Fallout 4 EP20: Bye Kellogg

By Shamus Posted Thursday Jul 14, 2016

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 159 comments

Link (YouTube)

We talked about building magazine racks for the comic collection you can build in this game. This is the largest my library ever got:

Collected during a hardcore permadeath run. That's not as hard as it sounds, since I also have a mod to take the level restrictions off of perks.
Collected during a hardcore permadeath run. That's not as hard as it sounds, since I also have a mod to take the level restrictions off of perks.

The scene where you’re railroaded into picking a fight with Kellogg is a disaster. A farce. A sad mockery of every possible definition of “roleplaying game”.

So Bethesda gives us a voiced protagonist, but then refuses to give them a discernible personality. So we have a… voiced blank slate? Then they put us into a conversation with a character where THE OTHER PERSON is willing to make peace, but after weeks of dicking around punching radroaches and building shacks for Preston Garvey, our no-personality character is overcome with bloodlust. Our avatar insists on picking a fight while surrounded, after giving up the element of surprise. But it’s not enough that our character is an incoherent, tactically inept dipshit. We’re made to participate in this stupidity by initiating the fight from a four-options-but-only-one-choice dialog wheel.

Here are some options that the player might want to consider if this were an actual roleplaying game:

  1. Kellogg seems to know some stuff. He knows what happened to your kid. He might know where Shawn is. He knows the reason for the attack. He knows how reach / contact the Institute. Let’s continue the conversation and pump him for information by using things like dialog and speech skills and charisma.
  2. If we brought some sort of hard-to-find proof that the Institute used this whole incident as a way to dispose of Kellogg, then he might be miffed enough to switch teams. Maybe he feels bad about what he did to us (and a lot of other people) and he’s looking for a path towards redemption?
  3. Maybe we want to pump him for info, pretend to part on amicable terms, and then ambush him once we’re in a more advantageous position?
  4. Maybe we conclude that he’s just a hired gun, and that – having become a hired gun ourselves – we decide to leave him alive.
  5. Maybe we want to leave him alive in the hopes that he’ll call or visit his employer and we can tail him.
  6. Maybe we don’t want to talk to him at all and want to sneak in through some secret way and backstab him.
  7. Or maybe we want to stagger into the open, get surrounded, fail to ask any useful questions, and then pick a fight in the open while telegraphing our intentions before drawing a weapon.

I understand games can’t have limitless choice, but the only choice available to us is the most brazenly idiotic and unsatisfying possible. Here we have a roleplaying game that flies apart if you attempt to roleplay anything other than an INT:1 berserker thug. The game pretends to offer us choice to get our hopes up, and then dashes those hopes by forcing us to do the thing we’re least likely to want. If you’re only going to have one choice, then that choice should at least be sort of “most obvious road / path of least resistance”.

This game is diabolical in its misguided wrongness.


From The Archives:

159 thoughts on “Fallout 4 EP20: Bye Kellogg

  1. Apropos of nothing, for a few frames in VATS, Reginald looked kind of bad ass thanks to his sunglasses not being properly shaded.

    Very “terminator chic.”

    1. Christopher says:

      I noticed that too. He looks awesome in silhouette, between the chef’s hat and knife he looks like some kind of butcher monster.

    2. Gruhunchously says:

      “Marion, don’t look at it. Shut your eyes, Marion. Don’t look at it, no matter what happens!”

    3. Paul Spooner says:

      +1 pretty badass. Happens at 1:52 btw.
      Looks like the shader for the sunglasses is on a layer in front of the steam/smoke effect… which makes almost as much sense as the story.

  2. Couscous says:

    I recall the UESP being around before wikis were even really a thing and sort of just eventually becoming one. The best wikis are the ones that attract a bunch of nerds that pay a ton of attention to detail and care about getting everything just exactly right.

    1. tmtvl says:

      Yeah, personally I love Memory Alpha, which has been around since back in 2003.

    2. Da Mage says:

      UESP was a very basic ’90s’ website when I first used it. Then once wiki technology was available they slowly ported over. If I remember correctly, it had a similar colour scheme to the original Bethesda forums, lots of green and brown.

      Now they are have to compete with the Elder Scrolls wiki which before the moderators cracked down on it, had users just copying pasting stuff over from UESP. At this point, UESP is better for anything pre-skyrim, but Elder Scrolls wiki and UESP are both usefull and can have different info for Skyrim.

      1. some one says:

        I cannot fathom why anyone would use the ad-riddled, cumbersome monstrosity called Wikia, but for some reason many do. I will forever prefer UESP since the pages load snappily due to the lack of ads and because I’m not being assaulted with a dozen different MMORPG adverts.

        1. GloatingSwine says:

          I can’t fathom why people voluntarily browse the internet without adblock.

          Web ads have reached a critical mass of irritation and intrusiveness that means they need to go away now.

          1. Cardigan says:

            I turn off adblock if I like the content, want to support the creator, and know that the ads they allow aren’t particularly annoying (Project Wonderful, for example). But those sites are far and few between these days.

        2. Decius says:

          Wikia’s business model is stealing content from well-maintained wikis and plastering obnoxious ads all over it.

  3. Gruhunchously says:

    Well then, guess Kelloggs just a little bit krispy now that honey has smacked him around a bit. He probably should have started smarter when dealing with his flaky frosted adversary.

    Should have pop’ed him when he had the chance.

    1. He just didn’t have enough points in his S.P.E.C.I.A.L.s, K? And it’s not like you had a good Raisin to dig out his Bran implant.

      1. Cardigan says:

        *distant screams of agony*

        1. Sleeping Dragon says:

          I feel you, these puns are rather… corny.

      2. MrGuy says:

        I can understand that. I really never got the hang of the Alpha Bits of the game either…

        1. Bryan says:

          And his various and sundry lucky charms didn’t even help him.

          I guess we’ll just have to wave cheerio, and move along.

