Commonwealth

I missed last weeks Thursday article, and for that I apologize. However. Fallout 4 came out on Tuesday, and I received the package early Wednesday morning.  When I got home, I turned on the console, booted it up and installed. The wife and kid got home just as the install finished, and I had to wait. Finally, at 8:30pm, the day after It was released, I sat down, made my character, and embarked into the common wealth.

THERE WILL BE SPOILERS. I will try not to include much in terms of story, but there may be some. 

ok, that out of the way. 

 

Obviously, the character creation aspect is important to any RPG, and I set about creating a cool looking character, at least for mo. He just had to look a little hardass. Sadly, I took about 40 minutes lovingly building a character who I no longer see his face. Hidden behind a bandanna and an Army Helmet with wraparound sunglasses on, I can’t see anything except some facial coloration and a set of freckles on my right cheek.

This is not something I should be surprised by. The same thing Happened in Mass Effect, In Skyrim, and in Dragon Age: Inquisition. I’m sure I can turn of helmets somewhere, but I like the look of My character.

Liam of Sanctuary and Dogmeat

Liam of Sanctuary and Dogmeat

Once he was created, I set off talking to my town and starting the game, entering the vault, experiencing Trauma, and eventually emerging as the Sole Survivor. I took to the Commonwealth immediately and started exploring. 28 hours over 5 days later, Here I am, Above. Metal Armor, Skull Bandanna, Army Fatigues and Helmet. At my side, replacing Old Trusty, who’d been with me since Vault 111, is my new and heavily modified Plasma Infused Advanced 10mm Pistol. With the latest modifications I added as soon as It was dropped, It does almost twice as much damage as my old pistol and can fire almost twice the shots.

Not This Day

In Fallout 4, you’ve been given great leeway in how you modify your weapon . I said that I had just put away Old Trusty, and its true. 28 hours into the game, I was still using the extremely modified pistol that I had taken from a dead guard in Vault 111. This lead me to feel a pang of sadness as I swapped out the weapon that had protected me for so long against so much for its younger, sexier version.

v8AWRPb

Each weapon has a number of modification points, in the case of the pistol, it has a receiver, a Barrel, and a grip among others. Each of these modifications has a number of possible upgrades, with some limited at 3 or 4, and others extending into the teens. Its a little obtuse at times, but rate of fire, accuracy, damage, and hip-fire are all able to be changed up to build you the exact gun you want. Range and accuracy? Damage and Rate of Fire? Want to make sure its lightweight? all of that and more is available.

Its a bit overwhelming, but it eventually settles in pretty well. A simple system of +’s and -‘s let you know how the mods compare to your current weapon, all shown on the left hand side. Its the same with gear, really, you get to see it all. I’ve made extensive use of modifications, even giving myself a level in Gun nut just to get some of the cooler ones. You aren’t required to have that, though, as it only allows you to construct the mods, it does not prevent you from using them if you break down the mods off of other guns.

Not This day

in addition to the customization of weapons, they also introduced a massive customization available for armors. No longer are you restricted to a single, bizarre raiders armor that you killed in the wasteland that happens to be stronger than yours. No! Instead, you can mix and match the bizarre findings of the wasteland into insane and awesome outfits that befit your style!

Joking aside, The armor system is both good and bad. You have slots for both legs, both arms, face, eyes, head and chest, as well as an undergarment. Together these add up to form your total protection, with each item able to be customized on its own to provide specific protection needs.

Pip Boy

Armor System Boy!

I love having the option to customize my armor choices, pitting defense against energy weapons against that against standard ballistics and even radiation damage. I like the ability to add pockets (for more storage space!) and modify it to be even more powerful with each successive level. However, I don’t like the massive carrying weight that it all burdens on you. I almost feel that I have had to take more trips to Sanctuary in order to offload my gear into the Workshop and get ready for the next outing by going to the shop and modding weapons. Maybe its an intentional design meant to separate each Quest, and if so its doing a good job with it, but I like more free form roaming, and it sucks to have to abandon what I am doing so often to get what I need.

