Did Fallout 4 dumb down its RPG?

Post » Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:40 pm

As far as story structure goes, there is a lot of similarity between the two games. Both games start you with a MacGuffin to chase (Benny and the chip in New Vegas, Kellogg and Shaun in F4) in order to introduce you to the world and get you involved in its story. Then after you find the MacGuffin the situation in both games opens up and you find yourself being courted by competing factions and in a position to choose sides and determine the fate of the wasteland.

As to the protagonists backstory, there isn't that much of it. I knew my character was married, had a child and had served in the military during the war (when there was probably a draft so even his having been military tells you little about him). That's not a whole lot of definition. It doesn't even define his occupation, as we don't know what he did in the military. Was he a soldier? A pilot? A surgeon in a M.A.S.H. unit? A chaplain? A records clerk? Work in the motorpool? The cook? Really, except for providing him a link to the world (son) to get him involved in the story, there isn't much definition and he's not prohibitively defined.

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Sylvia Luciani
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Post » Wed Mar 30, 2016 2:09 pm


And then Fallout 4 forgets all of it again. Obsidian brought that context and depth to a new audience and then Bethesda just ignored it all for FO4.

The novelty of just "experiencing the world for the first time" has worn off for most players, so people are looking for depth in the game world. Fallout 4 feels like too much of a rehash in terms of story, not like a continuation of a greater narrative arc.

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Karine laverre
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Post » Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:08 am

The game can be played as an fps if you wanted it to. I can easily play on a lower difficulty and never have to worry about weapong stats, buffs, damage etc and just use the core basics weapon damage, armor, health.

But wheres the fun in that, most everyone understands fallout is an rpg and if its that easy then turn it up a notch. Younger people who dont have a history with these games see them as an FPs most likely because thats what the market is saturated with, including advertisemants for this game.

I remember playing FO3 when i was younger thinking it was a shooter then understanding later it was an RPG and what RPG's were.

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Camden Unglesbee
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Post » Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:25 am

I think a lot of that feeling of more fleshed out and intertwining has to do with the timeline too. The courier comes into things after they've been going on for years. There is already established relationships between the factions and existing outposts ect. One of the things that does bother me a lot about 4 is that none of the factions have ever really had much of a face to face it seemed like. Sure the RR had some encounters with synths (blowing them away basically) but by and large they're all still kinda strangers it seems. Even more so the BoS that just flies in and starts this very aggressive campaign.

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Post » Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:56 pm

Exactly! +1

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Kat Stewart
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Post » Wed Mar 30, 2016 5:57 pm

Yes. And I'm going to ignore combat here.

They removed 2 systems that acted as significant tools for quest design via limiting options, specifically they removed Karma and Dialogue ability score thresholds.

The karma system was an effective way to both measure PC actions in relation to the game world and to limit or direct quest availability and dialogue options.

The dialogue ability score thresholds limited access to certain branches of a dialogue tree and to the quest options related to those options.

Good or bad, you chop out 2 core roleplay dialogue and quest tools like that without replacing them, you are significantly reducing the roleplay side of gameplay.

Whether you loved or hated the Karma system, it was a core concept to the franchise for a long time, and it allowed much more nuanced NPC reactions to be implimented. A NPC's dialogue could be set to differ depending on how "good" or "evil" a PC's karma was.

Similarly, the dialogue thresholds served as an effective way to direct or vary up the dialogue options. By limiting certain dialogue options to only being available if a PC had a skill or ability score at a certain level, it allowed dialogue design to be much more complex. The replacement system does not allow as high a degree of control. Instead of limiting dialogue options by ability scores or skills, the current system only offers a RNG style chance of failure or success with certain dialogue choices. The current system also only allows limiting by making certain options one-way, locking the PC into a single response and forcing progression through to the next decision point. It's a decent system, but it's far less powerful.

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Stephanie Valentine
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Post » Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:30 am

Haven't played an RPG yet where I didn't think the morality system was arbitrary and unnecessary.

