Fallout 3 EP12: Memorial Memorandum

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Feb 12, 2013

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 73 comments

Link (YouTube)

While you’re watching, don’t forget about the glorious Fallout 3 spreadsheet of fun and alcohol poisoning, which is derived from the Fallout 3 drinking game. It even has charts! Note the new section at the bottom. Given the astounding number of drinks being imbibed, there’s a new section that will keep track of the blood alcohol of the current theoretical drinker. When their BAC reaches lethal levels, they are pronounced dead and a new drinker is brought in. The game has killed two people so far, with most of the damage happening in Operation Anchorage.

Also, the author of those charts (Deadfast on this site) should totally put some kind of self-credit on there someplace.

Allow me to phone in the rest of this entry with a little copy & paste action from 2010.

I want to stress again how silly it is to have such flagrant and absurd plot holes in the game. It’s one thing for a player to gloss over a plot hole or two during fifteen minutes of exposition spread out over forty hours of gameplay. It’s another thing to spend months writing and recording dialog and building up a world around those plot holes. Dad is supposed to be kind, wise, and brilliant, and yet his actions indicate he’s careless, selfish, short-sighted, and stupid.

I’d be so ashamed if I was ever fortunate enough to get Liam Neeson to enact my dialog, and then I handed him something that wasn’t even consistent enough to support his character.

And as somone pointed out earlier in the series, Bethesda didn’t always behave this way. Morrowind had its flaws, but the plot was stable enough. Oblivion fell short of Morrowind, and the character motivations were a bit questionable, but the thing still managed to make some kind of sense. Now we have Fallout 3 where the premise is absurd, where the characters either have no motivations or their actions make no sense, and where you can’t say and do perfectly reasonable things because the nonsense plot says so.

These three games do seem to indicate a sort of trend. Our only hope to reverse this malignant development is for all of us to band together as gamers and complain about it. On the internet. On a blog. To each other. Long after the game has faded from the public interest.


If their games don’t improve, it means you haven’t been complaining hard enough. Do your part!


From The Archives:

73 thoughts on “Fallout 3 EP12: Memorial Memorandum

  1. Gordon says:

    Huh. I never thought I’d be the first person to see one of the videos go up. Go figure. The Video is Private by the way.

    …Why am I even up this late/early?

  2. Gordon says:

    Huh. I never thought I’d be the first person to see one of the videos go up. Go figure. The Video is Private by the way.

    …Why am I even up this late/early?

    and why does the lack of rerun spoiler warning taste like bitter, bitter ashes in my mouth?

    (Edit: What in the hey…? how did I end up with duplicates? or rather, not quite duplicates?)

    1. Shamus says:

      I’m seeing these dupes a lot lately, which means it’s probably a problem on my end.

      1. Aldowyn says:

        Well, I know that it takes FOREVER for a comment to go through sometimes :/ it just sits there, looking like it’s loading forever, and then you refresh and its 50/50 whether it’s actually there or not :/

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          A way around the problem is to reopen the same page in another tab while the comment is loading.If it went through,youll see it there.If it doesnt,you can stop the page,and repost it.

  3. Kdansky says:

    So, did Skyrim get better again? I found it way too shallow in the plot department to make a decision whether it makes any sense or not. Some quests are okayish (Main plot, Mages guild), some make zero sense (Markarth prison break, thieves guild), and in general Skyrim feels very empty. When I came to Riften, I expected a great and complex plot between the local tyrant and the thieves guild, and got a single throw-away side-quest instead.

    1. Aldowyn says:

      It’s arguable. Mrbtongue of Tasty Understated Nerdrage would claim that Skyrim was better, but I can’t see past my admitted bias (read: Undying hatred) against Oblivion’s completely broken leveling system to judge the settings objectively.

      Any game where people seriously attempt to AVOID leveling is quite, QUITE broken.

      I mean, the Companions quest is grounded in the lore in a pretty interesting way, and personally I found the main quest line MUCH more interesting, but to trade we have totally broken quests (like the Markarth forsworn quest line which is actually based upon some interesting concepts) and the Windhelm serial killer quest, and totally DUMB quests like the Skyrim-mafia. Although that one suffers GREATLY in comparison to Oblivon’s thieves’ guild questline, which was by far my favorite of Oblivion’s.

