Tag Archives: Dogmeat

Fallout 4 opens up faster than expected

gd impressions Fallout 4 Sanctuary Hills

Welcome home, Fallout 4. It’s been a long time coming, and I’m super glad you’re here, as you helped push me into the next generation with the purchase of an Xbox One. Feel free to imagine the sound of an Achievement popping right here, right now. Sorry, PlayStation 4, but you’ll have to sit the next few years out on the bench, and I am saddened to know that I won’t get to explore an alien planet and colonize it under my nomenclature before anyone else in No Man’s Sky, but that’s okay. I assume I’ll still be romping around a ruined Boston in Fallout 4 looking for adhesive by the time that game comes out, with plenty still to accomplish.

Fallout 4 is the story, as far as I can tell because I’m not looking anything up to confirm or noodle out more details, of a ruined family. I’m playing as a good-hearted man named Paul that favors a scruffy beard and cool metal armor, but before we get to all that we need to know how we got to all that. Nuclear war is the short answer. As the bombs begin to fall, you take shelter in the nearby vault along with your wife and son Shaun. Unfortunately, as with all things Vault-Tec, this shelter is more of a social experiment than safehouse, with everybody being cryo-frozen the minute you arrive. You awake from this chilly slumber years later only to watch your wife get murdered by some mysterious folk. Oh, they also kidnap your child, which is the fuel driving your mission to leave Vault 111 and explore a post-apocalyptic Boston.

I was disappointed in how little you actually get to explore the pre-war setting, how quickly you are rushed through it. From Bethesda’s E3 reveal, I was hoping for a longer stay in this environment, but the world quickly falls apart after doing the needful in terms of creating your character and assigning your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points. I wanted to stroll down the street and speak to my neighbors, scrounge through their trashcans and eavesdrop on private conversations. I wanted to collect some things to take with me into Vault 111. Remember the Tranquility Lane quest from Fallout 3? I wanted that, extended, and not as creepy.

But it’s 2015, and I’m guessing people expect gun-shooting action sooner than later, especially if one was to target, say, the Destiny and Halo 5: Guardians fanbase. Fallout 4 hands it out really fast, so long as you stick to the main story quests for the early portion. In the first hour or so, I got hold of a suit of Power Armor and defeated a Deathclaw, things that were commonly late-game events in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. You also immediately get access to several different companions and the ability to build settlements, though the game does not do a great job explaining both how to do this and why it ultimately matters. I’m mostly decorating my house with coffee mugs and paintings of kitty cats.

All that said, this is an open-world game from Bethesda, which means there’s glitches and jank abound, and, unfortunately, I’m in the camp that, while still grumbling audibly about them, have come to accept this as the price to pay to play something so full of possibility. Here’s some of the things that have already gone wrong in my first few hours in Fallout 4:

  • Game froze within the first fifteen minutes, when prompted by my wife to spin my son’s mobile
  • Subtitles didn’t switch over when speaking with Preston for the first time, leaving up Sturges’ three words of dialogue for the entire conversation
  • No Achievement popped when hitting level 5
  • Paladin Danse climbed on top of a table and couldn’t get down in the background while I was having a conversation with someone else
  • Paladin Danse also had some trouble getting in an elevator, of which I have recorded proof and will eventually show y’all
  • Sent Dogmeat “home” to Sanctuary so I could try out a new companion, cannot locate him now
  • A single Raider Scum got trapped behind an open door and the wall, constantly switching between detected and hidden in terms of aggressiveness

Yup. It’s still janky.

I began writing this post after an hour or two with Fallout 4, but since then I’ve dropped another nineteen hours into my first playthrough. I’m mostly sticking to the main story quests, which I won’t talk about yet to keep this spoiler-free, but also am doing a few side things here and there, such as crafting a special chair for the local drug lady to sit in and do drugs. I don’t know why any of this is important, but maybe it will matter down the road. You can expect me back soon to talk more about some of the changes in Fallout 4 that I still don’t have a great handle on, like skill perks, V.A.T.S., and radiation.

Fallout 3: Status Report (Level 20)


I’m now ten levels deeper than my previous update on Fallout 3, and I’m still totally loving this game. If this was vanilla Fallout 3, I’d be at the end of my rope, no longer able to gain experience past level 20, but thankfully, with the Broken Steel DLC, there’s still room to grow.

So, what have I been up to these past ten levels?

Well, I researched further into my father’s past, freed him from the madness that was Tranquility Lane, helped him get Project Purity going only to have that fall apart, befriended a vernacularly loyal Super Mutant, stole a G.E.C.K., got underminded, convinced a AI prez to do himself in, and readied myself in preparations to “take it back”…only to not.

And that point, I kind of sensed that the big finale was coming up (and by finale, I mean the original end-all, be-all vanilla Fallout 3 finale; I’m completely aware that the game continues on now after the fact) and I just wanted…to explore. There’s so much to see (and miss) in this game, it really is quite astounding. Imagine me, just venturing around the wasteland when I spot a rinky dink house in the distance. Off I go…only to find myself distracted by something else before I even reach it. Ah, ADD and the Capital Wasteland–causing havoc since 1954!

Anyways, I took on a few more quests (The Superhuman Gambit was especially fun, but I felt too much pressure during Blood Ties to do the right thing and so I let the “cannibals” slide for the time being), and then when I was ready for some more gameplay-driven adventure I searched out the downed spacecraft. That’s right, I tackled my second piece of DLC: Mothership Zeta.

Much like Operation: Anchorage, Mothership Zeta is a very linear experience. Your character is captured in a beam of light and transported onto the big ol’ spaceship to be plucked and prodded. Then, with the help of some other prisoners, you will have to escape the ship (e.g., reach the bridge and kill Captain A. Lien). It’s hard to get lost, and you’ll basically be plowing forward, shooting aliens with their own awesome weaponry while collecting tons of weightless food and energy cells. I didn’t worry about finding all the radio logs, and on whole the DLC took about three to four hours to complete. It was a good time, and it definitely helped me earn XP with little to no trouble. But again, while the plot and worldbuilding in Fallout 3’s quests are deep and well-told, the two DLC so far that I’ve experienced are not. Some of the logs reveal a few bits of story, but otherwise it is just “see alien, shoot alien”…except for the workers. Had to keep my karma in check.

But that’s it for now. I suspect I’ll head back and wrap up the Take It Back quest and then head elsewhere. The Pitt or Point Lookout, dear readers? Both worry me that my stealthy ninja might not be a great match for them.

And I still haven’t found Dogmeat…