What's the opinion on Fallout 4 now that its been out for a long while?

Trunkage

Nascent Orca
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
6,115
1,367
118
Brisbane
Gender
Cyborg
I will say all this talk of Fallout 3/4 holding your hand and really kinda railroading you to the plot, no pun intended, is all very valid. But the opposite can be leveled at Morrowind and Oblivion. After hours of playing Morrowind, I still had no idea what I was supposed to do. You're a prisoner and you're set free and...and good luck. Turns out there's an entire story about joining the army or some such, and pimping around and beating up a God, but its never actually stated. You just have to stumble into it.
Whereas I spent hours upon hours unlocking doors, stealing books and selling them to try and get a silver sword to fight ghosts. For over a decade I had the game and truly never knew there was a plot, like a story we're supposed to be following and a goal. I thought it was just sorta the Sims, in fantasy land.

Like I get the complaint the newer Fallout games don't let you figure our shit on your own, but if the alternative is Morrowind or Oblivion where the plot is at best uninterested in you, if not deliberately obtuse and hard to find, I'll take the Fallout ways of story telling.
While I understand the points from both sides, my main question is... Who ever does the main quest? Like, Morrowind is just a bunch of fetch quests to 'prove your worth' to literally every man and his dog in Vvanderfell. And then you repeat the process at the end talking to them just to check that you have their approval. The concept is great, but the execution is just a drag. At least the later ones are shorter, even if they dont really improve this formula
 

SilentPony

Previously known as an alleged "Feather-Rustler"
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
10,791
1,171
118
Corner of No and Where
While I understand the points from both sides, my main question is... Who ever does the main quest? Like, Morrowind is just a bunch of fetch quests to 'prove your worth' to literally every man and his dog in Vvanderfell. And then you repeat the process at the end talking to them just to check that you have their approval. The concept is great, but the execution is just a drag. At least the later ones are shorter, even if they dont really improve this formula
For sure, the main quests are usually very weak, but in the case of like Skyrim, Fallout 4, and to a lesser degree Fallout 3 there are at least WAS a main quest. Fallout New Vegas had something about finding a poker chip, Oblivion was to find a justification for Captain Picard to be in it, and Morrowind was something to do with something if you can stumble into it.

I guess if there is going to be a mainquest, just tell me up front or make it clear at least where I'm supposed to go. Stumbling around feels more realistic, sure, but we dorky lame humans don't go on quests or live exciting Bandit and monster fighting lives, that's why we play games.
 

Samtemdo8

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 25, 2020
1,083
334
88
Country
Private
For sure, the main quests are usually very weak, but in the case of like Skyrim, Fallout 4, and to a lesser degree Fallout 3 there are at least WAS a main quest. Fallout New Vegas had something about finding a poker chip, Oblivion was to find a justification for Captain Picard to be in it, and Morrowind was something to do with something if you can stumble into it.

I guess if there is going to be a mainquest, just tell me up front or make it clear at least where I'm supposed to go. Stumbling around feels more realistic, sure, but we dorky lame humans don't go on quests or live exciting Bandit and monster fighting lives, that's why we play games.
The thing about Morrowind's plot is that its by design can be broken or upheld.

You can literally break the Main Quest of the game, and it would not count as a game over. The World still moves on.

You can go to the final boss of the main quest in Morrowind right now, kill him, without fulfilling any prophecies at all. And you can flat out kill characters that are relevant to the Main Quest aswell. Some powerful figures for their loot or their soul (the Soul Gem system is a thing in Morrowind)

The plot's theme is basically this "Are you really the Chosen One? Are you really the reincarnation of an Ancient Dunmer Hero who was betrayed by the now living gods of Morrowind who currently rule the land?"

Heck for all you know the Emperor sent the wrong guy to Morrowind and the real chosen one was his next door prison cell mate
 

Trunkage

Nascent Orca
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
6,115
1,367
118
Brisbane
Gender
Cyborg
The thing about Morrowind's plot is that its by design can be broken or upheld.

You can literally break the Main Quest of the game, and it would not count as a game over. The World still moves on.

