Showing posts with label Fallout 4. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fallout 4. Show all posts

April 26, 2016

Realistic Settlements in Fallout 4 by Wasteland Angel (part 2)

In my previous blog post, Realistic Settlements in Fallout 4, where you can see very detailed settlement builds of Red Rocket Truck Stop and Sanctuary Hills (YouTube links), I already introduced you to what realistic settlements are in my game.

A quick reminder of my "problem" with most of the settlement videos over the interweb -- There are many really good videos out there. It's just that most of them are somehow focused on building sizes and wonders, and stuff, rather than being realistic.

Mostly, I think about small details like missing pillars on tall buildings or bridges, or even spamming with duplicated fences, floors, etc.

I, on the other hand, don't build Commonwealth Wonders or big Palaces, and just want to keep my settlements realistically formed and built, like I would do (if I could) in real life. With a post-apocalyptic setting in mind, where building materials are scarce, this time, I'm introducing you the settlements of Greentop Nursery and beautiful Spectacle Island!

Greentop Nursery

Before I begin you should know that all my settlements are still works in progress and are about 90-95% complete. I'll start with the Greentop Nursery.

I imagined Greentop Nursery being a very important settlement since a greenhouse in wasteland can be a big and important source of food and caps. To protect that sweet jewel of the Commonwealth, I decided to barricade the whole area around it. Since there is not much of a space between the settlement boundaries and the greenhouse, I used every bit of it. I upgraded the original house with a two-story shack on the side and a place where you can eat, have a drink and relax in front of the house.

April 12, 2016

The New Survival Mode is Brutal and I love it!

I've been stuck in Hardware Town for at least 2 weeks now. Real-life time, that is. For Mitchell, it's been more like one very hellish version of Groundhogs Day. He wakes from the moldy mattress, steps down to the floor level through a hole in the ground, meanders through the streets of Boston, and then, inevitably, gets murdered instantly by some manner of wasteland horror.

Sometimes it's a raider who gets lucky. Other times it's a stray landmine. Most often, though, it's just me making careless mistakes that once upon a time could be rectified with a quick Stimpak or by stuffing my face with ancient soda and cooked cockroach meat.

But this is Survival Mode, which takes the rather benign but fun challenge of Hardcore Mode from New Vegas and cranks up the dial about 10 times. So in Hardware Town, I still remain.

The sheer multitude of things that can kill you in Fallout 4 has not changed, but the safety net of quick saves and rapid healing has been effectively yanked out from beneath, leaving an utterly brutal, sometimes seemingly unfair experience. The kind that causes me to, almost without fail, turn off the game every time that familiar third person death screen flashes. Even now I write this after yet another failed attempt to escape from Hardware Town. Truly, I am not stuck there. Diamond City is a hazard-free walk away, with its warm beds and plentiful water and cheap food, all of which are now required to live.

But what's the point of Fallout without doing quests? So I labor away at the same couple jobs, all bound to the local area, thinking that it will be simple. Or it should be. But as I've already established, Survival Mode makes the once simple task of clearing a given spot of raiders a test of patience, good aim, and awareness.
"I have lost count of how many times I've died in Fallout 4's new Survival Mode!" ~ Henry Lombardi

April 09, 2016

Bethesda is Ready for a Fallout Movie

Although the film adaptation of the popular post-apocalyptic RPG franchise, Fallout, is not currently in production, it may happen according to Todd Howard.

Todd recently confessed he isn't totally against the Fallout Movie idea in an interview with, adding "We've had a couple of inroads, particularly with Fallout, which is a bit stickier than Elder Scrolls, but everybody's kind of asked and I've taken a number of [Fallout movie pitch] meetings over the years and nothing quite clicked where I felt, 'Oh, that would be as good as the game."

According to Howard, making a film based in the apocalyptic setting of Fallout risks potentially influencing fan opinions of the games in a negative way.

Personally, I think Bethesda is preparing for the right offer, and The Fallout 4's Wanderer Trailer is their take on something like that, just to see how fans would react to it. Or even better, they might be already working with some studio for some time now. If you remember Todd's appearance on E3 2015, when Bethesda announced Fallout 4, he admitted that Fallout Shelter is hinted in Fallout 3's Trailer. Check it below, to remind yourself;

Bethesda is well known at hinting various things in details of the trailers and even the games itself. Cinema Blend has an interesting article called "Fallout 4 Live-Action Trailer Is Probably The Closest We'll Get To A Movie", and all I'm asking is why? Why create a Live-Action Trailer in a first place? There's a reason to that, trust me.
"And that may happen. I don't rule it out, but nothing really has clicked where - the games are popular enough and that's their identity." ~ Todd Howard

Fallout 4 Console Commands

The console in Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4 is very familiar to many fans, and the commands haven't changed that much in Fallout 4 ever since Fallout 3. The console is very useful for altering content while in-game, and may be used to cheat as well. It cannot be accessed in Survival mode, though.

In order to access the console, you will need to use the ~ or ` key on your keyboard (the left of the number 1 key on US keyboard). You can enter several commands at once to be executed in a row one after the other. Simply separate them with ; between each command.

Each item, object, character, etc. will have an alphanumeric hexadecimal reference ID of 8 letters. You can shorten them to be easier to use, as no ID requires any leading zeroes to be entered. Also, the console is not case-sensitive.

Note: Use General, Items, World, Debugging and Mapping Commands, Quest CommandsInventory Manipulation CommandsNPC Manipulation CommandsFaction CommandsCharacter Manipulation Commands and Settlement Commands, for easier managing among all the console commands in Fallout 4.