      Let’s put it this way: Oblivion is very… bland, medieval fantasy-land. But Skyrim belongs to the Nords, and you really do get that feeling, or at least I do – having never experienced the supposed magic of Morrowind.

      1. Felblood says:

        I have to agree with the comment about games that encourage you to avoid leveling always being broken.

        I recently scored a copy of FFT: War of the Lions, and the co-op is nearly unplayable with just 5 levels of difference, because the game auto-balances entirely for the level of the higher level player.

        The only semi-practical solution is to abuse de-leveling, to keep your level in line with your friend, if you want to play together.

      2. newdarkcloud says:

        I actually like Oblivion a lot more than Skyrim. The writing there is just so much better. You have a point with the leveling system, but it’s just so much more interesting.

        It also has “Whodunit?” which is one of the best assassination quest I’ve done in an RPG.

    2. Even says:

      I’d say it’s better, but only because the setting is in somewhat healthy state itself. It’s still a game that could have been more. The thing that annoys me about it the most is the stark contrast between the setting and the game itself. The setting is very rich in detail and lore and has a long history and they’ve obviously spent a lot of time creating it. The way the game actually portrays things leaves too often little to be desired. There’s just too many plotholes just in the general dungeon design alone that make you wonder why the average Nord tomb was built the way it was and why there’s almost always a complementary spider nest in a location where they would never be able to sustain a feasible living, (seriously, how do all these little mini-ecologies within these tombs work? Do the spiders never starve? Why do the draugr tolerate them? Why does the other faction still exist after all this time?) not to forget that they’re often in places where they could have never moved in by themselves. Or why the Dwemer insisted on building so many goddamn traps in such seemingly impractical locations. I could understand rigging hidden (which none of them ever are) traps in certain strategic places, but there seems little purpose or sense in having traps like a set of swirling twin-blades before your workshop door that spring up and start swinging every time you open said door. It’s like they just hated safety and practicality.

      My second full playthrough worked to prove that the game is most enjoyable when you stop thinking about/ignore the stupid and just roll with it. It’s a fun little sandbox game, but it just can’t hold itself together as a serious RPG. The setting is what really saves it from sinking even deeper.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        I get annoyed that so many dungeons use Draugr. Sometimes I’d like to fight more than Draugr.

        And sometimes I’d like not to fight. WHERE’S THE STEALTH GAMEPLAY, BETHESDA!!!

        1. Indy says:

          The stealth gameplay moved to Dishonoured.

    3. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I think the only reason I don’t hate Skyrim’s plotline is that it fails to spark any intense emotion in me whatsoever. That said I still dislike it for its shallow, gamey cliché nature.

      So in Morrowind they took what lore Daggerfall had, stirred it somewhat with the “Dragon Break” to make the geopolitics more manageable and account for the various endings of Daggerfall (and managed to make it an interesting bit of lore and not just a tired plot device, imho at least). At its core it is a story about a “chosen one” fighting and ultimately defeating an antagonist but the story of Dagoth Ur and the Tribunal was engaging and mired in greyness. Now Oblivion was pretty shallow but at least it used an established power as the villain plus the thought that you’re not THE chosen one but rather helping one earned them a few points. Ignoring the fact that someone completely forgot the descriptions of Cyrodiil from Morrowind and just went with the “generic fantasy land,” at this point I was still hoping the damage could be contained…

      And then came Skyrim, which adds dragons, evil dragons flying around setting fire to villages and pestering woodcutters and hunters, and you have to kill the boss dragon in the end… I’m pretty sure I was doing this back in the 90s. Before Skyrim I interpreted the lack of dragons (well, Oblivion had one, kinda) as a genre savvy move that sort of said “we’re not going to throw a ‘kill a dragon’ quest at you.” Also, the whole “honourable warrior” Nord culture doesn’t really work for me quite as well as the backstabbing and scheming but still proud Dunmer.

      To be honest I don’t think I even want to know what the mumorpuger is going to do with the lore, I’m pretty much through with hoping the TES world is going to develop in an interesting direction.

      1. Bubble181 says:

        Ditto. I loved Daggerfall, really liked Morrowind, liked Oblivion a bit, and haven’t yet gotten around to Skyrim…The lore’s only been unravelling adn becoming more generic.

  4. Thomas says:

    How much do they talk about water in a game? Is water a big problem in Megaton (Pre-Josh) or Rivet City?

