Fallout 4 EP51: Fog of War Never Changes

By Shamus
on Oct 21, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

136 comments


Link (YouTube)

Confession time: when I originally played this game, the final cutscene worked a little differently. (Or maybe it bugged out?) I stood by Shaun’s bedside, watched him die, and dinged a level right there without it cutting away for the final cutscene. It was a hilariously dissonant moment. I was hoping that would happen here. Actually, I was secretly hoping that that would happen, and Idiot SavantDur-huh ha HA! would proc, which seemed to be a fitting way to say goodbye to this questline.

But it worked more or less as intended, so that didn’t happen. This is far better than the way I experienced the ending, and if Bethesda fixed it then I’m grateful, even if it meant I had one less thing to laugh at. It all balanced out anyway, since we got the fog that obscured the big set-piece explosion at the end.

Mumbles said at the end that she wanted to play Fallout 4. I felt the same way. In fact, last night I re-installed my favorite Fallout 4 mods and started a new playthrough. I really did have fun with this game. It has some wonderful environments, the base-building is great, the combat is fun in certain situations, and I loved modding weapons. The companions range from forgettable to excellent, and there are a couple of quests that really work. But the main story is such a disaster that its failings infect the rest of the experience.

Earlier in the week Josh pointed me to this:


OVERWHELMINGLY mixed.

OVERWHELMINGLY mixed.

Public opinion has turned on this game. There was a surge of enthusiasm at launch, but then that nagging feeling of discontent set in as the various stories and systems in the game came up short. I wouldn’t call it a backlash or anything, but it is a negative response. You can compare this to Skyrim, which started out Very Positive but is now Overwhelmingly Positive.

Reading the negative Steam reviews on Fallout 4 can actually be kind of gratifying for us RPG nerds. I don’t expect the average player to gripe about the lack of coherent themes, faction motivation, and plot cohesion. But I’m betting they did notice the side-effect of these shortcomings, which is that nothing connected emotionally. Even if you didn’t notice that The Institute didn’t have any motivations for their villainy, you probably did notice it all felt kind of empty and forgettable. Even if you didn’t notice the fundamental problems with player agency and character building, you might have noticed that you rarely got to make any satisfying decisions.

I don’t think Bethesda is going to transform into CD Projekt RED or anything, but if they could at least claw their way back to Skyrim levels of “shallow but basically serviceable” it would be an enormous help. The first step is admitting you have a problem, and maybe this tepid response will be a wake-up call for them.

Thanks for watching.

Also, since you all guessed anyway…

Do WHAT until dawn? Party? Yeah. They probably mean party.

Do WHAT until dawn? Party? Yeah. They probably mean party.

This will be one of the rare seasons where I go in cold and react to the game as it unfolds. So that should be interesting.

One final reminder is that later today we’ll be streaming Civilization VI.

Enjoyed this post? Please share!

Footnotes:

[1] Dur-huh ha HA!


A Hundred!2016There are 136 comments here. I really hope you like reading.

From the Archives:

  1. Mattias42 says:

    Oh~

    Lovely choice for next season! Until Dawn is a really great game in general, and one of the best horror games in recent years.

    This will be one of the rare seasons where I go in cold and react to the game as it unfolds. So that should be interesting.

    I’ll stop gushing right now for that reason, though. I’m really curius what Shamus thinks about the design choices and story, and I hope that doesn’t get spoiled prematurely.

    • Christopher says:

      This is all Campster and his Haunted House/horror games stuff’s fault, isn’t it?

      I watched Giant Bomb’s let’s play of this last year. It seemed good! I’m interested in seeing how/if the choices actually result in different story/gameplay, after having seen it from one angle already. I’m steeling myself for disappointment. I’ve played Mass Effect, I’ve played Life is Strange, I’ve played the Walking Dead. I know how this goes.

      • Gruhunchously says:

        Until Dawn is about as variant as those other games. A little more in some places, a little less in others.

        The key difference I feel is that it’s framed less as a choose-your-own-adventure and more as an attempt to foil the tropes of the game itself. There are some choices that are just objectively bad (assuming you want people to live), and the game hands you vague premonitions and clues to help you interpret what the best way forward is – or sometimes to mislead you.

    • Jokerman says:

      I hope the cast plays it, it always makes for more interesting commentary… and Until Dawn is a game i think everyone should at least experience once.

  2. Da Mage says:

    Thanks for the series! I normally wait until the end to start watching, but this one has just been too much fun to wait.

    • Christopher says:

      Yes, good season! Got a bit muddy and mired in negativity and boredom occasionally from the institute questline these last couple of weeks, but for almost the entirety of the season I was having a great time.

  3. Spojaz says:

    Trying-not-to-swear-Mumbles is my spirit animal.

  4. Ron Perlman voiced the news announcer during the opening scene…you know, one of the bits that you eventually ignored because he didn’t really do much outside of saying that the nukes were falling.

    • tzeneth says:

      This made me sad. I know Ron Perlman is a bit overdone as a trope of the series but I like his voice. He makes a good dramatic narrator for setting things up. I didn’t like the writing for the end of Fallout 3, so not even his voice could save that but there’s a reason he was used multiple times by the original makers of fallout as compared to other actors.

      I think the male does a decent job with the opening to this game as well. The opening does the job of explaining the world in a short amount of time while hitting the proper Bethesda believed tropes for the world. I just miss my Ron Perlman because his voice has a nice gravelly quality that I feel plays well to Post-Apocalypse.

  5. Wide And Nerdy® says:

    Ok Mumbles. Since they aren’t doing it and you liked it, Far Harbor would be fun to watch you play. If you’re wondering where to go after Dragon Age 2.

  6. el_b says:

    have you met mumbles’ son, deathfrick?

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I joined the brotherhood because I needed their help to make my vault operational once more.

    Oh,you mean in fallout 4.Yeah,I didnt play that shitty game for long enough.Youre on your own there.