April 08, 2016

Ultimate Fallout 4 PC Tweak Guide

If you want pure 60 FPS on your not-so-mainstream PC, this guide may come in handy. A Reddit user tiltilltells made a useful tweak guide on how to make your Fallout 4 run a steady 60 FPS based on his PC build which is pretty much solid; AMD FX-8350 @ 4.2 GHz, EVGA GTX 770 4GB, 8 GB RAM, on the 1080p 60Hz monitor.

To put it in tiltilltrlls' words; "After making the described changes, my game experience has been infinitely better. Buttery smooth 60 FPS. No micro stutter. Nice FOV. Life's good".

There are a couple of things you will have to do in order to improve overall Fallout 4's performance, like making changes in Fallout 4 Launcher Settings, Fallout4.ini, and Fallout4Prefs.ini changes. So let's get down with it.

Modded Fallout 4, image courtesy of Vault-Tec Inc.

Fallout 4 Launcher Settings

The settings described below may or may not be the best possible settings for your rig and are subject to taste. Shadow Distance and Godrays Quality, are absolute FPS killers for most machines, so turn these down to Medium and Low respectively. You will notice a slight difference in image quality as far as shadows go, but it was well worth the ~15 frames.

March 25, 2016

30 Incredibly Great References in Fallout 4

We already made our list of 20 Incredibly Great References in Fallout 3, and now it's time to bring you our favorite ones from Fallout 4!

There are about 60 cultural references discovered in Fallout 4 so far. Since we can't cover all of them, we're bringing you the incredibly great ones, like references to great movie franchises, America's history, games, and much more. This article is two pages long, with about 15 Fallout 4 cultural references on each page.

Game References

Donkey Kong
The game Red Menace is a reference to the 1981 Nintendo game Donkey Kong.

Commodore 64
The boot-up screen of the Pip-Boy 3000 Mark IV has 64kb of RAM and 38911 bytes free.

Missile Command
The game Atomic Command is a reference to the 1980 Atari game Missile Command.

Grand Theft Auto
In the South Boston Police Department, there is an entry on the evidence terminal pertaining to a suspect named Nicole Connelly, who is accused of the crime of grand theft auto. Her name is shortened to "NiCo" in the evidence log entries. Niko Bellic is the name of the protagonist in the 2008 video game Grand Theft Auto IV.

The Elder Scrolls: Arena
A telephone pole just east of Sanctuary outside the Robotics Disposal Ground reads TES 01 PPL 364946. In March of 1994, TES1 was released.

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Sweet Rolls can be found throughout the game. And perhaps most notably, one can be found in East Boston Police Station on the desk of a detective. A play on the situation given for character creation in Morrowind.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The cover of one Taboo Tattoos magazine has the iron helmet from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The iron helmet is an armor piece from the game that was made famous by being featured heavily in the marketing of the game as being the chosen headgear of the "Dragonborn".

Crippling a Raider's leg may cause them to groan about a "bullet in the knee." The specificity and wording of "the knee" instead of "my knee" make it similar to the often-repeated Skyrim town guard dialogue "I used to be an adventurer like you. Then I took an arrow in the knee..."

30 Incredibly Great References in Fallout 4 (page2)

This article continues from a page one.

Blade Runner
In the middle of the Diamond City, there is a robot Takahashi, who sells noodles, and the only line he speaks is "Nani ni shimasho ka?", which means "What should we order?". This is the very same phrase (including imperfect grammar) as said by the noodle seller in the "Noodle Bar" scene of the Blade Runner movie.

On the southwest corner of the Mass Fusion containment shed rooftop is the body of a man in a random outfit lying supine in front of a kneeling, deactivated Synth. The setup alludes to the 'Tears in rain' scene at the end of the film.
The SAFE test is an allusion to Blade Runner's Voight-Kampff test, meant to discern whether someone is a human or replicant.
The art for the Achievement Hunter/Hunted invokes Deckard being stalked by a vault boy.

Star Wars
The title of the fourth U.S. Covert Operations Manual is called "Not the Soldiers You're Looking For" which refers to the Jedi mind trick Obi-Wan uses on Stormtroopers during A New Hope.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Arlen Glass's Office, in the Wilson Atomatoys Corporation Building, contains two terminals which hold references to the Television show. 3 consecutive logs make nods to three Episodes: "The Last Roundup", "Too Many Pinkie Pies" and "Lesson Zero."

A second terminal mentions Arlen's surprise at a lack of interest in the line of toys in comparison to how it used to be, wondering if he should instead start creating a boy-centric line of collectible, limited edition variants. This could be referencing the primarily male fanbase that cropped up over the show, and the subsequent increase of collectible's licensed to others by Hasbro, whose main reason for rebooting the show, was to sell toys.

Another entry mentions Arlen's ideas; Some notable ones include Different color coats and Identifying marks to distinguish between multiple types as well as a line of Pegasi and Unicorn variants. Also mentioned is the possibility of crystal-coated variants, which could be in reference to the Crystal Ponies of the show, and their real-world toy counterparts.

The Bar from the 1980's American Sitcom Cheers is by the Boston Commons as Prost bar. Inside is riddled with references to the series, which was set in Boston. The word "prost", after which the in-game bar is named, is german for "cheers".

