My continuing adventure in Fallout 4

Fallout 4 molerat mount

I’m still slowly working my way through Fallout 4, and every venture out into the wasteland continues to surprise me. I’ve come across several things in my travels that made me stop and scratch my head, laugh or simply smile, and it’s crazy to think these are things that people could entirely miss if they’re not keeping their eyes peeled. These little things have no impact on the gameplay, but they certainly make me appreciate the world of Fallout 4 even more.

Fallout 4 dead man and teddy bear

I came across the scene above after accidentally strolling into a subway station. I didn’t intend to enter the station at all, I just got too close to the entrance and the game automatically transitioned me into the station. At first I was a little annoyed, knowing I’d have to face additional loading time to get back into the Commonwealth, however once inside I figured I’d at least see if there was anything worth grabbing. I didn’t find much, and the skeleton and teddy bear above didn’t even catch my eye at first. I just saw another dead body as I looked around for any interesting loot. As I was preparing to leave the area I just happened to glance down at the two and could not help but laugh out loud once I saw them sitting there. I could just imagine the man saying “screw it”, throwing shades and a hat on himself and the bear and lighting a cigar as the world collapsed around him. What a way to go. I couldn’t even bring myself to loot their sunglasses, I had to leave them be.

Fallout 4 forge

It wouldn’t be a day of Fallout if I didn’t die in some stupid way. Today’s silly death came via the forge. I had read the terminal inside that featured a list of names, most of which met their fate by being fed to the forge, but when I saw got outside and saw the forge the fact that I was looking at a stairway to death didn’t even cross my mind. I figured there had to be loot up there, and even though I looked right at it, I failed to notice that the gap in the floor that would lead to my agonizing death. As I fell into the forge I couldn’t even be mad.

Fallout 4 railroad

Just before I finished playing for the day I finally came across the railroad, and the characters that I’ve met so far are some of the most interesting I’ve come across recently. I’m excited to dive into the quest line and see what adventure awaits me next.

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Lesson of the day: Save often in Fallout 4

While playing Bethesda RPG’s most people know you should be saving often. You never know what will confront you around the next turn or anytime you enter a building or new area. Everyone knows this. Right?

Unfortunately, too many times I’ve found myself becoming complacent while playing Fallout 4. I’m currently working on my Xbox One playthrough (I’ve started on PC, but would prefer to finish it on Xbox first) and I learned a lesson the hard way today.

I was exploring the satellite array, as part of the ‘Lost Patrol’ questline and I struggled several times to clear the area. There are quite a few difficult enemies in the area, and I kept getting overwhelmed. I didn’t have any artillery in range, so I called in a vertibird hoping to use the minigun to my advantage. Unfortunately, I got myself killed again and again, usually by an exploding vertibird as I tried to take down some of the brutes.

Eventually I got the area clear and took down the legendary super mutant with the help of all three of my mini nukes and several missiles. I was working on checking out the area and gathering up all of the useful loot when I eyed a set of steep stairs that seemed to be hiding something good!

Fallout 4 satellite array stairs

As I approached the stairs I thought to myself maybe I should save, but figured I’d wait until I got to the top. Well it turns out I’m quite terrible at walking up narrow stairs, as I plunged to my agonizing death seconds later. What a terrible feeling! The worst part was that my most recent save was before I took on the legendary mutant, and I failed three more times before I finally downed him again. As I approached the deadly stairs again I made sure to save before I took the above screenshot, and then I carefully crawled up the stairs to see what awaited above. Would it be worth the horrific death?

As it turns out, what lied above wasn’t really worth it. There was some ammo and some power armor, but I never even use power armor. I find it too much of a hassle to track it down and equip it, even though wearing a suit probably would have made clearing out the satellite arrays much easier.

I learned a hard lesson today, and with that I sort of lost the desire to play more Fallout today. Dying over and over again got a little frustrating, so I’m putting Fallout aside in favor of some more Rocket League, a game that’s much easier on my blood pressure!