    1. Lame Duck says:

      There is a water based quest in Megaton, although, as I remember it, it has nothing to do with the radiation levels. You just repair a few broken water pipes throughout the town.

    2. krellen says:

      Outside of the main quest and a few token karma-despensers “dying” of drinking dirty water, the water problem never comes up.

      1. Tom says:

        That’s probably why the main quest fails so hard. If safe water had actually been a game mechanic (as some survival mods have actually made it), if it were something that were always foremost on a player’s mind and not having enough of it actually made your in-game life so much harder, if not outright killed you, players might have a) actually cared a whit about the main plot, and b) overlooked the gaping holes in dear ol’ dad’s romantic plan (read: emotionally-driven, ill-conceived, idiotically overblown and impractical, vague, sweeping gesture utterly lacking in nuance and inspired by his wife’s fondness for a single verse from the most demented book in the entire bible) to waste the most potent power source in existence, in a world where working technology is rare and precious, in a grotesquely inefficient scheme to continuously purify a giant open puddle in one fixed location faster than the copious surrounding radioactive matter can be continuously washed back into it, when viable, portable technology to just purify what you need in-situ, wherever you go, very evidently already exists and is, in fact, really easy to build in real life too, even out of scrap.

        1. Deadpool says:

          It still wouldn’t explain why we are trying to prevent OTHER people from purifying the water though… Or the bad science behind it… Or the fact this civilization has thrived for 200 years without clean water apparently…

          1. Thomas says:

            I reckon those stuff could be overlooked though, it would bother a the intelligible section of people, but if the game had water shortage as a genuine general theme experienced whilst you play it, the rest might fall under Film Hulk’s ‘Death of Logic’ stuff.

            … hmm maybe not the 200 years bit. I think the obvious solution would be to give one of the large settlements a clean water source that has slowly run out. (some crater lake or something) the quest lines in the settlement can be about coping with the situation and you can have factions vying for control over whats left. It wouldn’t necessarily answer the question, but it would put in your head the idea that they had water but it ran out (as nonsense as that may be)

            1. Thomas says:

              Actually, it would probably have been a better plotline for Fallout 4 than 3. Because if you look at Megaton, there’s no way you can squeeze a water theme in their without it feeling forced right? Megaton is about the obssession with nuclear radiations, an indicator of what drove the world into a situation like it is, sets the tone with these crazy quasi-tribal worshippings of old technology and hte lone ranger feel and finally the ridiculous choices that define the game.

              And people always talk about Megaton, it dominated the previews, it dominated the reviews and it’s very present in the retrospectives, because Megaton is what Fallout 3 is about. It’s setting the tone (creating a new one if you’re a purist) for what this franchise is going to be about from now on, for all the newcomers who would join with no. 3.

              So they should have just carried that on. There’s no space for a water theme, it should have been more superweapons, more radiation, more faction warfare and exploring and deciding (as the main quest line). Then water can be a theme of the next game, once the tone has been established and we’re looking for a new angle

              1. Nidokoenig says:

                I think what Tom says above about it not working as a theme in this game because it’s not a problem in this game goes double for letting you spend a hundred hours or so hours faffing about in Fallout 3 and then deal with it in 4. In that scenario, it could be that the water’s mildly radioactive in the sense that it’ll knock a decade or two off your lifespan, but it’d be a pretty brave game that made that sort of small but crucial quality of life improvement the main quest in a first person looter like this.
                It also runs into the same problem of being utterly contrary to all existing science, which would require them building a coherent if purposefully vague Fifties-style SCIENCE! backdrop to explain why this non-issue for our world would be so vital in the Fallout universe, rather than using a sci-fi setting as a get out of plot-hole free card. At the tech level and time from the bombs dropping in this game, radiation should be the last and least threatening thing on a long list of stuff in your drinking water you want to filter out before ingesting or touching it.

                Edit: Odd, this was supposed to be a reply to Thomas’ comment, directly above me.

                1. Thomas says:

                  I’ve got a post in moderation directly after Deadpool, talking about how the science would matter less, as long as the game dealt with the theme with the prominence that Tom suggests, maybe even making it a large gameplay mechanic (and seriously, this would be the easiest one to implement. You don’t even need a thirst metre as such, there’s already this scarcity of items thing going on, so you just rebalance it in the next game so radioactive water is harder to deal with and pure water gives more benefits). And my post above it is a response to my moderated post because I had a second idea. (Maybe thats whats causing all this mess, I didn’t expect a reply to a moderated post to show up until the moderated post shows up)

                  Anyway, as part of that, I realised even with the focus, the 200 year issue would still be a big deal. So my suggestion was you have a settlement which had a large static supply of fresh water which has almost run dry. And there’s lots of factions fighting over whats left, quests etc.

