It’s fair to say that Fallout 4 is the definitive gaming event of 2015. Chances are that you’ve already sunk countless hours into this newest wasteland adventure. We here at CHUD do take time from our copious movie-watching to get in some video game goodness, and quite a few of us have done so with Bethesda’s fourth outing in this monumental series. Travis Newton, Shannon Hubbell, Ryan Covey, and Brandon Marcus all decided to chat furiously about Fallout 4. This is the second part of a three part series that we will be concluding tomorrow. Be warned that SPOILERS for Fallout 4 are bound to occur, so traverse this roundtable with caution. You may want to bring some Nuka-Cola for the journey.
TN: I always play heroic. Generally you’re given more options. Speaking of which, what do you guys think about the lack of a karma system?
RC: I like the retooled Karma. It always pissed me off that people held my bad deeds against me when I’m the only person alive who knows they happened. Now it’s pretty much just a matter of who sees it, which I think is more appropriate.
SH: That’s actually a small problem I had with Fallout 3 as well. With these games you get a strong urge to wander and mess around, but the character you are given is so specific and their goals so personal that it’s a bit jarring. You really should be tracking down your lost family member but instead you’re collecting coffee cups and slaughtering ghouls for extra caps.
TN: Plot is still largely irrelevant in these games. All the immediacy and motivation is removed the instant you hit the wasteland.
RC: It’s the Grand Theft Auto disconnect, all the fucking around you’re doing isn’t “canon.” Niko Bellic isn’t actually running over hookers with a semi-truck, he’s moping around Liberty City and looking for redemption. Same story here.
SH: Yeah, I get that. But also I like how Skyrim handled it. You know your character was captured by the Empire and you can fill in the rest. You can escape from Helgen and just wander off into the wild. “The world’s ending? So? What’s the world ever done for me? I’m going hunt and gather for the rest of my days. Maybe rob people.” I guess it has to be a balance between the central story and the sandboxness. It’s just inherent to the genre.
RC: I recall with the guy selling baseball bats in Diamond City that I selected the “explain the rules” option and my guy was surprisingly mean about it. It was funny, but totally not the tone I was expecting. The old system where it says what you’ll say ahead of time was preferable.
For the first time ever I played Lawful Good because Cogsworth and Piper were making me feel bad about stealing everything that isn’t nailed down (as is my custom). But now that I’ve got the Irish meth-head as my partner I’m free to pickpocket, break and enter, and extort money to my heart’s content.
TN: Who else likes the voice acting in the game? I love that ghouls don’t all sound like Moe Sizlack anymore.
RC: It helps that they have more than six voice actors this time around.
TN: They still have the weird thing where no one can decide what accent to speak in.
RC: Admittedly, they fixed that in New Vegas but it definitely doesn’t sound like whoever was kicking around the break room at Bethesda this time. My wife brought this up and I was left at a loss: Why does Cait have an Irish accent? Ireland probably got blown up with everything else, so it’s very doubtful that many people have traversed the Atlantic in the last 200 years. So why the deep brogue?
TN: It’s an odd choice. I’ve met Englishman, and an Australian I think. Some of the settlers sound Bostonian, though.
RC: That makes sense. The game takes place in Massachusetts, so the accent would be passed down through generations.
TN: I’m glad they don’t all sound Bostonian though. “Fahkin dood! I sawr a fahkin Deathclawr!”
SH: Oh, I would love that.
RC: Have you met the guy in South Boston who tries to talk you into buying a charge card? He sounds just like that. Even calls you a “retahd” at one point.
Hey, does Paladin Danse sound distractingly like George Clooney to anyone else?
SH: I hadn’t noticed. I’ll have to keep that in mind next time I talk to him. But at least Fallout 4’s voice acting seems to be an improvement on previous games, even if the dialogue itself is stilted. There’s also some nice situational dialogue, though, like Cogsworth introducing himself to the robot noodle chef in Diamond City.
RC: I love watching companions interact with other characters, particularly each other.
TN: I LOVE those little scripted bits. They really help flesh the peripheral characters out.
RC: I wish I could get some idea of what my companions like and don’t like through some manner other than trial and error. Piper’s really finicky on what sort of sarcasm she likes and doesn’t like. I wish they were all like Cait and I could just chug whisky until they loved me.
TN: I’m a Dogmeat guy. Valentine also comes in handy if you give him a gun that’s worth a damn.
RC: I haven’t sampled many companions but I’d say Cogsworth is the most honestly useful of the ones I’ve used. Dogmeat is Dogmeat, I think it’s stupid he takes up a companion slot and doesn’t have his own separate one, but Cait is too good at getting herself killed. Piper wasn’t a saving grace in any fight but she was competent and helped me out plenty.
To be fair, Cait wont really love me until I go down to the scary part of the map to use the magic vault machine to get her off the drug cigarettes. But I still got her to that point pretty easily.
TN: Curie is a pretty cool companion. Her personality is great.
RC: I’ve found Cure, Valentine, and Strong. I don’t think I can take Preston Garvey with me, but he’s around. I’m excited that the crazy little kid mayor from Fallout 3 is a companion in this one.
TN: Oh yeah, MacReady! I wondered if that was him. Now he’s a mungo.
I haven’t dabbled in the romance stuff. What’s the benefit in the game?
RC: You get a perk that makes you gain XP much faster for a little while when you sleep in a bed with them nearby. Also, you get their individual perk. I’m actually super relieved they didn’t try to horn in a sex scene, because those are almost always cringe-worthy and awkward in games.
TN: Press X to fingerblast!
RC: I played God of War 3 HD before this game came in the mail so I know the depths to which regrettable in-game sex scenes can sink.
Come back tomorrow for the final installment of this roundtable and join in the conversation in the comments!
Part 1 can be found here.