Tag Archives: Fallout 4

Platinum Quest: How Fallout 4 Stopped Me Earning It’s Platinum Trophy

This post contains mild location spoilers for Fallout 4. 

So, I own a PS4 and a PS Vita. They’re how I play my games. I used to play on Xbox 360, but I was never into Achievements. I’d usually play a game to the end of the main story then be done with it.

Something changed.

Once I went all in with PlayStation, something about Trophies grabbed me and I can’t explain it. Maybe because they’re shiny? Maybe because it’s not just a “score.” I don’t know. But they got me good. I now find myself playing games for Trophies first and foremost, and I kind of enjoy it.

If a game comes out and I really like it, chances are I’m going to try and Platinum it. This year I’ve achieved the Platinum Trophy in Batman: Arkham Knight and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (which is no joke, let me tell you) among other smaller titles. It gives me a great feeling of accomplishment to know I’ve beaten a game the most it can possibly be beaten, so it’s no surprise I’m currently trying to Platinum Fallout 4.

Looking at Fallout 4‘s Trophy list, it doesn’t look too difficult. Most of them seem like they would be achieved naturally over time. There’s a couple of story based trophies that require some strategic saving, but other than that there’s not much here that would require you to use a guide or anything.

Two of Fallout 4‘s Trophies revolve around the collection of Bobbleheads. One of them is achieved at 10 Bobbleheads collected and the other at 20. Very achievable.

I’m writing this today to tell you about how Fallout 4 fucked me out of those Trophies.

I occasionally work night shifts, and one of the perks of that is getting to stay up all night the night before my shift and play video games for like 12 hours without feeling like a fucking loser. I usually save my bigger Trophy hunting campaigns for these occasions, and collecting the remaining eight Bobbleheads I needed for part two of the Trophy seemed achievable in one of these sessions.

I could not have been more wrong.

It started off unremarkable enough. For quickness, I opened up an online guide and started chipping away. “Go to this location, it’s in this room.” Easy enough. This will be a piece of cake.

I collected three Bobbleheads (bringing my count to 15) before disaster struck.

There’s a location on the map called “Malden Middle School.” Underneath the school, past the basement, is the entrance to Vault 75. Using a Bobblehead location guide I made my way there, blissfully unaware of the fucking headache that awaited me.

Upon entering Vault 75 I was greeted by two Synth enemies who started raining lasers on me. I quickly dispatched them and made my way to the elevator. The elevator TO HELL.

The guide stated that once you entered Vault 75 you would be greeted by Gunners, Fallout‘s mercenary outfit, and the faction you didn’t side with in the main story. They would be fighting among themselves and with you. I was tasked with killing everybody, and making my way to the back of Vault 75 where I should have encountered a Gunner Commander, who had a keycard that would give me access to the rest of the Vault, where the Bobblehead was located.

There was no Gunner Commander. After scouring the scene for about 30 minutes, looting every dead thing there was to loot and even reloading a save before I had entered the Vault, I took to the internet. After a quick Google search, I found out that this was a bug that people were encountering, seemingly at random.

A bug. In a Bethesda game. That locked you out of 100% completion. Surely not?

Most of the solutions I found online involved console commands, but as mentioned earlier, I was playing on PS4 where no such luxury is afforded. I was tasked with finding an alternative solution.

After discussing it with a friend, he told me to wait 30 in-game days for the enemies inside Vault 75 to respawn so I could try again. My character slept for 30 days. 30 fucking days of rest. 30 minutes of my actual life spent watching a fictional character sleep. I set off for Vault 75 again, and repeated my initial murdering spree. Still nothing.

I was left with no choice. As I was playing through the game I made alternate saves so I could earn the Trophies in all of the game’s branching story paths. I sucked it up and loaded a save from around eight hours ago. I set off on my own personal Groundhog Day yet again, and yet again there was no Gunner Commander in sight.

“Luckily” for me I had made about four of these alternate saves in my quest to see all possible story options, so I loaded up an older one.

The result was the same.

I was down to my last alternate save. The save I made 20 hours ago. The save I made before I acquired my beloved Super Sledge. The save I made when me and my Power Armour were mere acquaintances and not life partners.  The save I made at level 21. The save I made when I had two out of twenty Bobbleheads.

The Gunner Commander appeared.

Initially elated that I finally had access to the rest of Vault 75, and in turn the Bobblehead that had evaded capture for what felt like days, the celebration soon ended when I realised the severity of the situation.

