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More spoilers for what happens if you side against the Brotherhood at the end; also for Glory’s eventual fate

Butch:

Ok, NOW I’m on the Prydwen killin’ dudes trying to blow it up. Not sure why, cuz, at this rate, everyone will be dead on it anyway. Sneak in my ass. That lasted about a second a half, and that was WITH a stealth boy.

I gotta admit, I’m not feeling the same pangs of guilt you felt. Took out Kells and Teagen with a missile launcher. Meh. I think that transforming it all into a KILL EVERYONE mission just made it feel like every other KILL EVERYONE mission. But I bitched about that yesterday, so I reference all of that.

Though…. I was glad I didn’t seem to have to kill Scribe Haylen. She was the one Danse told the story about. I shot the fuck out of the Cambridge Police Station, as one does, and was happy that she didn’t seem to a) be there or b) among the dead (cuz I checked). So maybe Danse’s story made me care. More about her than him, though, which is odd.

But Bethesda has to go and BE Bethesda in that they do just enough to let you KNOW they can be good. They’re like six year olds. They’re so good sometimes, and you KNOW they know what being good IS, which makes you even madder when they AREN’T good.

Because of the death of Glory, you see.

THAT was good. Finding her, seeing her pride and her fear, seeing her cling to her humanity (they didn’t get by me….save them all….promise….) yet still being scared that she is different, still not entirely WORTHY of being human (Where is the light? Isn’t there supposed to be a light?) I mean, those are AMAZING last words. Worried she’s not going to heaven, worried she’s not worthy of her just reward, or even that she’s eligible for consideration being a synth and all. Pride and doubt until the end. From a black woman. Amazing.

Which is then followed up by turning several fleshed out characters into raiders.

Fucking Bethesda. WHY YOU DO THIS BETHESDA?

Sigh.

Feminina:

See, I totally just crept onto the Prydwen all silent and Stealth Boyed, placed the explosives, and crept out again. No firefight. Which I think maybe made it more impactful, because I’m sneaking around thinking “hey, I’m successfully preparing to murder all these people! How did it come to this?”

I maxed out agility a while back, so I am pretty damn stealthy.

Then watching the ship blow up from a distance–impressive, but somehow I didn’t feel great about it, you know? And a few named knights emerged from the wreckage, and I had to kill them. Also not feeling great.

Lucky you not seeing Scribe Haylen at the police station. I had to kill her, along with all the other people there. Didn’t feel great about that either.

And yeah, this is war, and we’re enemies, and they attacked the RR first, and so on. We are justified! We have to do terrible things to survive. We must become a monster.

War never changes. We are all the monster, tearing itself to pieces over and over and over. Maybe the Institute is right to try to entirely redesign humanity.

As I said before, I respect the way this complicates the in-game simple process of killing everything in sight. It’s not a lot of fun, but I respect it.

Also, yeah, Glory’s death was heart-wrenching and well done. “Isn’t there supposed to be a light?” Shiver.

Butch:

Ah. I guess I wasn’t sufficiently stealthy, cuz the first dude there, the dude by the door made me. Then it was ON. Which made it far less impactful. I mean, being made by guy one then killing everyone? It’s just a raiderfest with different dialog.

I dunno. There were certainly ways the game could have made me care more. I think it comes back to just dropping the ball on Danse. HE could have made me care. But…..this way I just…it’s reduced to “Hey, red guys shooting at me.”

Maybe that was the point. War even makes friends turn into shooting red guys. But…. I dunno. A visual representation of us/them? How quickly we turn? Is the fact I barely care the metaphor? Or is it lazy Bethesda?

I would have felt bad about Scribe Haylen. But again, why her?

I kinda liked killing that asshole knight. Fucker.

And…I still don’t feel monstrous here. The BoS DID attack the RR first, for wanting to free people. Now, if I have to choose between the RR and the Minutemen, I might feel bad, but this… The synths are sympathetic, the RR is sympathetic, the BoS is a bunch of self righteous assholes who attacked them. It was a bunch of flag waving, power armored dudes with a few Liberty Primes that got the world blown up in the first place. Maybe I’m more of a black and white dude than you, or maybe they should have talked to me more, but really these are not the good guys.

Or I don’t think they are.

And it follows a pattern that I usually follow, and you would have, too, had they been in FONV: Chum up with the BoS until I get their neat stuff, then have things go pear shaped in the endgame. It just happens.

