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Spoilers for the end of the Virgil storyline

Butch:

Ok, did stuff, but now I’m spoiler shy, so I’ll start vague and you can tell me what we can talk about:

Did Randolph Safehouse 5.

Noticed Sanctuary was at 44% happiness! THE FUCK? So went back, tried to cheer them up, they did, weird.

Found Dr. Li. Did….something. You?

Gave the holotape to the BoS scribe. Deacon hated it. Reloaded, took Curie. She didn’t care. Got….the next thing….. You?

Called it a day.

Vague, me.

Feminina:

I only played for about half an hour last night, so I basically just got to the Institute and loaded the Patriot holotape to set up the meeting. Have not been to the meeting yet.

OK, this is vaguely spoilery, but…I didn’t do any of that stuff with the Brotherhood, and I never will, because we are now mortal enemies. I had those quests, but they have been ‘failed’ off my list.

So spoil away about BoS plots. It’s not as if I’m going to take the time to go back and re-do that decision.

I’m still in good with the RR, the Institute, and the Minutemen, so I could theoretically do any of their quests still (and have done some). I think I’m only at Randolph Safehouse 4, though. I’ve been setting up MILAs for Tinker Tom, until he gave me a location that I can’t for the life of me figure out how to reach.

I’ll follow up with this Patriot thing next (interesting how it was all-caps in Tinker Tom’s intro message: like the PATRIOT act?).

Butch:

Hmm. Now I wonder what I can say. I got Dr. Li out of the Institute, and told her to come back to the BoS. Turns out the BoS is working on…..something…… large. Have you heard what it might be?

Crap. Now vagueness ensues.

Feminina:

A nuclear reactor?

If not that, then no. But I suppose I might hear about it later from some other source, so better not reveal…

This is why we should be glad we usually play exactly the same way.

Butch:

Yeah we messed up. I haven’t had to make a choice yet.

Feminina:

Comparing what you’ve done to what I’ve done, I probably didn’t actually have to make that choice when I did. But it was one of those “you should take care of this right away!” things, and last time I delayed Kent wound up dead (I still wear the Shroud hat in his memory), so I ran off to take care of it right away and it was this choice.

In retrospect, I probably could have delayed without serious consequence, and kept playing several sides for a while longer to get more of the BoS storyline.

But I’m not going back to it now.

Butch:

I did do something with the Ticonderoga safe house that may come back to bite me. Was it that?

And no not a reactor.

Feminina:

No…haven’t done anything with them lately.

Damn it, we’re completely useless on two different storylines!

Butch:

Then what ARE you doing?

Ticonderoga involved killing coursers.

We were doing so well. Best finish and get to nice linear Uncharted.

Feminina:

I could tell you, but…spoilers. You might do some of these things too.

Ha. I’m going to use this anytime I need to keep secrets from anyone. “Can’t tell you…spoilers.”

“About whether the project is on time or not?”

“Yup.”

Butch:

HA!

“Why do you ask me anything? It’ll spoil the surprise.”

I DID go back and talk to Virgil….how about that?

Feminina:

Oh yeah, I did that!

It was nice to see him apparently calmer and content. Although weird that he doesn’t actually wear glasses? Unless he should, but doesn’t have any that aren’t broken, and so he’s going to be unable to do his work effectively because he can’t see…

I kind of wanted to do more for him, like, “let me help you find a less irradiated lab!” or “let me get you some glasses!” or something. It was a little disappointing to just leave him to it out there, where Kellogg apparently had a lead on him and so someone else in the Institute probably could get one as well, and not even be able to give him a friendly warning or anything (and we’re supposed to think radiation is keeping coursers off his back? doubtful).

I did like the way he tells you you can have anything you want from “whatever this stuff is” (or whatever his exact, unenthusiastic words were) in his lab.

I hope you will also have noted that this is one time I REFRAINED from taking the persuade check option, which was to lie and tell him I couldn’t find the serum–instead, I just gave it to him. I sacrificed XP to help Virgil! I need a medal.