I now had three Bobbleheads. I went from 15 to three. I would have to collect the ones I had already collected again, and then the other five I had yet to find. Not to mention I was far weaker than I was in my main save. I had dropped 26 levels and all my weapons were terrible.

I don’t know how, but I did it. I managed it. I collected 20 Bobbleheads and the Trophy popped, but I was done. I’d had enough.

I currently have five Trophies left. Four of them are very achievable, they just take time. The fifth is the dreaded “Benevolent Leader” Trophy, which is achieved when you reach 100 happiness in a large settlement, seemingly without rhyme or reason.

I can’t face doing it. I’m seriously tired of the fear that this game will fall apart like a shoddily constructed car while it’s driving 100mph down the motorway, killing me, my progress, and everyone I love.

I need to take a break.

I might go back, eventually, but right now I need to play something else. Something lighter. Something quick to digest.

I still love you, Fallout 4, but I think we should see other people for a while. It’ll be a long time before I’m able to trust again.

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Fallout 4 Review

Bethesda Game Studios’ latest in it’s post-apocalyptic open-world RPG series, Fallout 4, was released last week and I’ve spent around 60 hours with the game so far, and I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. The game’s setting, characters and sense of discovery have their hooks in me, and I am itching to jump back in.

2008’s Fallout 3 was released to critical acclaim, and it thrust the series into the mainstream. Does Fallout 4 fill those shoes?

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Set in post-nuclear war Boston, Massachusetts, now known as The Commonwealth in the similar-yet-strange Fallout future, Fallout 4 takes everything that made the previous game’s setting interesting and builds upon it. Capital Wasteland begged to be explored, despite remaining pretty brown and grey, and The Commonwealth begs the same but with an added splash of colour and environmental variety. There are forests, cities, farms and literal patches of inhospitable, green, radioactive wasteland for you to explore which all look definitively different from one another.

The game begins with a rare look at pre-war life in the Fallout universe, and you play as The Man or Woman Out of Time. This small section of your home life serves as the tutorial and character creation section of the game, but things quickly turn sour as the bombs begin to fall. You race to Vault 111 with your family in tow, and don’t emerge until 200 years later. The main story starts off strong, and it definitely has it’s moments. Filled with moral grey areas, it had me questioning if I was doing the right thing or siding with the right people multiple times, but like Fallout 3 and Skyrim before it, it ultimately falls flat in all of the games multiple endings. Fortunately, it doesn’t end there, as there are no shortage of side quests to conquer, locations to discover and characters to introduce yourself to. This is where Fallout 4 really shines. Most of the side-quests are more interesting and enticing than the main story, and this seems to be the norm with Bethesda’s games. There are also a tonne of sometimes tragic, sometimes hilarious small stories being told by terminal logs, holotapes and where bodies are left laying that you can easily miss if you’re not paying attention which adds a real lived-in feel to The Commonwealth.

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Most of the story characters are interesting enough to keep you pursuing their needs and wants, and some of them you love to hate, but the real character gold comes from your companions. Each has their own personality, likes and dislikes and special skills, and no two are the same. From robots, to dogs, to boring-ass humans, each has an interesting backstory. Almost all of them have special Mass Effect-style loyalty quests tied to them that you can complete, but other than earning a few extra brownie points and undying loyalty, these don’t really lead to anything spectacular. You can also dismiss them to any of your settlements throughout the game as you recruit more, but be warned, dismissing a companion is the scariest thing I’ve encountered in the game thus far. I’ve had companions (who I’ve loaded a shit tonne of valuable loot onto, might I add) disappear, only to turn up at the settlement I sent them to many real-life days later, and act as if nothing happened. To keep the heart healthy, I’ve started dismissing them to the settlement when I’m actually there instead of miles away from it, so they don’t get lost or whatever the fuck else they were doing Tuesday through Friday last week.

Another welcome change is the overhaul to many of the game’s mechanics. As expected, Fallout 4 runs a lot smoother than the previous in the series. It’s no secret that V.A.T.S was introduced to address the lackluster combat mechanics of Fallout 3, and V.A.T.S is still present in Fallout 4 (probably because it’s an iconic mechanic that is instantly recognisable and really, really fucking cool) but it’s live combat mechanics have increased dramatically. Controls feel responsive and tuned, and you can now aim down the sites instead of exclusively firing from the hip. I often find myself using V.A.T.S to scope out enemy areas instead of actually fighting with it. That’s a testament to how much the gunplay has improved. It no longer feels like you’re firing blind into a crowd of enemies.

