It had been five months since I left the wastelands of the Commonwealth. I’d previously spent close to 100 hours scavenging abandoned vaults, falling in love with a recovering Jet addict and being a key player the brotherhood’s dominance over Boston. While I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Fallout 4 upon its initial release, enough so that I happily purchased the season pass without knowing what content it would provide, I felt largely satisfied with my experience with little desire to return anytime soon.
But here we are, fueled by the desire to play a game to preoccupy me until the launch of Uncharted 4, I decided to jump in and complete the Institution and Railroad faction quests and I want to report my experience to you!
Jumping Back In
I started off with the good intentions of simply wanting to dust off the Institution and Railroad story-lines. The trouble began when I realized Bethesda had neglected to provide PS4 users a way to rename their save files. I spent a good 10 minutes trying to find a save in which I didn’t burn my bridges with other factions through my destructive Brotherhood of Steel ways! Eventually through a lot of trial and error, I found a save where my own son(Father) still loved me but unfortunately I had already slaughtered the entirety of the Railroad faction.
To get started , I immediately located the main Institution quest-line in my Pip-boy and jumped into action. I have to say that Fallout 4 is not the least bit forgiving after taking a five month hiatus and the wasteland was a brutal place full of deaths courtesy of bloat bugs and landmines. After about two hours of constant death I’d finally figured out which of my weapons were the best and remastered the VATS system.
Falling in Love Again
With the muscle memory of Fallout’s game play mechanics fully restored into my thumbs, I was ready to enjoy the remainder of Fallout’s story. I began to complete quest after quest and developed a strong loving relationship with my son that I so desperately needed in the cold , cold wasteland. And I must applaud Bethesda because I was still discovering new environments and meeting new characters even after my first completion. I still have my issues with Fallout 4 such as I feel like I hadn’t changed armor sets since my first fifteen hours of the game and some of the quest writing isn’t as engaging as I’d like it to be (Sorry! I’ve been spoiled by The Witcher 3’s ability to make even the most mundane sidequests engaging). I’m sure I’m doing something wrong in terms of the armor set because I doubt I should be using the Minuteman outfit for end-game content.
I eventually made my way to final climactic moments of the Institute. My son made me the heir to the Institute in this bizarre future that has made my own son some kind of thematic father figure while I still tried to somehow be his father…while much of Fallout 4’s story largely fell flat for me. I truly love this odd paradigm Bethesda created and found this ending much more satisfying to complete than the Brotherhood of Steel experience. Now that I was fully in the Fallout groove again I was ready to jump into the Railroad quest-line…
A Slap in the Face Like Only Bethesda Can Provide (But it’s Okay Because We Should Expect Bethesda Glitchfests)
With my lust for Fallout adventures refueled, II spent another ten minutes seeking a save in which I was still blessed with the trust of the warm-hearted synth lovers we lovingly refer to as The Railroad. I spoke with Desdemona and found myself up-to-speed on their story beats fairly quickly and began my pursuit of synth equality. Things soured for me fairly quickly as I became a mole inside the institute and my main purpose was simply to get cozy with my son to gain the trust of the Institute. I powered through hoping to get to some new missions. Unfortunately, these were few and far between because I was tasked with mostly completing Institution quests to gain their trust, but it was at least sprinkled with some fairly interesting conversations where my allegiance was questioned.
Eventually, I reached the final mission and had an epic showdown where I sabotaged the Brotherhood and watched their fantastic blimp blow-up into smithereens! It was a fantastic mission! Thrilled to finally complete this faction and see the last ending I returned to home base to report to Desdemona like the quest-line asked…However, Desdemona just kept repeating the same line about the Brotherhood coming…The game had broken in the worst Bethesda way possible…The quest-line could not be completed because at some point after I had left him, Tinker Tom had gotten himself killed. This wouldn’t have been too terrible if I had a save a few minutes back but in this case my last save was several hours ago.
It truly saddens me that my Fallout experience has ended on such a sour note…I have the season pass but I’m not really interested until the Far Harbor DLC drops. I’m currently burned out on the experience so I most likely won’t jump in on the DLC immediately…however…I know the potential is there for Bethesda to earn my heart back but that love will have to exist with the constant fear of betrayal lingering in the back of my mind….
The game successfully gave me that Fallout itch again and I booted up the Far Harbor DLC on launch day. While my impressions started of positive, I’m intrigued by themes the story is exploring and really dig the coastal vibes of Far Harbor, during my one hour playtime I suffered from four game ending crashes. This frequency of crashing is unacceptable and disappointing to me so I’ve decided to take a good, long, thoughtful break from the game. If I ever get the itch again and the issues have been fixed….I’ll be back to write about another return to the wasteland.