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The Blistering Stupidity of Fallout 3, Part 5

By Shamus
on Thursday Jun 25, 2015
Filed under:
Retrospectives

 
 

The biggest complaint about this series is that a lot of my objections to the story are over “trivial” things. This is true in parts, but it’s also missing the point. The story of Fallout 3 is fractally bad. It’s bad at many different levels and it often takes people a while to realize just how far the brokenness goes. The fact that the themes of Fallout 3 are wonky isn’t enough to ruin the story on its own. And the fact that Dad is really flat and the only actions he ever takes are destructive isn’t enough to ruin the game either. But when I hammer the game for having nonsense goals, people often defend it on the basis of its themes, or characters, or the places you visit. You can’t drill down through the layers to find a single point of failure that we can point at and say, “Here. THIS is where it all went wrong!” It’s a big interconnected mess and it takes time to document all the failures.

So all those early “trivial nitpicks” were part of a long process to head off all the usual defenses of Fallout 3 so we wouldn’t get caught up in looping cul-de-sac arguments, because I didn’t want to end up discussing the entire game in a kind of nested reverse of “D because C because B because A”. This is long and nitpick-y because the problems are far-reaching.

But here’s the payoff. This is where all the mistakes converge into a completely idiotic conclusion…

The end of the game is an all-out War of The Idiots

Liberty Prime was a very cool idea. Too bad the final battle had no reason to take place.

For most of the game the writers have been flagrantly cheating their asses off to make Col. Autumn work as an adversary. They save him from 100% guaranteed death inside the purifier without even bothering to make up a bad, cheap, implausible justification for itAnd no, having him inject himself in the arm does not BEGIN to excuse this mess. Don’t even pretend it does.. His men magically know they need a GECK, they know there’s one in Vault 87, they know you’re going there, and they magically reach it without needing to go through Little LamplightYou might try to fix this by suggesting that the Enclave used the main entrance of vault 87 and they have some super-technology for dealing with the extreme radiation. But the VERY NEXT SCENE makes it clear that this is not the case, if you offer Autumn a bogus code for the purifier. See what I mean about the brokenness being complex?. They knock you out with a grenade that only exists for this cutscene, and they use it even if you’re in stealth, and it works even if you’ve got equipment that ought to defend against it. The writers have to break so many rules to make this sequence work, but they never get around to establishing the stakes for the giant set-piece battle at the end of the game.

On one hand we have the Enclave, who control the purifier. They have the GECK, they’ve installed it, and they’re apparently going to… what? Turn it on? What’s the plan, here? What are we afraid they’re going to do? If they turn it on and it works then the Potomac will become clean. Short of poisoning it, you can’t maliciously clean water. (Remember, the FEV is Eden’s plan, not Autumn’s. And in either case, the Brotherhood doesn’t know anything about it.) If the Enclave wants to pay for the maintenance of this contraption, why not let them? Why would you spend human lives trying to take control of the facility, when it doesn’t matter who is running it?

But the Brotherhood of Steel conclude that not only is it imperative that we take control, but we must do so right now. They even activate their super-robot that still needs some kind of work before it’s properly ready to be used in battle. Then all the “good guys” assault the purifier so that… what? So the we can turn on the purifier instead of the Enclave?

Are we fighting this war to decide who gets to push the button to turn it on?

The Enclave then turns around and pulls the same trick Dad did. They sabotage the device rather than allow it to fall into enemy hands, even though the machine only has one purpose and it doesn’t matter who runs the damn thing.

Worse, someone needs to sacrifice their life in order to turn on the purifier. So by mounting this assault you’ve goaded the Enclave into sabotaging the machine and made it so that you (the player) are the one that needs to go into the deadly radiation to turn the stupid thing on. If you’d just sat back and left the Enclave alone, then presumably they would have turned on the machine and you would “win”. Maybe Autumn could have turned it on himself, since deadly radiation doesn’t seem to be a problem for him.

Wrapping Up

Catchphrase. Catchphrase never changes.

Dad built a water purifier that didn’t work, for people that didn’t need it, and then made it release radiation it shouldn’t have, to prevent it from falling into the hands of people trying to fix it. This killed the man who had no reason to sabotage it and didn’t kill Colonel Autumn, who had no means to survive. This put the Enclave – an army with no reason to attack – in charge of the purifier, which was of no value to them. Then the player entered vault 87 to recover a GECK, a magical matter-arranger that they shouldn’t need and that would be better put to use in virtually any possible manner besides fixing the purifier. Colonel Autumn, who shouldn't be alive, captured the player with a flash grenade that shouldn't have worked that was thrown by soldiers who had no way to get there. The final battle was a war between the Enclave and the Brotherhood of Steel, to see which one would get to commit suicide trying to turn on the purifier that neither of them needed. This resulted in more sabotage that threatened to explode a device that shouldn’t be explode-able, ending with the death of the player character, who had the means to survive but didn’t, and who was never given a good reason for doing any of this.

Keep in mind that what I’ve outlined here isn’t even the worst stuff. I skipped over Little Lamplight, Dad’s Vault-killing adventures, and the fact that the writers didn’t seem to notice all the ways that supposed good-guy Three Dog is actually a monumental selfish, delusional, self-aggrandizing asshole. I’ve just stuck to the crucial elements of the central premise and story.

Sure, you can find a couple of plot holes in Fallout 1. No story is perfect, and it’s hard make big stories hold together over the long haul. But this isn’t just “a couple of plot holes”. This isn’t nitpicking, over-analyzing, or looking for things to complain about. This is a story in which every single aspect of the setting and characters was fundamentally broken from inception. What we’re told isn’t supported by what we’re shown, none of the characters pursue their goals rationally, and the player is constantly obliged to make nonsensical choices.

Despite rampant cheating, hand-waving, railroading, false-choices, and copious amounts of exhaustive over-explainingThe conversation before the final battle is SEVEN MINUTES long. the writers couldn’t put two concepts together without creating a plot hole and having someone act irrationally. It’s not that the pieces don’t quite fit together, these pieces don’t even work in isolation. Everything is wrong and goofy and desultory. This is an incompetent heap of misunderstood concepts and recycled story themes that the writers never understood.

But what about NEW VEGAS?

I’m sorry, I can’t hear you complaining about the plot over the the sound of HOW AWESOME MY GUN IS.

Are you one of the people who played through Fallout 3Possibly multiple times. without noticing any of these problems? That’s fine. Lots of people clicked through the dialog without listening, or listened to the dialog without thinking too much about it. You might spend several hours screwing around in subways and killing ghouls between story beats, and by the time you reach the next signpost on your journey the details of the previous scene might seem a little vague.

But I’m willing to bet that the reason so many of us ignored the story was because it was so vapid and flavorless. Maybe with a sensible story, consistent characters, and coherent themes you would have liked it even more.

This is where fans of Fallout 3 jump in and shout, “It’s still better than New Vegas!” I don’t want to see people burn down New Vegas in their attempts to defend Fallout 3, so let’s get this out of the way…

Yes, crawling though subways and gunning down super mutants was fun, and I liked Moira’s quests as much as anyoneI always thought the Wasteland Survival Guide made for a more interesting and varied main quest than trying to fix Dad’s stupid nuclear-powered dehumidifier.. And maybe – like me – you enjoy exploring a ruined city more than crawling over the orange hills of the Mojave desert in New Vegas. Maybe you liked fighting super mutants more than screwing around with casinos and Mr. House. That’s fine. That’s all fine. We’ve got this false dichotomy between fans of the games where you can either have:

  1. The fun, atmosphere, exploration, and [relative] stability of Fallout 3, or…
  2. Rich lore, vibrant characterization, and consistent themes of New Vegas, but the gameworld looks bland, there are invisible wallsBoth literal collision walls and practical walls enforced by high-level mobs. everywhere, and it crashes all the time.

Do not fall for this. The Fallout 3 story didn’t need to be stupid. They could have just turned the world of Fallout into a mutant shooting gallery, but instead they constructed this long, strange, nonsensical, thematically disjointed, morally confused, horribly paced story with overlong dialog and contrived choices with no emotional payoff.

This shouldn’t be an argument between Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas. This should be an argument between Fallout 3 and the BETTER version of Fallout 3 we could have gotten if just one person had stepped in and either fixed the plot, or changed the plot to tackle a subject commensurate with the skills and ambitions of the writing staff.

You don’t need to accept the Fallout 3 story just because you liked the shooting. Games criticism isn’t an all-or-nothing deal, and it’s okay to hate one part of a game and love a different part. When this much time and money is spent on making a game this big, there’s no excuse for the story to be this bad. They could have done better. This franchise deserved better. You deserved better.

Footnotes:

[1] And no, having him inject himself in the arm does not BEGIN to excuse this mess. Don’t even pretend it does.

[2] You might try to fix this by suggesting that the Enclave used the main entrance of vault 87 and they have some super-technology for dealing with the extreme radiation. But the VERY NEXT SCENE makes it clear that this is not the case, if you offer Autumn a bogus code for the purifier. See what I mean about the brokenness being complex?

[3] The conversation before the final battle is SEVEN MINUTES long.

[4] Possibly multiple times.

[5] I always thought the Wasteland Survival Guide made for a more interesting and varied main quest than trying to fix Dad’s stupid nuclear-powered dehumidifier.

[6] Both literal collision walls and practical walls enforced by high-level mobs.



 
 
Comments (166)

  1. Bropocalypse says:

    I think those last three paragraphs are the most important part of this whole series. It extends beyond this game, and beyond games as a medium. Criticism isn’t an attack, even though there have been times when criticism has been used as an attack, and even those who offer criticism with good intent can do so without tact.

