Fallout in Love

Post » Mon Mar 14, 2016 10:27 pm

The BEST game ever made! It wouldn't be proper to go on without first saying that. I am currently level 54, still assembling the Minutemen and their settlements, have built an awe-inspiring sanctuary, and (to my surprise) developed a love relationship with an emancipated robot with a sixy French accent. But there are some mannerisms and options that I believe would enhance the playing experience. I like that there is a "love" bonus when your character sleeps in the same bed. That's cool. But I noticed my character is a little icy with his responses and sometimes even rude when he engages her in conversation.

Before anyone gets creeped out, or laughs this out of consideration, let's ask ourselves why this matters. Earlier in the game, I chose Strong, the super-mutant, or Valentine, the cool looking synth. When I wanted the muscle behind me, there was no question. I murdered a lot of stuff to get here and enjoyed every second of it, but as I played, I sensed throughout the game an underlying goal for peace and unity among these radiated savages, like I was playing for something better than just bottle caps. It was clear there was a higher goal beyond death counts and thievery, or turning over the land for every deflated softball.

As I plowed my way through the wasteland, only one thing slowed me down...the fact that every time I turned around, Strong or Valentine were blocking my path, preventing me from looking for more cool stuff. It didn't bother me at first, but as I played, it became a bigger and bigger issue. Until recently, I actually caught myself saying to them out loud, "Get out of the gawd damn way, you moron" while chest bumping them in a broom closet to get past. It didn't spoil the game, but it was definitely a perturbance.

Then along comes Currie.

Sure, at first she was a quad-armed Miss Handy with a French accent, but I chose her anyway (actually because I sent Valentine back to god-knows-where accidentally). I will spare you the details of our adventures, but something had changed in my run-and-gun style. When the inevitable happened, when she blocked doorways and cubbyholes, stood between me and the bad guys during a shootout, or couldn't be found when I was overloaded and needed to trade with her, I noticed there was a subtle difference. I was no longer as impatient. I dug it. In fact, as time wore on she became my favorite travelling companion. For the first time in the game, other than when a mission required it, I actually protected another character. Is it love? No...unless it's love for Bethesda. The fact they included such an overlooked dynamic in games is reason enough to love them, not because they introduced something gooey like love into an apocalyptic survival game, but because they made that option possible in the first place.

It's my feeling that one the biggest things people appreciate about the Fallout series is its attention to detail. To say the Fallout 4 experience is immersive is an understatement. But there is a difference between playing such a game with no real attachment to characters besides how much they can carry. It's different to find yourself actually looking out for them in combat (as stupid as that may sound). If you're going to include something as hopeful as transforming the wasteland, why not include bonding experiences with the people that help you? That said, Bethesda has done a fantastic job with back stories and personal details, but with a smidge more attention to detail: like warmer responses between friends, and even allowing simple things like being able to rename the settlers once they get settled. That would do wonders to an already terrific game. If you can rename a gun, you can rename a settler. Little things. If I'd known it was "Mary" I was shooting between the eyes for standing in the doorway of my armory, instead of an innocuous "settler", I could have spared her that tragic death. The dog too, we should be able to rename Dogmeat. Just saying.

So, please, Bethesda, don't make me whistle at the girl I'm supposed to love as if she's a super-mutant or Dogmeat. When I address her, can I have the option to do it with respect? It's important to understand, if realism is the goal, know that there's not many guys who get away with that, anyway. Thank you for an amazing game and looking forward to Season Pass DLC.

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Honey Suckle
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