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 FO4: horribly written characters?

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Wertologist

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PostSubject: FO4: horribly written characters?   Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:03 am

I recently played through the main story and just about finished the Far Harbor story. I followed the Institute and Railroad to understand both. I know that the Brotherhood is essentially genocidal so I think I got the gist of them. The point of this post is to ask if there are any well written characters in terms of good and bad. It seems like no other character other than Preston seem to be solid. Pretty much every other major character is a forced grey area. Like, no character's actions/motives are ever as good as they should or could be. Even if it's well within reason for their actions/motives to be "good", they simply aren't for no real reason.

-BOS: Max wants to kill all synths and basically leave everyone to rot. Ultimately, the goal is to hoard technology in an effort to protect everyone, but ultimately it's pretty useless since they are not truly helping anyone. People are still starving, dying, and killing each other. Just not with WMDs which 99% of the people don't even know how to use. He's arguably not as "grey" as the other people, but I didn't really touch the BOS in FO4 so someone correct me if I'm wrong.

-Railroad: What they want is synths to be free, but they clearly only care for synths and would ignore everyone else' problems just so some robots can be free. Good intentions or not, they are openly negligent of everyone else in the Commonwealth so they are put into a "grey area" in terms of morality.

-Institute: Father clearly hates the upworld and the rest of the institute does as well. They are clearly open to killing anyone for any reason they see fit and border on sociopathic. They'll kill a person, replace them with a synth, then just watch their experiment. They want to "better mankind". That's good intentions, but how they go about doing it is clearly bad. Good intentions + bad actions = "grey area".

-Dima: Dima killed Avery in an effort to secure Acadia's future, has you kill the leader of the COA, then replace him with a synth. He is probably the worst offense in terms of bad writing in my opinion because he actually has a good motive, but then does all these horrible things when there were clear alternatives. It really seems like Bethesda forced this dark past on him as it just feels forced. He claims that he wants synths to be at home in Acadia and that he dislikes the Railroad's actions of mindwiping, but then he does it to two different synths. He had clear alternatives to his problems. First and most important, he could have moved somewhere else. Acadia was more or less, just him. Nobody else. He could have moved to another island or something and avoided every single problem at Far Harbor. Secondly, he had no real reason to kill and replace Avery as the people of Far Harbor weren't at war with them. True, some were hostile, but they weren't attacking/killing synths. He could have just gave them the fog condensers as a peace offering and tell them that they will make more for free and look into getting rid of the fog altogether. I highly doubt anyone other than Lee would have refused them. Judging from how they all except the Sole Survivors help, I see no real opposition to help other than one guy. Third, if he HAD to take action, clearly the Far Harbor harbor people would be the most beneficial to side with. The COA were clearly homicidal and hated both Far Harbor and Acadia. Dima wanted peace and for everyone to live, but the COA were a direct threat to that. Even if Dima helped them, they would still turn on him and the synths as they're nuckin futs. That's where the "moral grey area" should have been. With a decision to wipe out/drive out the COA as they clearly are a threat to everyone there. Instead, Bethesda wrote Dima to do all this dark shit for no real reason. The only threat he had at Far Harbor was Lee and he was only a threat if the synths gave the other people a reason to listen to him. For the most part, they were happy to have the synths as they gave the fog condensers which were keeping them alive.

It really seems like Bethesda wanted every major character to make you feel "conflicted" about siding with them and that just doesn't make for enjoyable characters. It reminds me of Far Cry 4 where both the leaders of the Golden Path were just really shitty people and you really didn't have a better option. Siding with either would be that the country would end up terrible and the ending felt empty because nothing you did mattered. I am getting the same feeling in FO4. Each side seems to be overly shitty and each leader seems to be forced in a grey moral area. It really defeats the purpose of choosing sides when each side is pretty much equally bad for the Commonwealth. It's making choices that don't matter and that's not enjoyable.
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PostSubject: Re: FO4: horribly written characters?   Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:25 am

