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Cyber_Goddess's Game Reviews

   
Cyber_Goddess's Game Reviews

Well...this is probably not going to go well, but let's see how this works out.

Note: This post has been changed to be mostly updates.

~Latest Updates~

~Completed Reviews~

Fallout 4: Achievement Review (Page 1)
Score System and Process System Explained (Page 4)
Project Highrise: Review (Page 5)
Fallout 4: Non-achievement in-depth review. (Page 5)
Agents of Mayhem Review (Page 7)
XCOM2 and Mod Review (Page 8)
Dungeons 3 Review (Page 8)

~Reviews in the process of Research~

Darkest Dungeon Base Game: Achievement Review (Progress: 12/84)

Stardew Valley: Achievement Review: (Progress: 1/40)

Skyrim: Special Edition: Achievement Review (Progress: 15/75)

Planet Coaster: Achievement Review (Progess 15/32)

~Non-Reviews Essay in Process~

So if I am reading this right basically it's a game that espouses a view that is pro AI rights? How forceful and annoying is it in doing so? I am asking mainly because
I can tolerate games that have a message but when a game or indeed any other work of fiction constantly depicts its political views as the objective right choice all the time and either refuses to address them intellectually or contrives the plot to make it the only conclusion, often in hindsight only like Star Trek likes to do it gets annoying quickly.
I hate games that try and preach at me and happen to be very much against AI rights and so the issue really would make or break the game for me. So it's sort of a must know before getting it.

Fallout 4 Review

~Intro~

This review of Fallout 4 is a gift to one Landid on this forum as payment for the charitable gift of a Fallout 4 key and a Fallout 4 Season Pass key gifted to me on the Mythweavers Discord. I want to get this out of way as quickly as possible to make it clear that receiving this game for free, may have coloured my perception of it. The reason this is a gift is because he has made it clear he does not want anything gifted in return, and I believe that playing his gift to completion then showing my thoughts on it would show that I respected his gift enough to play it. Anyway let's get to it.

My Fallout 4 experience starts in a weird place and time. October 2015. A whole month before Fallout 4 even came out. The month I bought Fallout: New Vegas.

You see prior to playing New Vegas, I had some.....harsh, views on post apocalypse stories. With me mostly viewing them as one of two things, either a teenager tough guy power fantasy slash anarchist wet dream where there is no law and you can hunt down that guy you hated from high school and murder him without anyone able to stop you, or a dystopian future novel which is mostly used to play a straw-man political ideology in charge of the evil ruler-ship so we can show how flawed their politics are, with the leadership of the evil empire thingy being nothing more than a straw version of what we the author hate in terms of politics.

New Vegas is neither one of these, and as far as I can tell, very little of the Fallout franchise is. Since playing Fallout: New Vegas, I went on a binge of all the Fallout reviews and media I could find, and came to a conclusion. In my opinion the theme of the Fallout series is “rebirth of the new world”, so to speak. Fallout, behind all it's black comedy and humour, is ultimately a series where yes the people of the world are actually trying to rebuild society. There's still radioactive monsters and raiders and so on, but in Fallout even the villains are trying to rebuild society. In Fallout 1 there was the Master who was trying to rebuild society via the creation of the super mutant, in Fallout 2 the Enclave wanted to rebuild the old world in their own twisted view of purity, Fallout 3 revolves around kick-starting the wasteland's rebirth via the purification of water and rebirth via the 'waters of life' which is directly referenced at the start of the game when the Lone Wanderer's dad shows him or her a bible quote, and Fallout: New Vegas has 3 major factions all who want to rebuild the Mojave in their own image.

Ultimately this has heavily coloured my view of Fallout 4, because it does the whole “rebuilding the commonwealth” thing very well. Extraordinarily well.....to the expense of almost everything else.

Because Fallout 4's main story, is not about rebirth, it's about AI rights.

~First Playthrough~

I played through Fallout 4 twice before making this review, and we're going to cover both playthroughs in order and I'll cover everything. I'm not going to cover the story of Fallout 4 in great detail, but rather more what I find interesting about it in general. Quite frankly I'm not interested in giving people major spoilers in my reviews, but rather more interested in covering my thoughts as I moved through the Commonwealth, unlocking all the achievements.

We begin our journey at the start of the game before the war even happened. Our character comes from a nice nuclear family with spouse, infant child and robot butler. We go through character creation which in my opinion is only worse than the character creation in Fallout: New Vegas in one way, rather than having RGB sliders for hair colour we can only pick from a pre-set list, but quite frankly I am not so shallow to say the character creation with the ability to actually sculpt your face along with having body types is bad because of that.

After we make our character who I picked to be female because that's generally how I play RPGs, we go through our morning routine, play with our son, and get interrupted by a door to door salesman. We get our vault form filed out just in the Nick of time, because 5 minutes later the war starts and we rush to the Vault. Quite frankly I don't care that this is a stupid coincidence, because quite frankly I'd rather have something dumb like that take place, than have to sit through the literal real-world 1 hour intro that Fallout 3 had every time I boot up the game. And if anyone says that I can mod the Fallout 3 intro out, that's not a defence of the intro, it means the Fallout 3 intro was so low quality that removing it improved the game. The Fallout 4 intro is short, it sets up the game, and I can be done it in 15 minutes if I want to start a new character. I can't even say it would be better without the salesman and better with an approved form on the table or something, because the salesman shows up later in the game as a ghoul NPC, who I actually like as a character, so having him in the intro is actually key to him as an NPC, otherwise we would meet this random ghoul who we as the player have no clue who they are, but they apparently recognize the player character.