  8. Piflik says:

    Looking forward to Until Dawn. I watched a Kill-Everyone-As-Fast-As-Possible-Run (with the notable exception of one girl, who was saved for a particular death scene) recently, so it will be interesting to see how that run differs from the average Cuftbert-run…

    • Sam says:

      Could you give a link? That sounds delightfully morbid and creative. Reminds me of the play through I heard of in Walking Dead never saying any dialogue unless otherwise forced.

  9. Ledel says:

    So, father goes against the institute saying you should raise Shaun as a real boy. That’s a little upsetting, but could have still fit in with him wanting to leave something for you for all the years the two of you missed out on.

    If you want really weird, the brotherhood ending allows you to take Shaun as your child when you’re blowing up the institute. The “all synths must die” faction lets you take this boy that everyone knows is a synth and doesn’t say anything about it.

    Bethesda only put in enough effort to write in bold letters “YOU CARE ABOUT YOUR SON” but nothing else on that front.

    • potatoejenkins says:

      They don’t know. They also magically forget or don’t know that “Father” is your son.

    • PlasmaPony says:

      I’m a monster who joined the Brotherhood and then refused to take the kid because he wasn’t my real son, he was a robot copy and it didn’t feel right. I rather liked Ingram’s reaction. At first she is shocked you are abandoning a child, but when you say it’s a synth replica not a real child she is revolted. Not because it’s a synth, but because someone making a synth copy of your child to manipulate your emotions is horrific. I thought that was a good moment.

      • Better than the Minutemen ending, where there was absolutely no reaction from anyone that you were leaving something that looked like a kid behind before the entire place blows up.

        The most reaction I got was telling Virgil the place went boom, which I screwed up because I didn’t tell him I’d gotten most of the civilians out first.

        • Bloodsquirrel says:

          My favorite part about the minute men ending is the Preston Garvey got mad that I didn’t evacuate the institute before blowing it up- but it apparently hasn’t occurred to him that we’ve just caused massive explosion in the middle of Boston, and that we’ve probably killed more people outside of the institute than inside of it.

  10. potatoejenkins says:

    The reason I stopped playing this game was what happened in the epiloge. I hate baby Shaun. I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate what they did with this character in a way I have never hated writers for doing something before.

    The reason is: When Shaun comes to you, brainraped by “Father” and without any sign of the child that was before, you have a choice between:

    – Yes, I am your mum!

    and

    – DIE!!!!

    And when he is in your settlement he becomes a magic weapons workbench and makes you weapon mods. That’s it. You can not even give him a bed!

    No.

    PS: You do not “raise” Shaun. He will never grow up.

    • Matt Downie says:

      The film AI creeped me out for similar reasons. It made me think a robot child was a really bad idea. Most interactions with children make no sense if the child can’t learn and grow. And if they can learn and grow, what’s the end product? An adult robot in a child’s body who outlives his purpose?

      But in F4 you could go to the memory place and have his brain moved to an adult-sized body. The Railroad apparently has lots of humanoid synths that they helpfully rescued and then mind-killed.

      • potatoejenkins says:

        The film A.I. does not run away or ignores these questions. I barely remember it, but while the rejection of the mother in that movie seemed … mean and unfortunate for the child it was still kind of understandable?

        What I loath about Bethesda’s choice here is: Father programmed baby Shaun to love you. That is sick in ways I can’t even put in words. You can talk to baby Shaun before the mindrape, he is much more open to you and they could’ve easily written it in a way that he becomes attached to you on his own volition.

        The question could’ve been: Do I want to rescue this synth child – yes or no. Then you could adopt him and care for him as your own. Or you could find a home for him, whatever you prefer.

        The way it is now you have to lie and go along with Fathers midrape to save the pup. You can not tell him you are not his parent and save him anyway. It’s lie or die.

        And when it’s over you get a holotape and weapon mods.

        This kid is a synth. He will never grow. The scientists in the Institute tell you that. Will he grow psychically but not physically? Who knows! Nobody asks these questions.

        As it stands I will have to kill him because I do not want to lie. What-the-fuck-Bethesda. I want to save the kid, maybe even keep the kid. But going along with mindrape goes against everything my character did and fought for in the entire game.

        Interestingly enough, if you reject him he goes into “creepy child” mode, gets a very grown-up voice and tells you, you only reject him because “what you are doing” (blowing up the Institute) is wrong. That does at least give me an excuse to think Father programmed more into this child than just him thinking you are his parent.

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          So yes, the child was programmed to love you, but does that make his feelings less real*? Does that make your rejection more justified? Is it that different from the genetic and social conditioning for family ties that human born children experience?

          Are all good questions that the game never asks, it dangles the syntShaun in front of you for a moment, puts him away for the rest of the game and then throws him at you at the last five minutes following the ME3 school of “child=instant empathy and emotional weight” school of writing.

          *And let’s ignore the whole “synths are just vacuum cleaners with the ability to parse language and more pleasing curves” thing the Institute was supposed to follow.

          • potatoejenkins says:

            Exactly. This game is not able to tackle these questions. So they should not have pulled this shit on the player.

            I for one do believe he thinks his feelings are genuine. A child, no matter if programmed to love someone or naturally come to love someone will get hurt in ways unimaginable if rejected.

            But for gods sake, if you go there, give me the option to tell the truth and say: I’ll take care of you anyway, I can love you anyway, I just want you to love me because you want to and not because a code in your head, implanted by a mad scientist, forces you to think that. Why would adoption be so much worse than pretending to be his real parent? Is there any reason they did this? Any at all?

            And he will get behind the inconsistencies on his own. He is smart and will notice he won’t age. And all what’s left to him then is not a parent, but a liar. In a world that still rejects synths no matter which ending you choose. And then you die of old age or by deathclaw and the synth child is alone. Yay.

            Edit: To make it clear, I will not reject him because Father programmed him to love my character. If I ever manage to get over it and play endgame content. It’s appalling but I could get over it if I and my character weren’t forced to play along. There is no dialogue option to deal with this, help Shaun deal with this, to do … something.
            And that would mean playing a different character than my own. Or ignoring everything happening on-screen for the rest of the game. See, I as a parent would not leave Shaun to go questing when pretending to be his real mom.
            I would if there were no lies between us and he would be ok with it. But the way Bethesda forces me to play along? Nope. Just nope.

