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

happyninja42

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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!!!
I mostly agree, though I do think it is a bit of a problem, for ANY open game, to try and set up a dramatic, tense, nail biting type of narrative....and then weave it into this massive tapestry of other stuff, and expect anyone to be very engaged in it. I mean I love FO 4, don't get me wrong, but I DO agree that the "quick! go find your son!" is terribly structured. But it's not unique to bethesda, and is just a problem of pretty much any open world game of a similar design. Whenever a game has some tense dramatic event happen (usually in a cutscene to control the flow), and then dumps the player into the open world again, with control, but no actual in game motivation to fucking hurry up...yeah plenty of people are just going to go faff about. And that IS a problem in the overall tone. It would be better, if the games are designed this way, to have a "main plot" , but to leave it open to the player to do it/or not at their own pace, to not make it anything at all time sensitive. Or something that would actually be way more compelling for someone who gave a shit. Or, actually apply a timer. If the game is telling you "you have to handle this now or bad things will happen." show that in the game. Have a timer, make some actual tension for the player, not the MC. Because that's where the motivation really needs to be, to make it happen in the game.

The first Deus Ex game...well, the reboot one, Human Revolution, did something like this, and it was great. The devs actually considered the fact, that most players, even when told by an NPC "let's go! time's wasting! lives are on the line!" they will just respond with "Yeah yeah, whatevs, nothing will happen until I trigger it." And then spend tons of time in the opening area, just being nosey. So, they actually took that into account, for the hostage situation in the opening sequence. If you take too long at Seraph Industries when the game first loads up (after your augmentation), the hostages will die, and your boss (who has been yelling at you to fucking hurry up), will chew you out even more, for just letting the people die. If more games did stuff like that, or just didn't try and put anything time sensitive in them at all, it would be an improvement overall I think.
 

Trunkage

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Guys. The 'quick find Shawn' thing is tempered by the fact that you are literally stopped finding Shawn. You cant randomly find Shawn. You have to go to the institute which is completely blocked off from the rest of the world. You can have all the urgency in the world but you can never reach him. You can search the whole map and never find him.
 

Agema

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The first Deus Ex game...well, the reboot one, Human Revolution, did something like this, and it was great. The devs actually considered the fact, that most players, even when told by an NPC "let's go! time's wasting! lives are on the line!" they will just respond with "Yeah yeah, whatevs, nothing will happen until I trigger it." And then spend tons of time in the opening area, just being nosey. So, they actually took that into account, for the hostage situation in the opening sequence. If you take too long at Seraph Industries when the game first loads up (after your augmentation), the hostages will die, and your boss (who has been yelling at you to fucking hurry up), will chew you out even more, for just letting the people die. If more games did stuff like that, or just didn't try and put anything time sensitive in them at all, it would be an improvement overall I think.
I think the moment I realised just how much the devs had thought about in Deus Ex was the point where you meet the very sick Paul Denton, and he tells you to run before the tooled-up hit squad comes to delete him (and you if you are there). I did as I was told, trained by the million other games where nothing would happen until you obeyed instructions and moved on. But then on my second playthrough, I thought I'd see if the hit squad did arrive if I just waited. They did arrive... and I killed them. Thus rescued Paul, in almost total contravention of what I was used to from those sorts of games. It felt genuinely... liberating.
 

Asita

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The actual problem is that people like Asita are missing the point. "Faffing about," Asita puts it, is the entire point of the game.
Ok, first of all, "people like me"? If you're going to condescend to me, at least have the goddamn courtesy to actually engage with me and argue your point directly rather than just dismissing me as some kind of ilk of your imagining.

Second, I rather fear that it is instead you who missed my point. I'm not complaining that the plot isn't involved or engaging. I'm saying that it's a poor choice for an excuse plot for reasons of verisimilitude. It's a problem of Gameplay and Story Segregation or - to use the more technical term Geth did - Ludonarrative Dissonance. I do not expect it to be some epic yarn, I just expect that the structure of the game and narrative play nice with each other rather than butt heads.

To use an example that I think did this really well, let's look at Mass Effect 2. Your pressing goal is stopping the Collectors, but they attack sporadically and seemingly randomly, so you come up with the plan of hitting them at their apparent home turf. Problem is, that is by all accounts a suicide mission. So the entire game is about making damn sure that you're ready for that fight and have everyone's affairs in order in case you fail. So exploring and prioritizing side missions works in that context as unless the Collectors are attacking a colony (which is difficult to catch in the act), you can't do much except try to prepare for that final push. A few of the characters even point out that in order to have any chance of succeeding, the SR2 needs to be as tricked out as possible and Shepard's team needs to be 100% focused. So Shepard should make sure that they don't have any unfinished business to distract them. The plot is important, but not immediately dire. And the story tries to drive it home that rushing into a suicide mission before everyone is good and ready will do more harm than good.

