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

Gethsemani

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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.
Bethesda's Fallout is going for a Science! themed 1950's vision of the future. Basically, if you look at old "City of the Future!", "Home of the Future!" and similar ads, rides, magazines etc. that's the basis for Bethesda's version of Fallout, coupled with the idea that physics and sciences behaves not like actual physics but like how they were imagined in 50's pop-culture with nuclear radiation causing mutations and not just nasty poisoning and such.

But Black Isle's Fallout was the 1950's aesthetic as seen through the lens of Dark Age 80's pulp comics. It took the bright outlook on the future of the 50's and twisted it in the way that Dark Age comic books did. Manifest Destiny led the US not to a Golden Age of fusion powered super tech, but into a nuclear war with China over the last few oil reserves on Earth as it never stopped consuming limited resources. It led the US to invade Canada. Instead of a bright future, all that is left is desolate wasteland. The last vestiges of the US Army you meet in Fallout are not brave soldiers fighting to restore the US but a bunch of tech worshipping fascists in the trappings of a Knightly Monastic Order who hates your gut because you are not one of them and who are ready to kill anyone who has pre-war tech and isn't them. The original Fallout and Fallout 2 were never all that interested in the pre-apocalypse, unless it was to establish a point about the wasteland. They were all about what came after, about the people picking up the pieces after endless human greed destroyed not just human civilization but the planet itself. In that respect the BoS and Enclave serve both as a direct reminder of how the past still haunts us and a more direct role to show that pre-war America sucked and isn't worth trying to rebuild or aspire to.
 
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Agema

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Bethesda's Fallout is going for a Science! themed 1950's vision of the future. Basically, if you look at old "City of the Future!", "Home of the Future!" and similar ads, rides, magazines etc. that's the basis for Bethesda's version of Fallout, coupled with the idea that physics and sciences behaves not like actual physics but like how they were imagined in 50's pop-culture with nuclear radiation causing mutations and not just nasty poisoning and such.
Bethesda's Fallout's aesthetic isn't strictly a 50s aesthetic, it's a lift of the general futuristic stylings from around the 1940s-1970s, which peaked in the 1950s - early 60s. This emerged from art deco and elements of futurism, but is probably most encapsulated by Googie architecture and populuxe consumer fashion. It's Forbidden Planet (the Protectrons could scarcely more obviously be a copy of Robby the Robot), The Jetsons, etc.
 

happyninja42

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If you're interested in a comprehensive breakdown of the pros and cons, and are fine with significant spoilers all around, I'd suggest these vids.

First one is what he feels FO 4 does well/better than previous installments.


Second is what he feels FO 4 does poorly/shits the bed on.

 

Agema

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If you're interested in a comprehensive breakdown of the pros and cons, and are fine with significant spoilers all around, I'd suggest these vids.
A 92 minute video on whether someone thinks Fallout 4 is good, and that's just the first half?
 

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I enjoyed Fallout 4. Enough to sink 80 hours into it, though I didn't get all the endings. I definitely thought it had issues, but it's a big improvement in terms of the shooter mechanics.

I personally believe all shooters, whether it be an RPG first or shooter second, or shooter first or RPG second... should have fun to play shooter mechanics. FO4 accomplishes this pretty decently. At least to a much better degree than FO3/NV. It feels better and less janky.

What kinda ruins the above is the rather whacky approach to balancing. Too many stats and nonsense, and magical increases to damage. I would've preferred an approach where all gun damages are balanced vs certain armour types up a fixed progression tree and that just stayed where it was. But instead we have magical 'legendary' weapon augmentations, and also the SPECIAL perks straight up increasing the damage you do by a percentage. To a ridiculous degree, literally double at max perks of the weapon skill. It's also hard to tell what defenses are really doing. Percentage based DR or fixed reduction DT are easy to understand, but now we just have DR values going up to the hundreds and... what does this mean even?

