Fallout 4 EP48: Pants Off Danse Off

By Shamus
on Oct 14, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

I actually really enjoyed watching the fight at the end of this episode. It was hilarious chaos with emergent humor. I think the damage sponge foes are generally a bad thing in this game, but if anything should be a damage sponge, it should be a sentry bot. It’s when you run into a human in street clothes that can take a half dozen shotgun blasts to the face that my patience starts to wear thin.

I think these moments of combat intensity would work better and more frequently if they felt a bit more intentional. In Diablo or Borderlands, you plow through mooks. Every N encounters is a badass. Every N badasses is a boss in an impressive location. But here there’s just a bit too much randomness at work. You’ll have a couple of legendaries back-to-back, but then both of them will be overshadowed but a nameless foe inexplicably higher in level than everything else in the area, which winds up being about as strong as the boss encounter at the end, which is then followed by a stream of mooks instead of the action winding down. I can understand why the open world parts are chaos (although Borderlands managed to make its open areas work) but far too often the murder dungeons feel just as unstructured.

The encounter at the end of this quest was one of the moments when it felt like the encounter was actually appropriate for the quest.

EDIT: As Mumbles pointed out below, you can see her tour the Nuka World DLC (and see the son she mentioned in this episode) on her YouTube channel.

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  1. Daniel England says:

    For those of you who would like to meet Mumbles’ son, DEATHFUCK.

  2. Kelerak says:

    At this point, the Shishkebab may as well be the Yamato.

    • Christopher says:

      Like, the ship? If we’re talking about those flying sword slashed at the end there I figured Cuftbert had finally reached peak swordsman and became Roronoa Zoro.

      • galacticplumber says:

        He’s probably referencing devil may cry 4, otherwise known as the last good one.

        • Christopher says:

          Good call. I didn’t know the name of the sword, but I know what it looks like: He pulls the blade out a little bit and everything gets cut up in front of him.

        • Or the game where you need to use three buttons just to dodge…

          • galacticplumber says:

            Indeed. It’s great. They used complexity of input to give you an absolutely massive bag of tricks. It’s a combat system built around regularly shifting weapons to keep going or for utility. It’s a combat system that manages to improve on the one from DMC3, and that’s saying something.

            You don’t start using pistols because the enemy can only be hurt by pistols. You start using pistols because you want to juggle some fool you just launched before slicing him in half.

            • I was actually going in an entirely different direction, since if one of the goals in the game is to not get hit, dodging requiring that many buttons tends to make that goal illogically obtuse without spending hours trying to master it.

              It’s where the reboot was actually better-designed, since it only required one button to dodge, making it easier to not get hit; I’d rather have a game I can pick up and play without needing to learn a bunch of badly-designed controls that would take hours to learn enough to not get stomped by basic enemies. It’s the same reason I’m not a fan of Dark Souls and have put barely any time into either Bound By Flame or Lords of the Fallen.

              • galacticplumber says:

                It’s all a matter of what difficulty you play on. Only the higher ones require any particular mastery to succeed. Hell in the PC special edition they added a mode that uncaps the framerate and drastically increases the number of enemy spawns just to serve as a playground for masters. Oh, and the characters are actually likable. That’s a bonus.

  3. Ledel says:

    How was this episode not titled: “Mumbles has a son?!?!”

  4. guy says:

    The sentry-bots can be killed instantly with a single shot to the fusion core /VATS evangelism.

    http://images.akamai.steamusercontent.com/ugc/580200899494401480/BBEFD5814AFFCCD551AE87B1CC12867440BEB6BA/

    It’s usually covered by armor, but it has to open to cool off after a bit.

  5. Tuskin says:

    That explosion at the beginning was the knight’s fusion core, you must have hit it? That is why he got out of his armour.

  6. bhleb says:

    I love that they even get mad at the few skill checks in this game

    • ehlijen says:

      Skill checks were never fun because of their mere existence. They were fun because they validated certain builds by providing gameplay options.

      Here there’s no choice. You find the password, or you hack the thing (if you didn’t accidently pick up the password). If you can’t hack the thing, you’re stuck until you find the password (and there is no indication of where or if there is one).