Cue then the final act where you finally get the tool that you need to make that jump. You install the IFF, and a few missions later the Collectors come and kidnap your crew, and there's no points for guessing that they probably aren't going to be doing nice things to them. Now, you can still do whatever the hell you want after this. The map is still wide open and you aren't disadvantaged for the loss of your crew. In fact, if you haven't already done all the loyalty missions you'd actually be hobbling yourself by rushing in. However, this also marks the point where going through the Omega-3 Relay becomes your primary objective, you can do it immediately, and its the point where Shepard declares the intent to get their people back, ushering the climax of the story. You don't have to do it just yet, but the game strongly encourages you to. Moreover, the longer you wait (measured in completed missions between the abduction and start of the Suicide Mission), the more of your crew dies.

And that right there is what I mean. The story and the gameplay are complimentary to each other. The abduction of your crew at a time when Shepard is actually capable of retaliating should confer a sense of urgency in needing to rescue your people. The game reflects this in that if you don't make it a priority, your people will die.

Hell, the damn point of my post was that icing on the cake was that - because my problem with the main plot in FO4 was one of perceived urgency (or rather, the lack of such urgency), it was also something that was incredibly easy to fix. Literally all I did was suggest the addition of one scene, the entire purpose of which was to eliminate the urgency of "my baby is missing and I have to find him now". Everything after that was just me pointing out that the proposed change also had the fringe benefit of also fostering a stronger metanarrative in the interactions with the factions. Just from adding one scene early in the story to close out the first act and remove that initial sense of urgency. The point was that the problem is so damn easy to rectify. If the point of the game is to be a sandbox, it behooves the excuse plot to feel like something you can address at your leisure rather than something that should feel urgent but isn't treated as such. Toss in a scene that removes that sense of urgency? Boom, problem solved.
 
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Samtemdo8

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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.
Regarding the Morrowind thing

They tell you to take the Silt Strider which is that giant fuck off bug making a bellowing sound and it transport you to Balmora.
And choosing not that it explains to you where Balmora is by direction, take the east road then North, following the signs, etc.

The text dialoge is quite clear in giving you direction. I don't know why people keeping making this out as directions in this game is very vague.
 

sXeth

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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.

Eh, he left out the fact that you go visit Caius Cosades and the next step is basically Caius saying "You're a f-ing noob, go do sidequests". IIRC to get the next bit from him you had to rank up with the Blades and that would actuallly need ranks in skills that you may or may not have depending on your charatcer.
 

Trunkage

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Ok, first of all, "people like me"? If you're going to condescend to me, at least have the goddamn courtesy to actually engage with me and argue your point directly rather than just dismissing me as some kind of ilk of your imagining.

Second, I rather fear that it is instead you who missed my point. I'm not complaining that the plot isn't involved or engaging. I'm saying that it's a poor choice for an excuse plot for reasons of verisimilitude. It's a problem of Gameplay and Story Segregation or - to use the more technical term Geth did - Ludonarrative Dissonance. I do not expect it to be some epic yarn, I just expect that the structure of the game and narrative play nice with each other rather than butt heads.

To use an example that I think did this really well, let's look at Mass Effect 2. Your pressing goal is stopping the Collectors, but they attack sporadically and seemingly randomly, so you come up with the plan of hitting them at their apparent home turf. Problem is, that is by all accounts a suicide mission. So the entire game is about making damn sure that you're ready for that fight and have everyone's affairs in order in case you fail. So exploring and prioritizing side missions works in that context as unless the Collectors are attacking a colony (which is difficult to catch in the act), you can't do much except try to prepare for that final push. A few of the characters even point out that in order to have any chance of succeeding, the SR2 needs to be as tricked out as possible and Shepard's team needs to be 100% focused. So Shepard should make sure that they don't have any unfinished business to distract them. The plot is important, but not immediately dire. And the story tries to drive it home that rushing into a suicide mission before everyone is good and ready will do more harm than good.

Cue then the final act where you finally get the tool that you need to make that jump. You install the IFF, and a few missions later the Collectors come and kidnap your crew, and there's no points for guessing that they probably aren't going to be doing nice things to them. Now, you can still do whatever the hell you want after this. The map is still wide open and you aren't disadvantaged for the loss of your crew. In fact, if you haven't already done all the loyalty missions you'd actually be hobbling yourself by rushing in. However, this also marks the point where going through the Omega-3 Relay becomes your primary objective, you can do it immediately, and its the point where Shepard declares the intent to get their people back, ushering the climax of the story. You don't have to do it just yet, but the game strongly encourages you to. Moreover, the longer you wait (measured in completed missions between the abduction and start of the Suicide Mission), the more of your crew dies.

And that right there is what I mean. The story and the gameplay are complimentary to each other. The abduction of your crew at a time when Shepard is actually capable of retaliating should confer a sense of urgency in needing to rescue your people. The game reflects this in that if you don't make it a priority, your people will die.