          (On the Alpha Bits — that’s OK, the devs didn’t really get the hang of alpha blending either; see a few comment threads up with the sunglasses…)

      3. Scourge says:

        Kellogs Special K’s .

        Are we sure that the name Kellogs wasn’t chose deliberately because of those puns? Because its to much of a coincidence. Special System. Kellogs.

        I mean, look at it.

      4. Fred B-C says:

        Don’t flake out: keep on making these puns. They’re great!

    2. Incunabulum says:

      You. You’re on ‘The List’.

      Now, where can I find a woodchipper repair manual?

  4. Wide And Nerdyâ„¢ says:

    In Wasteland 2 you could have a smoking habit. I never bothered with it but if I recall, I think you had to specify that you were already addicted.

    1. Joshua says:

      I thought you just specified which brand of smokes you started with, or if you didn’t want any?

    2. Incunabulum says:

      You can specify the brand you smoke (and you’ll start with a pack of them) but I’ve never seen them do anything or anything else come of it. Its like selecting your religion – its not remarked upon in the game itself in anyway.

      1. Spiritbearr says:

        I’d use it to end a turn it didn’t do anything besides waste 1ap though

  5. ZekeCool says:

    Amusingly, the most fun run I ever had was the one where I *did* play as a crazy, INT:1, Barbarian Thug. I decided he always hated his family, his wife, his whole happy little boring life and had found himself once he came to the Wasteland. A lot of fun, even if the bland voice acting still kind of killed it when I was dragged into a cutscene.

    1. Kelerak says:

      He’s a very sophisticated madman.

    2. Lachlan the Mad says:

      Isn’t that exactly the character that Reginald Cuftbert is?

  6. MichaelGC says:

    Pfft, that were all splash damage. (By the way, the implants survive just fine even if you hit him right in the face with two nukes, I found.) I do not know what’s going on with that conversation – it feels almost as if the kind of options you’re talking about were removed at some point. As Campster says, that ‘let’s talk’…

    Anyway, thoroughly jealous of that comic collection. I’ve been basically copying this approach (live at the gas station; focus on collecting; … dick about) and it has finally stopped me bouncing off the game, which is nice! And, coincidentally I’d just rolled up an INT: 1 thug, so I feel as though I’m doing something right. :D (Or, perhaps let’s not go that far … proceeding in a manner with aspects which can be described as positive, let’s say.)

    1. Chauzuvoy says:

      Not only do the implants survive fine, but I was playing an energy weapon character, managed to disintegrate him, and recovered the implants just fine from the pile of ashes.

      I know this is kind of a genre thing with the fallout games, but it still felt even worse here. This isn’t someone’s clothes or gun surviving, this is like digging their brain out after you disintegrated their brain. At least for that bounty quest in new vegas where you had to bring the NCR guy the heads of a few raiders they made the quest recognize whether you killed them in a way that preserved head.

      1. Three-Card Bounty was the only quest in that entire game where I didn’t go for headshots.

        This is with over 2,100 hours in that game, for reference.

      2. In this case, it would’ve been interesting if nuking Kellogg got you the barest info needed to continue the quest, while having skills to repair the implant, killing him without damaging his head, or (if there was a non-violent option) a way to use skills/discovery to extract the info without killing him got you more useful info or options down the road.

    2. Cardigan says:

      Huh. You would’ve thought they could have disabled disintegration on ’em as a plot-important NPC.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        As a somewhat related anecdote in Skyrim there’s a quest where you need to recover something or other from a tomb (it may actually be the quest for the horn but I’m not sure) at the end of which you fight three ghosts. On my first playthrough I was pretty certain the game was entirely broken because as soon as I finished that fight I was cutscene frozen with nothing happening no matter how long I waited. It took me a little while to figure what was happening, after the fight the three ghosts bow or kneel or something like that in front of the grave and during the battle at least one would fall victim to my disintegrate perk not letting the cutscene play properly.

        Bottom line? The implant surviving is meh but at least it doesn’t break the game.

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I wouldnt call randomly sitting down in a building full of stuff that is constantly trying to kill you normal.

    1. Cardigan says:

      “Whew, I’m beat. Mind taking out the rest of those synths? Gotta take a smoke break.”

  8. Gruhunchously says:

    The impression I’m getting is that Bethesda started the project all full of enthusiasm and brimming with new ideas and story beats, taking points from Skyrim and New Vegas when appropriate, and all ready to set up a half decent plot about parenting, relative morality, and a bit of trans-humanism, then about halfway through the project they ran out of time or shifted their priorities. So they kept the story beats and just…forgot to finish them for whatever reason. They just slapped together the bare minimum necessary for the final product and pushed it out.

    1. silver Harloe says:

      Maybe they’re expanding, and had their A team start it and then gave this to their B team while their A team works on like ESO or ES6?

      1. Decus says:

        The lead writer for FO4 was the same as the lead writer for FO3 and the quality is similarly bad. I don’t think there is an “A-team” at bethesda when it comes to writing. The “brimming with enthusiasm” part is correct in that he was excited to write for a game set in his home town–about as excited as he was collecting heads on shelves in FO3–but enthusiasm can only get you so far if you’re inherently a horrible writer.

        1. lurkey says:

          I imagine this guy must be really nice, cool and extremely well-loved by coworkers, so nobody has the heart to tell him his writing sucks. Or send anonymous e-mails with links to opinions.

          1. Coming_Second says:

            He will have seniority and the ability to get people all pulling in one general direction for a deadline.

            And Bethesda’s Fallout games are as immensely popular as the ES games. You can argue that’s because they’re basically operating in a market of one, but the fact remains they sell brilliantly, so Bethesda are under zero pressure to change their writers.

      2. Sleeping Dragon says:

        I’m so frustrated with this that I’m tempted to say “F this explanation” and leave it at that but that would be needlessly hostile and wouldn’t really contribute to the discussion.