I feel the Brotherhood is the only way to go. The railroad gives zero f#%ks when it comes to people because they believe synths are people too. They are not, so since there is no way to actively get them to stop their shit, they have to die. The Institute sits underground away from all turmoil playing god and replacing people. Breaking into the vault to steal your son, killing your wife. Zero given from them. I feel if Shawn didn`t turn out to be your son nobody would any problems siding against them. They threw that in there to garner compassion for them since he was your son. Didn`t work, combat shotgun to his head. Sorry son you gotta go. It also was kind of messed up Shawn only had you released from cryo so you could hunt down Kellogg and kill him. If he had all this power at his disposal, he could have woke you sooner and sent a courser to bring you there if he cared that much.

The minutemen are good people. However , I don`t feel they are looking at the big picture when it comes to rebuilding the commonwealth. They are just a ragged band of people trying to make a difference with no clue how to except helping settlements from attacks. Noble cause but no power behind it to back it up or make a significant difference in the way the commonwealth is.

The Brotherhood has the means to make shit happen, and for the better. I truly beleive that Maxon does the peoples interst at heart. It isn`t easy making decisions that can affect the lives of so many and sometimes people don`t always agree with those decisions but nontheless , they must be made. The synths were a real threat. The mutants were a threat, raider,gunners,ect. The Brotherhood is prepared to throw down with them all to try and establish some form of government to begin with rebuilding the nation and trying to get things back to the way things should be. Now I know people will say they horde tech. They do, but I think it`s better to horde it and keep it for yourself while trying to rebuild a nation then have every Jack and Jill walking around in scavenged power armor with Gauss rifles. I know the Brotherhood was pictured as the evil tyranical faction in the game with their methods, but I think they are the best bet for rebuilding the nation and getting things in order. A strong military is needed to help govern and protect it`s people and they are good start in my eyes.

The thing with Dima doing everything he did WAS for the better good but he knew he was wrong. That`s why he hid his memories so he wouldn`t remember the horrors he did to try and make everyone get along. I can understand why he did it. Would I do the same? Maybe. I think though they wrote the story and characters like this on purpose to show that everyone has two sides. I like the idea but I wish there was more options to flesh it out and try and make things work through cooperation. I remember my first playthrough of Far Harbor I completed it by making all the factions happy and nobody got killed except for the atom guy that was replaced. I`m going to wipe out the atoms and synths in my current one next.

All in all I did like the choices. I just wish there was more put into it for more possible outcomes. They also could have added more to the game to reflect what decisions you made. Like you have the Institue go above ground to help the people since you were director and have synths guard settlements and towns. The Brotherhood could have recruited the minutemen into their ranks and setup the Castle as a secondary base to the Prydwyn. Who knows what they could of done with the Railroad. When the Institue and Brotherhood are gone, what do they really have to worry about or do with only a limited number of synths on the loose? So much that could be added that never was.
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PostSubject: Re: FO4: horribly written characters?   Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:32 am

Well, the BoS always were tech hoarders. The West only cared for themselves for the most part, and the East wants to help others, but they still have that tech itch and are still not that people friendly. I believe what the writers were trying to convey is that while the Eastern Brotherhood's ideals for helping people is good, they still have that mentality that people outside their group are helpless toddlers who don't know shit about technology(which is not true for the most part). That is their ultimate flaw as a faction. They hoard technology not only for advancing themselves as a faction but they also think that regular wasteland outsiders don't know that much about how powerful and dangerous technology can be(which is also not true). This made the Eastern BoS develop this "superhero" mentality where in that they believe that the people of the Commonwealth are helpless citizens who don't know how to protect themselves and that they're the superhero coming to save the day. I like that they put that detail in for the Eastern BoS.

I think what the writers were trying to convey is that every faction in the game have good intentions for the Commonwealth, but they have one big flaw that honestly pulls them back from being as "humble" as they see themselves as.