Hell, the damn point of my post was that icing on the cake was that - because my problem with the main plot in FO4 was one of perceived urgency (or rather, the lack of such urgency), it was also something that was incredibly easy to fix. Literally all I did was suggest the addition of one scene, the entire purpose of which was to eliminate the urgency of "my baby is missing and I have to find him now". Everything after that was just me pointing out that the proposed change also had the fringe benefit of also fostering a stronger metanarrative in the interactions with the factions. Just from adding one scene early in the story to close out the first act and remove that initial sense of urgency. The point was that the problem is so damn easy to rectify. If the point of the game is to be a sandbox, it behooves the excuse plot to feel like something you can address at your leisure rather than something that should feel urgent but isn't treated as such. Toss in a scene that removes that sense of urgency? Boom, problem solved.
Are you serious? Asking a parent not to care about their kid?

Im going to say this again. You literally cannot find your baby. It is impossible. You can only do it through the main quest. The urgency can be there all it wants but you cannot find him. You can search URGENTLY across the whole map and not find a clue. You have to pass through a series of gates to find him.

Pretending its fake urgency is nonsense. If you want the game not to make it urgent for your own personal reasons. Eg. You don't want it to be urgent. Cool. The game give you that urgency KNOWING you cannot fulfill on it until you fill a certain criteria.

Bringing up ME2, which has no urgency, makes your point worse. Like, if your the illusive man actually worried about this, why is he only sending one ship to attack the collectors. Send a whole god damn fleet, even if it's just to screen the Normandy. Why the fuck would be make you be responsible for bringing team members on when he's got a galaxy spanning empire. That seems like a waate of time. Why would he send you to get the IFF. Send in some chaff, otherwise that you team might die. Why the fuck isnt the Normandy surrounded by a fleet as its upgraded? Clearly the illusive man doesn't take the threat seriously
 

Trunkage

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Eh, he left out the fact that you go visit Caius Cosades and the next step is basically Caius saying "You're a f-ing noob, go do sidequests". IIRC to get the next bit from him you had to rank up with the Blades and that would actuallly need ranks in skills that you may or may not have depending on your charatcer.
Yeah. I dont know how I feel about this. Great forces you to explore... also don't worry about that bad guy. Clearly its unimportant and doesn't have plans
 

Asita

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Are you serious? Asking a parent not to care about their kid?

Im going to say this again. You literally cannot find your baby. It is impossible. You can only do it through the main quest. The urgency can be there all it wants but you cannot find him. You can search URGENTLY across the whole map and not find a clue. You have to pass through a series of gates to find him.

Pretending its fake urgency is nonsense. If you want the game not to make it urgent for your own personal reasons. Eg. You don't want it to be urgent. Cool. The game give you that urgency KNOWING you cannot fulfill on it until you fill a certain criteria.

Bringing up ME2, which has no urgency, makes your point worse. Like, if your the illusive man actually worried about this, why is he only sending one ship to attack the collectors. Send a whole god damn fleet, even if it's just to screen the Normandy. Why the fuck would be make you be responsible for bringing team members on when he's got a galaxy spanning empire. That seems like a waate of time. Why would he send you to get the IFF. Send in some chaff, otherwise that you team might die. Why the fuck isnt the Normandy surrounded by a fleet as its upgraded? Clearly the illusive man doesn't take the threat seriously
*rubs eyes* Trunk? If that is your reaction, I think you need to refamiliarize yourself with the context of this conversation. I am aware of what happened to Shaun. I've played the damn game. Hell, my first post in this thread had me quipping that they couldn't have telegraphed any harder that years had passed between Shaun's kidnapping and the Survivor's defrosting "even if they'd used an actual semaphore". That is not and has never been my point. If you believe otherwise, please reread my earlier posts.

Let me recap: My first post in this thread (post 17, if you're curious) offered a variation on Dirty Hipsters' comment that the character motivation was difficult to connect to. My variation was that the motivation was fine in principle but that it felt like the main plot was divorced from the rest of the game, saying that open world sandbox is a terrible match for a motivation so likely to give the character tunnel vision. I further noted that this disconnect also extends to the decision to include romanceable companions as from the protagonist's perspective they had only just lost their loving spouse. Gist being that there was a severe divorce between the main plotline and the game they wanted to make. The main point of which was - to quote - "it's not that I don't care about finding the baby, it's that the game seems to be trying its damnedest to convince me that I shouldn't care because evidently the protagonist doesn't."

My next post echoed this, responding to the comment "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.". I pointed out that that was exactly the problem I was talking about, that "someone took my baby" makes for a terrible 'excuse plot' to ignore, because verisimilitude demands that be treated as an all-consuming motivator. That it doesn't make sense for a character to be so easily sidetracked when they wholeheartedly believe that their infant child had only just been taken away from them. My point here was that the motive comes packaged with a sense of urgency that clashes with the intended sidequest-centric gameplay and that it should have found a way to address that early in the game.

