCR are a bunch of wimpy soldiers and boring politicians that you’re obligated to listen to in order to get the hows and whys about them.

        That’s why I reckon a lot of people came away from Fallout 3 more satisfied, it delivers more a punch for each of it’s story beats. It plays on basic emotions, so it’s easier for an outsider to the series to get invested in, whereas New Vegas demands that you take it’s world and characters into serious consideration if you want to get the most out of it.

        • Nimas says:

          I think the reason some people prefer FO3 over New Vegas (in terms of story) is the same reason that some people really liked Man of Steel (for the story again). Basically they just happen to assume empathy very easily.

          Not a slight against them or anything, it’s just tolerance levels.

          • Bloodsquirrel says:

            I can sort of speak for both sides, because my experience in Fallout 3 went from loving the story at first to hating it by the time that I was assaulting the water purifier.

            The game starts strong. It lets you out of the vault to find your father, which gave me a good in-character motivation to do what I wanted to do anyway: explore the wasteland. The characters were quirky and left an impression. When I eventually found my father it was a cool moment, especially because I didn’t do it following the quest chain (which I hadn’t even picked up on at first). I did it because I wound up exploring my way to Rivet city, and it felt like I actually found him.

            It wasn’t until dumb ol’ dad killed himself for no good reason that I started to disconnect, and by the time I had to sacrifice my life to fix the water purifier that we broke for no coherent reason I had no patience left for the story.

            By contrast, New Vegas doesn’t get interesting until you’ve actually gotten involved in the factions. Until then, especially if you haven’t been following the beaten path, the world is a little empty and dull. It takes more initial investment and is less friendly to the kind of casual, free-ranging approach that Fallout 3 happily rewarded.

      • IFS says:

        FO3 had a giant robot that shouted patriotism, AND Liam Neeson, clearly the better story. /s

        While I don’t mean to insult anyone who enjoys FO3 I get the feeling those that consider its story to be good don’t really think about the story as they experience it. They remember the general texture of it and the cool moments, but since they aren’t critically thinking about it they don’t pick up on flaws or quality of writing. Compared to 3 NV has fewer spectacle moments like Liberty Prime, so someone approaching from a perspective of only really noticing those sorts of things could come away thinking that NV is the poorer game in story.

        Also NV’s combat was leagues better than 3. In 3 the only effective way to use guns outside VATS was to stand still or run forward or backwards, aiming manually (on console at least) was clunky and strafing impossible. In NV the gunplay (while not fantastic) was usable, you could strafe and aim properly and VATS was no longer necessary to fight everything.

  7. vacantVisionary says:

    I know you say that it would be trivial to just merge Fallout 3’s gameplay with Fallout New Vegas’ story, but there’s a lot of problems there.

    First of all is that the fundamental gameplay of Fallout 3 and 4 – wander around, murder anyone you see, and take their shit – is incompatible with Fallout New Vegas’ goal of humanizing all the factions. When the game wants you to see every human being as a person, it creates a lot of friction with any attempts to treat them as generic faceless murderbots and loot caches.

    Second of all, New Vegas’ railroading is actually really important to setting up its world. New Vegas wants your first exposure to every faction to be its darkest side. You get a grand tour of the NCR’s paralyzing bureaucracy and xenophobia in Primm and Freeside, the Legion’s atrocities in Nipton, and the self-interested amoral scheming of the man who used to be House’s most trusted lieutenant, before you reach New Vegas and get a chance to actually pick a side. Sure, the game WORKS if you don’t follow They Went That-a-Way, but the experience is much stronger with those pieces of context, and the writing much easier because the game can assume that you’ve probably seen all of this darkness already.

    I’m not saying those problems CAN’T be resolved – I can come up with a half-dozen solutions to both off the top of my head! But they DO require a lot more thought and effort and planning and high-quality writing to resolve than either game needed individually.

    EDIT: wow that turned into a bit of an essay, sorry about that.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Like Gruhunchously pointed above,fallout 1 and 2 allowed you to go anywhere,yet still had a set story with one recommended path you should follow.But going a different way entirely did not break the story,rather allowed you to approach it from a different direction.New vegas definitely couldve been turned into that,and it kind of does after a certain point,though some people think that shouldve come earlier.

      • Tom says:

        Actually, there is one way to completely and utterly break the story in Fallout 1 – you can blow up the FEV facility, literally burying it under a mountain in a comprehensive self-destruct sequence, and then choose to join the master anyway, whereupon you still get the endgame video of being dipped in those same vats in the somehow miraculously intact and accessible facility.

        If you visit the FEV facility and destroy it before meeting the master, the master should really have some totally different dialogue to reflect the new situation, because his whole plan is already wrecked.

      • Except for that whole ticking clock thing. If you strayed off the path too much, your vault/village suffered and you missed out on deciding the fates of some settlements. If you read some of the walkthroughs, there’s not much wiggle room for mucking about if you want to get certain endings.

    • Gruhunchously says:

      If you skip over visiting Nipton when you’re supposed to and come back to it later in the story, Vulpes Inculta has different dialogue where he acknowledges that you’ve already met. He also has specific lines depending on whether you are in good or bad standing with the Legion, and even mentions the specific faction you’re currently working for, be it House or the NCR. And if he’s dead, he gets replaced by a generic legionary who says all of his lines.

      In a meta sense, it’s a bit weird that he’s always there whenever you first show up, even though the town is clearly burning from the very beginning.

    • LadyTL says:

      If New Vegas was attempting to humanize the factions then at least in my case they completely failed. No one except Mr House had a plan beyond kill these dudes because (insert shoddy reason here) and even Mr. House had one of those. What exactly was the NCR’s plans for the area beyond kill Mr. House for daring to make a treaty with them instead of giving them everything they wanted and more while getting nothing in return? Or the Legion beyond tribal Romanism genocide?

