Fallout 4 EP50: Organic Free-Range Dumbass

By Shamus
on Oct 20, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

Father says we have to kill the Railroad because “they have shown no regard for human life”. This, coming from the faction that’s been playing robo-bodysnatchers with settlements, dumping squads of killbots into the wasteland, and employed a remorseless amoral killer for the better part of a century. It’s said by a guy who turned his own pre-war father loose in a desperate violent wasteland with no expectation that he would survive. The guy who left his own father to die just so he could what would happen is pissed at the Railroad for having insufficient respect for human life.

The worst part is, I can’t even tell if this is deliberate on the part of the writers, because our character isn’t allowed to notice these things. Did the person who wrote this not know about how the Institute was behaving in the context of the larger story? Are we supposed to recognize this as hypocrisy? Or is our character expected to be ignorant of these things? I… I have no idea.

This series ends tomorrow. Also don’t forget that we’re doing a stream tomorrow.

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From the Archives:

  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Eating your spouse when they are alive kinda has a different meaning:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLgeiRO63mE

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Philistines!You mock the name of a Shakespearian character!

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wait,you are going to use liberty prime?A brotherhood robot?Against the brootherhood?

    Let me guess,if you pick brotherhood as your buddies,they give you that robot to kill someone else,right?

    • matthewhoffman says:

      Yep, they have you use it to kill the institute.

      In my playthrough they told me to do this /after/ I had already used power armor and a minigun to completely solve the problem of the institute. So I solved the brotherhood as well.

      • Philadelphus says:

        Wait, so does Liberty Prime feature in all the endings? Is this that whole “must be able to experience everything in one playthrough” thing again?

        • Fists says:

          Nah, Railroad and Minutemen don’t really see much of Prime.

          • As in the Minutemen don’t see him at all. That’s the ending I had and it wasn’t until I’d stopped caring about the game before I even knew Liberty Prime was around…that actually made me sad.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Who wouldve thought that minutemen would be the most diverse of the factions.Once you get over the preston being boring and all of his quests being boring as well.

              • Oddly enough, the most interesting ending would be the one where you somehow manage to get the Railroad, the BoS, and the Minutemen all working together.

                It might only exist in theory, though.

                • potatoejenkins says:

                  You could cheese that ending by avoiding to speak to an NPC on the Prydwen. They patched that though and that “ending” is no longer available.

                  Yep, they patched you not having to kill all the factions. Like they patch bugs.

                  Oh wait … they don’t really patch bugs.

                  • Jeff says:

                    You don’t have to kill all the factions.

                    All you have to do is get yourself kicked out of the Institute (such as through random murder), which fails both the Brotherhood and Railroad quests (as they require you to infiltrate the Institute).

                    Then you just blow up the Institute with the Minutemen, and the BoS and RR are alive and friendly (if you hadn’t triggered them killing each other beforehand).

      • MrGuy says:

        Because once you give the Brotherhood a hammer, every damn problem looks like a nail.

        Dude, you gave the brotherhood a flippin’ Airship in this game. You don’t need to bring back their absurd killer mech robot. It’s not part of what you seem to think is the inviolate Fallout “brand” like Deathclaws and Yum Yum Deviled Eggs.

        The FO4 BoS is basically the Capital Wasteland reunited after their civil war. A war the Outcasts won and Elder Lyons’ faction lost. Let me emphasize – the faction with the giant robot somehow LOST. So how exactly do you have this robot now? And how unstoppable could it really be?

        • To answer that last question along with the rest, as unstoppable as something that can only be taken out by an orbital strike from something that I’m pretty sure was stolen directly from Van Buren.

          Seriously. That was the ending of the first quest in Broken Steel, in case you missed it/didn’t play it/wasn’t watching SW when that happened during that season.

  4. PlasmaPony says:

    Did any of you guys go with The Brotherhood of Steel for your end game? It’s even worse. The missions after the nuclear core are all basic fetch quests retrieving parts for Liberty Prime, as well as building stuff. It’s such a tedious boring slog. You also aren’t given the Battle of Bunker Hill if you don’t do the Railroad/Institute so you miss that set piece. And then the ending is literally the ending of Fallout 3. Follow Liberty Prime as he slowly walks though the city and he and your escort kill everything for you before you go into the Institute and kill everything. So as much as you hate this end game and all the stupid Liberty Prime being shoved in your face, there is a much worse one waiting

    • I-Spy says:

      As a person who stood on the fence between all these petty factions and gave up when I found myself trapped just before the nuclear mission, I found the Brotherhood’s railroading me into attacking the Railroad most annoying…they don’t even give you a chance to refuse the mission and suffer the consequences (at least not in the ways I tried) you’re just forced into attacking them or sticking the story into a weird limbo state where most of the Brotherhood NPCs are locked into a state and the Railroad robot treats you like an enemy and stops giving you missions.

      I thought daring to join in multiple factions was going to force me to make hard choices, not just trap me into betraying whichever faction ends up being further behind the KILL THEM ALL story arc the endgame missions appear to be on.