My suggestion for that - what you mischaracterize above as "asking a parent not to care about their kid" - was to railroad the player in the first act and then - when they confront Kellogg - make them believe that they failed, that Shaun was dead. Not 'asking a parent not to care about their kid', but making them live every parent's worst nightmare. At that point (with the sense of urgency gone, via the implication that it was a subplot that ended) the world opens up and the now rudderless player has to find their own meaning in a desolate open world until they get to the point in the main story where they learn that it wasn't Shaun they found. That that would bridge the gap between the story and the gameplay.

And you completely miss my point about ME2. You'll note I never once spoke about Cerberus or the Illusive man, because frankly they aren't relevant to what I'm trying to convey. The point was how the gameplay and story meshed together. The Collectors are a clear and present threat, but they're inconsistent enough and small enough in scope that they don't need to be (and indeed can't be) dealt with immediately. Consequentially, mucking about on side-quests doesn't feel like a dereliction of duty. Heck, it's basically made explicit that everything you're doing is for the sake of gathering resources and assets to better prepare for the final mission. Going through the Omega-4 Relay and dealing with the Collectors is an important goal, but not an urgent one. It doesn't become an urgent goal until your crew is kidnapped, a which point, your crew will slowly be killed off if you don't make rescuing them a gameplay priority. The point of the example is that the game knew how to make the story and gameplay to work in tandem.
 
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Gethsemani

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Regarding the Morrowind thing

They tell you to take the Silt Strider which is that giant fuck off bug making a bellowing sound and it transport you to Balmora.
And choosing not that it explains to you where Balmora is by direction, take the east road then North, following the signs, etc.

The text dialoge is quite clear in giving you direction. I don't know why people keeping making this out as directions in this game is very vague.
Yeah, I had totally forgotten about the Silt Strider advice (probably because I was always too cheap to pay for it that early in the game). And yes, in the case of Balmora the directions are pretty clear, which isn't the case in a lot of later quests. A part of the problem is also that there are no clear distance units in game and they never get mentioned, which leads to vagueness like "near", "a bit down the road" etc..
 

immortalfrieza

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Ok, first of all, "people like me"? If you're going to condescend to me, at least have the goddamn courtesy to actually engage with me and argue your point directly rather than just dismissing me as some kind of ilk of your imagining.
"People like you" when there's a lot of people like you in this very thread even who are all doing the same thing, in this case the type of person who complains about an element of something that is not only incredibly insignificant but is very obviously so. It's something inherent to all open world games like Fallout 4. I'll state it again: The Main Plot is irrelevant and always has been. It is just there to give you enough reason to get started. Anyone who actually puts any thought into the Main Plot of a game like Fallout 4 at all is missing the point much like you are. The urgency you spoke of quickly falls off once you get out of the vault and find Preston because it's never been why you are there. You want a more involved Main Plot? Pick up some other game.

You use Mass Effect 2 as an example of what they could've done, which is a horrible example because Mass Effect 2 is NOT an open world game by any stretch. Nothing that you do outside of story missions is strictly required by it's Main Plot but it does benefit it. With very few exceptions the whole reason you're flying around scanning random planets and doing sidequests is in service to the Main Plot in some way. "Faffling about" as you put it is not what Mass Effect 2 is about. "Faffing about" in Fallout 4 IS what the game is about.
 

Gethsemani

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"People like you" when there's a lot of people like you in this very thread even who are all doing the same thing, in this case the type of person who complains about an element of something that is not only incredibly insignificant but is very obviously so. It's something inherent to all open world games like Fallout 4. I'll state it again: The Main Plot is irrelevant and always has been. It is just there to give you enough reason to get started. Anyone who actually puts any thought into the Main Plot of a game like Fallout 4 at all is missing the point much like you are. The urgency you spoke of quickly falls off once you get out of the vault and find Preston because it's never been why you are there. You want a more involved Main Plot? Pick up some other game.
You mean people like the Developers of the game? Because they obviously put a lot of time, energy and thought into their main story. They took the time to hire a full voice cast, set up branching questlines with different cut off points and requirements for unlocking/locking and even made four(!) different versions of the final quests (which in turn involves 2-3 different penultimate quests per faction) depending on which faction you sided with. They designed an intro around making you care for Nate/Nora and baby Shaun and has the early game be a constant reinforcement of how important that main quest is. If it was irrelevant it would not have consumed such an obviously huge part of the games resources, nor would they have tied an entire location (The Institute) and several side quests (the Minutemen, BoS, Railroad and Institute ones) to Main Plot progression.