        First, even if this was the case this is no excuse, especially if you’re not releasing something like a “fun multiplayer shooter” where plot is secondary consideration. This is an AAA (theorethically) storydriven game released at what, 60 Euro? You deserve to get what you pay for and at this price I think it’s justified to expect a studio to put their A game for their AAA GOTY title.

        Second, personally I’m sick and tired of hearing this after Bioware. This was used to excuse the quality of DA2, ME3 and some people even call upon it when discussing (parts of) DA3.

        1. silver Harloe says:

          The question mark was because I have no idea what goes on there. I don’t have an explanation, I just had an idea. I try to think positive and give people the benefit of the doubt. I wanted to think of a reason things turned out poorly that didn’t paint everyone as incompetent, that didn’t assign them bad motives, that didn’t insult anyone. I’m very likely wrong, but I wanted to imagine a scenario where they made a “good” decision that happened to work poorly :/

          1. Sleeping Dragon says:

            Ahh, where we disagree is that this decision wouldn’t paint anyone as incompetent. Assigning a B quality (and I’m being charitable here) writing team to your flagship title would be the very epitome of incompetence to me. Again, we’re discussing a hypothetical scenario, albeit one that I’m particularly sore about, and I hope that my hostility towards the idea did not sound like I’m lashing against you personally.

    2. Decius says:

      I think “Set up the bare bones of a great plot, but didn’t have the time or money to fill in all the meat” is a pretty good description. There’s so much promise and so little delivery.

  9. Ilseroth says:

    So up until Kellogg I had kinda given the game a free pass (minus the whole Deathclaw/Power Armor start.) I had been enjoying rolling around the landscape and while the main story had been kinda dumb, I enjoyed everything else about walking around the wasteland so whatever.

    But Kellogg was the first situation that arose where I *couldn’t* choose to do anything but be a murderous asshat. I replayed it a bunch of times, exhausting every. single. option. None of them let me do anything but murder him.

    So I kept slogging forward I still enjoyed the side things, I joined every main faction right up until you get the choice to be a murderer again, but this time you get to choose *who* you murder. I didn’t like any of the factions particularly, but I didn’t want to straight up murder them.

    I could see a proper RPG allowing me to take over the institute as a double agent, come to a collaborative tech exchange with the brotherhood then help the railroad get as many synths that want to escape out as possible, quietly, like a stealth spy organization should.

    As soon as every quest I could take for the main quest was “murder other side” I just gave up on it. Haven’t played FO4 since.

    1. Decius says:

      I’dike to see instutite/ brotherhood staunchly refusing to help you ever at all ever again because you “went native”, rather than reconciling.

      That would require better motivations for both of them.

    2. Kamica says:

      What I wanted to do was
      Run the institute but be nice to the synths But apparently even that isn’t really an option >.>

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Thats an impressive rack you have there Shamus.Quite appropriate that you share it with us now that you are playing huniepop.

    1. Cardigan says:

      Huniepop is that game where kawaii waifus call each other sluts, right?

      1. IFS says:

        Its a match 3 puzzle game attached to a ‘dating sim’ and some softcore porn. Also the voice acting is hilarious, only one of the characters calls others sluts iirc and she’s hilariously over the top bitchy. The puzzle mechanics are actually quite well designed imo, and the game can be pretty relaxing to play.

        1. KarmaTheAlligator says:

          The music is rather nice, too.

          1. IFS says:

            Your link doesn’t seem to be working for me.

            1. Cardigan says:

              Here’s a direct link for ya then:


    2. Paul Spooner says:

      Totally! All… four of them?

  11. Wide And Nerdyâ„¢ says:

    Anybody know what happens if you don’t loot the key “stuff” off of Kellogg?

    The way the dialog plays out at Piper’s office, its almost like the game was expecting that you’d leave that stuff and then come back for it after the conversation.

    Lets put it this way, our private eye Nick doesn’t seem to be aware that you took Kellogg’s brain. For that matter, Piper doesn’t notice either. Not till you mention it to them.

    It reads like one of those scenarios where the scene is supposed to play a certain way but the writers went back and wrote alternate dialog in case you did some sequence breaking.

    1. According to the Wiki, you just have to go back and get the brain thingie, so it probably persists indefinitely.

      I’m kind of glad you can get it early and save yourself a trip. There are a few quests where I grabbed some oddball thing and just stuck it in my inventory, figuring it would be needed later. More often than not, it was.

      1. djw says:

        Judging from the bodies laying about in my settlements, everything is permanent in Fallout 4.

        1. Wide And Nerdy says:

          It could be survival mode. I know it slows down cell resets with the intended purpose of allowing you to clear out areas slowly and methodically but it could also have the unintended effect of letting this clutter pile up (or maybe its intentional so you can go back and forth fully looting bodies over multiple trips which could compensate for the risky nature of Survival mode combat.)

          1. James says:

            Some things i’ve noticed are hardcoded to re spawn or always be loaded, the bodies outside of sanctuary are one them, i’ve moved them off the road only for them to come back, i’ve disabled them in the console only for them to come back. it can be very very annoying.

            1. Incunabulum says:

              That’s weird – I’ve never had them come back.

              Are you using ‘Disable’ *followed by* ‘MarkForDelete’

              You need to do both to get things properly removed.

          2. Fists says:

            Within settlement boundaries all clutter is persistent, most other areas are cleared after a certain amount of time then respawn after another period. Not sure if you have to be allied with a settlement for it to become persistent or if they all are from the start.

        2. Bladed weapons can hack up corpses, right?

          Can energy weapons disintegrate them?

          1. Michael says:

            No. That proc needs to trigger on death. The same for plasma; you can’t goo a corpse.

            1. Wide And Nerdyâ„¢ says:

              That should be a mod option. I’d love to be able to disintegrate things for disposal. Have blasted things form goo heaps and then disappear after a few days. (Or have the goo be recyclable. Like in New Vegas)

              1. That only happened with More Perks installed. The vanilla game actually had a bug where the ash/goo piles wouldn’t despawn.

