Fallout 4 EP41 Butt Skarn

By Shamus Posted Thursday Sep 29, 2016

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 104 comments

Link (YouTube)

Look Bethesda, it’s simple: If you don’t want to give the player absolute power over the story, don’t claim they’re the “general” of an army of peons. If you want them to be constrained by the limitations of your prefab plot, then just leave them as an underling / hireling of whatever questgiver is making the decisions.

But if you ARE going to have someone promote you to “general” and then continue to give you orders, then at least deal with that conflict within the story. Have it be a joke between these two characters. Or make Preston Garvey a lunatic. What we have here is several different varieties of wrong. It magnifies our lack of agency, it makes Preston’s character even more ridiculous, it makes no sense, and it does all of this for no reason. Making the player character the “general” of the Minutemen doesn’t aid the story or lead to any kind of payoff.

The cast complained about the teleporter feeling a little out-of-genre. But as others have pointed out, Old World Blues had a teleporter. Here is why I think it works in one and not the other:

  1. In OWB, the teleporter is part of the super-science, which is central to the themes of the story. It’s supposed to be exotic and “out there”. In Fallout 4, you build the teleporter yourself with minimal fuss. Yes, I can accept that the Think Tank and The Institute can build teleporters in their secluded science base. I’m less accepting of wasteland rubble-farmers making a teleporter out of recycled desk lamps and automobile tires.
  2. Old World Blues was optional DLC that didn’t really feel like “Fallout”. That’s okay. We often give DLC a bit more thematic wiggle room. In contrast, we expect the central plot of a Fallout game to stick to the Fallout tone.
  3. Old World Blues is fantastic and Fallout 4’s story was written in crayon. We’re a lot more accepting of stuff if it leads to a fun payoff, and we’re a lot less tolerant of stuff that seems to bend the rules or tone of the world for no good reason.

The problem here isn’t that the teleporter exists in this story, it’s that the whole thing is just way too perfunctory. You show the plans to a guy who so far hasn’t shown any technical aptitude above the level of your average auto mechanic. He glances at it, says he can build it, and then does. This should be something that the player earns. Maybe he could send you to talk to some eggheads for additional help. Or maybe send you after some books. Or some exotic parts in a ruin. Each time you returned, another stage of the teleporter would be complete. This would create a sense that this project is a major undertaking and that you were pushing the boundaries. I know Sturges sends you to get “supplies” for it, but I think the main hurdle to be overcome isn’t the raw materials, but what to do with them.

Anyway, Chris needs to get mad more often. His anger-based analysis is way more incisive.


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104 thoughts on “Fallout 4 EP41 Butt Skarn

  1. AndrewCC says:

    Shamus, you do realise that you don’t build a teleporter? The whole teleporter that everyone uses is 100% in the Institute. No outside pieces needed. What you build is a machine to hijack the remote control of the teleporter, using a courser chip and what’s-his-name-the-supermutant-scientist’s schematics. Basically it’s just a fancy radio transmiter.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      Even with a transmitter like this, the game could have handled it better. Have a skill-/INT-check. Have the player gather some pieces of the encryption key. Have them steal a working transmitter from somebody in the institute. Right now, it’s just random blueprints, that are manufactured by a guy who doesn’t seem like a high-science character. Tonnes of room for improvement. :)

      1. Da Mage says:

        This. What if instead of handing the courser chip over for it never to be seen again, it became the vital component of the machine? Now all the ‘hard’ work is in the chip, and the rest of the machine is to adapt it to teleport you instead of the courser it was inside.

        That would have made WAY more sense.

      2. byter says:

        *Splutters indignantly* But the whole design ethos of the game was to strip RPG elements from gameplay. This is a Bethesda game gosh darn it, everyone’s experience must be the same and as bland as possible, if players with high int had an easier experience in the main story.. then.. well.. errrrr.. aha!.. some people would miss out on this experience! (sarcasm btw)

        But yeah there’s tones of room for improvement. I think most people on this site would support the idea of more rpg elements in this rpg…

    2. Shamus says:

      Well, you build a huge device called a MOLECULAR BEAM EMITTER, but Sturges TALKS like they’re just hijacking a signal. So this is more a problem of the game saying one thing and showing you another. This doesn’t fix any of the problems I brought up. It’s just yet another problem.