Anyway in the Vault we get frozen and wake up later after our son is stolen and exit the vault swearing revenge on the mad max psycho who killed our spouse and kidnapped our son. One of the most interesting things I found in the Vault was actually a terminal that had a video-game that I could play on it. Although it was not a super interesting mini-game, it showed that in the pre-war there were primitive video-games on holotape, and explained something about the pre-war world that we rarely learn. Namely their culture and where got their entertainment from. Most of the abandoned pre-war places you wander around in Fallout with terminals are places where the terminals explain how things went horribly wrong rather than going into detail about the pre-war world and how people would live day to day. I get that Fallout is about the post-war world, but I've always found the pre-war world interesting, and would like to know more about it in general in a first hand way. I don't know, Fallout visual novel that takes place before the war or something? Either way I found the video-game interesting, and playing it got me an achievement so I did it and decided to comment on it.

After that we leave the vault and meet our robot butler who survived the war, and directs us to a nearby city of Concord where we meet everyone's least favorite character, Preston Garvey....except I actually like him.

Yeah, remember how I said Fallout 4 did the rebuilding society thing very well to the expense of almost everything else? Here's your reason why, Preston Garvey, The Minutemen, and the Settlement system. Which I insanely enjoy.

I don't know why, but I find the settlement system extremely fun. It has it's glitches and getting things to fit just right can be hard, but quite frankly I find going out, killing things and looting places, then coming back to continue building your massive housing complex, casino, or god knows what else you want to build since there's an insane amount of options and creative possibilities extremely fun. I'd almost say that this would make a very good game by itself, if you chopped off all the role-playing stuff in Fallout 4 and sold the settlement system alone for around 20 bucks. It would basically just be minecraft with guns, but quite frankly if you're the type of person who likes building things, likes shooters, and can get Fallout 4 for cheap you'll probably enjoy the settlement system.

Apparently also Bethesda agreed on this, because there are almost no non-settlement cities in the game. There are a total of 6 cities in the base game which are actual cities, as in used for more than one major quest that aren't settlements. Diamond City, Goodneighbour, Bunker Hill, The Institute, The Prydwen, and the Railroad hideout. I don't consider something like say, Vault 81 a city. Yes it has a large amount of NPCs, but when I went there it had a total of 2 quests I found. One of which was literally “turn around and leave, go to a nearby place, and click on a cat then walk back”, which I'm almost certain was misdirection to get you out of the Vault so the actual major quest could begin. Almost every other settlement where you get more than one quest, has a quest in it, that you can do to turn it into a minuteman settlement which you can build stuff in. The only reason I even include Bunker Hill in that list of 6 even though you can make it a settlement is that there's around 5 quests you can do in it, and it doesn't become a settlement until past a major point in the main story, along with it actually serving a story purpose in the main quest. None of the other 'cities' in the game come close to that. For example the Slog which has two quests that I found....except that one can be skipped with the right dialog options, and the other is the quest that makes it under your control. In all honesty. I'm almost certain that if you removed all the radiant quests from the various major factions (radiant quests are quest that endlessly repeat and don't actually lead to anything), and only counted major quests that lead to a conclusion, there are probably more “Go to this settlement and get yourself a new place to build” quests from Preston than there are non-radiant side quests for the Brotherhood of Steel. Anyway, by simply building settlements we get two achievements.

Also working with the Minutemen we get 3 achievements, none of which actually involve the main quest. Seriously outside of the first two main quest achievements which we get just for recruiting Preston, the other minutemen quests literally involve the main quest in zero ways that I saw. I've been told if you tick off a major faction they can attack “The Castle”, but quite frankly anytime I turned a faction hostile, they were murdered about 2 quests later. I literally never got the Defend the Castle quest in my 250 hours of playing. Anyway we get three achievements, one for joining, one for retaking a castle on the coast, and one for unlocking the armory. As our reward we get to build artillery which we can call down with grenades, that I literally only used one in my entire playthrough, because quite frankly throwing the signal grenade makes every enemy aware to you, so they rush out of the attack area and rush you. I literally only used them during the battle for Liberty Prime, and I never could figure out how the hell I was suppose to use them effectively otherwise, instead of just shooting the enemies in front of me with normal grenades and bullets. The only other reward we get from the castle is turning on a new radio station, which has zero songs I liked, and is mostly used for getting new radiant minutemen quests. Which I will admit is a good way to get companions to like you, since only 3 companions in the whole game will dislike you for doing them, and they're also a good way to get experience.

