No real spoilers unless you want to stay in the dark about settlement management
Fallout: I’m a little annoyed at it. It keeps giving me settlements to find/save/discover, and yet it doesn’t give me enough stuff to do meaningful things with them once I’ve settled them. I keep getting torn between scavenging/bartering for junk, and actually exploring for fun and profit along with the side quests. I like the idea; I’m not enjoying the implementation so much.
Yeah, I don’t really get the settlements. Granted, I’m early (Still haven’t made it to Diamond City), but I’m only really doing enough to a) get XP (they can be a bonanza) and b) protect my armor. I’m unclear what purpose they serve, save to give people minecraft moments.
What I will say is that not fast traveling is the WAY. One reason that I’m not at DC yet is that I’ve, at Kotaku’s advice, given up fast travel (unless I”m screwed) and I’ve had about three really wonderful moments/experiences/mini quests at places that aren’t even on the map as discoverable (one last night. Cool.) THAT’S where those wonderful FO themey moments seem to live. For now. Not at DC yet.
I agree that settlements are so far not totally holding my attention, but Mr. O’ LOVES them, so maybe it’s just a playing style thing. He’s always tinkering with them, trading resources, improving their defenses, etc. He was so excited to get the perk that lets you share resources between settlements. Whereas I AM frequently doing those sorts of things, when I get an alarm notice that one of them is low on food or defense or whatever, but I can feel it turning into something that’s as much a chore as it is a source of delight. And it’s true that (so far in my experience) you don’t really get any return on them in terms of interesting quests or relationships arising from them…they seem to be pretty much just a resource management game, and a way to make scavenging junk in the wider world more relevant (oh, hey, desk fans! I actually care about those because of the springs and gears and whatever!).
Which is really kind of a mixed blessing: I have a hard enough time keeping my encumbrance down when I’m only interested in things I can use or sell, without also constantly picking up useful things I can scrap for my settlements–on the other hand, it is kind of nice to have all those bits of junk that you could always pick up, actually be WORTH picking up.
And from a role playing standpoint, I do appreciate the chance to feel that my character is actually doing something good in the world. I’m helping people settle in peaceful communities and make a living–that’s worth doing!
But yeah, in execution, I’m lukewarm on them so far. We’ll see if they grow on me.
I think it probably is important to try to keep a balance between the aimless wandering, the quests, and the settlement work. It’s easy to just get pulled into one or another aspect for multiple game sessions at a time.
Desk fans have become the bane of my existence. They lead to machine gun turrets, but they are SO heavy! Filling up the inventory with friggin’ fans.
Weight aside, it’s time consuming to look in every damn nook and cranny for stuff. How many minutes do we spend looking and going “Hairbrush? Nope. Can? Nope. Plastic spoon? Nope.” I mean… you have to check EVERY piece of everything. Blarg.
As I have not yet gotten to the point where themes reveal themselves, I also think it MAY (repeat, may) play into some theme of parentalness. We’re searching for our kid, yes? And when I set up that first beacon, the transmission gave me that sense of hope/fear of being the one to take care of someone else that we all feel being parents. Or maybe I’ve been playing Witcher 3 too long. We shall see.
Balance is key. And SO hard in this game!
It’s true, you do feel a bit parentally responsible for the settlements. “I told people to come here, now I HAVE to make sure it’s safe and there’s enough food and beds, or it’ll be my fault if they all die.”
One could definitely argue that the character is displacing some of the parental feelings they can’t direct toward Shaun, onto the settlers. “I can’t do it for my own baby, but at least I can keep these other people safe and fed.”