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Some vague spoilers for the end of the Freedom Trail

Butch:

So what did I do? I met the railroad, at least made first contact. There is a bit there where you HAVE to cheat and look something up. You’ll see. It’s infuriating game design. We’ll talk. Later.

Also….there’s what I didn’t do.

Oberland Station just keeps getting attacked. It got attacked at a bad time, so I schlepped out anyway and went there only to find like three mutants with miniguns that shredded me. So I decided: fuck them. Fuck Oberland Station. Fuck Garvey. I don’t even LIKE settlements. I don’t know why I DO settlements. So I decided to say “You know? I’m just going to keep doing this story quest thing that is interesting, and fuck Oberland Station.”

This will, doubtless, come back to haunt me, but seriously.

Feminina:

Not Oberland Station! But then how are you going to be able to complete the…thing…with the…whatsit…quest…

Ha–I made that up. I don’t have any information about the importance or unimportance of settlements. I haven’t let any fall so far, but we’ll see. You can tell me if anything terrible happens.

You met the Railroad! Nice. I haven’t gotten there. Do you mean you had to look up the password for the stone lock in the church basement? (I stumbled onto that a loooooong time ago, realized it was the end of the Freedom trail and that I’d have to come back around another time following the clues properly, and wandered away.) I wrote down the highlighted letters from the first two stops on the trail, planning to keep track of them as I went. Is that not going to be good enough?

Anyway, last night I backed off from the main story, partly because of our thoughtful discussion about not rushing to the end, but also because it turns out the area where the plot goes next is full of extra-nasty things that want to kill me, and maybe I prefer to come back in a few levels (heed the load-screen warning that says, roughly, “The whole Commonwealth is dangerous, but it gets more dangerous the farther south you go”).

So I went and found Curie (at Graygarden hanging with the robots, where I told her to go and where she totally wasn’t last time I checked) and took her to the doctor. Talked with the doctor, then basically got told to go away and come back later, so I wandered off to do some Silver Shroud nonsense, and then it was bedtime. And here we are.

Butch:

You know, even if you hadn’t made that up, I’m so over settlements that aren’t the co-op or Sanctuary that I couldn’t give less of a fuck. Don’t care. Don’t.

Yes, that’s the one, and no, that won’t be good enough.

I mean, shit, game. Rant time.

If you’re going to have a game that encourages wandering, DO NOT make a winding road THROUGH all sorts of fascinating distractions that you MUST follow making notes. Don’t. No one is going to plow through that at once. Most people won’t plow through that in a week. Especially if they have to keep LEAVING cuz their fucking SETTLEMENTS are being attacked. I wrote down the first couple, like, WEEKS ago, knowing that a) they were going to matter and b) there was no way I’d remember where the hell I wrote that down because I lose things and c) there was no way I’d find all of those fucking markers and I was three for three on that.

I have no problem with search and find the code quests. I don’t. Grim Fandango is full of them. But don’t do it like this, with distractions every fucking which way. No one’s going to get that.

Cheat.

OK, rant over.

The south…Ah ha. Herding. Yes, FO3 did that as well. It’s amazing how a shitload of deathclaws makes you do what the game wants you to do.

It’s a big reason why I have a feeling I won’t be banging Cait any time soon because she’ll probably want me to complete that quest for her, which requires going south. And really, I’m still kinda wimpy.

Of course, part of that is that, when it comes to heavy weapons, I wind up mentally having the same conversation with my companion that I have with Mrs. McP about the diaper bag. Here it is. Substitute “diaper bag” for “missile launcher” and you’ll get it:

“Do you have the missile launcher?”
“I thought you had it.”
“No, I told you to bring it.”
“I thought you said you were going to bring it.”
“How could I have brought it? My hands were full of all this other stuff.”
“You really should keep it with you all the time.”
“I’d love to, but there isn’t enough space in the car.”
“Well, this sure is a bad time to realize we don’t have it.”
“Yes, dear, it really is.”

But I feel I caught up. A tad.

Though meeting the railroad is….spoiler….something that leads to all sorts of other shit! Because! This game!

Though, without spoiling, it’s also a point where stuff you did, that is, choices you made, get referenced, and matter. Which is cool.

