Fallout 4: Part 3

Developer: Bethesda Game Studios | Released: 2015 | Genre: RPG, First Person

I’ve completed the main quest and a bunch of side quests as well, and have reached level 43. I’m far from having completed the game though, as there’s still a ton of spots I’ve never visited on the map. Knowing Bethesda, there’s bound to be a lot of side quests I haven’t seen yet. As an indication of this, I’ve only found half a dozen companions so far and I know there are a lot more. That being said, I actually played solo for a while after having maximized Piper’s and Nick’s devotion. I don’t know, I guess I can’t ever shake the desire to be a lone wolf in games like these. I like not being dependent on anyone else than myself.

That sounds awfully familiar, actually.

My main weapon focus has been on rifles. I maximized the perk for rifles, and I currently have a legendary combat rifle on the first slot plus a legendary shotgun on the second. The shotgun does awesome damage but also have a ginormous recoil as part of the legendary attributes, which probably explains why I can’t mod it away. I also made a Gauss rifle my first sniper choice. A long scope, warming up the shot, and then holding my breath for a precise shot – not a lot of enemies can survive a direct hit from that. And finally, I have a missile launcher for when the enemies get too close to each other.

Minutia

Some more stray observations from now 68 hours of play.

It’s funny how much reloading normally is a waste of time in this game. Swapping to another weapon and back again is much faster, as the weapons are automatically reloaded upon returning. Why did Bethesda do this? I have a feeling they must have some odd technical reason.

Some enemies run away when they get scared or low on health. I’ve seen this behavior before in multiple games and of course it makes a lot of sense. Especially if it’s something like a Softshell Mirelurk. At one point, however, I actually saw a Deathclaw run away. You can’t be serious, Bethesda! Deathclaws are supposed to be fearless. Blizzard made that clear distinction in World of Warcraft right from the start – the bigger, brutal types never run away from a good fight.

At least I haven’t seen a lot of enemies heal themselves up. I’ve always loathed that one.

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The issue with melee and throwing a grenade on the same button turned out to have an unforeseen twist. I haven’t fumbled that one up there as I almost never use melee hits anyway. But occasionally, a related problem have occurred when holding my breath in sniper mode. For some reason this also uses the same button. I have lost count of how many times I’ve accidentally thrown a grenade after quitting sniper mode. They’re not hard to come by, but still – it’s such a silly waste.

And hey, when did that arc indicator for throwing a grenade pop up? I don’t seem to remember it being there from the start, yet I also don’t seem to remember a patch right before it started showing up? Or was I blind all the time? It’s quite helpful though. Works just as it should.

Update: A user on Facebook has since made me aware that the arc indicator came with rank 2 of the Demolition Expert perk.

But damn, it really is sad that the game have all those long loading screens. It really saps the immersion out of the game. Most buildings and fast travel require it. I had hoped the SSD in my new computer would have minimized it, but they feel as long as they’ve always been in Bethesda’s games. A lot of other companies have understood how to eliminate them with elevators, low detail passages, or just sheer awesome streaming. It feels like another hint towards the fact that the 3D engine they’re using is based on old, archaic technological limitations that can’t easily be fixed. I wonder when Bethesda will finally come to their senses and start using a new and modern 3D engine. Never?

Another problem with the long loading screens is how they pull me out of the rhythm. I sigh a bit, take a sip of a cup of coffee, look out of the window – and suddenly the game is ready, popping me into a busy Boston street swarming with super mutants. And that’s precisely the problem because the game expects me to pay attention immediately. The super mutants starts shooting at me after the screen has barely finished its cross-fading. A few seconds of cease fire while I grab my keyboard and mouse again would have been nice.

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Again, Blizzard also realized this with respawning enemies. I remember back in 2005 (which was the beginning for us Europeans) when a respawning enemy also started slapping me around in the instant it started cross-fading into view. Later, Blizzard changed it so that the enemy seems oblivious about its surroundings for a second or two. Enough time for me to make up my mind whether to fight or flee. Not only would this have been nice in Fallout 4 after a loading screen, it would also help amend the other problem I mentioned last time about my weapons still being loaded in the background.

The listening thing with holotapes could also be improved. Whenever I find a holotape and listen to it directly off the ground it’s fine and dandy, but too often I’ve had to pick up a holotape, enter my inventory already filled to the brim with notes and magazines and holotapes, and… uh… what was the name of that holotape again?

In spite of the many good comments from the companions, it’s sad how they tend to go dull as they wander around the gas station I’ve dismissed them to. The one that really got to me was Piper and her endless repeating of the question, “I say… where are we headed?” After a while I sent her to another settlement I rarely visit.

Funny how I can actually walk on the bottom of oceans and lakes when wearing the power armor. It weighs a ton and thus it makes a lot of sense, but I just wish they hadn’t decided to be totally realistic by making the underwater experience all dark and blurry. It doesn’t make me want to explore the ocean much. Which is perhaps just as well as there’s more than plenty of stuff to explore on land anyway.

