Fallout 3 EP13: Enter the Matrix?

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Feb 13, 2013

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 110 comments

Link (YouTube)

You know what would be great here? Seeing as how this is a Fallout game, we have a great opportunity to offer the player lot of different things to do. Maybe they can hack the simulation from the outside, without needing to go in. Maybe they could use lockpicking to reach the master controls. Maybe they could try to reach the core and cut the power, which would require them to fight a lot of tough robots. Maybe they could use the repair skill to bust Dad out of his relaxation pod. So many possibilities!

“But then the player would miss out on tranquility lane! We put so much work into that!”

Yeah, see. This game isn’t exactly starved for content. I think you can afford to miss a bit here and there if it means the player can make interesting choices.

“But they DO get choices! After getting stupidly trapped in the simulation, they can escape the stupid good way or the stupid evil way.”


And then after you escape the Matrix there’s yet ANOTHER instance of a conversation where someone asks you why you left vault 101, and you can’t answer it truthfully or sensibly. Arg.

For those of you keeping score at home: This is the second vault Dad has ruined.


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110 thoughts on “Fallout 3 EP13: Enter the Matrix?

  1. el_b says:

    I think it would have been Cool if you had the option to let the doctor redeem himself and help the Brotherhood from inside of the simulation. in the end you leave him there alone and unable to die and that is a pretty Brutal punishment, but it’s also a lot of knowledge lost that could save a lot of lives…but since when was Reginald neeson ‘Obvious reasons’ cuftbert, professional not a mercenary, interested in that?

  2. Moriarty says:

    At least everyone of Brauns quests has multiple solutions to them. Seems weird that the thing everyone wants in rps is buried deep in the things everyone hates.

    1. Ofermod says:

      That’s because while you’re being allowed to perform the sub-tasks in multiple different ways that are up to you… you’re still being railroaded by the main task, which is stupid. It’s like saying “There’s only one flavour of cake (and it’s a stupid flavour you hate) which you have to eat… but the manner of eating it is up to you. Ideally, not only would you get to choose from multiple cakes (or at least have only one cake but have it be a good one), but you’d also get to choose how you eat it.

  3. StashAugustine says:

    You would be 74,168 days late and 106,801,920 minutes late.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      You have been asleep for nine…nine…nine…nine…nine………

    2. Paul Spooner says:

      Which is within an order of magnitude of both one hundred thousand, and a billion. For an off-the-cuff comment, I’d say both Shamus and Josh landed pretty darn close!

      1. eroen says:

        That’s cute, but we all know that a real billion is almost ten thousand times larger than the right number of minutes.

  4. Even says:

    If this game would have been written by Obsidian (or anyone with some taste for good writing for that matter), they would have lured you with some promise to connect to the Matrix and then write at least three or four different ways you can deal with the scenario, including a way which lets you wrest control from Braun and turn the simulation against himself without killing everybody.. like making the people aware of what’s happening and putting them in control. There’s already hooks like the old lady who’s dimly aware of what’s going on which could have been used to justify it. Then maybe have a skill check at the hidden terminal to hack it and remove control from Braun’s pod-unit and so on and so on.

    You’re not even trying, Bethesda.

    1. Incunabulum says:

      Of cours, if it was Oblivion 2 of the possible solutions would have been cut to get the game out the door on time.

      1. Chauzuvoy says:

        And/or it would crash upon loading into the simulation for the first month until they rushed a patch out.

        1. Wedge says:

          While I readily admit Obsidian’s reputation for releasing buggy games is well-earned, in my experience, Fallout 3 was a MUCH buggier piece of shit compared to Fallout:NV. I ran into very few real issues in NV, and nothing that broke the game outright. Fallout 3, on the other hand, I never even managed to finish through how completely fucking broken it was. The worst is that the most recent patch (1.7?), which was released two or three years ago now, causes the game to regularly crash every five or ten minutes, consistently. I’m not talking release behavior here — the most recent patch for a game that’s no longer supported is actually unplayably broken.