You can go to the final boss of the main quest in Morrowind right now, kill him, without fulfilling any prophecies at all. And you can flat out kill characters that are relevant to the Main Quest aswell. Some powerful figures for their loot or their soul (the Soul Gem system is a thing in Morrowind)

The plot's theme is basically this "Are you really the Chosen One? Are you really the reincarnation of an Ancient Dunmer Hero who was betrayed by the now living gods of Morrowind who currently rule the land?"

Heck for all you know the Emperor sent the wrong guy to Morrowind and the real chosen one was his next door prison cell mate
It's great that Morrowind let's you choose how to interact with the world

It's also irrelevant if you missed it

You missed Pony's point. They missed all that good stuff.
 

Gethsemani

Hardcore Feminazi
Legacy
Apr 5, 2020
1,201
1,006
118
Country
Sweden
I guess if there is going to be a mainquest, just tell me up front or make it clear at least where I'm supposed to go. Stumbling around feels more realistic, sure, but we dorky lame humans don't go on quests or live exciting Bandit and monster fighting lives, that's why we play games.
Morrowind does. The Magistrate that finishes up the character creation for you explicitly tells you that your first order of business should be to go see Caius Cosades in Balmora. Of course, Morrowind being Morrowind means you get only the vaguest of directions as to where Balmora is. The lack of waypoints can really throw you off, especially when you realize that several directions given to you in game are actually wrong. Back in my late teens I did complete Morrowind without using any sort of guide, so I know that it is entirely possible to do so. However, the main quest is long and full of fetch quests as Trunkage says and it is a long, long grind for a pretty meager pay off.
 

Kyrian007

Officially no longer the Enemy of the People
Legacy
Apr 6, 2020
2,128
158
68
Kansas
Country
U.S.A.
Gender
Male
Forgot to mention this. Is the base building aspect a requirement to proceed and progress in the main quest or to survive in the wasteland at all?

I cannot ignore it at all even if I'm not doing the main quest?
I'll answer that. Other than tutorializing the settlement building (very early on) you only have to build one other thing ever in the game. And whichever path you take to get there will open up "settlement" space you need to build it on. You never need to recruit people to live there or have to defend it. You just have to build one thing and use it once.

I'd suggest taking the time to make and populate at least one settlement, just so you can have decent storage space and a base of operations. It does take a while to do it right, but they are very low maintenance. Add your number of settlers, water, and food together... and then make sure you have that many defense points. Do that and you can safely ignore any messages that your settlement is under attack, it will easily defend and then repair those defenses itself. Oh, and I wall in my settlements. One or two ways in and most defenses concentrated on those points.

But you don't need a settlement. Picking any of the factions will give you a home base and storage space. Choosing the Minutemen just gives you one at the earliest opportunity, provided you build it yourself. I have played through the game that way, never building anything other than the one time its necessary and building it in the "settlement" building space about 10 feet away from my faction's main base. It was about the least interesting and shortest play through of FO 4 I attempted. I had way more fun building all the settlements, especially picking the Minutemen as my main faction. Its pretty cool to be able to call in artillery strikes nearly anywhere on the map. Especially south of Boston proper where anywhere I throw a beacon calling down artillery is probably within range of 2 or 3 settlements. Its even funnier to reverse pickpocket an artillery smoke grenade into a target's pocket.
 

Dreiko

Elite Member
Legacy
May 1, 2020
1,688
484
88
CT
Country
usa
Gender
male, pronouns: your majesty/my lord/daddy
Forgot to mention this. Is the base building aspect a requirement to proceed and progress in the main quest or to survive in the wasteland at all?

I cannot ignore it at all even if I'm not doing the main quest?
I think people are really freaking out over "base building" but it's really nothing so grandiose. You just have 4 numbers you have to look at, how many people you have, how much food and water you have, and how secure the place is.

You legit can just randomly place a bunch of turrets here and there and plant some seeds and put some beds in sheltered areas and you're done. The people living there will maintain the place. It takes like 3 minutes. The cool thing about the bases is that you can link your loot storage areas between them so you can access your stored stuff from various locations without needing to travel between them, that and just having a bunch of poor people thank you for helping em, but it's just totally optional. You do it cause it's either helpful or fun.