                  And I think that would still work in 4. It wouldn’t make scientific sense, but it would make enough emotional sense, that providing the game hadn’t done anything to turn you off, the brain would accept, okay thats why water is an issue in this particular case (as long as it’s not DC). We expect 4 to be in a new location right? So we just need to make it feel like it’s a specific problem causing water shortages rather than some global property of water

                  1. Deadpool says:

                    I agree that the scientific reason is more of a nuisance than a deterrent to the story, just pointing out it would still be there.

                    The Enclave part though IS important.

                    The game has no conflict! The Enclave wants pure water, your dead wants pure water. We are fighting over who pushes the button (which, it turns out, dies for doing so)!

                    A far as central conflicts go, this is pretty weak. Now one can argue Enclave would do “evil” things with it, but then we are fighting over who CONTROLS it, not who PURIFIES it. Being the first one to push the button isn’t preventing the Enclave from marching in, killing everyone and starting a water empire. No one else seems to have the man power to create or defend any sort of water delivery system ANYWAYS…

                    1. Spammy says:

                      How are the Enclave going to control the water anyway? Isn’t Project Eden supposed to purify the entire basin? How are they going to control the water if that’s the case, put guards every five feet on the river to stop people from drawing water?

                    2. Weimer says:

                      Erm.. The Enclave president’s name is Eden, and the dad’s dehumidifier is called Project Purity.

                      Eden’s original plan concerning the dehumidifier is to use it to spread the anti-mutant virus thing, so the “pure” humanity would get all of the lifeless and useless land.

                      I don’t really know what Col. Autumn wants to do with it though.. apparently he is willing to commit mutiny, spend shitton of resources and time to press the On button without the anti-mutie scheisse.

                      Bottom line: the real villain here is the Little Lamplight.

                      Edit: Oops this was supposed to be a reply to Spammy.

                    3. Thomas says:

                      Yep that’s still pretty rubbish. They can throw that bit out and just do something different. If we already establish factions fighting over water control when it’s scarce, you could have some people on top who want to keep it scarce and give them some ability to do so or something.

                      …although on reflection, they could just not written about water =D I think water could have been a nice theme if done properly though. It’s something a little different than people fighting purely to be in control and it could tie into gameplay in a way other things couldn’t

                    4. Sleeping Dragon says:

                      Of course not even Autumn wants to go through with Eden’s plan, which is why Friend Computer needs to turn to the PC.

                      Now let’s see here, Project Purity is a water purification tech on a massive scale, and even if that isn’t really a priority it somehow manages to tap into the GECK (which in FO3, you have to remember, IS the magical paradise creation suitcase). If I were the Enclave I would damn well want my hands on that stuff, if not for any other reason than because I’m probably the only group out there with both the knowledge to understand/reverse engineer it and the resources to reproduce it. I mean, just this continent has millions of square kilometres of mostly radioactive wasteland which could use some magical revitalizing tech…

                    5. Here’s how I would have improved it (as if they’d ask):

                      “Radiation” in the water is just shorthand for “stuff that kills you.” These are toxins, heavy metals, stuff constantly getting into the water supply, etc. Heck, make it something the Mirelurks excrete into the water (so when you kill them off, it’s a good thing) or an evil plan from the Super Mutants to weaken the humans making them easier to capture. Whatever the case, the water is more believably toxic.

                      Make the Enclave and Dad/the BoS/whoever tolerates him right now each have different plans for the water. Dad wants to distribute the water to everyone via caravan and perhaps even some kind of irrigation system. The Enclave only wants pure human settlements to get any of the water, encouraging the mutant/ghoul ones to die out. Dad’s plan spreads the water too thin to be 100% effective, and the Enclave has vowed to destroy any pipelines and assault any water caravans. Then, just to ape New Vegas, the player can go for a third option, taking over the purification setup and deciding who gets fresh water and who doesn’t based on a series of quests that reveal the character of each settlement. Karma can attach to this if desired, but I think it’d be more interesting to have outcomes that come from which settlements are allowed to thrive and which aren’t.