          1. It’s not just Bethesda/Oblivion these days. Few AAA-rated games with any attempts at complexity of some kind seem to require major patches within the first few weeks of release.

            1. krellen says:

              Obsidian is a developer. Oblivion is a game. Obsidian did not make Oblivion.

              1. Yes, I know. Typos happen and I don’t always stick around to proofread.

  5. StashAugustine says:

    Most petty complaint about this game: This is the first game I’ve come across with a character named Stanislaus (my name) and he’s an evil Nazi. Obviously, Bethesda hates me personally.

  6. KremlinLaptop says:

    Honestly, it took me this long to realize that Vault 112 is essentially a ‘light’ version of “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream”. It lacks having a deranged super-computer doing all of the torture and replaces it with a deranged guy.

    Now that I finally noticed it the similarities are so friggin’ obvious. Only took me a what… five years since Fallout 3 was released? Pfft, sometimes I take a whole decade until I get a joke.

    1. Keeshhound says:

      Huh. I never noticed that either.

      Of course, that’s probably at least in part because even if you were to engrave a replica of Braun’s natural charisma on each nanoangstrom of the hundreds of miles of printed circuits that make up 112’s computer complex, it would not equal one BILLIONTH of the charisma that AM has in a single micro-instant.

  7. rrgg says:

    Now that I’ve finally played both games this past year I have to say that I did enjoy FO3 significantly more than New Vegas. In fact, with the latter I couldn’t even make it halfway through the main quest.

    1. I-Spy says:

      Aw man, you can’t just drop that ’round these part without some reasons.

      1. rrgg says:

        I meant to add more but had to leave and it posted early so, yeah.

        There were a lot of little reasons, for instance they nerfed the damage resistance in vats so that weapons like grenades became pretty much useless. I didn’t like the setting too much, it seemed like there were more puke colors. The factions, while more complex, could never feel as epic as the massive battle being waged between the BoS, the Enclave, and Super Mutants in the ruins of DC. You had your choice between the jokers in football pads and dinnerware using swords, the jokers who were apparently only just barely a match for the first group, an old guy in a tube, and ruling over all of those idiots yourself (why?). A lot of the quests I ran into had apparently been completely broken beyond repair by important NPCs I’d killed. There wasn’t even any good music like the enclave station. :(

        Although probably the biggest reason I couldn’t stand it would be the fact that the enemies don’t auto-level in New Vegas. I can see why some people wouldn’t like that mechanic, but in practice here it meant that the difficulty tended to constantly bounce back and fourth between virtual brick wall and stepping on cockroaches any time I wanted to step off of the exact path laid out before me. I had to start constantly worrying about how much I was leveling and whether or not I was doing too many/too few side quests as well as “oh, this tunnel is starting to look a lot longer than I was expecting maybe I should turn around and head back now. It started to feel less like exploration and more like a guided tour in which I couldn’t wander too far away from the bus. Compare that to a game like Fo3 or Skyrim when any time you’re feeling bored you can just point to something in the distance, say “I want to go there” and lose yourself for hours in some massive, emergent mini-adventure.
        What made me finally give up was when I at long last reached New Vegas, the game’s No. 1 “Big Thing,” and realized that there was absolutely nothing to do there, just main quest stuff, “go visit the boomers.”

        Tldr the game was less open world, more rat maze where the invisible walls are deathclaws and goul reavers.

        1. rrgg says:

          Another nitpick, they replaced the % chance of success mechanic when it came to speech checks with a simple binary “you either have the points or your don’t” mechanic. That I feel was another step backwards.

          1. Indy says:

            And yet I like it more with a binary element. There’s just something rewarding about knowing that my speech-based character can say something right. Maybe it would be better if a speech skill opened up another list of options that might or might not work in the situation, with higher skills reducing the options to be more sure of what would work.

          2. MrGuy says:

            I thought the percent chance thing ruined all the checks in FO3, because they’re incredibly save-scummable. Why put points into speech when you can just re-try the dialogue 4-5 times and pass it anyways?