      1. MrGuy says:

        Yeah. They are pretty inconsistent about how all this works.

        As they describe it, somehow some set of devices scans you down at the atomic level, turns you into a signal, destroys your physical form, receives the signal, and reconstitutes you.

        As they show the courser in the Memory Den, somehow all the hardware is in the institute, because the coursed doesn’t carry anything other than the chip. It’s like Star Trek beaming technology. Which doesn’t make a whole lotta sense to me in-world – how do they scan you? How does the reassembly process work when you teleport out? But maybe they have a satellite which emits a matter beam and yadda yadda Star Trek.

        Ok. But then you shouldn’t need ANY hardware on your end. You just lock on to the radio signal, which synths can do without needing any external hardware, and it just works. There shouldn’t need to be a big “stand on the platform” level device. Shouldn’t need to be a big production. Ok, synths are robots, so maybe they have internal hardware that does signal processing or whatnot. But that’s it.

        But then they wanted “get into the institute” to be a big quest, and since they already had their “turn junk into a settlement” hammer, they decided this was a nail shaped object, so they had you build a ton of hardware.

        Which, if teleportation technology worked differently, would kinda make sense. A lot of scifi teleportation tech requires a “station” at each end, so making you build one isn’t inherently unreasonable for teleportation.

        But not in this world. They set up the rules. Teleportation is Star Trek style, so no hardware necessary. I can sort of see why – it’s certainly cooler that they can go anywhere. And it avoids complications like you finding a “teleportation booth” in the world before you’re ready to use it. But it makes the implementation here dumb. You should not need to build this much hardware.

        Your teleporter works by different rules than all the other teleportation in the world, because the writer who came up with the Institute’s teleporter idea and the guy who wrote the “build a teleporter” quest didn’t agree on the rules, and Bethesda couldn’t be bothered to care.

        1. Blunderbuss09 says:

          Exactly. If you must build something, you could say that you need to build a fancy computer to interface with the courser chip so it does the right ‘boot-up sequence’ to begin the teleport. The courser’s brain is destroyed so you need to make a substitute to essentially trick the chip that there’s still a courser attached. Bam, same quest, less stupid.

          Plus in this case Virgil could instead write a computer program that will do the computations but then you just need to make a computer big enough to run it. And considering that there’s old computers everywhere it would be much easier to just search for some working motherboards and such, and you’ll find way more people qualified to help.

        2. Decius says:

          If you take a moment to ask why you need a big setpiece to transmit a signal that makes the institute think that it’s coming from a courser that they think was destroyed, when in fact it’s coming from you, I think it’s fairly reasonable that something like that looks like that would be important.

          1. MrGuy says:

            Which gets back to OP’s contention – we’re NOT building a transmitter, just something that can lock on to an RF signal (i.e. my point that we’re playing by Star Trek rules).

            Then we build a “molecular beam emitter.”

            That’s not a “send an RF signal” device. That’s a “this is the thing that sends all the molecules from A to B.” Which is fine if “that’s how teleportation works.”

            But it’s not (as the game has shown us) how it works for coursers.

  2. IFS says:

    I kinda want the crew to take a mid-season vacation to Old World Blues so Josh can finally play it and so that we get some great contrast with how shit FO4’s writing is in comparison. Plus you could do a hilarious transition with Cuftbert walking into the FO4 teleporter and coming out in OWB.

    Edit: Though judging by the credits they might already be in the Institute by the end of this week.

    1. I suppose that means no DLC.

      I was hoping to see if Far Harbor was as (relatively) good as I’d heard and if Nuka World was as bad as I’d heard.

      1. Wide And Nerdy® says:

        I played them and I’m still waiting to hear whether they were good or not.

        Don’t let me down guys.

      2. Da Mage says:

        I’ve heard Nuka-World is good, but only if you want to play a bad character. Similar to how Fallout 4 railroads you into always being ‘good’ or ‘sarcastic good’, Nuka-World forces you to be an evil raider.

        But yes, Far Habour is the best part of Fallout 4, decent writing and interesting ideas.

        1. To be honest, I’ll likely get the DLC on sale someday, but only to have all the assets available to play with any interesting mods.

          Like a total conversion mod that makes this into another game altogether, preferably one developed by Obsidian.

          1. Decius says:

            I would play the shit out of Fallowind.