Feminina:

Yeah, that’s a low blow, game. And odd for them, because usually if you NEED a code you’ll see it written down somewhere and then just ‘remember’ it (like when you pick up a ‘password’ for that special terminal and it’s just a tiny disk and you don’t actually even have to type anything in). They don’t often do that kind of “what do you mean you weren’t paying attention to all the clues you should have noticed when you came back to this quest once a month on a break from all the other quests you were distracted by because we kept throwing locations at you while you were trying to follow this quest?”

Ah well. Cheat. That’s pretty much what I was doing in Grim Fandango, because moving took so long, what with there being absolutely no option to sprint, that I didn’t have the patience to actually go around and look for clues the honest way. And when even cheating didn’t work, well, that’s when I gave up.

My motto: “If even cheating fails, then to hell with the whole damn thing.”

They definitely were steering me away from the south. Just loads of the usual monsters, but in extremely tough versions. Legendary radscorpions, stingwings that wouldn’t die, etc. Plus, as you say, both Nick and I had forgotten to bring the missile launcher.

I’ll go back down there…later. Maybe I’ll actually help Garvey first!

Just enjoy your relationship with Piper and let this flirtation with Cait simmer on the back burner for a bit.

Butch:

I actually went through my “MISC” tab looking for something Jessica may have jotted down, but no. No such luck. I assumed she would have. She has a fucking rolodex of everything else.

There was an option to sprint! Not was, IS! There IS an option to sprint! IS!

That herding thing. Another thing they didn’t do in Skyrim that they have brought back. Which I am a-ok with, frankly. It’s a good compromise for narrative people like us and people who will find a way down there like Buttons.

HAHAHAHA Garvey.

But Cait’s cute, dude. She’s cute.

Feminina:

I would have gone through the MISC tab too! Because surely a careful planner like me, who saves every scrap of paper I’ve ever found, would have made some notes on this! I’m glad you did it so I don’t have to and can skip right to the cheating.

Poor Garvey. Although based on the internet chat, once you do his big mission he does nothing the rest of the game except tell you that various settlements are in trouble, and honestly, who needs that kind of stress? (Definitely not you, if you’re already writing off Oberland Station and Garvey wasn’t even involved.) We’re actually making a sound strategic decision, keeping him preoccupied with the castle and unable to send us off to hunt raiders in the Corvega plant over and over.

Mr. O’ has been there three times for raiders already, at Garvey’s behest (and he finished the castle ages ago). They just keep settling in, no matter how many times you clean the place out. I guess all those stairwells and catwalks are just too tempting. Ha–I wonder what would happen if you just completely carpeted it with mines? Would the next set of incoming raiders get blasted, or would they just make all your mines disappear? Or would one set get blasted and the next casually move in on top of them before you got around to going back to check?

I’m going to try that, one of these days when I have a ton of mines.

Butch:

Skip right to the cheating. It ain’t there. Probably the most clicked link in the FO wiki.

As for the Minutemen….

There’s three trophies for each faction. Join, do something, then a silver. Taking Independence is #2 for the Minutemen, so there’s gotta be SOMETHING else trophy worthy. I can’t believe it’s settlements. I got the “Ally with three settlements” long, long ago.

I can’t be bothered with Corvega. I mean, it’s an old car plant. And it’s not even accurate, cuz no fucking way would Lexington ever let that be built there. Let ’em have it Preston! Lexington’s going to shit anyway.

And you live in Concord, dude. People in Concord have opinions about Lexington.

Feminina:

Hm. I dunno, I could easily see the third trophy being something like “get three settlements to 100 happiness,” or “link 10 settlements with supply lines” or the like. Settlements are kind of Garvey’s thing. Or maybe after you finally storm the castle, you have to turn it into the most rockin’ settlement of all, with hundreds of beds and gun turrets and vast rolling acres of cropland, and that’s the last trophy. I bet you’ll hate it, whatever it is.

Mr. O’ said Garvey’s endless settlement-trouble missions are a good source of fairly quick XP, once you can zoom straight to the location, wreck everything, and go right back. So there’s that. Maybe it’s just meant to be an XP mill for when you need to boost a few levels before heading south to romance Cait. Or whatever you want to be doing, I don’t dictate other peoples’ travel priorities.