Butch:

I gave it to him, too!

Now… themes. We can do THESE themes!

Here we have a guy who went over to the “other” and we brought him back. We made him back into a white dude. And this was success! Jessica was all “That’s INCREDIBLE!” And he’s sad that he can’t “cure” other mutants.

This, against he backdrop of OTHER white dudes trying to “help” other people consider “other.”

What to make of that?

Feminina:

Well…did WE bring him back, or did he bring himself back? I mean, yeah, we got him the stuff he needed, but it was his serum and we did it at his request. I’m not sure it fits into a narrative of “we successfully recivilized an other and reclaimed him for the White Dudes!”

It’s not as if it’s ever been a personal goal of the PC to cure supermutants en masse (although it would be extremely interesting if it were possible to pursue such a goal: complicated implications for the acceptability of all the mutant-killing we do).

This seems to me more like a story of “guy becomes other, isn’t a fan of the experience, wants back on Team White Dude” (because duh, that’s the winningest team around even 200 years after the apocalypse!)…we helped him, certainly, but curing him wasn’t really OUR quest. Nor is his sadness at not being able to cure every mutant, and his implied dedication to work on such a broader cure, really given to us as OUR sadness or dedication.

If there’s a Croup/Grossman/naive BoS guy in this story, it’s Virgil himself rather than us–and it’s interesting that the only time we see the attempt to ‘civilize’ actually succeed, is this time when it was self-directed. Outsiders (even very borderline outsiders, as Croup the non-feral ghoul was to his feral ghoul family) can’t civilize the other, but the other could choose to civilize itself?

Which makes one wonder whether, if Virgil succeeded at creating his cure, other supermutants would choose to take it because he was one of them, or if he’s now left the ‘other’ and would just be considered an outsider like Rex Grossman, trying to give them a gift they don’t particularly want. We don’t see supermutants in general bemoaning their fate. Indeed, their battle cry of “puny humans!” and “one day supermutants will kill everything!” suggests that they feel pretty good about their status.

Oh, speaking of ghoul behavior (and possibly even relevant!), the other night I saw something I’ve either never seen before, or just never noticed: I was fighting some feral ghouls, as one does, and I killed one, and another one walked over and started making eating motions over the corpse (sort of grabbing at the body and moving its hand to its mouth). And the feeding one was captioned in green, not red, and didn’t attack me even when I walked right up to it. It just kept eating the dead one. And then I killed another one that was attacking and it went over and ate THAT one.

We’ve noticed ‘green’ ghouls before, but I never saw one eating another one. Maybe this is…some grasp at recivilizing? “I will not attack humans like all the others–I feel the compulsion to eat, but I will eat this thing I don’t want to be instead of the human I vaguely remember being”?

Or it was just a weird bump in the program, I don’t know.

Butch:

Well, Jessica certainly acted HAPPY he was back. Which, considering Jessica is a black woman, is interesting.

Although an interesting side note to all that killing is that OTHER people sure are trying to cure FEV. THEY see some humanity in the mutants, or at least some hope of making them “normal.” We just kill them.

Hmm. Interesting point about being able to civilize oneself. It’s gotta come from within?

This really, REALLY makes me want to have a real “milk of human kindness” quest for Strong. I will always feel that was missing. Given all this, doesn’t it scream “This was edited out?”

Supermutant battle cries do suggest that they’re happy, but that’s ALSO interesting in that they, like ghouls, were once human. Right? I mean, they must remember being dunked in stuff. They can’t reproduce. So they’ve, what, embraced the difference? Accepted it? Or do we think that, like ghouls, they’ve forgotten their humanity?

Weird about the ghoul eating another ghoul. I have not seen that. Or noticed. I’ve gotten very good at killing ghouls before they even move, so maybe I’m too efficient.

Might be nothing, though. With Bethesda, every theme could be a glitch.