            1. 4ier says:

              “Are you truly Nerevar reborn?”
              “Nerevarine? Hortator? I’m the guy with the gun.” *BOOM*

    2. Wide And Nerdy® says:

      That would be a great mod.

      I know its been said here before but if the Institute turned out to be The Think Tank, the story would be so much better.

      1. Dirigible says:



        Also the twist is that the brain in a jar is your son’s, they keep periodically needing to replace it a la Rex in New Vegas, and the good end involves unshackling his brain from the supercomputer forcing all the previous mind’s memories and personalities suppressing his own.

      2. Blunderbuss09 says:

        I have to disagree. OWB is more self-contained so they could be cartoonishly outlandish without it affecting the tone of the main story. And they could be a bunch of insane and bizarre mad scientists because they’re floating brains blazed out on mentats.

        The Institute, by contrast, is meant to be an oppressive, overbearing menace that preys on innocent people like thieves in the night. You need cold and calculating minds to pull that off, which the Think Tank aren’t (ironically) smart enough to be.

        Plus having a normal human face on the Institute just make what they do more horrifying in a different way and represent why the world is as screwed up as it is; because powerful people didn’t care about anyone else. Considering the past vs future and the ethics of science themes the game is trying to pull off that works better.

        1. Ninety-Three says:

          Suggesting that this game was trying to pull off themes is too generous. It might be too generous to imply the writer knows what themes are.

    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

      At first,I wanted to propose the same thing.But the strength of old world blues is its dialogue,and that doesnt go well with spoiler warning.Sp Josh needs to play it alone.Or,stream just himself playing it in quiet.

  3. lucky7 says:

    Rutskarn, you’re only 12, and much too young to drink hard soda! I should call Principal Derkins!

    1. tmtvl says:

      Yeah, 12 months old is -way- to early to be drinking the hard stuff.

      1. Echo Tango says:

        Kids these days – drinking by the time they’re 12 weeks old!

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Back in my day,we wouldnt even allow 12 day old kids to drink water,let alone the harder stuff!

          1. MrGuy says:

            When I was 12 hours old, I used to DREAM of being allowed to drink water. Way too powerful for us, they said!

            You try telling that to they young people of today, and they won’t believe you.

            1. Andy says:

              At 12 minutes old, I hadn’t even stopped screaming for long enough to be given ANY beverage.

              1. Kelerak says:

                When I was 12 seconds old, I could have drank the blood that I was covered in, but I was too busy screaming because of how blinding the light was.

  4. Phantos says:

    I built the teleporter with the Brotherhood, just because they were the only of those factions that seemed like they would have the resources and expertise to make something like that. I get that they wanted to give you other ways to build it in case you want nothing to do with the Brotherhood, but… yeah, the concept falls apart when it’s just The Guy Who Hammers A Wall Vent For No Reason.

    It’s that classic Telltale Games/Bethesda approach: “Here are 4 choices that are stupid and lead to the same results anyway!”

    1. Ciennas says:

      Since they railroad you so hard anyway, you might as well make it be the Brotherhood, but have the prereqs change based on what you’ve done. If you’re on good terms, proceed as normal. If you’re unknown, a speech check or some kind of loyalty test.

      If you’re on bad terms, send them a communique of some kind, potentially losing an ally in the process.

      (Bethesda actively hates continuity due to so much player choice anyway. See Morrowind’s solution, where they nuked the island not once but three or four times for good measure. Or Skyrim’s Maven Blackbriar, which is the gig Princess from F3 got afterwords.

      So you know, actually having an ally die is not such a big deal for these guys.)

      Anyway, you could have a tense meeting- maybe the BOS uses those stupid explosive collars since they use those, maybe you outflank them all Machievellian style.

      Oh well. Half assed player freedom AND vicious overdone railroading. Yay!

      1. Which is stupid because I think we’re all used to “here’s what your character did” for one game and “here’s the canonical ending we used” for the next one.

        1. Ciennas says:

          It’s like hosting the Olympics here: very prestigious, utterly ruinous to the hosting country and region.

          And they do it every time. You could play a drinking game. At least Skyrim jumped forward two centuries to make it feel organic.

          1. NOTHING compares with the goofiness of how they dealt with Daggerfall’s continuity problem. NOTHING.

            Look up “dragon break” and “numidium” and “the warp in the west” sometime.