    • AileTheAlien says:

      But, how can I enjoy something, if there’s a piece of it that’s been criticized? You know there’s only two scores for a game*, right? 10/10 game of the year, and 8/10 worst game EVAR. It would be easier if we had some kind of granular scoring system. Maybe we could try to adopt this “out of five stars” that hotels and restaurants use?

      [end sarcasm]
      I really like Shamus’ long-form critique style. Hopefully with enough people writing stuff like this, game studios will start treating the story, characters, etc with more respect. As Shamus alluded to, they actually could have made Fallout 3 with essentially zero plot, like the old shooters, or FTL, or even Teleglitch or something – instead they chose to spend more money, writing a giant incoherent mess.

      * Computers are binary, duh.

  2. Isaac says:

    grammar mistake, 4th paragraph: “If the Enclave wants to pay the the maintenance of this contraption, why not let them?”

  3. Wide And Nerdy says:

    I didn’t feel like Fallout New Vegas was missing anything. I really shouldn’t have played that game first. Maybe I would have enjoyed Fallout 3 more if I didn’t know what I was missing.

    • Cedric says:

      Same here. Also I was confused by the ‘Bland gameworld’ statement. Fallout 3 seemed just as bland. Simply with a grey filter instead of yellow.

      • Benjamin Hilton says:

        Although both are bland, I did enjoy investigating every little piece of a destroyed past a lot more than investigating….rocks?

        Going between settlements in FO3 was an adventure where every nook could hold lost tech. Going between settlements in New Vegas was like…walking down a dirt road in an already conquered land….actually no, there is no like about it…that is exactly what it was.

        • Cedric says:

          That makes no sense to me. I spent so many hours simply exploring the corners of New Vegas finding tech and lost history and interesting stories. Yes there was more space between things than in FO3, but I actually preferred that to having everything illogically bunched together. I suppose if you chose to stick entirely to the roads and went straight from checkpoint to checkpoint you might miss a lot. But that would run counter to your supposed interest in investigating new areas.

          • Benjamin Hilton says:

            It may also have had to do with the “need” for things. In New Vegas there was a point where I needed nothing, I had all the loot and money I could ever want.
            Whereas in FO3 it always felt to me like every bit of tech and food I could bring back was necessary for me and my friends to survive.

            • IFS says:

              I don’t know that I had the same experience, by the time I reached little lamplight in FO3 I had almost a thousand energy cells I had no plans to fire (because all the weapons that used them were just worse versions of weapons that used microfusion cells), and similarly abundant amounts of ammo for guns I actually used, not to mention something like 80 stimpacks and so on. I was something like level 12 and I already had more supplies than I would ever need or use. Meanwhile in NV even once I had everything I really needed I was still able to do stuff with that such as combine energy cells into more powerful versions, or even use them to reinforce my diminishing supply of MF cells. Certainly part of this was because I played on Hardcore mode, so ammo had weight (discouraging me from carrying ammo I didn’t need) and I needed to eat and such, but even if FO3 had a hardcore mode I don’t think I’d ever run into scarcity when playing it.

              • AileTheAlien says:

                I too, had abundance in FO3, and scarcity in NV. I think for me anyways, it was largely due to the imbalance in a lot of the items and weapons. Like, for example, it’s very possible to take some perks and skills, that work well with rifles and shotguns for killing unarmored dudes. However, even with armor-piercing ammunition, the game is balanced towards other guns, which don’t work with your perks and/or skills.

                That might seem like a weak complaint, but in a game with pretty good characters, story, etc, the player is thus encouraged to also have a good character. Finding out halfway through the game, that your character can’t complete the game anymore, really broke my immersion in the game. I think I quit after I used a character editor for the third time, just trying to re-balance my dude into the stuff that worked with the game. :C

                • IFS says:

                  Did you ever try making slug rounds for your shotgun? I think they get bonuses from the various shotgun related perks that makes them tear through armor like nothing else, though its been a while since I played so I could be wrong. I don’t think I ever had a problem in NV with my build becoming nonviable, but then my builds usually messed around with crafting which can provide you with some rather powerful ammunition.

                  • AileTheAlien says:

                    Yeah, slugs helped a bit, but the damage values for other guns is still a lot higher. Like, even without the cowboy perk adding to it, the sniper rifle is still a better use of your skill points than a shotgun with slugs. I wouldn’t mind that, if the sniper rifle was less accurate, or was wobbly for short ranges / if you’re not zoomed in and crouching.

                • Ayegill says:

                  Actually, (if you have Dead Money, which I realize isn’t universal), shotguns are some of the best Guns, because you can “And Stay Back”, which ads a 10% knockdown chance to shotguns. Since enemies can’t do anything while knocked down, and the 10% applies to each pellet (for a ~50% knockdown chance on most shotguns in the game, assuming every pellet hits), this makes shotguns basically unbeatable against most enemies in the game, barring a very high-DPS ranged attack(endgame faction assassins), or a large number of dangerous enemies (cazador swarms).

                  Also, the game is usually unbalanced enough in your favor that you don’t need to rely on perks to help you through. Like, even if most of your perks are boosting shotguns, you can just pick up a different gun and fire away.

                • dsfgwefr1`` says:

                  so with the perks you’re op god. without the perks you’re…slightly less op ;/

                  besides iirc if you’re trying to get the most out of things purely damage boosting perks are a bit of a waste anyway

            • Incunabulum says:

              That’s the exact opposite of my experience. In FO3, I was level 10 round about the time I got to Bigtown, had all the guns and armor I could carry, and more money than I could spend in a dozen (half) lives.

              I don’t think there was any point in FO3 where I *needed* to be careful or had to back off because I was getting in over my head.

              Essentially, the whole ‘you’re cast out of the only home you’ve known and have to survive on your wits’ bit was over the second I entered Megaton.

              • Gruhunchously says:

                The New Vegas DLCs IMO, evoked that feeling far more than any other point in two games . Dead Money and Lonesome Road both had me seriously worried that I was going to run out of ammo and healing items with no replacements in sight, and even “fun light-hearted” Old World Blues had me scavenging the map for Broc Flowers to help replenish my stimpak supply.

              • Benjamin Hilton says:

                I think you’re all kinda missing my point. It wasn’t about what I physically had in my inventory, or stashed at my house. FO3 had much more of a “everyone is just barely scraping by, we are on the verge of extinction” thing going to it. From the perspective of roleplaying in that world I felt like we as a group of humans needed all we could get to survive. As opposed to New Vegas where people are thriving.

                • AileTheAlien says:

                  That might be the theme they’re selling, but the actual things in the game fail to reinforce that. Like, NPCs aren’t starving, prices for food are cheap, and only in the sequel (NV) is there even an option to need food and water for the player.

                • JakalDX says:

                  This swings back around to one of the core issues of Fallout 3, that it doesn’t feel like a world 200 years removed from the apocalypse. On the West Coast, society is re-developing. There’s farms, caravans, government. There are support structures. What have they been doing on the East Coast for the last 200 hundred years? Sitting on their hands? The reason things seem horrible in Fallout 3 is because it’s apparently a city full of Grasshoppers and no Ants. There’s no reason for everyone to be as poorly off as they are in DC, considering people are doing just fine (comparatively) everywhere else.

              • Mormegil says:

                Which got worse if you had DLC – go off to Anchorage and get the power armour, stealth armour and a collection of end game class weaponry. I used to get excited in New Vegas when I’d carefully crawled through the caves near Boone’s dinosaur and gotten Ratslayer (unique varmint rifle).

            • Shannon says:

              Having recently played all the way through FNV once up to Vault 87 in Fallout 3, I think by the time you hit level 10-14ish, you basically have everything you need. I don’t recall really feeling the pinch at that point in FNV and while in Vault 87 at level 15, I have over 10,000 caps and 230 stimpacks on normal mode. I have 80 plus frag grenades, over 1000 bullets for my two ranged weapons that I rarely use.

              Honestly, what really turns me off about Fallout 3 is the fact that a melee build character does more damage than a character specializing in ranged weapons. I abandoned my first attempt at Fallout 3 with a ranged character simply because the character was ineffective. Punching things in the face seems to kill things a lot faster than shooting them in the face, which makes no sense to me.

              • dsfgwefr1`` says:

                “gamebalance”, think the thinking went:shit, we’ve scattered far too much ammo around. need some other reason to also carry melee. ranged can kill from accross the map, melee needs to close in. make melee stronger

            • dsfgwefr1`` says:

              opposite for me, fo3 had far too much supplies, nv better for this (neither was like ranger metro of course)

          • Thomas says:

            I think New Vegas has some storyline quest issues in leading people to Vegas and it maybe takes a few hours too long that sours people.

            On the other hand, because I’ve played New Vegas first, I can’t stand Fallout 3’s world design. Everything is so cramped and it’s all right next to each other. It doesn’t feel like you’re journeying through a wasteland, it feels like you’re running about a theme park with the rides carefully crammed into together in case you’d get bored if they didn’t drop something literally right in front of you.

            New Vegas feels like a place, and it feels like you’re actually exploring because it is so open and there are places of wilderness inbetween the places of interest

            • Incunabulum says:

              This has been one of my main complaints with Bethesda’s design – there’s no room to *move* in their games.

              Stand at the entrance to Bigtown, turn to the right, and there’s a ruined caravan at the top of a hill with a dangerous supermutant living in it – all of a quarter mile away.