    2. acronix says:

      If you kill all the people of Covenant, their bodies remain there forever. I imagine Kellog’s body does the same and persists through cell resets. That, or maybe the cell of the fort doesn’t reset.

      1. I think it depends on if that cell has more quests or not. I’ve killed the raiders in Back Street Apparel more times than I can count. It’s always the same raiders, traps, and turrets in the same locations (unless a quest adds a few extras). It’s like a time loop where I can kill & loot everyone and wait for their quantum state to reset.

        1. Cardigan says:

          The existential horror of being those raiders… It’s like Groundhog’s Day or something.

          1. I would forgive SO MANY of Bethesda’s sins if these respawning raiders had dialog changes after the third time you’ve murdered them. Instead of the usual “Huh?” or “Thought I heard somethin’,” it’d change to “I can’t do this again, man!” or “Us dyin’ was just a dream, right? RIGHT?!”

            1. Ninety-Three says:

              We’re fools to imagine that sort of behaviour from an engine where you can shoot a man in the head and thirty seconds later hear “Must have imagined it”, but god do I want that. I’m picturing some raider spelling out “HELP” by arranging coffee cups and ashtrays, then an oblivious player hoovering them all up to build more water purifiers.

              Yeah the party don’t stop ’cause it’s a Fallout party.

              1. Even better: If you want to kill the raiders later, they’ll be hiding from you. When you find the closets and bathrooms they’re holed up in, they’ll have locked doors with land mines in front of them.

  12. James Porter says:

    So there are tons of different ways you could have made the interaction with Kellogg cool, but the one I would want is for them to tip their hand at the extended cryo time. How great would it be to find Kellogg this feeble, weak old man who barely remembers anything about himself, but then you have to go into his memories(violent, or just convincing him to go to the memory den). I kind of like the idea you guys had about a synth Kellogg too.

    Maybe you would have two leads or something, and depending on which one you did it would react. Maybe even have this mission be the replacement for killing the coarser(It may be cool, I haven’t done it yet).

    I don’t want to Monday Morning Quarterback all this, and I know games are really hard to make, especially ones this big(probably had to cut a ton of stuff too), but I do find myself seeing glimpses of how they could get this silly game to actually be effective, and still be about player exploration and expression.

    1. Sunshine says:

      “How great would it be to find Kellogg this feeble, weak old man who barely remembers anything about himself, but then you have to go into his memories”

      That would be a perfect use for the Memory Den, and a much better way to do that. He could even be willing to cooperate because the Institute cut him off once he was no longer useful to them and he bears a grudge against them.

      1. Content Consumer says:

        The whole thing with Kellog, including the confrontation in his lair but most particularly the whole bit in the Memory Den and his memories could have been really well done. There’s a great story buried in there, about a scared child, turning into a man who tried to do good, his tragedy mirroring your own, his fall into the habits of the pure definition of “mercenary,” the confrontation, his death… his thoughts, dreams, fears, hopes, and desires. It could have been a truly emotionally engaging part of the game. It’s got some great pieces, excellent storytelling and worldbuilding, but it comes off as shallow and rushed.

        I’m not really sure if that’s the fault of the story, or simply that it’s capsized by the crap that came before. I might even be mentally marginalizing it because of what came after. Kellog’s memories in particular are really well done, but the way they’re presented, with Amari’s tugging voice and some of the graphical part (purple neurons? really?) reduces their impact considerably. You’re watching a man’s personal tragedy and loss and how it mirrors your own, and seeing what became of him afterward, Hollywood would definitely give that movie a green light… but then you’re ripped out of it by Amari’s presence in particular and the visual aspect of Kellog’s “memories” being physically represented by glowing dendrites and axons.

        There was the potential in the Memory Den for some great visual storytelling backed by personal narration, and they fucked it up with stupid visuals and a handholding guide.

        1. James Porter says:

          I wanna talk about it more when we get to the Memory Den itself, but I find it interesting how the Memory Den feels tonally different than anywhere else it the game. I actually suspect it was made by a passionate employee.It has so much work put into it, and it even used some Walking Simulator DNA in there to make it engaging.

          I know Bethesda sometimes gives jobs to modders, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the guy responsible had made some story driven mods in the past.

          1. Sleeping Dragon says:

            I’m waiting for the season to acutally reach it as maybe my spite towards the scene was just venting my overall frustration with the game but I had the exact opposite impressions of the Memory Den sequence: trite, blind application of tropes meant to pull at heartstrings and create empathy but with utter tone deafness and no relevance to the game.

          2. Wide And Nerdyâ„¢ says:

            It didn’t grab me at all. The moment they started trying to pull this “Kellogg is misunderstood and we’re not so different” crap, I was out.

            I don’t just kill defenseless people. Kellogg could have easily just wrestled the baby away from the spouse under the circumstances.

            Also, there’s only so much you can do to speed through that sequence on subsequent playthroughs (and you need to in order to trigger the Prydwen’s arrival opening up the part of the game where the most stuff is happening, giving you the most stuff to do.) You can run past all the memories except the last one (and I do) but you still have to experience that last one.

            Sticking a tedious linear walking simulator experience in the middle of the main quest of an open ended game like this was a bad idea.

            1. IFS says:

              “I don't just kill defenseless people.”

              That’s right, you kill defenseless and armed people alike, you don’t discriminate by race, gender, age or armament in your murder sprees!

              1. Wide And Nerdyâ„¢ says:

                Wrong. Maybe you do in game but I find the combat tedious even with the improvements and so don’t fight anyone who isn’t attacking me (and sometimes I run).

                The game is making assumptions about my character once again. Just like when the game presumes that I will attack Kellogg.

                1. IFS says:

                  I’ve never played FO4 and don’t intend to buy it, I was just poking fun at your wording.

                  1. Wide And Nerdyâ„¢ says:

                    I sincerely apologize. I completely missed that in spite of your bolding.

                    That was funny.