I don't mind the new SPECIAL and perk system. While I kinda like the idea of a fixed SPECIAL system, there's always a way to break it and end up with 10s across the board. And Intelligence was often overpowered just from the additional skill points you got. It also doesn't feel very rewarding to just pump points into a skill that ranges from 0 to 300, you don't really feel what you're getting on a level to level basis and it's kinda nebulous. I do think FO4's perk design is awful though. Just flat stat increases, and the damage increases just made balancing really off. I would've preferred if gun skills governed things like reload speed, spread, accuracy, handling and such rather than just straight up damage. I feels incredibly derpy that if you specced into semi automatics, you could fire the very same gun modded to have different fire modes, and have it do half damage if it was automatic.

I like gun modification and I think they did a good job in some respects, but again... the balancing I guess. Many components are straight up better than others so it's kinda an 'upgrade' system more than tooling a gun to fit your preferences.

I love the new Power Armour. The Fusion Core thing kinda sucks, but I think overall its an improvement and it feels great. Compared to just slipping PA on like its a shirt.

Writing is eh and it really needed more in the way of sidequests and minor factions. The radiant stuff doesn't really fill the shoes of bespoke sidequests.

I think Settlements could have been a decent idea... just not how it's done. It's a decent creativity toy for people who want to get into that sort of thing. I just abused it for resources. I would've preferred it if the game just had one settlement that you built, and that it actually mattered. Rather than just having heaps of generic NPCs, shopkeepers and whatnot. I think I would've liked the settlement building to amount to having unique shopkeepers, NPCs, companions and such show up and have more tangible quests rather than repeated defense ones tied to this. Rebuilding the minutemen could've been a more interesting storyline maybe if it forced you to focus on rebuilding The Castle lets say rather than just galivanting everywhere and dumping bedrolls into random shacks all over the commonwealth.

Anyway some improvements, terrible balancing, interesting ideas that were all over the place and not developed well enough. Also why is the Season Pass more expensive than the GOTY edition? I bought the game at launch and I will probably never get the DLC because that fact bothers me so very much.
 

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I enjoyed Fallout 4. Enough to sink 80 hours into it, though I didn't get all the endings. I definitely thought it had issues, but it's a big improvement in terms of the shooter mechanics.

I personally believe all shooters, whether it be an RPG first or shooter second, or shooter first or RPG second... should have fun to play shooter mechanics. FO4 accomplishes this pretty decently. At least to a much better degree than FO3/NV. It feels better and less janky.

What kinda ruins the above is the rather whacky approach to balancing. Too many stats and nonsense, and magical increases to damage. I would've preferred an approach where all gun damages are balanced vs certain armour types up a fixed progression tree and that just stayed where it was. But instead we have magical 'legendary' weapon augmentations, and also the SPECIAL perks straight up increasing the damage you do by a percentage. To a ridiculous degree, literally double at max perks of the weapon skill. It's also hard to tell what defenses are really doing. Percentage based DR or fixed reduction DT are easy to understand, but now we just have DR values going up to the hundreds and... what does this mean even?

I don't mind the new SPECIAL and perk system. While I kinda like the idea of a fixed SPECIAL system, there's always a way to break it and end up with 10s across the board. And Intelligence was often overpowered just from the additional skill points you got. It also doesn't feel very rewarding to just pump points into a skill that ranges from 0 to 300, you don't really feel what you're getting on a level to level basis and it's kinda nebulous. I do think FO4's perk design is awful though. Just flat stat increases, and the damage increases just made balancing really off. I would've preferred if gun skills governed things like reload speed, spread, accuracy, handling and such rather than just straight up damage. I feels incredibly derpy that if you specced into semi automatics, you could fire the very same gun modded to have different fire modes, and have it do half damage if it was automatic.

I like gun modification and I think they did a good job in some respects, but again... the balancing I guess. Many components are straight up better than others so it's kinda an 'upgrade' system more than tooling a gun to fit your preferences.

I love the new Power Armour. The Fusion Core thing kinda sucks, but I think overall its an improvement and it feels great. Compared to just slipping PA on like its a shirt.

Writing is eh and it really needed more in the way of sidequests and minor factions. The radiant stuff doesn't really fill the shoes of bespoke sidequests.

