Tag Archives: Vault 111

Bethesda delivers more anticlimactic endings with Fallout 4

fallout 4 institute ending musings gd

After barely paying attention to Fallout 4‘s main campaign storyline for nearly two months, I rushed through it over the course of two days during my holiday time off at the end of December 2015. Not necessarily because I wanted to, but I wanted to experience it, at the very least, for myself before having any details unearthed while listening to the numerous “Game of the Year” podcasts popping up online right around now. Unfortunately, I really disliked the ending I got and, strangely enough, wasn’t even aware that I was moving through the final mission, similar to what happened in Rage, wherein I think things are just beginning to unravel, but in reality they are winding down.

Let it be known here and now that I’ll be talking a bit about my Fallout 4 playthrough, and there will be spoilers in terms of factions and quests and quests for factions and how there are no more quests for specific factions because of the quests I decided to do. Got it? Okay, let’s roll out. I’m speaking to Dogmeat, by the way, not you.

The sole survivor of Vault 111 in my Fallout 4┬áis a bearded man who prefers to use a silenced pistol until things go haywire, and then any gun–usually a damage-heavy shotgun–will do the trick when the bad guys/girls/monsters get too close for comfort. He also loves collecting coffee mugs out in the wild, hanging up paintings of cats everywhere, and, most importantly, befriended Nick Valentine early on, before the quests became the sort that demand you make separate save sessions. Y’know, in case everything goes wrong.

Anyways, when I play a roleplaying game, I roleplay–shocking, I know. So, for my character, a reasonable man who ensured that Nick Valentine got answers to the questions nibbling away at his synthetic mind, I ended up siding the Institute. From the very start, the Institute is portrayed as evil incarnate, kidnapping people from the Commonwealth and replacing humans with metal lookalikes. That said, I had already seen the good that Synths could be by the time I reached the Institute in my playthrough, some fifty-plus hours in, and after exploring the facilities beneath C.I.T., I was a believer that the world above needed these people to thrive. Sorry, Brotherhood of Steel, but it’s true.

No, really sorry, Brotherhood of Steel. See, by siding with the Institute, the final missions for this decision demand you murder and eradicate every last member of the Brotherhood of Steel. Ugh. As well as everybody in The Railroad, an organization I had only briefly interacted with via the main quest. The Minute Men were allowed to continue existing, not viewed as any tangible threat. I looked up what happens when siding with the other factions, and you, more or less, are forced to killed others to ensure the strength and longevity of your chosen faction. I’m not a fan of this–at all. Sure, my sole survivor has killed bandits and raiders and plenty of too-far-gone ghouls, but has never once shot an innocent bystander. That’s not the type of person he is.

I will say, murdering all of the Brotherhood of Steel was a whole lot easier to do–gameplay-wise and morally–than the Railroad. Perhaps it is due to all their armor and weapons and advancements that they feel like a foe on equal footing with my sole survivor and his brood of Synth assassins. Murdering all of the Railroad really hit a disgusting chord with me; I walked into their base as a friend and left as a ghost, bodies piled here and there. I did not loot a single soul. I did not take anything from anywhere. I did what I had to do, apologizing before each and every V.A.T.S. headshot, and I got out of there. I wish there was some other way. In Fallout: New Vegas, and I think Fallout 3 as well, if your charisma and speech skills are strong enough, you can basically talk your way to the end and around a big ol’ bloodbath. Doesn’t seem to be the case here, and that is a major bummer, especially since I unlocked a ton of perks related to these skills, thinking there would be some options down the line.

Here’s the thing. Bethesda does not have a strong history with the main campaigns and conclusions to its games. You are scarcely involved in the final fight of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. I barely remember what happened in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, though I think it had to do with speaking with a dragon atop a mountain and then leaving you to stand there afterwards completely dumbfounded as to what to do next. Fallout 3 did not take into consideration logical solutions to entering that radiation-filled room, and only DLC allowed you to keep playing after fixing the water situation in the Capital Wasteland. Fallout 4 concludes with a lot of seemingly unnecessary killing–your pick of who gets it–and the departure of your child. It’s a boring ending, to be honest, and it feels like little thought went into it based around your character’s actions and decisions leading up to the final blasts. The loss of choice is overwhelming.

This is what I do know though. When I restart Fallout 4 with a new character, which I will definitely do some time in the future, most likely an evil woman with a penchant for melee weapons modded to the extreme, I will only go so far into the main quest. Only to the point where you are on good terms with every faction, where you can help everyone out…to a point. Crossing that murder line is something I’m not interested in doing again, unless it is to murder Deathclaws or a swarm of Bloatflies. Not people, not humans (or human-like humans) that you can converse with and grow close to and revisit from time to time to regale with your wild, crazy adventures out in the Commonwealth.

Ultimately, Fallout 4 is a much better game to play and live in than conclude.

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.