      I spent the whole game knowing what their ideology was but not knowing a single thing about what their actual plans were. What was NCR going to do with the area even if they got more power or what was the Legion going to do if they managed to win? Neither group showed any plan in the areas they held in the game, just kill and conquer. But you can’t rule on kill and conquer alone, which is why House had a plan as limited as it was and even had things in the works to achieve that plan and it showed in game the effects of his actions to do his plan to stabilize the area.

      To sum up, House was humanized as a factions, the others were just more cardboard cutouts.

      • GloatingSwine says:

        The NCR is an expansionist political entity.

        Their goal for New Vegas is to annex it so they can extract taxation for their own benefit and impose their vision of civilisation and progress on a city state on the edge of their borders (and also to have access to the power generation capabilities of Hoover Dam, which are not insignificant).

        The Legion want the same, they just have a rougher and more brutal version of civilisation.

        • LadyTL says:

          That is their ideology sure. Neither of them actually demonstrated any of that in the game. They just talked about it leaving me to wonder what they both actually wanted in the area since they weren’t doing anything in both the areas they controlled.

          • GloatingSwine says:

            They clearly are though. The NCR is defending Hoover Dam, trying to figure out how Helios One works and get it operational, parcelling out land they control for sharecroppers and attracting them from its central regions, backing merchant caravans like the Crimson Caravan company and Van Graffs to control trade, taxing towns that come to them for protection like Primm, and mustering troops all over the Mojave at places like Camp Mccarran because they know the Legion are coming soon and are getting ready for another battle.

            You can clearly see that whilst they are interested in holding off the Legion they’re doing it for the benefit of the NCR not out of altruism for the people of New Vegas, and that they’re interested in moving in and making the place their own (and indeed are already doing so).

            The Legion are an army on the march (and also a vanguard waiting for its main force), they don’t do much other than skirmish ahead of the coming battle because, well, that’s what armies are [i]for[/i], but again in Fortification Hill you can see all their preparations for war, soldiers training, smiths turning out equipment, etc. At Cottonwood Cove you can see how they’re advancing their own economy by starting up their slaving operations to be shipped off to their heartlands.

            You can see what those factions are and what they represent in their locations in the game. The locations have meaning in the world, they’re not pocket dimension dungeons like Bethesda fallout games where the dungeon has its own little story (usually about what happened before the war because god knows Beth can’t think of anything interesting that happens after it) and none of them connect to the world, conflict, or narrative in any way.

      • My problem with House was that he’ll state a plan he has for humanity. He wants to use his power/wealth to rebuild and eventually get civilization back on its feet and people colonizing other planets in 100 years.

        I was really ticked off when I joined his side and the ending slideshow didn’t mention that, just a bit about how cold and iron-fisted the Securitrons were who guarded the Strip.

  8. “That’s not “easy”, but it’s also not an unreasonable thing to expect when a company is spending this much money on a AAA game.”

    This prevailing presumption about what is or is not involved in the development of a so-called ‘triple A’ game needs to die so hard. It is the foundation of sooooo many opinions and assumptions about what a game is/isn’t-should/shouldn’t be and it is built upon nothing but speculation and hearsay that more often than not is less intended to inform but rather feed a narrative.

    Shamus, y’all wanna know why I get sour grapes? Cha-ching baby!

    • Shamus says:

      I can’t even tell what prevailing assumption you’re challenging. That games cost a lot? That the same number of dialog lines can tell a great story or a shitty one? That we should ever expect better?

      I’m totally willing to believe that I and many other people are wrong about how AAA development works. My assumptions are based on what I can see as an outsider. If you know something more, then feel free to share. But you seem to be saying “you don’t know how hard it is, so don’t give your opinion”. Or more roughly, “You’re wrong in ways I can’t be bothered to articulate”. That doesn’t tell me anything, it doesn’t persuade me, and it doesn’t add anything to the conversation.

      If you want to know why I keep encouraging you to shove off, now you know.

    • Supah Ewok says:

      “Shamus, y’all wanna know why I get sour grapes? Cha-ching baby!”

      Man, I’m not touching what Shamus is saying to you, but if your justification for your behavior is that you’re unreasonably provoked, your wrong. You’ve got the exact same patronizing and dismissive tone over on the forums, regardless of if you’re in a discussion with anyone or not. I appreciate your ingenuity with GIFs and you do often bring up valid and valued points, but you cover them with so much bile that noone can swallow them for the sour taste.

      I don’t want to see you go, personally. But if you don’t cut down on the attitude, I don’t think you’re gonna be left with a choice. Take this as some words of concern from an internet acquaintance.

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The problem here isnt that you have a predefined character that you can only tweak a bit,but that said character is one dimensional at best,and all the tweaking you do is meaningless.Compare to human revolution or(as metnioned)witcher,where your decisions both impact the world massively,but only slightly nudge the main character in a certain direction.And while I love jensen and hate geralt the douche,I find them both to be good characters.

    Also,witcher 3 is an open world game where you have a defined story as well.

  10. IFS says:

    New Vegas had much better gunplay (on console at least, in FO3 you couldn’t aim while strafing very well which NV fixed) and combat than FO3, it was just the approach to world design that was different. Even in that regard I think FO3’s approach is just shallow and empty compared to NV, yeah there are more ‘dungeons’ but none of them have any impact to them because everything is level scaled so there are no areas that stand out in challenge (unless you consider the couple of Behemoths, and the Deathclaws in a couple, but even those are trivialized with how overpowered VATS is in 3, not to mention the Fat Man).