            1. hborrgg says:

              If people want to do that I say let them, it’s no different than a player specializing in speech who save scums a particularly difficult fight until he wins.

              But even then it’s a step backwards. If you’re only aiming for a static number then working hard to get 49/50 is no different than only having 10/50 for example. (In NV you might be able to bump it up if you had some skillbooks or aids, but since you can’t open your inventory mid-conversation that’s only really going to help you knew the speech check was coming before-hand, or if you save scum.) Compare that to the FO3 method when you know that every single point you invest into speech is going to improve your odds at passing just a tiny bit.

              If you really didn’t want people save scumming random speech checks in your game then that’s actually extremely easy to do, just don’t re-randomize the seed every time they reload a save.

              1. WJS says:

                Preserving the random seed is just another way of making the checks binary pass/fail, except you can’t see the number you need.

          3. Indy says:

            I liked the flat do/don’t mechanic if only because my speech-based character could make a speech option with a guarantee. A different system that could have worked, I think, would be to have the speech option open up a list of comments. One of them would be the favourable option while the others wouldn’t work. The higher your skill, the fewer unfavourable options there are. Of course, this might require more effort than what we have, but I think this system would still involve skill and even chance.

          4. Indy says:

            Moderation seems to keep eating my comments so I’ll try again.

            I liked the flat do/don’t mechanic if only because my speech-based character could make a speech option with a guarantee. A different system that could have worked, I think, would be to have the speech option open up a list of comments. One of them would be the favourable option while the others wouldn’t work. The higher your skill, the fewer unfavourable options there are. Of course, this might require more effort than what we have, but I think this system would still involve skill and even chance.

            1. krellen says:

              Why do people insist on trying to shove more and more player skill into RPGs? When you shift things away from the character and towards the player, you lessen the feel of experiencing the world through the character and instead turn it into inserting yourself into the world, which should be the antithesis of role-playing.

              (Feeling yourself inserted into a world isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a bad thing for ROLE-PLAYING.)

              1. Indy says:

                Ideally, the two would be merged into some greater third entity. Until we figure out how to achieve that, we’re stuck with either roleplaying or self-insertion.

                1. krellen says:

                  I’m just saying the self-insertion is fine for other games, but when making a role-playing game you probably should be looking to minimise it as much as possible.

                2. MrGuy says:

                  Sort of disagree. I think the lock picking and computer hacking mini games are a good example of blending this. The player plays the game, no question. And players who are better at Mastermind will do better at hacking than someone who doesn’t, which admittedly injects an element of player’s (as opposed to character’s) skill. But regardless of the player’s personal skill, the game gets demonstrably easier/harder based on the character’s skill. Leveling the character makes the gameplay easier, but we don’t have to completely take the human element out of play.

      1. krellen says:

        Only if you LIKE sandbox games.

        1. rrgg says:

          I LOVE sandbox games.

          1. krellen says:

            I think growing up doing tabletop role-playing spoiled me for sandbox games. If I really want that degree of freedom and exploration, I don’t want all the stupid constraints that trying to emulate it in a video game environment brings. I’ll just find a group of people to play with, or, worst case, play out the scenarios in my head (and possibly write them down and turn them into stories.)

            1. rrgg says:

              I still tend to think of games as just another extension of my legos and green army men growing up. I’ve never been too concerned with story-telling in games because, well, it’s not important. If need be, I’ll just make a better one up as I go along.

              Generally what I really want most out of a video game is just a system to push and pull on and see what happens.

        2. Lame Duck says:

          Even then your mileage may vary. I found New Vegas to be waaaay more enjoyable to explore because the incredibly repetitive visual design and terrible writing of Fallout 3 meant that there was very rarely anything of interest to discover.

