Fallout 4 EP18: Good Job, Dumbass

By Shamus Posted Friday Jul 8, 2016

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 242 comments

Link (YouTube)

This is the Xanatos Gambit (a trope) that Rutskarn referenced in this episode. I love the notion that having Dogmeat follow a trail of months(?) old cigar butts and bloody ragsDoes Kellog somehow not own any stimpacks? Dude, sell the NUKE LAUNCHER you leave out for intruders and buy some stimpacks!” was all part of someone’s convoluted plan.

  1. This is a story about the world after the apocalypse. Which means the setting needs to be about the new order that arises. (Fallout 1, Fallout New Vegas.)
  2. But if you don’t want to devise or imagine a new society, then this should be about the last humans fighting for survival in a dying world. (Mad Max Fury Road.)
  3. But if you’re not going to do either of those, then don’t set the world 200 years after the cataclysm, because people can’t “scavenge” for 2 years, much less 20. And the idea that people could scavenge for two HUNDRED years? That’s a joke with no punchline.
  4. But if you do that for some reason, then downplay it as much as you can. For example, don’t have the main plot turn on a character who has a rare and particular BRAND of TOBACCO that he likes to smoke, because brands (and brand loyalty) are things that only arise in complex societies. And tobacco doesn’t grow in the north. How is this supposed to work? How could this be “his brand”? Is he the only one who loots this stuff from ruins!? Did he drag a shipping container of cigars with him when he began his years-long trek eastward, and we just happen to meet him when he’s down to his very last box? (Which he left behind in Diamond City anyway.)
  5. But if you DO have a character that smokes a rare brand of cigars, then maybe show that he hoards and treasures them as a rare pleasure. Which means he wouldn’t smoke three of them in a single hike and he wouldn’t leave a trail of them 80% unsmoked.
  6. Also don’t give him the same name as the most famous brand of breakfast cereal. It’s like naming your bad guy “Ron McDonald” or “John Pepsi”. It creates strange, joke-y associations that undercut the menacing tone you’re trying to present.
  7. But if you’re going to do all of that, then at least have the decency to make the world lighthearted, silly, playful, or goofy. Whatever you do, don’t mix this nonsense with a self-serious “They stole my baby and murdered my spouse in front of me!” plot.
  8. If you don’t have the basic wisdom to do that, then maybe storytelling isn’t for you. Focus on your mechanics. Keep your story simple. Limit the number of factions, don’t try to do any plot twists, and don’t have too many moving parts. Don’t break the flow of the game with too many cutscenes, keep dialog short, and don’t ever trap the player in all-dialog story sections where they have no access to the core mechanics. Dialog and exposition scenes normally cost a fortune to produce, and in a mechanics-focused game it can only frustrate them.

It is breathtaking the lengths this writer will go to in order to do the wrongest thing possible.



[1] Does Kellog somehow not own any stimpacks? Dude, sell the NUKE LAUNCHER you leave out for intruders and buy some stimpacks!”

From The Archives:

242 thoughts on “Fallout 4 EP18: Good Job, Dumbass

  1. James says:

    “”don't have the main plot turn on a character who has a rare and particular BRAND of TOBACCO that he likes to smoke,””

    So umm Benny had a special brand of cigarettes he smoked, and this is part of the convince swank to help you element of getting into his room sneakily.

    And Benny’s group used to be tribals, him having a “distinctive” brand of cigarette is kinda silly

    1. Shamus says:

      For the record, I don’t consider New Vegas to be some unimpeachable gem. There was plenty that was stupid and broken in that game, both mechanically and narratively. I thought they played the 50’s thing too hard, the Kings were silly, etc.

      The difference it that New Vegas made a few mistakes, and had many moments that genuinely worked. Fallout 4 seems to think that mistakes are Pokemon.

      1. James says:

        And also in New Vegas Benny hadn’t left 40 years ago, and you didn’t use a dog to track the cigarettes highlighting them.

        Also this is the west cost, and there is civilization, you could see someone in the NCR starting a tobacco farm, and someone like Benny having some custom ones made. as far as we know the east cost has no civilization

        1. Oddly enough, none of this stuff really bothered me on my main-plot playthrough, because:

          1. I didn’t pick up on the fact that you were re-frozen for an indefinite amount of time for some reason. I thought you woke up and escaped the vault within a few hours/days of the spouse-murder.
          2. The idiocy of Mama Murphy and “the sight” was so obnoxious to me that it actually distracted me from the idiocy of everything ELSE that happened immediately afterward.
          3. I didn’t go to Diamond City for a LONG TIME after I went to Concord, so I kinda forgot a bunch of the details.
          4. I thought that Kellogg left Diamond City almost immediately before you got there, so following his trail didn’t seem odd to me.

          Apparently I managed to hit just about the perfect degree of “not really paying attention to this nonsense” for the main plot to kinda work for me. How funny.

          1. Fists says:

            It’s like a haunted house ride, if you’re looking for the strings and trap doors it’s going to suck [more than usual] but if you get into the right mindset and go with it it’s kinda fun. Until you get to Father when siding with the railroad or minutemen and he tries the “you can’t claim the morale high ground” card. That’s like rounding a corner to find the ride attendant’s exposed butt crack in your face. “The railroad sacrifice human lives to save synths” You’re the one killing those humans you halfwitted sack gibbering potato people! and you kill other people for no discernible reason at all.

            1. I swear Father being in charge of the Institute and being some kind of quasi-sympathetic character was a last-minute change. If you take out that ONE THING and the Institute is some kind of mustache-twirling villain the whole game makes a TON more sense. Not perfect sense, but it’s so much wildly better than what they actually did that there’s no comparison.

            2. evileeyore says:

              The right mindset being “turn off your brain and don’t pay any attention to anything but shootin dudes”.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Id love that,but the shooting is just as broken and boring.If it were like far cry,Id totally be able to turn of my brain and enjoy the crazy ride.

            3. Incunabulum says:

              I think its worse than ‘if you’re looking for the strings’.

              If you’re paying attention to what people actually *say* – it all starts to fall apart quickly.

              Bethesda wrote this with their desired audience firmly in mind – the sort of gamer that expects a ‘story’ to be there but clicks through every dialogue as fast as possible to get the quest marker and start killin’.

              1. Fists says:

                A link between one plot point and the next is basically a string. The correct mindset is basically the one you’d use to play call of duty, just with a GPS added in. Appropriate commentary includes “wow”, and “did you see that”, excludes “Why”, “How” and “Who”.

          2. Jokerman says:

            I think i go through most bad plots without paying attention… i don’t often get look back on games and pick apart what was wrong about them… they just slip right out of my memory.

            I could barely tell you what happened in Fallout 3 after playing it, but now, after reading a bunch of articles on here and watching spoiler warning, i could tell you the plot off the top of my head.

      2. Lachlan the Mad says:

        I quite like the Kings, but they come off as being almost a parody of Bethesda Fallout, what with the whole “explicitly stuck in the 50’s” thing. And even then their being stuck in the 50’s makes way more sense than anything in Bethesda’s games — they found an Elvis impersonation school and built a religion about it. That’s the kind of joke the Fallout series supports. Although perhaps it was a bit silly to drop them directly into the main quest (since the King is the newbiest way to get a Strip passport…)

        1. Writiosity says:

          Exactly, New Vegas has the same mildly silly tone and dark humour as the originals, the Kings fit that perfectly. Whereas Bethesda actually play their stuff straight… for reasons I’ll never comprehend.

          1. Ninety-Three says:

            I’m not sure Bethesda realizes that the original Fallouts weren’t playing it straight.

            1. Michael says:

              They kinda do. At least based on their comments in interviews. The problem is they don’t seem to understand exactly how the humor works.

    2. djw says:

      In Benny’s case it is kind of silly, but not fractally stupid. Even if nobody makes lucky strike cigarettes anymore (or whatever they were) New Vegas has a booming economy with trade links across much of the West.

      Also, Benny (as leader of the Chairmen) is rich enough to have the super expensive habit of smoking a limited supply of ancient cigarettes.

      1. Couscous says:

        I always assumed they had just started making cigarettes again in Fallout New Vegas. Given that they have railroads, I don’t see why they wouldn’t have started making cigarettes again.

        1. djw says:

          I think that is a reasonable assumption, although I don’t know how well tobacco grows out west.

          1. Flavius says:

            One of the collectable plants that appears in New Vegas, and which is native to the region is Coyote Tobacco. Apparently, it is actively cultivated at the farm in Westside.

          2. IIRC tobacco is kinda like a weed–you can grow it almost anywhere but the soil/weather is going to affect its smoking qualities wildly. A quick Google reveals that you can grow it as far north as ALASKA if you’ve a mind to.

            I’ve always found the conventional drugs (tobacco and booze) to be an ill fit for the Fallout setting. I also find it interesting how I’ve never seen anyone complain about the rampant smoking in this game (doesn’t mean no one has, of course). It’s exceedingly unusual in popular media these days.

            1. Broggly says:

              You mean because nobody grows any grains or fruits to ferment? Because that’s all on Bethesda.

              1. My settlements are full of mutfruit and razorgrain and tatos and melons and gourds and corn, all of which can be easily made into booze, so I have no clue what you’re talking about, heh. The tobacco is a different thing, but tobacco IS a nightshade so you could argue that “Tatos” (which are clearly some kind of hybrid nightshade plant) actually produce tobacco leaves. (Wonder who else knew that tobacco is a close relative of potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers.)

                No, it’s more that they’re not exotic enough. There’s no cocaine or opium or meth, either, it’s all weird stuff. It’s roughly analogous to a fantasy setting where every single critter EXCEPT horses and dogs have been replaced with weird fantasy versions. The horses and dogs won’t fit quite right.

                1. Incunabulum says:

                  Stuff like cocaine, opium, and meth got dropped (at least as of FO3) because of internationalization and BGS wanting to do as little as necessary for regional localizations.

                  Med-X is Morphine after the Australian government freaked out, for example. We’re luck that the two-headed cattle were still called ‘brahmin’.

                2. Michael says:

                  Well, Jet is explicitly an amphetamine. In fact amphetamines used to be sold over the counter in disposable inhalers like that. (Though I forget exactly when, early 20th century, anyway.)

                  As Incunabulum pointed out, Med-X is an opiate, and was originally morphine in Fallout 3 before the game was refused classification in Australia.

                  I vaguely remember Buffout being identified as an anabolic steroid in Fallout and Fallout 2’s item description. Though I could be remembering that wrong.

                  I don’t remember what the deal with Mentats were originally.

                  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    Probably ecstasy or lsd.

            2. The Rocketeer says:

              Notice, however, that the player-character can’t smoke tobacco, even though cigars/cigarettes are common items and they’re in common use by NPC’s. They also had to invent the name “Med-X” for what had always been called “Morphine,” and is still called morphine in several versions of the game. Or was in Fallout 3/NV, anyway, I don’t know if they’ve unified the name as of F4.

              To ratings boards/censors, it’s one thing for the player-character to see cigarettes, or to use something made-up like Jet or Psycho, and another to actually use real-world controlled substances, alcohol being the obvious exception, as it is in all things. And chewing tobacco in New Vegas, which makes me wonder if/how hard they had to push to include it.

              1. Peter H. Coffin says:

                Lit cigarette in ashtray is okay. Anyone actually putting it to mouth gets a content warning.