      • Pax says:

        Not only that, but they already have equivalent scenes scripted out and implemented in the game! If you’re working for the Railroad, when the Institute sends you to wipe them out, nothing is changed, but you can go to Desdemona and tell her that the Institute ordered you to kill them and then tell her you’re not gonna. There’s even a scripted attack on the Railroad HQ by the Brotherhood that you can fend off. All they had to do is generalize this to work for either the Institute or the Brotherhood. It’d be like you said, the choice point, and it would actually crux on your own choice, rather than the game arbitrarily setting quest stages behind your back.

    • Stu Hacking says:

      I did the Brotherhood ending. I did all the tedious fetching of dumb parts. I had my int 9 character listen to all the patronising “You-wouldn’t-understand” dialogue. I knew what was coming though. The inevitable chaperone quest were you accompany the big set-piece and enjoy the spectacle.

      I anticipated it. How cool will it be, thought I, to have Cait and I in full power armour, marching along with a giant robot? Answer: Very?

      It started out fine, but then, Liberty Prime took a detour and started wading across the river. So I spent most of this scene trying to follow LP, fully submerged on the riverbed, walking at <1kph, in pitch darkness; and the rest of the scene running to catch up to the action.

  5. Rory Portoeus says:

    So I’ve only watched bits and pieces of this season (open world LPs just never appeal) I have to ask now, did you do the storyline with the robot pirates at any point? Because that was my Fallout 4 highlight.

    • Alex McKenzie says:

      No, they did not. May need to go back and do it myself if someone on this site thought highly of it, Fallout 4 stopped appealing to me before I saw most of the content (never made it to Silver Shroud, pirate robots, etc.). Only time I could remember being a highlight of my game is building settlements while listening to Neil Degrasse Tyson’s podcast.

      • Ninety-Three says:

        It’s arguably the least worst quest. I wouldn’t really call it good, definitely not worth booting up Fallout for.

        • Chauzuvoy says:

          I mean, it doesn’t make any more sense or tie into the world in an interesting way or grapple with interesting themes any more than the rest of the game does. It’s not strong writing by any measure. But it has a bunch of delusional robots putting rockets on an 18th-century sailing ship to go fight Commies on the moon or something, and with a premise that crazy it’s hard not to have some amount of fun with the quest.

          Same with the Silver Shroud. It’s not that the quest is any deeper or more interesting, it’s just that the concept is so inherently entertaining that you feel OK not caring how stupid the actual plot of it is for a little while.

        • Jokerman says:

          Indeed… i actually did boot up Fallout 4 when i heard people talking about it being the best quest, didn’t seem all that great to me.

        • Matt Downie says:

          It’s amusing, but since I was trying to play a good guy, I didn’t like the choice. Options:

          Murder a bunch of relatively harmless scavengers to help some idiot robots on their pointless quest. The game actively goes out of its way to stop you using non-lethal methods.

          …or don’t do any of that, but then you don’t get to launch the ship, and that’s no fun.

          • potatoejenkins says:

            The robot asks you not to kill them and you can just steal the chip back.

            Your companions might object of course. Because only bad people do that.

            Liked the quest, made me chuckle a bit and I got a nice hat. Nothing worth booting up the game for though. I’d agree on that.

            • Matt Downie says:

              I used a stealth boy to steal the doohicky. They all immediately gained the ability to see me and opened fire while I ran away (my companion, murderous as ever, fired back). Later, the scavengers launched an all-out suicidal attack on the robots; if any of them survive to get on board your ship the quest fails, and there are no non-lethal weapons available.

              • potatoejenkins says:

                Strange, that didn’t happen to me. I know however that one needs to stay out of sight and wait for the “caution” sign turn green before going out of stealth again though. You also need a good distance and avoid the scavengers for a while.

                I have a mod that increases the time until enemies stop searching as well as their detection abilities and radius and stealing without bloodshed still worked.

                The only difference is that I told my companion to wait at the ship. If they detect your companion and the companion “turns hostile” they might detect you as well and force you to kill them.

                The quest is not really thought through in general though. I can see what happened to you happen to many other people as well.

        • The quest is better than the weapon you get for finishing it, which is the worst cannon I’ve seen in a video game.

          Granted, the best is this, so that’s a huge gap between them (first relevant source I found):

          https://youtu.be/ua3KMsGYmyQ?t=5m6s

  6. Raygereio says:

    When asked if he knew about Liberty Prime, Josh selected the “I don’t need details.” dialogue option. That makes sense, I mean we’ve all played FO3, right? We already know about Liberty Prime. The NPC then proceeded to scold the player for not wanting details, and then gave said details anyway.
    Why do that? I’m honestly not sure why, but that offended me.

  7. Chris Davies says:

    The writing for everyone in the institute is so bad this endgame can’t even really be said to have a story. It’s just arbitrary events strung together just to give the player some busywork to do before the final cutscene.

    The institute aren’t evil spinning dubious moral justifications for their acts, they aren’t would-be good people seduced by a rhetorically gifted dictator, they aren’t even people swept along by the current of events trying desperately not to drown. There’s no consistent theme to any of their actions. It’s all over the place. Father has you committing mass murder one second, and seemingly sincerely regretting what you did the next.