The Walking Dead
Inside Union's Hope Cathedral there is a hostile ghoul by the name Father Gabe wearing preacher vestments fighting several feral ghouls. This is a reference to the character Father Gabriel from The Walking Dead who survives the zombie apocalypse by hiding inside his church until the main characters find and rescue him.

A tractor can be found crashed into a fence, with a ghoul lying at the front end of the tractor, near a dead settler who's trapped under it. This is a reference to a scene from the first episode of the first season of Telltale Games's The Walking Dead.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
The beginning of the quest Kid in a Fridge is a reference to a scene in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, where Indiana Jones survives a nuclear blast by hiding in a lead-lined refrigerator.

Sons of Anarchy
Head to the BADTFL regional office, which is slightly North West of Bunker Hill. Make the way down to the basement, and there is a Terminal (novice). Hack into the terminal or use Nick Valentine and look for "Prisoner 4CA8712". One will notice that all the features of the prisoner are strikingly similar but the name Opie Hurst is a combination between Opie Winston and his portrayer Ryan Hurst.

Other Cultural References

The American Revolution
The standard Minuteman weapon is a Laser musket, just as the Musket was during the revolutionary war. John Hancock shares his name with one of the first men to sign the Declaration of Independence. The quest The Battle of Bunker Hill is also named after one of the opening battles of the American Revolution.

King Arthur
The Prydwen shares its name with King Arthur's ship from the Welsh poems 'Preiddeu Annwfn' and 'Culhwch ac Olwen.'

Bad Fonts
One of Codsworth's jokes "Comic Sans, Arial and Papyrus walk into a bar..." is a reference to commonly misused, and overused fonts.

The Cask of Amontillado
When the Sole Survivor finds General McGann's body in The Castle Tunnels, he is lying next to wine crate containing some bottles of "Amontillado" wine. Opposite him is a skeleton behind a half-built brick wall. These are references to Edgar Allan Poe's famous story The Cask of Amontillado. In addition, if the player "inspects" the object in their inventory, the name "Montressor" is on the bottle. Montressor was one of the main characters in The Cask of Amontillado. The name "P. Edgar" in smaller print on the bottom of the label is another reference to Edgar Allen Poe. On a side note, Poe was inspired to write the story during his time serving at Fort Independence, also known as The Castle.

Underground Railroad
The Railroad is an allusion to the Underground Railroad, which was known for moving escaped slaves across the United States using a series of safe houses, and stations.

Todd Howard
Fo4 Todd Howard as Napoleon
Several paintings found throughout the game feature the likeness of Bethesda employees, most notably Todd Howard in the place of Napoleon Bonaparte.

The Wizard of Oz
Tin Man, a protectron found at Easy City Downs, is a reference to The Wizard of Oz.

Rockville, Maryland
The Weapon 'Rockville Slugger' is named after the city of Rockville, the current location of Bethesda Game Studios.

Thank you Fallout, for reminding us on those many of the weirdest and greatest references throughout Fallout 4. For more cultural references in Fallout 4 visit the Fallout Wiki, which was the source of this article. How many of cultural references in Fallout 4 have you noticed so far and which are your favorite?

March 23, 2016

Let's Talk About Fallout 4 DLC - Automatron

Fallout 4 has its first DLC up to bat. While not a particularly lengthy offering, clocking in at about 2.5 hours, Automatron feels more like a nice appetizer than a proper meal. That's not to say it's bad, more to say that money conscious among you may want to wait for a sale. Allow me to break it down.

Automatron adds several new weapons, outfits, armor pieces, and rather than present an entirely new area has opted instead for tweaking several current locations, though the tweaks are substantial enough to make the areas stand out, and there's certainly no shortage of "Phat Lewt" in these changed locales.

The basic premise of Automatron is that a familiar-sounding fellow called The Mechanist has unleashed an army of homemade robots onto The Commonwealth under the guise of peace. In reality, the machines are killing just about anyone they come across, and it is up to you as the only person who can get shit done to put a stop to it. You are aided in this quest by Ada, a new Robot companion (Who you may also tweak to your whims), and the entirely new mechanic of Robot Workbenches. This is the meat of this DLC, and I'm happy to report it's very well realized.

March 20, 2016

Realistic Settlements in Fallout 4 by Wasteland Angel

Since Fallout 4 was published, many were focused on just building their settlements. That's fine and up until now, you can find many settlement videos on the interweb. I watched dozens since the launch of Fallout 4, but no matter how big, massive or interesting they are, they usually lacked a dose of realism.

Don't get me wrong, there are many really good settlement videos out there. It's just that most of them are somehow focused on building sizes and stuff, rather than be fully realistic. I'm talking about small details like missing pillars on tall buildings or bridges, or even spamming with duplicated fences, floors, etc. It's fine, this is a game after all.

I finished Fallout 4 couple of times and started focusing on my own settlements in detail. There are few I gave my full devotion. I started from Sanctuary Hills and worked there about a month. Then, to take a break, I switched to Red Rocket Truck Stop. After I finished Red Rocket, I decided to systematically build every settlement slowly, each time a quest sent me to it. We'll be referencing the most complete.

February 28, 2016

How To Survive A Real-Life Nuclear Fallout

The Fallout series takes place in a world decades after the nuclear war has destroyed most of the civilization. Only those who hid in fallout shelters (aka Vaults) survived. But could you actually live like this for any prolonged period of time? There’s a lot to think about.

First, you’re going to need underground shelter to protect yourself from the damaging particles of ionizing radiation. Prolonged exposure to this nasty stuff can cause serious illness, and eventually death.