              Skyrim – go thundering across the Whiterun Plains on horseback hunting deer. And there, two blocks away on either side, is a fort and the city.

              Personall, I think FO4 would be greatly improved if it had roughly the same number of POI’s as Skyrim spread across a worldspace with 4 times the area (each side is twice as large).

              That gives *weight* to exploration – and there’s still fast travel for those who don’t like walking/riding/driving to get to the next bit of shooting.

              • I think that’s another console memory limitation smacking us in the face. Even with compartmentalized areas (especially in Fallout 3), they can’t handle huge worldspaces. It’s also difficult to make empty areas interesting, though you really don’t appreciate that until you try a mod from someone who made a new area so vast and unadorned you can stand in one place and it looks a lot like the void outside of the level geometry.

    • Thomas Adamson says:

      I immediately knew something was wrong in F3 during the vampire quest. One of the few quests where you get some modicum of choice, except all the choices are pants on head stupid.

      Vegas was fine, except for the interiors. I no-clipped through many a vault and casino in that game.

  4. Jake Taylor says:

    You didn’t talk about the absolute worst and most inexcusable (in my opinion) part of the game, Shamus.

    At the very end, when you have to go into that chamber, if you have your super mutant buddy with you. You can ask him to go into the chamber instead, because he is COMPLETELY IMMUNE to the dangers inside it and would be as safe and healthy as if he was walking in the park on a sunny day.

    And he will turn you down. And the only reason he gives is, “This is something you have to do.” THEY DIDN’T EVEN BOTHER TO THINK OF A REASON. THEY LITERALLY JUST HAVE HIM SAY “NO, YOU DO IT.”

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      Given that Bethesda acknowledged that and fixed it in the DLC after the massive outcry, maybe Shamus didn’t feel like that one was worth getting into. Better to focus on the other things that were broken about the main quest, the things that get overlooked.

      And frankly, Shamus’ summation of the conflict really trumps the stupidity of not being able to send in the Super Mutant.

      • Shamus says:

        Yeah, I sort of file the whole “Who will go into the purifier?” issue like Little Lamplight: Super stupid and frustrating, and difficult to do it justice in just 1 or 2 paragraphs. We could probably do ANOTHER 7k words on all the stuff this series left out:

        * Three dog is a villain.
        * Little Lamplight
        * Dad is a supervillain.
        * The karma-based “morality” of the Roy quest in Tenpenny tower is deeply disturbing and screwed up.
        * The final choice of who will kill themselves is broken on many levels.
        * The end-game wrap-up passes MORAL judgement on you, instead of telling how your actions impacted the world.

        It really is shocking how bad the writing is in this game.

        • Distaff Pope says:

          So… another 7k series of articles about all the other ways Fallout 3 is broken? I mean, sure I could just rewatch the Spoiler Warning season for an in-depth deconstruction, but then I’d be passing up more Shamus rants.

        • Benjamin Hilton says:

          Random Brotherhood Dude #3: “Hey Three-Dog(ow oooow), have you heard what the wanderer just did? Some poor schmuck fresh from a vault asked for his help in finding his lost mother, and the wanderer only agreed to help him if he went on some crazily suicidal mission to collect the windshield wiper from the Apollo 13 lander. I mean he was even surrounded by a bunch of veteran mercs with armor and guns, but instead he insisted that this guy with no proven combat skills who doesn’t even know how this world works yet do it instead.”

          Three-Dog(ow oooow): WHAT!? OH THAT’S IT. I’m gonna get on the radio and tell the whole wasteland about this ass. I mean really you’d just have to be some kind of evil bastard to do that. Does he have no sense of the Good Fight?”

          • Wide And Nerdy says:

            I just assumed that Three Dog being a self serving hypocrite prone to self-righteous anger was intentional (along the lines of a Jerry Springer audience member itching to lecture someone perceived as inferior). But maybe that doesn’t hold up.

            • Shamus says:

              I would LOVE if the game just presented Three Dumb without comment. Like, he’s just another crazy person in this crazy wasteland. But the karma system explicitly supports him. (For example: Killing a man planning mass murder is wrong because he’s a ghoul, and some people are racists against ghouls, and therefore if you kill him you’re a racist.)

              • Bropocalypse says:

                Imagine if the whole scenario with Tenpenny was swapped where some nomadic humans wanted to occupy a large building inhabited by ghouls.

              • That brings up an interesting point about the Karma system. While I prefer to have it than not (thanks to Skyrim), what if some Karma was awarded only when the consequences of one’s actions happened, rather than when the decision was made? Or maybe you’d get the “You Gained Karma” message when you helped Roy, but once you visited Tenpenny Tower, you lost Karma when seeing the outcome of your actions? I know some players would feel cheated either way, but it’d be an interesting setup arguing if Karma is more about your intentions vs. the results of your actions.

                I suppose alternately, there should just be more missions that are Karma-neutral, like most of the DLC missions.

                • Sleeping Dragon says:

                  Part of the problem is the issue of “what IS the karma system”. If it is reputation than the consequences matter more than intentions, if it is a cosmic ethics gauge than intentions matter more than consequences. The game basically scores karma as the latter but uses it as the former.

                  • That makes me wonder about the Roy quest. Maybe you should get good karma from letting him in, assuming:

                    1. Most wastelanders figure non-feral ghouls are at least okay, if not as bad as Tenpenny makes them out to be, and

                    2. Everyone really hates Tenpenny and didn’t mind if he got killed by a load of ghouls.

                    Not making excuses, just an interesting thought.

        • Hamilcar says:

          Yes, please. More Shamus rants on Fallout 3. Consider it all a part of the Fallout 4 announcement celebration.

        • HiEv says:

          Funny thing is, the bottom of the page randomly linked to your 2008 rant about Roy/Tenpenny Tower for me. So no need to rewrite that bit. ;-)

        • Eu says:

          Why did you left the vampires, idiots in superhero costumes and the bladerunner android out of your critique? They are some of the most stupid and out of place things in F3.

    • MrGuy says:

      IMO the most egregious part of this is the conflict with Vault 87, where Fawkes basically tells you “Hey, you need this thing, and you can’t possible survive in there, but don’t worry – I’ll get it for you.” Even though, in the Vault 87 case, you actually CAN do it yourself (there’s an advanced radiation suit nearby and if you don’t linger there’s enough radaway/rad-x to make it straightforward.”

      So, at one point in the game, Fawkes actively offers to run your errands in the high radiation zone as gratitude for freeing him, but later he won’t consider it, because “it’s not his destiny.” There’s absolutely zero reason why he’d behave so differently in such similar situations.

      • Erik says:

        Yeah, for me this is the point where I gave the story of fallout the middle finger. Everything else I could forgive, since it’s blanketed by decent gameplay, but this, this.. I could not forgive

  5. Re: The invisible walls footnote, “practical walls enforced by high-level mobs.”

    I was under the impression you didn’t find that distasteful. In fact, I thought that was something you praised, as it means some mobs have a set difficulty instead of leveling with you.

    I rather like that, myself. There was an old Might & Magic game (I think it was the first) where you could wander anywhere, and I went and found a gathering of demons that promptly turned my party into ashes. This was the old C-64 days, and I still thought it was awesome, because it meant I could come back later after building my dudes up and take these guys down.

    To have it otherwise, it seems cheap to me. I’d hate to have a New Vegas where I could destroy an Alpha Deathclaw as easily at level 3 as I could at level 20 because the game fudges the numbers.

    • Shamus says:

      I was just acknowledging it. “This is a thing and some people really hated it.”

    • Khizan says:

      I like that kind of wall because it’s a ‘skillwall’.

      It is totally possible to go from northeast from Goodsprings to New Vegas immediately, but you’ve got to be careful and know what you’re doing, and you need to find the Stealth Boys in the town, and so forth.

      • Thomas says:

        In my first playthrough I stumbled through that area and it felt so cool when I actually succeeded in crawling my way through it. And you get that smart feeling of breaking the game because everyone in New Vegas is acting like you’re a famous hero =D

        In Fallout 3 I saw my first deathclaw die as almost the first thing after leaving the vault (admittedly it killed two Brotherhood of Steel outcasts and a merchant first. Which was fantastic lootwise)

        • One other thing from F3 that made Deathclaws less of a scary thing: The dart gun.

          I was kind of surprised Josh poo-poo’ed it when talking about the crafting system, because once you cripple even one leg on a Deathclaw, let alone both, you can stroll away from it, plinking it to death with your BB gun in complete safety.

          Leaving it out of New Vegas was a good idea, IMHO. it made the game too easy.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        Agreed. I like it because you can either do the thing that the devs want you to (which is walk around and encounter all the set pieces in order) or you can use the game mechanics to your advantage. It’s something that would happen in an RPG: we know that a dragon has a McGuffin, we can’t possibly beat the dragon, assuming time and circumstances allow we can go into the world to look for ways to defeat the dragon or we can look for ways to work around it.

        That said, I seem to remember this wall wa a literall line of deathclaws placed in equal distance from the next one just standing there and waiting for the PC.

        • I don’t recall that. I just remember there being 2 or 3 outside of the quarry near Sloan, and one or two on a back way to Vegas near one of the railroad stations.

          I think one of the SW crew referred to that as a “conga line of deathclaws” in jest, not as an actual line one right after the other.

          • Sleeping Dragon says:

            I seem to recall seeing a screenie of it somewhere? But it was a long time ago (when NV was a new game still) so I could be misremembering it… or it could be a lucky lineup, or from a version with settings that messed up draw distance (is it possible the “wander around” AI activates at closer range than the actual spawn?).