    Now of course you could change the worldbuilding approach in NV over to FO3’s but I think it would harm the flow of the game and its story, and add nothing of value. In NV I enjoyed having areas like the quarry that I had to prepare for, load up an antimaterial rifle and approach with caution. I enjoyed how these parts of the world could have stories told both by the environment and by what occupied it that fit together with the backstory of the region. There was nowhere in FO3 that gave me that feeling, just ruin after ruin filled with the same enemies you VATS to death occasionally broken up by a town of idiots. Now there is fun to be had there, but its the kind where you’re just wandering from compass dot to compass dot shooting whatevers in your path, and some people really dig this feeling but I really don’t think that its better than NV, just different and serves different purposes.

    • Lachlan the Mad says:

      Having played New Vegas before 3, I really, really missed the “true ironsights” option for gunplay. Not that it was an enormous problem, since I was mostly a melee/shotguns character, but I really missed it when it came to stealth and silenced pistols.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I disagree with you that fallout 4 has the best gameplay.It looks pretty,but if you attempt to do anything with it other than kill some time,it quickly crumbles.The shooting is monotone,enemies are samey,crafting is pointless,dialogue is shallow,ui is overall bad,and in settlement building it becomes atrocious.

    • Eigil says:

      All of those problems existed in FO3, and most of them were way worse. NV did have better writing, but I don’t think Shamus was counting that as part of “gameplay”

    • Bloodsquirrel says:

      Crafting is not pointless. It’s mechanically advantageous to do it.

      The real issue- as it is with most of your complains about gameplay- is content. The mechanics are fine. It’s the environment and context in which you’re using those mechanics that’s monotone, samey, and shallow. The fact that it’s still fun enough to kill time with is a testament to how well the base gameplay works. It’s when you try to engage with the setting on any deeper level that it falls apart.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Crafting is pointless.You can use it to increase numbers and…thats it,you can increase numbers.There arent interesting recipes to find as a reward for doing something cool,there arent unique items to make,there arent items you can make that do something that items you find laying around cant do.You just use it for the most boring,most shallow of all the upgrades:number increasing.

        Compare to stuff like minecraft.Once you find a new material,you can use it to craft just mechanical upgrades to your old stuff,BUT you can also use it to create new items as well.You cant use wood to create windows,or rock to create electricity.In f4,it doesnt matter if you find leather or metal,you use it for the same reason,only one has better numbers.

        And the fact that its passable enough to kill time with it does not mean its good.Clickers allow you to do exactly that as well.But they dont really stimulate your reflexes,your imagination,your emotions,nothing.

        • Even increasing those numbers eventually becomes pointless, because the hard cap on damage for most weapons stops well before the HP levels of the later-game enemies.

          Take New Vegas for example: assuming you’re using it correctly, the Anti-Materiel Rifle can OHK pretty much any enemy in the game outside of bosses. Even in Fallout 3, a sneak attack from the Terrible Shotgun can kill basically anything, even a Behemoth.

          In 4, unless you’re stealthing with a suppressed Gauss Rifle (which makes negative sense, really) it’s difficult to really OHK anything, especially considering how badly broken stealth is compared to the past two games…even though it was broken in those games in the opposite direction.

    • Mokap says:

      I think that FO4’s biggest gameplay problem is the amount of HP enemies had. I had to turn down the difficulty after a while in order for the combat not to be totally boring. This makes crafting pretty much pointless, because 4 extra damage isn’t going to do jack shit if an enemy has loads of health. I found a two-shot sniper rifle, which I modified to be 50. cal, and it still took multiple shots to the head for some enemies if I wasn’t sneaking.

      • GloatingSwine says:

        That was also Fallout 3’s problem, the hitpoint totals of endgame enemies meant that unless you were using delicious shotgun cheese you would just be there forever, and all automatic weapons were useless forever. (In 4 they’re useless unless they have bleed or kneecapping in which cases they’re op, but not as op as double shot or instigating for stealth characters).

        Fallout 3’s other mechanical problem was that player damage resistance could get too high too easily, so they cheated by giving several weapons bonus DR ignoring damage on all their attacks when used by enemies.

        There’s a brief period between about levels 8-15 where the damage to hitpoint ratio feels OK, but as soon as Ghoul Reavers and Super Mutant Overlords start appearing it’s fucked.

  12. Killbuzz says:

    I think you’re presenting a false dichotomy. Not only does New Vegas have better shooting mechanics than Fallout 3, but the area design isn’t necessarily inferior, it’s just different. Some people hate the lack of level scaling and that enemies are a genuine obstacle, some love it. Some people love the low-key approach to world building, some hate it. For all the talk of railroading, it’s Fallout 3 that has a lengthy, unskippable tutorial section, while New Vegas immediately lets you go anywhere you want, provided you can face the challenges in your way.

    In many respects, Fallout: New Vegas is less railroaded than Fallout 3. You can truly kill every NPC (except for Yes-Man, who redownloads himself), something that’s not remotely possible in Fallout 3. This, coupled with the robust reputation system, suggests that New Vegas was designed with player freedom in mind more than Fallout 3.

  13. Decus says:

    Even if bethesda wanted to make a new vegas or even if they let somebody else make it again I also imagine that one mandate would be “but the player character needs to be voiced”. That would likely be the new “but you need to use gamebyro” and that alone is going to conflict with a lot of what made new vegas great. Or, well, any RPG where the RP stands for roleplaying rather than “I’m just using this acronym to indicate you get to do some nerd stuff with stats and gear and skills”.

    You can do a voiced protagonist without being as garbage as FO4, but you’re still always going to be losing something as far as roleplaying goes. Even moreso if your camera work–even if your protagonist isn’t “voiced” in the audible sense–focuses on zooming into the protagonist making faces during every conversation. That would be Link in the legend of zelda who, ever since Aonuma became a thing, has very much had a set voice/character anyway due to face zooms or the Suikoden IV and V protagonists who largely lacked character but still had the awkward/dumb face zooms.

