Tag Archives: Video Games

Zelda Intros Suck: Twilight Princess

(As you can see, I nearly gave up on the header image. I couldn’t be bothered to play the game again to get a decent picture so I screenshotted some dudes YouTube video of the intro cutscene. I couldn’t be bothered to properly caption it so I tossed up some Comic Sans because why the fuck not? I just didn’t care.)

In my last post I shit all over the The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword because it had an insufferable introduction filled with dialogue-tutorials and it was frustrating having to “play” for over an hour just to get to play the game. Even after the intro I was constantly interrupted by whatever  my sword and couldn’t enjoy the game at all. I also hinted that The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was just as bad, if not worse, although I didn’t elaborate on it because that would’ve turned into a very long post. So here it is! Why Twilight Princess — at least the introduction — is fucking awful.

I’ll recap the introduction the best I can because it’s been awhile since I played the game. This is probably good because you can see how nothing coherent happened, at least when you try to recall it. It goes something like this: There was something about kids and a sword and a slingshot and a shield and somewhere along that mess you turn into a fucking dog with some wierd whateverthefuck Midna following you around. You fish and get some random lantern from a stoner and can buy oil from a parrot. You can use grass to call hawks to get mice or something. Twilight descends, monsters appear, and three or four kids get kidnapped. And then they make you herd goats. Twice. Eventually, after an hour and a half I made it to the first fucking dungeon after saving some kids and finding some glow-ball thingys. After an hour and a half. I legit timed myself too. The beginning was just a mess. I had no idea what was going on.

The game catches its stride after that (be wolf, find glowy things, be human, beat dungeon) but holy fuck they could probably design a game intro better than that. I understand the idea of plot and world building and tutorials at the beginning but Twilight Princess beat it all into the ground with about 20 random things tossed at you in an hour. It’s a fucking mess and in that first hour you’re seriously wondering what the fuck, if anything, is actually going on. I think I’ve started Twilight Princess like 3 or 4 times and only finished it once. The beginning is that fucking bad. I thought Dark Souls was hard to get into…

I guess I have this idea of “the Great Zelda Game” in my head. The last game I played was The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and while I shit upon it a little bit for the Master Sword “quest” it’s an amazingly wonderful and beautiful game. Nostalgia goggles aside it’ll probably be one of my favorite Zelda games ever. At the very least its intro blows Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword out of the water because of one primary reason: there isn’t an intro. Whereas those two beat you over the head for over an hour with tutorials, cutscenes, and random shit like fishing, Breath of the Wild says “Hey, grab that tablet over there. Have some clothes. Here’s how you climb a cliff. See ya!” And you get to play the game right away. The one dude that can give you some idea of plot or purpose doesn’t say a whole lot and you can just ignore him if you want. The game doesn’t force you into the plot at all, and when it does you’re about an hour or so into the game and can deal with a short cutscene or two. Breath of the Wild succeeds because it tosses you into the game and the world without any explanation. It’s a big and mysterious world because the game didn’t explain a damn thing to you and you’re left to explore and discover things on your own just as intended.

What about Ocarina of Time, the definitive “Great Zelda Game”? The Great Dickhead Deku Tree needs to see you. Dildo Mido won’t let you pass until you have a sword and a shield. You find those in about 5 or ten minutes and BAM you’re in the first fucking dungeon after the Great Dickhead Tree explains a few things to you. You get to play the game right away.

What about Wind Waker? You overslept and need to go to Granny’s house because it’s your birthday. Something happens with your sister and you save her and BAM! You’re on an adventure with some pirates and you get to play the game right away. Sure the game doesn’t really pick up steam until you get your ass off Windfall Island but at least you feel like you’re progressing the game. Wind Waker has its flaws but they sure don’t occur in the first fucking hour of the game.

Twilight Princess

Well…yeah…

And don’t even get me started on Majora’s Mask! You’re walking in the woods about a minute into the game and BAM! Some dickhead steals your horse and makes your day very shitty by trying to end the world. Within a minute or two of starting you’re playing the goddamned game.

Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword beat you endlessly over the head with total bullshit before you even get to play the game. It’s frustrating especially as a person replaying the games because I have fond memories of them as great games. But I’d like to play the game and not watch an hour of cutscenes, random tutorials, and pointless plot elements at the start of the game. This is probably made worse because the last game I played in the Zelda series was Breath of the Wild, a masterpiece of minimalistic design that didn’t beat you over the head with anything (other than Koroks). Even compared to older Zelda games the introductions of these two are bloated and do nothing to let you have fun playing the games. While they’re great games at their cores, you need to actually get to the gameplay to find the greatness! I loved the games and will probably power through to get to the actual game, but fuck, those intros almost broke my fucking spirit and will to play. They fucking Suck.

Zelda Intros Suck: Skyward Sword

My three year old daughter is on a Mario kick. I recently beat Super Mario Odyssey and she was there to witness the final battle and ending cutscene (which was marvelous). Her being a little gamer it’s no surprise that she’s fucking nuts about Princess Peach now. That’s all she talks about: “Dada I wanna save the Peach! I wanna save the Princess Peach!” Okay. So I thought it might be fun to hook up the Nintendo Wii so she can save “The Peach” in Super Mario Galaxy. After all it has motion controls and that will be fun and easy for a kid, right?

This isn’t about Mario though. What happened was I hooked up the Wii, she played a bit, and then wanted me to play. My game in Mario Galaxy was so far along that I didn’t feel like dicking around with the upper level stars that I had left. Coming back to games after awhile is hard because you’re not used to the difficulty curve anymore. You lost all points in GIT and GUD. Anyways, I decided to hop over to Twilight Princess and tried playing that trainwreck of a game. I had an older file where I had just beaten the first dungeon (forest temple? The Great Dickhead Tree? Idk.) and was headed to Kakariko Village. I was teleported back to wherever to find some stupid-ass bridge and I had zero patience to play that game anymore. More on that in a future post. So I tried starting a new game in Skyward Sword.

Skyward Sword was a Zelda game I played quite some time ago while working both full time and part time jobs. Life was shitty then and I don’t recall the game. Like at all. Something about a bird and some clouds and a sword controlled by the Wiimote. I remember some of the game but it’s like a vague dream recalled hours after you wake up where you have a general idea of what happened but everything is really fuzzy. It would be nice to play again, and would be a change from that shitty Twilight Princess ordeal that I just wasn’t in the mood for.

So how did Skyward Sword go? It was awful. Apparently all the first hour of Skyward Sword is fucking cutscenes and dialogue that you cannot skip. You can’t even make the text appear quickly; it slowly types out letter after letter and there’s nothing you can do about it. Anyways, the game does this, I’m assuming, so you get involved in the plot which circles around Zelda and Links “friendship” and some fucker Gaston Groose who is jealous over the whole ordeal.

Like, whatever. You start the game and there are tutorials all over the place “disguised” as dialogue. You talk to some fucker and he makes you get a cat thing he lost. This is so you can be taught how to climb and move boxes. What a dickhead. After that you sit through about ten minutes of cutscene with you and Zelda talking and looking around at clouds. You find your flying ostrich bro is gone and discover Gaston Groose is behind it (SURPRISE!) and you have to find it. You need a sword and the game forces you through another tutorial by showing you how to get carpal tunnel syndrome from the Wiimote. Finally (rather eventually), you find the bird and the game gets underway. Except not really. Not yet. Fuck you Link: more dialogue for you to hear. You do a race, win the race, pass out, and Zelda is lost. Now is the time you get to save her! Her dad, the dude in charge of the entire village tells you to go find her, so you do. Or you try to. You walk outside your room, ready to finally start the goddamn game and some stupid-ass NPC stops you for more dialogue! He gives you a satchel he made and suggests you buy a shield. Fuck that guy, I didn’t buy a shield and took off for the world under the clouds immediately. Fuck the shield, I’ll play the entire game without one if I have to. I’ve played Bloodborne so I can fucking dodge the shitty Zelda enemies with no problem. When he stopped me and started talking I literally yelled at the TV “Can I play the fucking game yet?? Come the fuck on!”

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This is the entire first hour of the game…

BUT BEFORE ALL OF THAT you have to get another sword and deal with even more dialogue. It’s such a goddamn pain. Even once you make it under the clouds there’s even more talking with some old lady and anything that is alive. I seriously played for an hour and a half without doing a damn thing.

Your sword also interrupts you every 2 minutes to say something stupid and obvious. “Do you know you don’t have a shield? That’s a bad idea. I highly suggest you acquire one before you proceed.” FUCK YOU I DON’T NEED A SHIELD FI THANKS THO. If you’re low on hearts she states the fact, rudely interrupting whatever world-saving quest you’re on. The beeping the game makes to signal you being low on health isn’t enough apparently and she has to point it out.