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PostSubject: Re: FO4: horribly written characters?   Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:05 am

@dantaefetticus

Couldn't have explained it better myself.

One thing that really bugged me about Fallout 4 is that the BoS, like you said, think that the Commonwealth knows nothing of technology yet wages war against one of the most technologically advanced enemies they've ever fought just after they waltz into the Commonwealth. I mean, the Enclave were savvy with tech but the Institute has teleportation and terminator coursers. I would've suspected the BoS would remain more careful of their adversaries after discovering how the Western BoS was pretty much forced into seclusion by the NCR, yet they burst into the Commonwealth with full knowledge of the Institute's creation of synths and act like they will be pushovers. They're literally asking for the Institute to destroy them, and given how Maxson is made out to be a master tactician that has led the BoS into greatness, he isn't exactly the most intelligent of people. Why would he talk of how much of a threat the Institute is to the Commonwealth yet underestimate them so much?

My first thought would be because he needs a reason to storm the Institute and take their technology to benefit the BoS, but then I realized how the BoS destroy the Institute either way, which is so unlike the BoS imo. Fallout 4 tried to make the BoS out to be more tech-hoardy than the Fallout 3 Lyons' Chapter, but then decided to have them destroy the Institute which goes against their character completely. I get why they wanted the BoS to be both tech hoarders and care about the Commonwealth, but often those two ideas just conflict with each other too much.

And it doesn't stop there. Why does nearly everybody know of the Railroad's existence yet them being super covert? The BoS find the Railroad pretty easily and nearly every DC/Goodneighbour NPC knows who the Railroad are and where their base is. It kind of ruins the point of being secret when everybody knows that secret. The Railroad are sitting ducks waiting for every other faction in the game to crush them.

Honestly, I really do like Fallout 4, and I think it's story was not too bad, but there are so many things that just weren't thought out to their full potential.

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PostSubject: Re: FO4: horribly written characters?   Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:59 am

Fallout 4's characters are merely exactly what they are.

A character who is a soldier is just a gruff soldier, a character who is a scientist is just a clever science person. It's a placid and simple game. No one has much an arc or developed leverage. They don't develop throughout the game. Some of them tell you stuff, but there's no way to change them, or convince them to become something different.

Even a character like Danse, or Valentine after the memory lounger who seem to have moments where they could change and become something else entirely just sink back into being exactly what they were before. It's sad, and a real example of poor storytelling, which is what Fallout 4 suffers from most of all. All the choices seem moribund and even the ones that at least on the surface seem to offer something interesting are entirely devoid of focus. There's no saving the commonwealth via the minutemen, nor enforcing military rule as the Brotherhood. The end game just feels like business as usual, which is sad, because the game has potential, and moments where it truly teeters on becoming something great, but these moments are few and far between.

Fallout 4 is a game that is consistent. In a bad way. There is a status quo that isn't truly changed by anything, and that's sad. None of the characters or factions evolve to you and your actions and that's what really sucks. It offers more choice than Fallout 3, but none of them really feel unique in any way.

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PostSubject: Re: FO4: horribly written characters?   Sat Sep 23, 2017 2:21 am

@dantaefetticus I got that they wanted to show that each group was flawed, but the result was having us have to choose the shiniest turd. No matter your decision, they're all pretty much the same so the whole choice is pretty much empty. It's like asking you to choose between 1/2 of a chocolate bar or 50%. Ultimately it's the same choice. That's what I'm trying to get at here.