                      Actually, that might be a nifty mod, if someone is so inclined.

              2. Brandon says:

                Water was always a bit of a theme, wasn’t it? Pretty sure the reason you leave the vault in Fallout 1 is because you have to find a circuit board to fix the water purifier machine or something?

                Edit: This was meant to be a reply to Nidokoenig’s post, above.. whoops.

                1. Nidokoenig says:

                  The thing is, there was nothing to establish that it was because the water was radioactive, it could just as well have been about not drinking straight ground water. Yeah, it’s vague enough to retcon in, but it’s absolutely not a theme.
                  Clean water, rather than non-radioactive water, was further emphasised in Junktown when you talk to the guy in the bar, who gives you the survival tip of not drinking perfectly clear water out in the wild: After all, if nothing else out there wants to drink it, there’s probably a good reason. That good reason wouldn’t be radiation, because it doesn’t kill that fast and isn’t that good at killing bacteria(relative to oversized-meatbags).

                  Not-Edit: This is meant to be a reply to Brandon above, I’m writing this pre-emptively because I can’t be arsed editing it if it mucks up again ;)

                  1. guy says:


                    More importantly, the theme of Fallout 2 was that all that stuff about post-apocalyptic survival was mostly gone because it’s been like a hundred years and there are functioning governments again. Also I think the water chip was to pump up water as well as purifying it, but that’s not so important.

                    Incidentally, one of the best moments in Fallout 2 was getting into Vault 8 in search of a GECK and discovering literally hundreds of water chips. But no GECK, because Vault 13 had gotten their spare. I broke down in frustrated laughter.

                    Hey, remember when we didn’t have comment threads? Man that was a while ago.

                2. Tom says:

                  Actually, I find pretty much everything of note in Fallout 3 feels like a recycled asset from 1 or 2, only usually less well done. Water purification, the GECK, FEV, the vault conspiracy, they even (ridiculously) brought back Harold, the down on his luck mutant who’s somehow managed to cross the entire continent on foot over the last 100 years. One might be tempted to call it New-Developer-Old-Property Insecurity Syndrome – they’re practically screaming “Look, look, this really is a Fallout game – we’re not impostors! We strip-mined everything popular from the first two and crammed it all into this one, that has to be right!” To me, Fallout 3 feels less like an actual sequel and more like a Fallout 1/2 based theme-park.

                  1. krellen says:

                    “Look, look, we’re really Fallout, recognise this?” was the theme of almost all of my complaints about Fallout 3 that I voiced during the original run of this SW. I’m really glad to see it spread.

                  2. MrGuy says:

                    I kind of liked the way they handled Harold.

                    Even in the original games, he’s comic relief – he’s a trader with a tree growing out of his head, which he’s named and that he talks to.

                    Oasis is well hidden enough to be a decent easter egg (even with Three Dog teasing it, I’m willing to bet most players didn’t find it. The central premise of the Oasis mini-plot isn’t bad (the tree eventually taking over Harold).

                    And the best thing is they don’t force it on you. They’re OK with you missing it. If you find it, you’re rewarded with an interesting callback to a classic character. If not, nothing’s really lost.

              3. StashAugustine says:

                I really didn’t like FO3, but I didn’t start dislking it until Rivet City. Megaton was generally pretty cool.

                1. StashAugustine says:

                  Oops, supposed to be a reply to Thomas.

                  1. StashAugustine says:

                    Oops, supposed to be a reply to myself. Shamus, is there any way to Frankenstein these together/delete them?

                    1. StashAugustine says:

                      Yes, apparently. Thanks.

          2. newdarkcloud says:

            That pissed me off. The Enclave’s main goal is to be the guys who turn on the purifier. You stumbles into a pissing match over your father’s stupid legacy.

            It’s stupid.

            1. A nice and simple plot for the Enclave (and one that a computer-leader would have gone for) would simply have been: “This is Washington D.C., the capital city of America, OUR America, and all you other groups with guns and uniforms are going to submit or get mowed down!”

              The purifier could have interested Eden as just a bargaining chit to get the Council of Rivet City to officially become part of the Enclave (America). “You keep your water thingie, run it however you like, but your council answers to an Enclave citizen-elected Overseer” or what have you.

