Being a massive fan of Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas, and having recently come into possession of a machine that can handle Fallout 4, I finally began the new Fallout journey.
Now, whether I'm getting older, or I'm just starting to expect more form the story telling in games, either way I as completely taken aback by the opening act of Fallout 4.
SPOILERS FOR THE BEGINNING OF FALLOUT 4 BELOW!
I cannot reconcile the decisions that were made to form the beginning moments of this game, it was mind boggling jarring, and not in a good way. I found the situations my character comfortably found themselves in so sudden, unearned, and extreme that I just felt completely detached from the story and the character I was supposed to be embodying.
To sum it up, I am for all intents and purposes an average American joe, living a buttoned downed life in a well to do white picket fence community and have been for at least a good chunk of time. Now, a nuclear bomb hits, this I have no problem with, it's Fallout after all, and it was an explosive start, this is not where the problem lies.
We are quickly inside the vault and cryogenically frozen, I briefly wake up to see my son taken and my wife shot, before being frozen again. I wake up and have a quick look around and then I'm out the vault and back at my house where my trusty robot butler tells me I've been frozen for 200 years.
So far, although far from perfect, I'm actually okay with this, even though it's not addressed too much when his son may have been taken. 10 years ago? 100 years ago? Who knows. The real problem starts with my trip to Concord.
Now, I can only imagine that the Fallout devs wanted so much to show how 'cool' Fallout can be and decided to blow their load all over my character without a thought for decent story telling or natural progression.
We are literally talking hours after I've been defrosted 200 years in the future, I am still that same white picket fence dude that snuggles with their partner and watches TV in the evenings, but does that seem to matter? No. In the next few moments I'm chatting with some complete strangers who seem to think the most obvious thing in the world for me to do is to hop into some power armor and literally Terminator 2 some human beings into pulp with a god damn minigun! Then… that's not enough! I've got to minigun a damn demon spawn lizard giant back to hell!…
…No sweat! Apparently. Never mind the fact they soon after, quickly appoint me as their leader of the free world and commission me to rebuild an entire town for them. May I remind you, I was literally spinning a mobile above my baby's crib in my idyllic American suburbia mere hours ago in my lifetime.
Not one thought went into any natural progression for the story or character. I went from 0-100 so quickly my neck was ripped off my shoulders and hurtled into space to orbit the earth.
What did happen was that everything that's perceived as 'cool' in the Fallout universe was projectile vomited on top of us.
POWER ARMOR! COOOOL! DEATH CLAWS!!! COOOOOOL!!! MINIGUN!!!! COOOOOOOOL!!!
So… yeah. I've only just started and maybe I'm speaking too soon, I mean, I have to be don't I? But the beginning of this Fallout journey has shattered my immersion. I hope, maybe, something will happen to drag me back in.
What games do you think have handled this better?
Did you feel similar with Fallout 4?
What's the best way to get a character from 0-100 naturally if the goal is to have the average schmo become a hero? Any good examples of games that have achieved this?
I think what worked so well with Fallout 3 was that you are literally born into the world, and in FO:NV, you are already part of the world. They really dropped the ball with the opening of Fallout 4, that is something of which I'm certain.
Thanks for listening.
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