How Seth Got His Groove Back
November 13th on PlayStation 4
Yeah, so, my character’s name is Seth: there’s a bit of a story behind that name and there’s about four I try to inject into just about every self-injection game lead I can but that’s a different story for a different time. I’ll tell you now, memory has not served me well and it did not do my skills with the game justice as I was expecting things to kind of go a certain way and they most certainly don’t. I remember things going a certain way and I think that Fallout 4 is better for having deviated a little from that but it caused me to stumble, more than once. You see, back with earlier entries in the franchise, you were set out from your Vault with little more than your mission and even that was pretty damn vague. Fallout 3 and New Vegas kind of gave you more direction and help in regards to your start and I kind of expected Fallout 4 to do the same thing: it didn’t even come close and I think, honestly, that this is probably the most realistic simulation of what would happen in an apocalypse-type situation, after two hundred years. Everyone’s still scrapping for parts to everything, a lot of people are down on their luck, there are unnatural monstrosities everywhere, and you are entirely on your own in the middle of everything. There were a few things to get used to but the adjustment has gone well, for the most part.
Seth’s First Death
Well, the adjustment was going well until I ran into this monstrosity in particular, pictured above. You remember how, in my first log, where I talked about how I was unsure of whether or not the difficulty was going to spike or if it was going to continue on the way it was? Enter the Mirelurk Queen, the first source of death for my character: in a mission for the Minutemen to take a castle back from a mirelurk nest, you come up against several mirelurks, some softshells, and more hatchlings than you can count, with the Minutemen allies you’ve gathered up to that point. Once you’ve done that and started clearing out some nest eggs, you think everything has gone well. Up to that point, I’ve cleared out raider encampments, taken down a deathclaw, shot down about four or five legendaries – one of which, to be fair, was glitched inside a door and made for an easy kill – and had faced up against several groups of super mutants; it’s pretty fair to say that I was kind of cocky, going into this fight. One Mirelurk Queen comes from the shore, spouting hatchlings everywhere and I’m thinking “oh, hell, I’ve got this.” No. No I didn’t.
I don’t know if it’s the acid attack that drains your health if you’re even near where it lands by a ridiculous amount, also piling on the radiation; I don’t know if it’s the thing’s incredible defense; I don’t know if it’s the thing’s massive amount of HP compared to every singular enemy I’d faced up to that point; whatever it is, this thing is incredibly formidable. Mix in the fact that, as I’m running around the castle looking for ammunition and trying to get a bead on what to do next, I’m waking more hatchling nests and more mirelurks, including a legendary mirelurk tucked away in a corner room. This entire part of the mission was made to mess you up. I can say that I was not ready for this mission by any stretch of the imagination, especially since getting through South Boston, in its own right, was its own challenge.
Parker Quinn: Seth’s First Innocent Kill
There have been those who got caught up in the crossfire prior to this but I’ve tried to be extra careful not to kill those I consider innocent or aggressive. Enter Parker Quinn: a man in South Boston who tries to sell you on a charge card. In Fallout’s world, I guess credit cards never picked up much steam but there is a man in South Boston who is trying, or so he says, to move currency from caps to these charge cards, much like we have nowadays. The problem here is that he’s a terrible salesperson and it shows in how he’s trying to stroke my ego and make this sound like an incredibly smart bargain. The problem? Not only does it cost 110 caps to get one, he also gets extremely defensive and condescending when questioned, also a sign of a shady salesperson. So… I pulled a typical Grand Theft Auto schtick and bought into his gimmick only to kill him shortly afterward and take my caps back. Win-win. That’ll show you to try and rip people off in the Commonwealth, buster.
Pet Peeves Beginning to Develop
Like every previous Fallout game, so far, weight limits become a factor quickly and trying to weigh out the advantages of one perk over the other is starting to become an agonizing process; it’s not necessarily a bad thing but it’s a complication of how I play these kinds of games. I have a very specific way I like to play if I can and in the Fallout franchise, it takes some time, effort, and learning to get there. I’m sure it’s easier for a lot of people to play this game early on, I realize that. However, there are some valid pet peeves that are developing early on into my playthrough…
Dialogue choices are probably one of the biggest sore points for me: whereas in pretty much every past entry in the series, you had an exact idea of what you were saying to an NPC and had a great variety of things to choose from when interacting with them as the protagonist was not voiced, you are limited to four choices every time you initiate dialogue, it’s not clear you’re always engaging the NPC in event-related dialogue, and two of those choices are generally the negative and positive responses whereas one is, quite often, a sarcastic or generally mean statement. I understand why they did this but it’s still kind of disappointing.
Another pet peeve – and this may just be me – but compared to past games in the franchise, some of the armor and weapons in this game are just irredeemably ugly. I know that Bethesda was likely aiming for realism in these parts of their game but if I can make a piece of art deco furniture that looks flawless, I should be able to modify my chest piece of raider armor so that way it retains its armor class without having this roll cage looking thing that blocks my vision and makes me look like a freaking Transformer. I get why it was done, yet again, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it!
There’s a couple core element things that really get me, as well – sometimes when the third person camera freaks out, it pulls back into first person mode; when it’s done freaking out, it pulls back out into third person. Sometimes that transition is buggy, in and of itself, and you have to switch camera perspectives to fix it. The last one is literally just me not adjusting well to a certain element of the game: looting bodies and how you don’t have to select the bodies in order to start looting them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up useless junk or pulled up my PipBoy by mistake thinking that the looting process required an OK and Cancel.
Interesting Things to Try
Things that don’t really have anything to do with the game at all but thanks to my Spotify account, I find myself adding my music choices to my gaming quite often; helps me focus and get through some more frustrating times. Yesterday, while I was playing, I found myself on an Alice in Chains kick and, in certain moments, certain songs fit the environment really well. I started experimenting and found that certain artists work really well with this game: Nine Inch Nail’s “Ghosts” album works really well; Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” does, too, with certain songs; a lot of stuff from E.S. Posthumus; some of the music from the soundtrack for “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” work really well; there’s just a wide variety of music that works really well with this game and I think you might wanna try experimenting with it a little. Definitely made some of the more intense and intriguing moments moreso.
I’ve also found that the game became a lot less frustrating in certain respects when I stopped looking at it in the frame of other games in the franchise. Once I started looking at it as a world kind of like The Last of Us, that requires some high degrees of resource management and realization that the environment is modeled to purposefully be unforgiving and without hope… things kind of got easier to take and I started looking at things as a challenge to prepare for and things just got much more strategic. Every situation turned into one where I would stop and go “alright, what do I need to do here?” instead of just launching into action.