Image Credit; Vault-Tec Inc.; Fallout 4 - Vault 81.

If you figure that out, you’ve then got to start to thinking about how you're going to get food and drink down here, needing to be 61 meters (200 feet) beneath the surface for safety.

February 25, 2016

Fallout 4 Survival Mode Full Overview

A Reddit user ShaneD53 uncovered all the details about the Survival Mode from the in-game files of Fallout 4. Even Bethesda Game Studios confirmed over their Twitter that the given information is legit, stating; Our fans are too smart. Early look at #Fallout4 Survival Mode on @reddit. We’re still messing w/ it. More to come!

Survival mode in Fallout 4 upend many of the rules of life in the Commonwealth for a maximum challenge, such is combat, fast travel, weighted ammo, sickness, fatigue, etc. For a full list of these changes, see below.

Image Source; Vault-Tec Inc.

January 29, 2016

Fallout 4 Scavenger Squads by Caedo Genesis

A Series called Scavenger Squad from the passionate Fallout fan and YouTuber, Caedo Genesis, are the closest you will get to watching a CO-OP version of Fallout 4, and learn some new things along the way. I'm sure most of you are familiar by now with Caedo's work, and he was also featured in here a couple of times with coverage of the After War Nevada overhaul mod for Fallout: New Vegas, and a guide to get all the Wasteland Survival Guides in Fallout 4. So what's the deal with Scavenger Squad videos?

First off, the videos in this series are used as a guide to various locations that cover points of interest to the player, valuable loot, features, and even crafting techniques in Fallout 4. Every episode features a new and unique guest who joins Caedo in describing the subjects; the end result is really something worth watching.

January 14, 2016

Get all the Bobbleheads in Fallout 4!

I know many of you have found plenty of Bobbleheads in Fallout 4 on your own, but to find all 20 of them can be a bit frustrating. The idea of the bobbleheads being a piece of exclusive Vault-Tec merchandise is supported by a computer terminal found within Vault-Tec HQ, in Fallout 3. The computer provides a list of 'orderable' merchandise such as clothing and Lunchboxes, but when a bobblehead is requested the terminal reports that they are only available to executive staff.

As in Fallout 3, in Fallout 4, each bobblehead increases a corresponding S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stat permanently by one. Bobbleheads that previously increased a skill, now grant a permanent unique perk. Taking a bobblehead while your stat is at 10 allows that stat to increase to 11.

January 08, 2016

This Fallout 4 Parody Music Video Will Make You Cry

If you're a Fallout fan that loves the Adele, then you just hit the jackpot for today! What you are about to see, is a flawless Fallout 4 Parody Music Video based on Adele's Hello.

ArcadeCloud made this epic video featuring awesome Emma Beckett behind the mic. I'm not that into Adele, but this video almost made me cry.

I really don't want to ruin any expectations on the video, so just watch it below!

Since I love such mixtures, of Fallout mixed with our pop culture, this was simply something beautiful and worth to be shared.

January 06, 2016

Submit Your Fallout Related Content

Want to show off your awesome killstreaks or lucky escapes from the various creatures from the Fallout universe? Created some awesome mods for Fallout 3 / Fallout: New Vegas / Fallout 4? Submit your creations in a form of a video link in a message, to get featured on our Tumblr, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook Page!

If the provided content is something that really awesome, it might as well, be featured here, on the Vault-Tec Inc. blog! From time to time, we will be giving away prizes to the best videos. Please read the content agreement terms if you wish to continue.

January 05, 2016

Get all Wasteland Survival Guides in Fallout 4

In the Commonwealth, the Wasteland Survival Guide books come in 9 different issues, and every issue you came across will give you a variety of effects.

Nine Wasteland Survival Guide Books are; Self-Defense Secrets, The Guide to Diamond City, Hunting in the Wastes, The Scrapyard Home Decoration Guide, Water Aerobics for Ghouls, Insect Repellent Special, Commonwealth Coupon Spectacular, The Bright Side of Radiation Poisoning and Farming the Wastes.

Similar to Tales of a Junktown Jerky Vendor, The Wasteland Survival Guide is a Post-War edition magazine series, written and illustrated with crude pen drawings. For all the effects you will get with each one, and where to find them, check this detailed video guide below, courtesy of Caedo Genesis.

Fallout 4 - Wasteland Survival Guides Guide [Video]

Watch Fallout 4 - Wasteland Survival Guides Guide on YouTube.

I'm sure you found this video very helpful, and you can thank Caedo for that! I highly recommend you to check Caedo Genesis YouTube Channel for more useful guides for Fallout 4. Other than that, you can find various series there, such are Music Videos, Podcasts, Appearances & Collabs, Caedo plays, Stream Archive and, even more, guides for Fallout 3, TESV, Wasteland 2 and then some.

Thanks to Fallout Wiki, we have a map with WSG locations for you;

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. Be sure to let us know below which Wasteland Survival Guides you've come across in the Commonwealth, and which ones you're about, using this guide!

Also, check the latest, or visit our Fallout 4 Portal;

January 04, 2016

Fallout 4 - Top 10 Powerful, Unique & Rare Weapons

A YouTuber TwoDynamic made an interesting video compilation of his top 10 unique weapons, including their locations, in Fallout 4.

The video includes detailed information about The Gainer, Prototype UP77 "Limitless Potential", Spray n' Pray, Alien Blaster, Shishkebab, Grognak's Axe, Railway Rifle, Overseer's Guardian, Justice, Kremvh's Tooth, Le Fusil Terribles and Reba II Sniper Rifle, and how / where to get them.