During our wandering we start to unlock other achievements, most of which are standard video-game achievements. I.e Do X thing a bunch of times, pick 50 locks, hack 50 terminals, kill 300 people, and so on. We also get an achievement for recruiting 5 companions, which I don't think is even possible to miss if you beat the game due to how many companions you get during the main quest. Only really 7 achievements are actually interesting, one is the hologame achievement we talked about earlier, one of which is to die from a suicide bomber mutant, which I found kind of cute and it's going to happen to you, it happened to me on very easy. One of which is to run the bases in Diamond City which as the name implies is in a ballpark. I actually found this achievement interesting, because if you talk to guards they'll actually tell you to run the bases, which means that getting this achievement isn't “google how to get the achievement with a vague description” the game actually tells you how to get it in-universe. One is to plant a grenade on someone so it kills them, which you will only do if you're randomly murdering people like a psycho since you need to waste two perks to even be able to do it. Also if you just want to run around murdering random people, I want to make a friendly recommendation of a game called “Saints Row the Third”. You can only pickpocket people who aren't hostile to you, and the instant you kill someone that way, everyone else in the area turns hostile due to the murder. This is the kind of achievement you save before getting and reload right after. There are two achievements for collecting bobble-heads which I'll cover in playthrough 2, and the final interesting achievement is to get max affinity with a companion.

I will give credit where it's due, I highly perfect the companion system in this game to Fallout: New Vegas. The companion wheel in New Vegas was a thing I miss, and the companions in Fallout: New Vegas are better written, by my goddess if some of the companion quests in Fallout: New Vegas weren't something you needed a guide for to unlock some of their quests. I highly prefer the affinity system, even though it can be gamed easily, since I think that rather than unlocking a companion's quest via going to random places and talking to them, that the main character development for a companion should take place in their quest, not during events you might never find and therefore miss out on the character development, in this game, every companion quest is unlocked the same way with one exception, and that is “do things they like until they trust you”, which I find way better than “take Veronica to 3 of 8 places that you need to look up on the wiki to find” or “Have Boone with you while you do certain tasks, which if you did without him, too bad you miss his quest”. It's telling that to get every companion's best ending in New Vegas you practically need to have memorized how to play the game to optimize the “perfect run”. Fallout 4's system might be more gamey, but my goddess if it isn't a way easier and more user friendly system.

Anyway, during all this questing, we unlock 4 new quests, the DLC quests. Automatron, Vault 88, Far Harbor, and Nuka World. We're going to leave Nuka World til the end of this playthrough, and Far Harbor til the end of playthrough 2, but for now we're going to cover the DLC, and their achievements.

Fallout 4 has 6 DLC, 2 workshop packs, 2 “Mini-expansions with workshop content”, and two
“Full Expansions”. We'll cover the 2 workshop packs first.

Contraptions workshop and Wasteland workshop, I believe are basically needed to play the game. There is an insane amount of settlement stuff in the game that is practically required to properly build a settlement. How are you supposed to build a proper settlement at say, Jamaica Plains without the farm plot? Which is in a DLC. Overall both workshops have stuff I use regularly, but if you're not into the settlements, not only will I say these DLC are useless to you, I'm also going to flat out say you're playing the wrong game, because if you're here for the RPG side of things, you're going to be disappointed.

Anyway, Contraptions gives us 3 achievements, 2 of which I only did for the achievement, one of which was “assign a settler to a pillory” which I think is a waste of a person who could be put to use working for you and is only really done if you want to pretend to be evil, which is better done by buying and playing Nuka World, and the second achievement which is “place a weapon, armor, and power armor on display on racks”, which is really...just done to show you can show off your gear if you don't do what I do and just throw it all in the workshop to ignore. The third achievement is actually useful though, “manufacture 100 items” which considering one of the factories you can build can manufacture ammo, which I found myself running out of a lot since I was heavily using automatic weapons, so that was useful to me.

Wasteland Workshop's achievements on the other hand I found to be completely garbage. I admit the idea of taming creatures like deathclaws to defend my settlements, but considering you need 9 charisma to even do it, along with two perks is just annoying. Anyway, the first achievement is have “5 tamed creatures”, what annoyingly the game doesn't tell you is that even if you build the device that tames them, creatures of different types are STILL hostile to each other, so it has to be 5 creatures of the same type tamed. Kind of annoying. They do give your settlement defense points, but quite frankly I found it just easier to build a tall wall and spam turrets everywhere. The Second achievement is to “build one of every cage”. Look there is literally only one cage type I actually use and that's the brahmin cage, because they produce fertilizer which I can use to craft stuff like jet and ammo, and they don't need to be tamed. The only reason you would build something like the Mire-lurk cage is either role-playing or getting the achievement. Having to build all 16 cages is just annoying and a waste of resources, not to mention all the time you'll waste hunting down random animals for the meat you'll need to build them. There's not even a benefit to doing it outside of the achievement, because even if you power up all 16 cages, they'll all turn hostile to each other when you release them all. The final achievement is “stage an arena match” which falls into the same category as the pillory achievement. The only real benefit I could see to the arena match is taking two essential female companions, giving them boxing gloves and having them go at it. I say essential companions because when I got this achievement by putting Piper up against a random settler, the settler actually died because Piper shot her. Yay, a way to be evil by killing my settlers....again if you want to be evil play Nuka World. Both of these DLCs have stuff you'll use if you're a settlement lass like me, but quite frankly outside of the manufacturing achievement, the achievements suck, you'll do them just to get the achievements and then never do them again.