Some people, like me, might not buy a Bethesda game for the Main Plot. We are there to faff around in an open world and eventually get around to whatever the story is. But to say that the Main Plot is irrelevant is silly. It obviously isn't, it is intended to be the core part of the experience for a lot of players. That some of us postpone it forever doesn't make it irrelevant, it means that different types of players approach the game in different ways. But since Bethesda has made it such an obvious centerpiece it is entirely legitimate to criticize how it doesn't mesh with the rest of the game and is at odds with the fundamental gameplay design of Bethesda games, which is all about constantly providing distractions and new trails of breadcrumbs to follow.
 

Terminal Blue

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So, my general feeling is that from the very beginning the Bethesda Fallout games have kind of been their own thing. Fallout was the product of a very particular group of people who worked at Black Isle in the late 90s, and who had a very particular vision. Many of those people also worked at Obsidian and made New Vegas. Bethesda Fallout is not just a very different series, it has a completely different vision and in my opinion a much shallower and less interesting vision.

That said, Fallout 4 is kind of the high point of Bethesda Fallout, in that it's viscerally fun to play and has an interesting gameplay loop which is compelling and was enough to keep me playing. However, as a Fallout game, as a story driven roleplaying game set in the Fallout universe, it fails completely, and it's sad because I feel like Bethesda was actually trying this time. They actually came up with their own factions, and they clearly tried to have themes and an immersive story. It just doesn't work because the factions they came up with are like everything Bethesda writes, weird LARPers who don't really seem to belong in this world and have incredibly poorly defined motivations, and the main story is kind of nonsensical and hinges on a twist that was played out and obvious.

There are things I absolutely love about Fallout 4. The city is beautiful, and I love that you have to navigate through it by using landmarks because you can't always walk in a straight line to your next objective like a zombie. I like the base building and I actually wish it was a bit more complex, but then I'm weird like that. I love the weapon customization, because it basically does what weapon durability was supposed to do in previous games but in a way that's actually fun. I like power armour being a thing you have to really specialize in or use sparingly but which radically changes your gameplay while using it.

But overall, it's kind of its own thing now and that thing is fundamentally less interesting to me.

I mean, if you want a really clear cut example of Bethesda not understanding Fallout. Here's a seemingly obvious question. Which decade of real world recent history is Fallout's aesthetic most inspired by?
 
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Gethsemani

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I mean, if you want a really clear cut example of Bethesda not understanding Fallout. Here's a seemingly obvious question. Which decade of real world recent history is Fallout's aesthetic most inspired by?
I think Bethesda understands Fallout, at least to some degree. But they never had the inclination to jump on the 80's/90's pulp aesthetic, cold war fears and Peak Oil issues that Fallout 1/2 were mostly inspired by. Bethesda wanted to take the 50's aesthetic of the game world and run wild with that and I think that was a good choice considering how out of favor the 80's pulp look is today and how corny it tends to look when put into 3d and not isometric.

At its core I think Bethesda understands that the core of Fallout is the message that human greed and xenophobia locks us into cycles of violence. Both Fallout 3 and 4 have that as principle themes. Whether Bethesda understood and dropped or simply failed to get the aesthetic and thematic inspirations of Fo1/2 is debatable, but it is obvious that they set out to remake Fallout in their own vision and not just ape what BI had done before. Then they decided to appeal to old fans by including a lot of stuff that should have been left out, like Super Mutants, the BoS etc., and muddied the water significantly.
 

Terminal Blue

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I think Bethesda understands Fallout, at least to some degree. But they never had the inclination to jump on the 80's/90's pulp aesthetic, cold war fears and Peak Oil issues that Fallout 1/2 were mostly inspired by. Bethesda wanted to take the 50's aesthetic of the game world and run wild with that and I think that was a good choice considering how out of favor the 80's pulp look is today and how corny it tends to look when put into 3d and not isometric.
I mean, I agree in part, except that there's one problem.

I don't think the aesthetic of the game world is actually 1950s.

It's a weird mixture of early 20th century cultural references, but the dominant influence is the 1940s. There are occasional 50s elements. A lot of the Vault-Tec propaganda is clearly referencing 1950s domestic propaganda films. The cars look like 1950s cars. The song that opens Fallout 2 is from 1951. But the buildings are all weird exaggerated art deco monstrosities. We see war propaganda everywhere. The film effect on televisions is reminiscent of a newsreel with dialogue cards. The song that opens Fallout 1 is a very 1940s song.

The defining feature of the old world in Fallout 1 and 2 was the ongoing war. It wasn't a happy 1950s suburban utopia, it was a very cruel wartime society where hard choices were being made. We later find out that the old world was ruled by literal fascists who engineered the destruction of the entire world just to satisfy their insane ideology.