    2. Gethsemani says:

      The confrontation with Kellogg is excellent to juxtapose with the confrontation of Benny in New Vegas. Both has you finally track down a person that you hold a grudge against and against whom you want revenge. Confronting Kellogg means walking up to him and telling him so and then having a traditional shoot out with him and his synths. Confronting Benny allows you to kill him in the open (with or without talking to him first and with or without striking a deal with casino security), luring him into a secluded area to kill him, forgiving him, not confronting him at all or even sleeping with him (and him slipping away afterwards).

      The difference in the amount of player choice and reactivity within the quest speaks loads about the difference in focus between Bethesda and more old school RPG developers like Obsidian. Just imagine how awesome the Kellogg questline could have been in one of their games.

  13. Grudgeal says:

    Poor Kellogg. It almost looks like he’s aware of the running commentary and just stands around being polite while the voices debate about how much they hate the fact they’re going to have to kill him once they pick an option to talk.

  14. JackDaDipper says:

    So Shamus, what is your opinion on Frank Horrigin from Fallout 2? If you walk up and talk to him he initiates combat and tries to kill you, but do you think the speech check you can drop on the nearby Enclave squad and the turrets you can reprogram to kill him for you make it a clever subversion of the last game’s boss, or is it the developer cheating?

    1. Writiosity says:

      Cheating? No. That’s called providing options for non-combat-focused character builds who might have virtually no chance at actually defeating him. This was back when combat was a choice, remember.

      1. Aitch says:

        Not to forget the best endboss superweapon of the game : the Mutated Toe.

    2. IFS says:

      You could also walk up to him with a six pack of beer and shove it in him until his perception dropped so low he’d never hit you.

      1. Incunabulum says:

        Well, it is beer, and the best kind of beer is free beer. Can’t say no to free beer.

      2. Echo Tango says:

        Even better than that is using a bunch of super stimpacks on an annoying NPC, then waiting for them to wear off, whereupon the combined health drain drops them to below 0 HP and they die. :)

  15. PlasmaPony says:

    Besides all the other horrible dumb railroady things in this questline, the kicker for me what that your PC randomly scoops up Kellogg’s brain and sticks it in their pocket, along with his random cyborg parts. Without the context given by the later quest needing it, there’s literally zero reason for this to be an option for your character. I understand that they don’t want you to have to run back and get it again, but still, it’s utterly absurd. If a character has to do something so nonsensical to easily progress the quest, you need to go back to the drawing board. But then, that describes the entire questline, from Kellogg leaving an absurd trail of carnage to his hideout despite having been gone a while all the way to sticking random gore in your pocket for no reason

    1. Cardigan says:

      It’d be nice if Nick suggested doing so earlier, since he’s a synth and knows a lot about the inner workings of the Institute. Like maybe there’s a tracking device in Coursers’ brains that would be able to lead you straight to their base or whatever.

      1. Sunshine says:

        He says he doesn’t know much about the Institute because they wiped it from his memory before dumping him.

    2. That brings up the whole “synth part” item as well. If you kill a human-like synth, you find this bit of tech that tells you it was a synth.

      If that’s in their brain, you’ve been searching craniums the whole game.

    3. Axe Armor says:

      Again, the story just makes more sense if you roleplay the sort of person who rips out the spines of their defeated enemies to keep as trophies.

      I justified it by building a robobrain afterwards and naming it “Kellogg”. Now he may atone for his crimes by protecting the Commonwealth he once terrorized, serving as the central processing unit of one of my multitudes of Mecha-Men. Such is the mercy of the mighty Mechanist, Master of Massachusetts.

  16. JohnnyComeLately says:

    The not quiet blank slate protagonist really feels like beth is cheating. You can be a crazy cannibal merc in 90% of the game but once you hit the main quest it’s back to being an overly protective parent who has some anger issues.

  17. Paul Spooner says:

    I’m kind of curious if Rutskarn’s Chef smear can be in any way corroborated.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Oh, that reminds me: George Orwell’s Down & Out in Paris & London is great on the subject of what it’s like in a kitchen, so for the likely vanishingly-small percentage of folk who both find that sort of thing interesting and haven’t read it already: they should get right on that; they’ll love it.

    2. Rutskarn says:

      Short version: it was jerky of me to generalize something like that.

      Cooking jobs at popular restaurants are incredibly demanding and high-pressure employments. Most people wash out. People who don’t find different ways to vent the tremendous stress.

      1. mechaninja says:

        I have a good friend that runs a restaurant back east. His description of everyone who works for him is slightly terrifying, as a person who likes to eat at restaurants.

      2. “Jerky?” Really? REALLY?!

      3. Ninety-Three says:

        Are you suggesting it’s not that kitchens hire criminals, but that working in a kitchen turns you into a criminal?

        1. Rutskarn says:

          Okay, so I have ABSOLUTELY ZERO firsthand experience. But from head chef memoirs like the ones mentioned in this thread–it’s sort of both.

          It’s a hard job with demanding hours and not amazing pay, but at least your job is secure and they’ll take anyone who can do the work. This turns off most people, but many of the ones who can stick with it are people who have trouble fitting into society. That might include people with criminal records or people who require rigid and uncompromising schedules to keep themselves together.

          And like I said, it’s an unbelievably hard job. With any intense time-focused attention-demanding job, a market for substances develops. This aspect’s taken both from chef memoirs/interviews and from drug culture pieces, actually.

          1. Wide And Nerdyâ„¢ says:

            When I worked as a driver over a decade ago, we seemed to have a lot of people who had criminal backgrounds, used drugs, or who would later be busted. Not that they don’t exist in office environments but I sure heard a lot more about it back then. Could just be that the type of work led to more chatter.

          2. Majere says:

            Every restaurant kitchen I’ve worked in has been staffed by a ragtag team of misfits with a colourful mix of substance abuse problems and personality disorders and from what I’ve seen it’s because kitchens don’t really care about anything but your ability to do the job even if you can barely function beyond that.