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I was also back in the Glowing Sea for more action, and while wandering around there in my power armor, it hit me how much this mono-colored area and its sometimes harsh weather reminded me of the equally uninviting planet in the movie Alien.

Spoiler: Click

The main story involved three factions – well, actually four if you count the Minutemen, but as I never started their Sanctuary quests, they never came into play. I tried to get as close to completing the radiant side quests for all three factions as possible. Handling Coursers for The Institute. Placing MILA in high buildings for Tinker Tom of the Railroad faction. Attacking Bunker Hill for the Brotherhood of Steel. Speaking of which, it really was weird having everybody attack each other in the battle for Bunker Hill while being allied with all factions – no one was shooting at me. Don’t mind me; I’m just looting your bodies!

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But all these quests got me a bit too acquainted with all three factions, which was a problem since they were mutually exclusive. Well, actually I didn’t have a problem with discarding The Institute. Although they had a clean and inviting underground environment, their production line and use of synths felt like slavery to me. The Brotherhood of Steel hated synths and were also tremendously militaristic. Railroad wanted to free synths from The Institute and as such they seem like the most logical choice of the three factions. A moral that was compatible with my goody two shoes character, and I also liked Tinker Tom a lot.

However, in the end I decided to go with the Brotherhood of Steel for several reasons. The first was that the Railroad quest line for freeing the synths from The Institute seemed a little too convoluted for my liking. I got quite far, though, including getting the password for the insider. Then there was something about a breakout with synths where I had to add a ton of weapons to a locker. That’s the point where I started losing interest in the Railroad way. In the meantime I read on the internet that among the three factions, the Brotherhood of Steel probably had the most entertaining finalization to the main quest.

So I decided to go with Brotherhood of Steel. After all, I had completed the radiant side quests for Railroad but still had some leftovers for Brotherhood of Steel, so there was that too. Their conclusion to the main quest did seem to have a lot of fighting, but I didn’t have a problem with that. Shortly before starting I found the X-01 power armor and wore it all the way to the end. It turned out to be a sensible choice as there were a lot of fights with lasers and bullets and grenades blasting all over the place.

But first, we had to annihilate the Railroad faction. Killing my former friends like that actually felt quite gloomy. Especially Tinker Tom will be sorely missed.

After helping assemble the big ass Liberty Prime robot – yes, the same one as in Fallout 3 – I assisted it through Boston until it reached the spot just above The Institute. Although walking behind a big robot totally owning everything on its road is of course always awesome, I was simultaneously sad about the fact that this was just the exact same idea lifted straight out of Fallout 3. Surely Bethesda could have come up with something more original than this? I was also puzzled about there only being Liberty Prime and me running up the street in the beginning. Later, 3-4 fellow soldiers joined up, but still – I was kind of expecting an army at this point.

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Liberty Prime itself was relentless. It threw nuclear bombs as were they mere grenades. We actually met two gigantic super mutants on our way – the Behemoth types. They were carelessly thrown to the side like cloth dolls. Man, was I glad Liberty Prime was on my side.

The fights inside The Institute was fairly cliche. Lots of fights, Elder Maxson also came along for the ride, and I planted explosives on a reactor. Of course I also had to have a last chat with father (my dying old son) who decried my choice of faction. It all ended on top of one of the highest buildings in Boston, watching a nuclear explosion eliminate the underground complex completely. I actually haven’t visited the crater there yet. I guess it will be submerged in radiation?

And then, after a short end cutscene and a few words from Elder Maxson, I was left with doing side quests.

The side quest about the Cabot family was awesome. A nerdy scientist dragged me along to an asylum to ensure that his immortal and very powerful but insane father, Lorenzo Cabot, wasn’t released from his imprisonment by bandits. The tension was good albeit perhaps the scientist rushed me too much. But I was really eager to see what Lorenzo was actually capable of, so I tried releasing him first. Then I quickloaded and did the right thing.

Vault 81 was unexpected because usually vaults are messed up in one way or another in this series. This one was doing absolutely fine, though. The vault dwellers were complaining about repairs, but other than that it was almost downright boring going through it.

Oh, I loved doing the MILA quests for Tinker Tom of the Railroad faction. MILA were surveillance devices that had to be placed in the top of tall buildings. There a lot of these quests and maybe also too many, but I really liked how the last few quests went for buildings that were tricky to ascend. Especially Camp Kendall and the monorail actually had me scratching my excuse for a beard. And the reward was also nice – my first Gauss rifle. That’s the one I made into a sniper weapon.