    To me, even a really good set-character voiced protagonist isn’t going to be as interesting as a create-your-own/your imagination is king character, especially in an open world. What sort of set character lets you, well, play around in an open world the way most players do? Somewhere something is guaranteed to ruin his character. Some voiced line will seem off. Some action you commit will come with a reaction that doesn’t jive with the others. Or a non-reaction where one should have been. If the character was unvoiced you’d know exactly what he was thinking in every moment, but with a voice you hear exactly what he is thinking in some moments but then in others you either hear oddly conflicting but never explained thoughts or no thoughts at all when it’d be weird for there to not be any. More jarringly, a lot of what is voiced are super awkward things for a character to be saying out loud. Very boring, by the numbers things such as “Is that a *thing* over there?”

    Geralt sort of works there if only because Geralt is very non-emotive and rough and the world he’s playing in isn’t actually super open–the number of actions you can take are limited until you are in a quest and even then as a character he generally has the same two choices every quest (witcher code or be more human) while the quests themselves fit into a tighter pattern than a bethesda game. Geralt isn’t going to even get quests like, say, the dark brotherhood or thieves guild questlines; Geralt isn’t going to be doing much of anything unrelated to monsters. This could perhaps work in a more open game as well if all of your choices work to lock you out of other choices/direct you onto a more focused path, though that would still largely diminish the range of characters you can roleplay since it’d be removing “character motivation” as a considered element. Any sort of internal counter or system can’t judge motivation, just actions and results, which creates a rather skewed view of what you might be trying to do with your character. No amount of budget for voice work and willingness to overcome the issue would create a playable game on time to be played during the right generation.

    Personally, I don’t understand the appeal of voice work on the character you are playing in a roleplaying game. There are certainly bad and jarring ways to do unvoiced protagonists–see zooming in on their unvoiced faces for long periods of time–but when the game is constantly bringing up dialogue boxes and the other characters are responding to exactly what you the player made your character say everything should be fine. Nothing is jarring. Other party members can do the by-the-numbers boring reaction voices if you truly feel them to be necessary and so long as the game keeps track of how your player character has treated them it would even be possible to add a bit of character to them, with tone changes and the like.

    To me voiced protagonist is the true “either/or” problem of modern RPGs.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Geralt isn’t going to be doing much of anything unrelated to monsters.

      How about deciding the fate of two massive waring countries,the king and those that plot against the king?Because thats what geralt gets to do in witcher 3.In a side quest.That you can skip if you want.Because thats what actual freedom feels like.

      Yes,geralts options are limited.Often even more so than in fallout 4.But the thing is,they are written way,WAAY better.

      To me, even a really good set-character voiced protagonist isn’t going to be as interesting as a create-your-own/your imagination is king character, especially in an open world.

      See,I dont get this at all.What part of rpg says that the player is superior to gm when it comes to characters?My first character was definitely inferior even to original link,let alone someone like adam jensen or geralt douchebag.A really skilled writer can make you a preset character that will be far more interesting than most of the players can even conceive of,let alone make.Role playing is not the same as role making,and having someone more skilled than you give you a well crafted role to play is both easier and more interesting.The problem only arises when the maker of the role is a hack or doesnt care at all,as can be seen in this game.

      Also,making a good preset protagonist for the players to inhabit is easier than trying to predict most of the choices they can make with a character of their own.Thats a limitation of having a medium where you can communicate with your players without instantaneous feedback.And as long as we dont have ai capable of near perfect human mimicry,that limitation will be present in all video games.

    • Khizan says:

      The voiced/preset character is almost always superior to the blank-slate character in my opinion, because a video game just doesn’t have enough flexibility to properly account for a blank slate. No matter what, I am always going to be restricted to a few choices, so they might as well put some personality into it.

      • Bloodsquirrel says:

        There’s a very simple solution to having limited options: allow a degree of abstraction and room for interpretation in the character’s reposes in order to let the player fit them better to what he perceives his character’s motivations are. The original Baldur’s Gates, Fallout 1&2, Planescape Torment, and the more recent Pillars of Eternity all showed that it can be done fantastically.

        Fallout 4 shows exactly why “preset personalities” fail in RPGs: they fundamentally conflict with the basic premise of giving the player wide-ranging choice in how they approach the game. The established personality easily becomes irreconcilable with the player’s actual desires, opinions, and motivations in the game. That’s fine for a linear action game, but for an RPG it cuts out huge chunks of the experience.

        Fallout 4 would actually be better if they didn’t give you any dialog choices at all. Not only did I never feel there was any point to choosing between all of their vague, samey responses but making me feel responsible for choosing some of the dopey-to-brain dead things that the Sole Survivor said was kind of insulting. I was in exactly as little control if it had been a single, linear conversation, but the game was forcing me to participate anyway. I pretty much started checking out completely whenever dialog showed up, and it’s a big part of the reason why I quit the game far, far sooner than I did New Vegas or Fallout 3.

      • Jace911 says:

        Then they should have actually gone all the way, because as it stands the Fallout 4 protagonist has all the weaknesses of a voiced character (Narrow options) and a blank slate character (Offloads empathy and motivations onto player) with none of the strengths of either. I tend to prefer blank slate protagonists because I have little problem crafting my own motivations and ideals for them so long as I have enough options for expression, but if I’m going to play a fixed character then I want one with actual effort put into their characterization.

    • I’d liken it to the problems of trying to play a character someone else has already done (like say, Hermione, since HP and the Cursed Child just premiered and I hear the actress was incredible) or recreate/reuse another author’s character. You really don’t want to copy the original completely, but you need to keep the character true while putting your own spin on them. And sometimes the character takes on a voice of their own in your head and you have to keep pulling them back to canon even though they/you want to spin another way. That’s an uncomfortable thing to do, and it’s a challenge, and maybe not one someone wants to take on. It’s especially bad if you’re immersed in the world or attached to your characterization as that break can pull you right out.
      It’s gotten to the point that I don’t start a game with a clear character in my head unless I KNOW the game well enough that it’ll allow me to keep that character intact, even if she might have Tolkein rolling in his grave (I blame Shamus’s reposting of Lutzy’s Adventures for that though). Instead I have a vague blob of “maybe smart, maybe not, maybe good, evil, just doesn’t care,” and so forth that can adjust over time as the game’s canon requires.