    Why exactly are we still taking our marching orders from this guy anyway? He just made you the Director, he should probably quit it with the backseat driving. His plans all seem to involve sending you alone to face armies, so maybe he’s regretting his decision to step down and is just trying to get you killed so he can resume his role again. At least New Vegas hand waved having an army to back you up to the limits of the engine’s capabilities, even as it was pretty obvious the player was doing all the work.

  8. Raygereio says:

    There’s been a lot of negativity towards poor little Fallout 4. Let’s see if we all can come up stuff we liked. All those bad vibes aren’t good for the souls, after all.

    So power armour was mentioned in the episode. I really enjoy how power armor feels in this game. In the previous Fallouts it was basically just another armor. Endgame tier, but nothing special beyond that. In FO4 (with the animation, soundset, how you get into it and all that) it tries to sell the feeling that wearing power armor turns you into a big, lumbering, man-based tank and it works for me.
    Diamond City celebrates Halloween & Christmas. On those ingame dates, there’ll be themed decorations around the town and NPCs will have appropriate barks. That’s a cool little touch.
    Fallout 4 made me appreciatie Fallout New Vegas even more. I didn’t know it was physically possible for me the to like that game even more then I already did. But now I do: I installed New Vegas on an USB stick, cuddle up with it in bed and cry myself to sleep.
    In one place you can find an old note saying “Hey, move your bed downstairs. Your sleepwalking is going to kill you.” And in that house you can find a corpse lying at the bottom of the stairs. For all problems Bethesda has with telling a story, at least they’re still capable of doing neat little environmental stories like that.

    • Pax says:

      I also really like the power armor. It’s like technology has finally caught up with how power armor should’ve always felt.

      In fact, a lot of the art style is like that. I like how pretty much everything looks. The deathclaws look better than they ever have; giant, terrifying monsters of doom. The mirelurks look ridiculously better in this game. It’s like a new weird species of animal instead of some weird crab man. I’d be nice if they had some lore instead of just lol, radiation!, but I’m trying to stay positive here.

      The new 10mm is pretty fantastic. A new, iconic looking design that also allows for the classic version via mods. Most of the rest of the weapons I can’t say much good about unfortunately, though at least they are more fun to use. The power fist and super sledge are especially meh.

      The companions are, for the most part, pretty great. They’re actual characters, and some of them have actual stories. I’m replaying New Vegas right now, and I keep expecting things like “Arcade disliked that” to pop up in the corner and I’m kind of disappointed they don’t actually have opinions about most things I do.

      The dog looks nice, but after MGSV’s Diamond Dog, no video game dog measures up. And really Bethesda, do we have to have a Dogmeat every damn game?

      • tmtvl says:

        And really Bethesda, do we have to have a Dogmeat every damn game?

        Well apparently he wasn’t gonna be in Van Buren, but then Bethesda had to ruin everything. And then fix everything, and then ruin it all again.

      • Blunderbuss09 says:

        And really Bethesda, do we have to have a Dogmeat every damn game?

        Yes.

        For real though, I would love it if every Fallout game had Dogmeat in it. No matter where or when the story was set Dogmeat would be there, the same as ever, magically wondering out of the wastes to be by your side. How? Why? It doesn’t matter. Dogmeat Is.

        • potatoejenkins says:

          But then they’d want to explain it. I don’t want them to explain Dogmeat.

        • GloatingSwine says:

          I think every Fallout game has at least one dog. Even the shitty top down shooter had a dog.

          • Pax says:

            And I’m okay with that. Fallout 1 had Dogmeat. Fallout 2 had K9, Robodog, the jinx dog, and special random encounter Dogmeat. Van Buren was going to have Devil Dog, cloneable animal companions, Denver robot police dogs, various wild dogs you trained yourself, etc. New Vegas had Rex and ED-E (sorry ED-E, you fit in the dog slot). F3 and F4 is just Dogmeat/Dogmeat. There should always be a dog, but come on, they should be at least a little creative.

      • potatoejenkins says:

        The power fist and super sledge are especially meh.

        Haven’t used the super sledge, but the power fist? Beautiful power attacks and finishers. The furious power fist you get from Swan is viable through the entire game.

        What I hate about melee is the perk that lets your attacks affect everything in front of you. It’s not even the final perk. So you usually can’t use swords, knifes or sledges unless you don’t care about accidentally hurting bystanders or your companions. It’s stupid.

        • Pax says:

          More from a design stance than use. I know I’m a crotchety old grump, but back in the classic Fallout days, these were hightech military weapons designed to work with power armor. Now the power fist is literally some kind of industrial press thing and the super sledge is just a hammer with a rocket on it. Now don’t get me wrong, those are actually pretty cool things, but they aren’t what those things are. They’d be great as different tier weapons for a little variety.

    • Matt Downie says:

      I like that you can shoot the limbs off synths and ferals, and they keep on coming.

    • potatoejenkins says:

      Ah. Positivity…ehm…Power Armor! Not really using it but it’s still hella cool. Being able to use it without training or penalties, finding suits including fusion cores everywhere – not so much.

      Companions are a step up from Skyrim. I like being able to romance someone if it suits my character? I don’t know, I see this as an addition to the roleplay experience. It’s less about having an NPC telling my character how great they are and more about my character choosing or choosing not to romance someone. The system is kind of messy though and they need to either be willing to improve on that or dump it again. The faction you belong to and your gender should have an impact and some should react negatively if you bone absolutely everyone you come across. Right now only one companion dumps you if you go against their faction and romance boils down to: someone in every settlement to get the exp bonus when sleeping.