V.A.T.S has also been slightly altered. Instead of stopping time altogether and giving yourself a moment to breathe, it now only partially slows time, meaning the pressure is never off. The change leaves you feeling vulnerable, and really adds to the tension of a fight.

Looting enemies and containers has been streamlined as well. The game no longer pauses and opens a menu for you to transfer items between yourself and the corpses of your victims/a fridge (although that window is still available with the “Transfer” button.) A window will hover over the container/dead thing in realtime and you can decide what to leave or take without slowing down the game.

Speaking of looting, it is now an essential part of the newly added crafting and base-building mechanics. Each item of “Junk” you find can be scrapped for components such as Steel, Wood. Glass, Copper etc, and it really made me sweat trying to decide what to keep and what to drop when I’d reached max carry capacity. Each structure you build or weapon you mod needs a certain amount of each required component. There are various settlements throughout the game that you can become allied with, allowing you to build structures and defenses within them to keep the settlers safe and happy. Kind of like a post-apocalyptic Sims. Although fun in theory, I felt that it wasn’t executed very well, and the game never really makes you use the feature unless it’s tied to a story beat. Weapon and Armour Crafting, however, is incredibly fun and customisable. I’m constantly looking forward to going back to my home base after a mission and seeing what utter monstrosities I can create with what I just picked up. Each mod to your weapon significantly changes the appearance of it and makes it feel like your own. You can also rename your weapons, which is a lovely little addition. (Shoutout to Splatta’ the Shotgun.)

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Armour mods don’t alter the appearance as dramatically, but work in much the same way. You can also mod your Power Armour, which has gone under a total mechanical overhaul this time around. Instead of being a wearable peace of apparel, it acts more like a vehicle that you can enter that has a finite amount of fuel. You’re given access to a set right at the beginning of the game to drive this point home. This is your Power Armour. You can build upon it in whatever way you see fit. I loved the change. Much like the weapons, it made the armour feel like something I owned and something that was unique to me, and the fuel being a finite resource moved me to only taking the Power Armour out of it’s garage when it was absolutely necessary.

For everything the game does great though, there are a couple of problems. Unfortunately, that patented Bethesda Jank™ is back. Other than the risky companion dismissal mentioned earlier, there have been a couple of times where I’ve had to reload a save because I walked off the wrong platform and got stuck in the world, with no amount of jumping or shimmying loosening the virtual grip on me.

The Bethesda Jank™ is forgivable, though. Throughout Fallout 3, Skyrim and now Fallout 4 it has been present, and Bethesda get a a bit of a free pass because no other games are as wide in scope or as ambitious as their’s. No other game lets you interact with the world the way a Bethesda game does. It’s admirable, and it’s done better now than it ever has been. It may not look or run as nicely as it’s open-world contemporaries like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt or Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, but Fallout boasts levels of interaction unparalleled in video games, and I think that’s a fair trade off.

Fallout 4 has it’s problems, sure, but it’s sense of exploration and adventure easily outshine these issues. It’s world, characters and countless modifications you can make to your character and weapon make it an extremely personalised affair and no two people will play the same game twice. Fallout 4 not only fills it’s predecessor’s shoes, it had to buy new ones because it’s feet were way too big for them.

Verdict: Play this game.

 

Entering The Wasteland In Fallout 4

I finished work at 7:30am this morning, and I was awoken by a knock on the door at 01:30pm. I angrily trudged to the door half-naked, half-awake to greet my visitor with an annoyed grunt that roughly translated to “Fuck do you want?”

It was the delivery man, and he wanted to give me Fallout 4 a day early. It seems my initial impressions of my visitor were unfounded. This man is a hero.

So, I thought I’d take this opportunity to write about my initial foray into the Wasteland. Join me.

02:01pm

One may not enter the Wasteland until it has installed onto your console.

02:10pm

Still installing. Currently at 47%. It’s not too bad, though. It’s going through all the promotional S.P.E.C.I.A.L videos that were released in the lead up to the game’s launch. They’re very well done, and have that classic sinister Fallout humour to them. I made a conscious effort to avoid these videos on the lead up to release, and I’m glad I did. If I’d seen these before today, this would grate.