              1. MrGuy says:

                You mean, say, like the NCR did in Fallout 2 with places like Vault City? Pish tosh. Why have parallels with previous Fallout games when we can make up something newer and stupider?

  5. AJax says:


    I remember how awful the combat was because of those “invisible” walls in that section. Can you actually shoot through from a different angle or distance?

    1. Deadfast says:

      Thank you. This was quite helpful. Of course I had to spend additional hour fiddling around with the constants that constantly didn’t agree with rupissed and nor any other sites. And then I had to come up with possibly the most confusing line of code I’ve ever written for the spreadsheet:
      =( (10 * ( (0.806 * N20 * Backend!L2 / 10 * 1.2) / (Backend!L3 * Backend!L4) ) ) – (Backend!L5 * ArrayFormula( IF(N19; N19 * 24 ; IFERROR( 1/0 ) ) ) ) ) / 10

      1. Deadpool says:

        You are… welcome?

  6. hborrgg says:

    Some assorted comments:

    @your dad’s craziness
    The way I figured it, while you were playing fallout 3 he was actually playing some old-school adventure game. So that’s why for instance he wound up destroying the vault, he was trying to figure out how to escape using only a push broom, a jar of pickles, and 3 batteries.

    @the regulators
    At least now we know where Christian Bale got the idea.

    @the super mutant place at about 7:00
    When I did this part I was able to rescue a captive that was about to be eaten. So I gave her some supplies, she said thanks and immediately started running straight towards the Jefferson memorial.
    But when I finally got there all I could find was a trail of dead super mutants. Apparently that NPC had managed to kill every single one using just her fists. :

    1. drlemaster says:

      Was she wearing a bonnet? She might have been a Cuftbert.

  7. hborrgg says:

    Also, for anyone interested. Someone’s made a Minecraft adventure map that does an absolutely amazing job at capturing the feel of Fallout 3, even going so far as to add roadblocks of rubble to the city which look like you should be able to jump over them but have invisible walls anyways.

    1. Adam says:


      1. Kanodin says:

        I assume for precisely zat reaction.

        1. Adam says:

          …I hope they at least measured out their blueprints in Sid lengths.

          1. Hitchmeister says:

            Little known fact*, each block in Minecraft is exactly one cubic Sid.

            *And by “fact” I mean total lie.

  8. Zoe M says:

    I think the voice of the vengeance squad in FO3 is the voice of the prisoner in the Oblivion dungeon at the start.
    “The guards are coming. For you! Hehehehe…”

  9. Nidokoenig says:

    “We would not be doing our jobs if we didn’t just absolutely beat that dead horse into a fine paste”

    Spoiler Warning is brought to you by Findus Ready Meals.

    The Chinese Stealth Armour was so silly. I think the second mod I made for Fallout 3 was a dagger that had the same effect, but only when it was drawn and it did almost no damage so the point was to get into position and then switch to a real weapon. There were other stealth armours that used charge or cooldown or needed energy cells to function or irradiated you, all manner of interesting decisions and trade-offs to play with and Bethesda just gave you magic invisibility armour that had less than optimum defensive strength like you can’t just set power armour to a hotkey.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      They also made a glitched power armor that doesn’t break and included that as a reward so…

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    your main hook can be as ridiculous as ever if you support it with interesting and consistent writing.Old world blues has your brain taken out of your body,and then even gives you a conversation with it,which is way sillier than this radiation mistake.However,that dlc always gave you a silly tone,and did it in an amusing way,so people loved it.Here,you have a story present to you with a serious tone,and with writing all over the place,so naturally many hated it.

    So the problem isnt really in the plot hole itself,but in everything that is surrounding it.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wait….Shamoose,did you delete something again?How did my comments end up in front of 3 comments with time stamps prior to it?

  12. John the Savage says:

    The interesting thing is that I came to this site when I saw an update on my youtube feed, specifically because it had been a while since I checked the Drinking Game spreadsheet. I had expected to have to look through the older posts to find a link to it.

  13. One thing about Smith-Casey’s garage not being looted. I did a playthrough where I avoided going to GNR after dad because I wanted to get Three Dog’s key to a weapon stash, which he gives you for going after the dish instead of telling you your pop went to Rivet City (if you’ve already found him, that is).

    I knew Dad was at the garage/vault, and I vaguely remembered where it was, so I set out to just find him and then go back for the dish quest which now had loot at the end of it instead of nothing.