This gets us to the mini-expansions Vault 88 and Automatron, and my goddess if these aren't a huge step up from the base game as well as the last two expansions. It's my opinion that the DLC is Fallout 4's best parts. I'm just going to say it, Far Harbor has the best writing, Nuka World has the best characters, Vault 88 has the best comedy, and Automatron has the best game-play. Quite frankly if it wasn't for how lackluster the content in the creation club has been so far, I would have gladly bought more Fallout 4 DLC, considering it's such a step up from the base game.

Vault 88 is a look into the Vault-tec philosophy with the help of a character named Overseer Barstow. We also get Vault 88 as a settlement, which is the largest settlement in the entire game with multiple large workshop areas. Quite frankly if you're into building massive work projects in the settlement system, Vault 88 is your dream DLC. It also has some of the best “mad science” humor, both on the terminals and via the dialog, and there is actual choice in the DLC where you can decide what kind of bonuses you get from the new settlement objects as you play through the DLC. One of which the “Lost Revenue” slot machine, I found vital to getting the “get a settlement to 100% happiness” achievement. We get 3 achievements in this DLC, one for clearing out the entire vault, one for putting a vault suit and a pip boy on a settler for that 'vault-feeling' and one for becoming Overseer which we do by completing the DLC. Quite frankly all 3 achievements in this DLC are achievements you'll actually want to do, and with their actually being a quest in this DLC unlike wasteland workshop there is actually plot and story here, meaning these achievements actually mean something instead of being something you would never do normally and you only do for the achievement. Vault 88 is a huge step up from the last two DLC.

Automatron is arguably a step up from even Vault 88. There are 5 achievements, all of which you'll get over the course of it, with possibly one exception which you'll likely get anyway. You play through a quest to stop a super-villain from attacking the commonwealth with robots, which actually has some good writing in the characters of Ada and our villain the Mechanist, and the 5 achievements, 3 are story based, 1 you get when you complete the story when it unlocks all robot mods, and one you get for modding a robot with 10 parts. Quite frankly a fully upgraded and fully modded robot companion is probably the deadliest companion in the game, so if you like sitting back and watching your companion murder everything as you sip your soda this DLC is for you, just build a fully upgraded sentry bot with duel explosive mini-guns and duel mini-nuke launchers and watch the chaos unfold. Automatron is such a step up from Wasteland Workshop, I seriously question if it might be one of the best parts of the game.

Meanwhile we're going to jump back into the main quest. We run through the main quest, killing a lot of things and following the dotted line until we meet all the factions, and choose one to side with. I ultimately sided with the Institute, and then moved onto Nuka World. There is basically nothing I can reveal about the plot that you would care about that's not a spoiler, but I'll just say that the writing is a huge step down from New Vegas, and as a futurist that actually is a AI rights activist this game.....is not good at what it's trying to be. None of the major factions are super fleshed out and are mostly here to give you radiant quests to go to a location, kill a bunch of stuff, and return covered in blood. Even though I sided with the Institute, the speeches that the Institute's leader gives you are a huge step down from Caesar's rant about the NCR. The most I can say about the Institute is that it's way easier to justify siding with the Institute than it is to justify siding with Caesar, but that's mostly because the other two major factions are poorly written as well, and the Minutemen don't go hostile to the Institute unless you personally make the Institute mad at you, at which point you're not doing an Institute run anyway. Either way this gets us every Institute achievement along with every main quest achievement except for one which is the one where we destroy the Institute.

This finally gets us to the final part of playthrough 1. Nuka World, which I believe is the best character design in the game. It's however very hard to justify playing through. In the entirety of Fallout 4 unless you just randomly murder people for no reason, you get almost zero chances to be 'evil'. The most evil you can be in Fallout 4 most of the time is to pick the “sarcastic” option in dialog and be a snarky internet critic to the NPCs. However can I say that it's insanely refreshing to finally have an open world RPG that revolves around playing a bandit or raider. As I said with the settlement system, I seriously think this concept has enough potential to be a game on it's own. Make Nuka World it's own game, where you play a raider boss the whole game.

Nuka World is mostly spent running around doing radiant quests for the various gang leaders to get an achievement for doing 12 quests for them which takes you through an insane number of loading screens, and working for the raiders to retake the park and then move on the commonwealth. I'm just going to say it, this is the one part of the game where I seriously think I need to take off the achievement analysis hat and seriously talk about the best character in the game Porter Gage.

Porter Gage was the second in command to the Over-boss who you killed in a cage match at the start of the DLC, then he puts you in charge as Over-boss and then follows you as a companion, he is a social Darwinist always chaotic evil raider and proud of it. Yet he misses almost every note that your usual token evil teammate in these games usually hits which makes them annoying usually. He's not openly evil in that he'll attack random people, he doesn't turn on you later on, he actually seems like a nice guy if you're a raider. He almost fills the more 'evil mentor' role, rather than being a psychopath, he is very well written, and perfectly introduces the player to the role of being a raider and why it's so attractive. The fact that the same people who wrote Porter Gage wrote the Institute leader baffles me. The Institute barely managed to make any good arguments for their evil actions that made sense (and yet were somehow more attractive than the Railroad or Brotherhood, let that sink in), and yet Gage is perfectly written as clever, cunning, and appealing to the players who wanted some evil power fantasy in their Fallout. I know I talked earlier about how I hated post apocalypse as a anarchist power fantasy where you just murder and steal, but seriously Gage goes above and beyond in that. He seriously seems like a raider with legit ambitions and goals, and not seeking random violence for the sake of violence. Combined with him being friendly, able to be romanced, and his casual attitude, and quite frankly I have no clue how the hell the best written character in the whole game is a raider who wants to teach me how fun it is to enslave people and run protection rackets.