      The character creator interface is bad, but the blemishes, I love the blemishes! All the options to create something beyond generic random NPC or “red or pink lipstick barbie doll”. They put a lot of effort in that and it paid off.

      The weapons were neat and melee, especially unarmed, is incredibly fun. Sadly the special animations like throwing people to the ground, dodging and counter attacks are only available in third person and the power attack button is the same button you have to use for grenades. What-the-eff-Bethesda.
      Still, the unarmed animations are some if not the best the game has to offer.

      Aside from the legendary nonsense and raiders everywhere I like the variety of the rest. Ferals and death claws need to be crippled, Super Mutant Suiciders can be used against the group by shooting them in the arm or, if you want the bomb, you need a headshot. Robots can stealth and can become more dangerous if you cripple them, depending on the type of robot.
      All humanoid enemies use cover, sometimes try to surround you and switch from ranged to melee when appropriate. If they are low on health and have stimpacks, they actually use them. If their dead buddy has a better weapon they run to their corpse and use it to kill you.

      Boston felt like a city, Diamond City and Goodneighbour felt like a real community. Well, the buildings. Not really the people.

      I also liked Travis. Both versions.

  9. Pax says:

    So here’s the three paths to destroying the Brotherhood and Institute for the other factions in case anyone is curious. There’s no really different paths to destroying the Railroad, you just go in and kill them all, which can be done at any time for any reason.

    Brotherhood:
    Institute – as we are seeing, you attack the airport in a full frontal assault, deactive their anti-teleportation gizmos, and hijack Liberty Prime, which destroys the Prydwen with eye lazors(which the Brotherhood managed to build without you in this ending, even though with the Institute, you got the beryllium agitator before the BOS could). Benefits: get to kill every named Brotherhood character in the game? In the end, Elder Maxson attacks in his super awesome Elder-painted T-60f armor, the only way in the game to see it, let alone get it. Also you can get his coat and unique laser gatling, I think.

    Railroad – as Mumbles said, you sneak aboard the Prydwen and blow it up. You steal a vertibird from the Cambridge police station and Tinker Tom flies it to the Prydwen. The banter here between Tom and Deacon is pretty entertaining. If the BOS doesn’t know who you are, you can disguise yourselves as members of the Brotherhood and sneak around without combat AT ALL, you just have to make a few speech checks to cover your ass while you’re planting charges on the hydrogen tanks. For one brief moment, it feels like an RPG.

    Minutemen – you build (I think) 5 artillery in range of the Prydwen and then straight shoot it down with cannons from the Castle. Afterwards, you have to defend the Castle from a swarm of Brotherhood vertibirds. Kinda fun. It’s nice to use all your defenses at the Castle for something if you went through the trouble of building it up. Interestingly, this can be done even after you’ve already beaten the game, so you can beat the game with the Brotherhood, then blow them up with the Minutemen.

    Institute:
    Brotherhood – as mentioned, the majority of the BOS questline is rebuilding Liberty Prime, and so the final mission is the same as in Fallout 3: you “escort” Prime to the Institute, and it blows a hole in the ground so you can jump down and commence “Institute dungeon crawl” which involves going through an otherwise inaccessible old robot factory that leads from the teleportation chamber down to Bioscience. You can signal the evacuation if you’d like, and then go to the reactor (which the Institute managed to build without you in this ending, even though with the BOS, you got the beryllium agitator before the Institute could). Institute go boom.

    Railroad – Since the Railroad questline is to play the Institute questline but undercover, you teleport in, and then teleport the rest of the Railroad in with you. Commence Institute Dungeon Crawl, the same as with the BOS version, except you have to order the evacuation. Institute go boom.

    Minutemen – Using the data on the holotape you provided, Sturges finds an old tunnel into the Institute via a water pipe they use to pump in coolant for their reactor (I guess the BOS ruled this out, since they couldn’t fit Liberty Prime in through the pipe). Turn on the teleporter and commence INSTITUTE DUNGEON CRAWL. You can sound the evacuation order if you’d like. In fact, if you don’t, the Railroad gets mad at you (as presumably all the synths they wanted to save get blown up.) If you do, and you didn’t get all violent with the Brotherhood, then you actually can complete the game without killing all the other factions. Institute go boom.

    In my opinion, the most fun and interesting ways to accomplish things are the Railroad attack on the Brotherhood, and the Minuteman attack on the Institute, which means your path through the game is kind of strange.

    The final option is to play the Institute and Railroad questlines up until Father asks you to massacre the Railroad, then use the Railroad to kill the Brotherhood, then massacre the Railroad. When you return to the Institute, the final quest will be running, and Father will be dying in his bed. Shoot him in the face and you will be exiled from the Institute and dumped unceremoniously back on the surface, unable to actually finish the game.

    • Blunderbuss09 says:

      No, you can still finish the game. The reason why you can never do something awful enough to get kicked out of the Minutemen is that they’re a back-up plan should you piss off everyone else.