            1. GloatingSwine says:

              That also involved a giant robot, because of course a fantasy game about a dead king haunting his people ended with a giant robot.

    2. MrGuy says:

      I don’t necessarily mind having different ways to do the same thing, as long as it mattered to the world and the factions, and hopefully the end state of the game.

      Example. You could build the teleporter with the Brotherhood. They have the skills. But then they effectively have the teleporter tech after you’re done with the game. They can waltz into the institute any time they want. They start with salvage, but then realize synths are really useful, so they start building them. Why risk our lives salvaging tech when we can use robots? Effectively, they become the new institute. The Railroad, of course, would be appalled.

      Or, you could build the teleporter with The Railroad. Since the tech involved is mistly synth tech, the hardware you need could probably be harvested directly from a dead synth (yes I know they self destruct, but maybe they saved one and later it died). Again, building it with The Railroad basically gives them the tech as well, so now it’s the Railroad who gets access to the Institute base. Now that’s an interesting choice. Do they smash the Institute, so no more synths can be created? Or do they view themselves as the guardians of the synths, and keep building them? The latter is more interesting – they keep building new synths, but telling them they’re free and setting them out in the wasteland. How does the wasteland react to 1,000 new Nicks? Is the Railroad ever tempted to demand some “loyalty” from their synths? Lot of interesting dynamics. The Brotherhhod is appalled this time – the greatest technology find in history, and you gave it to someone else.

      Or maybe you don’t trust the Brotgerrhoid or the Railroad with this technology. Ok. Build it on your own. Make that path way harder. Maybe you need to restart part of a Mr. Handy plant to build some custom microchips. Maybe you need to break into General Atomics to steal a prototype mini nuke generator to power everything. Maybe you need to break into a radio/TV station to actually use it because you need to plug in to their antenna. Nobody else has access (and thus will ALSO piss off the Brotherhood), but you had to do a lot more work.

      There. You can complete the quest no matter whether you side for or against certain factions. Siding with a faction helps you, which makes sense. And your choice of enlisting a faction has consequences.

      1. Ciennas says:

        That would have been brilliant. Actually, the impression I get from everything that wasn’t Far Harbor- Nuka World especially- is that they are so eager to tell their story that they cut down as much as possible.

        At the same time, they feel like they don’t really want to tell you a story. I feel like their story teller has great ideas, but the execution and implementation of the story side is lacking. He needs a buddy or two to filter his ideas through.

        1. potatoejenkins says:

          Nuka World – if played as intended on the Raider side – ends with one of the leaders ending his epilogue dialogue with you with: “Welcome home.” Delivered just like the speakers in the intro in vault 101 do. If you side against the raiders nothing happens. Not even a quest. You kill everyone and leave. or not.

          They couldn’t have stressed their intentions for how to play the Sole Survivor more.

          Bethesda’s Fallout 4 design philosophy seemed to be: We will tell you a story and you will like it.

  5. Rutskarn says:

    Why is this–

    Why is the episode called Butt Skarn


    1. Warclam says:

      Do not fight it.

      It is your destiny.

      Embrace your butt!

      1. The Butt Awakens.
        The Butt Strikes Back.
        Jabba the Butt.
        Return of the Butt Eye.

        …hang on, that last one sounds obscene somehow…

        1. Joe Informatico says:

          Is this a Chuck Tingle reading list?

          1. Seems more like a Chuck Tingle writing list to me. :P

        2. MrGuy says:

          Buttskarn 33 1/3
          Buttskarn 2 – Butt Harder
          Buttskarn 2 – This time it’s on a boat for some reason
          Buttskarn vs. Predator
          Buttskarn 2: Electric Buttaloo
          2 Butts 2 Skarnious
          Buttskarn Forever
          Buttskarn 2: Red, White, and Butts
          Buttskarn 4: The Quest for Butts
          Butts and Skarnerer
          Buttskarn Balboa

          1. Ramsus says:

            The Skarn, the Butt, and the Ugly.

            1. Skarn Butts 2: The Quest for more Buttskarns?

      2. ehlijen says:

        ‘Embrace your butt’ ?

        Sounds like that would require a chiropractor afterwards…

      3. Wide And Nerdy® says:

        Not too tightly. Its sharp.

    2. Dragmire says:

      Eventually, your own columns will be edited to include it.

    3. McNutcase says:

      Enough to make Mumbles regret not showing up for this week.