And Glory’s death being well done…means they should have done better elsewhere. I mean, that was, what, five or six lines of dialog? One dialog choice for the PC? And it made a HUGE difference in the emotional heft of the moment, and a big difference in humanizing the RR (especially against the BoS who I am now killing like raiders). Why the fuck couldn’t they give Danse, a ROMANCABLE NPC a similar treatment? ANYONE else a similar treatment? I’m not asking for a damn side quest. It’s six lines of dialog. They couldn’t pay the actor who did Danse that much more money?

Bethesda does this EVERY TIME. They do just enough right to infuriate me about the stuff they do wrong.

Feminina:

Yeah, being immediately spotted and having everyone just instantly turn red and start shooting does reduce it to a stock fight pretty quickly. One could argue that’s a more honest impression of war, really: that you have to just turn a bunch of people into “enemy” and don’t have time to worry about monstrousness.

Sneaking around planting bombs, I just felt like a terrorist and a coward because I didn’t WANT to have to kill all those people I sort of knew face to face: setting off explosives at a distance lets me avoid the confrontation, which I want to do but also somewhat despise myself for. It was an interesting bit.

There’s a sort of “At least going in guns blazing is honest” feeling…although, in the end, what difference does it make, since they’re still all dead?

And yeah, I disagree with the BoS politically, and yeah, they are a bunch of militaristic, flag-waving, power-armored dudes of the sort that got us into this mess in the first place…but they’re also a bunch of researchers and scribes and people who get excited about random bits of tech gear. They’re people, and they’re just as annoying and imperfect as everyone else I’ve met, but…the average one of them didn’t deserve to die in a fiery explosion all that much more than did the average annoying and imperfect person from another faction.

I agree that there wasn’t a specific move to humanize them at this moment, but all the time I’ve spent with them up until now…I dunno. I didn’t enjoy this.

Butch:

Hmm. Interesting distinction. I guess it makes a difference to me cuz they shot first. I mean, Frances will forever wonder if they would have been all “hey, knight, c’mon, we disagree and all, but hey, let’s be cool for old time’s sake.” That is, until Jessica pulls her over and says “Nah, sister, they would’ve gone full raider as soon as they saw you.”

I mean, this is against the backdrop of countless encounters with faceless baddies with no names that we’ve been doing all along. I mean, if this was a game that DIDN’T feature huge firefights against random baddies, if this was the ONLY time, or one of the few, that it came to this, then maybe it would feel more monstrous. But…. it isn’t that game.

I’m not enjoying it either, per se, but that’s mostly cuz I’m in a “ok, get on with it” phase. I really hope that I don’t have to take so much time shooting up another faction. I mean, can’t I just betray them and be done with it? I get it I get it I get it shooting named dudes, right right right. I mean, if there’s some more moments like Glory’s, fine. But time to move on.

Feminina:

Not really…I don’t wonder if they would have welcomed me, because I know Danse turned on me without hesitation. I know everyone on the Prydwen would have killed me as soon as look at me (if they could have seen me, but I was too damn sneaky). But they had reasons, in a sense. I mean, if we’re all about extending empathy to raiders and deathclaws who try to kill us because we trespass in their space or whatever, we have to show a little understanding to people who want to kill us when we turn against their cause, after working with them for months (betrayal, man…gets people all worked up).

We sided with their mortal enemy, and now we’re trying to kill them. Of course they’re going to try to kill us. Doesn’t erase the history.

Assuming you choose to next betray the Institute, there’s a bit more of this, but it goes pretty quick. You’re almost at the end, if you don’t want to wander around a bit more.

Alternatively, you could betray the RR, just so we have some different outcomes to discuss. Maybe Jessica is fed up with humanity after all this!

Butch:

Still, though, that makes sense if it wasn’t so clumsily handled. I mean, if the betrayal had oomph, fine. But the “betrayal” for me was teleporting to a building. That had no dramatic punch. If the plot point where I “betrayed” them made any sense as a betrayal, then fine, it works as narrative. But more Bethesda getting points of intent and losing points for execution. So much of good narrative is timing and details, and they just botched those in the endgame.

I mean, same goes for the order of the betrayal. I mean, they turned on me because I teleported to a building FOR THE INSTITUTE, now I’m here with the RR and shit’s going badly. So which is it? What’s the narrative string? You’ll answer, but I can hear the gears in your head turning as you try to contort things into something that makes sense.