      In a game that’s been holding your hand 90% of the time, that’s very confusing and jarring.

      • Blunderbuss09 says:

        Yep. I loved how my high repair skill in FNV actually had a lot of functionality outside of equipment fixing because it let me repair broken elevators like this one. It made you feel clever for finding an outside-the-box method that wasn’t handed to you on a quest marker.

        • I also liked how in FNV they gave you areas you couldn’t get into or safes you couldn’t crack until your skills were much higher, giving you a reason to revisit old haunts.

          I don’t like doing that in Fallout 4 because there aren’t any places I really enjoy revisiting and they’ve likely repopulated with the same old boring enemies 5 minutes after I left.

      • Echo Tango says:

        The really confusing part is that this skill-check is like, what…20 feet from the holotape that has the password on it? Like, why even have the password at all at that point? They could just have it auto-unlock after you kill the mooks in the room, or after you click a quest-thing.

        • Ranneko says:

          It still allows a character with the right perks to bypass the need to search for it, which is something I always appreciate.

          Same thing applies to Pillars of Eternity where sure there is a key hidden somewhere in a dungeon level, but if you have a character with high mechanics you can just pick the lock, no worries. Even minor conveniences help to validate a build.

          • ehlijen says:

            But you’re already walking past the desk with the password just to get to the computer, and ‘searching it’ simply requires pointing the crosshairs at it as you walk past.

            The only things accomplished here are:
            -Characters who have hacking and don’t pick up the password get a minor xp extra
            -Players who don’t really care about looting and don’t have hacking might be frustrated

            I don’t think this was worth having the skill check. But if you insist on it, at least have an sub-objective called ‘search for a way to access the computer’ pop up just to let the player know that they’re not in fact stuck.

  7. Phantos says:

    I know I’ve said this before, but I think it’s worth considering:

    Nuka-World should be it’s own season of Spoiler Warning.

    Obviously not right after finishing the vanilla Fallout 4. You folks need a break from this. But I think there’s enough game there and enough to talk about to justify it somewhere down the line. It’s interesting and varied enough to not get as boring as Marlowe Briggs, but also stupid enough to illicit that nerd rage we’ve come to expect from this Let’s Play.

    Maybe I’m naive, but I really think it has the potential to be this game’s equivalent to the New Vegas season of SW.

    • Blunderbuss09 says:

      I would like to second this with every fiber of my being.

    • Pax says:

      Wait, why would a Nuka-World show be worthwhile? There’s like 30 minutes of dialogue at the very beginning and the rest is mindless combat in the different zones. Far Harbor is where it’s at, what with the different factions with people with different opinions in them, and some real dangerous secrets being unearthed that can lead to actual difficult decisions.

      • Phantos says:

        They could SAY it’s the new official season, but it’s just one 5 minute video of Reginald Cuftbert murdering all of the gangs, just to spite Bethesda.

        The whole DLC wants you to be Cuftbert, so the most Cuftberty thing to do in that scenario is the opposite, right?

        …my brain hurts.

      • potatoejenkins says:

        Started to play Far Harbour yesterday and I’d say it does not fit Reginald.

        There is actual dialogue worth listening to. In the first hour. It’s amazing.

    • tmtvl says:

      If the crew is going to revisit games to do DLC, it has to be Old World Blues. Why spend more time on the worst game they’ve ever done (tied with ME3) when they could revisit the best one?

      • Lachlan the Mad says:

        OWB, despite being some of the best content ever made for any RPG ever, would be absolutely terrible for a video LP. It begins with a 30-minute conversation and you need to listen to all of it to get the mood.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          I agree.The dlc is awesome,but its awesome because of its writing.So having 5 people talk over those conversations would only diminish it.Its best suited for a silent lets play where you can just watch and enjoy the conversations.

      • Austin says:

        Yes, Old World Blues. The only DLC I found absolutely everything in.