          1. Cupcaeks says:

            This was pretty much my experience as well, though I personally found the way Fallout 3’s map was laid out to be a bit more interesting to explore than Fallout: NV. That’s the one thing I feel Bethesda’s always been great at. That writing though… I just couldn’t get past how terrible it was (especially having played them in reverse order. Such a letdown..). Even the Dunwich building that everyone seems to like so much. I mean, I love the idea behind it, but it was like Lovecraft as envisioned by a 12 year old. That made me a lot less interested in exploring the world beyond looking at how pretty some things were, because I felt like closer inspection would just reward me with more stupid.

          2. IFS says:

            I liked New Vegas better as well for both those reasons and several others. I found that armor actually made a difference whereas in FO3 it was somewhat negligible, there was a greater variety of weapons and they could actually be used effectively outside of VATS and the lack of dmg reduction in VATS made it much much less game breaking. Besides that I found all the dlcs for NV much more interesting and fun, and the companions were both improved in terms of options and in terms of how interesting of characters they were. The change to speech (and the inclusion of skill and SPECIAL checks for many dialogues) both provided hilarious failure options in many cases, and prevented save scumming, which I felt was a great change, besides that there were a lot more speech and other skill options in NV so the skill felt much more useful. The perks were also greatly improved over the ones in FO3 which were mostly extra skill points that you didn’t need.

      2. Irridium says:

        Eh, I don’t know. I found the gameplay in New Vegas to be much better since you didn’t need to rely on VATS for any fight with two or more people.

  8. CTrees says:

    On my most recent playthrough, I avoided going in the pod for as long as possible. Actually sneaked/hacked/lockpicked my way into the room with Braun’s pod. To which I could do… absolutely nothing. No consoles to hack, no ability to open the pod, no ability to kill Braun… I’m pretty sure I lobbed a few grenades his way out of frustration. I mean, I can kill Mr. House. Can’t get Braun from inches away.


    1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      I mined every square inch of that room I could, just because he annoyed me.

      If he ever does get out -oooooo, he’s in for a bang.

    2. newdarkcloud says:

      On my first playthrough, I actually didn’t know what to do. Until I saw the quest marker, it never even occurred to me that I should step into the pod because it was the most obvious trap in existence.

      Make of that what you will.

    3. To be fair, if you could screw with Braun’s pod, you’d need a reason why someone like Reginald Cuftbert couldn’t screw with the other pods as well. There are contrivances (whatever master control gizmo that Braun uses to control the simulation lets you have access or whatever), but the writers would have to be careful not to give you too much leeway, or you could wind up in the simulation with quest goals not attainable because you chucked a frag mine in a vital pod.

      Naturally, killing Braun would short-circuit the quest, which would only be a bad thing if they gave you some good reasons for wanting to go in. Since it’s “The Matrix,” some skill points (books) being downloaded into your brain for doing various things would have been a nice hook vs. just killing Braun and releasing everyone, including Dad.

      I have to say, the more I think about it, tying skill points to some of Braun’s “evil” tasks would have made it REALLY hard to resist doing them. Yes, you could karma-dispense your rep back up, but if it mentions what you did in the end credits, that’s a different kettle of mirelurks. Making it just tied to karma is one thing, but putting it on your “permanent record” that gets read back to you would be a real hit for a lot of players. But anyway, books that give permanent stat boosts were one of the few “I don’t care who you are, if you’re not selling it, I’m stealing it” items for me.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        I actually think it would be a good thing to allow players to skip this quest. That’s why we have skills like Science or Speech. They are there to allow players to think of cool, alternate ways to solve problems w/o conventions tactics.

        Honestly, you shouldn’t have to jump into the pod since there’s no reason to.

  9. SpiritBearr says:

    Funny how Obsidian brought up how there is a lack of formal institutions to make real scientists in New Vegas with the guy in the Solar Plant

    1. Chauzuvoy says:

      Well, at some point in the last 200 years it became viable for the brotherhood to go door-to-door looking for a guy with a degree in theoretical physicists…

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        So I told him I had a theoretical degree in Physics.

        1. Studoku says:

          I told him I knew as much about power plants as anyone I’d met.