Power Armor

I can’t move on from here before I address Power Armor. Sadly, I cannot do so from a very strong position, though. I’ve only used it voluntarily once, when you get the tutorial, and after that I’ve not been really in love with it. I had the desire to play a sneaky, vicious anti-hero from the start, and Power Armor just doesn’t fit into my view of the character, here. I can see that it is an attractive option, though. I’ve found plenty of Fission Cores, letting me utilize the behemoth whenever I would want, and being able to take a ton of damage and inflict massive punishment with the Minigun that it comes with is extremely appealing. I just did that in Fallout 3. Next time, I guess.

 

Hardcore

one of the aspects I really liked about Fallout: New Vegas was hardcore mode. In it, the basics of every day life became hard for The Currier. You needed to eat, drink and sleep. You needed to be wary of your ammunition because it had weight, and you had to be careful in combat, as heath items only rejuvenated you over time. Everything became interesting. Food and water took on meaning. Beds mattered and what weapon you used became a choice, instead of simply whatever worked. I loved it, and most of it is gone. Healing is still over time, which works for me, but instead of getting a kick when you find food or drinks because you could die out in the Mojave, you instead get thrills when you see a fan, because you ran out of screws last trip back home, and you are in dire need. Hardcore may be gone, but my carry weight still suffers.

Legen-dary

One aspect of the harder difficulties I’ve been enjoying is the Legendary Spawn. These creatures are bigger, nastier and more perilous versions of the enemies you’re currently encountering, within that location. Harder difficulties provide a greater chance for the Legendary Monsters to show up.  For example, I was assaulting a random Raider hideout in Cambridge. I made my way through the basement, out to the surface and up into a guard tower. There, within, was a Legendary Raider who killed me something swiftly. The next time around, I moved a bit more cautiously, healed up, and engaged him again, this time killing him.

Each Legendary kill that you achieve will drop a piece of loot that is decidedly better than most. This one was, if I believe, a leg armor that had +1 Charisma and +1 Intelligence. I wore this for a while before I was able to trade it out for something much better, but it served its purpose. I felt cool for having it and used it because it dropped specifically in my game.

it is not always the case, though, that you get something useful. Recently I had a Powerful Pool Cue drop, and I just don’t have the skill or style to really want to use the weapons. It is cool, though, so I keep it. I keep all of them. They are reminders that the game is, just a little, my own experience. In addition to the order I’ve encountered events and locations in, no one else, I would expect, will have exactly the same play through as I did because of these random monsters. I really, really enjoy the system.

Visibility

Fallout 4

From the Top of the Corvega building, this is easily the coolest shot of the Commonwealth I have got so far, and I think it really shows off the difference between the landscape of the Mojave and the Capital Wasteland and here. Trees in the distance, clouds, color, everything just looks more vibrant, yet still touched by the apocalypse.

The same holds true for almost every aspect of the game, but especially true for the monsters and terrifying denizens of Boston. Radscorpions, who were big green bruisers in the last two games, are now terrifying brown and black monstrosities. Deathclaws are horrifying monsters and the Yao Gui are hulking bears that want to, and have succeeded, eat my face. The Majority of the game has been a visual feast, with what I think are better than average graphics. Monsters, people and places are realistic enough to get my attention, and the open world has enough detail to give me that feel of immersion that I often loose.

Dogmeat

Finally, I have to touch on my homicidal maniac Companion, Dogmeat.

While I love the little pup, and will likely not abandon him for the whole game, I’m starting to question, seriously question, his motives. At first, it was an enemy here or there that he would lead over to me. Then it escalated fairly quickly to him attacking targets while I was sneaking around trying to not let myself be seen to I could shoot them in the back of the head.

However, lately, he’s been leading me straight into death. Twice, in a row, the game told me that Dogmeat had found something. Twice I found my dog and walked over to him to see what he had found, and TWICE did I step on a landmine protecting the ammo box, just barely running out of the blast radius before dying but taking out my legs or doing significant damage in the process. GodDAMNit DOGMEAT has become a common saying while playing the game.

Until next time!