            Maybe I can mod the encounter out of the game and mod baby synth Shaun back in when I retire the character. That’d help. Pretending he didn’t run up to the people shooting at everyone but escaped with the other people when the alarm went off.

            • Blunderbuss09 says:

              You nailed it on the head so hard.

              Of all the horrible things that Father has done, this is the most messed up, and it requires him to do a 180 on his previous beliefs about synths. Why is this kid synth different? Why would you love a ‘machine’ shaped like a kid? I can understand Father having some twisted need to be ‘raised’ by his parent by proxy but it requires him to be a hypocrite through bad writing rather than a character flaw.

              And my character would also reject lying to this kid. I already hated the idea of roleplaying as someone so selfish to have a child when society was collapsing, but now I have to roleplay as someone willing to go along with this farce of a family? Considering that family is supposed to be a ‘theme’ in this game that is really messed up.

              • potatoejenkins says:

                I thought a bit about this and wondered: If they had to implement this to show what a narcissist Father really is, what if Father had given you a code? The code enabling you to program this child to love you. It would be your choice. It would show Father still sees synth Shawn as an “it”, not contradicting everything the Institute – his Institute – stands for.
                And yet it would show some kind of twisted affection. And it would be your choice how to handle it.

                Would you want to take care of a synth kid looking like your son even though it doesn’t see you as his parent (yet)? Or would your character go so far and accept Fathers offer and use the code. Because that is all they ever wanted, all they have left? Or would they still leave him behind?

                And it wouldn’t have been required to make a new scene. Rephrase the dialogue, reuse assets from the scene when you first met Father and he reprogrammed synth Shawn if you decide to use the code later. Or don’t and let it be the usual interaction without him calling you “mom” or “dad”.

                Also, why the flying eff does Mama Murphy get a chair and your son doesn’t even get a bed? Oh, wait, I know why: Because settlement building is optional.

            • ehlijen says:

              Asking because I don’t remember, but does the game state that synths don’t grow? In which case, why did thee institute ever bother to build a child synth?

              • Blunderbuss09 says:

                Yep. Ambient dialogue with other scientists mention that synth Shaun can’t grow and they’re all really creeped out by the idea but did it because Father said so. If the Institute is calling you out on ethics then you know you’re messed up.

              • potatoejenkins says:

                They don’t grow up, they can’t gain weight and they love Fancy Lad Snack Cakes.

                That’s the best we get when asking the game about synths. If we are lucky enough to overhear the right ambient dialogue.

  11. Kelerak says:

    I’m disappointed the next season isn’t The Order: 1886.

  12. Dev Null says:

    Do WHAT Until Dawn?

    Kill zombies, I assume. It’s a computer game; you _have_ to kill zombies.

  13. Kelerak says:

    That reception may have dropped because of the season pass allegedly under-delivering. There were only two real expansions, that being Far Harbor and Nuka World.

    I don’t know what to make of that, as I have no intention of playing Fallout 4, but $50 is a pretty steep price for a season pass, especially when announced that close to a game’s release.

    • Distec says:

      I picked up the season pass based on my previous good experiences with FO3, NV, and Skyrim. Despite all their faults, I think Bethesda generally do a fine job with with their DLC. I also purchased the pass before they hiked up the price; which stoked expectations that whatever expansions we get would be so much more awesome. I generally don’t do season passes, but surely this would be an extremely safe bet, right?

      The biggest problem is that it seems like a huge chunk of it is just more base-building crap. That’s fine if you really liked that stuff, but the novelty wore off for me early on and that whole facet of the game seems to have no meaningful relationship with any other part of it. It’s no exaggeration when people claim DLC like this could probably be implemented by a modder for free.

      I was planning to return again when all the DLC was released and a few more mods got worked out, but learning that Nuka World was going to be the final installment has really sapped my will for it. I guess I’ll try out Far Harbor at some point, since that seems to have been positively received. But I think I’m going to have difficulty shaking the disappointment of knowing that it’s an island of quality in between a lot of pointless mediocrity.

      • potatoejenkins says:

        This. Bethesdas DLCs weren’t ground breaking in older installments, but they were satisfying. The lower season pass price seemed like a good deal.

        Then they copy pasted existing meshes and sold them as DLC. 95% of the items added in the settlement building DLCs were in the game, already available via mods. The exact_same_meshes. They copy pasted even the bugs and mesh problems over.

        It’s insulting.

        P.S.: Find a mod that disables the settlement attacks and try Far Harbor. Pretend it is a different game or a spin-off. It’s nice enough to be worth a try and might at least make you feel better for being dumb enough to hope for good things when buying the season pass.

      • There’s no “seems like” it; 4 of the DLC might have a handful of quests but it’s all settlement stuff.

    • Phantos says:

      I’m a bit torn on this.

      Individual pieces of the DLC I think are worth buying, and the two “big” DLCs are the size of full AAA games.

      Maybe it’s when they include the Vault Workshop Who Cares DLC that the $50 price tag starts to look unreasonable?

  14. SlothfulCobra says:

    Mumbles trying to not swear makes her sound drunk. Also, she’s trying so hard to be nice that kindness itself has become a form of aggression.

  15. Baron Tanks says:

    Ooph. Well at least it’s over. Not much to add, I didn’t make it far enough either, like some other commenters. Can’t say this makes me want to dive back in though… Far from it.

    Excited for Until Dawn, I will also be going in blind. Been thinking about picking it up, it seems interesting enough. I think it’s one of those games that works well enough to just watch though. Excited to see you guys do it.

    Thanks for slogging through, as before, we’re all sick of it by the end, but I’m glad you guys did it. It’s over now. Thank you.

  16. Phantos says:

    …Did we ever find out if Synths poop?

  17. Kelerak says:

    The game ends by Reginald Cuftbert turning Boston into Silent Hill.

