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Some mild spoilers for bits of the U.S.S. Constitution storyline

Butch:

Finished the really creepy Pickman gallery bit, got Curie, felt slightly bad about Oberland Station now having “0” people, did most of the USS Constitution and it would have been all if the last easy little bit hadn’t had legendary mirelurk hunters. What do they hunt, anyway? They eat pond scum.

So….

Didn’t side with the scavvers. We’ll see what that means.

But here’s themes, and I’m thinking about how it all fits in (See? Each thing, a theme in a different way. Thanks, Fallout!)

The Scavvers: “Wait…how did YOU get in?”
Me: ***slightly confused**** “I guess, because…I’m American?”
Them: “That old mumbo jumbo? Pfft.”

So we have greedy people who pfft America, old robots who believe in America, we get in with them because we “are American,” and Curie is happy because of all the history with the American robots.

There’s a lot there.

I’m pondering how it all fits.

Feminina:

I have not been to the creepy gallery. But yeah, the U.S.S. Constitution, right? I mean, it’s practically screaming SOMETHING about history and America. It’s the freaking Constitution, after all. I kind of love Captain¬†Ironsides, although I think he’s completely delusional. I also didn’t side with the scavengers, kind of because I figure as a sort of historical figure myself, I really care about this history stuff (and Codsworth, who was with me when I first found the ship, was into me supporting the robots). There are plenty of other things to scavenge: leave the weird history-obsessed robots alone!

I don’t remember what I told them about how I got in, but I don’t recall that particular exchange, so I was probably just vague and said I was sneaky, or something. But certainly there’s a lot to parse regarding the old “what it means to be Us/American” theme: is it these delusional, clinging-to-the-past robots, or the living humans who want to make practical use of the materials in the actual world as it is today?…keeping in mind that I myself am the Queen of the Practical-Use Scavengers what with my obsessive desk-fan-hauling.

They may not be ‘American,’ but is there still ‘America’ in any meaningful sense, to the extent that the idea is worth siding with robots over living people who want useful parts? It also goes to the question of what ANY history is ‘good’ for, and to what extent anything from the past is worth preserving in a present that either doesn’t really care about it, or cares about it only to the extent that it could be stripped for parts. Is it worth keeping cool old things just to look at, when we could take them apart and make something ugly but useful with them? Maybe we should just tear down the cathedrals and build cowsheds with the stones! Are our priorities with the preservation of the dead past, or the comfort of the living and the future?

It was not easy to see where the ‘best’ choice was in that dilemma, but as I said, I figure I care about this history, plus I’m sympathetic to robots, plus as my own scavenging has proved there are plenty of places to loot that don’t involve bothering a bunch of historic robots, so I sided with them.

As for me, guess what I did?

I went to help Garvey. All that discussion about how we’re never going to help him made me feel kind of guilty, and also I realized that all talk about the horrors of the South Shore commute aside, I had actually already worked my way to within about 30 feet of his meeting place while I was trying to get to the chem lab we heard about after hijacking that drug deal, so it was easy to go meet up with him. He politely didn’t say a word about how I’d kept him and his crew waiting for 6 weeks, and we went and stormed the castle, which probably would have been quite challenging when we first heard about it 15 levels ago. And now Garvey’s back in Sanctuary, doling out news of settlements in trouble, just as the internet warned he would. I’ve already been given a quest to go back to the Corvega plant! Man, I should have mined that place before I talked to Garvey.

Anyway, I also helped Curie with her thing, and now we’re flirting up a storm, and I’m working on helping Nick Valentine with a personal quest of his. Still haven’t been back to Diamond City. But I’m working with people. Trying to help them with their stuff. Like I do, because I’m so helpful and caring.

Butch:

GET THE FUCK OUT! Garvey?

Yeah, I was kinda afraid that it would be a let down as it was a 15 levels ago quest. But game, c’mon! If you WANTED us to do that when we were level 14 why did you put it over THERE with a ton of a) really tricky enemies and b) XP generating randomness in between? What were we supposed to DO game?

Fuck the Corvega plant, fuck Lexington.

Whenever he brings that shit up with me, I’ll just glare and say “Two words dude: Oberland Station.”

Ooo! Curie gets cute, doesn’t she?