  14. Glad to see Josh finally cooked that food. Now if only he’d stop selling the weapons/armor and scrap them instead to get the bits needed to actually mod what he keeps… =/

  15. Reginald’s Bethesda-enforced mild and pleasant voice really helps bring the creepy home.

  16. Daniel England says:

    I was extremely disappointed with the resolution to the quest where I cleared out that factory. I spent like an hour doing it, and I could tell that because none of the NPC’s mentioned the place by name (or even the name of their leader,) that it was a radiant quest. Even knowing that I was still disappointed when I returned to the settlers and they basically had nothing to say to me regarding the dozens of people I had killed to protect their settlement of TWO people.

    After they said they would join the minutemen, I just stood there for a second. Slack jawed. Confused that, like, the fourth quest in this game had had no actual thought put into it. It felt like nothing in this world mattered. I hit the quicksave button, intending to just get some frustration out. But after murdering the two settlers, I felt nothing. Like nothing had been lost or gained by their deaths. At least in Fallout 3 I would have lost Karma, and as shitty as that system was, at least it was effictive. So I didn’t reload and just warped back to Preston, where upon he thanked me and handed me another vague request.

  17. Humanoid says:

    This perception that getting to Diamond City is somehow difficult or dangerous is new to me, I never knew that was a thing. After dealing with the Deathclaw in Concord by abusing Bethesda AI (after spending all my minigun ammo trying to snipe it, of course), I refused to follow Preston to do obvious settlement tutorial and instead just slow-walked to Diamond City, which turned out to be a completely uneventful trip. Didn’t go out of my way to loot anything, didn’t craft anything, didn’t kill anything beyond the unavoidable tutorial fights. There was a skirmish between some guards and some enemies, but I assume that was a just-for-show scripted encounter.

    • Patrick Mulnix says:

      Agreed. If you take the road that goes south out of Concord past the diner, you have to fight almost nothing. If you’re not going to interact with the BOS, then there’s a random encounter when you round the corner at the river which is sometimes hostile, the raiders on the boat lodged in the bridge (which you can bypass just by walking past them without even sneaking), and the Super Mutants fighting Diamond City guards (which you can just ignore and run across the gap if you’re not feeling feisty). Doesn’t make for an entertaining episode of YouTube, though, I’d imagine.

      Urgh, I may have played this game too much.

      • You must have hit on what everyone else (me, included) did “wrong.” We poked our noses into places just off the main path and got ourselves stomped by Super Mutants (usually) before getting to Diamond City. I’d be curious to see if one just stays on the path, not stopping to fill in other map markers, would the way be relatively clear?

        • Incunabulum says:

          It is.

          And that SM/DCG fight – its completely scripted. if you kill all the mutants and *don’t* enter DC but leave and come back a day or so later they’ll be there again. If yo do enter they won’t be.

          And you can ignore them and just run past and into the plaza.

  18. 4ier says:

    So, last week Rutskarn asked for Reginald Cuftbert sims. This isn’t that, but if you need a Cuftbert tabletop miniature, you can totally customize one. Here’s one that I made:
    https://www.heroforge.com/load_config=107017
    He’s got the bonnet, mutton chops, ballistic fist (kinda), and an energy weapon that he has no points in. ;)

  19. Incunabulum says:

    That’s not “easy”, but it’s also not an unreasonable thing to expect when a company is spending this much money on a AAA game.

    And yet they keep Emil ‘Books have no emotional depth’ Pagliarulo as their lead writer.

    • I’ve decided to think of Bethesda games in the same way as a lot of RPG sourcebooks: The game mechanics are often flawed but serviceable, the adventure module that comes with the game is really awful, and it takes a third-party publisher to make the game shine.

      In other words, I want Obsidian’s Fallout 4.

      • Humanoid says:

        Right now I want Obsidian Fire Emblem. God, Fates is infuriatingly and aggressively stupid. Hell, I would settle for “perfunctory” but it isn’t even that.

    • IFS says:

      Is that a real quote by him? Like seriously? Because wow, you’d think that if he said that he’d have stuck less of the lore/backstory on terminals or something. Also that saying something like that would just get you fired as a writer because clearly you are a bad one, but then again David Cage is still making games.

  20. absolute_apocalypse says:

    “You could fix the story-based problems of Fallout 4 without spending any extra money”

    The several interviews I have read/seen with Obsidian & Bioware suggest this isn’t as simple as you make it sound. From what I understand, most studios with critically acclaimed writing start the story planning first and adjust it only moderately during development. Pretty much everybody else doesn’t start writing until a good chunk of the way through development, or at the very end in some cases. So this isn’t a matter of “hiring a good writer”; no writer is good enough to jumble together a bunch of random thematic elements at the end and come up with a great story. Good writing requires a complete overhaul of the design pipeline of most AAA studios and for what is essentially a minor and subjective gain (worst-case, you bend development around writing and then people HATE your writing, e.g. Mass Effect 3).

    But yeah, Bethesda’s writing could probably be improved just by firing their writers and hiring new ones; they seem to struggle to even reach mediocre most of the time.

    • Coming_Second says:

      Yeah, I’m always very leary about statements like that. Video game stories aren’t disjointed messes because somebody decided they would be. Games the size of F4, which are necessarily made in parts by different teams at different times, have a huge task keeping their storylines cogent.