Fi

“…were you aware that I’m a massive pain in the ass?”

I mean it works okay the first time you play the game because it’s new and you don’t know what to expect, but fucking hell, it’s brutal sitting through a second time. Even as brutal as sitting through Skyward Sword’s introduction was there was one game that somehow topped that…

Remember Twilight Princess? And how I griped about it earlier? Yeah…That’ll be in another post in a few days because this one was surprisingly long for me to complain about a video game.

Life Sucks (as a Video Game)

The author Kurt Vonnegut touched upon the idea that everyone thinks they’re the protagonist of the world they’re in and everyone else are NPCs — the people that only exist to serve the protagonist. Check this out from his novel Breakfast of Champions:

I thought Beatrice Keedsler had joined hands with other old-fashioned storytellers to make people believe that life had leading characters, minor characters, significant details, insignificant details, that it had lessons to be learned, tests to be passed, and a beginning, a middle, and an end.

He then goes on to blame the current state of society on this flawed outlook promoted by stories, writers, and other artists. It’s a decent book, Check it Out!

Stevie!

I don’t think we all have that extremely dark view of society but I do think most of us view ourselves as “the primary hero” while other people are just sort of there. I also think the only people that really get outside of that worldview are probably Buddhist monks or something. This obviously becomes a problem because, well, we’re probably not the main character and are most likely random NPCs ourselves. By thinking you’re the hero and living a pretty average and mundane life you think you’re a total failure. You’re not saving the world so what are you even doing?

Video games are guilty of promoting this worldview and self-image in everyone the same as other forms of entertainment. In games you usually play as a hero and do some hero shit like saving the world or defeating some Evil Power™. This obviously isn’t realistic and considering that, what would a game be like that was as accurate to real life as possible? Many games have mechanics that simulate parts of real life (the Grand Theft Auto series comes to mind) but those occurs on a superficial level. Sure you can drive cars like in real life but the lack of consequences in GTA breaks any real comparison. The Sims do a good job too, especially with the game-breaking existential crisis that inevitably occurs after playing for too long. Real life also has much more due to chance while games put you in charge of nearly everything. So, what would that game look like?

To start, it’d be boring and no one would want to play it. The Life Game would consists of you doing some stupid and boring task for hours and hours while earning hardly any useful in-game cash. Everything you need to buy is also really expensive. Instead of buying the best car ever you can only afford a shitty, 15-year-old vehicle to get you to and from work just so you can continue to make shitty money. Food also takes up the rest of the cash you earn. It’d be hours upon hours of absolute nothingness to just buy food and other essential items.

As the game starts you could randomly die as well. This is mostly dependent upon where you’re born which is totally due to chance. You could spawn in a poor country and die in the first few minutes thanks to malnourishment or disease and there’s nothing you can do to change your fate. Once you start the game that’s what you are given. You could end up in a decent area where healthcare is abundant, but you could also, by chance, end up in a shithole and die within a short timespan.

You could be born into a family that has tons of money, but that would be really rare. Once again you don’t have any choice in all of that because it’s all random. Being rich would also take all the fun out of The Life Game because you can do whatever you want with little to no challenge. At least starting off poor gives you a challenge somewhat. If you’re not starting off in abject poverty that is.

Another fun aspect of The Life Game is that you could randomly die at anytime. You could be in the safest area possible but someone could randomly kill you with a bus or a gun or whatever. Sometimes even airplanes fall onto your house although that is reserved for only the most unluckiest people. The same is true for lightning. But the fact is that anyone could die at anytime with little to no warning. The Life Game doesn’t care about what quest your on or how important you are or how much cash you have and you’ll just randomly die.

The most interesting aspect of The Life Game would be the lack of a main quest. You’d think this might be fun because you can “make your own goals” but after a few hours the gameplay just lacks meaning. It’ll be like Minecraft or The Sims where you have a pretty decent time exploring and learning the game mechanics and creating useless bullshit, but then the lack of a main quest gets to you. Eventually in Minecraft or The Sims you look around the world and realize this is it. Then you quit playing because you’re bored and the game is meaningless. The same happens in Kerbal Space Program after you’ve explored the entire solar system. There simply isn’t anything left to do. The same would happen in The Life Game because there’s no reason or purpose for you to be there. There are side quests to accomplish but those are usually shitty by giving you little reward for completing them or by being too hard to actually accomplish in the first place. You could sell your furniture on Craigslist or get a PhD in astrodynamics for example. Or you could blog about how shitty The Life Game is. But you don’t have to because they’re side quests. There is no world to save, no overarching evil to destroy, and no princess to save. You could just do nothing. So what do you even do in this game?