                There’s probably people out there that think these are used like sage smudging…

              2. Primogenitor says:

                I think sometimes ratings boards get upset if there is a mechanical benefit to it as well – e.g if smoking cigarettes just caused a debuff then that might be more acceptable than alcohol giving you a stat boost.

            3. Joe Informatico says:

              A town not too far from where I live in Southern Ontario (Canada) used to thrive largely on its tobacco production and there still is some on some of the nearby native reserves. This would be at slightly more northerly latitudes than Massachusetts.

              Some of Shamus’ other arguments fall flat for me. Pre-industrial societies cultivated large quantities of tobacco and traded it over long distances; it’s not such a stretch that societies that still have access to machinery and artificially intelligent robots to do the same.

              1. Jeff says:

                I think you’re missing his point about the tobacco though.

                Either it’s so rare that it’s unlikely he’d be abandoning it all over the place, or it’s so readily available that it’s worthless as a distinguishing trait.

                Though I think it’s actually explained in the gameworld – it’s very rare out in the Commonwealth, but you can find a lot of them in the Institute. In essence, Special K is smoking the Institute brand, which is rare outside.

            4. Writiosity says:

              I’ve been rewatching some old 80s classics recently (Critters, Gremlins, Ghostbusters, similar) and holy shit, the smoking… I mean, I remember it being bad at the time, but rewatching it is like ‘wow, they really smoked a lot in the 80s…’

              I grew up during that period and my dad definitely smoked, but it takes going back and rewatching some stuff to really grasp just how much of a chain smoker pretty much everyone was when I was a kid at the time and didn’t really think much of it.

              1. Peter H. Coffin says:

                And it was already slowing down then. Peak was probably 40s through 60s. One of the original James Bond books opened with him lighting the 70th cigarette of the day. Granted it had been a long day, but when it takes about five minutes to smoke one? Go work out the math.

                1. Writiosity says:

                  Yeah, stuff like Noir had INSANE levels of smoking. Everyone, all the time. Probably even while they were asleep.

            5. Rutskarn says:

              Yeah, FYI, I think I was thinking of coffee when I went off on tobacco’s limited range. Embarrassing.

              San Francisco is a terrible place to grow it, though.

              1. djw says:

                Ugh, so if there is a nuclear holocaust I will need to switch my addiction from caffeine to nicotine. Lets give peace a chance!

                1. Dork Angel says:

                  It’s also really strange watching sci fi films set in the future where everyone smokes. Watched Aliens again the other day and it seemed weird and out of place.

                  1. djw says:

                    It might be less weird if you just pretend that they are vaping.

    3. Chris Davies says:

      Also, in New Vegas people are explicitly growing tobacco, it’s an item you can acquire from plants, so it’s not completely ridiculous that there might be commercial brands available for sale in a city like Vegas.

      1. MrGuy says:

        It doesn’t resolve the plot hole if tobacco is grown again on a commercial scale. Access to tobacco isn’t the limiting factor. The problem is that one specific character in this world always and exclusively smokes one very particular type of tobacco. That tobacco is sufficiently well produced to both have a completely consistent aroma from cigar to cigar, and to be distinguishable from every other tobacco. It must be sufficiently plentiful that the one character who smokes them can smoke them like a chimney, but so rare that nobody else in the last 10 years has smoked one to mess up your scent trail. That is a very specific level of available.

        Imagine Kellogg drank Johnny Walker Blue. Even pre-war, hard to find an distinctive. It would be extremely hard post-war to find. If he happened to have a supply, it’s doubtful he’d swill it warm multiple times a day to keep the edge off. You can’t resolve this by saying “maybe they produce whisky post-apocalypse!” without explaining how you could have something equally distinctive, rare-to-impossible for others to find, yet so unvalued by the one person who has it that they drink it casually.

        1. MrGuy says:

          Actually, as a home beer brewer myself, the solution to all of this is actually pretty obvious now that I think hard about it.

          Kellogg mixes his own tobacco blend for his cigarettes.

          He has a formula that he’s perfected over the years. It involves mixing local tobacco with local herbs and other flavorants. He follows a recipe so he always makes it the same way. And since it’s his personal recipe it would explain why its distinctive to him only. It would logically explain everything (except of course the scent still being tea able 10 years later, but that’s a different problem).

          Of course, this is actually counter to what the game implies by calling it a “brand,” implying these cigarettes are sold, which would make them non-unique. But still, a problem with a non-implausible resolution.

        2. The other factors to consider are time and distance. Kellogg has been alive for a really long time, long enough that he could afford exotic imports from any traders willing to tromp from the NCR to the East Coast (or have access to other trade lines).

          On the other hand, it’s funnier to think that Nick’s programming is so thorough, he’s just overlaying his implanted memories of consumer products on top of objects in the real world. He attaches brand names where we would just see “cigar.” Reginald is just so gullible that he goes along with it.

    4. Daemian Lucifer says:

      The first point Shamus mentioned covers this.New vegas is a place where people are rebuilding.You have governments,you have corporate farms,you have people making new stuff,you have established trade.Cigarettes in new vegas may not be as common as they are today,but they are definitely not out of place like in this game.

    5. Wide And Nerdy says:

      Also the point nobody mentioned. You don’t need that lighter at all (I could have sworn it was Benny’s lighter you got.)

      There are almost a dozen different ways to deal with Benny, which we covered in an earlier post. If you don’t have the lighter, you can gather other evidence. Failing that, you don’t need Swank’s help. It just makes it easier. You can start a firefight in the lobby or lure Benny into private or let him go and catch up with them again at the Legion camp which you’ll get to eventually for one reason or another.

      In Fallout 4, you have to follow the dots in order from your cryopod to Father. Sure you can step off the path any time you want to go fool around but if you want to find Father, you have to get back on the path right where you left off. There is very little you can skip. You have to talk to Nick, not anyone else in Diamond City who would remember Kellogg*. You have to talk to Piper for no reason because she doesn’t know anything. You can’t have the idea to visit the memory den on your own even if you’ve been before. If you find Virgil’s hideout he won’t be there. And lest you think its because he hasn’t gotten there yet, his stuff is there.

      So you have to do everything in order. That makes the cigarettes in Fallout 4 pivotal. If Dogmeat couldn’t pick up their scent, there is no other option. So dependent is the plot on this that Nick will summon the dog if you skipped him. That is maybe the one bit of flexibility in then entire chain.

      *He was there recently, Kid Shaun is the synth you meet later, this wasn’t real Shaun.

      1. GloatingSwine says:

        Also if you go straight to the location you find cornflakes the elevator down to him will be behind impassable rubble if the quest isn’t active yet.

        Same with various other quest locations. When you’re on the quest someone has shifted several tons of fallen concrete for you. Convenient that.

        1. Are you talking about Fort Strong? I hated that.

          Here’s this place full o’ Super Mutants, so there must be something good. Hey, what’s that on my radar? A door? Where? Behind all this rubble?

          After about twenty minutes and all of my explosives later, I consulted the Wiki and found that you have to go on a BoS quest chain to get something from the Fort’s basement. If you’re not doing that, rubble keeps you from the elevator.

        2. KarmaTheAlligator says:

          They were already doing that in Skyrim. On the quest to recover the old crown of whatever which Josh wore the whole episode, the entrance is blocked by rubble (the kind that looks like a cave-in, so not something that could be cleared) if the quest isn’t active, and it magically clears after starting the quest. Pretty sure it’s not the only example.

      2. Writiosity says:

        Yep, you get Benny’s lighter from Jessup in Boulder City, and can easily miss it if you don’t bother resolving that situation before heading to Vegas.

        1. Wide And Nerdy says:

          And Obsidian is a good enough company to account for that by writing very flexible scenarios.

    6. Tobacco was an actual item in that game, though, so making cigarettes was possible. There was also a slightly-more-advanced civilization there, and he was House’s second-in-command until the start of the game, it’s possible House had a stash of a bunch of those cigs in an airtight location or something. :P

    7. GloatingSwine says:

      Yeah, but Benny is living in a developed economy with trade links to what is at that point a fully recovered and redeveloped society.

      Also Benny is a massive tryhard. Benny would have a special brand of cigarettes because it fits the rat pack image he’s trying desperately to project.

      1. Gruhunchously says:

        Ring-a-Ding, baby!

      2. SoranMBane says:

        Plus, not only does it make perfect sense for someone like Benny to only be smoking one brand of designer cigarettes, but the cigarettes aren’t even that strong as evidence against him. When you show them to Swank, his response is pretty much just “yeah, those are Benny’s brand and they aren’t very common, but it’s not exactly proof.” You need all the other evidence combined and maybe a speech check for the cigarettes to really mean anything.

    8. Wide And Nerdy says:

      So you guys aren’t going to believe this.

      When the Sole Survivor introduces herself to Nick Valentine, if you tell Nick “Its Complicated” her dialog says that she’s looking for someone missing and that she doesn’t have any idea where Shaun is or HOW LONG HE’S BEEN GONE

      Somebody on the writing team slipped and acknowledged that an unspecified amount of time passed since SS was refrozen. And this is before multiple scenes where the SS is going to insist that Shaun is still a baby.

      1. Could that just mean “days, weeks, maybe months?” In a kidnapping, that’s a crucial time frame.

  2. Warclam says:

    I had a friend whose error noise on his school account was “my anus is bleeding” from Rejected Cartoons. It was… odd. And alarming.

    1. el-b says:

      i was stuck with windows me on my first computer and cause it locked up every now and again i just set the error noise to iron maidens fear of the dark on a violin to ease my saltiness before i hit reset.

    2. McNutcase says:

      I used to use voice samples from the Worms series. Every time a program puked, a mad Scotsman would scream “YOU! ARSE!” at me. It was great.

  3. Jokerman says:

    Love Nicks “No accounting for taste” as Reginald picks up a human jaw bone….

    1. I took that as a response to Shamus declaring his fandom for Wolverine.

      1. GloatingSwine says:

        I think we’re back to being allowed to like Wolverine again, since you don’t have to be a ’90s edgelord to do so any more and the mantle of Captain Overexposed has passed on to Deadpool now.

        Not that he wasn’t basically Mutant Judas in A vs. X, but that was a Bendis story and Bendis should not be writing Marvel’s giant crossovers.

  4. This could be “fixed,” in a way, if the Kellogg voice actor would be willing to add a little more info to his long speech when he talks to/at you, eventually.

    “No offense, but I knew you’d have no chance of finding me, so I had one of the scientists at the institute whip up Dogmeat for me. Yeah, you didn’t think that a perfectly-intact dog who liked you without question and obeyed your every command came from a litter of irradiated wasteland mongrel pups, did you? I mean, no real dog could follow a months-old trail that not even a hack comic book writer would take seriously. You had to have at least suspected that I’d programmed that ‘trail’ into the dog’s brain, right? Wait, you didn’t?

    Huh. If I’d known you were that dense, I would’ve had them make two synth-dogs, just in case.”

    1. This would also explain why Nick knows about Dogmeat. Basically, Nick was a plant of sorts.

      Make Mama Murphy a synth plant too (come on, “the sight”? Who believes this crap? She was just tied into the Institute Security Network) and it actually starts to look interesting and devious.

      Now you just need to give The Institute some kind of GOAL.

      1. I have no idea where I got it from, and I’m not trying to be one of those “if you read the terminal entry hidden under the glitched floor tile” people, but somehow I did get the impression that the Institute’s goal was to repopulate the wasteland with something that could survive in the radioactive and hostile environment.