I dunno why anyone would freak out over this. Even the materials it takes are stuff you need for your guns anyways so you'll be hoarding it either way so it's more like you use what you can spare for a turret here and a bed there as opposed to having to go out of your way to find base materials.

Maybe it's cause the way I play this game is such that I just search every nook and cranny and take everything useful as a matter of course that I never had an issue with this stuff. To me the cost of buffing my base (even the big one you start out at which is very much filled up with stuff) was miniscule compared to something like giving my power armor a jet pack or something to that level.
 
  • Like
Reactions: immortalfrieza

xmbts

Still Approved by Shock
Legacy
Aug 10, 2020
20,796
32
23
Country
United States
In my opinion Fallout 4 is a technically good game, the visuals and quality of the combat are massively improved over the older bethesda era titles. However I feel the narrative is relatively weak and unlike the previous games there aren't an awful lot of interesting side quests to fill the empty space, just a whole lot of "go here and shoot a bunch of dudes". They also spend the early game pushing the town building stuff, which if you enjoy may be a saving grace of the game, personally I wasn't very into it.
 

Agema

You have no authority here, Jackie Weaver
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
6,860
4,006
118
I'll answer that. Other than tutorializing the settlement building (very early on) you only have to build one other thing ever in the game. And whichever path you take to get there will open up "settlement" space you need to build it on. You never need to recruit people to live there or have to defend it. You just have to build one thing and use it once.
I remember I built up the tutorial base, and then turned the Red Rocket garage just to the south into a massive fortification bristling with gun emplacements... but just for me, you understand. I did also try to build a scrap skyscraper, but turns out it wouldn't let me go above three storeys.
 

Kyrian007

Officially no longer the Enemy of the People
Legacy
Apr 6, 2020
2,128
158
68
Kansas
Country
U.S.A.
Gender
Male
I remember I built up the tutorial base, and then turned the Red Rocket garage just to the south into a massive fortification bristling with gun emplacements... but just for me, you understand. I did also try to build a scrap skyscraper, but turns out it wouldn't let me go above three storeys.
Biggest I could ever build (w/o mods) was 5 stories on an apartment building at the Starlight Drive-In, but I had to remove the top floor when I hit the build limit making the shopping mall.
 

SilentPony

Previously known as an alleged "Feather-Rustler"
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
10,791
1,171
118
Corner of No and Where
Morrowind does. The Magistrate that finishes up the character creation for you explicitly tells you that your first order of business should be to go see Caius Cosades in Balmora. Of course, Morrowind being Morrowind means you get only the vaguest of directions as to where Balmora is. The lack of waypoints can really throw you off, especially when you realize that several directions given to you in game are actually wrong. Back in my late teens I did complete Morrowind without using any sort of guide, so I know that it is entirely possible to do so. However, the main quest is long and full of fetch quests as Trunkage says and it is a long, long grind for a pretty meager pay off.
Huh. I believe you, I just don't remember that at all. Maybe I always assumed it was more a blue-sky suggestion or part of more paperwork, not like the critical path to stopping the evil sun god or whatever.
 

happyninja42

Elite Member
Legacy
May 7, 2020
8,577
2,898
118
I remember I built up the tutorial base, and then turned the Red Rocket garage just to the south into a massive fortification bristling with gun emplacements... but just for me, you understand. I did also try to build a scrap skyscraper, but turns out it wouldn't let me go above three storeys.
Biggest I could ever build (w/o mods) was 5 stories on an apartment building at the Starlight Drive-In, but I had to remove the top floor when I hit the build limit making the shopping mall.
Yeah there is one settlement...I forget the name of it, but it's right under/nearby to an overpass, and you can build up pretty damn close to it. You can't actually get up onto the location due to the elevation limit, as best as I recall, but it was pretty cool having that nearby and making a tall building.

My current playthrough of FO4, my main settlement is Starlight Drive In, and I've got a massive turret tower over on the SE corner, on the road leading up to the settlement. Since that's the nearest point where the random encounters will spawn, it gets a lot of work. It's actually really funny to hear the emplacements chime up and start shooting, and get over there, with barely enough time to see whatever it was they just cut down.
 