I think Settlements could have been a decent idea... just not how it's done. It's a decent creativity toy for people who want to get into that sort of thing. I just abused it for resources. I would've preferred it if the game just had one settlement that you built, and that it actually mattered. Rather than just having heaps of generic NPCs, shopkeepers and whatnot. I think I would've liked the settlement building to amount to having unique shopkeepers, NPCs, companions and such show up and have more tangible quests rather than repeated defense ones tied to this. Rebuilding the minutemen could've been a more interesting storyline maybe if it forced you to focus on rebuilding The Castle lets say rather than just galivanting everywhere and dumping bedrolls into random shacks all over the commonwealth.

Anyway some improvements, terrible balancing, interesting ideas that were all over the place and not developed well enough. Also why is the Season Pass more expensive than the GOTY edition? I bought the game at launch and I will probably never get the DLC because that fact bothers me so very much.

See this is an argument that I never thought was fair ever since the days of FO3.

It's an rpg, the shooting mechanics are stat based. Early on you can't hit anything because your stats are low, not because the mechanics are not fun. You gotta use vats and crouch to hit things better, it's really simple. Eventually you'll get enough stats and your aim will improve too.

People playing it as an FPS were going about it wrong. In 4 they streamlined it so it's not as much that they made shooting more fun but they just dumbed down the complexity so it's more like a hybrid between a shooter and an RPG now. Also vats doesn't completely stop time. But yeah your complaints are based on this not being an RPG because those perks are there to replace the stats of the older games where you would increase them and your guns would just do more damage because it's an RPG.


I can take it or leave it because I just always use vats anyways (way more ammo efficient) but the shooting was never bad in the older games, it was just an rpg game with an fp presentation and not a shooter before.
 

sXeth

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See this is an argument that I never thought was fair ever since the days of FO3.

It's an rpg, the shooting mechanics are stat based. Early on you can't hit anything because your stats are low, not because the mechanics are not fun. You gotta use vats and crouch to hit things better, it's really simple. Eventually you'll get enough stats and your aim will improve too.

People playing it as an FPS were going about it wrong. In 4 they streamlined it so it's not as much that they made shooting more fun but they just dumbed down the complexity so it's more like a hybrid between a shooter and an RPG now. Also vats doesn't completely stop time. But yeah your complaints are based on this not being an RPG because those perks are there to replace the stats of the older games where you would increase them and your guns would just do more damage because it's an RPG.


I can take it or leave it because I just always use vats anyways (way more ammo efficient) but the shooting was never bad in the older games, it was just an rpg game with an fp presentation and not a shooter before.

Thats been the nutshell since ARPGs have existed, more or less. Once you stick real-time and actual aim in, it starts looking really really cludgy and awful if you missed a shot that clearly visually landed. Which was a huge critique of Might and Magic and Morrowind back in the day.


HP, Armoru and resistances is one thing, but outright not registering a hit based on rolls just plays bad. The most recent case I can think of was Shadow Warrior 2 doing it, and it took awhile to even figure out that wasn't just a bug.
 

wings012

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See this is an argument that I never thought was fair ever since the days of FO3.

It's an rpg, the shooting mechanics are stat based. Early on you can't hit anything because your stats are low, not because the mechanics are not fun. You gotta use vats and crouch to hit things better, it's really simple. Eventually you'll get enough stats and your aim will improve too.

People playing it as an FPS were going about it wrong. In 4 they streamlined it so it's not as much that they made shooting more fun but they just dumbed down the complexity so it's more like a hybrid between a shooter and an RPG now. Also vats doesn't completely stop time. But yeah your complaints are based on this not being an RPG because those perks are there to replace the stats of the older games where you would increase them and your guns would just do more damage because it's an RPG.


I can take it or leave it because I just always use vats anyways (way more ammo efficient) but the shooting was never bad in the older games, it was just an rpg game with an fp presentation and not a shooter before.
If I thought the shooting felt worse in FO3/NV, it wouldn't have been because of the poor gun handling due to having low gun skills at lower levels of the game. The gunplay just didn't feel as good, enemy AI wasn't quite as good. I haven't played 3/NV/4 in ages so I can't really articulate specifically what makes FO4 better, but I can say it's not because of the changes in the underlying RPG mechanics. Stuff just feels smoother, enemies aren't quite as janky. Though stuff like FO4 having a quick stim button, grenade throw button and quick melee button does add to better feeling more responsive combat. I think better graphics as a part to play in it, the feel of a shooter can be a very visual thing.