If you're all about exploration and finding things on your own, then this video is not for you. Otherwise, it has all of my recommendations to be watched!

Fallout 4 Rare Weapons - Top 10 Powerful Secret & Unique Weapons [VIDEO]

Watch Fallout 4 Rare Weapons Video on YouTube.

Be sure to let us know below which rare, unique weapons have you come across in the Commonwealth, and which one you will, using this guide!

Also, check the latest, or visit our Fallout 4 Portal;

December 21, 2015

Claim the Post-Apocalyptic Paradise in Fallout 4

This beautiful post-apocalyptic paradise in Fallout 4 can be all yours to enjoy and take a break from an everyday struggle in the Commonwealth. It is very simple to get there -- just swim your way from the Castle, but all the simplicity ends here.

As you explore the island, you will notice it was sometimes populated. There are few buildings, shacks, corpses, various loot and there is also the Workshop for you to use if you want to build a settlement. There is a catch of course.

You must activate the Workshop first, and you will need to do a few things prior. Since I made this and used my voice for the first time ever on a video, I highly recommend you to watch it below!

Fallout 4 -- Claim the Spectacle Island! [Video]

Hope the video helped you to claim the only island paradise in Fallout series! Also, any kind of (constructive) feedback is very much appreciated. If you liked the video, consider to share it with someone who might also appreciate it, and comment your thoughts here or on the YouTube video! That way, You help me directly to improve myself for future projects.

Thank you for reading / watching, cheers!

November 29, 2015

Let's Talk About how Fallout 4 is a Joke of an RPG

As I settle into my 90th hour of Fallout 4, I have finally hit the elephant in the very, very large room that is the Commonwealth. I touched upon it briefly in my initial review, but I can no longer sit idly by and just give it a passing mention; The truth hurts, but it needs to be told for improvement to be made. The first step of fixing a problem is, after all, admitting it exists. So I'll say it loud and clear now: Fallout 4 is BARELY an RPG.

A series that has long been steeped in the RPG culture has been homogenized and reconstituted into a game whose genre is not really easy to define. Best I can say is that it's an open world action/adventure, with some faint, faint, FAINT, elements of roleplay. It sure as shit isn't an actual roleplaying game, I know that much. Rather than ramble on about why in my usual raving manner, I've chosen to crib an idea from Red Letter Media and lay things out, by the numbers, as I carefully explain how Fallout 4 is a complete failure of a roleplaying experience.

By Henry Lombardi. DISCLAIMER: Not only is this my opinion, but I stand by my previous statements in my review. I really do enjoy the game a lot, and I will continue to play it for quite awhile (Most likely). I simply point out that the game is just an excellent action/adventure sent in the Fallout universe. And I have no real problem with such a thing...So long as it does not become the norm for the series.

1. The Beginning's Missteps

The idea of there being a tutorial section that takes place before the War is an idea that initially really intrigued me. However, upon actually sitting down to play it, I found it rather problematic. See, in previous titles, Fallout had ways of introducing you as a singular character with no real attachments / knowledge before beginning the adventure. In the original game, you were established as a resident of a Vault, but you are not let into the Vault immediately, and must first complete a task in the wastes. Doing so allowed both the character and the player to learn and experience this world for the first time at the same time. This is what's called immersion. The ability to plant yourself into this world seamlessly. True 100 percent immersion is not possible, I accept that, but a big part of any RPG is to make it feel like you're actually there, fulfilling the role you have chosen; That's why it's called an RPG.

"It's not longer possible to use your vast Intelligence to come up with a new solution to a seemingly hopeless scientific problem."

Fallout 2 did the same, albeit with some slight interaction with your native village. It was necessary to do this, given a more intimate setting of a small tribal home, but also invited in some humor. The game lampshades the player's ignorance when you ask questions the character should definitely already know. Fallout 3 just rehashed the formula again, but this is where we saw problems. On top of the experiences in Vault 101 affecting Karma outside the Vault (Even though that makes no logical sense), the game made no attempt to establish pretty much anybody in the Vault aside from those it deemed important. I feel nothing when shit goes to hell in 101 because the only characters to care about were James and Amata, one of whom has safely left. And it needed to do that because your whole life up until that point is meant to be in the Vault.

Fallout: New Vegas sorta did it right, with that whole convenient amnesia by head trauma thing. It's a tired trope, to be sure, but it managed to avoid the usual bits of such a trope by having very few times in which the character's prior knowledge was greater than that of the player's (The times it did were mostly for humor, as was the case in FO2). Only in the DLC did they bring the trope center stage, in what I considered to be the most disappointing conclusion to a story that is The Lonesome Road.

Fallout 4, however, easily takes it the farthest in the wrong direction, giving us two characters to choose from that not only have established lives, but also an established relationship and an established place in society. Do you remember in older games how you could make your character a babbling simpleton by setting your Intelligence to 1? The fact that Nora has a law school degree and Nate was former U.S. military training (As well as being a keynote speaker at a veteran's meeting), makes that whole interaction impossible, so they didn't even bother making it possible.