 

Having a blast in Fallout 4

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The long awaited Fallout 4 (Bethesda’s third Fallout title, coming five years after New Vegas) released last week to the excitement of millions of gamers around the world. The release was so significant, that Pornhub reported a ten percent drop in traffic the day of the game’s release, as reported by VentureBeat. In fact, Fallout 4 shipped over 12 million copies on the day of its release, raking in $750 million in a single day. In contrast, Bethesda’s first Fallout game, Fallout 3, sold just 4.7 million copies in its first year and Skyrim shipped seven million units in its first week. Fallout 4 has already proven to be an extraordinary success.

My first Bethesda experience was with The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind on the Xbox in 2001. On Christmas morning I set up my new Xbox and stuck in the disc that would soon spend hundreds of hours inside my Xbox’s disc drive. I was immediately blown away by the amount of freedom to explore and do anything I wanted. If I wanted I could take out a sword, slaughter a store owner and steal all of their supplies. I could try to convince another character to help me, or I could strike them down and be done with them. I could travel anywhere in the world at any time, with hardly any restriction. It was truly mind blowing to experience such an open game.

My first experience with Fallout 3 was just as incredible. The detailed opening sequence inside the vault was unlike anything I had previously experienced. The freedom to complete objectives via multiple means (violence, persuasion, etc.) and the multiple outcomes of various quests was revolutionary. I was instantly in love and utterly addicted.

Fallout 4 has so far lived up to much of the hype. The pre bomb drop opening sequence was interesting (though rather uneventful) but the real fun begins once you’re let loose into the wasteland. Emerging from the vault for the first time and setting sight on the vast wasteland is both daunting and exhilarating. There’s so much to explore and experience, it’s hard to decide where to start. Part of me wanted to just head as far as I could in a random direction just to see what I came across, yet I found myself following a somewhat linear path into the wasteland.

By linear, I mean I feel like the path I ventured down so far has been crafted by Bethesda if that makes sense. Most of what I’ve experienced so far has been the same as others I’ve talked to. What seem like random encounters (a mole rat with a bomb strapped to its back) turn out to be quite scripted, at least in the sense that everyone else seems to have experienced the same encounter at around the same play time. This isn’t a bad thing, I just think it’s a consequence of how most people play games. We’re afraid to miss anything, so rather than venture to the very end of the map, we explore away from the vault in a careful, calculated manner.

Despite feeling like I’ve been led along a crafted path, I’ve enjoyed Fallout 4 immensely during my seven hours spent playing so far. The shooting is much improved over the previous Fallout games which makes the V.A.T.S. system much less necessary to succeed. V.A.T.S. is still useful, as it slows down time and can help you target a hard to hit enemy at a critical moment during a firefight, but it’s much easier and less frustrating to down enemies aiming on your own than it used to be. I’m not necessarily a fan of the new critical hit system, in which you have to trigger a critical hit once the meter is full. It was always a pleasant surprise to score a critical hit at random; triggering a critical hit with a button press is much less satisfying.

Another significant change in Fallout 4 is the abandonment of the text boxes of Fallout 3 and New Vegas in favor of fully voiced dialogue. In theory this is a good move, but so far I’ve found a lot of the voice acting to be flat, spoken with the enthusiasm of Peter Dinklage’s Ghost from Destiny. The main character and Preston Garvey’s lines are particularly dull and dreadful so far. I’d almost prefer text, as I’ve found the dialogue to detract from the otherwise wonderful experience. I can only hope it gets better as I explore more of the game.

Fallout 4 screenshot dialogue

The inputs for responses also leaves much to be desired. It’s not always clear what your character will say before choosing a selection, and I miss the dialogue trees of the past which provided more detail. There was also much more charm and wit within the dialogue options that doesn’t seem to exist in Fallout 4. Several times there have been responses simply labeled as ‘sarcastic’. I’d rather see all of the options, rather than blindly picking a response based on vague descriptions.