Asita

Answer Hazy, Ask Again Later
Legacy
Apr 4, 2020
2,865
493
88
Country
USA
Gender
Male
The game really isn't about the main quest, it's like 90% side content, it's more about just exploring the world and finding out cool things about it while having fun adventures and becoming powerful. The plot is just how they kick off the adventure. You can legit play for 200 hours without even touching the main quest.
See, that right there is the problem. The gameplay is the standard "faff about" Bethesda fare. Which is fine on its own, and works as often as not.

Heck, Skyrim had an actual dragon demigod literally trying to usher in the apocalypse, and "faffing about" worked there because you're just kinda thrown into the situation with absolutely no idea of how to actually deal with it. Hell, you don't even know you can deal with it until a few quests after meeting the Greybeards, and even then you're being constantly given contradictory advice on what you actually should do. The Blades want to use you as a weapon to wipe out the dragons, the Greybeards urge pacifism and letting the chips fall as they may. And in the meantime every hold is falling apart due to a variety of issues, not the least of which is that the Imperials and Stormcloaks are in a goddamn civil war which compromises their ability to deal with the dragon threat (which they dismiss as a nuisance), and the Thalmor are undermining everything.

The game structure works in that case because the story is built around it. The Dragonborn is stumbling around blind with their only direction for most of the plot being a vague "stop Alduin" with no idea of where and how the dragon is trying to accomplish his plans, much less what can actually be done to stop them. Moreover, while there's a vague sense of "it's bad that this is happening", there's no real implication that you have to act now; at least no more urgent than the typical "dethrone the usurper king" plotline.

So taking your time and making sure that you leave no stone uncovered works...especially when so many of your expeditions seem to be improving your odds by so frequently helping you stumble across words of power. Even if the nominal point of the quest doesn't reflect on the main plot, your increasing influence and mastery of Shouting creates the illusion that you are still making progress towards your ultimate goal, if only by making small steps that make you more of an equal to the demigod dragon antagonist.

We don't get that in F4. The main plot is that you have a positive ID on the murdering psychopath who killed your spouse and kidnapped your baby. You have a very simple goal, with a very simple solution. You know (or think you know) the who, the how, and the when, you just don't know the where. Looking for answers at Diamond City? That works. Enlisting Nick's help? Absolutely works.

Helping the Minutemen? Stops working by the time it turns into you completely shelving your personal quest to help build up a bunch of bases across the map just to be a good samaritan. Hell, it stops working the moment that the Minutemen - the volunteer militia driven by the desire to protect the innocent and make the commonwealth a safe place again - doesn't ask its people to at least keep an ear to the ground and keep you apprised of any rumors reflecting your story. ...And then we get the player cosplaying as the Silver Shroud to deliver vigilante justice around Goodneighbor? ...I'm sorry, was that originally for a different game? Because pausing your search for your has absolutely terrible implications for the protagonist's sense of priorities.

While we can certainly put forward the argument that Skyrim works more out of dumb luck than deliberate design, the simple fact is still that verisimilitude demands that Fallout 4's main quest have a sense of urgency and focus that Skyrim's didn't. Adding to the frustration is that it's so damn easy to fix. Railroad the player in the first act and cap that off with the player seeming failing. They catch up to Kellogg, they see something that gives them reason to believe that Shaun is dead. Boom. All of a sudden they're rudderless. Through the machinations of fate, everything has been taken from them. Home, world, family, future.

All of a sudden, open world works. The gameplay is not only justified from an in-character perspective now, but mucking about in the barren wasteland of the Commonwealth becomes a practical application of them coping with their despair. Do they rage against the lawless chaos of the world, believing that the only way to prevent more tragedies like that from occurring in the future is to impose order with an iron fist (Brotherhood of Steel)? Do they try to move forward and do what little they can to help others who are trying to cope with this desolate, unforgiving world (Minutemen)?