Your characters have to be average joes because the plot demands they be. And they need to be in a perfect lovely marriage, with a little bundle of joy, and surely they must be doing well if they have a Mr. Handy! Right away, key elements of roleplaying are up in smoke; The ability to create your own backstory, and the ability to flesh out your own character. Sure, all of this is effectively erased once you start the proper game, but it's not erased from our minds, especially with the plot being as overbearing and emotionally tied as this one. Cognitive Dissonance is when the urgency of the piece is supplanted by what actually happens. Sure you could immediately set out to save your baby and avenge your husband/wife, but the whole point of an RPG like Fallout was that you could pick a direction, and just walk in it. And you can do that in Fallout 4, but the resulting dissonance is just too much to ignore.

2. Bethesda decided to copy Obsidian in the worst way possible

Easily the biggest foul-up is the change made to the Dialogue. The dialogue in Fallout has been a staple of the series. One with lots and lots of options and carefully worded responses and a huge variety of persuasion options that made it so even big dumb strong characters could get what they wanted without having to throw punches. All of this is effectively gone in Fallout 4, which for some reason has replaced that with a chat wheel cribbed right from Alpha Protocol.

"You can no longer bullshit your way through a tense standoff with high Luck, and you can even forget about having a highly eloquent response with high Speech."

It was New Vegas that we wanted you to copy from, not the Alpha Protocol! You always have only 4 dialogue choices. And one of those is almost always dominated by Yes, No, or Sarcasm. And in a manner similar to Alpha Protocol, you cannot determine what you are actually going to say until you say it. It's so annoying that within a week a mod was released to banish the chat wheel, but the damage is still there. The severe limitation of what you can now say is only compounded by the complete removal of all Persuasion Checks, but Charisma ones and even those are done very poorly. It's not longer possible to use your vast Intelligence to come up with a new solution to a seemingly hopeless scientific problem. You can no longer bullshit your way through a tense standoff with high Luck, and you can even forget about having a highly eloquent response with high Speech.

Even with high Charisma, your responses in Persuasion Checks ARE ALWAYS THE SAME. All Charisma does is determine its success or failure. And that, of course, does nothing for replayability or immersion. Even several dialogue outcomes are exactly the same, even with diametrically opposed responses to the same question! Sure, you can back away from conversations, or pull a gun on them with the Intimidation perk, but that's the maximum depth that conversations go. Skyrim, which has its own host of errors, had this feature as well, and yet even it had the good sense of making NPC's stop walking to address you, whereas in Fallout 4 you're lucky to get someone walking to talk, let alone keep talking, lest they walk out of the conversation entirely and force you to listen to the same chain of dialogue yet again. How do you do that?

3. No Karma, No Reputation -- No Nothing!

I personally did not weep for the removal of Karma. It simply did not give enough to the experience to warrant its existence; Effectively all of what Karma was supposed to do is easily replaced by Reputation... But that's also been removed. Even though Fallout 4 has properly joinable Factions, as opposed to Fallout 3, the outcomes of each Faction allegiance are ultimately too similar, in a manner eerily familiar to the woefully-lacking Civil War quests in Skyrim. Sure, picking one Faction will lock you out of the other, but when the results are so similar and no substantial change results and nobody really treats you differently for your choice aside from some optional friends, it's just a huge letdown.

"Fallout 2, in particular, gave any playstyle something to latch onto, something to build the character with. You could be a slaver, a sheriff, a made man, a porn star, a boxer, a martial artist, and all of that could be done without so much as touching the plot of the game."

We need meaning to what we do, Bethesda. If there's no true impact from the choices we make, why should we care? You made the same mistake with Megaton. Sure, the initial shock of being able to personally obliterate an entire town full of innocent men, women, and children was great, but when it registers so little with the people of the wasteland (Dad is mildly disappointed, oh no.), it just doesn't have the same consequences that it should. It feels as though you've learned nothing from Fallout 3. But we know that's not true because you did get a lot of things right where Fallout 3 got it wrong; The companions are much improved, combat is glorious, and the environment is varied and colorful and interesting. It would have been so easy to push Fallout 4 to greatness, but it just fell short.

4. Truth and Zero Consequences

It's becoming increasingly evident that Bethesda cares more about delivering a consistent emotional story, but they seem to also feel like they can have their cake and eat it too. Deliver unto us this gigantic world with a plethora of things to do, give us a neat system to build our characters, and slap the RPG sticker on there. But that's just not possible. As I mentioned earlier, the plot demanded your character be a certain way, with a certain emotional connection and certain emotional need. The term "Roleplaying Game" is a bit of a misnomer; It would seem to imply that it's simply a game where you play a role, like an actor on the stage. But in truth the roleplaying game is simply the idea of creating your own role, a sort of "alter-ego" simulator, in which you can be someone you are most definitely not, or someone you definitely are or someone who falls in between those two spectrums, without so much as skipping a beat. I really need to stress how well previous installments got this idea. Fallout 2, in particular, gave any playstyle something to latch onto, something to build the character with. You could be a slaver, a sheriff, a made man, a porn star, a boxer, a martial artist, and all of that could be done without so much as touching the plot of the game. And it had consequence.

Consequence. Now that's an important thing to consider. Being one of those things listed above affected how people around you would react. Good, honest folk would deliberately avoid you if you were a slaver, whereas those who knew you as a made man for the mafia (of your choosing) knew you were nobody to fuck with. And selecting one group to join in would affect your chances, or even the possibility, of joining another group. You could forget about being a sheriff for the burgeoning NCR if you already chose the life of human trafficking. And conversely, being a heavyweight boxing champion helped your chances of becoming a porn celebrity. It's not like you could just back pedal, either. If you did something demonstrably evil to a group of people, they didn't just magically forget after an arbitrary wait time. I should also stress that you could kill ANYONE. You could literally render the game incompletable by killing plot-critical characters, and the consequence is, well, you can't complete the game!