And one last thing: The Life Game only lets you play once. Some people think that you might get to play multiple times but they don’t know that for sure. If you’re the unlucky soul that dies in the first five minutes of the game, well, too bad but that’s all you get! The ones who make it farther into the game should feel special for doing so well, but since the game is so shitty no one really feels good about it. Hell, some people even quit the game on purpose. That’s how terrible The Life Game is.

If life was a video game is would fucking Suck. There wouldn’t be a main quest and the difficulty curve would be ridiculous but in a really lame and cheap way. You’d just die randomly and without good cause. Sometimes you’d just die as soon as you started the game, once again without cause or reason. Some people spawn in ridiculously privileged ways and others are spawned in ridiculously unfair conditions. You dick around trying to keep yourself busy but since there isn’t a main quest nothing ever seems very pointful. The Life Game Sucks.

Video Games are too Long (and too Short!!)

The entire Lord of the Rings movie trilogy is apparently 11 and a half hours long.. It’s probably one of the longer trilogies that you can find.  This isn’t really a problem with the series because its epic story justifies the long run time. Now The Hobbit is a whole other story and this is part of why it fucking sucks; it’s too long while the source material isn’t. Anyways…you can compare Lord of the Rings runtime of 11 hours to the Star Wars original trilogy runtime of 6 hours and 15 minutes. While 6-11 hours is a long ass time in movie-land, it is much different in videogame-land. A 6-11 hour game is stupidly short.

Consider Bioshock, a video game that has received much acclaim due to its story, gameplay, and considerable horror elements. According to this Bioshock clocks in with around 10 hours of gameplay. This would be long for a movie or trilogy but for a game is very short. Bioshock, while being a fantastic game has nothing to keep you playing other than the main story: when you’re done with the game, you’re done. Would you want to pay $60 for 10 hours of gameplay?

And then you have Shadow of the Colossus, a game I bring up now because I just purchased the remastered version. It was $40 and according to YouTuber VideoGameDunkey Shadow of the Colossus has only 5 hours of gameplay. (My first playthrough took a bit longer though because I sucked) Is that justifiable? I don’t know. Somehow I justified it so criticize me all you want.

And before I forget, think of Journey, the fucking masterpiece of a game that Doesn’t Suck. Lengthwise it is only a few hours but does some amazing things with such a small amount of time. But would you pay $40 for a “walking simulator” as some people have derided it? That’s up to you…

Putting some numbers on the experience yields some interesting results. Bioshock, at $60 for a ten hour game is roughly $6 per hour of gameplay. Shadow would be even worse at $8 per hour. If you compare this to a movie at a theater, and considering a single 2 hour film might be about $20, this would run you $10 per hour; this is a bit more than our short video game example. It seems that short video games are sold at a comparable price to movies, and are even somewhat cheaper. Obviously if you steal videos, buy bootlegs, rent, or purchase shitty DVDs from the WalMart bargain bin it’d be cheaper. And if you pirate video games you don’t have to worry about the cost for anything, except maybe being caught.

Compare that to Skyrim at $60 and having over a hundred hours of gameplay. That is a stupidly low number of $0.60 per hour of gameplay. It’s probably one of the cheaper games you can play if you look at it that way. And hell, it’s an old game so it’s even cheaper than $60. But Skyrim, while being cheap for all the gameplay you get, has another problem: it’s too long!

Skyrim is a perfect example of one of these open-world RPG style games. It isn’t unheard of people dumping over 100 hours into these types of games, Skyrim, Fallout 4, or any other game included. (My dad apparently is at level 117 in Fallout 4. Think about how long he’s been playing that crap.) Those seem to be games where you can and are expected to dump tons of time into. By immersing yourself in the world you get sucked in and invested in the game. Even if the game is cheaper on a “per hour” basis, I still have to plop 100 hours into Skyrim to properly feel like I experienced the game the way it’s supposed to be experienced. You could sit down, do only the main quest, do nothing extra and beat the game, but that isn’t how the game is supposed to be played and it’s almost insulting to the massive world you just missed out on exploring. Some games you have to throw tons of time into exploring and adventuring; it’s just how they are.