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Philip Lyon
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Post » Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:43 pm

Because for many people, not all (and I won't even claim majority here), Fallout New Vegas was a natural progression of Fallout 3 and an improvement on the franchise. It may have been created by another studio, but it was the main Fallout game for a number of years.

Fallout New Vegas took the world creation tools, the concepts and other innovations that made Fallout 3 so great and it built upon them. There was a greater emphasis on creating a more realistic environment. For example: Fallout 3 had almost no farms, and every source of water was poisonous, so many raised the question "how has anyone survived here for 200 years?" It's a nit-picking question but one that annoyed many people. Fallout New Vegas had settlements built around resources like farms and fresh water. My point here, is that they were able to sit down and look at the plot holes in Fallout 3 and brainstorm ways to fix those and improve on them in Fallout New Vegas.

Similarly, as Fallout 3 had introduced the engine, the Fallout New Vegas team had more time to dedicate to creating dungeons, questlines and other items designed to increase the amount of things there were for players to do in the game.

So the expectation was that Fallout 4 would build upon the improvements of Fallout New Vegas. However, it did not. Many mechanics were removed or replaced, and the overall level of detail to the questlines and dialogue system appear to be diminished as well. The settlement system is a blessing though and it does help draw attention away from some of these failings.

The problem is that Fallout 4 is a fantastic sequel and improvement on Fallout 3, not New Vegas. While the Fallout 4 engine and the graphics are far above those of both of the last 2 games, I think those came at a significant price. Every single asset in a game must be designed and everything had to be planned out in detail. So by spending the time turning Skyrim's engine into what we got with Fallout 4, they did not have enough time or manpower to bring the game up to the level of detail we saw in Fallout New Vegas. It's not a failing on Fallout 4's side, rather just the cost of updating the game as significantly as they did.

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Dominic Vaughan
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Post » Wed Mar 30, 2016 5:13 pm

The karma system was universally flawed in almost every way it was used. Silly to think a random person having never met you before would know all your deep dark secrets. Or that, even with no one around, I lost karma for stealing from powder gangers. Just bad.

And 4 hasn't gotten rid of dialogue checks, I fail them all the time lol or did you need them to spell out what skill it's checking and what percentage your chance is for you to realize it's still there? I've run into a number of checks that, when failed, reacts the same way previous games did. While older games may have had more, they function the same way that I see they do in 4, but without handholding you to which specific skill it's checking.

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Jason King
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Post » Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:45 am

They all are. Every system in an RPG is designed to limit the players options in ways that shape the experience. The paragon/renegade system from Mass effect is arbitrary. Even most of the decisions made by GM's in table top RPGs have to be arbitrary to a certain extent. But when you go over to software, you have to implement restricting systems to create the illusion that the player's decisions have an impact upon the game world.

You need a system that measures the actions performed by the player to then direct the reactions of other NPCs. You need a way to mark that a certain action such as "stealing" from an NPC or killing an "ally" of an NPC will result in either that NPC going hostile, or changing their dialogue options to indicate hostility towards the player's actions. Otherwise, the player could go into a town, kill off every NPC in the town and turn it's mayor into a hat, and go onto the next town while wearing that hat and be greeted in a friendly manner by the residents of that new town.

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Ana Torrecilla Cabeza
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Post » Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:16 pm

its not the newer people or fallout 3 and 4 people, the people who keep comparing the game or making topics about comparing fallout 3 and 4 to NV, are mostly old time rpg fans who played the original fallout games 1 and 2 and a lot of them are upset that bethesda owns the franchise, and they don't like how bethesda develops fallout games, don't you know this? ever since fallout 3 was released there has been a backlash about this, they say things like FO3 and 4 aren't real fallout games, or "obisidan should be making fallout games" [because obsidian has the former people who made the original fallout games] they constantly complain etc...they're the same people who slammed metacritic with a lot of user review scores of 1, 2 3 etc and they will NEVER stop complaining, NOT EVER as long as bethesda owns the franchise they will NEVER be happy and always be against any fallout game bethesda develops don't expect it to stop, they won't stop, its been 8 years since fallout 3 was released and they have never stopped.