Do they - and this would require introducing a certain synth child earlier - try to cope by latching onto a synth as a surrogate child and therefore devote themselves to the Railroad? Do they outright deny the reality before them and latch onto the Institute as a way to turn back the clock, deluding themselves that the pristine environs means that nothing bad actually happened?

This practically writes itself! And all I have done to enable it was introduce an early story gut-punch that makes the player feel justified in setting the main quest aside.
 
Last edited:

Dreiko

Elite Member
Legacy
May 1, 2020
1,688
484
88
CT
Country
usa
Gender
male, pronouns: your majesty/my lord/daddy
See, that right there is the problem. The gameplay is the standard "faff about" Bethesda fare. Which is fine on its own, and works as often as not.

Heck, Skyrim had an actual dragon demigod literally trying to usher in the apocalypse, and "faffing about" worked there because you're just kinda thrown into the situation with absolutely no idea of how to actually deal with it. Hell, you don't even know you can deal with it until a few quests after meeting the Greybeards, and even then you're being constantly given contradictory advice on what you actually should do. The Blades want to use you as a weapon to wipe out the dragons, the Greybeards urge pacifism and letting the chips fall as they may. And in the meantime every hold is falling apart due to a variety of issues, not the least of which is that the Imperials and Stormcloaks are in a goddamn civil war which compromises their ability to deal with the dragon threat (which they dismiss as a nuisance), and the Thalmor are undermining everything.

The game structure works in that case because the story is built around it. The Dragonborn is stumbling around blind with their only direction for most of the plot being a vague "stop Alduin" with no idea of where and how the dragon is trying to accomplish his plans, much less what can actually be done to stop them. Moreover, while there's a vague sense of "it's bad that this is happening", there's no real implication that you have to act now; at least no more urgent than the typical "dethrone the usurper king" plotline.

So taking your time and making sure that you leave no stone uncovered works...especially when so many of your expeditions seem to be improving your odds by so frequently helping you stumble across words of power. Even if the nominal point of the quest doesn't reflect on the main plot, your increasing influence and mastery of Shouting creates the illusion that you are still making progress towards your ultimate goal, if only by making small steps that make you more of an equal to the demigod dragon antagonist.

We don't get that in F4. The main plot is that you have a positive ID on the murdering psychopath who killed your spouse and kidnapped your baby. You have a very simple goal, with a very simple solution. You know (or think you know) the who, the how, and the when, you just don't know the where. Looking for answers at Diamond City? That works. Enlisting Nick's help? Absolutely works.

Helping the Minutemen? Stops working by the time it turns into you completely shelving your personal quest to help build up a bunch of bases across the map just to be a good samaritan. Hell, it stops working the moment that the Minutemen - the volunteer militia driven by the desire to protect the innocent and make the commonwealth a safe place again - doesn't ask its people to at least keep an ear to the ground and keep you apprised of any rumors reflecting your story. ...And then we get the player cosplaying as the Silver Shroud to deliver vigilante justice around Goodneighbor? ...I'm sorry, was that originally for a different game? Because pausing your search for your has absolutely terrible implications for the protagonist's sense of priorities.

While we can certainly put forward the argument that Skyrim works more out of dumb luck than deliberate design, the simple fact is still that verisimilitude demands that Fallout 4's main quest have a sense of urgency and focus that Skyrim's didn't. Adding to the frustration is that it's so damn easy to fix. Railroad the player in the first act and cap that off with the player seeming failing. They catch up to Kellogg, they see something that gives them reason to believe that Shaun is dead. Boom. All of a sudden they're rudderless. Through the machinations of fate, everything has been taken from them. Home, world, family, future.

All of a sudden, open world works. The gameplay is not only justified from an in-character perspective now, but mucking about in the barren wasteland of the Commonwealth becomes a practical application of them coping with their despair. Do they rage against the lawless chaos of the world, believing that the only way to prevent more tragedies like that from occurring in the future is to impose order with an iron fist (Brotherhood of Steel)? Do they try to move forward and do what little they can to help others who are trying to cope with this desolate, unforgiving world (Minutemen)?