      And honestly I do love all the ways to destroy the BOS. All of them are so deliciously ironic and take advantage of their arrogance.

  10. Common Pleb says:

    So with Fallout 4, season 21 of spoiler warning coming to a close, has the game for season 22 been chosen?

    If not I’d love to see you guys discuss Enderal, a linear story based total conversion for skyrim. It’s not perfect but it fails and succeeds in a lot of interesting ways, which serves as nice comparison point for both skyrim and mass effect. There has a been a dearth of proper critique in regards to the story, themes, and characters.

  11. Ninety-Three says:

    Personally I was a big fan of Liberty Prime in Fallout 3. Narratively it was a sin, but that story was already trash. Liberty Prime was funny, and though it might have dragged a bit, thirty seconds of giant robot action is badass. It’s a low bar to clear, but Liberty Prime was one of the best parts of Fallout 3’s story.

  12. James says:

    Mumbles you can kill and eat your son at least. I did in my play-threw the moment I saw him. The odd part is that led to an end were the railroad, minutemen, and brotherhood lived. That annoyed me as I wanted to kill everybody.

    The worst part of all is that after all this father the man I had killed and eaten before he could even speak, managed to write the note at the end and reprogram your roboson from beyond the bloody grave. Like the game couldn’t figure out this line of events or just didn’t care about what I had done.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      I shot “Father” on the roof before he gives that awful speech, because he was foolish enough to put himself into a vulnerable position with someone that he’d repeatedly pissed off (me!).

      (That is, I saved, listened to him then restored then killed him).

      Got that same recorded message at the end of destroying the institute too, but I don’t see how it could ever be anything more than an additional insult. It made me more glad that I was turning the Institute into a crater.

  13. Josh, what’s an “underkeeper?” Is that something they have out in Nevada’s crypts?

  14. Content Consumer says:

    It felt to me that Starcraft 2 Legacy of the Void spent more time on talking about what it means to be human (or rather, organic) and AI than Fallout 4.
    And that wasn’t even a central focus of the game.

  15. Ira says:

    For what it’s worth, I would disagree very much with Rutskarn about Liberty Prime. Leaving aside the question of implementation into the quests (which I agree could have been done more elegantly), does the concept of Liberty Prime work?

    (Disclaimer: I have not played Fallout 4. I am going from Fallout 3 and videos I have watched on the internet.)

    So: Liberty Prime is a dumb joke, yes, but what I find very interesting about it is that it is a dumb joke that no one in the present day of Fallout can possibly understand. Liberty Prime spouts propaganda in defence of democracy and against communism, but that is only funny if you know what either democracy or communism are, and no one in the wasteland knows what either of them are. What’s more, even if you did explain to anyone in the wasteland what communism or democracy are, they wouldn’t care. Democracy and communism are obsolete. Liberty Prime is a lonely metal god fighting a war that no one alive is even capable of comprehending, and even if the pre-war PC went to the trouble of explaining it, it wouldn’t matter.

    The NCR in New Vegas is the only actual democracy anywhere in Fallout that I’m aware of, and they’re irrelevant to anything on the east coast. One of the themes of Fallout 3, as far as I noticed, was the way that old American imagery has been decontextualised and has become meaningless. In the Enclave broadcasts, Eden tries to appeal to the people of the wasteland through nostalgic images of America: baseball, Roosevelt’s fireside chats, and so on. But none of it has any impact because none of those images are even remembered any more, and none of them have any emotional torque. Where people do respect images of old America, they misunderstand them, as with the cult worshipping Lincoln. When the Brotherhood trot out Liberty Prime, they are using an anachronism in order to destroy the deeply anachronistic Enclave. In that final battle of Fallout 3, what’s going on symbolically is the final self-destruction of the old United States. The Enclave claims to be the US government, Liberty Prime is the ultimate avatar of the excesses of that government and its ideology, and they destroy each other.

    That doesn’t make the events of the plot any more logical, but I can see what they might have been trying to do there, and it’s interesting. I get the impression that Fallout 4 doesn’t make the best of its pre-war protagonist, but at times I sensed that it was playing in a similar area. You can wax rhapsodic about baseball in Diamond City, but you soon learn that whatever baseball used to be no longer matters. The old culture is gone; what matters now are the new cultures that have been cobbled together from the remains. If I were designing a Fallout game with a pre-war protagonist, I might have wanted to take up that question of the relationship of the old world to a new world that is moving on and has forgotten those old ways. Would you try to recreate anything from the old US, or would you learn to let go?

    Or to put it another way, this is what would really sell me on Liberty Prime in Fallout 4:

    Brotherhood scribe: “Hey, Nora. You’re from before the bombs, right? I’ve been working on Liberty Prime here for ages, and I was wondering. What the hell is communism?”

    • Blunderbuss09 says:

      That’s actually what I really like about Fallout’s setting; the world destroyed itself so damn hard that the people in their wake literally don’t understand what they were fighting for in the first place. Not only do they not understand communism outside of whatever propaganda they find but they don’t understand what highschools, offices, or lunchboxes are. It’s delivers a message in a darkly funny way.

      It does make me wish that the games would do more with pre-war ghouls, especially Chinese ones like General Zao. Do they still believe in Communism? Do they want to bring it back? What do they think of pre and post war America? And so forth.