I don't think I would have minded, and probably would have preferred it if FO4 gun perks governed things like accuracy and spread as opposed to the boring ass damage scaling they added which made the game balance all over the shop. It would've been nice if they went with a more OG Deus Ex style of progression with the gun perks, a game where I felt quite a tangible difference as I improved my gun skill. Granted Deus Ex isn't exactly a game you would think of having good gunplay, in fact its gunplay was rather dogshit. But it's because of the game's age and lousy enemy AI. I think DX1's progression system was sound.

We can mince words over how RPGs should play, or how people should play action RPGs, but eh. Lets just agree to disagree. I hate VATs, it takes me out of the game and ruins my immersion and only use it in the most dire of situations or to take shots that I find physically impossible to take. I thought ME1's combat was downright horseshit and ME2/3 improved it by leaps and miles. I think smooth action combat can go hand in hand with RPG mechanics. At the end of the day, what I'm after in the RPG part of the game is the freedom, questing, exploration and progression.

I don't think FO4 dumbed down much of anything really, combatwise anyway. I could very easily max a decent spread of combat skills in FO3/NV and just dominate everything if I so pleased. The games weren't that hard by any means. Anyway I don't think FO4's improved gunplay came at the cost of what made the older games better. It's just those other systems were more poorly developed.

If there's a first person presentation in a game regardless of whatever genre/subgenres it might have, and if it has real time combat - I would like it to feel responsive and good at the end of the day.
 

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A 92 minute video on whether someone thinks Fallout 4 is good, and that's just the first half?
Unfortunately, we live in a world where we have to play game of video game either giving you orgasms or shitting in your face. Either 0/10 or 10/10. 92 mins is ridiculous amount of time but unfortunately is necessary in this type of world. I think he makes some good points but he is slowly going through arguments... but this slowness might be necessary
 

Dalisclock

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Unfortunately, we live in a world where we have to play game of video game either giving you orgasms or shitting in your face. Either 0/10 or 10/10. 92 mins is ridiculous amount of time but unfortunately is necessary in this type of world. I think he makes some good points but he is slowly going through arguments... but this slowness might be necessary
I haven't watched it yet but I can't help but feel the best discussions are videos done in like 10-30 min chunks. I'm not saying I haven't seen videos approaching an hour that aren't really good watching but they're a commitment to sit through unless I'm doing something else I can listen in the background.

It's one of the reasons I can't be bothered with hbomberguy(off the top of my head) because all of his videos are so fucking long and I'm not enmoured by his style to justify the listen time either.
 

Gethsemani

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Unfortunately, we live in a world where we have to play game of video game either giving you orgasms or shitting in your face. Either 0/10 or 10/10. 92 mins is ridiculous amount of time but unfortunately is necessary in this type of world. I think he makes some good points but he is slowly going through arguments... but this slowness might be necessary
In 90 minutes you could play a decent chunk of the game, roughly up to meeting Preston and the guys, getting the first power armor and fighting the Deathclaw. At that point you either know if you like the basics of the game you're playing or if you ought to hit that refund button on steam. If you've made two videos that are longer then the refund window in an attempt to tell potential players if the game is good or not, you've really missed the mark.
 
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Trunkage

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In 90 minutes you could play a decent chunk of the game, roughly up to meeting Preston and the guys, getting the first power armor and fighting the Deathclaw. At that point you either know if you like the basics of the game you're playing or if you ought to hit that refund button on steam. If you've made two videos that are longer then the refund window in an attempt to tell potential players if the game is good or not, you've really missed the mark.
Why would you go anywhere near Preston in... like 5 hrs? I'm far more likely to hit Diamond city first than Preston

The reason why ithis video so long is because people have made up utter nonsense about... well most 3D Fallouts. Unfortunately, its like responding to Ben Shapiro nonsense. He can say something snappy in a minute... that you have to squint real hard to make it look like a legitimate argument. Most of it is just unfounded ideology.