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Alan Cutler
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Post » Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:43 pm


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Jeremy Kenney
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Post » Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:02 am

I won't argue that the karma system was poorly implemented. The same goes for every Bethesda Fallout and TES game. The concept works though as it's meant to be an overall reputation system. If a PC has been murdering random caravans, someone's going to wonder who's doing that, and if anyone happens to witness it (from a distance, hiding in a bush perhaps) then that PC will gain a reputation as a murderous bandit. For any game where you want to create a sense of a dynamic world where the PC's actions influence things, a system like this is pretty much mandatory IMO.

The dialogue checks have been replaced with the random chance system. While a character's Charisma, Perks and equipment can influence the result, it's still a random "dice roll" so to speak. This also means that there are no cases where your character cannot ask a question or make a statement based on an absurdly high or low intelligence or any other ability score. You cannot design a dialogue tree with options that only become available if the PC's stat's are high or low enough. As a designer, you cannot add a dialogue option where a PC with high perception, can notice that the NPC is nervious, redirecting the dialogue options down a different path. Now I'm only talking about the SPECIAL scores here, the removal of the skill system makes referencing it somewhat moot. But there remain Perks which could be used in the past to direct dialogue and increase the illusion that player choice had an impact on the game. The Black Widow perk for instance was used in both Fallout 3 and New Vegas to add special dialogue options that significantly changed events if they PC had that perk. That is an impossibility in the new Fallout 4 dialogue system.

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Post » Thu Mar 31, 2016 2:33 am

I believe you are incorrectly mixing multiple groups of players together.

Yes you are right. There are some who cannot move on from the old Interplay days. Oh well. But there are old fans of the franchise who also like the new games as well. But there are also people who liked Fallout 3 and also like how New Vegas improved on it.

This is not just a Fallout issue. There are also people who love the TES games but loved/hated the changes between Oblivion and Skyrim. The question that often gets ignored in these debates is "why did so many feel that New Vegas was an improvement?". And don't forget, New Vegas improving on 3 doesn't make 3 a crappy game. That's really how sequels should be (and different studio or not, NV was treated by most as a sequel to 3). Fallout 4 is also a much better game than 3, but that doesn't make 3 a crap game.

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Post » Wed Mar 30, 2016 5:51 pm

're Just saying that by not having Enclave in Fallout 4?

And this topic will soon be closed, like it was his on the Enclave. It will not give good discussions.
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Robert Bindley
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Post » Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:13 pm

One thing NV did so well compare to 3 and 4 is that each town/settlement has a karma for you. Some like you while others hate you. It makes the world you're in feel more realistic and your actions feel more meaningful. I really like what they did with Diamond City with the guards talking about recent events but it doesn't come close to what NV has.

I believe Bethesda has the best world design for any Fallout game but I do wonder why in their games that even after 200 years civilization isn't really rebuilt. Fallout New Vegas you could easily see that happening. I'm guessing the Bomb Drops hard on DC and the Institute are some scapegoats but why isn't there another big power around Boston? You have the BoS and that's it in terms of power. Minute Men were never really that big before you join the game and the Railroad and Institute look after themselves.

I think Bethesda and Obisidan have about equal annoying fanbase. I remember when Fallout NV came out and many were saying how it was [censored]. Now the same thing is happening with Fallout 4. Honestly Bethesda should of done a great mix of the two.

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WYatt REed
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Post » Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:50 pm

Absolutely. I would love to see the NV and 4 systems merged. That would be a really fantastic improvement on the franchise as a whole. It's little bits like the guards or the radio announcer talking about your character and the things you've done that really helps build impressiveness.