Fallout 3 dialogue

Despite these minor complaints, I’ve been having a wonderful time exploring the world of Fallout 4. I didn’t expect to spend very much utilizing the settlement building features, yet they’ve proven relatively easy to use, although they can be a little rough around the edges (it can be difficult to get objects to conform to the ground, often resulting in partially floating objects). I haven’t yet experienced any benefits of building up settlements, but hopefully it’ll prove a worthwhile task in the long run.

Fallout 4 building mode

Fallout 4 may lack some of the wit via dialogue options that feature in the previous games, but it’s not entirely without its trademark humor. I started seeing the achievement ‘Touchdown’ pop up in my Xbox feed and was wondering exactly what it meant. And then I earned the achievement, entirely by mistake, and it brought a smile to my face. Clever one Bethesda!

Fallout 4 touchdown achievement

I have so much more to experience within Fallout 4, and I can’t wait to venture further into the wasteland. I hope to log a few more hours later today before another lengthy workweek begins. Who knows what I’ll run into next.

 

 

Bethesda’s epic E3

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I just watched Bethesda’s E3 showcase from last night and I have to say I’m pretty impressed. The DOOM gameplay looked great and I’m all of a sudden excited to play it even though I’ve never been huge into the franchise. The guns, combat animations and environments just looked downright awesome and I can’t wait to shoot and chainsaw my way through that world.

The Elder Scrolls card game took me by surprise, but given the popularity of Hearthstone I can see how they’d want to try to cash in. I’m not so sure it’d be successful, as Hearthstone does what it does so well I don’t think there’s room for another fantasy card collecting game.

The Dishonored 2 trailer was pretty neat, and I especially like that they showcased the female character. I think it would have been better to make the game focus solely on the female protagonist, but giving the player the choice to play as either isn’t so bad.

The Fallout 4 coverage at the end was mindblowingly awesome! Everything they showed blew me away, and I especially like the way the game opens. Giving the option to play as either a male or female character again is pretty nice and having a voiced main character will certainly be interesting.

The mobile game seems pretty cool and I’m going to try to check it out later today. The Pip Boy companion app is also a neat idea, but the best part of the entire showcase was the November 2015 release date! Unfortunately I’ll be deployed this Fall, so I won’t be getting my hands on Fallout 4 until next summer.

Playing Fallout: New Vegas again

With the announcement of Fallout 4 this past week, the previous two Fallout games have been getting a lot of love again. Both Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas have seen huge jumps in sales this week, and the ultimate / game of the year editions of both are currently on sale on Steam for $11.99 each ($4.99 for the standard editions) until tomorrow morning. If you haven’t picked up either game before, now is definitely a great time to do so.

I spent a couple hours digging back into New Vegas today (probably too much time really) and it’s been a blast! I originally played both Fallout games (referring to 3 and New Vegas of course) on the 360, but now I’m playing through them on PC.

Steam big picture mode

I hooked my MacBook (running Windows 10 Preview via Boot Camp) up to the TV and checked out Steam’s Big Picture mode, which I hadn’t really used before. It’s pretty cool to navigate my games on the TV using a controller and I really like the interface. It’s also nice accessing Steam menus in game by pressing the home button on the 360 controller.

Antler fallout new vegas

I had some great fun on some missions I either breezed past or completely ignored during my initial playthrough years ago. I’ve been taking my time making sure I get the most out of New Vegas this time.

Fallout New Vegas ghoul Bright

 

The three missions I undertook today were incredibly enjoyable, however it took forever to find the three boxes of Sugar Bombs required for the delightfully mischievous conclusion to the Come Fly With Me quest. It was entirely worth it though, as the quest now ranks as one of my all time Bethesda favorites. Not long after I embarked on That Lucky Old Sun in which you encounter the hilariously awesome “scientist” who goes by the name Fantastic.

 

Fantastic Fallout New Vegas

I can’t wait to play more of New Vegas! How about you, are you going back and playing the previous games in anticipation of Fallout 4?

Fallout New Vegas