I still haven’t been to good neighbor. I walked right by it. Saw the signs, saw the lights, walked on by. Why? Because I need to check shit OFF my quest lists, and, in this game, signs, lights, arrows….that’s a million quests that is.

But the Constitution robots…Yeah! They’re harmless! I think! I mean, I haven’t finished the quest and that could all blow the fuck up, but they seem so nice! And I’m trying to butter up Curie.

To refresh your memory, when you first find the place, a lookout “scans” something and it gives you your Driver’s License # (in the correct MA format of S and digits, nice touch), says “lawyer” (interesting) and says that because you are an American, you can come in.

I think you have two things working there. Yes, the “what is history good for” thing is certainly important (add to that “how accurate is history,” which was big in FO3, and we’ve seen both here and in the terrible misunderstanding of baseball), but also what is “America” good for. As a term. I mean, the scavvers don’t say “We are the American way.” They reject any notion of America as Mumbo-jumbo (their words). Labels. And they’re kinda right.

As cuddly as the robots are, they aren’t just trying to preserve facts from the past. They are actively “fighting” wars that have been over for centuries. They want to go kill Chinese soldiers, and a redcoat or a Canadian, too, if they see one! That’s in there for a chuckle, but if you think on it, it’s a dark chuckle. “You can come in! You’re American! Like us! Help us do what Americans do, which is fight wars! Forever! Even when they’re over!”

So the scavvers aren’t just being practical against a bunch of silly old stories. They’re living in the now and not wanting to drain resources to fight wars that are centuries old.

Now I’m kinda wondering why I didn’t side with them….. cuddly robots?

Hmm.

Feminina:

You make a strong argument for supporting the scavengers. Indeed, in their terms the robots’ version of being American (continuing to fight long-past wars) really IS mumbo-jumbo…a nonsensical dedication to things that don’t exist anymore. Like me and my driver’s license! That’s right, I do remember that one scanning me and pronouncing in favor. I was allowed only because I’m an anachronism like themselves.

But…cuddly robots! We should probably have destroyed them all.

Goodneighbor is a morass of new quests. Definitely not the place to go if you want to check things off instead of add them. Although there’s at least one I can think of that you’ve pretty much already done, so there could be some instant XP in it for you. But then, it’ll still be there later.

Curie is so cute now! We found a very handsome, shiny robot body to hold her attractive little brain in a jar, and then you can accessorize the brain jar with googly eyes and differently-styled wigs… Ha. But really, she’s kind of adorable.

Butch:

HA! Didn’t even notice that driver’s licenses are pretty much as silly as old wars in this world. I just kinda ignored that.

See, here we go again with Bethesda and their sneaky storytelling. Silly little side quest/fetch quest. But here’s us missing things like driver’s license irrelevance, and doing things because of course only to wonder why we did it….

Ain’t that what games are supposed to do? Make you think afterward?

So tangent:

There’s a lot on the webs knocking this game saying that it’s nothing but busy work. Workshops, fetch quests, there’s no substance. These people, I think we have established, are flat out wrong. We’ve pointed out themes a plenty, and good moments a plenty, and we aren’t even, like, what, half done? However, I can certainly see how easy it would be to make the mistake that there isn’t any substance here, given the volume of workshops and fetch quests. I mean, I read something on Kotaku that talked about the five phases of disappointment in a game. He was talking on FO4. And then, at the end, he casually mentioned that he had spent “almost 40 hours with it” before realizing there wasn’t much there.

Now.

One one hand, it’s Bethesda. I said all along, you can’t tell what they’re doing until it hits you. And it did, right? Yes, it did. You have to know you have to be patient.

But:

Is having a game that remains a murky bunch of busy for FORTY HOURS bad design? Forty hours is like The Last of Us….twice. I’m fine with a little discovery, but…..

So when I read these articles about FO4 being a vacant, themeless game (incorrect) I can’t decide who to blame for the error: players, Bethesda or both.

Tangent over.

Curie is a hottie, isn’t she?

Feminina:

We think. We wonder. We second guess our decisions. It’s what we do!

And as for the question of substance…well, the people who complain about lots of busywork and fetch quests aren’t wrong. There is a lot of busywork crafting and settlement management, and there are a lot of ‘clear out the raiders in the Corvega plant’ quests. This stuff IS in the game, a huge part of the game time-wise, and to focus on that and be disappointed in the game is not to be making baseless accusations.