And again, I must stress, all of this was one hundred percent optional. Compare now to Fallout 4. You can join nearly every faction, do any number of shitty despicable things, and at the end of the day the only people to even look at you different are the 12 specific characters you can haul around with you. None of whom you can even kill, mind you. In fact, the overwhelming majority of characters in Fallout 4 are completely unkillable. I remember quite a few people complained that you could not kill the Jarls in Skyrim or children in Fallout 3. But in Fallout 4? Forget about killing anyone who does anything remotely important, because it's just not happening. The people you can murder only exist outside of the plotline (Even characters exclusive to side quests may be kill-proof), and last time I checked, that is NOT total freedom. You only get to do certain things when the game tells you that you can. And that is inexcusable in any game toting itself as an RPG. Absolutely inexcusable.

I hope I've successfully driven the point home nice and clear. I also want to emphasize that I do not hate Fallout 4. In fact, this is less about the game and more about what the series has become. Bethesda took Fallout from being a storied legendary series of games to a household name. And of course with Fallout 4's amazingly successful launch and sales, it's clear there will be more Fallout in the future. The point of this article is not to try and bring down anything, but to expose an issue. Bethesda needs to return to its roots; For too long now, it has condensed epic roleplaying experiences in favor of action and epic plotlines, over true freedom and an evolving world. And it's not like RPGs can't have those, but Bethesda is clearly leaning more towards the former, and we need to make it nice and super clear that we won't let this slide in the future. The first step to fixing a problem is admitting this exists. I can only hope this helped you do that if you hadn't already.

You can follow Henry Lombardi on Facebook and / or Google+. If you liked this, check his Let's Talk About Fallout website section.

November 15, 2015

Fallout 4 Review

After years of hushed secrets, frauds, and leaks, the genuine article has finally arrived on our doorsteps. It's almost hard for me to comprehend how fast it's shown up and dropped in. We went from knowing virtually NOTHING about the next Fallout game to "oh yeah, Fallout 4 is coming out in 3 months." Not that I'm complaining, mind you. But the golden question remains: Is Fallout 4 a good game?

The short answer is YES. Fallout 4 is a good game -- but, is it perfect?!

Fallout 4 is set in The Commonwealth, the remains of the greater Boston area, and it is definitely worthy of the adjective "greater". I devoted 13 hours of the launch day solely to play as much of the game as I could, and though I have found a whole lot of quests, characters, locations, and weapons, I have barely even ventured out of the world's upper left corner! They were not exaggerating when they proclaimed it would be twice the size of Skyrim, that's for sure. You'll also be happy to know that the trailers and gameplay footage we were shown to hype up the game are actually 100 percent all in the game! It's very refreshing to see a triple A game not sold to us on complete lies, as well as one that lives up to its hype.

"The plot is almost entirely optional and takes a back seat to what is easily the most expansive and truly open Fallout game yet."

The plot follows The Sole Survivor, who on the eve of the war got a spot in Vault 111 along with their spouse and baby boy. The character customization is easily Bethesda's best to date, replacing the tedious and somewhat imprecise slider system with a sort of mold by region system, in which you can pick out a part of your character's face, and move it around however you like. You'll also be able to design the look of your spouse, and that in turn determines the look of your baby, Shaun (You cannot adjust Shaun's gender, sadly). To sum it up, you all make it to Vault 111, where the Vault's experiment (Which I'm sure you already figured out if you wondered how someone could not age for 200 years in a sci-fi setting) leads to the untimely demise of your spouse and kidnapping of your baby. In a sense, the plot is a retread of Fallout 3's plot, but in reverse, and significantly fewer plot holes to boot!

But, as you might expect, the plot is almost entirely optional and takes a back seat to what is easily the most expansive and truly open Fallout game yet. Upon exiting the Vault, you are cleared to do pretty much anything you please, just striking out into a random direction and seeing what you come across. And unlike Skyrim or Fallout 3, there is ALOT to come across, and a ton of variety in what you come across as well. Fallout 3 played around with the idea of finding quests through radio signals; Excluding the DLC, you could find 2 quests that involved following a radio signal. But in Fallout 4, it seems nearly everyone in post-apocalypse has figured out how to use a radio, as in my short time of play, I've already come across 4 distress signals, all leading to dramatically different and engrossing side quests, that even lead to more quests.

So far, the characters I've encountered (While mostly lacking a Bostonian inflection in their voices) have been very well voiced and diverse in terms of appearance and personality. It's also refreshing to see such solid animation in the bodies of the various friends and enemies of the wasteland (facial animation, not so much.). NPCs actually move about and commit daily activities in a non-robotic manner, and enemies react to your murdering of them in new and refreshing ways!

"What perks you may choose revolves entirely around your S.P.E.C.I.A.L., which has been reworked to be your everything."

Speaking of murder, Fallout 4's combat is once again, the series's finest to date. Gunplay is super smooth, and you are no longer limited by your choice of skills to what weapons you can properly wield. More on that later, but the sheer variety of the weapons you'll find combined with the insanely useful additions of grenades bound to a separate key and the ability to sprint, melee with any weapon, peaking around corners, and being able to rapidly search a body or container without pausing the game makes a combat; not such a huge damn chore as it was in previous titles. Combat is also much more difficult; In previous outings, all you really had to do was VATS your way through all the fights. While VATS is still incredibly useful, VATS can now screw up shots it would normally hit for sure, and critical hits must be earned through consistently landing shots on enemies in VATS.