New Vegas, without falling prey to the dated 90s conventions overly much, at the very least understands all these cultural references. The people who are reminiscent of the old world in New Vegas aren't all 1950s LARPers, but run the gamut of cultural reference points found in the old world. The NCR wears world war 2 style uniforms and uses world war 2 style propaganda, but in a way that's functional and clearly a product of their own circumstances rather than just being a reference for the sake of reference. Mr. House is a weird Ayn Randian 1920s man, and you can tell a lot about him because of it. It's not all swing dresses and drive in movie theatres and baseball, and the pre-war world is not a happy place where everyone wants to live.
 
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Agema

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The main point of which was - to quote - "it's not that I don't care about finding the baby, it's that the game seems to be trying its damnedest to convince me that I shouldn't care because evidently the protagonist doesn't."
Yes.

I think as someone pointed out, sandboxes don't mesh well with strong central quests. It is a difficult balance providing a motivation for a player to do something and then letting them do something different, and it's wider even than that you are provided too strong a central motivation for the gameplay to support. You can play Fallout 4 as a total jerk. But the game hsort of railroads you at several points into your character not being a total jerk, so there's a disconnect between the cutscene narrative and how you can then play the game.

I think Bethesda understands Fallout, at least to some degree.
...
At its core I think Bethesda understands that the core of Fallout is the message that human greed and xenophobia locks us into cycles of violence. Both Fallout 3 and 4 have that as principle themes. Whether Bethesda understood and dropped or simply failed to get the aesthetic and thematic inspirations of Fo1/2 is debatable, but it is obvious that they set out to remake Fallout in their own vision and not just ape what BI had done before. Then they decided to appeal to old fans by including a lot of stuff that should have been left out, like Super Mutants, the BoS etc., and muddied the water significantly.
I think Bethesda's running of Fallout is like when a TV show in later seasons, often when the creator has moved on and left it in the hands of a lesser talent. All shows involve elements of a formula, but over time the creativity dies and the formula takes over. Someone's worked out the show tends to involve X, Y and Z, but instead of having a show that tends to involve X, Y, Z, it becomes X, Y, Z with a bit of padding: rigid, cliched and dull.
 

Gethsemani

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I don't think the aesthetic of the game world is actually 1950s.

It's a weird mixture of early 20th century cultural references, but the dominant influence is the 1940s. There are occasional 50s elements. A lot of the Vault-Tec propaganda is clearly referencing 1950s domestic propaganda films. The cars look like 1950s cars. The song that opens Fallout 2 is from 1951. But the buildings are all weird exaggerated art deco monstrosities. We see war propaganda everywhere. The film effect on televisions is reminiscent of a newsreel with dialogue cards. The song that opens Fallout 1 is a very 1940s song.
To be honest I don't think we get to see enough pre-apocalypse things in Fallout 1/2 to nail down a really specific era. The cars look like the 50's, the TV and the Vault-Tec reels are 50's but the high rises are Art Deco. In actual game the only hints we get are the rusted out cars that are 50's and the computers and data banks that are all vacuum tubes or tape reel based and could be anywhere from mid-40's to mid-60's in terms of inspiration. Bethesda obviously decided to focus on pure 50's aesthetics with Art Deco high rises (there are a lot of Deco buildings in Fallout 3 and that creepy Deco facade face makes a return from Fallout 1) instead of the "50's through the lens of 80's pulp comics"-aesthetic that Fo1/2 did.

In a way that makes the aesthetic clearer and easier to grasp, because Fallout 1 did a very, very particular aesthetic that is kind of hard to both replicate and grasp. The Brotherhood of Steel and Power Armor is not how the 50's thought a military organization would go after the apocalypse nor how future soldiers would look. It is how a Grimdark 80's pulp comic imagines that the "good guys" (who are actually asshole fascists who wants to deny everyone else scientific progress) in a perpetual post-war era apocalypse would look, like a dark caricature of Medieval knights. An actual Science! 50's take on the Mariposa survivors would probably be a much straighter take, like the Rangers from Wasteland, because back then the expectation was that Good Ol' Uncle Sam would rise up and try to save the American People. Not that the vestiges of the US Army would be the guards from a secret military base in which unethical science experiments with bioweapons were done, nor that the soldiers would shed their identity as Americans in favor of adopting a quasi-religious/feudalistic monastic knightly order vibe only to stealing technology from anyone who manages to obtain it.

All this being a long winded way to say that I find the discussion about the transition from BI to Bethesda to be hugely fascinating. Bethesda probably intended to make a clearer, more coherent and less arduous aesthetic vision for Fallout. In doing so they created a very distinct Fallout brand by playing up the 50's Science! aesthetic to the max. But by dropping the 80's pulp comic lens that BI had used to focus that aesthetic, they also lost a lot of what made Fallout 1/2 special and a lot of things came out the other side being different, both aesthetically and thematically. Without the Dark Age comic lens, things like Raiders, the BoS and FEV suddenly makes a lot less sense, because those are not Science! or 50's ideas, but 80's ideas about what a post-apocalypse, the US government and secret weapons would look like.

