Monday, February 29, 2016

The end of the apocalypse

It feels like I spent weeks playing Fallout 4. In real world time, yes, from when I first started the game to when I put it to bed was over two weeks, but actual time in game was only around 55 hours. That is less time than I spent on The Wicther 3, a game that I did not want to end, yet I was longing for the final quest of Fallout 4.

And no, I did not just blitz through the story quests. I played through with each faction for as long as I could before alienating another one. I explored a reasonable amount of the commonwealth and found several interesting vaults. I was leveled and perked out to the point where I could one shot kill most human enemies who didn't have power armor and my silly shotgun could take care of the rest. I had a stockpile of around 300 stim packs because my hero developed a taste for boiled mole rat that he never quite got over.

My time in game was shorter than most because I spent as little time as possible screwing around with building or upgrading settlements. If I wanted to play Minecraft I would play Minecraft and I do not want to play Minecraft. I am happy that this was an entirely optional part of the game, meaning that Bethesda has not completely lost touch with what made the last two games as good as they were.

I wanted to adventure, explore, find new glowing, irradiated placed and kill their inhabitants. And I did do that, a lot of that, in fact that is all that was really interesting. The factions were either insufferable dicksbags (The Brotherhood of Steel), whiners (The Minutemen and the inhabitants, they can build their own fucking shacks) or just interesting enough to keep around (The Railroad).

Siding with the institute was not an option, I don't care if it is being run by the main character's son, older, wiser, and most off all, more manipulative and untrustworthy. I enjoyed finding him dying in his bed after I had unleashed a swarm of angry synths into his city and forcing him to give me the code to his computer. I left him there, he deserve what came next.

Aside from a crash or two (or three) the game ran smoothly. I did play a quest into a situation that the game did not know how to deal with. The Battle of Bunker Hills sees the player arrive with a synth from the institute as an escort. The main task is to 'deal with' four escaped synths. I was given the option to warn the Railroad or the Brotherhood (or both). I set up an ambush with the Railroad but things when pear shaped quickly.

As soon as I warped in with the escort synth I shot him in the back several times. This allowed me to approach the battle at my own pace, a battle which included other Institute synths, the Railroad and the Brotherhood even though there was no way that they could have known what was going on. No on had aggro-ed on me yet so I walked up behind a synth and shot him. Still no aggro. I walked up behind a Brotherhood paladin in full armor and shot him in the back. It took a while but he died.

Still no aggro.

I was able to walk through the entire battle, killing both sides that I did not agree with, and never took a hit because no one was shooting at me. Effective but anti-climactic. This was not the case when I killed every living thing in the Brotherhood's blimp before blowing it up. They funneled nicely into a narrow hallway that I had covered with my railroad spike gun. It was messy.

The game was not finished when I was done with it. There were several end game missions that unlocked, a few of which I did before getting bored, not to mention the surprisingly effective conversation the player has with the leader of the Railroad in which she explains that their contact inside the Institute, Patriot, killed himself after he realized what he done. It framed the Railroad as not being the scrappy do-gooders that I thought they were as their leader told me, no one else, and then told me to burn the letter.

If I had more time I would have seen where that went, but no one has time for that. I have a million other games to play. Fallout 4 is over and I played just enough of it.

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