Do they - and this would require introducing a certain synth child earlier - try to cope by latching onto a synth as a surrogate child and therefore devote themselves to the Railroad? Do they outright deny the reality before them and latch onto the Institute as a way to turn back the clock, deluding themselves that the pristine environs means that nothing bad actually happened?

This practically writes itself! And all I have done to enable it was introduce an early story gut-punch that makes the player feel justified in setting the main quest aside.
I think that's mainly due to the thematic differences between an epic fantasy adventure and a post apocalyptic survival story. In fallout just surviving is kind of an achievement to itself, even the water is trying to kill you, so it lends itself to different sorts of storytelling and themes. Skyrim just does the typical fantasy rpg thing while tossing in open area elements and dragon raids.


And hey the silver shroud cosplay even came with unique batman-sounding quotes, that was prolly some of the best storytelling in the game lol. I wish everything had this much personality.
 

Gethsemani

Hardcore Feminazi
Legacy
Apr 5, 2020
1,201
1,006
118
Country
Sweden
While we can certainly put forward the argument that Skyrim works more out of dumb luck than deliberate design, the simple fact is still that verisimilitude demands that Fallout 4's main quest have a sense of urgency and focus that Skyrim's didn't. Adding to the frustration is that it's so damn easy to fix. Railroad the player in the first act and cap that off with the player seeming failing. They catch up to Kellogg, they see something that gives them reason to believe that Shaun is dead. Boom. All of a sudden they're rudderless. Through the machinations of fate, everything has been taken from them. Home, world, family, future.
Skyrim also works because the game never tells you what the Dragonborn feels about anything in the main plot. It is really easy to envision an unwilling or cynical Dragonborn who refuses the call of duty and is just happy to have not had their head chopped off by an executioner and thus faffs about Skyrim doing whatever it is they do. Similarly, you can envision a Dragonborn who takes the whole thing really seriously and never veers off the main quest until it is fully resolved.

With Fallout 4, the game repeatedly hammers home that the PC wants their baby back and that it is their overriding concern. It causes a massive ludonarrative dissonance that can't be easily resolved. The ideal solution would have been to not focus the main story on something so deeply personal and traumatizing as the abduction of one's child. A much better solution would have been to ditch the Shaun angle entirely and instead have Kellogg take some samples from the PC themselves (and then make the Institute leader a clone of the PC!). Finding out why this dude jammed you with a syringe while cackling like a maniac is much less low key and takes the pressure off.
 

happyninja42

Elite Member
Legacy
May 7, 2020
8,577
2,898
118
See, that right there is the problem. The gameplay is the standard "faff about" Bethesda fare. Which is fine on its own, and works as often as not.
Massive, open world, sandbox games, with a distinct lack of narrative drive, and tons of ways to be distracted by side content, is hardly unique to bethesda. The "faff about" syndrome is pretty much baked into any massive game with a huge map, and tons of side stuff in it, that has nothing to do with the main plot. Witcher 3 was fucking horrible for this.
 

Asita

Answer Hazy, Ask Again Later
Legacy
Apr 4, 2020
2,865
493
88
Country
USA
Gender
Male
And hey the silver shroud cosplay even came with unique batman-sounding quotes, that was prolly some of the best storytelling in the game lol. I wish everything had this much personality.
Granted. I found it absolutely hilarious that the survivor could go full ham on it, even as thugs were calling them out on being a delusional cosplayer. I liked having the survivor keep up the act until the last bit of negotiation when rescuing Kent, only to switch to a cold and deadly in the last dialogue choice to make Sinjin's gang soil their pants. Takes a bit of save-scumming and quick reflexes to save Kent if you do that, but man is it cathartic.

With that said, my point is that in the context of the story it doesn't make sense for someone desperately searching for their kid to think that helping Kent live out his fanboy dreams by proxy was a good use of their time.