Nah, can’t side with the Institute. I promised Glory I’d free them all. In a moment of good narrative. I figure I should reward the best scene in the endgame.

So a quick and dirty ending. Good.

Feminina:

Yeah, the whole “teleporting to a building is the final step that destroys our relationship” was clumsily done. I mean, I get it narratively: both factions badly want this fusion thingie, and whether you help the BoS get it, or the Institute, the other one will see it as a sign that you’re working against them. But it wasn’t presented in a way that particularly emphasized that significance.

Once that’s done, though, I don’t see it as requiring any particular contortion to explain why they’re still mad even though this particular fight is about the RR instead of the Institute.

I mean, OK, you cheated on me with the Institute, and I was mad about that: now you’re cheating on me with the Railroad and that’s another check against you, but it doesn’t a) change the fact that I’m still mad about the Institute thing or b) mean that I want to sit down and have a whole new discussion about this new betrayal. You’re my enemy, doubly so, and what’s to discuss?

It’s pretty quick and dirty, yeah, especially if you’re vastly overpowered for the job of fighting coursers, etc. It was an evening’s play for me.

Butch:

No. The pop up prompt didn’t help. “This is a Decision. Do you want to make this Decision?” I mean, other games (Witcher, TLOU, bioware) you make those Decisions in the flow of the game. Sure, we can get prompts in ME that warn you you can’t do more content after a point, but that’s different than telling you the outcome. That prompt didn’t say “Warning: Garrus will die if you don’t upgrade the cannons!” That would have been clumsy.

I’m pretty overpowered at this point. Though I’m out of mini nukes. Got too attached to the Quick Draw fat man.

Feminina:

The pop-up felt a little odd. I kind of appreciated it, because it was not otherwise clear that this was in fact a Decision, but it would have seemed more meaningful if the information had been integrated into the storyline somehow. “Word is the Brotherhood really wants this too: you helping US get it will really show them that the Institute is where the power and the good people are,” or something.

I didn’t use any mini nukes in the final battles. Get some ammo for your wounding combat shotgun, and you’re all good. Maybe a gauss rifle. I had one of those.

But whatever, really…you’ll be fine because you’re level 50 or something.

Butch:

Yeah, man. Get the pop-up info accross in the course of gameplay. Warnings about not being able to do more quests: fine. Warnings about narrative outcome: not fine.

I mean, imagine if during the “romance Triss” bit a pop up came up that was “Warning! This will make Yen and Triss give you the threesome of shame if you kiss her? Do you still want to kiss her? Yes/no” That would kinda spoil a lot. Yet, here we are with this prompt.

I have Gauss rifles. But man, quick draw fat man. Two nukes with one VATS.

My current go to boomer is the Assassin’s missile launcher. %50 more damage against humans. One missile pretty much cleared the police station.

What? I’m in a hurry.

I’m level 54, I think. And that has been getting it done.

Feminina:

I mean, it’s not as if we’re not sensitive to this kind of thing. We were all worried that the Battle of Bunker Hill was going to be a decision point that resulted in someone hating us. We knew that point was coming. We knew we’d have to choose. We can recognize when significant choice points are presented, if they’re presented clearly.

Putting in some kind of “better be prepared to fight the Brotherhood on this one!” dialogue would probably have gotten the point across, as well as perhaps stressing the reasons that they get so worked up about this particular action. “They’re working on something big and they REALLY need this thingie–they’re going to be pretty upset if we get it instead.”

Even, if they wanted to be super-obvious, “our spy who brought us the information about them needing it can never go back–the risk is too great if they ever realized they were betrayed about this SUPER IMPORTANT thingie.”

Yeah, you’ll get the job done. Assassin’s stuff is great, except…coursers aren’t human. Keep something in reserve for coursers. That’s not even a spoiler, it’s just we know the Institute has a lot of coursers.

Butch:

Or even having some nuance. I mean, it’s a ROLE playing game. Allegedly. There could be nuance. Or the potential to make mistakes, like the threesome of shame. You did not see that coming, now did you? But it made sense. Actions have unforeseen consequences sometimes. And it’s hard to have unforeseen consequences when you have pop up windows.

For coursers, that would be the troubleshooters hardened plasma sniper rifle. %50 damage against robots. We’re cool.

And the wounding combat shotgun.

Better coursers than assaultrons. I really, really hate assaultrons.