      • Matt Downie says:

        “Well, Scribe, Communism is basically like if the Brotherhood started giving their soldiers the ammunition they need instead of trading bullets for bottlecaps… There are disadvantages to Communism, like it tends to lead to a single dictator deciding things for everyone, but we have all that in the Brotherhood already.”

        • Ira says:

          Actually – all jokes about the Brotherhood aside, who frankly are my favourite of the factions in FO4 by a considerable margin – my thought was that the Brotherhood is in a good position to critique both democracy and communism. The Brotherhood is a meritocratic quasi-military organisation, and if the higher-ups need to confiscate property, they’ll do it. They have no use for democracy, and the scribe might well point out that the idea of the entire Brotherhood voting on who the elder should be, or whether or not to do what the elder says is absurd. They would have every reason to argue that democracy (or at least republican democracy on the US model) failed in the past and so should not be tried again; and even if it were a good idea, it is a terrible idea for their particular circumstances.

          But they also have good reasons to distrust or oppose communism, again because they are a meritocratic hierarchy. Equal distribution of goods doesn’t make much sense for them: some people need more or less. The Brotherhood is quasi-feudal. Further, their entire mission is premised on the idea that some technologies can’t be spread widely: either because the technology is inherently unethical, or because it is too dangerous to be left in the hands of non-experts.

          Moreover, how I choose to explain democracy and communism, or even whether I try to explain them at all would reveal a great deal about my character. It’s a fantastic roleplaying choice. Do I want to leave the past in the past, rather than risk it contaminating this new world? If I explain, do I try to be even-handed, or am I pro-democracy, or even pro-communism? What’s my reaction to Liberty Prime: do I feel ashamed of the violent jingoism of the pre-war US, or do I take any pride in the technical accomplishment? Do I feel at all sorry that my generation blew up the world, for reasons that now seem totally absurd?

          Liberty Prime spurs these conversations, and I think that’s great. It is an opportunity.

          • Henson says:

            I feel that comparing the Brotherhood to different systems of government doesn’t really work. The Brotherhood is a small military organization, and doesn’t really take on the role of governing citizens. The massive differences in scale would, I wager, alter the efficacy and challenges of each approach.

          • Gethsemani says:

            Not to be that guy, but the Brotherhood of Steel was a strictly hierarchical military organization intent on preserving technology in Fallout 1. They preserved technology by denying it to other people, since they believed that others would not understand or care enough about the inherent value of technology, but would instead destroy it to achieve whatever short-sighted goal they had. This carries over to both 2 and New Vegas, where the BoS fought a costly and unsuccessful war in an attempt to deny the NCR technology. The BoS as envisioned in the original Fallout considers itself the last bastion of the Old World, being the most technologically advanced (at least until the Enclave shows up, at which point the BoS opts for espionage) and having a direct lineage from a pre-war military unit.

            The BoS as shown in Fallout 4 has very little in common with the BoS of prior Fallouts (and that’s saying something, considering how little similarity the BoS in 3 shared with 1 and 2) and is in fact closer to a fascistic autocracy intent on carving out a domain for itself. Gone is the main goal of preserving technology, replaced with some previously unheard of spiel about a pure wasteland (which was the Enclave’s hat in 2 and 3).

            The whole “everyone must buy their equipment” thing is obviously also nonsense since that is a stupid way to conduct a war (though it makes perfect sense from a gameplay perspective) and is hilariously out of character for how the BoS operated before AND how it is shown handing out Power Armor like candy. This despite the fact that a T-60 is an invaluable asset that can’t be replaced whereas the BoS supposedly has ammunition factories back in the capital wasteland. Apparently giving you a pre-war Power Armor is all fine, but if you want even a single round of .38 ammo you better be paying out of your pocket.

            It is saying something about the Institute and Railroad that the BoS is the least nonsensical faction in Fallout 4, despite being mired in internal inconsistency and sharply diverging from both previous incarnations of it (1/2/NV and 3).

  16. Blunderbuss09 says:

    Oh god I’m going to praise something about this game.

    I loved the concept of taking control of Liberty Prime to shoot down the airship; it’s such delicious sweet irony and destroys the BOS with their own hubris.

    But of course the implementation is terrible, and I think here’s why; LP is such a cool idea, but as you said it disempowers the player because it does the work for you. You don’t get to fight it in a cool boss fight. Imagine if you had to fight that to buy time for the synth to hack it and smashing the entire airport in the process. Goddamn that would be cool. And terrifying. If I ever get good enough at modding I am making that.

    Here’s one little problem though; the game actually gives you another way to destroy the airship without even realizing it because, again, they didn’t think it through. If you help General Zhao in the submarine he gifts you a beacon so he can launch mini-tactical nukes at that location. So you can slap that beacon onto the side of the ship and high-tail it out of there, wham, problem solved in the most ironic way possible.

    Also I fully agree about Anders in DA2. Yeah of course he’s different, he’s possessed by a spirit now and it becomes obvious during the timeskips that he can’t handle it. Anyone who complains or is surprised by his change is not paying attention. Character arcs don’t always change a character for the better.