Massive, open world, sandbox games, with a distinct lack of narrative drive, and tons of ways to be distracted by side content, is hardly unique to bethesda. The "faff about" syndrome is pretty much baked into any massive game with a huge map, and tons of side stuff in it, that has nothing to do with the main plot. Witcher 3 was fucking horrible for this.
Also granted. I describe it as "faff about" Bethesda fare not because only Bethesda does it, but because Fallout 4 is a Bethesda game whose structure is reasonably typical of Bethesda's "faff-about" (or pseudo-sandbox) philosophy towards open world design.
 

happyninja42

Elite Member
Legacy
May 7, 2020
8,577
2,898
118
Also granted. I describe it as "faff about" Bethesda fare not because only Bethesda does it, but because Fallout 4 is a Bethesda game whose structure is reasonably typical of Bethesda's "faff-about" (or pseudo-sandbox) philosophy towards open world design.
What I find strange, is that I don't really see it with that game. I mean yeah, you CAN just fuck around and ignore the storyline stuff all you want. But it's not only there, and very direct in it's progression, but how you go about accomplishing it, can take one of...what, 4 different forms? Depending on which faction you side with.

I mean, yes, when a player actively decides to NOT engage with the plot....then yes...they aren't doing the plot...but it's not like it's just absent from the game. The fact that they also included a lot of other stuff that players find fun to do, and can in fact find HOURS and HOURS of enjoyment doing....how is that a bad thing? I mean it's not like the game doesn't tell you where to go next with the story. It's the first series of quests you get. The fact that the player actively lets themselves get sidetracked...isn't really a problem of the game. Now, whether you find the motivating drive (find Sean) to be compelling, that's another issue, and a valid one I'll admit. But it's not like the game just leaves you lost in the woods. You've got a very specific quest thread from start to finish, for the narrative, with a few branching paths in Act 2, where you decide which faction to help you finish the story. But it's still all there. You don't HAVE to go be a city builder for 100+ hours, you choose to do that.

So I don't really see it as a problem really.
 
  • Like
Reactions: immortalfrieza

Drathnoxis

Artificial Person
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
3,603
445
88
Country
Canada
Gender
Male
See, that right there is the problem. The gameplay is the standard "faff about" Bethesda fare. Which is fine on its own, and works as often as not.

Heck, Skyrim had an actual dragon demigod literally trying to usher in the apocalypse, and "faffing about" worked there because you're just kinda thrown into the situation with absolutely no idea of how to actually deal with it. Hell, you don't even know you can deal with it until a few quests after meeting the Greybeards, and even then you're being constantly given contradictory advice on what you actually should do. The Blades want to use you as a weapon to wipe out the dragons, the Greybeards urge pacifism and letting the chips fall as they may. And in the meantime every hold is falling apart due to a variety of issues, not the least of which is that the Imperials and Stormcloaks are in a goddamn civil war which compromises their ability to deal with the dragon threat (which they dismiss as a nuisance), and the Thalmor are undermining everything.

The game structure works in that case because the story is built around it. The Dragonborn is stumbling around blind with their only direction for most of the plot being a vague "stop Alduin" with no idea of where and how the dragon is trying to accomplish his plans, much less what can actually be done to stop them. Moreover, while there's a vague sense of "it's bad that this is happening", there's no real implication that you have to act now; at least no more urgent than the typical "dethrone the usurper king" plotline.

So taking your time and making sure that you leave no stone uncovered works...especially when so many of your expeditions seem to be improving your odds by so frequently helping you stumble across words of power. Even if the nominal point of the quest doesn't reflect on the main plot, your increasing influence and mastery of Shouting creates the illusion that you are still making progress towards your ultimate goal, if only by making small steps that make you more of an equal to the demigod dragon antagonist.

We don't get that in F4. The main plot is that you have a positive ID on the murdering psychopath who killed your spouse and kidnapped your baby. You have a very simple goal, with a very simple solution. You know (or think you know) the who, the how, and the when, you just don't know the where. Looking for answers at Diamond City? That works. Enlisting Nick's help? Absolutely works.

Helping the Minutemen? Stops working by the time it turns into you completely shelving your personal quest to help build up a bunch of bases across the map just to be a good samaritan. Hell, it stops working the moment that the Minutemen - the volunteer militia driven by the desire to protect the innocent and make the commonwealth a safe place again - doesn't ask its people to at least keep an ear to the ground and keep you apprised of any rumors reflecting your story. ...And then we get the player cosplaying as the Silver Shroud to deliver vigilante justice around Goodneighbor? ...I'm sorry, was that originally for a different game? Because pausing your search for your has absolutely terrible implications for the protagonist's sense of priorities.