      • They’d have to make it a kind of retrospective from the POV that the audience has played it. They could do a DLC-centric series of Spoiler Warning for a season; that might be cool. But in the cases of OWB, where the DLC is really, really good, they’d have to either talk over the best parts of the dialog and assume everyone at home has heard it before or spend long stretches not saying anything.

        I could see Josh also doing the Missing Link DLC from Deus Ex: HR and some of the Dishonored DLC as well.

  8. Tizzy says:

    “I’ll make sure the agitator gets where it needs to go” sounded vaguely sinister to my ears. I wouldnt turn my back on doctor whats-her-name, if I were Josh…

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      It does, doesn’t it? Except there is no depth to the factions. There are no subfactions vying for power and threathening Seanfather’s control in the Institute. There is no division in the Railroad between those who just want to free the existing synths and those who want to free the means of synth production, or those who mind wipe synths and those who are opposed to the idea. There are no BoS who want to take over the institute.

      • Blunderbuss09 says:

        The Institute sorta does. Minorly. There’s one quest where two scientists lock down the bio-science lab in protest of the obvious nepotism of you being named successor out of nowhere. I actually like it a lot because someone was reacting to your unrealistic rise to glory for once. And it has some of the funniest options ever where you can release the houn– I mean the gorillas!

        Aside from that, no. Heck, there was a huge factional dispute in the BOS but it magically went away in the ten year timeskip between FO3 and FO4. A better game would allow you to find out how that happened and start picking at the seams so it all falls apart again, but …

  9. Phantos says:

    Okay, I’m glad I have a chance to vent about this: At about the 4 minute mark, Josh picks up a tape, but forgets what it was called and then has to scroll through the Misc folder, and…

    BETHESDA, WHY????

    Why are audio tapes not their own category?? I have to shuffle through so much crap just to find Scribe Whoever’s Audio Recording, instead of Scribe Whatever’s Audio Recording. Where they say whatever and you have to listen to it to continue their quest.

    “Guys, could you make this LESS intuitive, please? I’m having too much not-trouble playing this game. Won’t somebody please make this more annoying and inconvenient for me, the player??”

    blech…

    • Ciennas says:

      Worse, this has been solved more or less since Fallout 3.

      All the notes got their own tab. Now if only they had added a sorter for name, related quest block, most recently found and vice versa, that’d’ve been great.

      Hell they took steps back from Skyrim too- why do I need to know about the individual keys, guys? I don’t. Just let me have a problem stay solved, alright?

  10. Chaotic says:

    “So, Father, about the Beryllium Reactor…. The good news is we got it! The bad news is I can no longer lead the institute after you die of cancer. Because I’m gonna die of cancer. Because of all the radiation. In the active nuclear reactor you sent me into. Good plan.”

    Also how is the reactor online and functional after 270 years after the war, etc. I mean at this point it feels pointless to point out all the plotholes or how lazy the writing is.

    Also they have fusion power already, why are they bothering with fissile material? I mean they literally have micro-fusion BATTERIES, but making fusion plants is beyond them? What is going on with this writing?!

    • The head writer can’t write for shit outside of the Dark Brotherhood questline from Oblivion?

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        It’s more that they don’t put much thought into their terminology. The presence of a “fusion battery” doesn’t mean that someone considered various ways of energy production and their consequences. It’s just a term that sounds “sciency” enough, like in fantasy calling something “dragon gem” does not mean that someone put a lot of thought into dragon’s place in and effect on the ecosystem or considered the physics of dragonflight.

      • Loonyyy says:

        They couldn’t write those either, they were just fun quests that varied the gameplay and used some more mechanics.

        They’re great, but the writing isn’t any better.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Well,to be fair,its a fusion reactor,so it not radioactive…..wait a second…..THIS SHIT AGAIN??!!Seriously,someone needs to talk to bethesda about the difference between fission and fusion.

      • Raygereio says:

        Real-life science:
        A fusion reaction releases neutron-radiation. The production of that radiation will stop the moment the fusion reactions stops. But the neutron bombardment will affect the fusion reactions vessel (look up “neutron activation”), causing it to become radioactive.