            Well whatevs, I stand by my earlier statement that I much prefer it to invisible walls or plot induced instadeath wall.

          • Muelnet says:

            The “congo line of deathclaws” was probably referring to the Deathclaw mother who’s children would follow in a straight line behind her.

            Image of Deathclaw mother

    • RCN says:

      You just described ALL Might & Magic games. Even the new one (Might & Magic X) made by Ubisoft… well, I suppose there aren’t actual Demons in an area blocking you off, just Orcs and Cyclopses, who are considered half-demon breeds in Ashan’s lore.

      • This was the one with the Bard’s Tale-ish interface (a window in the upper left with sprite graphics showing you the part of the maze (the whole world was a maze, basically, even outdoors) with a message window to the right and your characters’ quick stats below.

        The demons I found were actually in a location. I think it was something like “The Demonic Council” or something. I don’t even recall the quest to get there, just that the first time I found it, I had a total party wipe in the first round of combat. I was jazzed to see there were locations that were made for high-level characters. It’s like finding out the Keep on the Borderlands and the Tomb of Horrors were in the same neighborhood, and you could visit either whenever you wanted (though you might not enjoy your trip).

        • RCN says:

          I know which one is the Inner Sanctum, I’m just commenting how all M&M games remained true to this game philosophy of allowing the player to go wherever he wants. (Though M&MX makes the mistake of holding the party in the initial area for way longer than necessary.)

  6. Duoae says:

    Beautiful…

    Loved this series of articles.

    Could never “get into” New Vegas though… Mind you that may be that the games don’t age well. I tried to replay Fallout 3 a few years ago and couldn’t get far in the game and I played NV a while after its release.

    However, I enjoyed the Spoiler Warning series immensely!

  7. Grimwear says:

    I would love to read about all the ways Three-Dog is a complete butthole. Then you could end the article with the video of Josh putting a grenade in his pants and blowing him the heck up! Sweet justice.

    Ps. Shamus, I know when you first started adding the From the Archives section you had a link sharing which articles you had added to appear is it possible to view the updated list on demand? Can we still make recommendations? I really enjoyed your article talking about the 3 Evils of DRM but don’t know if it’s already on the list or if you’re still adding to it.

  8. MrGuy says:

    This should be an argument between Fallout 3 and the BETTER version of Fallout 3 we could have gotten if just one person had stepped in and either fixed the plot, or changed the plot to tackle a subject commensurate with the skills and ambitions of the writing staff.

    I suspect this is actually the problem. There was no one person with sufficient clout/pull/respect who had the ability to shout “the clothes have no emperor!” loud enough for everyone else to pay attention and fix the problems. This feels like a classic “written by committee” game.

    Say what you will about Chris Avallone, but as one of the leads for Fallout 2, he did not have this problem when he wrote Fallout: New Vegas. He knew the world, and he was clearly in charge of the story. I don’t like everything about the writing (I feel the legion was massively underdeveloped, and I think the NCR’s weaknesses were underplayed by making them the “mostly good” guys), but you never felt like there was zero coordination between the person writing A and the person writing B.

    P.S. In researching this post, I discovered that Emil Pagliarulo, the lead writer for Fallout 3, received the Best Writing award at the 2008 Game Developers Choice Awards. So, yeah. I still don’t retract my thoughts that he did a piss poor job keeping the writing staff on the same page. Just makes me weep for humanity a bit…

    Edit: Oh, lovely! Emil Pagliarulo is back for Fallout 4.

    • Squirly says:

      Oh dear God, you depressed the crap out of me with that last sentence.

    • Kerethos says:

      I personally look forward to whatever insane mess they write this time.

      It’s probably going to make me sad by just how dumb it is… and people will love it and praise it.

      I think Shamus theory might be correct though.
      There’s so much time spent between most main plot story section that really, by the time you get there, it’s just a task on a checklist. You’ve forgotten why you’re there, you just know you’re supposed to get a thing or talk to an npc to get the next quest.

      At least, I was guilty of this playing Fallout 3. It was never about the story, at times I stopped and just though… why am I doing this? Or wtf just happened… how did that make any sense? Then merrily went back to blowing up raiders and super mutants for 5 hours before taking on the next quest.

    • Nimas says:

      I….uh….whu…..I……huh? (my actual reaction to reading that Fallout 3 received an award for writing).

      WERE THERE NO OTHER GAMES COMING OUT IN 2008?!

      • Merkel says:

        It beat Far Cry 2, Braid, Grand Theft Auto IV, and Metal Gear Solid 4. Not nominated, but also released that year: Dead Space, Fable II, Gears of War 2, Left 4 Dead, LittleBigPlanet, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Mirror’s Edge, WoW: Wrath of the Lich King, and Tomb Raider: Underworld. All in all, not the strongest year for writing in games, but there should have been some competition.

      • SCO says:

        The answer is that like all industry prizes and related ‘criticism’ everything about these events is a extension of the soulless marketing machine, trust modern gaming industry? Not even once.

        Why this very criticism wave of fallout 3 now that 4 is announced is a favorite tactic of the demons of PR, not that i’m accusing Shamus, since he proved his dislike from long ago.
        I mean it’s modus operandi among the usual suspects to go ‘Game X-1 was actually a mess because [superficial reasons that barely scratch the surface of the true horror] but game X fixes this completely and adds new features W, Y and Z (old ideas already done better in 1985, but now trademarked with a snazzy name)’.

        Besides 2008 was the year of Geneforge 5, quite simply still unparalleled in C&C multifaction wrangling (that makes sense – you can delay faction choice, get the rewards by stealing them but not antogonize by not being detected and betray midway, not to mention each faction has two somewhat ‘secret’ subfactions’. So it’s not even a competition for the informed person. Which these people aren’t because they don’t give a damn)

        Even if you only look at the satanic walled gardens of consoles there are dozens of smaller titles that actually have coherent stories and deserve such a prize much more.

    • While I like a head writer for most projects, it can still backfire.

      Look at what happened with Mass Effect 3.

    • krellen says:

      I believe Josh Sawyer was actually the project lead of New Vegas. Avellone did some writing, and was lead for Old World Blues, but the core game was Sawyer.

    • Writiosity says:

      Just a random FYI on the Legion: There was a lot more planned for them, but most of it had to be cut back due to budget/time constraints (thanks to Bethesda, naturally). Which sucks, because as much as I despise the Legion, it’s also interesting seeing the world from the point of view of the main antagonists, and I’d have loved more opportunities to delve into that aspect of the world.

  9. tmtvl says:

    I love Fallout: New Vegas. I’ve been playing so much of it as of late. It’s wonderful.

    Fallout 3? Meh. I don’t really like it, I don’t really dislike it. It’s just… boring.

  10. James says:

    So what if in Fallout 3 the main quest was to make a survival guide with Moira, expand it out some more so its got more steps. and drop the entire dad/purifier shtick and just have the PC be evicted from the vault for, i don’t know crossing the overseer for being intimate with his daughter, gives the character motivation to return later, and makes the overseer obviously despotic.

    You can work food and a GECK into it in the more traditional way like Vault City used there GECK for.

    • Ronixis says:

      My biggest problem with this plot is that it reads very much as “your player character is a straight man”. Although the Overseer’s accusations might not have to be true, which would help a bit. Admittedly, though, there are some points in F3 where it feels like they’re assuming that anyway.

      • Mintskittle says:

        From the Fallout wiki, the purpose of Vault 101 is “Evaluation of performance of an omnipotent, dictatorial overseer in a closed community. This vault was intended to never open. ” So we’re already halfway there! And the PC doesn’t have to be romantically interested in Amata, just go with childhood friends, and the Overseer could hate the PC hanging out with his daughter because he has an ongoing feud with the dad and is lumping the PC in with him.

        Most of this is already in the game, it just needs some tweaking, and we’ll get this story fixed!

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      And depending on player decisions the Guide would contain different things, and the final narration could be reading from said guide, or from an updated version created some time later.

      It actually sounds like a really nice way of making the player explore and a nice vehicle for narration, though to be fair I do not see it as a major source of motivation. (why are we doing this for this crazy person rather than settle in one of the towns we visit?)

  11. SoranMBane says:

    The first time I played Fallout 3, I didn’t notice any of the things wrong with it; I was just along for the ride and having myself a grand wasteland adventure. That ending is what broke everything for me. When I walked into that (moderately-irradiated) chamber, my character was sporting the best anti-rad gear in the game, more rad-x than anyone could ever need, and enough rad-away to drown approximately 20 brahmin. The entire game, I’d been taught pretty thoroughly that radiation in this world was basically just an inconvenience if you had the proper equipment; I was fully expecting to turn on that purifier and walk out a hero… And then when my character died after I entered the code, and all I could do was sit there, mouth hanging open, and go “… What.” Then later on I thought “Wait, couldn’t Fawkes have entered the code? What… What do you mean he would have said ‘NO’?! What the hell!”

    From then on, I could never enjoy the game as much as I did the first time. As I attempted other playthroughs, I just couldn’t shake the knowledge of what was coming, and I slowly began to notice all the other things wrong with it (the plot holes, the brokenness of its setting, the stupidity of its characters; all of the things that Shamus just went over). Now, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to play Fallout 3 again; I gave this game my trust, and it rewarded that trust with some of the most idiotic, patronizing, nonsense I’ve ever personally been subjected to in a game (though, to be fair, I haven’t played Mass Effect 3).

    But then New Vegas came out to fill the post-apocalyptic action-RPG-shaped void in my life, so I suppose there’s sort of a happy ending for me. It’s a “happy ending” riddled with crashing and glitches, sure, but I can deal with those.