    I can’t think of anything more fitting.

  18. Phantos says:

    I don’t know if this was discussed yet, but it turns out that Father’s face is slightly different depending on how you make the male player character’s face.

    But only very slightly.

    I applied every single burn, scratch, scar, freckle and wound on my “husband”‘s face, at 100% opacity. If you do that, Father has I think two or three extra wrinkles when you meet him. But the basic facial structure is similar.

    I was sad that he didn’t look like exactly like his Murder-Clown father, though. That might have been some small compensation for… everything else about the Institute.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      Well, technically burns and scratches are not hereditary, although I get what you mean. I think it’s still nice that they get stuff like race and hair (I think FO3 did it too?).

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      It takes into account both the mother and father, so you need to switch between both at character creation to create a real horror.

      My character and her husband looked like a pair of ghouls, so “Father” also looked pretty hideous.

  19. Merlin says:

    Dang, I have only been vaguely away of Until Dawn, but that is a heck of a piece of cover art.

  20. Phantos says:

    Of course the game ends with the music glitching out and playing generic battle music over the main theme.

    • potatoejenkins says:

      It wasn’t just me then. I love when that happens. It happens a lot.

      Wasn’t sure it’s part of the Institute ending though. Didn’t seem too far off. Especially considering Reginalds villain radio speech.

  21. Sleeping Dragon says:

    I know this won’t be to everyone’s liking but I have to say that while you didn’t have that much to say about the game at this point (at least not stuff that hasn’t already come up earlier during this LP) I still enjoyed the finale greatly. You literally had me in tears (in a good way).

  22. During this season, I went back to my unfinished game and I followed the Brotherhood path for a bit, mostly because I had nothing left to do that (I think) wouldn’t trigger the endgame.

    I had also gone on the Wiki earlier to see why there were some places where I could see, say, an elevator on my map, but some impassable rubble was blocking my way. When I found that there were areas that were closed off unnaturally until I took a given mission, I was kind of mad about that and then decided to see what I was missing.

    Note: That cache in Fort Strong would’ve been fine without the rubble if the elevator was some heavy-duty military model that required a special password or key that only the Brotherhood had. Rubble blocking some place when I’d seen explosives remove rubble previously in the game was annoying. I actually like it when choices can matter, and picking a faction closing off certain quests is aces with me, so long as it makes sense and doesn’t seem like the “impassable forest” or “unclimbable mountains” a bad DM will use to keep you in an area.

    Anyway, I like the Brotherhood in this game better than in Fallout 3 from a character standpoint. I also thought they were well-portrayed in New Vegas. I still haven’t gotten through the end of Fallout 4, as I was trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong on the mission you go to at Bunker Hill where the BoS, the Railroad, and the Institute have a shootout. I couldn’t lead the synths to safety, so I though it was bugged (which it still may or may not be, I’m not sure) and that’s where I am at the moment.

    • potatoejenkins says:

      The Brotherhood is the faction they put most of the work and resources in until Blind Betrayal. Make sure to speak with everyone on the Prydwen to get the only faction quests in this game that give you an actual choice and different outcomes influencing the late game or even random encounters to an extend.

      Missing Patrol has unqiue dialogue for Danse where he tells you about the different people you find and whom he served with. Depending on the ending of this quest, mind your answer to Kells. Depending on what you tell him you will get an additional reward from someone other than him. And that someone will be part of the team storming the Institute.

      The quest involving supplies going missing can – depending on the outcome – add a random encounter. You also need to take care who you take with you. Depending on who is with you – heed their warnings. It will influence how the NPC reacts to you. You can bypass charisma skill-checks by exploring the dungeon and finding a specific item.

      My character joined the BoS and stayed for roleplaying reason. Neither my character nor I like them or feel they are right in everything they do. But it is by far my favourite faction because they are the only one with quests involving more than – go there, shoot that.

      It’s ironic.

  23. tmtvl says:

    I understand Shamus and Galaxy Gun, I also want to play Fallout.

    Fallout: New Vegas, though, since that’s actually a (shock and horror) GOOD game, but yeah.

  24. I think I mentioned this before on my own blog, but this is what I think is the biggest mistake of this game:

    Making the player character be John or Jane Fallout.

    You should be a nobody, or at least, someone with no ties to the main quest. I think you should have been a wastelander of whatever pedigree you wanted who snuck into Vault 111 some time after Kellogg took Shawn. You’d find J. Fallout, release them from the cryo-pod, and together you’d do the tutorial. You’d go to Concord, do the whole Preston Garvey thing and wind up in Sanctuary where J. Fallout would be another questgiver. They could be the one worrying about their son and giving you quests (if you wanted to follow them) to save his kid. Meanwhile, you’d be free to do whatever you wanted, J. Fallout would be the General of the Minutemen, and you could make alliances and help/hurt whatever faction you pleased. In the end, Shawn would be an optional quest where you could bring Synth-kid to J. Fallout if you wanted to.

    J. Fallout should’ve been like Martin in Oblivion: Important to the main story, the person “doing” things that are urgent so you didn’t feel like you were neglecting things, and ready to go when you decided to do something instead of being told doing X ASAP was needed desperately in spite of the fact you can muck about for months in-game without doing X and nothing changes.

    This does’t fix *everything,* especially the lack of role-playing, but it’d help remove a lot of the railroading that the devs put into this game so they could have a main character.

    • Grudgeal says:

      I think that was actually mentioned by the crew at one point back in episode… 3? 4? Gosh how time has flied in this season.

      • I remember them saying they wanted you to be John Fallout, but I don’t think they thought of making him a questgiver. I think they just pointed out that they started with a character, heard the negativity when that was leaked, and then they shoehorned Jane Fallout into the game.

        • potatoejenkins says:

          Nora only feels shoehorned because they decided to remove her military background and voice files for … reasons.

          She might’ve been an afterthought, but you wouldn’t have noticed as much if they had let her keep her military background.

    • Phantos says:

      I’m convinced there was a miniature civil war at Bethesda.