        • Incunabulum says:

          I think ‘*intensely radioactive*, for thousands of years’ is the term of art.

        • Aitch says:

          Well there went 2 hours of my life looking up neutron activation… still, time well spent.

          Plus, now I get to look forward to the advent of exawatt level 178m2Halfnium gamma ray lasers. For those special moments where a tungsten telephone pole doing mach 10 just isn’t enough, and thermonuclear weapons would seem gauche…

          You know, I really need to stop hanging around here when I’m trying to fall asleep.

        • djw says:

          Not to mention that a common byproduct of a fusion reactor is tritium, which is also highly radioactive, with a half-life of about 12 years. That may seem to short to cause long term problems, but that’s kind of the point. Its very active right after it is produced, and you don’t want to stand next to it in the short term, which is when you are making the power.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Fair point.Ill stop obsessing over the radioactive fusion in this game now.

  11. Well, another outdoors elevator ride that’s better than Mass Effect.

    Also, since I can actually mention it early this time around, did anyone else notice how, in the previous two episodes, everyone kept saying Father was the PC’s dad instead of his son? Sort of points out how blatantly similar the plot of this game is to Fallout 3, eh?

    • Phantos says:

      They complain a lot about it in this episode, but I liked that elevator part.

      If there had been a ton of sequences like that(at least that I could remember), I could understand being annoyed by it. But I think at this point the SW crew are so mad about the main plot that it’s starting to make minor annoyances seem like bigger points of contention than they really are.

      • Ivan says:

        More like, that sequence triggered another bout of justified anger about the general lack of meaningful character building choices in the game.

      • Raygereio says:

        The problem with the elevator-battle is that it’s kind of shit from an encounter-design point of view.
        If you have a ranged build it can be tense shootout sequence. But there’s also melee, which is supposed to a valid way to play the game. And here all a melee-build can do is try and hide in a corner, pray the elevator ride is over soon and watch their AI buddy go into bleedout over and over again.

        • Christopher says:

          Yeaaah… While cool, these sort of staged fights are bit of an ass in games with different playstyles. I’m reminded of that one part in the first stage of Metal Gear Solid 4 where you’re stuck going down a building with a military crew, while in a constant firefight with enemies. You can’t stealth that stuff, and there aren’t many good nonlethal options for that kind of situation.

    • el_b says:

      and much like fallout 3, father is a villain that pretends to be heroic.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Is anyone else glad how Josh used to spam criticals all the time back when he didnt need them,only to have a critical here and never use it when it was desperately required?Fun times.

  13. Phantos says:

    Does anyone know why laser turrets do so much damage to the player? In a room with several Assaultrons and a Sentry Bot, the laser turrets were the most dangerous thing Reginald was up against.

    Even when I’m wearing armor with a high energy resistance, they always just chew me up in 1 or 2 seconds.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Maybe they are doing radiation damage?That thing is immune to damage resistance.

      Or maybe they are using armor piercing lasers.

    • ehlijen says:

      I think it’s got something to do with the level scaling? Turrets don’t really scale up in HP, only in damage, I’ve found.

    • Ledel says:

      That always confused me as well. In one playthrough I wore top tier power armor (MK V armor pushing my energy defence well above 1000), nobody could do decent damage to me, not even legendary deathclaws, yet laser turrets tore through me like paper.

      The only explanation I can think of is that they ignore either all, or a high percentage of your armor.

      • potatoejenkins says:

        They have a perk that adds a damage bonus for ranged attacks. Maybe someone mixed up some values like it happened with the bear roast.

        The damage output of these laser turrets makes no sense whatsoever. I appreciate enemies able to tear me apart in seconds, but these guys manage it no matter the players level or armor. I can’t even see a difference between getting annihilated in underpants or a X-01 power suit.

    • ehlijen says:

      Just had a thought. Is it maybe because turrets, being always stationary, have much less autofire spread than mobile autofiring opponents? Ie, their DPS ends up higher than any other ranged opponents?

  14. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Can you kill everybody?I mean,all of the factions,including the minutemen,in a single playthrough?