          I know a lot of people who can’t stand him but I think Fantastic is cool.

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            I like Fantastic too. He’s a really funny character and perfect for the vibe New Vegas was going for.

            1. MrGuy says:

              I like the fact that the way you can call him on his bullsh*t is to have a high science skill.

              You know, the science skill you magically acquire by shooting enough raiders.

    2. IFS says:

      And that was brought up as far back as FO1 with the followers of the apocalypse, who also make an appearance in NV.

  10. swenson says:

    “Ha ha, you don’t get to say no.”

    Sums up Fallout 3 in a nutshell…

    EDIT: Also wanted to mention, I thought this whole place was a really neat idea that was implemented stupidly (especially once I found out what the only two endings are), so I sped through with the “soldiers murder everyone” option (somehow the good option?). Nice to have a chance to see the other side.

    1. rrgg says:

      But you got to say no to the mean guy that was telling you to do something, doesn’t that make you feel better?

      1. Deadyawn says:

        Frankly, I’d have felt a lot better if I could have shot him in the head, but sadly that wasn’t an option.

        Just being able to kill everyone is really cathartic. Even if I don’t want to kill someone, knowing that I can makes me feel better about my decision to not do it.

    2. I think they actually managed to not convey the conditions these people were living under to make killing them the “good” option. If they’d noted that everyone, including the children, were as decrepit as Mr. House in New Vegas or that some people carried nightmarish memories of “dying” elsewhere, that would’ve helped.

      If they really wanted to ramp up the horror, they should have had the pods clearly labeled in the real world, and have some prominent, young-looking person whose pod says he has no vital signs, raising questions about where his consciousness is.

      Like a lot of this game, a missed opportunity.

      1. swenson says:

        Or have everyone be all ordinarily chipper and cheerful, but occasionally they’d let something slip, have some flashback or something, then try to cover it up and act like nothing was wrong. Something subtle to hint that maybe they aren’t as cheerful and oblivious as they appear.

        Or, like you said, a mysteriously missing person. Maybe someone makes some reference to Denny–wait, no, there’s no Denny, there’s never been a Denny, haha, why would I say that name, there never was a Denny…

        It has the potential to be so ominous, but ended up just missing it. The abandoned house is a decent start, the creepy thing lurking at the edges that nobody really talks about, but there needed to be more.

    3. Jace911 says:

      Well you do, it’s called taking the disc out of the tray and using it as a clay pidgeon.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Awww,you said you were going to do both things,but you didnt.Im sad now.

    Seeing that nice car there made me sad that new vegas didnt include cars like they wanted to.

    1. Even says:

      They really should just cease condensing the thousands of square kilometers of land into areas the size of a small town. As fun as a car in New Vegas could have been, I think at least personally it would have made the world feel even smaller, which would have been jarring. I don’t know how feasible it would be to go back to having a real-life sized world with separate zones since the series is effectively out of the turn-based isometric gameplay as long as it remains with Bethesda, but damn if it wouldn’t make for that much more satisfying experience if the world had some sense of vastness again. Sandboxes can be fun, but they’ve been getting a little bit tiring lately.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Yes,one of the many things that got lost because everything must be 3d now or people wont buy it.*sigh*

        1. StashAugustine says:

          I think you could conceivably execute that style in a 3d environment- Mount & Blade does it, for example. Still doesn’t mean Bethesda would allow it.

        2. We’ll have to see how Wasteland 2 does. Its combat interface looks like it uses the tropes of old sprite-based RPGs, but it’s displayed using the Unity engine in 3D, so you can rotate the playfield and still see everything from whatever angle you choose.

      2. Cupcaeks says:

        This is a sentiment that I share as well. The game world looks amazing in the 3D the first time you step into it, but after hitting the ~30 hour mark of playing I just couldn’t stop thinking about how compressed the world felt. Visiting Hoover Dam the first time was awesome, but turning around and seeing the Lucky 38 sitting in plain view just broke the illusion for me. Fallout 3 was slightly better about this, but not by much.