I really like the Bethesda Fallout games but I do so because I accepted from the get go in 2004 that Bethesda would radically change what Fallout was compared to what Black Isle did.
 

Asita

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"People like you" when there's a lot of people like you in this very thread even who are all doing the same thing, in this case the type of person who complains about an element of something that is not only incredibly insignificant but is very obviously so. It's something inherent to all open world games like Fallout 4. I'll state it again: The Main Plot is irrelevant and always has been. It is just there to give you enough reason to get started. Anyone who actually puts any thought into the Main Plot of a game like Fallout 4 at all is missing the point much like you are. The urgency you spoke of quickly falls off once you get out of the vault and find Preston because it's never been why you are there. You want a more involved Main Plot? Pick up some other game.

You use Mass Effect 2 as an example of what they could've done, which is a horrible example because Mass Effect 2 is NOT an open world game by any stretch. Nothing that you do outside of story missions is strictly required by it's Main Plot but it does benefit it. With very few exceptions the whole reason you're flying around scanning random planets and doing sidequests is in service to the Main Plot in some way. "Faffling about" as you put it is not what Mass Effect 2 is about. "Faffing about" in Fallout 4 IS what the game is about.
And once again the line of communication breaks down. Take a deep breath, stop tripping over your feet trying to find fault just because I had the gall to make a criticism of your sacred cow, and actually try to understand what I am saying. I am not asking that you agree with me. I am asking that you actually read the posts instead of simply assuming their contents and making strawmen of them.

I know that the main plot is not the point of the game. I acknowledged as much in my first post! I believe my exact words were "What dolt decided that a game structured to be a sandbox should be tied together by a story that by all rights is driven by a desperation that should outright give the protagonist tunnel vision?" I said this in the very post you just quoted: "It's a poor choice of excuse plot for reasons of verisimilitude".

When you say that "The urgency you spoke of quickly falls off once you get out of the vault and find Preston because it's never been why you are there", you show that you don't understand my point at all. My point is not urgency on the player's end, but the sense of urgency in-character. Again, very first post in this thread: "Point being that it's not that I don't care about finding the baby, it's that the game seems to be trying its damnedest to convince me that I shouldn't care because evidently the protagonist doesn't."

My point is that losing your child is a parent's absolute worst nightmare. If you so much as find out that your toddler wasn't answering your call, you drop everything to try to find them. If you then find out that the front door is open, it doesn't matter if you aren't even wearing pants, you are scrambling out that door calling for your baby. It is commonly stated that there is no stronger force in the universe than a parent's love for their child and few things more dangerous than being an obstacle between the two. Rightly or wrongly, there's also the near-ubiquitous expectation that if a loving parent could save their child by sacrificing themself, they would do so with hardly a second thought.

So "my baby is missing" is not the kind of thing you use as an excuse plot - especially not for a sandbox game - because that is an all-consuming motivation. My point is that using that as an excuse plot you are expected to set aside and ignore is a downright bizarre writing choice that has terrible implications about the protagonist's sense of priorities. We as players are not supposed to focus on the quest to the exclusion of all else, but that makes the choice of this particular excuse plot a bad design choice, because that's the kind of event that the character would focus on to the exclusion of all else.

As to ME2, I refer you to the last paragraph of post #89

And you completely miss my point about ME2. You'll note I never once spoke about Cerberus or the Illusive man, because frankly they aren't relevant to what I'm trying to convey. The point was how the gameplay and story meshed together. The Collectors are a clear and present threat, but they're inconsistent enough and small enough in scope that they don't need to be (and indeed can't be) dealt with immediately. Consequentially, mucking about on side-quests doesn't feel like a dereliction of duty. Heck, it's basically made explicit that everything you're doing is for the sake of gathering resources and assets to better prepare for the final mission. Going through the Omega-4 Relay and dealing with the Collectors is an important goal, but not an urgent one. It doesn't become an urgent goal until your crew is kidnapped, a which point, your crew will slowly be killed off if you don't make rescuing them a gameplay priority. The point of the example is that the game knew how to make the story and gameplay to work in tandem.
 
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MrCalavera

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I haven't played it yet. Decided to not bother with it back in the day, when the new, gutted, dialogue system was introduced. And from what i've seen(heard), the voice acting wasn't even worth the overhaul.

The base-building didn't interest me either. The shooting was apparently reasonably fun, so i might give it a chance now, once i'll have time and feel curious. Funny enough though, at this point Fallout 76(!!!) seems like a more interesting pick, considering it's not as much of a mess as it was on the premeiere.