  15. Christopher says:

    Is that the first time there have been Assaultrons this playthrough? Either that or I forgot about them, but I don’t know how, because those guys are scary as shit. That final stretch of combat turned out amazingly.

  16. Blunderbuss09 says:

    I would have to agree with this fight being more fun because it’s a staged encounter that makes sense. You went somewhere to get a highly dangerous item and obviously the security kicked in, and it’s a cool location for a massive gunfight.

    Now it would have been better if you could subvert the encounter by using science or hacking perks, or disable the security beforehand somehow, but heaven forbid this game allow that.

    But as for the massive elevator ride down … we’re supposed to be smart scientists but we choose to start at the top of the building and then ride all the way to the ground floor? I know Bethesda wants a fight because apparently this is the final straw for the BOS for some reason but you could do it smartly! It would be even better if you could, I don’t know, sneak your way in or use a distraction. Or, since the BOS is supposed to be military, have them use actual battle tactics by setting up ambushes or out-flanking you.

    I don’t mind crazy free-for-alls. I just want to be able to goddamn influence how they play out aside from just shooting!

    • Pax says:

      Actually, you can hack into the various computers in the control center before going into the reactor chamber and disable all of the robots if I remember correctly.

  17. Henson says:

    We never did give Danse that dog collar, did we?

  18. Kerethos says:

    Well, duh Shamus! Of course the factions don’t matter and were all going to die anyway: because Father’s incredibly convoluted nonsensical plan involved sending the protagonist after them.

    It’s nice when people have read the script, isn’t it? Saves all that trouble of having anything make sense… :(

  19. Garrett Carroll says:

    I’ll admit, the way you all have picked this game apart is ingenuous, but at the same time, I believe the point of Fallout 4 is to be way too overpowered. Same with Skyrim, Fallout 3, Oblivion, etc.

    • There’s “feeling powerful” and “I’m so badass there’s not even any fun in murdering people anymore.” I think Fallout New Vegas did it well in that I could have all the best gear, but I could still go hunting for a challenge (deathclaws, cazadores, etc.) if I felt like I wanted to test myself.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      If the point of the game is to feel overpowered,then why do enemies turn into bullet sponges at some point?And why do you get the best rewards on the highest difficulty,where the enemies start out as bullet sponges?Id say that would make the game a massive failure at making you feel overpowered.

      • MrGuy says:

        The goal is to make the enemies “harder,” to demonstrate your progress by having you able to defeat more and more difficult foes as you progress. Otherwise, as you progressed, you’d get to the point where foes weren’t a challenge for you. And while that shows how awesome you’ve become, it makes for a less compelling game.

        Unfortunately, the “easy mode” way for devs to make enemies “harder” is to give them more hitpoints and better weapons. Which leads to enemies that can take implausible amounts of damage compared to lower-level foes, or a room full of mooks with million dollar weapons (which, by the way, often also breaks the game’s economy if you’re allowed to loot enemies).

        A much harder but probably less “cheating” way to create “higher level” foes would be to make them smarter – low level mooks will charge your riot-shotgun-wielding character with a pool cue head-first, where mid-level mooks will snipe from behind cover, and higher-level foes will actually try to set ambushes and use good unit tactics to surround you. Everyone could have “reasonable human” hitpoints (e.g. 1 headshot kills everyone, 2-3 center mass is a kill mod armor, which helps a little but not enough to take a shotgun at close range and walk away).

        The problem with “fight smarter, not harder” is that it’s really hard to program. The second issue is that it’s really hard to get the balance right for everyone – someone who plays team-based shooters might recognize what it looks like when the enemy tries to flank them, but someone who’s shooter experience runs to Bioshock might have a really hard time. The third problem is that some people hate this approach – I want to feel like a complete badass, and that doesn’t jibe well when the world makes me (and everyone else) terribly mortal. This is sort of the “get good nub” issue people have with the Souls games – some people like a “fair” challenge, others are put off by even low level mooks having a realistic option to kill you if you play poorly.

  20. MrGuy says:

    Hey, Homestar, would you like 147 glasses of melonade?

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