The only real annoying part of Nuka World is the remaining 4 achievements after we build our raider empire. Get 100,000 tickets in the Nuka-cade which was an annoying and long grind, mix all 20 nuka cola recipes...which you need to find and collect around the park goddess help you if you don't use a guide, kill 40 nuka world monsters under the effect of said recipes....which only works on monsters unique to the DLC even though non-dlc monsters show up in it, and find 5 magazines, which I'll go into later. Quite frankly, Nuka World with the exception of the insanely well written Porter Gage was...not really that great. Gage is the diamond in the rough, and your reward for completing the raider's plan is a ton of money you'll never need and is easier to get in legit ways (hint: build lots of water producing devices and stores, and sell the water to your stores), and random legendary items, which you'll either have a ton of if you're playing on higher difficulties or won't need at all if you're playing on very easy. Either way, you play through Nuka World for Gage or if you want to be evil, and ignore it otherwise. It's better than Honest Hearts from New Vegas, but my goddess is it no Old World Blues. With this we have ended playthrough one.

~Second Playthrough~

The second playthrough was a new experience for me. I had more knowledge of the wasteland, I knew what to avoid, and what to do properly. My settlements were more efficient and the game ran a ton more smoothly. I do believe that Fallout 4, does have some replay-ability, at least for the first 2-3 playthroughs until you start installing mods like crazy to mix it up, at which point the replay-ability goes off the charts.

My second playthrough revolved around playing the non-institute quest-lines, getting the last few achievements like the bobble-heads, and doing Far Harbor. We're going to cover the collection side-quests first.

There are 4 achievements for collecting stat boosting items in Fallout 4. Read 20 magazines, which are basically perk books you find lying around on tables if you explore well, but there are enough magazines total you'll probably not have an issue getting this one. Collect 5 magazines in Nuka World....5 magazines of which there are only 5, prepare to look for a long time unless you use a wiki like I did. Collect 5 magazines in Far Harbor...of which there are only 5, again use the wiki or look for a long time, and collect 20 bobble-heads.

The 20 bobble-heads is in my opinion one of the most interesting achievements, because many of the bobble-heads, you don't just find in random locations, you actually find them in rooms, you only get access to via doing quests. Or you find them in major quest locations that you can access at any time. For example is it impossible to get this achievement without doing the Vault 81 quest, or the quest where you recruit Strong, since the rooms with those two bobble-heads are locked until you do the quest up to a certain point. This is an interesting achievement to me, because they basically locked this achievement via a large array of areas and quests you might have not seen otherwise. For example the agility bobble-head is on a wrecked ship where the ghoul raiders on the ship do not speak English. Even if your game is set to English, they will speak Norwegian which from what I can gather online is a reference to a story where a communication barrier was a problem for people on a crashed ship, which fits into this game since from what I understand it was a Lovecraft horror story, and this game takes place in Lovecraft County slash Boston.

Playing through the Brotherhood and Railroad missions, ultimately was more of the same. In fact I'm almost willing to argue they put more effort into the Institute missions than any other missions. The Brotherhood mission where you destroy the Institute has you recruit an NPC from Fallout 3, rebuilding a following a giant robot from Fallout 3, which I ultimately did not feel any major connection to since I have not beaten Fallout 3, and was basically just slowly walking behind him as he murdered everything for you, and then blowing up the Institute from the inside. Quite frankly if you're not a fan of Fallout 3, their missions will just seem like more of the same to you.

Meanwhile on the Railroad side it was a little more interesting since you play double agent basically, and their only three unique quests ultimately boiled down to killing some guards, talking to a few people, and stealing a plane to blow up the airship from the inside....which wasn't actually that big of deal, since there were few enemies.

What I mean by these two being nothing compared to the Institute, is that the institute's quests although not a ton greater, were the same but more. The Brotherhood and the Institute have you both attack the Mass fusion building in what is basically the same quest for both sides outside of who you're fighting and who's on your side. Meanwhile the Institute quests actually have the Institute get some character development with you being assigned the Institute's leadership and having to deal with the various directors. It also doesn't help that the battle for control of the giant robot in the Institute quest-line, is an insane war sequence with lasers flying everywhere, and I'm pretty sure 8-10 times as many enemies as there were during the Railroad mission to destroy the Brotherhood. The Railroad quest and Brotherhood quest was “walk down a path and shoot maybe a dozen enemies”, the Institute quest line was an insane and epic set piece. If it wasn't for the fact that you need to destroy the Institute to get every achievement listed under “main quest” on the Fallout wiki, I would almost swear that you're actually meant to side with them given how much better their quest-lines are, but it's probably more likely they just had a more competent designer assigned to their quests. Anyway with the game's main quest beat a second time, we only have Far Harbor left.

And then we move onto Far Harbor, which has the best writing in the whole game. It has multiple factions you can talk to and side with. There are multiple ways to do almost every quest in the DLC, and doing the side-quests actually has effect on the main plot. By helping the various NPCs, you are earning their trust, which can help you in various ways depending on how you decide to play it.