    4. Josh says:

      In my defense, Shamus named this episode.

      1. So you’re saying the Butt(skarn) stops with Shamus?

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        So you forgot to tell him not to watch the episodes?

  6. potatoejenkins says:

    4:33 Well that Synth isn’t breathing. Josh. Have you even played the game? God.

  7. baseless_research says:

    damn it josh play owb already. Just cheat yourself a lvl-18 character if you lack the save file.

    1. I’d offer him one of my own, but it’d require downloading 70-odd mods for the game to get everything I’ve got. :P

  8. Pax says:

    I think the funniest part about Sturges’ “I didn’t think there were any ex-Institute anythings” is the fact that he’s actually a synth. You can’t actually find out in game because he’s essential, of course, but it’s true, drops a synth part if you relieve him of his immortality. What does this mean? Who can say?

    1. Here’s Fallout 4’s true twist ending: Synths are humans. The bio-creatures that nuked the world are the true freaks of science, as synth scientists full of hubris wanted to see if you could create a sapient being without any mechanical parts. When the “humans” caused the bombs to fall, the worlds leaders (known as the Synthesizers) used a network virus to erase all knowledge of the true origin of bipedal life on the planet. Unfortunately, things haven’t worked out so well, and the Synths are struggling to reclaim their world from the biological infestation that caused the Great War.

      1. MrGuy says:

        Riffing on this. Humans did not survive the war, except the few that survived as ghouls. Synth tech is pre-war classified military tech. A sentient AI (think President Eden, only less dumb) with a mission to “save humanity” cranked up an automated synth plant so the synths could look for survivors. To keep the synths from giving up, and to make them less scary to survivors they found, they made them think they were human. And so they went into the wastes.

        But humanity is dead. So the AI has a new plan. Repopulate the world with synths. To make them accept the world, they program in a few blind spots. Nodoby knows they’re a synth. Nobody notices children don’t grow up and old people don’t die. While some of them cook, nobody actually eats.

        Like real humans, most live quiet civilized lives. Some go paranoid and become raiders. Some are less moral and become criminals. But all of them unknowing synths. Every last “human.”

        Then one day, one of the “humans” stumbles into the institute and finds the synth-making tech, and decides “I can make slaves with this!”

      2. GloatingSwine says:

        You mock, but that’s actually the plot of Megaman Legends….

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Hang on,if these super duper advanced synths are “indistinguishable from humans down to the cellular level”,how the heck do they drop synth parts when they die?

      1. Because dead people can’t hold on to things anymore.

        1. potatoejenkins says:

          Here. Have an internet. And a cookie.

      2. Raygereio says:

        The handwave I applied to that is that they have a skin & blood that can pass as human in tests, but have some mechanical parts in their brain or guts.

        The big problem is that the game never really explains what Gen3 Synths actually are beyond the vague “synthetic human”. Which you’d think would be something the writers would want to explore given the whole “Are Synths people?”-thing.
        But what do I know, I’m not a AAA writer after all. I’m just someone who’s banging his head on his desk everytime he tries to make sense of the story.

        1. potatoejenkins says:

          I always tell myself they have something like a hidden USB port in their hippocampus (or wherever)*. Getting it out would kill the suspect so random brain surgery on any accused is usually not everyone’s first choice. Bullets are faster anyway.

          *Many characters in Tsutomu Nihei’s “Blame!” had something like that.

          1. Pax says:

            That’s what I got out of things: essentially lab-grown organic human parts all over, except for a programmable bundle of computer parts in the brain. An X-Ray machine would really help these people out. Or a MRI machine, though that would probably kill the synth. But depending on who’s using it, that might be a bonus!

            You’d think you’d be able to tell since there’s that room in the Institute where they assemble synths before you eyes, but that makes it look like they’re making a person through and through.

            1. potatoejenkins says:

              I think of it more than a … ugh, my English is not good enough to sufficiently explain what I mean …

              Humans in Matrix have these implants on the lower back of the skull to load their consciousness into, well, the Matrix. For Gen. 3 Synths I imagine something like that, just backwards and less obvious. Something that translates, dunno, CSS into electronic signals that enable programming the entirely organic brain.