        They started with FEV, then that didn’t work, so they went with Synths, eventually making something that was basically a radiation-proof human with a few bits of hardware inside it. They’re also trying to bring back species of plants and animals to put into the environment, but beyond that, yeah, they need some real honing as to what their endgame is.

        I mean, if the Synth is the apex of what will become “humanity,” does that mean they plan for humans to eventually die out? This also brings up the question of how Synths would reproduce, since they’re apparently anatomically correct enough that nobody discovers someone is a Synth because they have all the “equipment” of a Ken or Barbie doll. So maybe the human-ish ones are meant to be able to biologically create more of themselves? I dunno. Like so many things in the game, they start heading towards an interesting idea and then stop before they get to some kind of decent conclusion.

        1. Gordon says:

          See, that would have been at least a direction for them to take. It would be more or less The Masters plan with a spit polish, but few enough people have played Fallout 1 that it would be fine. I even assumed that was their plan.

          But… no. The director and the synth retention bureau go to great lengths to explain how synths are less even than animals to them, and that they have no intention of “phasing out” homo sapiens.

          Which raises the question of why they’re churning out so many of them to use as butlers, especially since a quarter of their land use of dedicated to policing the god damn synths and pissing off the surface worlders.

          1. Now that you mention the butler thing, I wonder if the plan was for them to be obedient either to rebuild the wasteland for a second humanity (that is, humans from the Institute) or to be humanity’s replacement but firmly under the Institute’s direction.

            I think the “test farm” or whatever they had going on the far Eastern coast was part of that setup, but it’s hard to tell.

            1. It’s the problem with everything contradicting itself again. If they were going to replace humans with synths, they wouldn’t treat synths like crap. And they have no real reason to replace the humans of the Commonwealth with synths, because they don’t care about the Commonwealth, anyway. So you wind up asking “uh, why did you make all these synths in the first place?” and the only answer is “because we can!” They don’t need the synths for anything other than being obnoxious, and they have no reason to be obnoxious in the first place.

              If they’d gone with something like “we’re going to turn the Commonwealth into Tomorrowland but we don’t want all these filthy peasants living there”, that would have worked–but they never explicitly say anything even remotely like that.

      2. Gnoll Queen says:

        Well i mean to be sort of fair to Bethesda Psychic powers have been in fallout sense day one. And there are a couple of NPCs in the older fallout games who can tell the future.

        My problem is not that Mama Murphy exists its just that she is very badly written compared to say Chuck from Fallout 1 or The Forecaster from Fallout New Vegas or to be quite frank Bloomseer Poplar from Fallout 3.

        1. It’s been discussed here before, but a lot of us wish her “sight” was due to her being one of the raiders that came with Kellogg to take Shawn, so she’d know who you are and why you’re doing what you’re doing. In essence, she’d be a scam artist.

          On the other hand, if they were going to go with the psyker thing full-bore, a little more supernatural evidence would’ve been kind of cool. There was some concept art that made her look a lot more wasteland-cyber-fortune-teller than she is in the actual game. She also needed more lines to flesh her out and not make her so repetitive. And while I’m complaining, her direction should have been ‘speak a little faster, you’re irritating to listen to.’

          1. Writiosity says:

            Unfortunately, the scam artist argument falls apart because she’s able to give you the damn shut down code for the Courser.

            If she was a synth/Institute plant, however, that’d make more sense. Shame you can’t kill her and see if she has a synth component, huh? That could’ve made for an interesting reveal later on if you’re siding against the Institute, having to go and murder old Mama Murphy after discovering from an Institute terminal or something that she’s one of them.

            1. I never got that dialog option (I talked her into not taking more drugs, which is a mistake, because she wanders around after that saying the same line over and over and over), but it’s not necessary for her to have the sight for that: If she worked with Kellogg, she worked with the Institute, where she could have found the code on a terminal or overheard it from her employers.

    2. Wide And Nerdy says:

      You know what else is weird about that segment? You have to keep feeding Dogmeat the same scent. Sure once you have him sniff a bloody rag but I think all the other times you’re having him sniff the cigars or the ashes of the cigars. I’m pretty sure you don’t need to feed a dog the same scent again midway through a hunt (I dunno, I admit I haven’t ever used a dog to track a scent before but I suspect neither have these writers.)

      1. The times I’ve seen it done, they never “refreshed” the dog–bombarding the dog repeatedly with a much stronger version of the scent is likely to blow out the receptors they need to pick up the weaker traces. It’s like any other sense receptor–once it fires strongly a few times your body will act to dull the signal. But then when I’ve seen dog tracking done they didn’t “give” the dog a scent in the first place–they went to the location where the trackees were known to be present, let the dog identify the scents in the vicinity, and followed the trail. Tracking dogs don’t need to be “given” a strong scent in the first place–they track off your base odor, which is far more individual than the chemical stinks people tend to subject themselves to, anyway.

        Granted, depending on which version of the vague timeline you prefer, that trail was completely cold, anyway. So what you would have done in the real world would be to train Dogmeat to “alert” on the smells of Gwinnett Lager and the cigars and probably Kellogg’s bedding or underpants or something and then go canvas Kellogg’s known haunts (if Nick had all that info about Kellogg’s criminal activities, he ought to have some ideas of where else Kellogg is known to hang out–known associates etc). Basically you search around until Dogmeat alerts and have him track from there. So less immediately like tracking and more like a drug/bomb dog.

  5. Alderman says:

    So what’s Mumble’s beef with Squirrel Girl? Except for the fact that she can’t be your favourite mutant (she is medically and legally distinct!)?

    1. Ardis Meade says:

      Squirrel Girl is popular. Being okay with liking her would ruin Galaxy Gun’s hipster swagger.

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        Sure, which totally explains why she was cool with Shamus liking Wolverine just 30 seconds later.

        Oh wait . . .

    2. JakeyKakey says:

      She’s a one-note joke character that’s getting the Deadpool appeal by being LOL SO RANDOM SHE BEAT DOCTOR DOOM AND GALACTUS AMIRITE.

      1. GloatingSwine says:

        Squirrel Girl is a character best used in moderation. She was great in the old GLA stories because the joke becomes funnier when she’s still hanging around with this podunk little super team despite semiregularly soloing earth shattering villains.

        She’s fun in her own book because it’s a fun book and her beating the villain is never really the point of the book.

        She’s less good in every other situation because you can’t do the joke in srs bsns books*.

        That’s why I fear her getting overexposed, I love Squirrel Girl but I know Marvel will ruin the joke.

        See also: One Punch Man. OPM works because the whole world is comical, because it doesn’t hang on the one joke of “Saitama wins every fight with one punch, is depressed because this is no fun any more”, it has to build a whole world of comedy nonsense for him to inhabit to make the rest of his life entertaining to watch.

        1. Wide And Nerdy says:

          You know what would be amazing is if it turned out that OPM could solve other problems by punching them. Not every problem but:

          A) All the problems you’d expect could be solved by a sufficiently powerful punch (as I assume is already the case) AND

          B) A growing list of random problems. And he doesn’t know that his punch works till he tries it. So one day he punches his checkbook and discovers its now balanced. Or he can remove RACE conditions from code but not infinite loops.

      2. Wide And Nerdy says:

        Yeah I’m glad I’m not the only one that goes “Ugh” at her mention.

        Its like when they have some kind of big galactic crisis, all you need to do is have the worlds heroes stage another event that the reader would find more interesting so that Squirrel Girl can beat the real threat offscreen.

        Its a played out gag and the more they use it the less the dramatic conflicts of the other stories work.

        Of course this is true of all the times the world has almost exploded.

    3. Alex says:

      Squirrel Girl is an expression of contempt for people like Shamus. If you are a person who wants to be able to take a world seriously, having some jackass make good characters like Doctor Doom job to their stupid Mary Sue because it amuses them is obnoxious bullshit.

      1. GloatingSwine says:

        ‘M just gonna say that if you want to take a world seriously, Marvel Comics is the wrong one to choose.

        (Not that DC is better).

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          What are you talking about?Marvel had civil war.That was definitely a serious discussion about a serious politiphahahaaa….I almost said that with a straight face.

        2. Wide And Nerdy says:

          Fine! Then lets put it this way: The writers shouldn’t waste their time trying to GET readers to take Marvel stories seriously if they’re going to also let the Squirrel Girl running gag be canon.

          The writers are clearly trying to get readers to take the stories seriously from a dramatic perspective. Squirrel Girl and a dramatic setting are mutually exclusive. Its stupid to allow her to continue running her gag if you’re also trying to earn the reader’s ongoing investment in your stories via dramatic and serious situations.

          I’m sure this is where somebody in the comment section will go contrarian and say that superhero comics are stupid and juvenile and that if Squirrel Girl ruins them then nothing is lost. Would you do the same for soap operas? Star Wars? Star Trek? Your favorite video game series?

          So to that anticipated contrarian I say: Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean you get to dismiss other people who do.

          That said, I enjoy Ryan North’s take on the character and its because the writing and art is so distinct from the normal writing and art in Marvel comics that it feels like it takes place in a different universe even though it technically doesn’t. And since I’ve been out of comics for a while and am only reading this one because its Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics fame, it doesn’t bother me. Also, he’s growing her beyond that gag taking the stories AWAY from that gag, which is utterly essential if she’s going to be a regular character.

          1. Ciennas says:

            I’m sure this marks me as a pleb, but I happen to like Squirrel Girl. I like having a fun loving non psychopath who can play with the fourth wall.

            I also liked the circumstances for Dooms defeat at her hands: you don’t challenge a squirrel whisperer in Central Park.

            I get what you guys are on about, but Squirrel Girl isn’t a deal breaker for me. If we have room in our hearts for Deadpool, She Hulk and Spiderman, then we can abide one more for the Greek Chorus of Fourth Wall Observers.

            Besides, I find it funny to have Doom and Galactus both make a face at the thought of fighting her.

            1. Wide And Nerdy says:

              See there’s a difference.

              Deadpool, She Hulk, and Spider-Man are all humorous at times but they do not exceed their capabilities. I don’t read a ton of She Hulk but I know that Deadpool and Spider-Man lose when faced with foes that are utterly beyond them, or even sometimes just because they’re emotionally distracted.

              Spider-Man’s quipping serves more as comic relief in an otherwise serious story.

              Deadpool’s goofiness comes from his insanity but just because reality is fluid in his head doesn’t mean the universe bends to him.

              She Hulk’s humor comes from lampshading and her legal practice.

              But Squirrel Girl’s gag is that someone like her keeps beating villains who should be out of her league and the writers don’t show you how. I mean, Doom beats the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. He’s even presented a formidable challenge for Superman in an intercompany crossover. And he beat Galactus and the Beyonder in the same story. Thanos has held the universe in the grip of terror.

              Squirrel Girl is a ditz with at best Spiderman grade powers yet she beat both of them and in the latter case The Watcher was conveniently on hand specifically to comment about how it was the one true Thanos and not some clone or robot. Thats funny once or twice. Its becomes problematic for Marvel if she keeps doing it.

              1. Ciennas says:

                Fair, fair. But Doom should be on the hook for that rule too. And I doubt one could keep their emotional focus when they are being covered in a carpet of squirrels.

                As to Thanos and Galactus? I dunno. Still funny.

                Maybe she’s an unknowing scion of some cosmic force. Or she bargained for the prestige class “Company Mascot” or something similar.