The system no longer stops time, merely slowing it down, and the damage reduction you get while using it has been significantly lessened. Power Armor now functions more as a temporary powerup than end game armor, forcing you to scrounge for fuel and commit constant repairs as it's the only thing in the game that now has a degrading condition. This is compounded by enemy encounters generally having much larger numbers, as well as applying new tactics. Ghouls, in particular, are much more deadly, capable of launching themselves at you at high speeds to immediately close the distance, or Raiders now coming equipped with Power Armor and actually solid weapons! In addition, several enemies have special melee attacks that they can lock you into that will do extra damage, even crippling you. This all comes together to make a very solid and enjoyable shooting experience, and I've barely scratched the surface.

The new leveling system is less about arbitrary numbers; Success in combat now depends much more on your actual skill as opposed to a spreadsheet. Every time you level you choose a perk. What perks you may choose revolves entirely around your S.P.E.C.I.A.L., which has been reworked to be your everything. I was afraid this system would make character design overly simplistic, but it's actually quite complex. Your SPECIAL determines what rank of perks you can choose from, and a single perk can be leveled multiple times for more and more effects. Skill books, bobbleheads, and perk magazines all make their return, giving you additional SPECIAL points or perks that level every time you get a new copy of that book.

"It pays to carry a large variety of weapons, and you have a real incentive to search every nook and cranny for more."

Companions in 4 have taken a page from New Vegas in that each one has a complex personality and backstory that you learn more about by developing your relationship with them in a varied number of ways. For example, one companion may like it if you try to pass Speech checks, even if you fail, or one companion may like it if you blatantly steal or pick locks. And by fully advancing your relationship with your companions, you gain yet another useful perk. Leveling moves much faster than previous installments, and you'll be filled with a burst of excitement every time you open up that chart to pick something new.

I was bummed to see there's no Hardcore mode, but that's okay because the new Radiation system, as well as scarcity of ammo and supplies, keeps the Wasteland a difficult place to live in. RadAway, in particular, is in much shorter supply, while Radiation now consumes your max health instead of your Stats. This means food and water has a painful give-and-take of healing you on the spot but also taking some of your overall health away, making some combat situations a nightmare if your Rads get too high. Dynamic weather effects have made their appearance, with radiation storms or heavy mists making navigation a hazard in their own ways.

Ammunition it seems is in much shorter quantities, as I found myself running out of ammo a lot more than I did in previous Fallout titles. It pays to carry a large variety of weapons, and you have a real incentive to search every nook and cranny for more.The world itself is gorgeous, still selling us that ruined and worn futuristic 1950's look Fallout is known for while putting much more color into the game that just makes it come to life. Saturation of colors on given areas, and regions that are distinctly colored makes the exploration, even more engrossing, since the things you find actually look unique and striking, even from a distance.

"I am decently disappointed that reputation is gone when it would have been pretty much all the game needed to really put it over the top for me."

And of course, one has to mention the new Settlement mechanic, which is, just as was promised, entirely optional. It's immediately familiar to the Android/iPhone Fallout Shelter, in that you must manage your settlement's food, water, and electricity while also building it up and keeping it safe from hostiles. So far, I have encountered 4 different places where one can settle and form their own homestead/town, and while I am a bit bummed that it might force me to pick up perks I otherwise wouldn't get, the crafting of a whole town to my heart's content is something I can really look forward to if the exploration ever starts to wear on me. AND SPEAKING OF CRAFTING.

My goodness, is the crafting extensive. Effectively everything has been rendered useful, save a few burned things here and there. Nearly every single conceivable item in the game yields valuable crafting ingredients, with the only downside being you'll often reach over encumbrance with all the useful junk you're carrying around each time you set out on the wastes. It's fortunately not a huge deal, as it's not terribly difficult to just sell all the extra weapons you find and buy great weapons wholesale, but it's very clearly a big emphasis this time around. As you'd expect, you'll hit some snags in the technical department. My game has been relatively stable, with only 3-4 crashes, some floating brahmin, and the occasional framerate plummets over the course of some 30 hours of playtime.

So, the question remains. Is Fallout 4 the best Fallout game? In the respects of combat, exploration, interesting characters, and setting, I would say it most certainly is. But I would say that it does fall flat in the areas of true roleplaying. While you can invent whatever sort of personality for your character you so choose, it fails to distract me from the fact that the backstory and impetus of my character are constantly hanging over me. Once again, Bethesda has dispensed with the Factions and Reputation, and even now Karma has been pushed out the door. While I'm not terribly sad for Karma's loss, I am decently disappointed that reputation is gone, when it would have been pretty much all the game needed to really put it over the top for me.

Fallout 4 is a vast improvement over Fallout 3, for sure, but it still lacks in some of the same areas. Allow me to illustrate with this list, in order from best to worst Fallout games:
  1. Fallout: New Vegas
  2. Fallout 2
  3. Fallout 4
  4. Fallout
  5. Fallout 3
  6. Fallout Shelter
  7. Fallout Tactics
  8. Fallout: Brotherhood of (Shit) Steel
So that's Fallout 4. What did you think? Did you find it to be the best? Or, did you find it even more disappointing than me?

You can follow Henry Lombardi on Facebook and / or Google+. If you liked this, check his Let's Talk About Fallout website section.

Fallout 1, 2 Tactics, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4