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Look closer…

Zoomed Stimpak

Level 117, 126 Stimpaks, and 33 Radaway!

So whatever, it takes a long time to finish a game. So what? You were just bitching about short games and now you’re complaining about long games? There’s a lot of games to play and I want to get around to them! I wrote here that despite most games sucking there are a few masterfull gems out there. I really want to play them eventually and — with all the games being rather long — I have a large backlog that I’m trying to play through.. As of now I need to beat Breath of the Wild which I’ve probably put 30 or 40 hours into then move onto Super Mario Odyssey. After that The Witcher 3 is up, and I heard that game is a nightmare of wonderful world building, questing, and exploring so that’s going to take like a half of a year to get through. I still haven’t finished Amnesia: The Dark Descent or Metal Gear Solid V which were free games for PlayStation Plus (From October 2017 by the way). Oh yeah, and a new Kerbal Space Program is out for the Ps4. There’s just so many good games to play but games take a long time to complete so I can’t actually enjoy all the games I want to.

So sure, Bioshock and Shadow of the Colossus are short games and just as pricey as any other game, but I can actually play them in a reasonable amount of time. Open world games are great to sink time into, but with them I never have enough time to actually enjoy them fully. This contributes to my inability to play more games that I want to play. Preferably I like games between 20 and 50 hours; they’re short enough where you can stay focused on them and live a busy life but long enough that you don’t feel like you were cheated out of your money. I’m thinking the Breath of the Wilds, the Dark Souls, and about any Mario game out there. They strike a good balance between the two extremes, extremes which Suck for differing reasons.

Most Video Games Suck

Go to your local Walmart, Target, or GameStop and take a look at the games. Out of the hundreds of games they have, do any really appeal to you? Probably not. As a fan of the open-world, RPG-type games, and the Dark Souls type games, I really don’t have any intention of playing the newest Madden, FIFA, whatever NBA games there are, or the newest shoveled-out Call of Duty or whatever other kind of “shootan game” happens to have been released. I look at the multitude of video games displayed and maybe three or four actually have some appeal to me.

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I’d be willing to buy like three or four of these games…

Or worse yet, go dig around in the bargain bin at Walmart. You know where you can find the cheap $20 games. They’re all shit. Even worse is most of these games I’ve never even heard of. Fantastic Dance Party 2016, or GooberGoblins, or Zombie Shooter XXX. Whatever. I don’t remember any actual game names because they’re that shitty and forgettable. And if I’m ever in doubt I can pull up an internet search confirming my suspicions. Fantastic Dance Party has like a 6.5/10. GooberGoblins has a 3.4/10 for the PS4 but a 3.7 for the XBox One. Zombie Shooter XXX also is rated a shitty 5.5/10 but can “serve to distract you for awhile.” Even though they’re discounted, $20 is still quite a bit to play garbage. I could get a few value meals for that price.

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Cheap (and Shitty!) games. Although there are a few gems to be found.

And then there’s Grand Theft Auto V which is still $50 even though it’s a five year old game. That game doesn’t depreciate at all, what the fuck? It’s because it’s a good game.

Maybe that’s why I like to play older games. If you give games a few years you filter out all of the bullshit that existed in the past. Here’s an example. Think of some quality Nintendo 64 games. Ocarina of Time, Mario 64, Goldeneye 007. These games are fucking classics and if anyone wants to play the best games from a bygone era they don’t have any difficulties in doing so. Want to check out the best SNES games? Link to the Past. Super Mario World. Donkey Kong. Metroid. You know how it goes. The same goes with newer games too. Dark Souls, Mass Effect 2, Skyrim, San Andreas, Bioshock, and Madden 2017. Rofl that last one was a joke in case you were wondering.

The question usually comes up as to if games were actually better back then or not. You’d expect that games would naturally get better with the advent of better technology. At the very least newer games look better but that seems to have little effect on how good the actual game is. Newer games can be bigger, more complex, and have more detailed worlds and plots so they should be better, but there still seems to be a lot of shit out there.