        Zoned areas aren’t likely to make a come back while the series is in Bethesda’s hands, but I wonder if it would be possible to just expand the game world to the point where something like a car would be necessary? That introduces its own problems though, like what to do with all that new space, factoring in the vehicle vs on-foot exploration aspect, time compression, etc. It’d probably shift the focus of the game too much, but I do miss that feeling from the original games of having traveled hundreds of miles for days on end to get to a new location.

    2. Spammy says:

      In the realm of car simulation, every Fallout game since 2 has been a downgrade. Although, if they wanted to put in a car, they’d have to make the world slightly bigger and not have random hills everywhere.

      But still. Car.

    3. Incunabulum says:


      Fan made mods to the rescue.

      He’s even got a working vertibird you can fly.

  12. baseless research says:

    Everyone. Go to GOG.com

    The Machine Mother hates you. The Unity will protect you. Join us.

  13. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    Having defended the plot previously, this is where I rolled my eyes back into my head.

    Why are we doing this?

    Oh, right. Rail road. Choo Choo.

    On a funnier note -is anyone else hilariously amused that Braun decided to convert himself into a 10 year old girl for his demonic activities?

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      Of course, as we all know, it gets worse from here.

  14. “For those of you keeping score at home: This is the second vault Dad has ruined.”

    What was great about this vault before Dad got turned into a VR dog?

    1. Lame Duck says:

      And to be fair, when you take the evil path, you leave the Vault pretty much exactly as you found it.

    2. Shamus says:

      Valut 101 was a police state and this vault was a madhouse. It’s not that the vaults were awesome, it’s just that Dad manages to leave dead bodies in his wake and he never seems to notice or care.

      1. So you’re saying “like father like son?” :)

  15. Lame Duck says:

    You talk about combat taunts in this episode and, I have to say, I think they are one of the most misused and poorly executed elements of game design ever and Bethesda is probably one of the worst offenders in that respect. I guess they’re pretty memorable just because of how goofy they are, but Bethesda games’ poor dialogue, poor voice acting and repetitious nature are antithetical to everything that make combat taunts worthwhile.

    1. StashAugustine says:

      Combat taunts just prove that good writing has enemies everywhere.

    2. I’ve noticed that VATS tends to cut down on the taunts by slowing them down to incomprehensible groans, which is a real advantage.

      Though I’d have to give the award for worst combat taunts to Bioware. “Enemies are everywhere!” is just so effing stupid, and for some reason “Can’t reach the target!” really grates on me.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        It’s worse because there is not a single permutation of the game where “Enemies everywhere” will ever make sense because at most you have 2 people with you (a party of 3).

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Ah,but those three are everywhere.

          1. Asimech says:

            They’re related to the monkey?

            (Auto-play warning) http://www.weebls-stuff.com/wab/anywhere/

        2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

          For the longest time, I thought this was Kaiden’s taunt -so it made sense, although in a “Thank you, Lt. Obvious, I was not aware I paid you for trivial intelligence reports. Shoot them!” sort of way.

    3. newdarkcloud says:

      I think the bosses in Human Revolution were worse:
      *cloaks and hides* “Why are you hiding Jensen?”

      But yes, developers, combat taunts are dumb and you should stop using them.

      1. That’s one of the many reasons I like Vampire: Bloodlines. I don’t think there’s a single combat taunt in the game (only noises of effort and pain), though it’s been a while since I played.

        1. StashAugustine says:

          Max Payne 3 had enemy taunts in Portugese, which was nice.

        2. Fang says:

          Vamp did have Combat taunts, but they was like “Hey stop man!”,etc , and was much,much quieter than most of the other sounds in the games.

      2. Gruhunchously says:

        For me, the Namir fight went something like…

        “Do you realize how hopeless this is?”
        8 seconds later
        “Do you realize how hopeless this is?”
        8 seconds later
        “Do you REALIZE how hopeless this is?”

      3. Keeshhound says:

        I think you can get away with combat taunts for bosses, so long as you script them to only happen once, and ideally relate to what’s happening in the fight.