                And it was convenient for The Watcher to be there- specifically because they knew Doom’s Legion (of Fans) were coming for them regardless.

                But I do understand she can’t do that all the time. It would diminish the joke and the fun. But there is something to be said for that which is unwritten- it gives you room to tell your own story.

                Which is understandably a source of contention. But I still like the idea of her curbstomping Doom that one time.

                1. Wide And Nerdy says:

                  That one time sure.

                  But they don’t get credit for “Cosmic Force” or whatever explanation until they actually put it in print. I’m not writing for them.

                  Of course the moment they do print that, the gag is done. Its no longer a joke that she wins these fights.

                2. Alex says:

                  “Fair, fair. But Doom should be on the hook for that rule too. And I doubt one could keep their emotional focus when they are being covered in a carpet of squirrels.”

                  Willpower is Doom’s thing. Gods have failed to break his focus. If being dissected alive cannot distract Doom from carrying out his plan, if irresistable mental control amplified by supertech cannot dominate Doom’s will, what on Earth makes you think a hundred rodents would do any better?

          2. GloatingSwine says:

            Superhero comics already fail as a dramatic presentation, and it’s not because of Squirrel Girl.

            It’s because of their soap opera continuity where nothing that ever happens is permanent, because the books have a mandate to publish forever.

            No character growth sticks, no dramatic consequences matter, everything will be reset, reverted, or undermined eventually.

            If you’re lucky there’ll be a really good run with a character or group, but really all that does is make it more likely that they’ll get someone else to try and cash in on the popularity and just give you a watered down version (eg: Brian Vaughan creates Runaways, is popular, Marvel get Joss Whedon to write it and he does it worse and repeats jokes he wishes he thought of)

            This is because the US comic industry failed to learn the lesson of Watchmen. The lesson of Watchmen is that the limited run format with a novel like structure with a fixed beginning, middle, and end and nothing outside of the text allows comics to tell better stories. Unfortunately, comics weren’t listening and what they saw was that grit and cynicism are cool and so the ’90s happened, even if they were incidental to the actual quality of the story in Watchmen.

            If you think Squirrel Girl is ruining your Srs Drama, you’re ignoring the fact that the foundations of that drama are built on quicksand to begin with.

            1. Shamus says:

              “The lesson of Watchmen is that the limited run format with a novel like structure with a fixed beginning, middle, and end and nothing outside of the text allows comics to tell better stories.”


              I’d LOVE more self-contained stories. I don’t need to know a bunch of lore to get into it. I don’t have to figure out where I’m supposed to “start”. The text isn’t hamstrung by a half century of continuity, and the story isn’t married to an ongoing status quo.

              Once every few years comics will have some “”big” event. Cape Man gets married. Captain Fist Puncher gets killed off. Queen Fireshooter passes the mantle to a new heroine. But in a closed-off story you could do ALL of those. And they would be permanent!

              I don’t think eternal-run comics should be discontinued or anything. I just wish we could get a few more Watchmen-type deals.

              1. Ninety-Three says:

                I think an even bigger problem is how the status quo hamstrings worldbuilding. Superhero comics are set in “The modern world, but with superheroes”, and they have been for decades. The problem is, if you added superheroes to the modern world, it would quickly diverge from the modern world, but it doesn’t because nothing is allowed to change. The result is that superhero fiction is constantly dipping its toe in the pool of science fiction, then refusing to commit by actually exploring any of it.

                Every mad scientist has to have a hand-wavey explanation for why they can’t mass-produce anything. Every powerful artifact with the potential to be put to good industrial use has to be ignored. Everything that would be productively exploited by a society of thinking actors, isn’t, because this isn’t a living world, it’s a design document that reads “It is the current year, and there are superheroes”.

                1. I disagree a bit on that, as the continuity may seem stringent, but it’s only partially so; a lot of things in comics are very fluid. Just about all that can’t change is someone who is making money for the company being permanently dead.

                  DC’s “Elseworlds” and Marvel’s “Ulitmates” are examples of this. When something happens in those experimental worlds, it somehow gets folded into the continuity. When reboots happen, the crap is ignored and the better stories are brought in again.

                  Comics are best read as possible threads in a continuum where you can ignore whole swaths of it if you choose. I mean, who remembers Superman Red/Superman Blue? Is anyone pining for incorporating the Steve-Rogers-With-Michael-Jackson’s-Hair version of The Beyonder in an upcoming comic? Nope.

                  In comics, little is gospel. In fact, I’d say the actual comics have become testing grounds for storylines that might make potential future movies, video games, or animated cartoons.

              2. Michael says:

                Shamus there’s a lot of Watchmen style comics out there. Both in the sense of writers trying to be Alan Moore, but also in the context of writers working with a short, self contained format.

                If you want recommendations, the first thing that come to mind is Kingdom Come. But, it’s kind of a question, what do you want to read? Because there is an insane variety of material out there.

                I will say, from a media analysis perspective, Planetary is quite interesting, for reasons that might not be immediately apparent. It’s been reprinted as a pair of slipcased “Absolute” editions, and in 4 trade paperback/hardback versions. (The original comic ran for 25 or 27 issues).

            2. Wide And Nerdy says:

              I’m not saying it ruins MY sense of drama. I can hardly read a comic book anymore. I’m saying that logically they can’t expect to get anybody to take their big bads seriously if they can be beaten by someone with squirrel powers.

              Whether readers take the drama seriously in comics or not, whether comics are “broken” or not (really your personal opinion) the writers are trying to get the readers invested in the drama, then they’re undermining that drama with Squirrel Girl. They’re wasting their own time.

              1. GloatingSwine says:

                The “writers” (and let’s be fair here we’re actually talking about the editors instead) don’t care whether you believe in the drama, even a cursory examination of typical comic book plotlines would reveal that.

                They just want you to buy enough comic books to prop up the franchises which they can then farm out to far more lucrative toy, film, and cartoon merchandising.

                Joe Quesada doesn’t care whether you believe in the narrative drama of Spider-Man making a deal with the devil to erase his marriage, he just wants a lazy way to reset the status quo of the character to the marketable one in the public consciousness.

                Again, you are getting your jimmies rustled by the wrong thing if you think that Thanos having a crippling weakness to squirrels* is even close to the top of the list of structural problems with superhero comics. Hell, it’s not even on the list (because Squirrel Girl is one of the few actually worthwhile books either Marvel or DC has produced in the last decade because it doesn’t try srs bsns drama in a publishing model fundamentally incompatible with it).

                * One of them buggers runs up your trouser leg with an evil gleam in its eye and you’ll give in pretty quick too.

                1. Wide And Nerdy says:

                  How do they keep you buying the comics? By getting you invested in the drama.

                  You’re stretching and twisting. I’ve got nothing more to say to you. You’re being obtuse.

                  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    He is not wrong though.Numerous times the writers did want to fight the status quo,but the editors overruled them.Thats why there were so many “1st issues” and “limited issues” and “sagas” that lasted for far too long,and reboots aplenty.Those who write comics know their audience,but the people they work for usually dont.

                  2. GloatingSwine says:

                    Usually it’s by exploiting brand loyalty and the collector mentality.

                    See also: Variant covers, foil editions, repeated “first issues”.

                    Comic books run on brand loyalty far more than any similar medium (except maybe videogames, but even there people tend to recognise and/or blame individual creators not just brand). People read Spider-Man because it’s got Spider-Man in it, but they read Harry Dresden because Jim Butcher wrote it.

                    That’s partly because it’s the way it’s always been in comics, a hell of a lot of the product has been produced work for hire historically, and in many cases actual creators have been quietly forgotten as much as legally (or sometimes less legally) possible.

                    As an expansion: Comic drama is like pro wrestling drama. It exaggerates the highs and lows of hero and villain characters in service of purely short term drama, and largely for the same reason. Audience turnover is high. Wrestling is written with the assumption that the audience isn’t going to stick around for more than five to seven years but there’ll always be a fresh crop coming ready, so if you repeat a story you did eight years ago with slightly different characters it doesn’t matter, 75% of your audience wasn’t watching eight years ago, some of them weren’t on solid food yet, and won’t be watching in another eight.

                    You aren’t supposed to buy into the drama on a long term ongoing basis. It’s supposed to grab and sustain your interest for a few years and then they don’t mind if you go away, someone else will take your spot in the audience.

                    Comics are fundamentally structurally not designed for serious long term drama with deep audience buy-in.

    4. Cardigan says:

      Not speaking for Mumbles here, but the reason I don’t like Squirrel Girl is because of the new comics series. The art is terrible, and I think they let real world politics influence their stories a little too much.

      1. Alderman says:

        Huh. The new comic series is my only exposure to the character and I thought it was fantastic. The writing, well, that’s a matter of taste I suppose but the art being terrible? Really?

        1. Wide And Nerdy says:

          Are we talking about Ryan North’s Unbeatable Squirrel Girl? (I’m not current so I don’t know if that series continued.)

          I can see how the writing would bug readers expecting traditional comic book writing, but I like it. I like North from his Dinosaur Comics series.

        2. Merlin says:

          Erica Henderson (the artist) got an Eisner nomination in part for her work on Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, so no you’re not alone in liking it.

  6. MichaelGC says:

    Yes, that is one way to hide a room, Nick. It’s absolutely the most obvious and least noteworthy way to hide a room, in fact.

    With regard to the ‘legendary’ foes: some variation on the Shadow of Mordor Nemesis system might be fun in a game like this. I’m surprised variations on that system haven’t popped up in a few more games, actually – it certainly had it’s problems, but that’s why I’d like to see some other takes on it, as it certainly had also potential.

    Or have there been other games with a similar system I’m not aware of? I’m not all that well up on the news. I assume it’s just pretty hard to program, and particularly hard to program in a satisfying way.

    1. Jokerman says:

      The way Nick was looking for the button, it was almost like he was expecting to be in a smarter game.

      1. Gruhunchously says:

        Oh God, Nick constantly overestimating how intelligent everyone else around him is would be a hilarious running gag.

        Nick: Okay, Kelloggs not going to be an easy man to track, he’s got decades of survival experience and the skill to match. Even with the dog, we might have to scour the entire Commonwealth just to find something that’ll put us back on his trail…”

        Reginald: Hey, there’s are cigar in an ashtray just outside of town! What’s that, boy? Is it his? It is? Is that another one over by that bridge. And a rag with his blood on it? And what does that graffiti on the wall over there say? ‘Kellogg was here’. Well damn it then, we’ll find this guy in no time.”

        Nick: Hmmm…

        But again, Bethesda and self-awareness don’t mix, so that’s never going to happen.

        1. Hitch says:

          I like that Nick is aware of the Mysterious Stranger and will react if he appears when Nick is there. Nick knows that there’s something not right about the world he lives in.

        2. Wide And Nerdy says:

          But again, Bethesda and self-awareness don't mix, so that's never going to happen.

          Um. M’aiq The Liar? He’s basically a walking self awareness gag.


          1. Michael says:

            At this point, I’m half convinced Bethesda doesn’t know what’s going on with M’aiq. Actually, now that I think about it, they probably aren’t, since ZOS were the ones responsible for his most recent appearance.

          2. Bethesda and SUBTLETY don’t mix. Sure, they can do self-aware . . . but they gotta punch you in the snoot with it to make sure you don’t miss it.

            They can pull off some crazy moments of wacky genius but subtle they ain’t, and to do self-awareness well you have to be subtle.