    Anyway, thanks for this analysis, Shamus. I… Needed this. And let’s all hope that Bethesda have learned from at least some of these mistakes for Fallout 4 (they probably haven’t, but we can hope).

    • Arstan says:

      Interesting! In my playthrough, there were some places, where high radiation seemed deadly, and so I was not really pissed off when they killed PC in the chamber. Althrough it was puzzling why fawkes couldn’t do it. But since i played with the DLC already in place – the “death” was just PC being unconscious for a bit))))

      But your feelings… What you described was what I felt with Mass Effect 3 (original endings). I just could’t play ME123 at all, knowing the ending!

    • ehlijen says:

      Yeah, my headcanon ending for FO3 is:
      The vault dweller sitting curled up in front of the plot locked exit doors, fingers in ears going LALALALA while the paladin lady is begging to be told the code so she can turn off the purifier instead.
      [Fade to white]

      It’s the only thing that made sense the entire game.

    • The Other Matt K says:

      Yeah, when I played through it, I was able to shrug off most of the inconsistencies in the setting. Sure, they don’t show the wasteland inhabitants dying in droves due to lack of clean water, but I can easily accept the concept that better access to clean water will be a good thing for them.

      But the two scenes in the purifier – first when Dad sacrifices himself rather than let me just fight the bad guys, and then later when I need to give my own life because of that… those scenes enraged me. Just this utter feeling of lacking any control over what was happening… that stuck with me. I could explain away – pretty easily – just about all the other inconsistencies or shallow motivations of the plot. Even if they didn’t do a good job of justifying it, the idea that ‘free pure water is good thing; bad guys having control is bad thing’ is something I can accept.

      But the game conspiring to control the fate of my character – and breaking the rules it has previously established about the world to do it – there wasn’t any way to handwave that away. And that was really the criminal wrongs committed by the writers. That was the difference between being a bad story and being a bad game.

  12. Dues says:

    Is there a mod to replace the dialog with stuff that is less stupid?

    • SoranMBane says:

      Not that I know of, but I vote that Rutskarn should make a mod that replaces every character’s dialog with just him babbling and making fart noises into a microphone.

      • I’d make him an unkillable companion with voice tracks to trigger when they enter new areas and give commentary on what’s going on around him an the player. It can be snarky, informative, or both. The player can choose to end the current rant/instruction by hitting the companion with a weapon and doing enough damage to stagger him.

        If this is done too many times, the Rutskarn companion will intentionally make noise to alert and attract nearby mobs so its lecture can continue uninterrupted while the player has to fight.

        When it’s time to turn on the purifier, the companion will shove the player out of the way and do it himself in an attempt to suicide out of the game. When this fails, he’ll be depressed for a while, but will pull faces behind Elder Lyons as a means of cheering himself up.

        If Fawkes can be taken as a companion, Rutskarn will ride on him piggback-style.

        When the Enclave knocks you out, Rutskarn will interrupt the cutscene and berate Autumn for using a railroading plot to defeat the player. He will be found in President Eden’s office later, having replaced the FEV container with a can of Pork ‘n’ Beans and he’ll have hacked Eden to blow himself up because it gives Malcolm McDowell more dignity.

      • Lachlan the Mad says:

        On a different thread (possibly one of the Dead Island SW episodes), there was the idea to replace all nouns in quest text with metasyntatic variables; “Go to the plafe next to the other place, and get me the thingy so I can do stuff.”

  13. Chris Davies says:

    I think the saddest part about Fallout 3 is that the people designing it clearly knew what an RPG is supposed to look like, but the Bethesda culture so quickly got the better of them that it was all lost.

    The very first quest in the main quest line is built like a traditional fallout quest. You need to get the information out of a sleazy bar owner about where you dad went. You can either pay him for the information, hack his terminal, steal his terminal password from a locked safe or do a side quest for him to shake down a former employee (in which you can kill her, intimidate her, or let her go and pay up on her behalf.)

    So much choice, exercising so many of the skills the game offers you. And it’s the only quest of its kind in the entire game. All the rest are of the kind we’re used to from the Elder Scrolls series, with at most two solutions though usually only one.

    I’m guessing much of megaton was designed separately as a vertical slice early in the game’s production before Bethesda’s usual semi-morons were unleashed to stink up the rest of the game.

    • To be fair, other places in F3 allowed you to use various skills to get different outcomes. In Paradise Falls (if one is going there of one’s own accord), you can join the slavers, kill them, or do one and then the other. The Wasteland Survival Guide used skill checks on some of the quests if you wanted to help write the book but didn’t want to mess with going after the actual objective (i.e. using Science to write the chapter about Robots instead of visiting RobCo) and even if you went, there was the base objective plus a bonus one if you had the ability/desire to complete it.

      I think Bethesda just boogers up their main quests. In all their games its where you have the fewest world-affecting choices, and even if you are making some decisions, they don’t really matter in the end. I hope they manage to avoid that for Fallout 4, but I’ll be okay with the new game so long as the sidequests are still fun. I say this in the hopes that Obsidian will be given license to take the engine and create Fallout: Phoenix or whatever.

      A side note about the Wasteland Survival Guide that makes me sad: The original plan was to require the final quest be a trip to Hubris Comics to actually print the guide, but it was cut before the game was completed. I always thought I was missing something when I could try to activate the printers and nothing happened.

  14. Merkel says:

    I’ve heard a lot of people complain about FNV’s stability issues, but I had more and worse stability issues with F3: mostly crashes, dialogue bugs, and their ilk. There was one that broke the game completely for me though: When I was playing F3, about three hours into my first game, I booted up the system and all my save files were gone. I thought, whatever, I wasn’t that far into it, and there were some early decisions that I wanted to do differently, so I started over. I had a pretty good time, enjoying the enjoyable bits and mostly avoiding the main quest. Eventually I more-or-less began to run out of side missions and started to finish up the game; my father died, the BoS let me into their bunker, etc. Then one day I turned it on, and lo-and-behold my original save files were back, but not my newer ones. I stopped playing for months because of this, luckily FNV was released and scratched my Fallout itch. I’ve gone back to F3 since, and it seemed random which set of save files would appear, but I eventually finished the game.

    • Merkel says:

      TL;DR

      Terrible bug broke F3 for me, FNV ran (more-or-less) fine.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        I remeber a lot of people complaining about disappearing/corrupt savegames in FO3… wasn’t large part of that the work of GFWL? Personally FO3 was rather unstable for me but that memory most likely comes from the last few times I’ve run it when it was running probably a couple times more mods than original content.

        • It was, if you had the GFWL version of Fallout 3 then later installed it from Steam. Steam just checked to see if GFWL’s dll files were present and made its saves in My Documents or wherever it does, not even bothering to look for the GFWL versions. I believe you could copy them over directly to the Steam save locations, but you had to know that they existed and where, of course.

  15. Retsam says:

    No Goldun Riter award? I was expecting that to be the ending to this series. (Unless there’s one more post, but this sounded pretty conclusive)

    • Shamus says:

      Hm. That’s a good point. I think Fallout 3 pre-dates the GW, which is probably why it didn’t get one. Is it okay to award one years later? Can it be an honorary one? What are the rules? How does this work?

      • Merkel says:

        A “Life-Time Achievement” award would be appropriate.

      • Isaac says:

        What does it eat?

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        I think fable 2,which you gave it to first,predates fallout 3.

      • Nimas says:

        When it got an *actual* writing award, I think Goldun Riter is only fair.

      • ulrichomega says:

        From a quick archive-search it looks like you mentioned specifically not giving one to Fallout 3 when you gave one to Assassin’s Creed 2

        • Retsam says:

          To save people a click:

          It would be one thing if the story was a small part of a larger experience. I don't hold Oblivion or Fallout 3 to the same standards, because the story in those games is very small compared to the massive world of freeform roaming, leveling, crafting, looting, collecting, and dungeon-diving. You can skip dialog and get back to the gameplay if you're in a hurry. (Although I'm always adamant that those games should do much better. I mean, there's never a reason for the writing to be crappy, just like there's never a reason to make a horrible interface.)

        • Shamus says:

          Me in 2011:

          “It would be one thing if the story was a small part of a larger experience. I don't hold Oblivion or Fallout 3 to the same standards, because the story in those games is very small compared to the massive world of freeform roaming, leveling, crafting, looting, collecting, and dungeon-diving.”

          Wow. That’s really interesting. And… I think I disagree? I’m not sure if it’s a change I’ve gone through, or a side-effect of aging, or or what. But I’m less inclined to let games off the hook now.

          • krellen says:

            It’s probably because the joy you had running through the subways was fresher then, so you wanted a reason to give Fallout 3 a break, but it’s been a long time since you played it and you’ve got other games to scratch the same itch now anyway.

          • Wide And Nerdy says:

            Maybe you were just comparing main storyline to main storyline in that case whereas now you’re thinking about all the writing in Fallout 3 (after all, you can’t do a lot without encountering some kind of writing). And I’m assuming everything in Creed 2 had to be played along the main storyline whereas you very definitely don’t have to in Fallout 3?

            Or maybe now that you’ve played the newer Fallouts enough, the gameplay isn’t enough anymore? Wonder if the base building in FO4 could possibly be robust enough to shift that opinion?

            I see it as a matter of degrees and mood really. Obviously you never liked the writing. It was evident back during that season of spoiler warning.

      • Some ideas for Golden Riter awards given to games years after they were written:

        “Golden Riter, Preekwell Award.”
        “Golden Wreck-con.”