While we can certainly put forward the argument that Skyrim works more out of dumb luck than deliberate design, the simple fact is still that verisimilitude demands that Fallout 4's main quest have a sense of urgency and focus that Skyrim's didn't. Adding to the frustration is that it's so damn easy to fix. Railroad the player in the first act and cap that off with the player seeming failing. They catch up to Kellogg, they see something that gives them reason to believe that Shaun is dead. Boom. All of a sudden they're rudderless. Through the machinations of fate, everything has been taken from them. Home, world, family, future.

All of a sudden, open world works. The gameplay is not only justified from an in-character perspective now, but mucking about in the barren wasteland of the Commonwealth becomes a practical application of them coping with their despair. Do they rage against the lawless chaos of the world, believing that the only way to prevent more tragedies like that from occurring in the future is to impose order with an iron fist (Brotherhood of Steel)? Do they try to move forward and do what little they can to help others who are trying to cope with this desolate, unforgiving world (Minutemen)?

Do they - and this would require introducing a certain synth child earlier - try to cope by latching onto a synth as a surrogate child and therefore devote themselves to the Railroad? Do they outright deny the reality before them and latch onto the Institute as a way to turn back the clock, deluding themselves that the pristine environs means that nothing bad actually happened?

This practically writes itself! And all I have done to enable it was introduce an early story gut-punch that makes the player feel justified in setting the main quest aside.
The Skyrim main plot does actually have quite a bit of pacing issues as well. You can get a little overview of the problem from the first several minutes of this Super Bunnyhop video:


You can definitely see the same lack of comprehension about what the structure of a story in an open world game should be. There is far too much urgency linking the quests when the player is likely to just go screwing around for hours rather than getting to such and such a place immediately.
 

immortalfrieza

Elite Member
Legacy
May 2, 2020
2,047
75
53
Country
USA
What I find strange, is that I don't really see it with that game. I mean yeah, you CAN just fuck around and ignore the storyline stuff all you want. But it's not only there, and very direct in it's progression, but how you go about accomplishing it, can take one of...what, 4 different forms? Depending on which faction you side with.

I mean, yes, when a player actively decides to NOT engage with the plot....then yes...they aren't doing the plot...but it's not like it's just absent from the game. The fact that they also included a lot of other stuff that players find fun to do, and can in fact find HOURS and HOURS of enjoyment doing....how is that a bad thing? I mean it's not like the game doesn't tell you where to go next with the story. It's the first series of quests you get. The fact that the player actively lets themselves get sidetracked...isn't really a problem of the game. Now, whether you find the motivating drive (find Sean) to be compelling, that's another issue, and a valid one I'll admit. But it's not like the game just leaves you lost in the woods. You've got a very specific quest thread from start to finish, for the narrative, with a few branching paths in Act 2, where you decide which faction to help you finish the story. But it's still all there. You don't HAVE to go be a city builder for 100+ hours, you choose to do that.

So I don't really see it as a problem really.
The actual problem is that people like Asita are missing the point. "Faffing about," Asita puts it, is the entire point of the game. The main quest is an excuse plot, a reason you are there in the wasteland, just like stopping Aldun/Dagon/Finding your father/getting back the Platinum Chip/etc. The main quest was never going to be particularly involved or engaging because it's not why the game exists. If that's what whoever is picking up Fallout 4 is looking for go play a Final Fantasy game or a Persona game or a Tales game or any number of other video games that is a lot less open with a tight engaging plot that most of the game is built around addressing in some fashion. Anyone who actually complains about the main quest of any open world game and actually considers that to be an actual legitimate criticism are just looking for any reason to hate on the game.

Besides, aside from about an hour of freaking out, Shawn and your spouse are very very rarely so much as mentioned in the game unless you're going through the main quest itself, and that's the way it should be. The game is about the story that the player builds, and you can't do that if everyone and everything you come across is basically screaming at you GO DO THE MAIN QUEST ALREADY!!!