    Finding that garage without a map marker isn’t easy. Maybe it was just me and I wandered around the wrong spots, but perhaps whoever designs (spoiler warning) the trap doors in Old Olney sculpted the landscape enough to obscure it from even above-average-to-high perception builds.

    I’ll also say that if you avoid going to GNR until you find Dad in his stasis pod, the game is much more challenging and feels more fulfilling. I suppose that’s because you’re in charge of where you go, and not your idiot dad. You also avoid meeting the Lyons Pride squad until you make it to the citadel, which was just fine by me, though it made storming the GNR plaza a LOT more challenging, since there aren’t any BoS troops to support you against the super mutants on the way and a lot fewer of them in GNR plaza itself.

  14. Deadpool says:

    On the subject of VATS:

    I fully intended to play the game as Shamus described (Well, New Vegas anyways), but the shooting mechanics just FELT so weird and wrong to me, I ended up doing the opposite and building a straight VATs build.

    For the record, with a fully upgraded Holorifle in New Vegas felt just as broken… I one hit killed the super duper Deathclaw at the end of Lonesome Road…

    1. baseless research says:

      Is it so OP? I remember thinking that the holorifle was basically a Gauss rifle with a different colour and consuming less ammo. (It’s OP, sure, but not moreso than the Gauss already is).

      1. I think he must be perked to the gills for it to one-shot a deathclaw. The fully modded Holorifle gives you 105 damage per hit and 116.7 DPS.

        Some crit-stacking may be afoot as well, Watson.

        1. MrGuy says:

          I played sneak-and-snipe with decent energy weapons and the holorifle, and I could “sneak attack critical” one-shot darn near anything. Yes, having good perks like Finesse, Sniper, and Better Criticals help, but it’s not terribly hard with decent sneak and weapons skills.

          And you don’t actually need amazing sneak. The thing about the fully upgraded holorifle is that there’s zero circular error. If the target’s centered in the crosshairs properly, you hit it. And since the holorifle is a long-distance sniper rifle, with small amounts of practice you can hit things that are too far away to hit in VATS. You can “sneak attack critical” enemies on the far side of the grid square.

    2. StashAugustine says:

      Play New Vegas with Sawyer’s Mod and Project Nevada on Easy. Enemies go down in 2-3 shotgun blasts, you can take only a few hits from most enemies (except automatics), deathclaws two-shot you, and you’ve got bullet time and sprint to use your APs on.

  15. guy says:


    Honestly, this is the Fallout universe. A Superfund site getting cracked by a nuke and leaking into a major river is a plenty good explanation.

    Shamoose, fix this.

    1. Thomas says:

      Are we talking about Megaton and fitting in a water theme? That would make sense, but I don’t mean so much it wouldn’t fit plausibly, but Megaton has got a good strong theme, that fills up its space the way it’s meant to. Having a water focus would just make it feel all wrong. Especially since what Megaton does well is introduce the new branch of the Fallout franchise to everyone with the themes that are important to the series identity as a whole.

  16. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    While I, in the main, agree with all the criticisms made here. And while I, in the main, have a hard time playing Fallout 3 from a plot and story perspective. I would like to partially defend the game and the motivations for James.

    To argue that the wasteland has survived 200 years without pure water as a reason that the plot makes no sense is equivalent to arguing that because cities lacked pure water for 8,000 years, municipal water treatment plants make no sense. On a small scale, pure water has always been easy to produce -use filters and distilling -which is what the robots do. This does not scale. While there is some pure water here in DC -which was heavily nuked, unlike the Mojave (spared on account of House’s laser defense) -there is not near enough pure water to support the kind of agriculture necessary to get even to Freeside levels of civilization. And so everyone is stuck scavenging. This is no way to live -and in fact many of them do die -just like the cities of old.

    James was born into this, grew up seeing this, and had a dream of purifying the basin to end this massive suffering. He’s a modern day (future day?) George E Waring. He has helpers in the form of Catherine and Dr. Lee. Then Catherine dies, and James abandons his plan to protect the Wanderer. Dr. Lee likewise abandons the plan and moves to Rivet City to try and do a small-scale save your part of the world project. Hydroponics, mostly.