    2. Alex says:

      No, it’s not hard to program. The hard part is having a game where everything isn’t a fight to the death. If there were factions that wouldn’t deliberately kill you if they won, and would instead steal some money and consumables and leave you for dead, those are the kinds of enemies that it is possible to encounter twice. If everyone you meet is either friendly or dead, there isn’t anyone to become more developed after you fight them.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        Good point! It’d work in a world like Spira, where death is at most a minor inconvenience. Or for Fallout specifically you could make use of ghoulism, as that seems to stand in some sort of complex relation to immortality. But yes!: certainly a tricky aspect, which I’d not even considered…

        1. Alex says:

          You don’t need Unsent or Ghouls to justify it, just do a better job of pretending your NPCs are actual people who care about things like “not dying”. If you shot a bandit and there was a chance he would he drop his gun and run, or drop to his knees and beg for mercy, and you still got XP for defeating him even though he was still alive, that is the kind of world where a Nemesis system works – where there was a chance that you’d run into the same adversary twice.

          1. I think this game would be about 75% better at a minimum if they’d made ALL the humans non-hostile to start with and let you have some interaction with the gunners and raiders at the very least.

            Legendary foes aren’t really there to provide challenge, anyway–that’s provided in spades by all the critters with nukes and grenades and missile launchers and mini-guns. The legendary thing is there to provide more interesting loot after you kill them.

      2. guy says:

        I don’t think anyone has followed up on the Nemesis system yet. I was thinking we’d be seeing it announced around now, since it’s been long enough for games to have entered the concept phase after Shadow Of Mordor came out.

        As for justifying it, there’s lots of ways to create a setting where people can come back from the dead some of the time, or they could just make like Shadow Of Mordor itself and have people who run out of hitpoints fall over and possibly show back up with massive scarring or prosthetics or whatever sometimes unless you make really sure.

        1. Alex says:

          You don’t need to have people come back from the dead, you just have have a non-zero number of enemies face you and live. If you slaughter fifty Raiders but one runs for his life, that’s all the excuse you need to bring him back later as “Rufus, Last Survivor of Scrap Town”.

  7. I think the “Legendary” moniker is just the effect of CCGs or other games where that indicates a tier of difficulty. That kind of thing usually goes “unspoken,” or is represented by a symbol, if a game wants to not have as big a break in immersion. Otherwise, it’s usually something like “minion,” “lieutenant,” “veteran,” “boss,” “legendary,” and so on.

    It is basically Pokemon.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      And here they give us symbols too! Just in case we have an I of 1, I guess.

      1. Writiosity says:

        Remember that in Bethesda’s world an I score of 1 is still above-average ;)

        1. MichaelGC says:

          My mother also, reckons I’m above-average.

      2. Incunabulum says:

        Welcome to The Commonwealth, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.

        1. Rutskarn says:

          Welcome to Bethesda, where the companions are strong, nobody’s good-looking, and the children are invulnerable.

    2. GloatingSwine says:

      New Vegas had “Legendary” and unique named versions of some creatures.

      Obvs. in New Vegas they were preplaced with consideration for what they were and how the player should feel about finding them (including the Legendary Bloatfly as a gag in Old World Blues, which was legit a really hard enemy that could two or three shot most characters and had 4x the hitpoints of a Deathclaw).

      Too much effort for Beth. Make it procedural so we don’t have to effort.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Thing is,you can do it procedurally,practically the same way they did it here,only with a bit more effort.Just have people in the settlements you liberate,or some other npc,sometime have a quest that is “This mean XYZ is doing some mean thing over yonder”.You go over yonder,kill it,and for your effort the npc gives you “this special thing my grandpapa found once in a place”.There,that took me a minute to think of and write,and it would take maybe a day to code into the game.

        1. GloatingSwine says:

          Yeah, if all you want to do is live down to the already low standards of Fallout 4’s quests, it’s easy to do that.

          Doesn’t really make the game content [i]much[/i] less bland and samey though, just puts a wider pool in the blandness.

  8. MichaelGC says:

    Anyone who hasn’t played through the Silver Shroud quests may just want to temper their expectations, and remember that the context is the storytelling in the rest of Fallout 4. (It’s a perfectly fine questline, but I think a newcomer will get the best out of it if they go into it expecting standard fare rather than anything too revelatory.)

    1. Jokerman says:

      Its the only quest i can think of that used the fact the protagonist is now voiced to its advantage. Story telling wasn’t amazing or anything… but it was funny.

      1. Writiosity says:

        Eh, depends. The dialogue is really hammily delivered by both VAs, and not hammy in a good way. The female voice does a better job, at least.

        1. Jokerman says:

          I thought it was hammy in a good way, especially the male VA.

      2. It DESPERATELY needed to give you a perk called “Speak as Shroud” that you could use in place of speech checks in some situations.

        Granted, it would have derailed the entire game completely. But that wouldn’t necessarily have been BAD.

        Also I loved how Hancock thinks you’re just the funniest thing ever.

    2. The Rocketeer says:

      I can see what the cast gets from it. It's an impossibly rare chance for the player to choose between two distinct ways to roleplay through a quest, and it's an equally rare chance for the player to do something zany and off the wall while the game plays straight man to their antics. It stands out in these two ways from the respects in which the game most noticeably fails overall.

      But that's damning with the faintest possible praise. Only when graded on such a radical curve does it present any merits. Sans the novelty of playing the Shroud, the quest is just another string of “go here, kill x” busywork, which, if you've heard nothing but praise for this quest, really grates when you realize that the most supposedly-inventive quest in the game is still stuck in the same rut as all the others.

      And I found I couldn't much enjoy playing the Shroud, either. The radio show presents the Silver Shroud as a shadowy, noir-style character, essentially a legally-distinct riff on the Shadow. And you must listen to the show to advance the quest, so both you, the player, and your character, must be exposed to that characterization. But your character plays the Shroud like a Star On Chest impression. The game could have commented on that, too, which would have another great layer of rare self-awareness by the writers. But instead it comes off either as your character either not knowing or caring what's going on, or, more likely, that the Shroud of the radio drama and the Shroud your character plays were written by two different people that didn't share notes- which I’m inclined to believe, since this sort of discontinuity is ever-present elsewhere in the game. Just another disappointment in exactly the spot this quest is supposed to stand out.

      Silver Shroud is effing lame. Now, the USS Constitution quest, on the other hand…

      1. Chris Davies says:

        Really? The USS constitution quest absolutely infuriated me, it seemed like a prime quest that could have been solved by exercising skills other than bloody murder and they screwed it up. For example, it features raiders who initially aren’t interested in blowing your head off on sight. You have to acquire a certain guidance chip from them if you side with the robots, and I decided to sneak in to the room where it was and quietly steal it. Of course the instant I touched it, every single one of the bastards magically knew it had gone and that I was the one who stole it, and I was forced to murder the lot of them.

        In F1&2, the design principle was that every main quest and as many of the side quests as practical each had to have solution paths for the three character archetypes: action boy, stealth boy and diplomacy boy. The difficulty and obscurity of each path could vary, but they always existed and for the main quest line it was always the case that one path was always made near impossible to fail. Bethesda simply refuse to contemplate quests that have solutions that don’t involve casual genocide. I think that’s why Silver Shroud works as well as it does, it gives the character a new, fixed role to play where killing really is the correct solution.

        1. Brightroar says:

          I also liked the U.S.S. Constitution quest, the absurd humor worked and the robots were interesting character. Bizarrely it was also the only place where non-Charisma SPECIAL skill checks occurred (INT for fixing machines). It felt like a pseudo-Obsidian quest.

          1. Jokerman says:

            Maybe there was a guy who moved from Obsidian to Bethesda, he made that quest… and then he was fired… or possibly killed.

            1. djw says:

              He just couldn’t make any more charisma checks after his first quest.

          2. Michael says:

            They also pop up on Far Harbor… and the minigun at the beginning of the game actually checks against ST8. Now I’m wondering if I’m forgetting other stat checks. I thought there was an IN check someplace in the institute, but I’m not sure.

        2. I don’t recall them going ballistic when I touched the chip (I think I had high sneak). What I loathed was that I had Nick with me, who LOVED that I sided with the robots, but apparently he DIDN’T LIKE when I “stole” the ALREADY STOLEN chip from the raiders to help said robots!

          And there’s no other way to get it other than theft, so if you have Nick with you, and you don’t want to risk ticking him off and not getting his companion quest… bah.

          1. Mokap says:

            I brought him with me, and helping the robots and stealing the chip seemed to cancel each other out back to whatever level of companionship he was at before.

        3. Writiosity says:

          Ugh, that pissed me off beyond belief. I did the same thing, fully expecting everyone to turn hostile but hoping that maybe, just this once, Beth could’ve given me the OPTION to sneak in and quietly steal the item… nope. Because Bethesda. Even when my expectations are rock bottom they still manage to annoy me.

      2. SL128 says:

        I’d like to quickly stop by and request that the Constitution quest is shown, but using console commands to skip the fetch quest parts.

    3. GloatingSwine says:

      The Silver Shroud is mostly memorable for being one of the very very few quests in the game that is more developed than the radiant bollocks quests and isn’t “shoot dungeon full of monsters in exchange for new settlement and/or companion”.

      There aren’t many of those. Maybe about half a dozen. Everything else is a settlement or companion recruitment or part of a faction plotline.

      One of the reasons F4 feels so bland, there’s as little character in why people want you to do things and what you get out of them as there is in what they want you to do.

      1. Well, there’s:

        U.S.S. Constitution
        Silver Shroud
        Confidence Man (aka Fix Travis)
        Cambridge Polymer Labs (you get a unique piece of power armor equipment, not a settlement or companion)
        Cabot House quest line
        Yangtze (Chinese sub)
        Salem Museum of Witchcraft

        1. I loved the idea of the Yangtze submarine quest. What broke the immersion was the fact that this Chinese submarine had to be created in-game using “American” assets, so all the terminal text, signage, etc. was in English. :(

  9. tmtvl says:

    “Quick, cycle target”
    Was that… was that a JCVD Street Fighter reference?

  10. 21:36, “What was the name of the team of people who wore black and yellow outfits and they had Cannonball and Warlock?”

    No, it was not ‘X-Force,’ it was THE NEW MUTANTS! What is WRONG with you people?!

    1. I said New Mutants out loud when Rutskarn asked, like I was watching Jeopardy. Cannonball was on X-Force later, though.

      1. Indeed he was, but not in the old yellow-and-black “in training” Xavier School uniforms. That was only in The New Mutants, and the entire cast should be punished somehow.

        I think they have to watch X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Twice.

        1. MrGuy says:

          I’m not sure if I’m afraid of my children going to your school, or I very very much want my children going to your school….

          1. Sicod says:

            I think what is wrong is that unlike the people commenting on this, the people making spoiler warning have not obsessively read Marvel comics. :)

            1. mechaninja says:

              I gave up on comics just after the Goblin Queen storyline, and I never much liked the New Mutants situation anyway, but as a part of the X-Men continuity I kinda felt like I had to follow them for awhile. But man, that was … 30 years ago or something. I’m not sure most of Spoiler Warning is even old enough to have read that stuff.

  11. Hector says:

    I keep trying to think of bad things to criticize, but there’s so much nonsense that it all blurs together. So instead, let’s talk about the good parts. I like to call this Reverse Complaining. I’m not sure if anyone’s actually tried this before, but we should give it a shot, just in case. Breaking new ground here.