Ultimately there are 10 achievements in Far Harbor. One of which is “Find 20 locations”, which I think is actually par for the course for DLCs that take you to new places. They want you to explore the island, and there's more than 20 locations on the map, so you don't need to explore all of it. The 5 magazines, which are annoying unless you use a wiki because they're easy to miss, but they're all in locations you're sent via side-quests, so if you know where to look you don't need to go out of your way to find them. Cook a new recipe...which I never used food in my playthroughs because I don't play on survival mode, so it pretty much boiled down to “kill an angler, cook the meat, achievement”, kill 30 far harbor sea creatures which was actually my last achievement in the game because I didn't kill 30 over the course of the DLC, because annoyingly as with Nuka World, only sea creatures unique to the DLC count and not the dozens of mire-lurks that kept popping up, because mire-lurks are in the base game, and finally unlock 3 settlement locations on the island. Which I got for the achievement and then ignored, because not only was I wanting a new playthrough, but is seriously annoying. Let's say you're in the commonwealth and a settlement in Far Harbor gets attacked, you need to fast travel to Far Harbor, fast travel to the settlement, fast travel back to the commonwealth, and then fast travel back to whatever you were doing originally, which basically means 4 loading screens every-time one of your Far Harbor settlements gets attacked. I didn't bother finding out if Preston could send you to radiant quests on Far Harbor, and if he does, I seriously don't want to consider how annoying those must be. Either way, there's only 5 achievements left, all of which are story missions, except there's one achievement that is...interesting to me. “Cleansing the Land”, which is an achievement that requires you to either destroy the Children of Atom, or destroy Far Harbor. Quite frankly destroying Far Harbor makes no sense at all, unless you just like killing innocent people I.e Nuka World, and if you play through the entire main quest, you actually can find a way to create peace on the island between all 3 major Far Harbor factions, which makes destroying the Children of Atom pointless, unless you want the achievement. Quite frankly it feels to me like there was a 'right' option in these quest-lines, and the developers put in the other options to give the illusion of choice, because the 'right' options are barely disguised in any shades of gray at all. If you play through Far Harbor paying the smallest bit of attention and actively doing side-quests, the way to get the peaceful ending is so brutally easy to get, it's outright told to you directly by one of the major NPCs. It's not even an option the player character comes up with, you're flat out told “but what if we did this” by the NPC once you complete the story up to a certain point. The writing in Far Harbor is a huge step up from the base game, but that is damned by faint phrase if I've ever seen it, and with that we have our final achievement and can move onto final thoughts.

~Final Thoughts~

Fallout 4 is a game I am very conflicted on. It feels like three $30 games mashed into one mess. I seriously question if this experience would be better as three $30 games. One where you play a raider (Nuka World), one where you build settlements (DLC and Preston), and one which is a Telltale style visual novel which took you through the story and RPG side of things (Main Quest).

Either way, the simple fact remains that I've played this game for over 250 hours, and you simply don't do that on games you don't enjoy on some level. It's flawed. Majorly flawed, but it has some weird charm to it. It's not even a “so bad it's good” guilty pleasure, I would almost call it paradoxically a “So average it's good”, it doesn't stand out in any serious way as high quality outside of the rare NPC or side-quest, and at the same time it's not low quality enough to actually call bad-bad. Just kind of a weird 'meh', in terms of story, which you ultimately end up ignoring and instead running around the commonwealth looting things and building settlements for either Preston or Gage.

All in all, I rather enjoyed it, and I'm working on my third playthrough which is a full raider playthrough, so apparently it's good enough to pull me back in the fold. I think in order to fully judge Fallout 4 however, I need to play another Bethesda game and maybe compare the two. I'm thinking my next review will likely be on the Skyrim: Special Edition, and we'll see how the two compare to each other. Next review will probably be in 2-3 months or so, once I work my way through the entirety of Skyrim and draw up my notes for it. It's slow reviewing, but quite frankly I want to be through with my research.

Overall opinion of Fallout 4. Probably a good 8/10. Flawed in many ways, but still an enjoyable experience for me at least.

Note: The following part of this post takes place AFTER the Quoted post above. Originally I had the review in the first post, but decided to move it to make the first post mostly updates.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PPQ_Purple View Post
So if I am reading this right basically it's a game that espouses a view that is pro AI rights? How forceful and annoying is it in doing so? I am asking mainly because
I can tolerate games that have a message but when a game or indeed any other work of fiction constantly depicts its political views as the objective right choice all the time and either refuses to address them intellectually or contrives the plot to make it the only conclusion, often in hindsight only like Star Trek likes to do it gets annoying quickly.
I hate games that try and preach at me and happen to be very much against AI rights and so the issue really would make or break the game for me. So it's sort of a must know before getting it.
It really isn't, in fact outside of the 4 viewpoints which are basically the following.

Institute - Synths are property and machines.
Railroad - Synths are people.
Brotherhood - Synths are a danger to humanity and should be destroyed before they turn on us.
Minutemen - Uh...I dunno can they plant crops?

And I'm not making those descriptions vague, that's literally about all the discussion we get.

The Brotherhood never go into detail on how they know Synths will turn on humanity, outside of a vague 'it will happen, flesh is flesh, machine is machine' vague idea. That is basically paranoia of technological development outside of their control, technology is fine in their hands, but not in the institute.