          3. Ninety-Three says:

            Jeez, and here I thought I was jokingly picking at your phrasing.

      4. Guile says:

        Hey, I’m with you on that one Rutskarn. I read Kitchen Confidential too.

      5. Thomas Adamson says:

        Having worked in many hospitality environments for an extensive period I’ll add some more factors that are at play here.

        1) Alcohol. For most working people booze is not something that is readily available at their workplace. And even at that straitlaced of establishments a certain amount of alcohol consumption will got unnoticed or will be ignored unless it becomes a serious problem.

        2) Work-hours. When chefs get off work there are few recreational or social activities that are not drinking. Worse they’re probably working a split if not a 14 hour shift that sees them arriving in the morning for prep and ending late after service.

        3) This does not run true for all cooks. Or even most cooks. Most have a few drinks then sensibly go home. Some even treat the job like a nurse or factory worker on late shift and are out clean at the end of shift. But the people you notice are the loudest, the trashiest, those most prone to drug-seeking, womanising (or man-enising?) alcohol-dependent behaviour that fills the void where most people would have family (Who are asleep if they have them), fitness (not at 11pm with tired feet) or saner hobbies (I’ve seen one hospitality post work DnD group – drugs and alcohol were still very present).

    3. Mormegil says:

      I know one guy who used to work as a chef. He quit because his perception of the industry matched Rutskarn’s description – his exact words were “the hospitality industry is not very [email protected]#$ing hospitable.”

    4. Peter H. Coffin says:

      He’s being a little sweeping and indulging in some hyperbole, but inaccurate, no… I spent five years in restaurants, from washing dishes to show-cooking and restaurants are … well … they’re a brotherhood. Who spend a lot of time talking about screwing your sister. There is a lot of theft, but there’s an element of “As long as it’s not TOO much…” and a lot of drug use with a “coke and meth, maybe, but heroin is bad news”, and as long as you’re not too drunk to be around knives and fire, we’ll let it slide. And the crew mostly exchange that for reliability — dead, hospital or jail are the only excuses for not showing up for your shift. Someone from the dinner gang turns out to be dead, in hospital or in jail and there’s gonna be someone who’s willing to stay for another six hours. With the implicit understanding that you’re gonna close up short one porterhouse and a six-pack at the end of the night, and there’s gonna be some preferential treatment when it comes to early cuts for the next couple of days. 40-hour work weeks may be a myth even if they’re reported that way, but there’s gotta be an attempt.

  18. MrGuy says:

    This is actually where I quit playing FO4 for several weeks.

    My character was going for a stealth build, and I tended not to travel with companions because they tend to get in the way of that. I missed the nuke launcher, so I had primarily ranged weapons and little melee.

    There was just no good way to do this fight. You’re basically forced to go toe-to-toe and slug it out with a combat-oriented character, with zero chance at stealth or surprise. Even cheating as much as I can I had trouble getting much past the bit where he runs away and heals without dying.

    Fuck that encounter.

    1. acronix says:

      Considering how little the conversation actually matters and how it always railroads you into killing him, the best tactic is to backtrack as soon as he comes out of his cover and throw a thousand grenades in the room.

  19. IFS says:

    I think the reason so many people missed the Nuke Launcher might be tied back to an issue Hbomberguy brought up in his Fallout 3 review, the game trains you to just follow the arrow or icon on the compass vacuuming up garbage/loot as you go. You don’t pay attention to the scenery only to that arrow, its the same thing that made so many people miss Liberty Prime in that game.

    1. KarmaTheAlligator says:

      Dunno, I do the opposite. The arrows is there and I ignore it until I know I’ve seen everything else. I have a tendency to go the correct way when left to my own devices (and I end up cursing a lot because I wanted to explore first), but with that way point, I know which direction to avoid.

  20. Aitch says:

    Strangely enough, I’m feeling a bit of an itch to play this sorta game after swearing them off since Fallout 3…

    Have to ask though, is it possible to play through 4 without going near the main plot? Like just play it as a pure sandbox, set up settlements, wander the wastes, etc? Or are there hard caps on progression dependent on triggering plot points? Maybe modded?

    Or maybe do you think New Vegas modded might be more appropriate for that sort of endeavor? And would either one even run properly on a 2gig GTX680 overclock?

    Appreciate any feedback, or recommendations for different titles that may offer similar things.

    1. James Porter says:

      The Bethesda itch is a real thing! I’ve had this very feeling plenty of times. I would say you can play Fallout 4 just fine without doing the main quest, but I’ve found that by making the main quest my secondary quest, it doesnt bug me as much.

      Specifically I’ve heard great, amazing things about Far Harbor, and some of the most fun I had in Skyrim was using Alternate Start to play a refugee from Morrowind, start on Solstiem, and earn enough money to go to the mainland. So maybe you could do something like that?

      And I just got done with a New Vegas run(its what gave me the itch for 4 actually) and that game is still great to play. I did the DLC for the first time and that overall was a pretty great experience(Finally did something other than Yes Man too!)

      As for computer stuff, I am unsure and would probs defer to a more knowledgeable person anyway.

      1. Ciennas says:

        I have literally sank three days total into playing this game. A friend was kind enough to lend me the required hardware.

        And yeah. Far Harbor is a much better written piece of content. You have two and a half factions, and you end up siding with one of the three big names on the island and can even carefully maneuever for peace. And at no point does it deign to assign any motivation beyond hunt for a runaway, and even that can be easily dropped away to just roam the island.

        It still has the frustrating don’t tell you what your character’s about to say, so I constantly get drawn out of the experience.

        Trying to avoid mods until after I finish the main plot.

        1. There’s apparently a chance that Bethesda lifted a quest in Far Harbor directly from a New Vegas mod.

          That quest would be Brain-Dead, and the mod Autumn Leaves.

          1. Ciennas says:

            I dunno. I played Autumn Leaves. And I’ve played the quest you’re referring to. (Not finished, because the game bugged out, but you know. Bethesda.) But I did get to like just shy of the final confrontation.