The same seems to go for music with people usually saying that current music is shit and that past music was “better.” Like I did with video games, think of music from the 60s and see how it compares with today. You’ll probably think of The Beatles and how their music is so much more better than whatever trash is currently popular (GUCCI GANG GUCCI GANG GUCCI GANG). But outside of The Beatles and The Beach Boys and a few others, you probably can’t name shit else from the 60s. Was that music actually better back then? No. Because of survivorship bias.

The way it works is that only the good stuff from the past is remembered. For 80s rock you have big names like Metallica, Guns N Roses, Poison, Motley Crue, and a few other big names. That’s all you remember because it’s all that was good and “survived” on the radio until the current day. In our minds they’re sort of all that existed and it appears to have been some classical age of music all the way back to Mozart. The same goes for video games too. Just because we had Super Mario World doesn’t mean that total shit didn’t exist in the 90s. And that total shit doesn’t have a name anymore because it’s so forgettable.

One shitty game I remember was Stunt Race FX. It was some shitty game that had “good graphics” back on the SNES era and had terrible screen rate issues. It was nearly unplayable because you’d get nauseous from trying to drive a shitty car at 10 frames per second. Apparently others didn’t think it was that bad though.

Just take a look at some games on this random list. You’ve probably never even heard of them because they’re shit. Noah’s Ark 3D? Really?

My point here is that if you want to play a newer game you have to decide between a bunch of shitty games and try to find out which ones are actually good. That’s supposed to be the role of game critics but even that has its flaws. Some games only really become good with some age and distance after they’re released. So if you’re playing older games it’s a lot easier to figure out what’s worth playing or checking out because, thanks to survivorship bias, the good games are the only ones that still “exist” to us. By playing older games you have a better chance of playing a good game, and by playing new games you take the risk of playing some utter shitty ones. I really think that’s why I stick to “classic” games and write about games when they’re old as fuck.

And even if you can find a handful of good modern games you can’t exactly play them because video games are really long.

Fallout 4 Sucks

I got Fallout 4 during Christmas of 2015, not too long after it was released. I played it, got sort of far through the game, and then just burned out on it. I didn’t remember much about the game, and didn’t feel very into it. It didn’t seem very memorable. And now, in March at least, I decided to pick the game back up and finish it properly. I don’t want to write a proper review to the game, because it’s 1.5 years old and no one cares now, but I can still write a post about how damn shitty it was thanks to my refresher course over the past few weeks.

In case you’ve been stuck in a real life vault somehow, Fallout 4 is a post-apocalyptic RPG (role-playing gaem) from Bethesda. You might know Bethesda from their other games, all of which have very stiff characters and tons of stupid glitches and shit. Shit clips all over the place and their games can randomly freeze, usually after you’ve forgotten to save in the past 20 minutes. Hell, in Fallout 4 I seen a rock from the “back side,” and there was no texture at all.

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My coat slicing through my wrists as I relax.

Half the rock had a face and texture, and the other half was invisible. That’s a stereotypical Bethesda trait right there. Nevertheless, people love their games because they offer decent role-playing and adventuring elements as well as interesting quests and storytelling (sometimes). These make up for the awful technical aspects that Bethesda games are known and “loved” for.

But Fallout 4 just sucks and here’s why. Obviously, spoilers, but if you haven’t played the game since it came out then that’s your fault.

Ugly Overworld

My first gripe about the game involves what everyone sees most of the time (besides the damn Pip Boy menu): the overworld. Getting directly to the point, the overworld looks like shit. I don’t mean it looks like shit because it is a post-nuclear wasteland; that part is understandable. I mean it looks like shit because that’s how the game was designed to look. Everything is grey, dreary, and ugly looking. Plants aren’t really green; they’re sort of greyish-greenish-yellowish. Even far up in the northern terrain of the game, the world is as ugly as everywhere else. They cities and towns are junk. The sky is often covered in an ugly haze with radioactive thunderstorms half the time. You’re probably thinking “Duh, nuclear wasteland, idiot.” but still. Not everything in a post-apocalyptic world will look like shit. Having some really gorgeous terrain would contrast the shitty areas in a shocking way. Maybe away from the destruction there is a pretty forest that reminds us of what the world was like before? Nope. Grey. Shit. Everywhere.

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Looking North from some bridge. At least the sky looks nice.