    *The introduction of Nick will often be the first real introduction to a Synth, and it’s handled very well overall. Not perfect, given the inherently-bad dialogue system, but pretty well. He’s a major NPC, part of the main quest, you go through a suitable amount of trouble to add him to your party, get a little three-man excursion which happens virtually never in this series, and he shows off his abilities. Frankly, if only every npc pal was handled as well this game would have been more liked.

    *While illogical in the extreme, chasing after Kellog actually makes good use of the game world in a way very few missions do. Almost everything in the game is “Go to Location A. Kill everything. Go Inside. Kill everything. Then maybe grab a item which will always be at the exact end of the dungeon with a shortcut back.” Which, OK, this is kinda just that, but it’s handled very well and makes more sense since Kellog has no reason to directly risk himself right off.

    *There are some subtleties to the voice acting in the Silver Shroud quest which really made the whole thing awesome, as you can hear your character actually getting a feel for the iconic personality of The Shroud. I wouldn’t call it subtle, exactly, but it’s a small point not shoved in your face that successfully defines the character more than nearly everything else put together.

    *Maybe not perfect when compared to, say The Witcher 3, but the voice acting for most characters is actually pretty good. People rightly complain about the ends to which that acting was put, but I’d say the cast did a good job with the lines.

    *Kellog has some issues as a character, but they did put a large amount of effort into developing him both as a human and an antagonist, integrating him into the world, and letting you see his side of things. Even the execution was rather hamfisted, they went to a lot of trouble to have this kind of depth and the biggest problem is that we never really get any kind of payoff from it.

    1. Hector says:

      (Also, yes, the joke was copied from Mr. Btongue.)

    2. Having the voiced protagonist actually voice the Silver Shroud was so much in contrast with the crappy speech choices I’d had earlier in the game that I was almost certain that there was going to be a Shroud speech choice that was going to backfire on me.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Im not politically correct at all,and I have no problem with “offensive” words,but the way they use idiot savant in this game,it kind of does feel offensive.

    On the other hand,this whole game is offensive to intelligence itself,so I guess its par for the course.

    1. Cardigan says:

      Isn’t there a phenomenon called ‘autistic savant’, where people with low-functioning autism can perform a specific skill (like painting) incredibly well?

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Yes,savant syndrome is a thing that exists in the real world.Thats not the problem.You can do it well dramatically,like rain man.You can joke about it well,like in the tick.Or not so well,like family guy.

        But this game goes even beyond bad,using it as a joke that doesnt even make sense(because int 1 is an average int),coupled with that really stupid picture and the sound.It would be the equivalent of having chopsticks playing with the picture of mr yunioshi appearing when you hit someone with a machete.

        1. Chris Davies says:

          It’s not intended to be a joke, it’s Bethesda’s take on classic Fallout stupid option, where playing a low intelligence character fundamentally alters the game. This is Bethesda’s MO of copying without understanding, it completely pervades the Bethsoft Fallout games, even down to the food available and enemies you fight. If it isn’t copied verbatim from Fallout, it’s a “joke” about the Elder Scrolls. That’s how we get iguana on a stick, which is fine in the western desert but makes no sense in the temperate north east, or the ever present noodle bars based entirely on a misunderstanding of a flavour item from F1&2.

          It’s not worth getting upset over, these people really don’t know any better.

      2. Rutskarn says:

        Savant syndrome is rarely portrayed in the media correctly. It’s usually “You thought this guy was a TOTAL IDIOT, but he’s really good at cards! Just like a real savant!” That’s obnoxious enough, but Beth really takes it to the next level.

        Bethesda’s perk name is associated with a real mental condition, that REAL PEOPLE have–people who play videogames!–and it’s coupled with a mocking goofy noise, a crosseyed and drooling perk image, a “low” INT score (savant syndrome is by no means reserved for those with low mental aptitude), and an old-timey-psych word that NOBODY USES ANYMORE BECAUSE IT’S SUPER OFFENSIVE. People talk about how “idiot” used to be a neutral word in psychology, and that’s accurate–in that it was neutral FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF PSYCH PEOPLE. But psychology’s come a hell of a long way in the past hundred years, and one of the things that’s come the farthest is our perception of people with mental disabilities. It was a “neutral, clinical” term in an era where the neutral and clinical approach to the “feeble-minded” was to sterilize them en masse.

        Even if the term wasn’t retired quite a long time ago for being simply inaccurate, it carries a load of connotations and assumptions to people who know some psych history and is just conventionally insulting to people who don’t.

        Now, I’m gonna say somebody at Bethesda vaguely remembered hearing the words “idiot savant” and figured it meant “person who’s dumb but good at something anyway.” That’s not even kind of what it means, but that’s a fair assumption if you’ve just heard the words bandied around. But a cursory Google search would have told them that’s not true, that it’s a real thing, and that their perk name that’s going to be plastered all over the internet and in thousands of real-world conversations after November 2015 is an outdated but still recognizable and really, really unpleasant way to refer to real people who look nothing like the game’s perk, which is and was meant to be insulting. So either they decided to do it anyway, which I think is really artistically lazy and jerkassy and irresponsible, or nobody at any point questioned or reviewed the perk name, which demonstrates that the field of reference of the developers is two Captain Underpants paperbacks and a copy of The Hangover. I don’t award any points to a studio with over a hundred talented, world-class employees when they fail to catch something like this.

        This actually makes me angrier than a lot of my standard problems with the game. More so than tobacco-from-nowhere and android preadolescents, I’d say this is where Bethesda failed to do their diligence.

        1. MichaelGC says:

          A small but possibly illuminating detail: there isn’t only one mocking goofy noise, but several. So, they actually took the time & trouble to source or record a series of them. Would that such diligence and attention to detail were applied elsewhere!

          1. Rutskarn says:

            “Danny! Talia suggested a perk called ‘Idiot Savant.’ I think I remember hearing that somewhere. We love it. We need you to record a bunch of, you know, stupid dumbass noises–like six of them. Take the whole day.”

            1. “Hey, Scott the intern says there’s this commonly-used term that might be a bit less offensive: ‘Dumb Luck.’ Anyone ever heard of that?”

              “Ugh. You expect us to change two words in a game this size? Do you know how many memos that would take? Who cares, anyway? Nobody, that’s who. Now go and help Danny make some stupid noises. That sounds right up your ally, since you listen to interns.”

            2. Metal C0Mmander says:

              No something that would have taken the whole day would have been to google search every words and expressions in their script they could swear were fine just in case one of them ends up being offensive…

              1. Rutskarn says:

                I’m not suggesting they should have googled it in case it’s offensive. I’m suggesting that they should have Googled it because IT’S AN EXPRESSION THAT MEANS SOMETHING, AND THEY USED IT, AND THEY DIDN’T KNOW WHAT IT MEANT.

        2. djw says:

          From a strictly mechanical point of view, taking the idiot savant perk will increase your experience gain, regardless of your intelligence stat. So you can have an int of 10 and still benefit from idiot savant. The benefit is larger for a low intelligence character, but even a genius can benefit.

          None of this really excuses the name or the sound. They could change the name to “Derp!” and get the same general goofy flavor without the offense.

          1. You’d be surprised. If I recall correctly, there was an outcry over the MLP character “Derpy Hooves” because someone had come to the conclusion that “Derpy” was equivalent to “mentally retarded.” I don’t know if they ever changed the character name, so it may not have gotten much traction, but I do remember the controversy.

            1. Lachlan the Mad says:

              As I recall, the nickname was thought up by the bronies on 4Chan, where avoiding offensive language is not a high priority. Then, when the creators actually canonised the name and it reached a wider audience, controversy inevitably struck, the creators apologised and backpedalled, and the brony fans got upset about “political correctness gone mad”. Nothing particularly remarkable.

              1. Metal C0Mmander says:

                Wasn’t the brony outcry about the creator making the character not “derpy” anymore (I mean the character trait not the name). At least that’s how I heard it but who knows if that was true considering this is the internet we are talking about and false information is king.

            2. djw says:

              “Outcry” on the internet doesn’t surprise me anymore.

        3. Michael says:

          A stray detail about this that still bugs the hell out of me: Why the hell would the emulate Jim Davis for the art?

          That’s not a Vault Boy. It’s not a pastiche of 50s cartoon characters. It’s straight out of a Garfield strip from the late 80s.

          There’s so many things wrong with that perk, I have no idea why the single part that sticks in my mind and festers is it’s in the wrong art style. But, I just can’t get over that.

  13. Bespectacled Gentleman says:

    Didn’t House say that cats were extinct in the post-war world (Isn’t managing canon between multiple development houses fun)?

    1. MichaelGC says:

      He does, yep – it’s at about 13:30 in this episode:


      Maybe the ones in the Commonwealth are all synths or something.

    2. He did. Cats survived the Great War, as they were used for FEV experiments at the Mariposa Military Base along with other animals, which supposedly helped to create the Centaurs.

      They were also hunted for food by early survivors, so maybe the ones on the West Coast are extinct, and the ones on the East Coast either survived on their own or had a large enough population hidden away in one or more Vaults?

    3. Michael says:

      Yeah, it’s actually a stray detail from the original Black Isle era setting bible.

  14. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Back when windows noises were all hip,I used a simpsons pack,because it was the last millennium.And I got them…..from a CD.That we traded physically,from hand to hand.

    1. I found it amusing how Fox did (and I think still does) all it could to scrub Simpsons WAVs from the internet. It still keeps even the shortest clips from the show off of YouTube, leaving only ones that have had the video flipped, have poor image quality (usually video of a TV screen), are in a language other than English, or have had the audio monkeyed with, all to foil Fox’s algorithm for finding Simpsons snippets.

      I understand wanting to protect your IP, but not allowing “favorite bits” for classic lines seems like overkill to me.

      1. Shamus says:

        Worst of all, they’ve succeeded. And their prize is obscurity. A couple of years ago someone mentioned how the Simpsons wasn’t as funny as it used to be and I was like, “Really? That show is still around? I figured it died out a decade ago.” By removing it from YouTube, they’ve removed it from the vocabulary of the internet. I see memes and jokes and references to Adventure Time, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Sesame Street, Willy Wonka, Archer, Frozen, and Toy Story. Some of that stuff is old, but it remains relevant because we reference it. But Simpsons? If you don’t watch it, you don’t hear about it.

        The lawyers have hermetically sealed their IP in a box. They would rather be irrelevant than allow someone to have a 10 second clip of “Don’t have a cow, man.” to exist on YouTube. Idiots.

        1. Richard says:

          Is the Simpsons still running?

          I haven’t seen any Simpsons, not even re-runs for at least five years.
          And I do own a physical tellybox and pay my TV licence.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Yup,its still going on.Some of the episodes are even good and surprising.Not many,but there are a few gems still.

            1. I don’t want to seem like a Simpsons hipster, but I kind of fell off the habit of watching the show when the Halloween specials started drifting away from comedy send-ups of horror or dark sci-fi tropes and opted instead for more horror movie parodies.

              Nowadays I just watch Rick & Morty for that, and I’m happy.

        2. Merlin says:

          Are you familiar with Frinkiac? [Link] It’s new – only launched a couple months ago, I think – but it’s a good Simpsons meme generator. Insofar as a meme generator can be “good.”