      Maybe one half wanted to make an action-centric spinoff of Fallout, and the other half wanted to make a legit Fallout game.

      And what we got was the begrudging compromise between those two things. That could be why it feels so half-hearted.

      • Of course a Civil War at Bethesda would be a stalemate. Skyrim showed us you can’t win a civil war decisively because everyone’s tagged as an essential character.

      • Fists says:

        I don’t think that kind of conflict would really give us what we got, the tone is far too consistent. I think they’re just using spark notes and tvtropes as reference material.

        Pick a trope
        Hash out a story
        Proof once
        Ensure every bullet point from tvtropes has been touched on like they’re selection criteria for a resume
        Paste character names
        Get voiced
        Profit.

        With that, I think the reason Silver Shroud and the USS constitution are lauded as the ‘best’ quests is simply that the writing didn’t come from that work flow, they actually wrote a story with it’s own arc. These quests are still trope laden but that’s creative work for you, nothing is new under the sun but there’s still a distinction between creation reduction.

  25. potatoejenkins says:

    I just remembered Until Dawn. I am sooo looking forward to this. I assume Josh is playing? Or Campster. Oh, yes, let Campster play Until Dawn.

    Thanks for this season. T’was … what I expected. Less fun than other seasons but very cathartic. And the missing fun was the games fault.

  26. natureguy85 says:

    I’ll definitely watch next season. I would love to play the game, but… console exclusive. grumble grumble.

  27. Grudgeal says:

    And thank you for suffering through this on our behalf, and ending it in a timely manner. Looking forward to next season.

  28. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Oh em gee,Mumbles is mom from futurama.

  29. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Isnt railroad essentially brainwashing people?How is that the morally good option?

    Also,arent minutemen the only actually good option,the ones that never ask you to kill everyone else,but rather just build stuff around boston.

    • You do need to nix the Institute, but that at least makes some sort of sense with the whole “they’re abducting the people we’re trying to protect.” If you team them up with the Railroad you can get them to also destroy the BoS.

      Or that’s what I thought; if you become hostile to the BoS before the actual ending, you can have the option to blow up the airship with artillery.

    • Fists says:

      Yeah, I think Shamus’ constant claiming of there being no good option is a little unfair. The minutemen are ‘dull’ yes but that’s because they’re actually half way sensible. I think it’s like dating scene in Scott Pilgrim, all of Ramona’s exes have these grand themes and big showy set pieces but the ‘correct’ choice is boring old Scott because he’s actually a decent human being. Not perfect, but has a conscience and some empathy.

      Writing off the minutemen to go and be friends with the megalomaniacs and then complaining when they don’t care about you is a bit of a character flaw.

    • ehlijen says:

      It becomes the ‘good option’ if your writers don’t think things through and treat ‘rewriting your mind’ the same as ‘getting you a fake ID card’, because it’s all meant to be bout ‘slavery is bad, yo’.

      Is it slavery if a being doesn’t want to be free? Can you be a person without understanding freedom? If you have to reprogram someone to want to be free, did you rescue them or abduct them?

      More missed opportunities the game could have tried to deal with…

      • natureguy85 says:

        The weird last short from “The Animatrix” had the humans putting a captured kill machine through a simulation to get it to choose to help humans under the idea that it was wrong to simply reprogram them to do so. The episode was strange and I didn’t really care for it but the concept was interesting.

    • I thought they were giving Synths what they think is a “perfect” cover: The belief that they’re human so their behavior doesn’t give them away.

      Of course, something gives them away a lot of the time, since enough people realize they’re not “real.” I suppose that makes sense if they’re relatives, but not if they’re, say, the mayor.

  30. Daemian Lucifer says:

    the base-building is great

    Maybe after a ton of mods,but vanilla base building is shit.All the things you can build are brand new pieces of trash,there are no fun recipes to unlock,the elements snap together into incoherent messes,especially on uneven terrain,you cant remove everything,and the stuff you can remove you have to do tediously one by one,……

  31. Andy_Panthro says:

    I chose the Brotherhood to finish the game with.

    I didn’t know you could pick the Minutemen, otherwise I would have picked them (since they are “your” faction pretty much from the moment you meet them). I was going to pick the Railroad, but the game glitched out on me and I couldn’t get into the church for some reason, but I’m glad in the end because I think I would have hated their reasoning and hated that I couldn’t ally them with the Minutemen and/or Diamond City/Goodneighbor. I didn’t pick the institute because they were stupid evil.

    I kinda regret siding with the Brotherhood, but only really because of Elder Maxson who’s a full-on maniac. If you could just shoot him and take over the Brotherhood it would probably be a lot better.

    I’m amazed at Shamus having 600+ hours in the game, I tapped out at 92 and felt like I’d spent far too much time with it (although I do occasionally get the urge to play it again… it’s a bit of a junk food game, fun in short bursts). Skyrim though I only spent 38 hours on and that’s about ten times as much as I should have, because I really disliked it. Didn’t like the weak civil war plot, hated the dragon stuff, hated the combat, was bored by the grey environments.

    Question: If Bethesda produce another Elder Scrolls and Fallout game, and they share that similar style that Oblivion/Fallout 3/Skyrim/Fallout 4 have, will you guys still do full spoiler warning seasons? I worry that you’ll end up having similar criticisms and end up coming across more negative than you might want to (which is something Shamus has mentioned a few times during this season’s spoiler warning).

    • Fists says:

      I sided with the BOS in my second or third game because I was roleplaying a xenophobic curmudgeon who hates learning new things and wants the ethnics synths to stay off her lawn.

      It’s quite hard to really other find in game justifications for following through with the BOS, I mean there’s meta-level reasons but as far as roleplaying goes even if I don’t side with the MM or RR* you can take out the institute DIY it just isn’t recognised by the quest triggers.

      *Alliterative naming? Are we playing superman or something?

  32. Garrett says:

    I think the game is over? Jeez, the swearing though. Nah, we all experience the awfulness that is Fallout 4, it just never seems to get better with Bethesda. Since Fallout 3, every game they’ve made has gone downhill in make sense.