            So having played both, I’d say one might have inspired the other, but they are wildly different conclusions.

            So both are murder mysteries. But aside from some superficial resemblance, neither are about the same thing at all.

            Autumn Leaves focuses on the growth and development of AI, and what makes a person.

            Further, while in both you get to meet the murderer, nobody bothers with disguises in Autumn Leaves. And Autumn Leaves had a true villain well beyond the murderer, who in that case was more pawn than villain.

            Far Harbor’s murder mystery has some fantastic trappings, but at heart is pretty straightforward.

            I was surpised pleasantly by both though.

            Both were a refreshing change of pace from the quests outside of them. Both were slow paced and methodical, but neither felt like identical.

            I feel like this might just be a flashmob. Though Bethesda is welcome to admit to it, I just don’t see it.

  21. Mormegil says:

    In New Vegas you had even more reason to be angry at Benny and it still gave you the option to say “hey, whatevs, here’s a stealthboy.”

    In FO4 Kellogg is guilty of about the same level of heinousness as the average player character so I was never that cranky with him. The game didn’t give me enough time with spouse and baby to get angry about their loss.

    I always wanted to take the “you’re a mercenary, I’m a mercenary, why don’t we talk this over like the non-ideological professionals that we are?” approach. With the obvious difference being that I would never leave witnesses like Kellogg did.

    1. Gruhunchously says:

      From a role-playing perspective, I always appreciated that you could use Black Widow to lure Benny into bed with you, and then not kill him. Just let him walk away. And when you meet him later, you can do everything you can to save him from Legion, even if it means picking a fight with Caesar’s Praetorians.

      You could basically play as some strangely obsessive Courier who genuinely fell in love with the guy who shot her in the head, and who followed him to Vegas not to get revenge, but to get his number-so to speak.

      1. James Porter says:

        I loved that option too! There is something evocative about seducing someone in order to kill them, just to have a change of heart and roll over. And Benny totally does not deserve that, as he has booked it out without even making you breakfast.

        I don’t think I know how to describe that type of arc in story terms, but I like it.

    2. SoranMBane says:

      And, hell, even beyond just killing him or letting him live, there is a huge number of options for dealing with Benny, and any of them could say something interesting about what sort of person your character is. Do you want to confront him openly? Seduce him and kill him in his sleep? Sneak into his room and wait for him? Snipe him from across the casino lobby without ever talking to him? Let him escape and decide his fate at the Fort? Stealthboy past his guards and shove some dynamite up his ass? The choice is yours.

      Here, it kinda seems like Bethesda saw that and wanted to have a similar moment where you finally confront your nemesis who wronged you and who you’ve been hunting up until now, but they didn’t understand what made the moment in New Vegas interesting. What could have been a cool roleplaying moment just becomes another dumb track on Bethesda’s railroad.

      1. James Porter says:

        So if the defining difference between New Vegas and 3 are choice vs atmosphere, the mishandling of Kellogg makes a lot of sense. It really does seem like Bethesda tried to copy New Vegas in a buch of ways, and I hadn’t considered that Kellogg could be a version of Benny until now. It makes total sense though.

        But the reason Benny is interesting isn’t just confronting him, it really is the various different ways you could confront him. Fallout 4 only has the skeleton of confronting him.

        A new Critic I found, Noah Caldwell-Gervais began his video talking about the distinction between Fallout as an attitude regarding game design, or as a Brand with recognisable quirks , and asking which is more important to Fallout. Its probably both, but that attitude is way more important.

        1. SoranMBane says:

          It’s almost kind of poetic how, despite being named after a namebrand food, Kellogg comes across as a bland, generic knockoff of a character from a better game. He even has the signature cigarette brand thing going, despite the fact that it doesn’t make any damn sense here.

          1. Cardigan says:

            “It’s like poetry. It rhymes.”

    3. Cardigan says:

      For all of Benny’s strengths and Kellogg’s faults, at least Kellogg is better voice acted — though it’d be hard to under perform Chandler on Quaaludes.

  22. hemebond says:

    Shamus, smoking in System Shock 2 deducts 1hp.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      and in Deus Ex, they damage 10 HP from your torso.

      1. IFS says:

        You can also kill people with secondhand smoke in Deus Ex, though its very short range and does very low damage.

        1. Cardigan says:

          That settles it. My latest play through of Deus Ex’s only weapon will be second-hand smoke — the most silent killer of all.

  23. SoranMBane says:

    One of my favourite mods in New Vegas actually lets you smoke cigarettes, along with adding a whole lot of other drug-related options. I’m not sure why I enjoy giving my characters in RPGs substance abuse problems so much, but I do. Like, for me, one of the most delightful things about the Realistic Needs mod in Skyrim is the fact that it lets me get my character black-out drunk. I love tripping over my own feet while I’m trying to fight dragons.

    1. Incunabulum says:

      There’re a couple that allow it in FO4 also – complete with smoking animations.

      One or two even allow the use of those cigarettes to save your game in Survival mode.

    2. IFS says:

      In NV my characters often develop drug habits, beer gives extra carry weight and I am a hoarder and other chems help make up for my investing into noncombat skills. Plus if you get addicted enough times the effects of some drugs doubles which led to me having a build where my character had maxed out stats in every category except int (since booze penalized that) almost all the time. EDI turned into a wine cooler for me, and I invested into medicine in order to make my own chems and stronger versions of chems I had it was quite fun.

      From a roleplaying perspective it got quite interesting when I went into Dead Money and they took my chems away, having to scrounge for chems and booze to manage my addictions certainly made things tense at times.

  24. newdarkcloud says:

    It’s a shame that the only real reason I can think of to force you to kill Kellog is so that you can take his brain implant and use it in the quest that gives you his backstory.

    …Because we absolutely needed to know that.