02:15pm

Okay, I’m on Endurance for the third time now. This is starting to grate.

02:20pm

Lift off. Start menu. New game. Let’s do this.

02:23pm

The opening cutscene is stunning. “War. War never changes.” just gave me some heavy chills. I am so ready.

02:39pm

Spent 15 minutes creating my character. This always instills me with such fear, after getting stuck with the most ridiculous looking dude in Mass Effect and Skyrim for 100+ hours. I think I’ve nailed it this time, though. Just ask me again in 20 hours.

03:10pm

I have exited Vault 111, and entered the Wasteland. It’s every bit as overwhelming and beautiful as it was in Fallout 3. The Vault section was interesting as well, but I’ll leave that for you to discover.

03:12pm

I have found an ashtray and a desk fan, but no cigarettes or power outlets. The Wasteland is an unforgiving place.

03:17pm

I just spent a good minute trying to get through a door. That next-gen Bethesda jank.

03:33pm

I have made friends with a dog. I didn’t see that coming. This is nice.

03:40pm

I really should shower. As I said earlier, I was woken up by the delivery man, and when I saw I had Fallout 4 there was no time to shower. I think I might avoid showering today to heighten the “immersion.”

04:00pm

No, I really need a shower. I’m taking a break.

04:06pm

Okay, I’m back.

04:16pm

I found a town! Crawling with raiders, though. After a pretty intense firefight, I’ve found my first NPCs. They want me to clear their town of enemies. Should be easy enough.

04:21pm

I just got absolutely splattered by a Deathclaw. That was terrifying.

04:24pm

I just absolutely splattered a Deathclaw. That was exhilarating.

04:35pm

Okay, I now have multiple quests. I’m going to stick to the main quests for now, I have a habit of getting sucked into sidequests for hours and hours and never seeing the end of the main story.

04:44pm

Hey, I found some cigarettes. Maybe the Wasteland isn’t that bad of a place after all.

04:45pm

They’re labelled under “Junk” and I can’t smoke them. I am living in Hell.

05:05pm

I’ve made friends and they’ve sent me on a mission to help out a settlement a few miles from theirs. On my journey I fed on some sort of mutated dog. Speaking of dogs, mine seems to have disappeared and my Pip-Boy is not helping me locate him. I hope you’re okay, dog, wherever you are.

05:15pm

I made it to the settlement. Their leader wants me to go clear a car manufacturing plant of raiders. I’m starting to feel a little bossed around and unappreciated.

05:23pm

I was just attacked by a group of feral ghouls. I had heard about these, but never have I encountered them in my two long hours in the Wasteland. They almost killed me, but I was somehow able to stop time mid-fight and eat some food to restore my energy. I bounced back and took them all out. I have experienced no such horror before.

05:27pm

I have radiation poisoning and I miss my dog.

06:30pm

I have completed my assault on the car manufacturing plant. I went right through the front door and came under heavy fire. After dispatching the first few waves and then running into another pack of ghouls, I discovered a back entrance that could have made my initial attack a lot easier. The Wasteland does not hold your hand. As I went deeper into the factory, things got heated. I came across a number of auto-turrets that had some serious firepower compared to my level 5 self, but I was resilient and after using every item of aid at my disposal and all of my ammo, I completed my objective. I broke my leg at one point, but that seems to have healed, somehow. The future is weird.

06:33pm

Upon leaving the factory, my dog greeted me. Where the fuck have you been, man? I have so much to tell you.

06:40pm

I made it back to the settlement’s leader and she gave me 99 bottlecaps for my efforts. I slept in her bed, because walking around with 3HP is fucking terrifying. I think that’s enough for now. I will rest here. Also, I should probably have some breakfast.

Impressions:

Initial impressions are good. It’s just Fallout 3, with some added frills, and that’s not a bad thing. The visuals are a definite improvement on Fallout 3 and New Vegas but aren’t really up to par with other games that are coming out these days. I haven’t really experienced any severe framerate issues, and apart from the aforementioned trouble getting through a door earlier on, traversing is pretty smooth. I’m finding the menus a little difficult to navigate, but I’m sure that will become second nature in time. Gun mechanics have definitely improved, but V.A.T.S is still king. Throwing grenades and Molotov cocktails is a recipe for suicide. I’ll write back with some final thoughts once I’ve experienced a bigger chunk of the game.

Fallout. Fallout never changes.