The Railroad basically just say that they believe they're people too, and never go into more detail. Like, at all, they never give any reason why they think they have free will, there is zero discussion on what constitutes free will, and they never in anyway give an actual reason outside of 'well, slavery is bad m'kay' about why they're doing this, when raiders still plague the commonwealth.

The Minutemen have no opinions at all, outside of whatever opinion you give them, since you're their leader, and in fact the minutemen is the only major faction that stays alive in every ending. Even the institute doesn't really bother them, mostly because well, by the end of the Institute quest you're in charge of both factions.

The Institute is the only faction that goes into any detail about why they think the synths are property, and it's basically summed in two conversations. One where their leader says that 'however close they may mimic human elements they are still just machines' without going into even the vaguest technobabble about why that is, and a single NPC in the Institute who says something along the lines of 'if a synth can dream, why can't it have a soul' before another NPC basically says he's crazy, and there's no more detail. He never even attempts to define to you what a soul is, or what would qualify as a soul, or why dreaming would imply they would have one.

Seriously if you want a serious discussion on AI rights, Fallout 4 is not where you get it. Outside of vague 3 sentence conversations that ultimately go into almost no actual details outside of the basic 'we think this, and there's no debate because well, there's no dialog programmed into the game to discuss it' there is basically no actual talk about AI rights, which is basically the theme of the main quest. Literally the only faction that is even vaguely fleshed out is the Brotherhood because they have 6 prior games of backstory. I'm willing to bet if you never played a Fallout game before 4 and don't know their history, you would literally just go "oh, so you're genocidal neo-humanists who want purify the wasteland of non-human life", and write them off as pro-human in the way other fanatical groups are pro-X. Because outside of those 6 games of backstory, we get literally no details into their ideology or anything in-game. If there was dialog that explained their ideology outside of the vague 'we think this' dialog without any explanation for WHY they think this, I did not see it.

There's a reason I argued that the settlement system with Preston or Gage is the real meat of the game at the end. In fact I am willing to argue that both Preston and Gage are more fleshed out.

Preston is just your generic nice guy, and hero figure who wants to help the wasteland out. Build farms, homes, and so on. He's the type of guy who towns have statues of 100 years later that say 'our founder'. The only reason you're in charge and not him, is well, you're the player character. But you understand his motives, because well, being a good person is a good thing. It's basically the motive of Superman, help the helpless, and be a knight in shining armor.

Gage actually gets details in his backstory, about how he saw his parents abused by raiders, decided he wasn't going to be a cowering farmer like them, and joined up, worked his way up the ranks of various raider groups, and used his diplomacy skills to eventually build the alliance of the 3 gangs in Nuka World. He is a foil to Preston, he wants to build an empire too you see, but not an empire of farmers, an empire of raiders, protection rackets, and slaves. His relationship with you is almost like if Lanius was the boss of Caesar. He very much is a Caesar type, only instead of playing off of Caesar's ideology about how the world needs to start fresh, he literally is building an army of raiders and slaves, because he can, and he can profit from it. He's Caesar without the political BS, he's just evil, and proud of it, and he's willing to give you a bigger piece of cake than he gets, just so you'll be the big hotshot that keeps everyone intimidated, as well as the guy that anyone goes after instead of him. Guy in charge has the biggest target on his back, which is why instead of taking over the raiders for himself, he helped you kill the old overboss just to put you in charge, and he's clearly loyal to you, so long as you don't do anything stupid and start sabotaging the plan for the commonwealth if you're a competent number one, he's a loyal number two.

Seriously, it is SERIOUSLY sad how GAGE gets a more complex and more detailed explanation of his ideology than the Leader of the Institute, or even the Railroad. The RAIDER has the best written character in the game. This is what I mean when I say the DLC is insanely higher quality than the base game.

Apart from "Bethesda is lazy," I think the explanation for the lack of explanation of synths and peoples' views on them in FO4 is heavily influenced by FO3 and a side quest that introduces the Institute and synths in the first place.


I really think FO4's devs thought everybody would have played FO3 and done that side quest and left that as their 'explanation' of AI status in the world of "Fallout."

Though, to be honest, I also half expect that their lack of telling when it comes to the Railroad's motivations is the fact that there isn't any reliable way to tell gen 3 synths from real humans. How many characters do you run into in FO4 that have been seamlessly replaced by Institute synths? Goodneighbor's ghoul mayor has a brother he never realized was a synth. A wife and her children at a certain settlement have no idea the guy masquerading as husband and father is a synth. And there was one side quest where you find out the target of your rescue effort may or may not have been replaced by an Institute synth. And that's just in the main game! Far Harbor has a few other characters in this same boat.

I don't think they had to beat the "AIs are people too!" drum for the game because they showed it more effectively than dialogue ever could have told us. Say what you will about the Institute's utter ruthless brutality in their technique for replacing people, but their synths are so 'real' that their closest kin can't tell the difference.

Those two things are, I think, the heart of the matter when it comes to why the Railroad gets no explanation as to its motives: it's not needed. Institute vs. Railroad is a battle of semantics in the end. By this, I mean, look at the following statement: "Synths are artificial people made with nuts, bolts, wires, circuits, and lots of synthetic tissue." The Institute focuses on everything after "made with" while the Railroad stops reading at "people."