The world looking like shit has two consequences. First off, I don’t give two shits about exploring because the world looks the same everywhere I went. In Skyrim, another Bethesda game, I could climb snowy, rocky cliffs, go look at ice floes on the Sea of Ghosts, watch animals graze in the grasslands, or see some hot springs caused by the eruption of Red Mountain to the East. There were places to go and things to look at and they gave the overworld some delicious variety. In Fallout 4 I have nuclear wasteland to explore here, and some nuclear wasteland to explore over there, and guess what?! Some nuclear wasteland over there as well! I guess the swampy shit to the south was kinda cool, and the Glowing Sea was amazing, but everything else looks gloomy and vomited out onto the screen which overkills the whole nuclear wasteland motif.

The second aspect of the world looking like shit is that you don’t care about the world because it’s a dump. Everything is a nuclear wasteland, and there isn’t much left to be enthusiastic about. Many games have you attempting to stop the end of the world; since the end of the world already occurred there doesn’t seem to be much at stake. There isn’t that pretty forest depicting life before the war, there isn’t any beauty yearning you to return the world to it’s pre-war days. It’s shit, everything is shit, so why even care? More on that later…

But what about exploring inside the places you discover in the overworld?

There’s Nothing “Special” in the Game

Nope. Those all suck too. Every building or “cave” or whatever I go inside has the same shit: enemies to shoot at, loot to haul off and sell, and a wrecked and fucked up interior. The underground areas don’t look as bad, but those only go as far as “generic underground factory” shit. Bethesda games have always had an issue with that as far as I can remember, with the interior areas you can explore seemingly very boring and copy-pasted, but The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind made it work just fine. They did this by having cool shit you could actually find in its fairly bland dungeons.

Most of Morrowind’s dungeons were shit just like Fallout 4′s except they were caves and tombs instead of buildings. The one saving grace with Morrowind was that there was cool shit you could find inside certain caves. Most of the dungeons had generic shit you’d haul away and sell, but some had overpowered and/or unique weapons/armor/spells/magic items that made dungeon diving feel useful. You really could stumble upon something special that would make your character overpowered. This isn’t the case in Fallout 4. I think there are certain special items, but they don’t feel really special. Like I might find a gun with a certain effect, but it looks the same as the other guns I have and isn’t much cooler. It’s special, but it’s still just a shitty gun to pew pew the bad guys with.

In Fallout 4, confronted with boring dungeon after boring dungeon, you simply stop caring about exploring. You won’t find anything special or interesting, and any location you happen to discover, even though there are over a hundred locations, you won’t explore because it’s all the same. Junk, ammo, enemies, and guns.

As a side note, I think I did find a few “unique” dungeons, such as Vault 81 that might’ve been interesting, but they were locked off and are only accessible through a dedicated quest. That’s good for making the quests better, but awful for exploring. Basically if I found a locked door that required a key or a special password, I’d know it was a quest location that was currently off limits.

Stupid Quests and Factions

How about the quests and the factions? As stated these can be the saving grace of Bethesda games. The Brotherhood of Steel is okay at first, but the logic they show in their factions belief system is fucking ridiculous. They want to wipe out the synthetic humans (called “synths”), not because they have a clear reason but because their scared of them and how they might be harmful to humans in the future. There are no complexities to this train of thought and it really seems to be “synths are bad, kill them.” Okay.

The Railroad (a faction dedicated to freeing synths) isn’t any better although they are the complete opposite. They believe that synths are people too! While the Brotherhood is totally anti-synths The Railroad is totally pro-synth. Now, I don’t know if a synthetic, robotic human could be considered a person or not, or if these things would be dangerous, but that isn’t my complaint here. These factions have simple, one-sided views with no subtleties or anything. Robots are either good or bad, to be saved or destroyed, and no one seems to stop and think about the larger, complex issue at all.

Another gripe about the factions and the quests is that they give you some serious responsibilities almost immediately. No one thinks twice if you’re a good fit for their faction, and you never have to “prove your worth” to the group. You show up, do a single quest, and suddenly you’re the savior of the organization and are given some ridiculous influence even though you literally just showed up a few days ago. Where the fuck does this occur in the real world? No where. You get a job and you’re stuck there for years until you can notably move anywhere in the company. According to Fallout 4, some people can get hired at a place and in 3 or 4 days be a mid-level manager, or maybe even higher up, like a director on the board! This makes the factions lose their element of immersion. You show up and you’re amazing. It’s not hard and you don’t have to do any work. You’re that special.