    Looking forward to Until Dawn though. If you’re playing it blind then it’s like I am too! Never played it either.

  33. PlasmaPony says:

    In response to Mumbles, I joined the Brotherhood because it was the only interesting faction who had clear goals and motives. When I went through, I was completely unimpressed by the other factions. The Minutemen had clear goals but I didn’t like dealing with settlement building so I didn’t spend much time with them. The Railroad had no long term goals and didn’t feel like they were affecting things in any way, just a bunch of weirdos hanging out in a crypt. There was no interesting conflict, nobody I liked besides Deacon. They were just a group that was kind of there. And the Institute was absolutely evil so I couldn’t justify working with them. Shawn wasn’t the boy I was looking for, he was a cold distant man. They were releasing synths into the world to replace and kill people with no reason given. I found the FEV labs which showed they were doing experiments on Commonwealth people and were likely the cause of the Super Mutant problem above ground. And worst of all you couldn’t get any answers as to why they are doing it. No matter what you find, you cannot confront Father or any of the other scientists about it. Once I figured that out, I wrote them off.

    The Brotherhood had a giant airship which was cool. They offered you cool stuff. Their motives were clear, they had a long term goal, they actually had a presence in the world. Their hard line stance presented an interesting character conflict. The mission where you have to confront Danse about being a Synth, and the conversation with Maxon if you spare him was the only morally interesting part of the game. Pretty much everything with Liberty Prime was awful, but none of the other groups seemed like they offered anything. So not knowing the alternatives, they felt like the best choice

  34. Cinebeast says:

    Pumped for Until Dawn! That was one of 2015’s big surprises for me. It’s not too long, either, so it should only take you guys about a month to get through it.

    I’m fascinated to know if you guys are going to try to save everyone, or lose everyone, or just play it by ear. Any of those will afford a lot of discussion.

  35. Christopher says:

    I got the impression that when Father says “both he and you deserve it”, while he’s talking about the Shaun synth, he really means himself. He seems to have come to care about you more(or at least, regrets that he didn’t meet you sooner) now that he spent some time with you. It’s not that he actually believes the Shaun synth has emotions, it’s that he wants you to project onto it and use it as a replacement for the relationship he couldn’t have himself. His motivation for giving it to Kellogg in the first place seems to have been the same, or at least that’s how Kellogg felt, as he came to care for the synth in the place of his lost family.

  36. Rayen020 says:

    I’m having a thought and I want to know of I’m crazy. Would an open-world RPG like The Witcher or Fallout 4 or skyrim or even like bioware style, work if it didn’t have an over-arching story? No “Main” story quest, everything is side quest maybe a few of them chain but there is no designed main story for the character except what you make of it. Is that crazy?

    • potatoejenkins says:

      That’s how a lot of people play Skyrim.

      • Fists says:

        and Oblivion and Fallout 3. Until Fallout 4 came along I would have said that if you’re playing the main quest of a Bethesda game you’re doing it wrong but they put so much work into the bundle of sticks that is Fallout 4’s central conflict that there really isn’t a lot else going on in the world. There’s a couple of characterised quests in other places like Goodneighbor and vault 87 or whichever number but no where near as much ‘world’ to explore as Skyrim. Even most of the companions require some involvement in the main quest to acquire or complete their affinity quest.

      • Jokerman says:

        This is actually the first time i have truly finished a main quest in a Bethesda game, i got to the reactor in Fallout 3…

  37. Blunderbuss09 says:

    Oh my god that part where the climatic destruction of the BOS being obscured by fog was hilarious. This goddamn game.

    As for the ending it really cheesed me off that the ending was a generic ‘war never changes’ instead of ending slides that show the effects of your choices … y’know, the thing that Fallout has done in every goddamn game. But that’s such a perfect metaphor for this game, isn’t it? You weren’t allowed to make any meaningful choices and the game treats player agency as an afterthought. You wanted to make your own mark on the world? Pfft.

    On a better note I love how they created River, the dog they modelled Dogmeat on and who did his ‘voice acting’. You’re the best part of the production team, yes you are!

  38. Jokerman says:

    “Boy does that guy look sick or what”

    Well…. better than in my game, where he was just standing on the bed :D

  39. ehlijen says:

    I ‘joined’ the brotherhood because I wanted to meet their recruiters/leaders and hear their pitch before deciding whether I was going to stick with them. I’d done Danse’s joining quest before the blimp arrived, and had failed to understand that ‘yeah, I’d like to join’ had no ‘eventually’ and meant ‘I AM JOINING RITE NOW!’. Seriously, field commanders get to unilaterally induct new full members on the spot?

    Once you’re on the Prydwen, there is no way out of confirming your membership other than a random killing spree. You can’t say to the Elder ‘Yeah no, I want no part in this!’ without actively starting a firefight.
    I went back aboard once after killing kellog cornflakes to fish for more sidequests, and suddenly the elder was talking to me as though I’d been keeping him up to date on all the details of my personal quest off screen. At that point I decided to not interact with them at all anymore; it seemed the only non murder spree way to not act as their superbro

    So in the end I was with the Minutemen while still technically a member of the BoS.

  40. Henson says:

    That ending conversation with Father was quite the mug shot.

  41. I wonder if Mumbles is confused, there where no babes on the Brotherhood ship (there are no babies at all in Fallout 4, except at the very start (Shaun) ).
    The kids on the airship are like what, 10?

  42. potatoejenkins says:

    If any of the lore nerds are still reading through the comments, I have a question:

    Nate is supposed to by a war hero. His dialogue with Nora indicates he hasn’t been on the front lines at least a year. This would rule out the battle of Anchorage.

    And before that only came the American annexation of Canada. Mostly known for not treating the Canadian population very … nicely.

    So … yeah. Is there an event I missed? Wouldn’t pin that honoring on the fridge if I were Nate.