      There’s a good buzzfeed article floating around somewhere where two writers for I think the Battlefield games talk about some of the stuff they are forced to do, because of the way AAA games are made and the specific pressures they are under. It’s a real eye-opener.

      • Couscous says:

        Even a smaller game like Fallout 2 can suffer from a mess of writers and not enough time to really make everything perfectly coherent. The result is that Fallout 2 is tonally a mess. You have one guy who thinks the caps in Fallout 1 were stupid so goes with gold as the currency, but you then have the extremely silly stuff in Fallout 2 that is vastly more silly than the caps in Fallout 1.

        Plus my understanding is that videogames often aren similar to how a lot of modern Hollywood movies have scripts made before filming starts that are more just suggestions once actual filming starts.

        • GloatingSwine says:

          The currency change in Fallout 2 is intended to show how the world is becoming less makeshift, the NCR is minting its own coinage and that’s the money you now use, with caps not being accepted in most of the game areas any more.

    • Shamus says:

      I agree. This is actually what I was talking about at the end with my remark on “company culture”.

      • That’s so frustrating. How many games, like Thi4f, started out with setpieces and then pointed at a writer after they were made and said “You! Justify this!”?

        The idea that they’re doing that with a frickin’ RPG, a genre that relies on an interconnected plot between numerous locations and characters is just beyond belief. It’s like the Michael Bay method of movie making.

        Note: I mean that literally. Bay and his cohorts had the robot designs done before even writing a script for many of the Transformers movies.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Well,arpg is a thing,and it can be good,as diablo has shown.So you dont really have a strong story in order for an rpg to be good.But then you need fun combat and interesting enemies,which f4 does not have either.

          • GloatingSwine says:

            You also need an interesting loot cycle.

            Diablo is good because it semiregularly poops out a new piece of loot for you to equip, in D3 that can also prompt you to completely change the way your character works whilst you’re using it because it has cool (and transformative) boni to one of your skills.

            Fallout 4 does not have interesting loot, because the gun mods are just explicit tiers of power with some trap options (like being automatic), and all the looted weapons are just built out of those mods.

  21. Lachlan the Mad says:

    I’d like to say that I really enjoyed having Jarenth around, even if all he did was goad Josh into doing stupid shit.

    Wait, that came out wrong; I really enjoyed having Jarenth around BECAUSE all he did was goad Josh into doing stupid shit.

    Anyway, you guys should get more guest stars for this season, to keep it fresh and prevent the KotOR thing from happening again.

  22. Destrustor says:

    I might be wrong, but I think the reason the power-armored guy exploded in Shamus’ story where he melee’d him to death might be because Shamus managed to “cripple” the guy’s fusion core.
    I remember that it’s a specific area you can target in VATS that does make the guy explode, something you can also do with Sentrybots.

    As for why power armor was designed to have their explosive and radioactive fuel source exposed to the winds, that’s another story.

    • Philadelphus says:

      Wait a minute, FUSION cores‽ There’s nothing radioactive about fusion, and the only explosion you’d get from breaching the fusion containment would probably be so minor the surrounding container wall would stop it. It’s like they just don’t care about atomic theory at all!

      (I don’t know for sure what would happen, but you’d just have a tiny amount of very hot hydrogen atoms flying away from each other, which should be easily handled by the containment device if it’s already handling the much-more-energetic output from actual successful fusion.)

      • William Newman says:

        “There’s nothing radioactive about fusion […] tiny amount of very hot hydrogen atoms flying away from each other”

        Are you sure about that? If I remember correctly from some discussions with an actual fission reactor engineer discussing the practicalities of hypothetical fusion reactors, the relatively easy fusion reactions give you not only hot charged nuclei (whether hydrogen or whatever) but hot neutrons too, and it’s not so easy to design even a huge reactor to catch neutrons without building it out of unobtainium or causing part of it to become significantly radioactive. If so, it’s probably even harder to avoid radioactive isotopes if your reactor is constrained to be compact.. And from the “Fuels” section of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusion_power I see (1) that might be basically right but (2) it’s complicated.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        That depends on exactly what the core is.Is it just fuel,or is it the reactor itself?If its just fuel,you could still get a hydrogen-air explosion which,while not nearly as massive as a nuclear explosion,is dangerous.

        But if theres actual fusion going inside the core,then youd have superheated plasma inside,and breaching that would melt everything around rather quickly.Also,considering how small this thing is,its safe to assume that said plasma is under huge pressure,so setting it free would cause it to rapidly expand.So yes,fusion cores as presented in this game definitely can explode if punctured.

        Now they wouldnt explode as a fission bomb,nor would they spread radioactive fallout all around,as seen when fusion cars explode in the game,so theres that.

  23. Rayen says:

    I don’t know how controversial this but I don’t Bethesda has had a good story since Morrowind. That story covered their entire map, had a slow build and worked well with its conversation mechanics. I honestly think the move to voiced characters in games has been a misstep by the AAA industry. It seems like now If the voice acting is good nothing else matters, even if what they are saying is drooling stupidity. This is especially dumb since half the time we’re speed reading the subtitles and skipping the actual voice acting.

    • Bloodsquirrel says:

      I actually found Morrowind’s story to be rather underwhelming. I can’t even remember most of it. It was a very “exposition dump” kind of story where if you’re into the lore enough you might be interested in what’s going on, but it was completely devoid of any moments that had any emotional impact on me.

      Morrowind might have had depth to its setting, but I was never engaged by it. Both Fallout 3 and Skyrim had superior narratives, in my opinion, just by virtue of having better initial hooks and one or two major, highly visible elements to build their stories off of.

      The fact that people are still debating Stormcloaks vs Imperials is a good sign that Skyrim, for all it did wrong, did something right too. I actually can’t think of anything else that’s come from Bethesda’s storytelling that’s ever inspired that kind of passion or analysis.