To talk about what's wrong with his (or anti-Fallout) argument, you have to painstakingly go through the argument instead of spewing out nonsense. A 10 sec clip of Shapiro generally requires a 20 mins response. This video also expresses when he agrees with critics

But then I'm just a person who like people a thoroughly thought out argument rather than snappy one liners that have got little substance to them. While I think this Jon guy coule be more consice... I don't remotely think he could get it under 60mins. He just has that many point
 

Trunkage

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I haven't watched it yet but I can't help but feel the best discussions are videos done in like 10-30 min chunks. I'm not saying I haven't seen videos approaching an hour that aren't really good watching but they're a commitment to sit through unless I'm doing something else I can listen in the background.

It's one of the reasons I can't be bothered with hbomberguy(off the top of my head) because all of his videos are so fucking long and I'm not enmoured by his style to justify the listen time either.
He, from memory, did have very distinct sections in these videos. He definitely could have chunked it into 15 to 20mim blocks covering certain topics/criticisms
 

Agema

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Unfortunately, we live in a world where we have to play game of video game either giving you orgasms or shitting in your face. Either 0/10 or 10/10. 92 mins is ridiculous amount of time but unfortunately is necessary in this type of world. I think he makes some good points but he is slowly going through arguments... but this slowness might be necessary
People's attention spans just don't hold that long. In fact, they last about seven minutes (a live, face to face lecture in university is only slightly better at 15-20 minutes) before dropping. Either complete your video review in under 10 minutes, or if you want to make a detailed critical analysis, break it down into shorter chunks. A common fault is to mistake comprehensiveness for effectiveness: more content does not mean more profundity. Rather, often the opposite, as key points get lost in a mass of padding. Concision is a virtue.

A major part of my objection (and I don't know whether this is case for the guy in the video above) is that most of these guys are not even gifted amateur analysts. I refuse to spend my time listening to some random schlub sound off for extended periods of time for minimal enlightenment or insight.
 

Gethsemani

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Why would you go anywhere near Preston in... like 5 hrs? I'm far more likely to hit Diamond city first than Preston
As a first time Fallout 4 player you are likely to reach the Museum just by following the road. As with Fallout 1/2, it is pretty clever world design that you are funneled into the tutorial by the main quest without it feeling like a tutorial. So a first time player will go talk to Codsworth, head across the bridge to Red Rocket, find Dogmeat and then go into Lincoln, realize there's a kerfuffle in the street and go to meet Preston, never realizing they are dooming themselves to a life time of servitude to Preston and his quests. At that point you've seen all the major mechanics of the game short of the settlement building and should have a general idea about whether it is up your alley or not.

The reason why ithis video so long is because people have made up utter nonsense about... well most 3D Fallouts. Unfortunately, its like responding to Ben Shapiro nonsense. He can say something snappy in a minute... that you have to squint real hard to make it look like a legitimate argument. Most of it is just unfounded ideology.
While I agree in a general sense that the 3D Fallouts get a lot of unfair hate, I still question the point of making 90+ minutes of video defending them. The people who disagree will continue to disagree because they will never admit that Bethesda did some things good. The people who agree don't need to waste all that time being told they are right. Casual fans will only care about whether they enjoy the game or not and for everyone else it is an esoteric argument about something utterly pointless. It all seems like ego-wanking to me, an exercise in showing the world how very right you are. Only you are trying to prove why there isn't a storm in a tea cup and it is all just an exercise in futility because you won't change anyone's mind and you won't make new people like the stuff you do.
 

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The 90 minute video isn't there for the people contemplating the game, it's for people who already played it and wanna hear someone speak about it for 90 minutes. I think there's a fundamental misunderstanding if you think the guy is trying to convince anyone, he's just setting the record straight.
 