Then I Almost Cared…

I must admit this entire post so far was written without me making it through the main quest. Well, I finally discovered The Institute and suddenly started to enjoy the game a bit more. The Institute isn’t a fucking dump like everywhere else in the game, they seem to actually want to improve and fix the world, and that spurred me on to actually care a little.

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Hanging out at The Institute. It doesn’t look like shit.

Here I found a place that was wonderful, and it would be great if I, as part of this group, could bring this level of society to the rest of the Commonwealth! So even if the game does get better, I still have to ask why the fuck it take so long to actually become interested in the main quest. The fact that it took me twenty or thirty hours to actually give a damn is sad, and I gave up a year ago because I couldn’t bother with the game anymore.

…Almost

So I finished the main quest – the meat-and-potatoes of the game – the one thing that should’ve been great, and it was just as shitty as I’d had feared. It started off sort of meh, got slightly better when I found The Institute, and then went downhill quickly as the questline drew to a close.

In case you didn’t know, the leader of The Institute is your son, Shaun, who is also a dick. The final few missions he sends you on are to assassinate an enemy faction’s leader and to totally fuck over the Brotherhood of Steel. I was hoping I could reason with him a bit (“Maybe we could let the Railroad survive, and adopt their view on Synth morality?”) but nope, Shaun said to kill their leader, and there was no other choice even though I was #2 in the entire organization. So I walked in and put a shotgun shell in her face. When I was told to wipe out the Brotherhood I tried to argue against all out war (“Maybe we should wait a bit? I don’t think they’re that big of a threat.”), but nope! “You’re wrong. Go wipe the Brotherhood out!” I had no choice other than to destroy them with the help of a giant, Communist-hating robot. Damn, it sure is cool to know that my abducted son who I was desperate to find turned into a ruthless leader on par with Kim Jong Un, with hardly any sense of morality, and no qualms against using me, his own father, as his personal pawn and assassin. I’m so proud of you son.

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The flaming wreckage of the Brotherhood of Steel. This means you’ve won!

So anyways, the game ends, The Institute wins (in my playthrough), and nothing really happens. The main quest is just a power struggle for the overworld. That’s it. Remember in Fallout 3 when you had to fix a water purifier to help the people around Washington D.C. and you felt good for helping people? Remember in Skyrim where you had to save the world from some dragon that wanted to destroy it (for some reason) and you were a big-time hero? Remember in Oblivion when you had to save the world again from some demon dudes? Remember in New Vegas when you were stuck in a power struggle but you actually seemed to have an influence in the world and weren’t just a stupid errand boy? Yeah. Those were the good ole days…

I Just Don’t Care

By far the worst part about the game was its inability to make players give a fuck about the world. This was also a problem I had in Fallout: New Vegas but luckily the game gave you a way to not care. They had a faction in that game called The Legion who we’re basically a knockoff of ancient Rome down to their leader being called “Caesar.” They were also a terrible organization that wanted to bring the current fractured society under the wing of their Legion and even enslave everyone. My not giving a fuck about post-apocalyptic society could manifest itself by joining The Legion because they didn’t give a fuck, I didn’t give a fuck, so why not say to hell with trying to have a nice, peaceful society?

Fallout 4 doesn’t even give you that option. The world is shit – everywhere you travel is full of rubble, junk, horrible monsters, and radiation – and no one is trying to fix it. They all simply want power in the world. The world is bleak and shitty, the NPCs and factions boring and one-sided, and it’s just so hard to give a damn about the world and the people in it.

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This is probably the best part of the game IMHO.

And somehow, even though the game is an “open world” game, I figured it wasn’t really, and you’d still have a limited amount of ways you can help people. Like I said, at the end of the game, nothing really changed. The organization you picked wins the power struggle, and maybe that will have some lasting effect on the world, but…who cares?

I did sort of enjoy the game, and it has its moments where it’s fun, but more often than not it felt like a chore where I wasn’t sure why I was doing anything in the game. It’s a game to keep you busy with no purpose. Gun modding was fun, and there were a few characters that were memorable (detective Valentine?), but the game had some insane ability to just make me not give a shit, and that apathy isn’t a good thing to have in a game. It leaves you with no reason to play, no reason to get involved, and in a world meant to be engrossing and interesting, you end up just being bored as hell.