Yeah, the main problem I have with the railroad is them destroying the institute.

By the time you destroy the institute for the railroad, you're already the successor for the Institute, you are literally a Mole-in-charge, and there is zero option to go back to the railroad and go "look their leader is dying, and he's enough of a moron to put me in charge, fake your deaths, blow up the hideout, and go into hiding, give me 5 years and the institute will be pro-synth".

It also doesn't help that blowing up the Institute dooms the Synths they're trying to save. I'm almost certain that even Gen 3 synths cannot get pregnant, so...we just....blew up the only way for them to reproduce...and left them all, in a post apocalyptic wasteland full of people that are scared of them, raiders, and radioactive monsters....and I'm pretty sure whatever scientists escaped aren't going to be in the mood to help us make more.....

Uh yeah, I kind of think of the Railroad path as if there was a game that revolved around freeing black people from slavery, but during the 'freedom' path, the game forces you to put a virus in the water that renders all the black people sterile. Yeah they're free, but give them 3 generations and the last one will die off, congrats, you've committed long term indirect genocide, when there was literally a far better option on the table. Aka, you're a MOLE-IN-CHARGE.

Like seriously as a Pro-AI person, here's how the 4 endings read.

Institute - I'm in charge, the Institute can change, I have earned their trust and will lead them in a better direction.

Brotherhood - We're committing genocide with a giant nuclear bomb armed robot, even though the reason we're doing it is we're annoyed that Nukes and misuse of technology destroyed the world. We're totally not dressing up our future military state with a 'good cause', we're totally the good guys.

Railroad - We will free the synths, and in the process destroy their only way to reproduce, meaning in 80 years when the last synth dies in a raider attack we'll have committed long term genocide. Even though we literally had an agent as their leader.

Minutemen - Apparently I accidentally shot an Institute researcher in the head after killing the Railroad and Brotherhood, so now I have to do the Wild Card ending.

I hadn't considered the "nuking the Institute is genocide" angle, since as far as I know the synths don't come with an expiration date the way humans do, but you are right about the Wasteland being a dangerous place and there likely being a high mortality rate among the ones you manage to rescue before the big kaboom.

I agree with you entirely as to the unsatisfactory nature of all the ending options for FO4. I thought that was actually kind of a strong point for the game, to be honest: the whole thing is morally gray and no matter which ending you choose, you're stabbing people who trusted you in the back, and I think there are good points to be made by all sides.

The Institute is really the only hope for the future, but they are also a menace to the people of the Commonwealth--it's their fault there are Super Mutants butchering their way across the Wasteland, their fault that people are scared shitless of synths, their fault that at least one formerly thriving town is a mass grave. There's absolutely no guarantee that the kinder, gentler Institute you want to build will survive your character's inevitable demise because none of the scientists down there seem to think they've done ethically questionable, let alone wrong.

In the end, I sided with the Institute myself when I played because slavery is preferable to death and there's the chance the reforms you want to make to the way the Institute does things will take and maybe in a few generations, life in what's left of Boston won't suck so hard for everyone on the surface. I do wish there had been a way to end the Brotherhood/Institute conflict with some kind of armistice, though--I like them a heck of a lot more than you do. xD

Quote:
Originally Posted by weregeek85 View Post
The Institute is really the only hope for the future, but they are also a menace to the people of the Commonwealth--it's their fault there are Super Mutants butchering their way across the Wasteland, their fault that people are scared shitless of synths, their fault that at least one formerly thriving town is a mass grave. There's absolutely no guarantee that the kinder, gentler Institute you want to build will survive your character's inevitable demise because none of the scientists down there seem to think they've done ethically questionable, let alone wrong.
Question.

Did you do the quest-line that started with "Secret of the Cabot House", and who did you side with?

Because if you side with the main trapped in the insane asylum...well...you get immortality in a convenient injection-able form.

So, unless someone manages to kill you with brute force, which is unlikely, because you either cleared out Nuka World, or are in charge of them, the Super Mutant Lab is destroyed, and in the real world the enemies don't respawn......

Meanwhile you're in charge of both of the two factions left. The Institute, and either the Minutemen or Nuka World.

And you're immune to the effects of aging, you can live forever. The man is literally stated to have been alive for longer than you have, even with the cyro freezing. Which means the only way for you to die is via someone killing you with brute force, which....well....what out there in the commonwealth is a threat at that point?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyber_Goddess View Post
Question.

Did you do the quest-line that started with "Secret of the Cabot House", and who did you side with?

Because if you side with the main trapped in the insane asylum...well...you get immortality in a convenient injection-able form...
...that is a very good point, one I had honestly forgotten about because I didn't think letting a Cthulhu-corrupted immortal loose upon the world to be a very good idea. lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by weregeek85 View Post
...that is a very good point, one I had honestly forgotten about because I didn't think letting a Cthulhu-corrupted immortal loose upon the world to be a very good idea. lol
True but to me he seemed kind of...oddly reasonable for someone who had been locked up for 400 years. But there's an even better point if you loot your way to the end of the quest. Well I had six vials of the stuff. Think the people in biosystems might be able to do something with it? X6-88 even suggests it if you have him with you during the quest.

This all seems to me like the plot lacks actual freedom and that it's just not fantastic overall.







 

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