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Trunkage

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As a first time Fallout 4 player you are likely to reach the Museum just by following the road. As with Fallout 1/2, it is pretty clever world design that you are funneled into the tutorial by the main quest without it feeling like a tutorial. So a first time player will go talk to Codsworth, head across the bridge to Red Rocket, find Dogmeat and then go into Lincoln, realize there's a kerfuffle in the street and go to meet Preston, never realizing they are dooming themselves to a life time of servitude to Preston and his quests. At that point you've seen all the major mechanics of the game short of the settlement building and should have a general idea about whether it is up your alley or not.
Yes, there is a very clear funnel. Why would you follow the funnel? That sounds pretty unfun. Bathsheba is not Obsidian, who like to obnoxiously forces you into said funnel. You can go anywhere. My first settlement was the gardens with the robots. I saw Diamond City before him. I'm pretty sure I didnt talk to Preston until the campaign forces you to make a teleporter. When I say I didnt meant Preston for 5 hours, I'm probably being generous and underestimating.
 

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Yes, there is a very clear funnel. Why would you follow the funnel? That sounds pretty unfun. Bathsheba is not Obsidian, who like to obnoxiously forces you into said funnel. You can go anywhere. My first settlement was the gardens with the robots. I saw Diamond City before him. I'm pretty sure I didnt talk to Preston until the campaign forces you to make a teleporter. When I say I didnt meant Preston for 5 hours, I'm probably being generous and underestimating.
Not only did I follow the funnel with my first character, I liked the Minutemen and that path so much I extra followed it with my second. When that second character got to the museum and rescued Preston and crew and led them back to Sanctuary, he led them back to a walled and fully defended and ready for population Sanctuary with all of the pre-war homes ready for occupation. There was enough food and water and defense for a dozen settlers, when I in my new power armor led Preston and the gang through the front gates past the main guard tower studded with automatic defenses... what must those people have been thinking? I really must have seemed like some savior of prophecy.

Usually with my second character I would pick a different faction, and in fact much later in the game I followed the railroad path. I just kept doing the Minutemen stuff and building settlements because it was the best part of the game. I'd only go out and quest if I needed more materials, and questing just gave me another location to loot for scrap so I could get back to building. By the time I even met the railroad in that playthrough, I already had most of the settlements up and running and was pulling in hundreds of caps a day. I was so rich and powerful by the time I got to the railroad is was like they had managed to recruit Bruce Wayne. All thanks to Preston Garvey and his amazing ability to find new locations for my network of settlements. Thus vastly increasing my resources and power.

I bypassed Sanctuary entirely on my 3rd character. Never set up any settlements for habitation. Hooked up quickly with the Brotherhood, and blazed my way through the game, basically missing about 85% of the content. Proving you could play through FO 4 that way, if you are severely allergic to actually having fun playing Fallout 4. How dare I, right Fallout 4 haters? Settlement building, that thing y'all hate so much... that thing that ruined Fallout for you? I loved it. I absolutely WALLOWED in how great it was and how much fun I was having. It took something great, like Fallout 3 and NV and made it even better. MMMMMM so GOOD.

Sorry, nothing more fun than lavishing praise for and enjoyment of something that someone else hates. Its almost as satisfying as... Fallout 4.
 

happyninja42

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Not only did I follow the funnel with my first character, I liked the Minutemen and that path so much I extra followed it with my second. When that second character got to the museum and rescued Preston and crew and led them back to Sanctuary, he led them back to a walled and fully defended and ready for population Sanctuary with all of the pre-war homes ready for occupation. There was enough food and water and defense for a dozen settlers, when I in my new power armor led Preston and the gang through the front gates past the main guard tower studded with automatic defenses... what must those people have been thinking? I really must have seemed like some savior of prophecy.

Usually with my second character I would pick a different faction, and in fact much later in the game I followed the railroad path. I just kept doing the Minutemen stuff and building settlements because it was the best part of the game. I'd only go out and quest if I needed more materials, and questing just gave me another location to loot for scrap so I could get back to building. By the time I even met the railroad in that playthrough, I already had most of the settlements up and running and was pulling in hundreds of caps a day. I was so rich and powerful by the time I got to the railroad is was like they had managed to recruit Bruce Wayne. All thanks to Preston Garvey and his amazing ability to find new locations for my network of settlements. Thus vastly increasing my resources and power.