              And the brain, while a hundred percent organic is not exactly like a “real” human brain. It’s a copy, a construct solely engineered for the purpose of being programmed. Like german shepherds and Dingos: Both are dogs, but the former is “man-made” while the latter is a product of chance*.

              *Afair … it’s a bad comparison, but the best I can come up with for the moment.

              I don’t mind that we don’t see the entire construction of the synths (we do not see what happens in the red puddle) or that x-ray machines are some kind of lost technology. I wonder about that as much as I wonder about how Adam Jensens Augs are connected to his still human torso. Meaning I do, but it doesn’t distract me as much from the game as other things do.

        2. Blunderbuss09 says:

          Personally I think the issue would have gone better if the Gen 3 synths really were mechanical deep down, like some sort of fancy Terminator. They’re good enough to pass for a human but are mechanical when cut open.

          First this would make paranoia even worse. Some settlements would demand that newcomers be ‘tested’ for mechanical parts but I don’t think many people are willing to undergo wasteland surgery by a bunch of distrustful strangers. Or have snake-oil salemen claiming that they have a fool proof method, for real, just come behind this curtain so we can rob you.

          Second it’d make the ‘are synths human/alive’ an actual question. The ones in the game are basically clones with a chip in them so the BOS being all fundamentalist about it is absurd even for them. If they’re really machines under human flesh then the BOS has a point.

          1. potatoejenkins says:

            Something like this?

            Don’t know anything about that game aside from MATN’s “Why not Wednesday”, btw.

            1. Blunderbuss09 says:

              Yep, exactly like that. Also this and this for glorious retro sci-fi versions.

              And wow, that game looks just as bad as Fallout for completely ignoring any sort of moral complexity or nuance in favor of shooting things.

              1. potatoejenkins says:

                Love the first one.

                Don’t know about the game, but I like this scene so much better than the “Kyle, ohmagod I’m your brother!”-Diamond City-shooting. All I thought during that scene was: “Pop, there goes the head … “.

                Of course Bethesda doesn’t do cutscenes in Fallout. Or facial expression aside from brow wiggling and ‘mouth corners up’, ‘mouth corners down’.

  9. Keeshhound says:

    Honestly, becoming the “general” of the minutemen just makes me more convinced that Fallout 4 would have been substantially better if they’d abandoned the “find Shawn” plot in favor of becoming Lord Humongous and conquering the Commonwealth.

  10. Fists says:

    I don’t think you understand how being the boss works Shamus, you’re the general but Preston is middle management, he runs this wasteland.

    1. Incunabulum says:

      Its like he’s never seen ‘Yes, Minister’.

      1. lucky7 says:

        “One Flew Over the Cuftbert’s Doomfortress”

      2. You know, F4 makes an odd sort of sense when viewed through a “Yes, Minister” lens. Now I want a mod to replace Preston with Sir Humphreys!

  11. Disc says:

    1:33 “Now it’s your job to make it more than an empty title”

    Makes you wonder if all the gruntwork you end up doing was exactly what all the previous Generals did. Otherwise this would kinda mean that you’re forever stuck trying to earn the full weight of the title in all the wrong ways. And that Garvey probably thinks you’re a sucker and has you exactly where he wants you to be.

    1. Matt Downie says:

      Garvey’s plan:

      Step one: Find a sucker to put on the power armor, then tell him that as the owner of the power armour, it’s his job to do all the fighting.

      Step two: Sit around town where it’s relatively safe. Whenever a report of trouble comes in, tell the sucker it’s his responsibility.

      Step three: Make sure there are other people around who are more helpful and less annoying than you, so he doesn’t try to make you be the one who has to follow him into danger.

      Step four: If the sucker looks unhappy, tell him he’s been promoted. Note: promotion carries no additional power or pay, but does entitle the sucker to wear a silly hat, if any are available.

      1. GloatingSwine says:

        You forgot in step 3 to make sure there are also people more annoying and less helpful (The Longs), so that if the sucker starts to become restless you have some canaries in your coalmine.

    2. Pax says:

      This could all been avoided if they just slowly let you delegate as you gained more people. In the beginning, it makes sense for you and Garvey (since he becomes a recruitable companion after you become General) to go handle everything, since you’re the only two Minutemen. But as you get more settlements, you should gain the ability to go, no Garvey, send some of the guys to take care of it. Then when you did actually take a quest, it could just be the General taking some time out to put in a little work himself, rather than him doing everything.