        3. djw says:

          You might be right about copywrite protection on the internet killing the Simpson’s, but… I think a strong case could be made that old age and senility are the real culprits. It came out when I was in high school!!! Kids these days were born when the show was 10-15 years old!!! 29 years* is a really long time for a show to be on TV, and its bound to lose relevance in that time no matter what the idiots in charge of the network do. Honestly, they probably did *something* right for it to last as long as it did.

          *29 years if you count the Tracy Ulman show, I think 27 years if you start with its actual network debut, but I could be off by a year or two.

  15. Daemian Lucifer says:

    And this is why bethesda is the worst.When the developers of human revolution were scolded for making the boss fights in their game so linear in their non-linear game,they went and patched it so that the boss fights fit the rest of their game.When bethesda was scolded for making solutions to their quests linear in their open world non-linear game,they went and made another game with the same fucking linear quests.

    1. Bespectacled Gentleman says:

      Did they do that? What changes did the HR developers make? I don’t remember any big patches happening to the boss fights.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        They did in the directors cut.You still have to fight the bosses in arenas,but now these arenas have stuff like vents you can use to hide,computers to hack turrets,traps you can set,etc.

        1. Ohhhh, that explains it! I got the game with a Humble Bundle after seeing it on Spoiler Warning, and I found a few of those things in the game, but it was often after the fight was over. I guess because it (like the fights themselves) were tacked on after the fact, they didn’t seem a part of the environment such that nothing led the player to find them.

          They seemed so tacked-on I was surprised Josh hadn’t mentioned them as an example of shoddy development, but if they were added later, that explains the apparent omission.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Yeah,your placement in those is still iffy.Missing link does it much better,since there they built it from scratch instead of just modifying it.

            Still,they put effort into improving it,and that counts.

            1. Humanoid says:

              Except the bit where they expect you to pay for it.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Oh no,they expect people to pay money for their effort?The audacity!

                1. Hector says:

                  More that they charged for something badly done and, effectively, broken in the first place, then charged more money to fix the screw up. And the “excuse” dance to try and shake the negative press wasn’t impressive before they finally owned up to the problem, either.

                  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    First,the bosses that were broken were a minuscule part of the game,so they didnt “charge for something that was badly done”,they charged for a good game with some really bad parts.Second,fixing the bosses was added on top of other features that went into the directors cut,so they werent charging money just to fix the screw up.Third,there was a significant discount for those that didnt buy directors cut alone,but rather upgraded to it.

                    1. Hector says:

                      First, in a game where nearly last bit of combat was by-passable through cunning, smart play, or wise use of augmentations, the bosses were not only badly designed (even for video game bosses), but were complete roadblocks with minimal relevance, personality, or relationship to the plot. The bosses – as in, the single most broken and half-done part of the game – was the one thing that Eidos Montreal shoved in front of every player’s face.

                      Second, the Director’s cut contained exactly three things the patches, the boss fixes, and the minimal dlc. And the dlc was trivial and irrelevant except for the Missing Link, which meant that the company, like many others, prioritized dlc over the actual working game. I like TML, but precisely because it was a tangent storyline, it wasn’t necessary and wasn’t worth having terrible bosses.

                      Three, saying that you’ll maybe give people a better version of it, with really not-thatimpressive fixes, two years or more late, is not really a selling point.

                    2. Incunabulum says:

                      The bosses that were broken were not a miniscule part of the game – they were some serious beef-gates that meant anything short of a full-on combat build was never going to get through them without a lot of reloading and wiki/YouTube reference to know the whole fight before you got to them

                      I never finished HR because of the seconds fight. The first fight, my sneaky, non-violent*ish* character stood up in the middle of a hallway to pick a fight with some unknown dude three times his size.

                      The second one, the betrayal was telegraphed 5 minutes early, you couldn’t do anything about it, and I didn’t have any EMP grenades or heavy weapons (because I’d been doing just fine with the revolver and stun gun). Fuck that noise little miss constantly invisible.

                      Side note: Is there a way to get the column to display wider? Using Firefox and its about 1.4 the width of my screen and narrow enough that comments nested 3 or more won’t show properly in the entry box.

                    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      Sure,it was a blunder that gated off a bunch of the game.But it still was a small part of the game.And even those people that stopped playing because of the first boss still experienced a huge chunk of the game before it.

                      The directors cut did not contain just three things.It was primarily made to port the game to wiiu.It involved some graphics and mechanics upgrades,and it also comes with a ton of commentary.The fact that you dont care about those does not change that those are things they were mostly focused on.

  16. Daemian Lucifer says:

    And once more,I get to compare this game to far cry 3/4.In far cry,there are these legendary animals that have killed a bunch of people,and are tough to find and beat.And once you beat them,you get legendary skins,that you can use to craft top tier equipment.There are big stories told about them,and they have special places where you encounter them(like the legendary badger that is found amongst a bunch of corpses,including an elephant).It really is epic to hunt for these creatures,and theres a lot of effort invested into making them seem unique.

    Here,you just fight a slightly reskinned enemy that gets slightly bigger stats,that you find at random somewhere in the wasteland,and you get some random loot that 99% of the time has nothing to do with the creature youve killed(like an armor piece from a mole rat or a radstag).Thats incredibly lazy and uninteresting.And when your game gets compared to a ubisoft game and its your game that comes on top as the lazier and less interesting one,youve seriously fucked up.

    1. Jokerman says:

      Well… of all the Ubisoft games, i feel like Far Cry has the most people who care working on it.

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        I’m sure both people working on Beyond Good and Evil 2 care a lot.

        1. Jokerman says:

          Yeah… while watering down there alcohol with fan tears.

          1. Ninety-Three says:

            It’s for the best that it’s never coming out. Remember that it’d be coming from modern-day Ubisoft. Do you really want to play Beyond Good And Evil 2017 and climb towers to unlock sections of an open world littered with collectibles?

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              If I get to use the camera to photograph the beautiful landscape,then yes,I do want to play that.

              On the other hand,Id probably have to do some bullshit real money thing in order to upgrade the camera lens,and that I dont want.

              Im torn…

              1. Jokerman says:

                Having to get to the right spots… to take photographs, well… it would actually make sense, unlike most ubisoft games since Assassins creed 1.

    2. acronix says:

      Once you level enough times, you realize they are not even reskins. If nameplates were disabled, you wouldn’t realize they were special at all.

  17. wswordsmen says:

    You have the name of the trope wrong, although TV tropes admits it is often misused as you have done, you are thinking of Gambit Roulette where the whole plan depends on people making decisions that the planner could not possibly anticipate. It used to be called Xanatos Roulette, but that just encouraged people to confuse the two.

    1. Locke says:

      TVTropes needs to stop renaming their tropes. It hinders usability.

      1. In this case, I don’t think it’s a re-name. The Xanatos Gambit is when the villain plans to “lose” as part of the plan. A recent example is Loki being defeated by the Avengers so he could be imprisoned in Asgard, near an artifact he wanted.

        While Kellogg does lose (by dying), I’m not sure it qualifies, since Xanatos (from Disney’s Gargoyles) lives, but I’m not a Tropeologist.

        1. Syal says:

          Xanatos Roulette was a fine title. The whole thing is already based on knowning what a Xanatos Gambit is. Does anybody think Gambit Roulette is any more intuitive?

          It’s like when they renamed the Inverse Law of Ninja Effectiveness and now this Dr. McNinja strip is dated. The point of naming a trope is to have a consistent way to reference it.

          EDIT: Even Routlette Gambit is better than Gambit Roulette. Gambit Rouleete just sounds like you’re picking a gambit at random, not that the gambit works randomly.

        2. wswordsmen says:

          No the Xanatos Gambit means that you win even by losing. Your example is right, not just because losing was part of Loki’s plan but because not losing to the Avengers also means he accomplishes his goal.

        3. Writiosity says:

          Thanatos Gambit is the one where they die at the end. Xanatos is where every possible ‘plausible’ outcome leads to a positive situation in some respect for the planner.

      2. GloatingSwine says:

        TVTropes died when it got srs with its trope names.

        It’s not, and was never going to be, a useful informational tool because the whole intent of the website confuses categorisation with understanding and usually ignores the context in which any given trope or device might appear.

        When it was a knockabout with silly names and snarky entries, it was a fun site.

        Now it’s not, it’s a howling waste on the internet.

        1. wswordsmen says:

          Agreed it died for me when they didn’t realize that “Artistic License” made every deviation from reality a positive, even in cases where reality would have suited the plot just as well or better. But taking the snark out killed its soul.

        2. Michael says:

          TV Tropes died when the fans found it.

  18. Kelerak says:

    I find it interesting that Fallout 4 doesn’t have any events to watch like what was expected from the Raider racetrack that Mumbles and Chris mentioned, considering that you could watch and bet on arena fights in Oblivion.

    Also, I doubt having a beer while watching the race would be plausible, considering you’d have to bring up the menu and you don’t even see your character consume it. Unless there was a way where you could hold the bottle in your hand and press a button to drink it, like how to-go coffee works in New Leaf. That’d be rad.

    1. What’s really annoying is you can watch robot races. However, you have to murder everyone there, and then you can use a terminal to run the surviving robots or a bunch of replacement robots. It’s now less a gambling arena and more of a slot-car set with random outcomes, which isn’t as fun.

    2. Writiosity says:

      Same reason they didn’t bother doing anything with the Combat Zone: they wanted to sell DLC.

      1. How annoying would that be, if games like Fallout 4 were shipped as they were, but you had to buy DLC to get areas converted from “automatic free-fire zone” to “area with NPCs you can talk to, get quests from, and make decisions about”?

  19. Kelerak says:

    You know, I keep hearing Shamus wanting a tone change similar to that of Borderlands if Fallout isn’t going to wise up to its stupidity, but that would require forcing the annoying jokes and meme references down your throat until you suffocated.

    1. Supah Ewok says:

      At least then you wouldn’t be playing Fallout 4.

    2. What’s infuriating for me is how much this game is like Borderlands:

      1. Enemies that get stronger when you shoot them? Yep. Remember those guys with the welding masks in Borderlands 2? You knock the helmet off, and they Hulk out. At least those guys murder anyone nearby, not just you.

      2. Locations you get sent to over and over with new enemies that don’t exist until you accept a quest? That’s in Fallout 4 as well! Until you finish all related quests, an area won’t be “cleared” permanently.

      3. Questgivers that don’t change their disposition towards you no matter what you say or do? For the most part, yes. The only difference is in Fallout 4, you do eventually get to fight other factions that you might have gotten quests from, but that’s practically just getting a mission to kill more dudes, so I’m not sure how that’s much better.

      4. Areas that exist for no other reason that as stages for shoot-’em-ups? Fallout 4 and Borderlands are so in sync on this one: Libertalia, the racetrack, and just about any place that isn’t a quest hub or settlement, which is most of the game.

      I honestly think some of the devs looked at the dumbed-down post-apoc of the Borderlands series and figured if that could make a ton of money with less work, why not Fallout?

  20. Matt Downie says:

    Fury Road, given that it’s a non-stop action movie, does a good job of showing the new order that’s arisen post-apocalypse, mainly through names and scenery. Immortan Joe controls The Citadel, which is above an aquifer, the only major source of clean water in the area, which give them a local monopoly on farming. There’s a place nearby called the Bullet Farm, a former lead mine, now an arms factory. They both trade with Gas Town, an old refinery. They’ve answered the major questions of What do they eat? Why haven’t they run out of ammo? Where do they get the fuel?