I bypassed Sanctuary entirely on my 3rd character. Never set up any settlements for habitation. Hooked up quickly with the Brotherhood, and blazed my way through the game, basically missing about 85% of the content. Proving you could play through FO 4 that way, if you are severely allergic to actually having fun playing Fallout 4. How dare I, right Fallout 4 haters? Settlement building, that thing y'all hate so much... that thing that ruined Fallout for you? I loved it. I absolutely WALLOWED in how great it was and how much fun I was having. It took something great, like Fallout 3 and NV and made it even better. MMMMMM so GOOD.

Sorry, nothing more fun than lavishing praise for and enjoyment of something that someone else hates. Its almost as satisfying as... Fallout 4.
Yeah I did enjoy how you could set up a pretty thorough network of townships, even including supply lines with weaponry to try and keep the trade lanes clear. And given how well you could arm/defend the supply caravan person, it made for a pretty significant ally that might just happen to be nearby at any given time, when you are running around. It was also really fun, setting up lots of defenses in an area that you know tends to have a lot of random encounters nearby, and see them being cut down, thus keeping the area safe for the settlers. It actually felt like you were making a tangible change to the map with your efforts and infrastructure.
 

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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.
That's true. But I also think there's a huge deliberateness about what we do see. In Fallout 1, we see the brutal execution of a Canadian partisan amidst the rubble of what is presumably a Canadian city broadcast on television news. We see propaganda urging us to buy war bonds.

And sure, you could argue that kind of stuff is incidental and removing it all just makes the game easier to understand without negatively impacting anything, but I think it has a detrimental effect on the consistency of the game world, which is really the greatest strength of early Fallout's writing. I mean, Fallout 4 is actually a great example. We start out in a happy suburban 50s neighbourhood living our totally idyllic lives. We are literally handed a place in the vault program, and then immediately the nuclear war starts. But here's a question, why is there a vault program? Why would a company be able to make money selling reserved places in nuclear bunkers? Everything seems pretty great. Noone seems particularly worried or scared or urgent, and why should they be? The pre-war world we see is a completely idyllic 50s suburban fantasy, there is no sense that anything is wrong or that anything could go wrong right up until it literally does.

Moreover, Fallout is generally quite cynical about patriotism and about the general state of the US. Bethesda Fallout is not. In Bethesda Fallout the "good guys" dress up in revolutionary war clothes to reference heroic mythology about the founding of the US, and it's treated with zero irony. The Enclave, the most genuinely unsympathetic villains in Fallout canon, are lead by a softboy fascist who really just wants to help people and can be talked out of genocide with a speech check. Given all this, I think there's an uncomfortable politics to how great Betheada Fallout seems to think the 50s were.

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.
I think old Fallout can be very edgy, uncomfortably so, but I personally don't think the Brotherhood of Steel are ever envisaged as the "good guys". If anything, they're consistently shown to be wrong. Their philosophy always leads to their own decline and stagnation, and they're also kind of jerks. The first thing they do when you encounter them in Fallout 1 is send you on a suicide mission which probably will get you killed the first time you try and do it.

I think in the retrospective imagination of a lot of people who played the game as children, the brotherhood became the good guys, which I think is why Bethesda chose to make them the good guys of 3. I think if you're looking for weird fascism though, Fallout 4's depiction of the brotherhood is pretty yikes, because they clearly tried to roll back on some of their whitewashing in Fallout 3 and ended up just making them space marines, violent militaristic extremist whose extremism is presented within the narrative as justified because they are powerful and can impose it.

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.
I like them too. I have an unhealthy ammount of time in Fallout 4, for example, and I feel that Fallout 4 is a massive improvement over Fallout 3 in terms of its mechanics and gameplay loop. But I don't feel like it's a story driven roleplaying game. I feel like its roleplaying elements consist of a series of unrelated and incidental stories with no meaningful interconnection.

Ultimately, I think Bethesda's vision of Fallout is best encapsulated by Fallout 76, which makes it really funny that everyone hated it when they actually made Fallout 76.