    • Raygereio says:

      Anyone who complains or is surprised by his change is not paying attention. Character arcs don’t always change a character for the better.

      The main core of the DA2-Anders complaints is that they presented two new characters and asked us to pretend they were the Anders & Justice we knew from Awakening and we could all see they weren’t. More importantly, Anders was fun & light-hearted in Awakening. The imposter in DA2 was angry, broody and grim and basically wasn’t a fun character.
      You’re right that a character can change in story. You’re supposed to see this change occur however. With Anders & Justice everything happened offscreen. A huge improvement would have been if DA2 introduced the actual Anders & Justice, have Justice possess Anders at the end of Act 1 and then gradually show the change happen. DA2’s timeskips could have been used to great effect there.

      Fun tidbit: A point complaint that a lot of people had was that Justice was corrupted by Anders’ anger. Thing is that Anders wasn’t angry. He was frustrated at the circle, but it was more a tired frustration then one leading to fury. The writer from Awakening claimed post-DA2 that he wrote Anders as having all that boiling hatred underneath the surface and that Justice possessing Anders was intended. But personally I call bullshit on that.
      Mostly because the original concept for DA2 was for Justice to posses Velanna. Which would have made more sense: Velanna had that seething hatred going on. The problem with that however is that they wanted to feature the Mage-Templar conflict and Velanna didn’t really any connection to that. She was all about the Dalish.

      • The loading screens for the game say that Anders isn’t the one causing Justice’s corruption, rather that it’s the city itself and all the blood magic and junk that had happened there before.

        I doubt having some whiny mage who’s a bit salty about the Circle (as much as I disagree with the entire concept of the Circle and the Templar as a whole) would be enough to force that large a change in a spirit of Justice.

      • potatoejenkins says:

        I agree that Velana* would’ve been more suitable for the intended changes to Justice. However, the explanation that Anders was always a pretty angry chap didn’t came out of the blue for me. For me it always felt like he kept all his anger, fear, hate and frustration deep inside him and tried to hide it with funny jokes and sarcasm.

        He avoids every serious topic, especially in banter with Nathaniel who asks him genuine questions. Anders never gives a straight answer and only in banter with Justice he seems more sincere. At that point he just wants to run away from evil, evil reality. Justice wants to change things – in the way a spirit devoted to one virtue alone would typically solve problems.

        By merging they kind of corrupted each other. Imo, the crime is Anders alone though. He should’ve known. He abused his friend because he didn’t want to let go. Edit: Also what Billy “Dosbilliam” Inlow wrote. Red Lyrium and all. Because its evil. (And I’m actually looking forward to the explanation how the blue became red. Especially since we’ve learned what Lyrium actually is.)

        *She is a very … uhm … “complicated” character though and integrating her into the DA2 story with a human main character might’ve been too difficult.

      • lurkey says:

        Anders was Alistair-lite in Awakenings. That was all to his personality. I guess if you liked Alistair, you liked Awakening Anders as well and one in DA2 felt like an impostor; I couldn’t stand Alistair and was therefore lukewarmly meh about his poor man’s version to the point I mostly dismissed the character for the first part of the game out of habit and my peeve with him was not that he didn’t feel like Anders, but that he didn’t feel like Justice. And yet, eventually he turned up to be one of my favourite Bioware characters.

        As for him being always angry, single-minded and obsessed with freedom for mages, well, spirits in DA universe are basically a single idea or concept, so what else would you expect from someone possessed by such a thing?

        • Raygereio says:

          I actually hated Alistair.
          You’re right that Anders was essentially Alistair-light, but I felt that with Anders they turned down the Whedon-whimsy enough for the character actually become kind of okay.

          As for him being always angry, single-minded and obsessed with freedom for mages, well, spirits in DA universe are basically a single idea or concept, so what else would you expect from someone possessed by such a thing?

          I didn’t have a problem with that. Nor can I recall ever having seen that as a criticism of DA2-Anders.

  17. kunedog says:

    When I was weighing the best faction choice for the FNV endgame, Mr. House usually came out on top (due to his demonstrated competence). My only regret is that he insists on wiping out the Brotherhood unprovoked, seemingly for no reason other than to commit a clearly evil act (and stop you from siding with him).

    • Blunderbuss09 says:

      There was going to be a way to broker peace but it was cut, probably for time reasons.

      But there is a rational reason why he wants them wiped out; they will do anything to take away his technology and the world he wants to create, and he’s 100% right. The current elder is reasonable but if you replace him with a more zealous elder he wants to blow up the Silver Rush just because they’re selling energy weapons. And this is on the heels on the BOS/NCR war that started because the BOS wanted to take the NCR’s technology away. The BOS can’t be reasoned with because, as shown in Veronica’s quests, they’re either too scared or too traditional to change.

      • Padrino says:

        The way I’ve heard it, the peaceful option for the Brotherhood was deliberately cut precisely so the choice to ally with House would be difficult for Brotherhood-loving PCs. If so, I have to admire it. We always say we want difficult choices in RPGs; that’s a pretty solid one.

        That being said (and contra the reply below), I had *no problem whatsoever* wiping out the Brotherhood, for a couple of reasons.

        1) I had already finished Veronica’s quest with the option of her joining the Followers, which reveals a sizable chunk of the Brotherhood to be vicious murderers.