    And yet, despite giving up their grand dreams, they both still have the desire to make their world a suddenly much better place. Once the Wanderer is 19 (I’ve always though that James left either on or near the Wanderer’s 19th birthday), James has a minor attack of the Empty Nest (though he’s been indulging it for years, as revealed through his notes) and decides to go back to his old work, leaving the Wanderer behind.

    It backfired horribly.

    Dr. Lee and James wanted to purify the basin to create a new opportunity for real civilization to grow up. The Enclave, however, wants to create a new Water Despotism. They want to use the purifier to control the entire area. While agriculture might return, civilization wouldn’t. As such, their resistance to the Enclave controlling the project is understandable.

    What is lacking in the game is not the motivations for James and Dr. Lee. What’s lacking is the Wanderer’s motivation. Why is it so all-fired important for the Wanderer to find James? Family ties, then later vengeance. OK. Whatever. Faffing about makes perfect sense.

    This was a weakness in New Vegas, too. Veangance on Benny isn’t near a compelling enough motivation to get the ball rolling, and the transition to “Caesar’s Legion is about to steamroll the Mojave” is rough.

    1. microwaviblerabbit says:

      I think part of problem with James, and by extension the plot is that he never gives any reasons beyond ‘this was your dead mother’s dream’ and ‘clean water is important’. He goes on and on about how the bible verse was her favorite quote, but doesn’t explain why. Did she want to restart vegetation growth and agriculture? Create a place for civilization to grow around?

      This gets worse with Broken Steel because it is obvious he had no plans beyond getting the purifier working. The Brotherhood and Rivet City Security cobble together pipes and caravans, but James didn’t contact either, even when he knew he could get it to work. He called together the old scientific team for a project that was under constant attack when it was non-functional without any other protection. Even though it had the potential to be the largest source of wealth in the wasteland.

      Some of it could be due to the fact he is your father, and default emotional connections, yet no one else involved ever explains why they want the project to work. Lee talks about James and his vision, and her team just seems to follow her lead. She pretty much abandons all her hydroponic research to help James. The Enclave end up with motivations that make the most sense, Eden was to use it for genocide and Autumn sees it as a way to expand Enclave power, and give them popular support.

      New Vegas managed a bit better because it introduced all the major factions (NCR, Legion, House) at the beginning, and then put the player on path to experience them before giving the choice. Following the basic route the games gives you see the NCR in Primm, the Legion in Nipton, and then through their war zone passing military bases, outposts and occupied towns. When the player arrives in Vegas they will have probably killed people from one or both sides. In Fallout 3 the Brotherhood Outcasts have far deeper interactions with the player than Lyons ‘Power-armored boy scouts’ and the Enclave don’t exist except for a radio station. Then the main quest suddenly drops Enclave outposts from the sky and puts you on the fast track to valued member of the Lyons Brotherhood.

  17. I’m wondering if the plot and characters were the result of one faction in the writing group wanting over-the-top characters who were basically caricatures of 50’s mad scientists with wacky plans and another who wanted it to be played straight (or at least, as straight as Star Trek scientists often are). The result is this odd plot where we’re presented with crazy ideas in a serious tone that encourage us to try and go with it as if we were being given an order by Captain Picard.

    I’m probably giving Bethesda too much credit, but if you could swap out half the voice cast for F3 with the ones from Old World Blues, it’d probably be a lot more enjoyable and make a comedic kind of sense.

    1. guy says:

      Honestly, the voicework for Old World Blues could improve just about anything.

      “Then came the COILS! the TESLA COILS! The coils of NIKOLA TESLA!”

  18. WJS says:

    I have to say, I kind of like the stealth helmet with the sunglasses on top – it’s just so silly it kinda wraps around back to awesome.
    It’s all very well saying that Fallout is based on 50s visions of atomic war rather than the actual likely outcome of it, but even in the context of that, DC really doesn’t seem to be hurting for lack of water. Out of hundreds of NPCs, like 3 have that problem. You’d be doing people much more of a favour doing something about the raiders or mutants.
    “We needed to listen to those so I could get the location”
    And naturally, you know exactly where “Evergreen Mills” is despite literally living in a hole in the ground all your life. Not even any “Rivet City is to the south” type stuff, just a name. Shouldn’t there be an extra quest here? Like, find an old-world map (since the town doesn’t exist any more)?
    LOL at Shamus dumping luck and wondering why he was so unlucky.
    OK, so Dad came in here, closed the door, and after he closed the door a bunch of mole rats moved in?

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