      Also, it’d be great if you could put some of these resources towards securing parts of the Commonwealth. Station some men in a raider dungeon, and suddenly it’s a Minutemen compound and only Minutemen spawn there. Sometimes raiders have little outposts at crossroads or outdoor forts; take those over, and suddenly the Minutemen are protecting the trade routes. I know they stick little Minutemen outposts all over the place once you’ve beaten the game (or Brotherhood, or Institute, or Railroad – wait, do those last two even make sense? No, the answer is no), but that’s another case of, “Hey, PC, be annoyed that you’re being interrupted to go save some pointless NPCs from a Deathclaw” opportunities that don’t really make it seems like you’re making things that much better.

      1. Blunderbuss09 says:

        Exactly. And that would have consequences, like some areas having way higher raider spawns because they’re being forced into other territories, or super mutants waging revenge attacks on your settlements. Maybe the Gunners don’t like how you’re gaining power and send hit squads after you. And so forth.

  12. natureguy85 says:

    I haven’t been watching the series since I want to play the game eventually and not have it spoiled, but I’m tempted to watch this one. I’ve thought over all the seasons that I’ve watched that Chris and Shamus have to most worthwhile things to say, so the line about Angry Chris is really appealing to me.

    1. To be honest, they’re spoiling the worst parts of the game. They haven’t been playing the game at its best, which is “dicking around in the wasteland.”

      Now, what will likely rankle you if you liked previous Fallout games is things like areas that repopulate and have their loot restocked until you exhaust all quests related to them (like in Borderlands 2), a complete inability to alter the game world and most of the people in it (i.e. no karma system or faction system that lets you curry favor or have a reputation), skills and perks that aren’t germane to the plot and are only ways to get more loot/XP, and dialog options that boil down to four choices: Yes, sarcastic yes that’s a lame attempt at humor and has no impact on the conversation, not now but yes later, and very yes indeed.

    2. Ninety-Three says:

      Trust me, there is no writing in Fallout 4 good enough to merit spoiler protection.

      1. Kelerak says:

        I’m pretty sure Ride to Hell’s spoilers is worth protecting more.

    3. BruceR says:

      This. +1. Whatever. The world needs more Angry Chris. Don’t hold back, dude.

      1. Philadelphus says:

        Yeah, I really enjoyed his “Ok, that’s actually pretty good. Now I’m back to hating this game!” routine this video.

        1. Kelerak says:

          First Rutskarn with the Memory Den, now Chris, who’ll be next to snap?

  13. Stu Hacking says:

    I was torn by the whole building a teleporter thing… On one hand I found it annoyingly convenient that I already had all the parts in my inventory to build it. One the other hand, I was so fed up with the story at this point, I was glad I had all the parts to build it. (Apart from the obligatory mcguffin of course)

  14. Blunderbuss09 says:

    Preston immediately promoting you to General also doesn’t make much sense in terms of his backstory either. He looked up to the Minutemen as a kid, but then what happened? They fell apart due to infighting, some went off to be raiders, one of their own turned traitor and every other Minuteman got slaughtered until he was literally the only survivor.

    In later approval talks you find out that this broke him so badly that he was suicidal and getting the Quincy survivors to safety was the only thing that kept him going. Then of course he goes on like how you restored hope to him and blah blah blah, feeling totally unearned.

    Thing is, every other faction wants your assistance for good reasons; for the BOS and the Railroad you’ve gotten amazing intel on their enemies and proven your badassery against one of their best agents. The Minutemen don’t have any reason to care about the Institute as long as they’re left alone.

    A better story would give Preston understandable trust issues and your quest would be about earning his trust and faith. Instead of him ordering you to just go save a settlement, he’ll ask you to help them as a test. Then from there you can take on bigger problems like wiping out raider nests, rescuing hostages (as in a real quest not the radial ‘save the helpless baby settlers’ crap), building up to taking back the Castle. Then when Preston asks you to be their General, and shows his loyalty to you, it feels earned.

    As for Sturges, his unbelievable ability to make a teleporter could be made plausible because he’s actually an escaped and mind-wiped synth. And we’ll find out later that synths are used for labor and repair so he could have some working knowledge and be able to understand technical blueprints. You could use this by creating the ethical dilemma of whether or not to resurface those memories for your own gain, or do a lot of extra busywork instead. Or, y’know, use a high Intelligence stat to help. What is roleplaying?