      • Syal says:

        Morrowind’s story wasn’t a story so much as it was a setting. All of these conflicts, powers and players are around, and have been around, and will continue to be around for a very long time, unless you the main character go change things. Quests often intersect with politics and offer reasons why the factions are getting you to do those things rather than doing it themselves.

        • Half the attraction was how the factions interplayed with each other.

          For example, an early Fighters Guild quest asks you to go get a book from someone. That someone happens to be part of the Thieves Guild, and the quest is on behalf of the Camonna Tong, their competition. Doing the quest bans you permanently from the Thieves Guild, but doing the other Fighters Guild quests along with a certain Thieves Guild quest lets you both skip the quest and keep that questgiver alive during the effective mutiny that removes the Camonna Tong influence from the Fighters Guild.

  24. Phantos says:

    I’ll bet this has been suggested before, but I think the solution to the main plot thing should have been the player character being a blank-slate.

    Instead of starting out as the father or mother of Shaun, maybe you’re just some nobody who happened to be in the vault, and BOTH of Shaun’s parents get killed. But you still see it happen when Kellog and the scientist momentarily turn off the cryogenic freezing. Then, when they wake up 200 years later, it’s the player’s decision whether to make it their business from there on out, OR to just dick around the world doing sidequests and junk.

    Hell, maybe you could even keep some of the dialogue, so that if you went to Valentine to look for the kid, you could lie and say he really is your son.

    I think I just put more thought into this than anyone at Bethesda did.

    • Jace911 says:

      Alternatively the Sole Survivor isn’t killed by Kellogg, but decades later when an intrepid wasteland scavenger stumbles into the Vault they find that the cryopods have been failing one by one by one, and when they reactivate the last pod to save the inhabitant they only manage to gasp a few lines about their dead spouse, their kidnapped son, and the “man with the scar” before they die (This could be played in a flashback, which also explains why the intro pre-war scene is so perfunctory). If you dig around you can find security footage that shows Kellogg murder the ole Survivor’s spouse and take Shaun, and from there it’s up to you to decide if you want to investigate this curious mystery or go off and do your own thing.

      Of course, since you inadvertently killed their “backup” (And Father’s last living family member) your character is now in the Institute’s sights and will endure semi-periodic ambushes from synths–a firm but occasional reminder that the main plot has relevance to your character even if you have no idea who Shaun is. And if you want to get them to stop you have to advance through the main plot at least until your character is invested enough on their own to see it through–say to the end of Act 1 and Kellogg’s death. By then you’ve made enough of an enemy of the Institute that you need to seek out the help of one of the other three factions.

      This would also make the meeting with Father more interesting, because then it’s not “reunion with your son whom you may/not care about”, it’s “confront the man who believes you murdered his parent”. The emotional weight of the scene is carried by Father, and it’s up to you how your character feels about the situation instead of the writer suddenly shoving you out of the helm and shouting “FULL EMOTIONS, DAMN YOU!”

    • GloatingSwine says:

      I think a lot of things in the plot were written with the intention that the PC would be a synth with false memories.

      There are numerous problems with Kellogg’s memory trail, the fact that he uses the same phrase to refer to two different people (he refers to the person who sent him to get Shaun as “the old man” and then refers to Shaun himself with the same phrase later, with no indication that that’s just what he calls every human being half his age because he’s over a hundred at this point), the handwavey reason he hasn’t aged in 60 years which isn’t even related to the other immortal people in the game despite that being a major sidequest revelation as well and so established in the world to use.

      All that disappears if the PC’s memories of everything up to waking up in that cryopod are fake and “Shaun” was never their son in the first place.

      Maybe the figured it was too obvious a Blade Runner reference, but y’know, I would have taken obvious but consistent over leftfield and inconsistent.

  25. Drew C says:

    Dear Shamus

    Why do you like playing Fallout 4 and other Bethesda open world games in “Hardcore mode”?

    You may of answered this before but if have I don’t remember. I also make lots of characters as well but that’s more because I like making different characters who use different builds.

  26. SlothfulCobra says:

    Fallout 3 is more like a literal sandbox than New Vegas is. It doesn’t have any meaty story bits to get at, and it doesn’t have a narrative framework worth a damn, but it provides a vast expanse that might as well go on forever, since everything looks the same, and if you want to put on a podcast and veg out while playing a game, FO3’s your game.

    For all New Vegas’s depth and beauty and design, it can give you the feeling of having explored most of it after a while, since all the interconnected world makes the larger map seem smaller. After you’ve been to every big town, which is pretty easy since they all point towards each other, you’d never expect to find something like North Vegas. Fallout 3, on the other hand, keeps you up with a steady, more monotonous stream. There’s nothing to get your hopes up like New Vegas has, so if you end up wandering towards one of the game’s many empty expanses, you’ll still be kept busy by the random encounters.

    For comparison, New Vegas is like a toy castle playset, full of little tricks and details to give you a better, more structured playing experience, while Fallout 3 is…a sandbox, with maybe a bucket. Freedom to aimlessly muddle around for a long while, but not much to do if you’re thirsty for more than some simple piles of sand.

  27. LadyTL says:

    For me Fallout 3’s mediocre story actually helped me have more fun with it then either New Vegas or Four. There was nothing to get invested in so I could just fart about gleefully and make up stories about collecting teddy bears and guns.

    With New Vegas though, I did get caught up in the story…up until I was told I had to pick a side despite carefully balancing the factions (except Legions because screw slavers) and when I did all other factions would try to murder me exactly in that instant of choosing.

    Fallout 4 feels like it is trying to tell a New Vegas story with factions and such but have no idea how to do so and it sucks horribly along with the problem of pick one side to murder them all.

    I don’t want to murder them all though. I just want to be king of my little hill (except slavers who get murder them all on principle). So I wait for each DLC for the tiny bits of fun there and then stop playing Fallout 4 again until the next bit because I doubt I am ever going to finish the story such as it is.