    4. lurkey says:

      Fallout 3 has probably my favourite combat taunt. Well, sort of taunt – when you sneak around supermutants, they go “Hellooooo?… Is someone here?” I always found that very funny for some reason. :-)

    5. Fleaman says:


  16. MrGuy says:

    Here’s my simple fix for the raliroady-ness of this…

    Have it such that you find the pod that Dad’s in. There’s a terminal on it that lets you talk to Dad. Just talk, not see. Dad tells you to get out of here. The purifier is the important thing. Go get the GECK from Valut 87 and bring it to Madison. Don’t worry about me.

    If you want, railroad a little “I’m not leaving without you.” Dad tells you the only way to get him out would be for you to enter the situation, and it’s too dangerous!

    You can try to free Dad (and play Tranquility Lane) or leave him trapped here forever. Your call.

    If you leave and come back, you’ll find Dad and everyone else dead (killed by Braun), so we don’t have to deal with Dad waking up halfway through the story.

    Only problem is everyone would probably leave Dad. I mean, I wanted to way before this…

    1. Indy says:

      That would remove a lot of the hook about introducing the Enclave. I think the better alternative would be to send the player on an alternate quest in which they cross paths with the Enclave and Colonel Autumn.

      1. Deadyawn says:

        Who cares? That whole scene was so dumb I’d support replacing it entirely anyway. Unfortunately, we won’t get to see it for quite some time as, if I remember correctly, they went off to the pit between now and then.

        Really though, this whole plot is so stupidly broken that you’d pretty much have to rewrite the entire thing from scratch to sufficiently cleanse the stupid from it. There isn’t any quick-fix solution.

        1. Indy says:

          Yep, after a pit stop at Rivet City, they’re off to the Pitt.

          And I completely agree, torch the thing before trying to rebuild it.

    2. Keeshhound says:

      To be fair, even forcibly railroading you into saving your father would still be better than the lack of a hook you get now. It’s not like they didn’t already do it (“Please, if you know anything that can help me find my dad…”) At least then you’d have an actual reason to enter the pod.

    3. newdarkcloud says:

      Better idea is to have do that, but when you go to the purifier, you realize you need Dad to make it work. That way, you’ll be FORCED to go back and save him in order to proceed in a way that feels natural.

  17. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wait…Let me get this straight:When you kill these people in the matrix,they merely reset in some other world and have their memories wiped?You dont really do them any harm?

    So you are getting negative karma for being just a big internet troll?

    1. Indy says:

      It’s more about continuing their suffering, leaving the people to be toys in Braun’s fantasy. The ‘good’ option is to kill them permanently.

      1. MrGuy says:

        Yes. Mercy killing is always an unambiguous moral good.

        1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

          Tenpenny Tower.

          This is not a game known for its moral rectitude.

    2. newdarkcloud says:

      If you help Braun, you take an active role in there suffering and allow it to continue for all eternity.

      If you turn off the safeties and begin the Chinese invasion, then you essentially mercy kill them, preventing Braun from torturing them any longer.

      Of course, this is dumb because there are other ways to do this quest w/o forcing the player to take the obviously stupid move of jumping into a pod they can tell is a trap.

    3. hewhosaysfish says:

      I remember on my first playthrough of FO3 I was going for Ultra-Good karma.
      I initially refused to be a jerk on Braun orders so tried to do the Simon-Says thing to access the special console.

      That was too annoying, though, so I went and made Timmy cry and broke up the marriage just to get information from Braun… but then he wanted me to kill someone and that was too for.

      So I decided that I would have to bleep and whistle my way into the computer for the sake of my conscience… buuuuut when I got into the computer I found out that A) the emergency failsafe would (very really) kill everyone, B) killing people for Braun wouldn’t actually kill them because the safeties were on and C) the system could actually delete the subjects memories of dying (as it had before).