  16. Ivan says:

    “Games criticism isn't an all-or-nothing deal, and it's okay to hate one part of a game and love a different part.”

    It would be so nice if I could get my little brother to understand this. I like to make fun of trivial things in games and it drives him up the wall, like I’m condemning the entire game for not being perfect. I have to wonder if it’s a maturity thing or if I should really just shove off when he’s watching streamers with his headphones on. Ok, maybe the latter has something to do with it :)

    • Hector says:

      Exactly.

      Sometimes part of a very good game is just bad, even agonizingly so. This is somewhat of the issue that has killed Grand Theft Auto and assassin’s Creed for me. For every really good moment in the game, there’s one or two which just kill the entire experience.

  17. ehlijen says:

    The impression I got was that it did matter who turned on and then controlled the purifier: that’s where the clean water would come out to be bottled. The machine wouldn’t magically turn the whole lake (or sea?) clean, it would just spit out hundreds of litres of clean water from a tap a day.

    That is what the brotherhood was doing in that ending extending DLC; they were selling/handing out water bottles from the memorial to caravans and delivery groups.

    So there would be some difference in how much clean water costs and who gets it depending on who is in control of the tap.

    But of course that still means nothing because we know no one except that one beggar needs water (and he sits next to a house with an infinite water making robot)!

    • Hector says:

      Even with that, you could just come in and take control five minutes after they turn it on, so… yeah.

      • Gruhunchously says:

        If the Brotherhood doesn’t attack the Purifier immediately, it allow the Enclave to fortify it with extra troops from their air force base, making any subsequent attempt to take it back a lot harder.

        • ehlijen says:

          Except that’s exactly what they did. The enclave started fortifying from the moment they killed Dad and the brotherhood did nothing until the player comes back and tells them that the enclave took the GECK and can turn it on now.

          I can only think of two reasons why anyone would care who turns it one first:
          -Publicity (not sure that’s worth enough to rush a war for, especially in a wasteland)
          -The FEV plot was supposed to tie into autumn in some way, but was changed without telling the rest of the writers.

          • Sleeping Dragon says:

            The latter is what I suspect, it feels like a very villain thing to do and would fit with the Enclave’s theme. Also…

            The machine wouldn't magically turn the whole lake (or sea?) clean,

            Except that’s exactly what it does, at least mechanically. If I remember correctly in Broken Steel, which happens a few weeks (?) after the vanilla ending the basin, and I think the entire Potomac, is miraculously rad clean. (I do realise that’s most likely a game mechanics compromise).

            As a completely redundant (and restated throughout this series) argument that water does not make a life or death difference. It could improve the quality of lives but it’s not a matter of “he who controls spice”.

  18. Hector says:

    One minor issue was the *other* Brotherhood of Steel – the Outcastes. To me, they were the more interesting group. They weren’t especially well-written. In fact, they weren’t written much at all, and there didn’t seem to be much technology for them to get (which was their whole point).

    And yet, I rather liked them. They weren’t trying to play superheroes and didn’t get bogged down into a pointless and bloody battle in the middle of DC. They stayed together on their actual mission. They had personality setting that was more than merely “blandly nice”, and their armor alone told a story. Not a perfect idea, but it worked well enough for me. The fact that you had to demonstrate first that you were a friend, but they were otherwise neutral, gave them a very different feel in the game from any other faction.

  19. RCN says:

    And that’s why I’m glad that the furthest I ever got in Fallout 3’s main quest was reaching somewhere about the ballpark of ThreeDog’s place, giving up and turning around to see what that “Republic of Dave” was about.

    The first time I actually saw ThreeDog was in the Spoiler Warning, in fact.

  20. Raygereio says:

    [relative] stability of Fallout 3, or…
    New Vegas crashes all the time.

    Actually New Vegas’ iteration of the Bethesda-Gamebryo engine is a lot more stable then FO3’s ever was for me. And it’s only improved by tools like NVAC. In fact the best way to play FO3 these days is with Tale of Two Wastelands which let’s you run FO3 through F:NV’s engine.

    there are invisible walls Both literal collision walls and practical walls enforced by high-level mobs

    The people bitching about how FO3 was so much better then F:NV made this into a bigger thing then it actually was. There aren’t that many invisible walls in New Vegas and the ones that are there protect the player from getting stuck (primarily in Honest Hearts) or from seeing unfinished terrain (in places where you have no real reason to go to like the top of a mountain).
    Unless you specifically go out of your way to find them, you’re not that likely to even notice them. And offcourse the people bitching about this ignore the fact that FO3 also had invisible walls all over the place for the exact same reason.

    As for the high-level mods (I assume you’re referring to the Deathclaws north of Goodsprings), these aren’t even walls. You can head to New Vegas immediatly after walking about of Doc Mitchel’s shack. You just have to work for it, instead of it being an pleasant & effortless stroll.

  21. LadyTL says:

    Funnily enough, I can replay FO3 over and over but New Vegas’s story killed any interest in ever playing it again. The blistering stupidity of that ending I feel was worse than FO3s. I mean three of the ending quests basically go “Kill this person cause I dun no like them” and you have absolutely no choice in it or alternate way if you want to see the end game. I spent hours carefully balancing all the factions only to hit wall after wall of No you may not pass until you kill this person you have no reason to kill and piss everyone else off in the wasteland from one action.

    If they had been honest from the start about you can will only be able to choose one faction and NO OTHER, I might not have been as ticked about being forced to do so in the end.

    • James Porter says:

      …You do know you can chose not to go with anyone right? If you talk to the Yes Man, you can get a 4th path that lets you decide what happens to all the factions. You can saver every single faction, kill every faction, or any in between. The big three are meant to show the different powers at play in the Mojave, and they way they would effect the wastes.
      It is kinda the only ending I have only ever done, because I like they idea of bringing a bunch of different groups together and not kill each other.

      • LadyTL says:

        And that also gives you the worst and stupidest ending. The Yes Man ending just assumes everyone dies in the worst ways possible no matter how good you were at anything.

        • James Porter says:

          Not sure what you mean by that? Overall it kinda seemed like everyone got together well enough. The Brotherhood of Steel is still jerks, and Veronica has to deal with that, but overall the endings I got had everyone move on, learn something about themselves, get some respect in the world and overall life just goes on.
          I mean, you can make everything bad for everyone, but that isn’t the only thing you can do about it. I’d be curious to hear what parts are “assuming everyone dies” bit.

  22. Karl says:

    I actually think the purifier being accidentally able to release radiation perfectly understandable: removing radioactive fallout from the water won’t magically make whatever particles those are not radioactive anymore, and the machine has to put all that sludge somewhere.

    The problem really is that if the machine hasn’t actually been turned on at all, it’d have no radiation to release yet, though.

    • Deadpool says:

      I don’t think it’s that the machine doesn’t have the TOOLS to release deadly radiation into the control room. I mean, it can move radiation around (obviously) and radiation is the most readily available resource in Fallout 3 (second place would be bullets, third place probably clean water). The problem is why?

      I mean, a car has all the tools it takes to lock all windows and doors and set all the seats on fire with the push of a button. But no one in their right mind would build a car with that functionality…

  23. Primogenitor says:

    Your description of FO3 reminds me of an old rhyme:

    One fine day in the middle of the night
    Two dead men got up to fight
    Back to back they faced each other
    Drew their swords and shot each other

    Each of the parts is superficially valid, but total gibberish when put together.

  24. Dr. Science says:

    So is it ever actually explained how Col. Autumn and crew get inside Vault 87?

    Do they use his magic syringe of radiation immunity to get in through the main entrance even though the door is sealed up?

    Do they find a way to bypass all those horrible children in Little Lamplight and enter the same way the player does?

    Do they teleport or noclip in there?

  25. ThaneofFife says:

    Shamus,
    I mentioned this in my comment to your Patreon post, but I wanted to put it here too–thank you so much for this timely (no, that’s not a joke) series. This game was one of the oldest on my Steam wishlist, and this series kept me from buying it during the recent Steam Sale. Instead, I bought Master of Orion 1 & 2 from GoG for the non-discounted price of $5.99. I definitely feel like I made the right decision–the stupidity you describe (particularly the Karma system) would have made me crazy.

    That being said, I’m curious what you and the commenters think of how the gameplay in Fallout 3 compares with a couple of other games from the last few years–is it more like (1) KOTOR; (2) Borderlands & Borderlands 2; or (3) Deus Ex: Human Revolution?

    I loved 1 & 3 above intensely enough that I might re-consider my purchasing decision at some point in the future if Fallout 3 is similar in terms of gameplay. However, if it’s like the first two Borderlands games, I’d expect to love it for about 10-15 hours, and then be completely sick of it. Your thoughts?

    P.S. Is there any way to get into Borderlands 2 (which I quit within a few hours) if I got tired of walking so much, repetitive enemies, and not having enough inventory space to sell everything I find? I got 30min into the vehicle section, and I was like, nope, I’m already done here.

    • ThaneofFife says:

      It’s funny–almost a year after writing the above comment, I found myself wanting to play a Fallout Game for the first time. After Fallout 4 failed to work on my PC, I ended up buying Fallout 3 in the Steam Summer Sale. At this point, I’ve put in over 100 hours on it.

      And, despite agreeing with every criticism Shamus has leveled against the game, I still enjoyed it immensely. In fact, I’m a little bit frustrated, actually by the fact that I’ve hit level 30, and have only seen about 2/3 of the gameworld. Do I start a new character, or just play for no XP (which is far less satisfying).