Butch:

Doubt it. Cuz there’s already a trophy for “get a settlement to 100% happiness” and it ain’t that. The “settlement” ones are nicely grouped together (they made it rather simple to find what you have to do to plat it, and no silly “complete on death march” or hidden trophies). There’s “build 100 items” (even I have that one) and ally with three and get one to 100%.

The story trophies and faction trophies are all “Complete (name of quest)” so who knows?

I don’t grind, man. I don’t grind.

Plenty of XP in the quests. Got 400 just for finding the Railroad.

Feminina:

Well, no matter what it is, we’ll probably never know, because we’re just going to leave poor Garvey there forever. It could be “Ride Godzilla into the Corvega plant and fight deathclaws,” which sounds awesome, and we’d never get around to it. Because we can’t be bothered to make our way out there and help poor Garvey.

There is good XP in quests. I got something decent just for introducing Curie to the doctor! I’m sure we’d be handsomely rewarded if we ever went to storm the castle with Garvey. Which we never will.

Butch:

I tell you, if and when we actually go there, we’ll be all “Oh MAN that was awesome!”

Or not.

Knowing Garvey, not.

Feminina:

Buttons told us that we should do it and it’s fun. Apparently we don’t trust him. What does some snowed-under-with-game-related-work professional know about fun, anyway? We’re skeptical.

That, and we’re so, so easily distracted. And we have a natural aversion to the south shore. It’s a perfect storm of never-going-to-help-Garvey.

Butch:

Seriously. Man never lived in Eastern MA. He does not know the extent to which the South Shore may go fuck itself. It’s almost like the developers, who knew enough about Eastern MA to make all SORTS of in jokes, knew this as well. The Drumlin Diner and Walden Pond show me these are insiders. THEY know the South Shore can go fuck itself.

I also think it’s funny they made Connecticut (or, at least, like, that general area) a wasteland.

Foxwoods better be there, though.

I’m also still rooting for TD Garden. Fenway got love! I want dudes in hockey masks!

Feminina:

The developers are on our side.

To the extent that they’re not trying to drive us mad with settlement issues and shiny, shiny locations to check out. I haven’t seen the Garden…haven’t been out that way. It’s probably there. There are still about 700 locations I haven’t visited. Everywhere I go, there are still tantalizingly empty outlines waiting to be filled in.

Butch:

And so many are around the ONE DAMN CODE that Jessica DIDN’T WRITE DOWN!

Not bitter.

And not sorry I cheated.

The map keeps leading me north, anyway. I now have two new quests that want me to go back up there. Which is fine. There’s plenty of stuff up there that can kill me. If the north shore can kill me still, I’m not tough enough for Connecticut.

Feminina:

There’s a T shirt in that.

Butch:

Now that I read it, several.

Which is good. I’ve been waiting to point out that if even Bethesda can make decent looking lingerie, our burlap empire is officially dead. We need something else for our store.

Feminina:

And that’s a whole other discussion, really (lingerie, not our burlap empire…which, yeah, is probably dead). Because where does everyone get these nice-fitting, clean, white undergarments out there in the wasteland? You’d think underpants would be tattered and filthy like half the clothes you find, but no. Also, why do I never find any of them with loot? Suitcase after suitcase with, say, a patched tan suit and a hairbrush or whatever, but no change of underwear. Who packs for a trip without including a change of underwear? Have I been wearing the same undergarments since I went into the vault? That’s kind of alarming.

I can only conclude that pre-bomb society worked out how to engineer nanobots that weave undergarments directly onto peoples’ bodies, and that these machines have continued to function flawlessly through the ensuing years, drifting around on the air, floating through clothing, creating and repairing clean, perfectly fitted underpants and bras out of some miracle fiber they spin from dust.

Because when it counted, those pre-apocalypse people could DESIGN.

Butch:

Or, perhaps, they knew a game where you could strip everyone bare assed naked might cause controversy.

Feminina:

Well, sure, that’s WHY. We still have to explain HOW in an internally consistent way. (We have to because…uh…we just do. Everything has to make sense! Especially the way adding a pocket to an arm can allow you to carry five extra pounds, or drinking a glowing cola beverage in the middle of combat makes you feel A-OK again despite multiple gunshot wounds.)

I say underpants-weaving nanobots is that explanation, and I’m sticking to it.

Butch:

Especially a game where often we accidentally strip dead bodies. Eww.

Feminina:

Uh…I do that on purpose. Because I want their gear. Hello.

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