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But going towards the opposite end of the bar, the first quest about escorting a scribe for Brotherhood of Steel really pissed me off. It pushed all the wrong buttons on my inner control panel. First and worst, the scribe was frail and died easily. I totally lost count of how many times a mission update told me he was lost. To make matters even much worse, he had to manage a computer in a building that was extraordinarily well guarded. Apart from raiders swarming the place, a guy on the roof immediately used a fat boy in our general direction. He was way too lucky with that, and even when I shot him with a sniper, another raider just picked up the fat boy and continued the farce. Eventually I decided to run for the door and enter the building without bothering with the fat boy fanatics outside. Inside it went slightly better, but the scribe still died way too many times. Surely there had to be a great reward for these frustrations, I constantly reminded myself. I found the office where the scribe did some work on a computer, and then we left the building via a side door that luckily was only guarded by one raider. Running away, we had to fight several wild creatures too before I could finally be allowed to fast travel back to Prydwen. Time for my reward. So what was it? After this absolutely horrifying experience it had to be something awesome, right?

About 100 caps.

I felt like opening a master lock only to find a pencil and a tin can. Or hacking a master computer only to find instructions about how to borrow library books.

The side quest revealing that Paladin Danse was a synth was quite a surprise. It almost didn’t make sense – like they tried to find the very person in the entire world of Fallout 4 that would seem most unlikely being a synth. The quarrel between him, me and Elder Maxson was quite good though. I managed to keep him alive in his bunker, while the Brotherhood of Steel just childishly pretended he was dead. I also used him as a companion for a while and he wasn’t too bad. I know some find him boring and patriotic, but I kind of liked his no-nonsense style.

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I also completed Nick Valentine’s quest about collecting ten holotapes on police stations all around Boston, then using the holotapes to reveal a code for unlocking the door to a bad ghoul from back when Nick’s human counterpart was alive. It was quite an anticlimax. I was expecting some sort of boss fight, but the ghoul was old and frail, barely complained about us having found him, and then Nick merely knocked him out with the butt of his plasma rifle. At least Nick had some nice dialog afterwards, but still. This was obviously about the journey and not the goal.

To be absolutely honest – now that I’ve played so many hours of Fallout 4 – its world doesn’t feel quite as interesting as the open world in Fallout 3 was. I’ve only found very few vaults and none of them have had the dread and atmosphere as those in Fallout 3 and New Vegas had. There was also something to be said about the big subways in Fallout 3, even though it’s true that they were also overused. Boston seems a little too busy sometimes – too much clutter and raiders and super mutants and how the hell do I get around this building? I don’t know. Maybe they shouldn’t have used the clear LEGO colors this time around?

But the shooting part sure has been improved a lot, no doubt about that.

Version: Steam | Length: 68 hours […]

2 comments on “Fallout 4: Part 3

  1. Spoiler: Click

    So let me get this straight; you decide immediately to side against the institute, who seem to be the only faction that manages to somewhat keep up tech and appearances after the war, because they condone slavery, but end up siding with the brotherhood instead, the faction that advocates the genocide of both synths and ghouls? That’s an odd logic leap :p

    Anyways, I sided with the institute, felt like the most natural of the factions; the railroad was tempting and actually was part into the railroad quest (had put in weapons in chest etc (btw, you don’t have to sacrifice any weapons, that just gives your synths better gear when the time comes, but let’s face it, they’re just cannon fodder :P)), when I decided that I just couldn’t stomach destroying the institute and all the promise it held for the future of humanity. They’re basically putting me in charge anyways, so I figure with time I could improve the conditions of the synths. Really wish there’d been an option for the institute and railroad the sit down at a table and work things out. Never really considered the brotherhood since this chapter of them really has jumped the “genocidal bastard” bandwagon.

    Anyways, after my first playthrough I was a little over level 50 and kinda left the game there. Felt like too many quests were just repeating themselves (like the antennae quest you mentioned). I think I’ll let the game be for now and get back to it some time in the future (with a fresh game) when there are more mods available and a bunch of DLCs have been released (got a good deal on the season pass from some site…).

    Already noticing some interesting mods cropping up, like one that actually lets me build legendary weapons and a whole bunch of texture improvements.

    Gotta agree with your point about too many loading screens; the worst is when there are several sections that need to be separately loaded within the same house. But, I hear they’re still using the same engine as for the last few games, so… they really need to move on to something better :P. Maybe for Elder Scrolls VI…

  2. Spoiler: Click

    The Brotherhood of Steel wasn’t the perfect faction and I wasn’t entirely happy with their hatred towards synths, but I still went with them because (as mentioned in the post) I read that they had the most entertaining ending to the main story. Since this is game chiefly meant to entertain, that’s what I logically went with. Besides, slavery still sounds worse than killing in my book. Better than genocide too? Probably not.

    But it’s funny you mention it because I had a brief discussion with Paladin Danse while Nick Valentine was my companion. Danse said something about wanting to exterminate all super mutants and I tried agreeing with him just to see the outcome. Instead of Danse answering back, Nick immediately got pissed and accused us both of being mass murderers.

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    I must confess that my desire to game on also seems to slowly but surely seep into the sand. I only have a few repeating miscellaneous quests left and is pretty much left to just finding new stuff in the landscape. Maybe I should read up on the remaining interesting stuff left to do.

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