Oh, and about the "Find SHAAAWN" thing: It isn't that big of deal, but it's still weird how Bethesda have chosen to go that path, considering they seemed to understand the narrative problems it cause back when they made Morrowind.
In Morrowind you start in Seyda Neen, and are told to go to Balmora where you meet Caius Cosades. That's as straightforward as the game gets. Cosades then tells you that this whole Prophecy deal is murky, and more investagion is needed, and that you need to make yourself familiar with the land of Vvardenfell, it's people and cultures. Basicly, go explore and do what the game is about until your main goal clarifies.
FFW couple years and we're at Oblivion that starts with a FREAKING DEMON INVASION - some call to urgency, isn't it?
Fallout 3 sets your main goal practically from the start, however since your father is a grown ass man that ventured into the Wasteland by his own volition, and can be anywhere, there's not that much sense of urgency. Your survival comes first.
I barely remember anything about Skyrim, but i think after the dragon attack it's established you need to gather allies around Skyrim or something like that? I dunno, i only played first two hours.
In Fallout 4 you need to hurry, as any responsible parent would after their kid have been kidnapped. This could be fixed by making your PC stop and think about the passage of time, but i guess the foregone conclusion might be too depressing for a start of this wacky postapo adventure? But so is child abduction so *shrug*.

Like i said, not a big deal, but it's weird how Beth insists on repeating the same mistakes.
 
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Dreiko

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I mean, I agree in part, except that there's one problem.

I don't think the aesthetic of the game world is actually 1950s.

It's a weird mixture of early 20th century cultural references, but the dominant influence is the 1940s. There are occasional 50s elements. A lot of the Vault-Tec propaganda is clearly referencing 1950s domestic propaganda films. The cars look like 1950s cars. The song that opens Fallout 2 is from 1951. But the buildings are all weird exaggerated art deco monstrosities. We see war propaganda everywhere. The film effect on televisions is reminiscent of a newsreel with dialogue cards. The song that opens Fallout 1 is a very 1940s song.

The defining feature of the old world in Fallout 1 and 2 was the ongoing war. It wasn't a happy 1950s suburban utopia, it was a very cruel wartime society where hard choices were being made. We later find out that the old world was ruled by literal fascists who engineered the destruction of the entire world just to satisfy their insane ideology.

New Vegas, without falling prey to the dated 90s conventions overly much, at the very least understands all these cultural references. The people who are reminiscent of the old world in New Vegas aren't all 1950s LARPers, but run the gamut of cultural reference points found in the old world. The NCR wears world war 2 style uniforms and uses world war 2 style propaganda, but in a way that's functional and clearly a product of their own circumstances rather than just being a reference for the sake of reference. Mr. House is a weird Ayn Randian 1920s man, and you can tell a lot about him because of it. It's not all swing dresses and drive in movie theatres and baseball, and the pre-war world is not a happy place where everyone wants to live.
FO isn't really going for 1950s, it's going for "retro futuristic" 50s, so it's like the vision of the future that people in the 30s and 40s had. That's the kinda feel of the world pre-apocalypse.
I haven't played it yet. Decided to not bother with it back in the day, when the new, gutted, dialogue system was introduced. And from what i've seen(heard), the voice acting wasn't even worth the overhaul.

The base-building didn't interest me either. The shooting was apparently reasonably fun, so i might give it a chance now, once i'll have time and feel curious. Funny enough though, at this point Fallout 76(!!!) seems like a more interesting pick, considering it's not as much of a mess as it was on the premeiere.

Oh, and about the "Find SHAAAWN" thing: It isn't that big of deal, but it's still weird how Bethesda have chosen to go that path, considering they seemed to understand the narrative problems it cause back when they made Morrowind.
In Morrowind you start in Seyda Neen, and are told to go to Balmora where you meet Caius Cosades. That's as straightforward as the game gets. Cosades then tells you that this whole Prophecy deal is murky, and more investagion is needed, and that you need to make yourself familiar with the land of Vvardenfell, it's people and cultures. Basicly, go explore and do what the game is about until your main goal clarifies.
FFW couple years and we're at Oblivion that starts with a FREAKING DEMON INVASION - some call to urgency, isn't it?
Fallout 3 sets your main goal practically from the start, however since your father is a grown ass man that ventured into the Wasteland by his own volition, and can be anywhere, there's not that much sense of urgency. Your survival comes first.
I barely remember anything about Skyrim, but i think after the dragon attack it's established you need to gather allies around Skyrim or something like that? I dunno, i only played first two hours.
In Fallout 4 you need to hurry, as any responsible parent would after their kid have been kidnapped. This could be fixed by making your PC stop and think about the passage of time, but i guess the foregone conclusion might be too depressing for a start of this wacky postapo adventure? But so is child abduction so *shrug*.

In Skyrim you kinda have to go and learn what the Shout powers are all about, and then train and master them as you adventure. Allies are not that big of a deal. You make allies as you help people but the key stuff is when you learn new words of power that let you defeat dragons more efficiently and save the world.