Next patch: general stability and removal of themes.

Feminina:

Ha! “We got rid of all those glitchy themes for you. No more need to overanalyze all those subtle moments!”

And OK, Jessica acted happy he was back, but that was your character choice for her, right? I mean, there was also a sarcastic dialogue option where for all we know you might have said “gee, awesome, the return of the great white nerd, THIS is a big improvement” or something.

And come to think of it wasn’t one of the options something like “well, that was pointless” (presumably in reference to his saying it wouldn’t work on other super mutants), which would have allowed us to claim a much more engaged interest in the question of curing mutants–that would have implied that yes, this WAS a personal quest for us.

I was pleased for him too, but it was because HE was happy, not because I personally much cared whether he stayed a mutant or not. If he’d been happy to be a super mutant (and had continued to not try to kill me) I would have been perfectly fine leaving him that way. As it was, it was more a “You didn’t want to be a super mutant and now you’re not–I’m happy for you!” than a “thank heavens someone has been pulled from the jaws of the FEV.”

Also, hey, I traveled around with Strong for weeks in-game. Strong’s my (slightly alarming) buddy. Who seems to be fine with his condition, so I’m OK leaving him that way (slightly alarming though it is). I don’t JUST kill super mutants.

And yeah, you really do wish Strong had actually had a character-based quest. IS he fine with his condition? Does he ONLY want the milk of human kindness because he thinks it will make him even stronger, or is there a hidden desire to actually become more human? We shall never know, and it’s too bad.

It is also an interesting question, that “why are most of them OK with their mutant natures.” Judging from Institute records and the wiki, most people don’t go into the FEV by choice, so they didn’t want to be mutants. Presumably they didn’t used to want to kill all humans and decorate all spaces with bags of meat.

Why are they OK with it now? I guess I just assume that the virus does something to their brains so that, yeah, they kind of forget their previous selves, but at least sometimes (see Virgil) that doesn’t happen, so why does it usually? Or if that’s not what’s going on, what makes them willingly let go of their previous selves to the extent that they’ll do things at least some percentage of them would surely have found abhorrent, like eating humans? And to what extent does that previous self still exist somewhere? Is it gone forever, or COULD it be brought back if only we had the means?

And if we had the means, would it be the more “right” thing to do to force the cure on them to ‘save’ that previous self, or to let them be (and/or kill them when they try to kill us) because their current selves express contentment with their situation?

Fortunately, all these complicated questions will be eliminated with the next patch.

Butch:

Now it’s just chores! Now that we think of it, no main story either! Just settlements.

Well, full disclosure: When I went to talk to Virgil, I accidentally double clicked X, so I didn’t see the other options. I take that as an omen that that’s what Jessica NEEDED to say. Heh.

I still haven’t warmed up to Strong. And, at this point, with the game in its late phases and Uncharted looming, I doubt I ever will. Wither Strong, I hardly knew ye. Thanks for not eating my girlfriend(s).

Every time I see a milk machine I think “This was in there, it was.” Maybe DLC. That would kinda piss me off, though.

That was certainly true in FO1, that people didn’t WANT to be mutants. People were forced, much like the Institute.

And we did find out from Virgil’s terminal in the cave that he was “losing” himself. Getting angrier. Maybe when that process reaches a tipping point.

Funny, we sort of saw Henry do that in The Last of Us, asking Ellie “Do you still think they’re in there? When they’re infected?” And we never know.

What IS left open is why we DO see some mutants that stay perfectly coherent. Marcus (other games) was perfectly with it. Intelligent, peaceful, etc. Wonder why. Does he fight it? CAN he fight it? Much like ghouls. Some are ok, some are feral.

Thank you Bethesda, thank you for getting rid of all those annoying questions. We have other games to play.

Feminina:

Settlements and completely rote fetch quests with no complicated details. That’s all anyone could want. Why have we been wasting our time with all this plot and junk? Bah.

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