    1. potatoejenkins says:

      Becoming General after retaking the Castle would be perfect. I wonder if shuffling triggers and a bit of dialogue around would be enough to accomplish that.

      This and making you choose between Danse and the Brotherhood would make two of the four factions much more bearable.

  15. MrGuy says:

    So, a lemme get this straight.

    Apparently, despite him living there, and me just passing through to help, Sturges is incapable of scrapping the junk lying around the village, building rough walls, installing water pumps, planting crops, building turrets, creating generators, making basic furniture, or doing anything else useful. I can do all of these things, without schematics, training, or (in this case) much in the way of intelligence, using nothing but a simple unpowered workbench.

    But, when it comes to making something an order of magnitude more complex than any of the stuff I can build and he can’t, suddenly, I’m required to rely on The Sturge for help?

    1. Matt Downie says:

      Everyone in this world has had their brains permanently fried by radiation. They are incapable of deciding where to put any new structure, of burying the skeletons that have been lying around for hundreds of years, of tidying anything up, scavenging without leaving lots of good stuff behind…

      1. potatoejenkins says:

        Looking at the skeletons and in which situations these people must’ve died I think it’s save to assume that Fallout-universe humanity was never that bright.

        1. Matt Downie says:

          Did Nuka-Cola drive everyone crazy? Or was it the craziness that made anyone think Nuka-Cola was a good idea?

          1. potatoejenkins says:

            Looking at Nuka World and its skeletons: Both. Multiplied by stupid.

  16. Christopher says:

    I’m pretty sure the Conan comics are still running, at least here in Norway( It’s weird how some random foreign comics got a handhold here and then kept staying here forever while others came and went). I read a bunch of them in early puberty that I got from COOL uncles and aunts. The albums that collected the really old, beautifully drawn stories were great. Or at least I remember it that way. It could have just been the monsters and the boobs.

  17. Phantos says:

    Hot Take Time: I didn’t much care for Old World Blues.

    The jokes wore thin pretty fast, and so did all of my ammunition.

    Doesn’t mean James Urbaniak and the lightswitches and the little mug robot weren’t great, I’m not knocking that. It just had a similar problem Dead Money had where it overstayed its’ welcome.

    Maybe this is why Fallout 4’s DLC was mostly smaller additions to the main game, and only 2 “big” expansion pack dealies.

    1. Microwaviblerabbit says:

      All of the Fallout NV DLC’s suffer from having a sweet spot in terms of which level range to play them, which is usually 15 – 25. Below that you are usually too weak and poorly equipped, and above that, especially as you get close to 50, enemies become bullet sponges. This is why I recommend the mod jsawyer, since it caps the level at 35 and slows level progression.

      Old World Blues definitely has the worst combat of the NV DLC’s though. All of the robots have far too much health – i.e Standard Sentry Bot has 300, at max level the OWB Sentry bot has 675. Even if you bring dedicated anti-robot weapons, the game actually nerfs them while in OWB by reducing their damage by half. So the OWB Sentry Bot would take 7 pulse grenades to kill.

      1. GloatingSwine says:

        You don’t even need a mod, since OWB adds a trait that caps your level at 30 anyway (and makes all drugs and skill magazines last twice as long and means you never get addicted).

      2. Andy_Panthro says:

        This was definitely my problem with OWB, and it soured me on the entire experience. I was already long-bored with terrible combat encounters, so the bullet-sponge enemies in OWB just provided more frustration.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          The way to go around bullet sponges in new vegas is to not use bullets.Embrace the fist and enjoy the power of “unarmed” combat.Its really ridiculous how much damage you get to do with those,especially in vats where it gets doubled.

  18. General Karthos says:

    You say, “In contrast, we expect the central plot of a Fallout game to stick to the Fallout tone.”

    Having just played Fallout (the original) for the first time, I don’t think anything about these later games stick to the Fallout tone. They feel much more like “Elder Scrolls with Guns” than anything else.

    1. Corsair says:

      That’s not true. The Elder Scrolls don’t do this stupid crap. Not that the later Elder Scrolls have exactly been Planescape Torment, but Oblivion and Skyrim weren’t wall to wall mugging and winking and goofy shit that made no sense. The Stormcloak/Imperial conflict was actually coherent, for one thing.

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