    • Considering the political climate of the Pre-War times, it’s entirely likely that what would currently be considered a war crime would have been perfectly fine during the annexation of Canada, since the UN had long since ceased to exist along with most other countries.

    • Blunderbuss09 says:

      Pretty much everything the military was doing back then were war crimes. If they weren’t killing Canadians then they were killing Americans during food riots or uprisings, kidnapping them to send to concentration camps, or something of the like. So either Nate is either a war criminal or stood by and did nothing while his comrades committed them.

      That’s one of the biggest crimes for me; not only does the game shove you into a tiny box to build your character in but your background makes you an asshole. Nora isn’t so bad as a lawyer but in pre-war America habeas corpus and the right to a free trial pretty much didn’t exist so damned if I know what cases she covered.

      • Thomas says:

        Judging by her skill set they were cases that required a lot of shooting.

        She has a law degree because she was Judge Dredd.

        • Gethsemani says:

          My head canon was always a dirty mob lawyer that did whatever it took to get her clients to walk. Even if that meant introducing the court building to a rocket launcher and several plasma grenades…

    • potatoejenkins says:

      Figured the above. Just wasn’t sure my timeline was correct.

      Makes me chuckle. Not angry. Good sign, yes?

  43. Neko says:

    The fog at the end, … it’s just so Bethesda. It’s perfect.

  44. Jace911 says:

    Some late thoughts because I’m catching up on the season:

    A few episodes ago someone (I think Shamus) pointed out how little effort Bethesda put into convincing us that the Institute was having an energy crisis, even though that was their central conflict and the climax of the game. After thinking about this, I’ve realized that this is probably one of the lesser-recognized but most dire blunders in the game’s plot because of the potential it squanders.

    Imagine if you spent the entire game hearing about the Institute and all its amazing technology, seeing the synths and how they can seamlessly mimic humans, witnessing their teleportation capabilities. You hear from the Railroad and the Brotherhood and everyone else who knows anything about technology how they’re a century ahead of everyone else and you imagine this utopian society–what the game actually tries to show you when you arrive–but when you finally get there the place is falling apart. The lights won’t stop flickering, elevators stop working occasionally, and people are constantly worried that the life support might just finally give up. Actually sell the energy crisis with some cheap effects and extra lines of dialogue and make it clear that the Institute, despite what people below think, is on the verge of collapse.

    Suddenly your options aren’t “side with the incompetently and pointlessly evil Institute or choose literally anyone else”, it’s “side with the people who have the potential to do so much good if only they weren’t desperate and making poor decisions to survive”.

    Maybe the synths are their attempts to make new bodies in case they have to evacuate to the harsh surface world–they’ve been living underground for two centuries, their immune systems and resistance to radiation are shot to hell–but they haven’t been able to get the mind transfer quite right and the synths run away because they don’t remember who or what they are. Maybe they’re not kidnapping and replacing people with synths, maybe they’re kidnapping and turning them into synths to see if people notice. Maybe they’re caught between the ticking clock of their dwindling energy reserves and the need to experiment more, gather more data, tweak the synth designs more.

    Maybe if the Institute hadn’t been portrayed as the literal privileged elites in their ivory tower oppressing and tormenting the poor huddled masses, this game’s plot would have had an ounce of complexity to it.

    • ehlijen says:

      On the other hand, how to synths keep escaping to the railroad if the power is so tightly budgeted? We’d have to assume that the teleporter is the worst guzzler and would thus be tightly guarded and monitored.

      • Jace911 says:

        I mean, how do they escape to the Railroad in the actual game if the teleporter is their only way out? In a sane world you would guard and password protect something like that if you had an ongoing and frustratingly persistent issue of synths running away to the surface.

        • Pax says:

          According to the Railroad’s records, a lot of the synths they deal with escape from surface work crews. Where those crews are, I couldn’t say. Patriot, their inside man, is a very recent development.

          • Jace911 says:

            But then that just runs into the ever-recurring plot crevice of “why in god’s name do you need Gen-3 synths to pick up garbage when you have boatloads of nonsentient Gen 1s and 2s that you’re already using on the surface?”

            Ugh. It’s just fractal nonsense all the way down.

  45. LCF says:

    This final battle around Liberty Prime feels so Warhammer 40K.
    I mean, Imperial Guards and Space Marines in a desert outpost, defending against a berzerk Ork Nob swallowing doses of chems and whole roasts, with random Necrons running around? So Grimdark.

    If I’d have played the game, I probably would have sided with the ‘hood. The feudal structure is both a problem and part of the appeal. Now, they tech up, they seem sorta reasonnable and from game to game they get better and make the world better (or sort of).

    Nice SW season.

  46. Duoae says:

    Thanks for sticking with this season. I know it’s been a slog for you guys but I’ve really enjoyed it as always.

    I didn’t really want to side with any of the factions but in the end, despite having the rail road build the teleporter and the minutemen perform the attack along with promoting the synth uprising whilst being a member of the brotherhood who congratulated me on using everyone else to get rid of the institute without tarnishing their reputation… all the factions just felt stupid.

    I don’t know if someone pointed it out in the comments of one of the episodes but every single instance of a synth going crazy and killing people for no reason was due to the messy reprogramming of the railroad. They also destroyed the personalities of the synths they ‘rescued’ when doing so and I can’t believe this was never discussed in the game or show – this isn’t like going undercover the synths that escape no longer exist. Yet when running missions for the railroad you get ‘post-op’ messages from some of the reprogrammed synths who say they were thankful and happy but that they would remember nothing. This is basically being killed!

    Anyway, looking forward to next season because I really enjoyed Until Dawn. Plus it’s quite a short game.

  47. Fists says:

    Man, I think the ending of this lp has left me feeling even more hollow/anticipative for some sort of ending than the game did. I keep wondering if there’s a new episode out yet.

    Also, I’m a little disappointed as I don’t think they ever really reached a “Stop calling me Mungo” level of venom and I don’t think Shamus made a single death threat towards a Bethesda employee.