    1. James Porter says:

      That is a beautiful summary right there. “We need to kill you so we learn your tragic backstory and empathise with you”

      I mean you also learn about Virgil and teleportation, and reliving the beginning of the game is pretty cool, but if the game really wanted us to care about this guy, it needed to give us the options to care, instead of just telling us that we should.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        Press X to care!

        That joke aside it’s interesting because I really strongly disagree with your assessment of the Memory Den sequence above but I agree here that the game is telling us to care rather than making us care.

  25. Eremur says:

    My biggest problem with the Kellogg scene (other than the ones mentioned) was the fact there was no way to ask him why he kidnapped Shaun. I mean, it’s not like infants have a lot of practical applications, so taking him just seemed really weird. And the fact that I had to ask where he was taken instead, even though I knew that I wouldn’t get a useful answer, was just infuriating.

  26. Chris Davies says:

    There was some interesting Fallout 4 news yesterday, in that it seems at least part of Far Harbor was plagiarised directly from a New Vegas fan mod. I guess that helps explain why it seems so much better than the main game.

    You think that instead of just stealing, they could hire the people who write these things. Maybe that’d go some way to improving the tone of the whole game, not just a tiny corner of it.

    1. Or just pay the modder something and give them credit. It would encourage more modders to try their hands at improving the game, if it was possible that it could score them some recompense and recognition.

      I’ve played the mod in question, “Autumn Leaves,” and I liked it a lot. If I saw something like it in Fallout 4, I’d be surprised, as your choices and skills can affect the outcome.

  27. Shamus: By the way, it’s spelled “Kellogg,” two l’s, two g’s. I also think there’s a comma after “bye,” but that could be personal preference.

  28. An excellent example of how Fallout 4 is like Skyrim; the “Legendary” weapons being a literal reskin of the enchantments in Skyrim, just with even less variety in effect strength.

  29. mechaninja says:

    I watch y’all play the game, the mechanics, the crafting, and I think, “that looks way better than fallout 3”, but the story stuff/dialogue options are just …

    1. Echo Tango says:

      I’ll be buying the game at around Xmas time* just so I can see how easy it is to make a mod for the game. From what I’ve seen, the *mechanics* of the game look like they could support a much better game. As long as I can make new text for conversation trees, quests, and mess with the numbers behind all the weapons, armors, and trading goods, I should be good to go. Natch, I’d only be aiming to make a tiny demo-room or building or something.

      * or whenever the next generation of Macbook Pros finally come out

      1. Cardigan says:

        >Macbook Pro

        Good luck with that, my friend. ;)

        1. Echo Tango says:

          My current computer is an HP laptop that’s three years old, so…this will be a strict upgrade? The only thing I think might go wrong, is not having drivers in Linux for my new computer.

          1. Cardigan says:

            Yeah, I was just being a little snide. I’ve been spoiled by having family who can build wicked PCs for cheap, so I’ve never bought a premade / out of the box computer before.

  30. Spammy says:

    Okay so… I’m not even done with the episode, and I know we keep harping on 4 vs. New Vegas, but…

    Good Lord is Kellogg sounding like a watered-down has-nothing-to-say-or-share version of Ulysses from Lonely Road.

  31. Has anyone noticed the prices on the comic book covers? The one Josh picked up was $40, reflecting the pre-war rampant inflation. That also kind of explains why old world money is so plentiful; you needed a lot of it just to buy something as simple as a comic book.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      Yup! I guess the inflation would have been pretty horrible in the time before the war broke out, since the war breaks out only…fifty years from the present day in real life?

      1. Cardigan says:

        I remember the Corvega (a basic & popular model of car) being something like $200,000 in the 2060s, according to Fallout 2, and that the gas prices right before the bombs dropped were about $1500 a gallon according to Fallout Tactics.

        1. We’d have to hit Homefront levels of inflation well before that, which if you haven’t experienced that game, part of the opening cutscene states that gas in the US hits “the dreaded $20 mark” which is ironic since if there weren’t some VERY well-hidden subsidies for gas, it’d be around $16 today.

  32. Echo Tango says:

    It shouldn’t even be too hard to have characters acknowledge that you have a weapon drawn. Hell, the original Fallout* had characters that would refuse to talk to you if you had a weapon drawn. Some even (IIRC) would turn hostile if you kept it drawn while you walked into town. Beyond that, I think you could have a cool system, where either certain NPCs, or NPCs powered by some algorithm, would recognize your stats and equipment and act accordingly. MUDs used to do this, by having enemies run away from you if you were high level, or had a certain amount of damage on your weapon, etc. In a Fallout game, I think you could get by with the damage output of the gun, or maybe even the STR requirement of the gun. If you’re a big guy with a bazooka, and you’re talking to a skinny old woman, maybe she would be scared of you. If you were instead talking to a wizened old shopkeeper, he could refuse to barter until you put your gun away. If you’re talking to a battle-hardened mercenary in power armor, maybe he talks to you like an equal. Or maybe if you have a pipe-rifle and a strength of 4, he talks down to you, because you’re weak.

    * Drink!

    1. Jabrwock says:

      That always bothered me in FO3, Dukov’s place keeps telling you to keep your weapon holstered, yet you can even discharge your weapon inside and he doesn’t seem to react…

    2. Cardigan says:

      That would require the game to acknowledge the player’s choices and character build, though. ;)

    3. The most recent game I’ve seen do that is actually Dragon Quest IX, which makes the game sort of annoying overall since you can pull a classic FF and change classes by going to a certain NPC, so you can be level 1 in the equipment a level 20 character would have, and in order to actually fight enemies that won’t immediately book it due to the huge stats you’ve got with that stuff on, you’ve gotta be in the level 12-15 areas.

      1. Friggin GOTHIC had NPC’s who would react to you drawing a weapon. It was AWESOME.

  33. Dork Angel says:

    My dialog would have been – you killed my wife, you’re going to die. Tell me where Shaun is and I’ll make it quick… :)

    1. Cardigan says:

      I dunno. “SUCK MAH DICK” would’ve been pretty close to what I wanted to say.

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.