To play devil's advocate here. The lack of a powerful group in the Commonwealth is explained partially and there are some theories that I've had that explain it. There was an attempt a generation before the game's "present" when the commonwealth tried to startup a provisional government/alliance between the settlements. That imploded when either the Institute took them out, or when they started attacking each other. It depends on if you believe the institute or not, but there are some real reasons to believe that not everything you're told while in there is 100% true. Even Father might be misinformed. Depends on what was recorded vs what happened. This is the group that hired and kept Kelogg.

Also the last major governing group, the Minutemen, was just destroyed. The fall of the Castle crippled them, then the ambush in Quincy almost finished them off. While Preston talks about them as just being do-gooders, it really sounds like they were an ad-hoc military government for the region. Everyone knows who they were, they had an army and a fortified base with artillery. Sounds like a rough government to me.

So I think that in Fallout 4's history, the Sole Survivor is waking up during a serious power vacuum rather than a territory that's never been all that organized. There are too many farms and small settlements that wouldn't be able to survive the monsters and super mutants without a governing body/military to protect them over the years. They really did a great job of building up the Fallout 4 setting and history. But then that's always been one of Bethesda's strengths.

As for that last bit. Yeah. Ain't that the truth. ^_^

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Wayne W
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Post » Thu Mar 31, 2016 2:19 am

Fallout 4 is a mix of 3 and New Vegas, though... the moral ambiguity, separate faction paths, crafting, companions, and even aspects of the combat are all building off of what New Vegas did. Maybe they didn't incorporate the aspects of New Vegas that some people wanted, but it's just wrong to say the game isn't influenced by New Vegas at all.

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Kristian Perez
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Post » Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:05 pm


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Iain Lamb
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Post » Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:28 pm

Also yes. But apparently this is what people want. Wish I was one of them.
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Steve Bates
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Post » Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:46 pm

Agreed, but I don't think it could hurt to see more varied dialog responses and reactions along with more reactivity to the players actions.

I've been playing through Fallout 3 again, and I've noticed quite a bit of branching dialog I failed to appreciate before. Bravo Bethesda, but more of this would go along way to improve the next installment.

Other than that, I'd argue Bethesda is a one trick pony in that they make one style of game, which happens to be very actiony, which includes Daggerfall and Arena as well. To me, this is a form of game progression, and I don't mind the action in Fallout 4. I think they've improved the combat quite a lot this time around, but I would like to see more of the softer RPG elements prevalent in the original Fallouts.
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Shannon Marie Jones
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Post » Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:08 pm

No offense, but this post is full of mere generalizations that really have no basis in reality.

I think you should take a step back and take a look who's posting in this thread. I see quite a few New Vegas and Fallout 3 fans making the same points I am.

I am also a long time Fallout fan starting with the originals, and while I prefer New Vegas, I think it still suffered from quite a bit of flaws, and I prefer the world of Fallout 3 more as it reminds me of Fallout 1. Pretty ironic I think. ;)
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Sheila Reyes
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Post » Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:10 am

I was a f2 fan and Bethesda won my love with morrowind but it's been in decline since then. They strip out more features every game, people like obsidian better because they are veteran rpg makers and are actually good at what they do.
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krystal sowten
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Post » Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:07 pm

I'm the biggest Morrowind fan there is but even I can say that it's full of derpiness -- painfully simplistic questlines, shallow characters, simplistic combat, mostly non reactive world, etc.

These are a lot of the same complaints I have against all their games.

I would say Gothic 1 & 2 deserve a little more recognition because it managed to create a very open and reactive world with varying choices and consequences.
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chirsty aggas
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Post » Wed Mar 30, 2016 4:24 pm

Yes, they dumbed down the RPG mechanics a lot compared to New Vegas. Though Fallout 4 defenders and fan boys will tell you otherwise (Though this is a Bethesda forum so I don't expect anything else really. That's not a rag on Bethesda btw, I'm just stating that generally a company's defenders and fan boys will usually congregate at said company's forums.).

I like Fallout 4, but it's RPG elements are mediocre. New Vegas is not perfect by any means but it's RPG elements are far better than Fallout 4's.

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Carlitos Avila
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