    1. Incunabulum says:

      They took the effort to set up this background for a movie that is, literally, just one really awesome car chase scene.

  21. Mr Compassionate says:

    Clearly the legendary enemy system needs to be reworked into a nemesis system so that you keep running into a mole rat who sees you and shouts
    ‘Vault Dwellah! Ya might’ve it me with a bat last time, but this toime yer battin for the wrong team! Mwahahaha!’

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      And now I wish for an archer mod where other barry keeps sending weird(ly trained) monstrosities against you.

    2. Cardigan says:

      I love this vaguely Cockney mole rat. ♡

      1. I don’t have a Cockney Apocalypse, but I do have (BIG language warning) a Geordie Apocalypse.

        This is the second time I’ve posted this here, I know. I just can’t get over how funny it is to me.

  22. Eigil says:

    At one point, Josh jumps from the mayor’s office, attempts to land on a pipe, then phases right through it. I’m pretty sure I’ve done the exact same thing with the exact same pipe

    1. You both took the Kitty Pryde perk.

    2. MichaelGC says:

      … the pipe is a lie. We should get Piper onto it. It’s as if the pipe were some sort of … pipe dream?

  23. Ronixis says:

    Kellogg’s name also made me think of a recurring character of the same name in Continuum, a recent sci-fi TV series (which was pretty good, even if the ending part got a bit compressed). Particularly since the main character of Continuum was a woman displaced in time from the year 2077 whose main goal is to be reunited with her family. (She goes the other way in time, however.)

    1. Ramsus says:

      Same here. Which makes me more forgiving about Fallout 4 using it, as maybe it’s just a somewhat more common name than people realize because of the overwhelming awareness of the cereal.

      For example, you wouldn’t make fun of a videogame using a character named Wendy, just because Wendy’s is a well known fast food chain.

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        Kellog is around the 2000th most common last name in the US, about 1 in 17000 people. So the jokes are merited.

  24. Ramsus says:

    I find it weird that Chris knows that there was a light powers related mutant that became a vampire and knows the names of Dazzler and Jubilee…. but doesn’t know that Jubilee is the one that became a vampire. That’s a very narrow band of knowledge and ignorance.

    Also, as was said by someone earlier, I too thought it was funny that Nick said “No accounting for taste” just after Shamus admits to liking wolverine. Probably the thing that made me laugh the most in this episode… aside from that ending.

    Also, as a person who lives in California, I looooooooooved Mumbles’ “california accent”. Please do this more. I love it almost as much as the sound you can hear Josh make when Rutscarn inflicts 10+ points of pun damage to him.

    1. Artur CalDazar says:

      I always forget that vampires are a thing in the marvel universe.

  25. kdansky says:

    Kellog was the guy who came up with the “brilliant” idea of male circumcision in the USA to curb masturbation. It’s his fault that millions of babies get mutilated and a handful die every year during cosmetic baby surgery. I wish I was making this stuff up, but you can google it if you don’t believe me. I know it sounds crazy.

    Introducing baby-killing traditions is plenty evil and menacing to qualify as a name for your villain.

  26. Duoae says:

    Just watching the episode and I have to correct Rutskarn:

    People very much do find and open 100-500 year old bottles of wine – sometimes even from the bottom of the ocean! I know a guy who knew a very highly placed civil servant who would buy these things from diving salvage companies. The majority of the wines would be spoilt but some of them would still be good. My friend was around when he opened one of the good ones and he said it was like nothing he’d ever tasted on the current market.

    Beer’s different though! :D

    And Dogmeat is so stupid! I had left Dogmeat in Sanctuary and had never travelled with him and he just suddenly appeared here – Nick spoke about him as if he were in the party with us! :(

  27. htmlbanjo says:

    This is so after-the-fact that no one will read it anyway, which is about perfect.

    I agree with most of the complaints so far, but the direction of the LetsPlay has started to go all over the place w/r/t theme. We hate the 50s thing now. There’s too many time periods being thrown into the mix. Every companion is neat for a few seconds but mostly sucks. We want it to either be totally serious or totally ridiculous.

    I get that we don’t trust Bethesda to do either the serious/ridiculous notes well, despite all the weird compelling sandboxy stuff that is gamebryo, much the same that I don’t trust Ubisoft to do…well, anything right. What I’m curious to hear is what people *would* do. I have a pretty good mind on what would fix a lot of F4 for me personally, presuming it’s broken after the 600 hours I’ve put in. I’m legitimately really curious to hear what others think is essential to a Fallout game, and what themes and tones they would personally put in if they were to do it “well.” Not perfectly –it’s not a challenge– just…”better.”

    Sincere question asked from legitimate curiosity.

    1. Ninety-Three says:

      I agree with most of the complaints so far, but the direction of the LetsPlay has started to go all over the place w/r/t theme. We hate the 50s thing now. There's too many time periods being thrown into the mix. Every companion is neat for a few seconds but mostly sucks. We want it to either be totally serious or totally ridiculous.

      I think it’s a case of “Anything would have been better”. It’s not that the crew can’t make up their minds, it’s that the quality of F4 is so low that whenever a random “What if it was X instead?” pops into your head, X is probably better than F4 so you find yourself wishing it was X instead.

      As for “What do you want it to be?”, the answer to that question depends on whether we’re talking about the platonic ideal of Fallout, or the real-world artifact that would be produced by the deeply flawed studio that is Bethesda. Realistically, I want them to cut the narrative aspects entirely and tighten up the murderhobo simulator, because that’s the part I believe they can pull off.

      Ideally… I think the soul of Fallout is something that can’t exist in a game from this decade. There’s a mix of dark humour, wacky camp and just plain darkness that you don’t see any more. It’s the kind of roleplaying game where half the content (real content, not just F4’s generic dungeons full of generic raiders) will go unseen by the average player, and that design philosophy is almost extinct even among today’s indie devs.

      Maybe this pessimism is just an elaborate justification for “nothing will ever be as good as the original”, but I believe the original games were a product of their time, and we can’t recapture that spirit without a time machine.

      1. htmlbanjo says:

        Mmm. I think a big reason for my asking is that I’m inclined to agree that you really can’t do a game like this without leaving significant amounts to the imagination. I feel very similarly about Star Control 2. Both have a lot of moving parts, and you can’t really balance them in a “realistic” game world with high resolutions and detailed physics and tons of exposition.

    2. I think the need for fixing the stories involved in Fallout 4 are pretty obvious, so I’ll concentrate on more nuts-and-bolts problems I have with the game. I’d want them to fix the following:

      1. Put in actual role-playing. I want multiple solutions to quests that rely on different skill builds for various resolutions to problems. If my speech is high, I can convince a major NPC to change their mind. If I’m a tank, I can brute force my way through with fists and weapons. If I explored and found some key item or knowledge, I can gain access to a secret way through. To top it all off, that outcome impacts later events (someone being alive or dead, access to a cool weapon, a settlement liking or disliking me, etc.). This also means the game has to make the solution to 99% of the quests something other than “go here and murder everything that moves.”

      2. Put speech options back in that let me see what I’m saying, and make those choices meaningful. “Yes,” “maybe,” “very yes,” and “oh, I guess I might say yes” aren’t choices; they’re a slap in the face. If I have high speech, make those dialog options get me some result other than XP, some more caps, or non-information. I want to convince people to do something or impress them or get them to help me in some meaningful way.

      3. Put in actual factions. In New Vegas, I could influence how each faction reacted to me. I could be seen as neutral, a pal, a thug, a valued ally, or a hated enemy to be shot on sight. Here, it’s “This is a vital quest NPC group that you can’t hurt and you must work for until we decide you can’t” or they’re automatically hostile the second you see them (i.e. The Gunners, the guys at the race track, etc.). Choosing a faction in F4 is like pressing a button to pick a soda flavor. New Vegas had new quests open up depending on how well liked you were by a given group.

      4. Make a more persistent world. In every other Fallout game, apart from containers resetting on occasion, most places stayed the way you left them. In Fallout 4, I can go into Back Street Apparel over and over, and every time I do, there’s the same two tripwire traps near the front counter, the same raiders near the back of the first room, the same raiders on the couch upstairs watching TV, the same turret at the end of the second floor hallway, etc. Nearly every interior space operates in a Groundhog Day reality bubble.

      5. Bring back the Karma system or something like it. Karma is a lot like how Winston Churchill described democracy: it’s the worst possible system apart from all the others. The previous games were pretty arbitrary about what was “good” or “bad,” but it at least gave you a way to make the game respond to how you were playing. If I go out and start mowing down a bunch of people from Faction A, I would expect others in Faction A to start disliking me. If I solve a problem by being kind, generous, and/or just, then those of a similar bent should be more friendly when I’m around. There should also be “neutral” actions that are neither good nor bad and have no effect on my Karma. In Fallout 4, they offload this to the companions. I’m no longer playing my character, I’m trying to guess what it is my companion will or won’t like. That’s metagaming, not role-playing.

      6. Force the skill point/perk system to favor builds, not Doc Savage good-at-everything-eventually characters. Making all skills available to everyone by virtue of inevitably running out of things to use skill points on is crap. There’s no character there, as everyone will end up the same. It adds challenge and replay value if I can play one way as a wasteland hacker and another as a doctor-gunslinger or maybe as a meathead bruiser. With the current setup, I can be all of those things at once, and nothing forces me to make hard or interesting decisions about what skills I want to take.

      7. Specifically to Fallout 4, the current protagonist (the Sole Survivor) should have been an NPC, not the main character. You should have been able to choose where you came from, or you were a nobody who was in another vault or who got frozen in Vault 111 along with the now Sole-but-One survivor. The SS gets to be your first companion, you guide them to Sanctuary, you get the setup about how their kid was stolen, and you can choose to help them or not. The game gives the impression that the SS is actively trying to search for their kid, but this leaves you free to sidequest all you want without that “Shauuuuuun!” thing hanging over your head. When you do quests for finding Shaun, you bring them to the Sole Survivor, who is grateful and maybe has other leads to follow. This lets the parent concentrate on what’s important to them, which is their kid, while you, the actual protagonist, get to make your own story and not have this “do it now, but hey, let’s dick around” plot gumming up the works for you.

      I could go on, but my fingers are tired. Maybe I’ll complain more later. :)

  28. Dirigible says:

    As an Australian, “skippy” isn’t remotely offensive. How would it even BE offensive? It’s a kid’s show about a kangaroo!

    (Heck, I don’t even know how you WOULD make a term offensive about Australians – we call ourselves convicts, and one of our more famous regiments from WWII turned their derogatory moniker into a point of pride – the “Rats of Tobruk”)

  29. Pyrrhic Gades says:

    “Punching board”

    The screen I’m using has such a low resolution it looked more like a punching beard to me.

    Punch that beard! Josh

  30. Blunderbuss09 says:

    As usual, there’s so many better ways that could fix this problem.

    Firstly we know Kellogg is a cyborg. Maybe because of some quirk they smell distinctly different than normal humans (only noticeable by dogs or a synth like Nick) so you can track him. That’d be a great sense of irony and show how Nick is such a great detective – he’s his own police dog. Also you’d get a great line from Nick about he didn’t think that ‘sniffing out clues’ would be so literal.

    Secondly you could his cyborg parts to track him, like how Ada tracked down the Mechanist in the DLC.

    Thirdly, maybe you encountered Kellogg and fought with him but he got away. Then he’d have a fresh wound to follow.

    Goddamn it Bethesda this isn’t hard!

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