      That being said, I’d really like to read more of Shamus ranting about this game (which I realize is probably a lost cause since Fallout 4 is apparently equally-flawed. Still, I’d love to hear more about how 3-Dog is really a villain, because I don’t entirely understand that criticism.

      My own criticisms are mainly about look and feel: (1) the game looks terrible (mainly due to the lack of color), despite being played on the highest settings (well maybe only 4xAA, but does that really make a difference?); (2) GNR has a playlist of fewer than 2 dozen songs–all of which I have heard more than 2 dozen times at this point–it’s good music, but there needs to be a LOT more of it; (3) the game has a bunch of dumb bugs even after I installed the community patch (like followers not following, physics only working when a gun is involved; enemies (mainly roaches) getting stuck inside walls and floors, allied NPCs suddenly running away from me for no apparent reason (I now have over 100 fingers that I can’t give to the regulators even though my karma is at “Messiah”), etc., etc.); (4) the Karma system giving unclear, ambiguous, and bad incentives (it’s okay to storm into Paradise Falls and murder everyone in cold blood? Really?); and (5) the designer’s willful (and entirely-unnecessary) disregard for actual DC geography.

      RE: point #5, I live in DC, and it honestly would have been better if they had ignored the geography entirely (beyond the locations of the Mall and the Capitol) and used different place-names for everything. The tendency to re-use place-names for locations that don’t match the IRL place-names was really frustrating. Likewise, the metro map. They could have re-used the DC Metro’s actual map with no adverse gameplay impact, instead of putting their version of Judiciary Square (which is in roughly the center of DC) somewhere to the west of Falls Church.

      Last thing: does anyone else find Moira really annoying? I started the Wasteland Survival Guide quest line immediately after arriving in the Wasteland, and she (who has presumably lived in the Wasteland all her life) seemed dangerously clueless. Based on her dialog, she also seemed to be adding lots of bad advice to the survival guide, which made helping her seem morally-dubious.

  26. Ozfer says:

    I played through and liked fallout 3 personally. But I did find many issues that you pointed out and agree with them, but the game was still playable. But in Fallout New Vegas I believe Obsidian took it off the rails in terms of quality. They took 90% of the fallout 3 content and ctrl-c ctrl-v’d it over into vegas, and the remaining 10% was wonky western themed things they made. The settings was cheesy, the plot was bad and meaningless, the game had no hook, the character dialogue droned on and was pointless, and nothing connected. At least Fallout 3 started with a hook, about the father and making the purifier no matter how crazy it was something to go on. It might not make sense but at least it was a goal. FNV was just like, “someone shot me find out who it was”. Much of the scenery and items since directly copied over made little sense in the new game world. The music got annoying very fast, and the game was even buggier in general then FO3. Overall it was mediocre at best. Trying to find logic in a fictitious video game may not be the best way to go about it but there are many other elements that FO3 really hit that NV did not (though NV fails most of the same logic tests). If they put effort into making a SERIOUS fallout game with solid stories and even if it was a different series I think it would be a huge hit. Hopefully fallout 4 taps into this seriousness and doesn’t go further off the rails.

    • DVL says:

      If you believe that you have not paid attention.
      In the first settlement, the setting is established right off. Goodsprings is going to be attacked by Powder Gangers. Why? Because Goodsprings is sheltering a merchant who crossed them.

      Where do the Powder Gangers come from? Simple, they’re from a prison that the NCR couldn’t afford to man because they’re stretched too thin fighting a war with Caesar’s Legion. Goodsprings and Primm residents grumble about the NCR taxes and the lack of general security owing to the felons and Caesar’s Legionnaire’s running amok sewing terror.

      What does Goodsprings do for a living?
      Well, Goodsprings has an in-game watering hole nearby which is actually the player’s only source of clean water from the get go, especially if you play hardcore. They have the aforementioned garden plots and herds of livestock. They’re also on route I-15 on the way to New Vegas from an NCR border checkpoint, which was a major artery of trade until Deathclaws gummed up the whole thing. And there are sidequests tied into trading companies and even pit stops. The most common NPC shopkeepers are caravaneers or hanging about the various rest stops.

      This isn’t where it ends either. The NCR is picking up plot threads from Fallout 1 and 2, where, unlike Shamus’s criticism of FO3, people don’t just sit in bombed out ruins doing nothing. Because of the events of the first two games, the NCR is actually a civilized power to be reckoned with. They can produce guns reliably and have an agriculture based around ranching. Which is why they can afford to have all these conscripted citizen-soldiers running around and why Brahmin beef is a notable export to New Vegas. And if you’ve played FO1 and FO2 all of these things makes sense. All the “good guy” things you do in those games have been promoting civilization out in their neck of the woods. Now they’re here to conquer the Mojave, which is a lawless frontier comparatively.

      FO3 doesn’t even begin to hold a candle to the coherency of the setting, plot and theme of NV. And yes, there is actually an overarching theme. One of these being how ideologies die out and become obsolete or corrupt, but people keep clinging to them out of tradition or habit. New Vegas was refreshing, because it actually does respect that 200 years have freaking passed.

  27. natureguy85 says:

    Maybe it was the western feel, but I liked New Vegas’ world a lot better than Fallout 3’s except for the actual monuments. You made me realize something though; I’d justified the control of the purifier being important thinking that it was taking in dirty water and making it clean, so it would have to be collected and transported from there. However, that’s not correct. The machine is supposed to clean the entire basin, so, as you say, it doesn’t matter who has the building since anyone can just go get clean water!

    The other thing you didn’t touch was the game making you die even if you had a radiation immune companion. Then you have the battle experienced Brotherhood of Steel lady who expects this 18 year old kid to sacrifice him/herself after talking about how much of a badass she is.

  28. somebody says:

    To be fair, They found out they needed a G.E.C.K because Anna Holt told them (except the Purifier code, which she didn’t know). The plot is still shit, though.

  29. Wisecrack34 says:

    I love how this is the only comment section without a large pile of retards insulting each other over different views

  30. I was under the impression that the Enclave wanted to claim Capital Wasteland because it’s their ancestral home or somesuch, which I could believe. Otherwise, yeah, everything they say and do in this game is stupid.

  31. Daniel says:

    I discovered this article today. There are some pretty good arguments. There are also some embarrassingly bad arguments. I can get behind the idea that the game charges you with fixing a water purifier, then thematically fails to demonstrate in-game why it is important. I can get being the idea that the people of the wasteland aren’t the smartest lot, like building Megaton around an irradiated pool of water with an unexploded nuke in the middle. But the criticisms of the Enclave, the BoS, and the general plot all fall flat. Really flat. Like, I question if the author even played the game.

    What does the Enclave want? They are the remnant of the US government, and they want to return the country to its former glory, which includes ridding it of mutation. What is hard to understand about that? It isn’t always about a tangible reward, like land or wealth, the Enclave benefits by installing and legitimizing themselves as the government.

    To accomplish this, John Henry Eden wanted to put FEV in the water supply. Committing this genocide to uplift the former nation after a failed war isn’t groundbreaking, it is exactly what the Germans tried doing in WW2, remember? Colonel Autumn wasn’t necessarily aware of this part of the plan, as he frequently disagreed with President Eden, but regardless, the Purifier was formerly controlled by the Brotherhood of Steel, but their support collapsed and the Enclave seized it thereafter. The Brotherhood, having contended with the Enclave in the past, knew that allowing the Enclave to secure this important technology was bad news, even if they didn’t know the Enclave’s intent. Remember, reclaiming technology to prevent misuse by those the BoS deems malicious… well, that had always been part of the Brotherhood’s gig, even if Lyon’s group was more friendly to wastelanders.

    How can putting FEV into the purifier work, if it is designed to purify water? Jesus, did the author really not understand this plot point? It is called sabotage. You reconfigure the machine, so that instead of spreading purified water, it spreads FEV-tainted water. Even if that was President Eden’s plan alone, and Autumn simply thought they’d be turning on a water purifier, providing the people of the wasteland with clean water would still serve to legitimize the Enclave, which I’m guessing the BoS wasn’t keen allowing.

    Why is the Brotherhood so bad at what they do? The author asks this question, then literally gives the answer… they are a fighting force, and therefore not really trained in the finer points or practices of providing humanitarian aid. Why was that hard to understand, after answering your own complaint? And did the author actually say that fighting super mutants, raiders, etc wasn’t a benefit to the people of the Capital Wasteland because the are entrenched and not a threat to anyone? Uuuuh… raiders raid. Super mutants EAT PEOPLE. How is that not a threat?

    This game had some problems, but the author gets way too nitpicky.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      What does the Enclave want? They are the remnant of the US government, and they want to return the country to its former glory, which includes ridding it of mutation. What is hard to understand about that?

      The fact that EVERYTHING is mutated.No exceptions.The only way they can get rid of the mutations in a way that would satisfy them would be to completely purge the entire country(earth).This is not to say that you cant have a mad villain who wants to completely eradicate all life,but you cant have someone who wants to eradicate all life AND rule it at the same time.One or the other.You are either a conqueror or destroyer.Wanting to destroy everything and then rule a slag pit is nonsensical.

      And since you brought up nazis,they didnt want to exterminate everyone,just the minorities that they considered inferior.Theres a difference between wanting to kill off less than 50% of humans and rule the rest and wanting to kill off 100% of all life and rule the rubble.The first is evil,but makes sense,while the second is just dumb.

      knew that allowing the Enclave to secure this important technology was bad news

      How?Without knowing that someone plans to contaminate the waters with fev,what other thing would they be able to do with a machine whose only known purpose is to clean water.And brotherhood was reclaiming dangerous technology,not all tech.They didnt confiscate all radios,even though someone can dismantle a radio and use the parts to make a grenade.So why the need to prevent someone from owning a water purifier?