  48. Coming_Second says:

    I agree with Mumbles that the Railroad offer the most satisfying escape route from the incoherent shambles that is F4’s story. Siding with them firstly means not destroying the Railroad themselves, which never feels particularly satisfying (unless Des really got on your wick I guess?) – you’re killing a bunch of harmless sillies in a basement, not going toe-to-toe with heavily armed space marines and robot legions/fake plastic gorillas. You’re given not one but two deeply satisfying explosions, fog notwithstanding – blowing up the Prydwen and the Institute are both great popcorn moments.

    Finally, some pathos is offered. Glory dying feels bad, particularly if you did the mission with her and Deacon and got all the banter the two of them engage in. You get to give two fingers to SHAAAUUUUN on his deathbed (although predictably you can’t tell him exactly why he’s a sick murder-clown. It’s all framed in the “NO U” style Bioware used so successfully in the ME3 conversations with TIM). And the suicide note at the end from the Institute bloke you used to bring the place down, cursing you for what you’ve done, is a neat, poignant touch that I wouldn’t have expected Bethesda to have thought of. This is in stark contrast with the Institute path in particular, which lives and dies on whether you care about Shaun (spoilers: you don’t) and is deeply unsatisfying in every way.

    Of course you have to ignore the fact the Railroad are brainwashing synths to “save” them and are otherwise horribly ill-conceived in every way, but every faction in F4 requires you to do mental gymnastics in order for them to make sense, they hardly stand out much in that sense. In terms of brute satisfaction and basic feels – which is the only level at which the game is worth engaging with – they’re the best ending.

  49. MrGuy says:

    OK, I’ll ask.

    Liberty Prime says “Instituting Directive 7395: Destroy All Communists.”

    Um, what the hell were the other 7,394 directives? Why isn’t “Destroy All Communists” directive 1? Isn’t that the single reason Liberty Prime was built? To destroy communists? What 7,394 other directives have to be considered first?

    I mean, hell, Asimov got the job done in three laws. Surely it can’t take more than 4 to add an “Except communists. Those guys you can kill.”

    The US Government had some really messed up pre-war priorities, I guess.

    • ehlijen says:

      I suspect 7395 is a code, not a count. As in all maintenance operations are code 1xxx, all patrol operations are code 2xxx, all combat operations are 7xxx, for example.

      And I’d like a few more modes for my nuclear killbot than ‘destroy communists’. Even if we go by insane military desires, there’d still be ‘search and destroy’, ‘hold and defend’, ‘destroy specific target’ and probably ‘destroy all monarchists’ etc.

  50. MrGuy says:

    Also, I liked the Brotherhood ending because they’re the only one who are allowed to say “You know, we just don’t care about this whole Railroad/Institute conflict. We don’t care about these cardboard cutout settlers. We’re just here to steal their cool technology.”

    The Brotherhood doesn’t demand you care about any of these forcefed ideological archetypes. You don’t have to be an overly altrustic sap who spends most of their time helping people who are simply incapable and unwilling to help themselves. You don’t have to join up with your moronic son and his mustache-twirling chaotic stupid evil plan that even he can’t articulate. You don’t have to agree with the position that, in this post-apocalytic wasteland with no food, unclean water, no ability to produce any new goods, no real government or society, beset by raiders and mercenaries stealing everything that isn’t nailed down, the most important ideal for which we should all lay down our lives is freeing anthropomorphic robots from their creators.

    The Brotherhood is the only plotline that lets you say “all that crap the writers try so hard to get us to care about doesn’t matter.”

    • ehlijen says:

      And all you have to do is accept fascist subjugation and racial purification of the commonwealth :p

    • Coming_Second says:

      Except the BoS aren’t in the Commonwealth to secure sophisticated technology for themselves. They’re here to blow it up. Maxson’s sole reason for invading was to end the threat of the synth, and he does so by nuking the Institute.

      The Railroad lay down their lives to save sapient robbits; The BoS lay down theirs to destroy them. Try as you might, you can’t get away from the giant clusterfuck that is the central focus of F4.

  51. Gale says:

    I’m kind of late to the discussion, but I’ve been thinking about how the Railroad’s plan of “erase memories, invent new ones for cover” didn’t strike me as obviously and horrendously unethical when I was playing the game myself. I figured it had just slipped my notice, even though it’s totally the kind of thing I usually obsess over, and I wasn’t exactly so immersed in the story that I’d just glaze over glaring oddities like that. But I think I’ve figured out why.

    Earlier, I was watching a long video review/dissection of the game, and it quoted a line from Nick that I’d completely forgotten about until I heard it again. He says that when the Institute loses track of a synth, they wipe the synth’s memories, so the synth can’t leak out any compromising information about the institute. It’s an automatic failsafe in one of the brain chips, or so Nick surmises. It’s supposedly what happened to him, and why he can’t remember anything before waking up in the commonwealth.

    I’m not sure this is mentioned anywhere else. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Railroad themselves claim responsibility for the mind-wipes, and the game just outright contradicts itself on the matter. I’ve been told that there are characters in the DLC that attribute the mind-wiping to the Railroad, so maybe Nick’s supposed to be an unreliable source about this. But I think when I played it, I already had the vague idea of synths getting their minds wiped by the Institute floating around in my head, so when I got to the Railroad and they were like “So this is where we replace all their memories”, it didn’t seem like an odd thing to do. They weren’t replacing somebody’s memories for better cover or something stupid like that, they were giving synths a new identity to replace the one the Institute was taking away from them. I think that’s how I put it together, at least.

  52. Phantos says:

    The mystery for me is not “Why did Fallout 4’s reception degrade over time?”, but rather: “Why DIDN’T Skyrim’s reception worsen too?”

    Skyrim was so boring and hollow that it NEEDED a strong modding community to fix it. Are people just bummed out because Fallout 4 isn’t bad enough to demand that kind of remixing?

  53. Stumbled across this:

    This guy bravely taste test 45+ year old emergency rations. (and he even makes a Rad-X joke partway through)

    And here’s 180 year old olives in a bottle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OepMwUZCQZc

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