And then there’s other stuff as well, with grim overtones and/or humor and or thought-provoking asides, and to focus on that is not to be making undeserved justifications, because that’s also in the game, and a significant part of the game if you specifically keep an eye out for it.

Is the game post-apocalyptic inventory management, as you quoted Kotaku, with a few themes tossed in? Or is it some theme-y plots, heavily padded with post-apocalyptic inventory management? Maybe it’s just about where different people draw the line in terms of whether or not something is worthwhile, and what percentage of ‘meaningful content’ someone requires in order to take a game seriously.

Curie is pretty cute. And kind of interestingly confused about functions like breathing, and things like emotions. Still pretty handy in a fight, although she no longer has those buzz-saw arms.

Butch:

Oh no, they’re not baseless at all. And it makes me mad at Bethesda for burying the good stuff under them. Even I grudgingly do the settlement crap for fear it will matter. I don’t WANT to.

I mean, I was mad a Skyrim because it could have been a good game, but they buried the shell of a good game under busy work. Here, they have buried an actual, real, very good game under busy work. Why, Bethesda, why? But, there IS a good game there.

It’s just silly Bethesda being silly. I mean, when they’re on their game, they do the whole “subtly different takes on the same theme” thing better than anyone, and man is it good. But then they either choose not to (Skyrim) or choose to do all sorts of other stuff (FO4). It’s like some sort of weird game insecurity. And it’s bothersome.

I’m gonna like Curie, aren’t I?

Still like Piper. I do.

Feminina:

But the games sell like hotcakes, right? I keep coming back to “off the whiny introspective bloggy internet, are there people who LIKE the busywork?” Maybe Bethesda knows their audience better than we do. I mean, Mr. O’ loves settlement management. A Minecraft-y game within a game! Maybe there are more people like him than there are like us. (Even I don’t hate it, although I get bored with it.) I dunno. Regardless, it’s kind of hard for us (or other internet commenters who share some of our sentiments) to make a serious argument for the company to stop making games that sell like hotcakes and focus more on the story, or whatever.

“Do it more like I would do it, and ignore the strategy that has worked very well for you critically and financially in the past!”

I bet you will like Curie. But not until you go to Goodneighbor.

Butch:

That they do sell. Which is why I’m pleasantly surprised cuz after Skyrim they had no reason to bother with story. That game sold a few copies. And don’t get me wrong. I like this game. A lot. It’s good. I’d probably like it a lot more had it not had such a tough act to follow.

And I always forget the busyworkers.

Curie’s growing on me. She’s a nice contrast to Cait. Who I also like.

Hey I didn’t get to Don Juan it up in the witcher what being loyal and all. Cut slack.

Feminina:

Curie is so polite and focused on the advancement of science, and Cait is so “why are you helping those stupid settlers? Let them starve!”

But Cait would have appreciated all the locks I picked last night. Curie is indifferent to lock picking. I’m actually not sure what she likes now.

Butch:

She liked helping the robots.

I got the lock picking bobble and a tumblers today yesterday. But I banged Piper without them. So proud.

Cait will be into me now.

Cait’s such a great character. Gotta get south. Gotta see how that ends.

Feminina:

Yeah, I haven’t had any chances to help robots lately. I’m done with the Constitution, and I already solved Graygarden’s problem for them, damn it!

Butch:

Yeah I forgot to take Curie there. I took Cait who didn’t care but still looks great as Grognak.

If Curie didn’t like the library, what can you do?

Feminina:

Yeah, other than robots and science, she’s tough. At least she doesn’t seem to DISlike things. Not like Strong, always hassling me about picking locks and not smashing.

Butch:

Even tinkering! I build things, he complains. I wear power armor, he complains.

And I think he wants to eat Piper.

Feminina:

The only things he likes are fighting and intimidating people. He probably wants to eat all of us. Well, not the robots. He’ll just smash them to bits.

Butch:

You know, there is a perk that let’s you eat people. Probably the way to his heart.

And out of Curie’s.

Feminina:

Yes! I bet you’re right! He would love that.

And everyone else would hate it.

As for me…there’s so much else to eat in this game, why would I waste a perk on cannibalism? Bah. Impractical.

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