      It is called sabotage. You reconfigure the machine, so that instead of spreading purified water, it spreads FEV-tainted water.

      Once again,how exactly?This is the key point.Sure,you CAN turn a vacuum cleaner into a leaf blower,but unless you tell someone HOW you are going to do it,theyll think you are an idiot if you told them “Bring me a vacuum to blow these leaves away”.

      If all it takes for fev to spread is to pour it into the water,then you can do that anywhere,you dont need the purifier.But if you need the facility designed to PREVENT contaminants from entering the water in order to SPREAD contaminants into the water,then you need to explain HOW you plan to do it.Saying “Its just sabotage” is a lazy explanation.Even the token “We will reverse the polarity of the filter” is leagues better than that.

      they are a fighting force, and therefore not really trained in the finer points or practices of providing humanitarian aid

      If they are a fighting force,then why are they providing humanitarian aid?Why are they helping people if thats not what they are?And if they are a fighting force,why are they so bad at fighting that they have monsters roaming literally outside their door?So why are they so bad at their job,whether its fighting or helping people.

      • Daniel says:

        The fact that EVERYTHING is mutated.No exceptions.The only way they can get rid of the mutations in a way that would satisfy them would be to completely purge the entire country(earth).This is not to say that you cant have a mad villain who wants to completely eradicate all life,but you cant have someone who wants to eradicate all life AND rule it at the same time.One or the other.You are either a conqueror or destroyer.Wanting to destroy everything and then rule a slag pit is nonsensical.

        There are exceptions. Members of the Enclave are ALL pure, they have no mutation, which is why they are so elitist and view all wastelanders so negatively. Vault dwellers would also be uncontaminated, assuming the remained sealed. The Enclave is the remnant of the US government, which is responsible for the vaults, so the Enclave should know potentially which vaults to go after.

        Furthermore, the Enclave was split on the issue. John Henry Eden wanted to purge mutation by slipping FEV into the water supply under the guise of “clean” water. Augustus Autumn actually DID want to clean the water, to legitimize the rule of the Enclave by garnering favor with the wastelanders.

        How?Without knowing that someone plans to contaminate the waters with FEV,what other thing would they be able to do with a machine whose only known purpose is to clean water.And brotherhood was reclaiming dangerous technology,not all tech.They didnt confiscate all radios,even though someone can dismantle a radio and use the parts to make a grenade.So why the need to prevent someone from owning a water purifier?

        Again, Augustus Autumn actually WANTED to use the purifier to purify the water, so his intentions weren’t necessarily bad, except again, the Enclave represents the remnants of the pre-war US government. That would be the same US government that let technological hubris destroy the nation. Which is exactly what the Brotherhood of Steel is trying to prevent. Why would the BoS, an organization trying to prevent another technological downfall, let the former US government, who was directly complacent in the war, claim the purifier, for either the purpose of killing everyone, or for the purpose of once again legitimizing themselves as the ruling power?

        Once again,how exactly?This is the key point.

        No it isn’t. It is a science fiction game where people built nuclear-powered robots, but didn’t have color television sets. The science is the least important aspect here. You can literally raise you science skills in the game to re-kajigger all sorts of things, and there is never a need to explicitly explain how.

        If all it takes for fev to spread is to pour it into the water,then you can do that anywhere,you dont need the purifier.But if you need the facility designed to PREVENT contaminants from entering the water in order to SPREAD contaminants into the water,then you need to explain HOW you plan to do it.Saying “Its just sabotage” is a lazy explanation.Even the token “We will reverse the polarity of the filter” is leagues better than that.

        Lazy? No, what is lazy is not even thinking about it long enough to realize how simple the plan is. The purifier is a giant pumping station. It pumps water in, cleans it, and pumps it back out. When it is in the process of pumping it back out, that is when you introduce the FEV. Wow, that was so hard to figure out. And because the pumping station is adding the FEV at this point, it is going to do it continuously. That’s why they don’t just dump it in the water and run; because it wouldn’t do much. It would wash downstream and out into the ocean.

        If they are a fighting force,then why are they providing humanitarian aid?Why are they helping people if thats not what they are?

        Because that’s what Elder Lyons decided they’d do. They still collect tech, but they also try fighting the evils of the wasteland in protection of the people. And because of this, the West Coast Brotherhood cut them off, and they lost soldiers who formed the Outcasts. They are under supplied and under staffed, which is why they had to pull out of protecting the purifier in the first place, and why they are losing battles to the mutants. That’s why they need to activate Liberty Prime before they make a move, even when he isn’t completely ready.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Members of the Enclave are ALL pure

          No,they WERE pure.But seeing how radiation works in fallout universe(it can turn grown humans into ghouls),once they left their clean bases they two were contaminated.But even if they werent,how are a handful of enclave soldiers going to repopulate the country?No,vaults wont help them since most of those were open,except for the few really screwed up ones,like the vr vault.But even if they somehow could repopulate the country,they want to remove all of the mutations,which mean all of the animals and plants as well.So what are they going to eat after that?

          When it is in the process of pumping it back out, that is when you introduce the FEV.

          So why do they need the purifier?They can just as easily pump the fev at the source of the river,covering more ground.Or they could pump it just downstream from the purifier.This way,no one would know what they are doing,and no one would oppose their takeover of a plant that they dont even need.So what is the point of having the purifier for their plan?

          They are under supplied and under staffed

          So they lack resources to fight even the monsters outside their door,yet they decide to commit those paltry resources to prevent the enclave from cleaning the water and saving all the people because then the enclave might be seen as saviors?The brotherhood arent just bad at their job,they are utter dicks.Either that,or they read the script and knew in advance that a secret plan of one of the leaders of the enclave is to kill everyone.

          • Daniel says:

            No,they WERE pure.But seeing how radiation works in fallout universe(it can turn grown humans into ghouls),once they left their clean bases they two were contaminated.But even if they werent,how are a handful of enclave soldiers going to repopulate the country?No,vaults wont help them since most of those were open,except for the few really screwed up ones,like the vr vault.But even if they somehow could repopulate the country,they want to remove all of the mutations,which mean all of the animals and plants as well.So what are they going to eat after that?

            Whether they WERE pure or ARE pure isn’t relevant in light of the fact they consider themselves pure regardless. It seems to be the case that many of them don’t leave their bases. And when they do, they travel out in sealed power armor that should protect them from rads. And exposure to rads doesn’t guarantee instant mutation. Wastelanders have been exposed to, and breeding in, the radiation for two centuries.

            As for repopulation and food, since purging mutation is one of their main objectives, and because the US government, from which they derive, set up the Vault experiments specifically for the purpose of addressing various human survival issues, it isn’t unreasonable to assume the Enclave has set up eugenics and clean food programs. Considering they have advanced research facilities, and because they’ve already dealt with reproduction and food issues (having lived on a secluded oil rig for decades) I don’t see why they wouldn’t.

            It also needs to be said, if this something you take issue with, it has nothing to do with Fallout 3, but Fallout as a whole. The Enclave is against mutation. They found the FEV and realized it could be used to purge mutation. They kidnapped an unclean population from Arroyo and a clean population from Vault 13 to test it on. This was all done BEFORE Fallout 3, so don’t pretend Fallout 3 “ruined” something that was reasonable beforehand.

            So why do they need the purifier?They can just as easily pump the fev at the source of the river,covering more ground.Or they could pump it just downstream from the purifier.This way,no one would know what they are doing,and no one would oppose their takeover of a plant that they dont even need.So what is the point of having the purifier for their plan?

            Pumping it downstream wouldn’t cleanse the Capital Wasteland, where Raven Rock is located, so that would be pointless. Pumping the FEV into the river upstream, and failing to claim the purifier, would also be pointless, because once someone like the Brotherhood of Steel activates the purifier, all the FEV you’re putting into the water upstream would then go downstream, pass through the purifier, and be cleaned out.

            So they lack resources to fight even the monsters outside their door,yet they decide to commit those paltry resources to prevent the enclave from cleaning the water and saving all the people because then the enclave might be seen as saviors?The brotherhood arent just bad at their job,they are utter dicks.Either that,or they read the script and knew in advance that a secret plan of one of the leaders of the enclave is to kill everyone.

            Yes, that is exactly how the Brotherhood thinks. Technological hubris caused the downfall of humanity, therefore, nobody can be trusted with advanced technology, especially not the Enclave, who is the former US government, and with whom the BoS had previously clashed, and whom PREVIOUSLY ATTEMPTED USING FEV TO PURGE THE UNCLEAN. It is almost like you’ve never even played any game in the series. The Brotherhood is a military power, so is the Enclave. The Enclave, upon emergence, was vastly more technologically advanced than the Brotherhood, which is obviously a threat to the BoS, and therefore a threat to their mission. Now you expect the Brotherhood to cede control of advanced technology over to a competing military force, allowing them to secure regional power? Why would the Brotherhood do that?

  32. Jabberwok says:

    This was great, but I wish you had mentioned the cherry on top of the crap cake. The end of the game gives you the choice of totally circumventing the self-sacrifice by sending your super mutant companion – who is immune to radiation! – inside to flip the switch. But if you do this, he acts disappointed that you don’t want to kill yourself. Then the game’s ending narration will basically accuse you of being selfish and cowardly, for choosing the only sensible solution to the problem. To me, this summarizes everything wrong with the game’s writing.

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