      So after these revelations, I felt that the Good thing to do would be to play along with Braun’s orders and “kill” everyone so that he would let me out. Once he had restarted the simulation in a new setting I could then staple him to the wall with my Railway Rifle and leave the rest of Vault 112’s occupants to live in their peaceful simulated world free of the mad “god” that had ruined the previous three.

      I got bad Karma for “killing” those people. This annoyed me a little but I figured the game had no way to judge my intentions*. Anyways I could buy off the karma hit by giving water to beggars and scrap metal to Walter. And maybe I would get a big boost of Good karma when I killed Braun and the game went “Oh, I guess you aren’t a bad guy after all – you were just pretending”.

      Except then I couldn’t kill Braun. I couldn’t touch him. Even after Tranquility Lane had runs its course and the game had no more use for him. This annoyed me a great deal.

      They wouldn’t have need any new animations or voice-acting – just a terminal on Braun’s pod with the option to cut the life support (and get Good karma for it). If they were feeling really lavish they could let you send a message into the simulation before you did it so that you could be Good (“You underestimated my resolve, Braun. Now you will pay for your crimes! [Disconnect Life-Support]”) or Evil (“You were a fool to trust a maniac like me, Braun. I am Cuftbert and I KILL EVERYONE! [Disconnect Life-Support]”).

      *Actually, would it have really been so hard to flip the karma of going along with Braun’s plan depending on whether or not yuo had read the info that told you the consequences weren’t actually permanent?

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        Fully agreed. It seems like those changes would have been very little work, and made a big difference to the player’s sense of agency.
        Unfortunately, there are missed opportunities everywhere. If we stop to shake our finger at each one of them, we’ll never get anywhere.

  18. Lame Duck says:

    I quite like some of the ideas being presented in this quest, but the execution kind of squanders it all. The 50s suburbia simulation world is pretty cool and the choice between killing all these people and leaving them to live a life at Braun’s mercy is, I think, an interesting moral question. Naturally, the karma system completely wrecks this and they make it even worse by having the life choice involve engaging in petty, pointlessly evil acts. Also, the set-up requires the player to act like a complete moron and Braun is a spectacularly uninteresting character.

  19. djshire says:

    FO3 failed and succeeded in many ways. Success: Really open world, interesting side “things” to do, the world felt like it was POST-APOC vs the very lively FNV world. Failed: Didn’t feel very Fallout-ish, had the same color pallet as many other games of the time, dumb story, bad writing, and the fact that in the end, you were still the hero, no matter how bad your karma was (which is my biggest complaint).

    1. In the end you’re the hero? Have you seen what happens in this playthrough after Broken Steel?

      Man, I’d hate to spoil it, but it’s one of the best Spoiler Warning payoffs ever.

    2. WJS says:

      FO3 dead vs. FNV lively world: I think you’re missing the post in “post-apocalyptic”. If the world is dead, that’s not “post”, that’s just “apocalyptic”. In this case, it’s supposed to be 200 years post, but as has been noted many, many times, it’s like the bombs fell last year or something.

  20. MrGamer says:

    The only braun I like is the VON BRAUN

    But seriously go to GOG

  21. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    With years of hindsight, I find it astonishing that Josh is not trying to troll the troll.

    Reginald should have launched the Chinese Invasion if only because it would annoy Braun.

  22. wererogue says:

    If we lose karma every time we kill someone in a simulation, we’re all desperately screwed.

  23. WJS says:

    The two Tranquility Lane endings may be supposed to be exclusive, but this is Bethesda; what’s supposed to happen and what actually does may not be the same thing.
    OK, I think I’d blocked that conversation out. How many times does he give you an obvious opening to tell him “The Overseer tried to kill me” without you actually being able to? It’s something like half a dozen times. I could swear that you could tell him, but I must have imagined that. He’s even angry with you for following him! Why would you not tell him??
    “You just put on a labcoat and start calling yourself ‘Doctor'”
    That makes so much sense.
    Why does his revolver sound like an automatic? I’m pretty sure that’s what I’m hearing there.

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