        2) Ever go to Hidden Valley without Veronica? I did on my first playthrough. Guess what? Elijah ain’t the only Brotherhood member who’s okay with using bomb collars on innocent civilians to get them to do their dirty work.

        I always imagined the conversation with House and my first NV PC going something like this:

        “Next, I need you to dismantle the Brotherhood of Steel. I know you’ve — ”

        “Done.”

        “Wait, you need to know — ”

        “No, we’re good, Bob. Consider them vaporized.”

        • Blunderbuss09 says:

          Oh yeah. I was pissed at the BOS for pulling the bomb collar bullshit on me and what they did to Veronica. She was the only reason I didn’t kill them.

          And the worst thing? If you go Wild Card you can ask the BOS to help in the fight … and they take the chance to reclaim the HELIOS One power station instead and use it as a base to harass people! You assholes!

          If there was some way to issue an evac order when blowing up the bunker, leaving them without a base, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Still, they made them relateable, tragic and intimidating even if you disliked them, which is more than I can say in FO4.

          • Padrino says:

            Like so many things in the game (I am an unapologetic New Vegas fanboy) the Brotherhood is written in a way that is open to numerous interpretations, and even relatively minor characters have a good number of layers to them. In many other games, Hardin would be an unrepentant a-hole from the moment you start chatting with him, but in NV he comes across as both reasonable and fairly likable … and yet his hardline attitude is completely unsurprising should you put him in charge.

            If it makes you feel better, I’m pretty sure the self-destruct provides an all clear offstage. I don’t have a lot of evidence for this theory except for the amount of time you have to get out of the bunker and the fact that while you take a minor karma hit for setting off the self-destruct, your karma gets *decimated* if you go the route of slaughtering the Brotherhood in combat.

    • Phantos says:

      That was the clincher for me to betray House.

      There was no love lost for the Brotherhood, but I could not do that to Veronica. Even though in my game she leaves them.

      The options you get for answering why you betray him are pretty weak, but I don’t hold it against NV. I get that there’s way too many player-specific answers for them to throw in there. Just as a reality of game development, I can get why they’d want to not put in hundreds of answers to scroll through in that game’s dialogue system.

      So when the game gives me the choice of “ME NO LIKE U”, I just head-canon my own reasons in there. I’m not sure if it would have been better if you could speech check your way into saving the Brotherhood AND siding with House, though. Maybe it’s better to have consequences rather than just choices.

  18. Phantos says:

    Since they’re never going to get around to it, I’ll just say it here:

    What quest were the SW crew talking about when they mentioned a “radio DJ” quest?

    I assume they’re talking about that guy in the letterman jacket from Diamond City. They talked pretty highly of it, but the one I played was boring and had no real payoff. Were they talking about something else? Were they just being sarcastic and I didn’t catch that? Was it an elaborate prank to get me to play more non-content, or is there a follow-up quest that’s actually good that I missed?

  19. Christopher says:

    I haven’t played Fallout 3 or watched the Spoiler Warning season of it, so I only vaguely remember the giant robot being mentioned in Shamus’ complaint articles about the plot. I would hope we can control it, that it’s like a really big power armor. Either that or fight it as a boss, every action game should aspire to at least have a single one.

  20. Phantos says:

    PROTIP: Recruit Doctor Li into the Brotherhood, and THEN destroy them. While she’s there.

    Two birds with one stone.

  21. potatoejenkins says:

    I didn’t mind Prime because I did not play Fallout 3. I think Prime fits Maxson’s Brotherhood better than Lyons’. Lyons’ Brotherhood were the shining knights, Maxson’s Brotherhood likes to demonstrate superiority and behave like Super Mutants: Smashi! Smashi!

    Rebuilding Prime was more involving than building the teleporter, lead to a unique location and you were actually part of the team rebuilding him. You did something.

    I was also allowed to tell them the idea was stupid and a waste of time. They did it anyway, but I was allowed to tell them that it’s stupid. Take your victories wherever you can.

    Stopped before endgame though and don’t know how it is to follow him around. Am trying to avoid spoilers as well still. For some reason I need to finish this game to get over it. Someday. But not today.

    Edit: Desdemona (Shakespeare Shamus, Shakespeare) is somehow one of the better leading figures. I however hated her the moment she forced me to say I would save synth no matter what to proceed. You know what woman? I happily try to help and save people. But it depends on their character and the circumstances, not them having a chip in their brain or not.

    She is the reason everyone thinks the RR puts synth lifes over anything else. Deacon for example does not.

    I loathe them (except Glory, Deacon, Drummer Boy and Tinker Tom), but I don’t want to kill them. *sigh*

    btw, Glory does not have a synth component on her either.

  22. Phantos says:

    I think the biggest problem with Fallout 4’s main quest is that Bethesda wrote a world full of stupid people, when they should have written a world full of INSANE people.

    And because the game doesn’t let you acknowledge how stupid everyone is, it invites the creeping suspicion that Bethesda thinks they’re smart, and that we thought they’d be smart too.

    The game is pretty much insulting everyone who plays the content it deems the most important.

  23. Kelerak says:

    Put out the light, and then put out the light.

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