    I am looking forward to putting Preston in stocks in the far end of the settlement though and Vaults for being clean.

    • “pick one side to murder them all.” that is not true though.
      As far as I’ve seen depending on how you play, you can “finish” the game by only killing one faction. Check various guides on how to do this. But if you do not befriend the Brotherhood and avoid/do not side with the railroad you can end up with the institute destroyed the minutemen leading the commonwealth and on friendly terms with the railroad and brotherhood.

      If you side with the institute I think there is no way to avoid destroying the railroad and the brotherhood. Siding with the brotherhood I think will mean having to destroy the institute and railroad, and siding with railroad means destroying the institute and brotherhood. The minutemen are always a pushover and will side with whom the player always side with.

      • LadyTL says:

        Yeah, been trying the whole juggle everyone to get the minutemen ending. It has been a major headache the whole time since all the quest lines started tangling. So I quit doing those quests and have just been playing all the side quests and DLC.

  28. The level scaling is kinda odd in Fallout 4, when you first enter a new area the respawnable enemies get a level close to your own. So if you explore the entire map at level 1, then dealing with them later will be super easy.

    As you level up you find/get/can make better weapons, but the weapons do not level. So you have to level your skills.
    But once you have maxed out your skill then you hit a brick wall as to how much damage your weapon does.

    Now if you end up hitting levels above say 100 and you have not explored all areas, then new areas you discover will have enemies at level 100 and so on, but your weapons will do much less damage percentage wise as you level up now.

    I think Bethesda did a mistake here, your accuracy/skill at say handguns should keep improving as you level. So a level 300 character should do more damage than a level 100 character using the same fully upgraded weapon.

    From what I’ve seen and read people say around the net there is a bell curve.
    Once you hit a certain level you get diminishing return for leveling. The enemies will just get infinitely harder.

    This can be an issue for those that go settlement crazy and build like crazy as building stuff can make you level up, and make you level up a lot if you put points in the right skills/perks.

    Some may say that, Unless you do settlement only stuff you’ll be level 100+ when you have done most things. But this is not true. Imagine being 100+ then end up doing a DLC. Now percentage wise your weapons will do less damage than before on the re-spawnable enemies.

    I have no idea where the sweat spot on leveling is. But at some point a monster at level xx or xxx will start to take less damage from your weapon as the weapons do not level and your skills do not level beyond so and so much.

    Should skills have been uncapped just like levels? Probably not all, but anything related to accuracy could be capped at 100% (aka, never missing). And damage reduction should be a floating point value with a modifier. That way you get 0.5 to 0.25 to 0.125 to 0.xxx and so on. At one point it will reach a floating point minimum for accuracy aka infinity) and you can’t go that low. So you would end up with a cap of sorts.
    You probably could still die if a flock of level 300+ enemies grouped around you but a single deathclaw at level 200 would no longer worry you at all.
    Maybe by the time you reach level 900 a level 900 deathclaw would scare you.

    It all depends on how fast a player levels, how much many areas have been explored and how many future DLCs will be released. And if new and more powerful weapons will be made available.

    Just to recap what I see as an a issue is that weapons and skills are capped while player and enemies are not, so you end up outleveling the weapons and your damage output.

    How does that compare with Oblivion or Skyrim’s systems?

    I can imagine some people getting miffed when they feel like the most powerful being in the world then a few levels later “Hang on, why am I doing less damage now?” eventually all weapons (and your fists) will suck.

    My self I’m a fan of no autoleveling at all. Like The Witcher 3 does it (I think). Enemies like a wolf or wild dog is not that hard if alone, but a bear it tougher, and a dragon thing is really tough. I’m ok with areas being almost instant death if you wonder to them early.

    Nothing is more odd than easily killing most in an area at level 1 or 2, then come back at level 80 and see a building/cave you missed, you enter and get your shit kicked out of you by the same enemy that is somehow magically many times stronger than it’s fellows outside.

    Now if things got stronger the closer you got to the glowing sea then that could be excused, but that is not so.

    The interesting thing is that Fallout 4 seems to have some fixed regional/area levels, around sanctuary the turrets you can make are Mark I but the further south on the map you get the higher level turrets you can (randomly) make.

  29. Tuskin says:

    Nah, those animated kill moves have been in since launch.

    There is even one while in power armour, you pick the guy up by the head and just stab him. I don’t think there are any if you’re just using your fists while in power armour.

    You can also trigger kill move animations with the power attack button, not just in VATS.

    same key as grenades, just tap it, don’t hold it down.

  30. Trix2000 says:

    I’m entertained by the fact that, upon realizing he had not turned in the settlement quest, Josh went back to talk to them and then forgot you have to talk to Preston afterwards to get your EXP!

    Not that I can blame him, since that little diversion after every quest to talk to the most boring character ever isn’t exactly enticing or useful. But it made me laugh that Josh spent the time to go back without getting the actual reward (I don’t count caps). :)

  31. George Monet says:

    “As if adding one vibrant, coherent character to the game requires you to cut two dungeons somewhere else.” Except that it does because both require time equals wages.

  32. George Monet says:

    You like Deacon Shamus? Lost a lot of respect for you. Deacon is a pointless phoney. If you don’t believe a word he says then he has no motivation for doing or thinking or believing anything. He is the most vacuous and empty character in the game. I wish that Glory was the companion you got from the Railroad instead of Deacon.

    • Shamus says:

      See, that would hurt, except you never had any respect for me to begin with. Every comment you leave here is telling me how wrong I am about everything. Your comments are a constant stream of reflexive gainsaying.

      And if you’re the kind of person that would “lose respect” for a person because they like a fictional character you don’t, then I don’t want your respect to begin with. Shove off.

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