@Corvo I'm not so convinced them blowing up the Institute is out of character. From my understanding, they hoard pre-war tech. Synths are not pre-war tech and were created after the war. They also wouldn't gain anything from learning how to make Synths so they had no real reason to keep it as letting the Institute's base stay intact would probably lead to someone taking that knowledge elsewhere to create their own synths. They probably thought of that possibility and decided to preemptively stop that. I think the only thing the Institute really had that the BoS would probably want is that teleportation system, but that seems pretty limited and also may not even be pre-war tech.
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PostSubject: Re: FO4: horribly written characters?   Sat Sep 23, 2017 2:31 am

@IRORIEH I think Fallout 4 had a much better story than Fallout 3, but Fallout 3 had much better quests than Fallout 4. Comparing the two when it comes to choice shows how one-note the side quests in Fallout 4 are. In Fallout 3, the bigger side quests you could do actually had quite a few different outcomes and actually connect to other quests. The Tenpenny quest, for example, you can complete the quest in a few minutes if you play as a female. From what I remember, if you have the Black Widow perk, you can flirt with Mister Burke and convince him to blow off the plan & leave Megaton for good. He will also send you love letters, so yeah, there's that. If you blow up Megaton, Megaton refugees and Regulators will come after you from time to time. The quest, Blood Ties, is a great example of Fallout 3 being superior to Fallout 4 when it comes to choice. You have several choices right off the bat when you have to get into the meditation room to find Ian. You can go to any of the family members and convince in at least three ways to get the password. There are also several ways to end the quests with noticeable outcomes. You can get the family to protect Arefu in exchange for blood packs. You will see one of the family members at Arefu. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, these two quests use SKILL checks. Yeah, something Fallout 4 doesn't use.

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PostSubject: Re: FO4: horribly written characters?   Sat Sep 23, 2017 3:17 am

dantaefetticus wrote:
@IRORIEH I think Fallout 4 had a much better story than Fallout 3, but Fallout 3 had much better quests than Fallout 4. Comparing the two when it comes to choice shows how one-note the side quests in Fallout 4 are. In Fallout 3, the bigger side quests you could do actually had quite a few different outcomes and actually connect to other quests. The Tenpenny quest, for example, you can complete the quest in a few minutes if you play as a female. From what I remember, if you have the Black Widow perk, you can flirt with Mister Burke and convince him to blow off the plan & leave Megaton for good. He will also send you love letters, so yeah, there's that. If you blow up Megaton, Megaton refugees and Regulators will come after you from time to time. The quest, Blood Ties, is a great example of Fallout 3 being superior to Fallout 4 when it comes to choice. You have several choices right off the bat when you have to get into the meditation room to find Ian. You can go to any of the family members and convince in at least three ways to get the password. There are also several ways to end the quests with noticeable outcomes. You can get the family to protect Arefu in exchange for blood packs. You will see one of the family members at Arefu. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, these two quests use SKILL checks. Yeah, something Fallout 4 doesn't use.

Yeah, Fallout 3 definitely had better side-quests, but I've only played through a few of Fallout 4's side quests. I'd say Fallout 3 was better as an overall, but the main story was far too straightforward for my tastes. Blowing up Megaton was definitely a game changer, as was Tenpenny Towers, and Fallout 4 suffers from a lack of that, from what I've seen. I think there is definitely something to be said for having end games finish the game. Sure, free roaming post game is fun, but it often means there is a lack of far reaching consequence. I think that's what makes the ending to New Vegas so good. Implementing large scale change in an open world game, outside of small factors is pretty hard, without feeling empty after the first few hours. It really just exposes how empty the game world can become.

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PostSubject: Re: FO4: horribly written characters?   Sat Sep 23, 2017 3:35 am

@IRORIEH I would say giving some side quests that reflect the ending you chose would've given much closure to the game. Actually doing some things that reflect on what ending you chose would've really helped, instead all we get is some more faction NPCs, flags around Diamond city, and a radio speech of some sort. But that comes back to the fact that a lot of the side quests for Fallout 4 are pretty small and don't really have an impact on the world like it did in Fallout 3 and New Vegas. This is weird because Bethesda is known to have sidequests that are much better than their main stories.

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PostSubject: Re: FO4: horribly written characters?   Sat Sep 23, 2017 3:44 am

The only real side quest i enjoyed was on the pirate ship lol. It was hilarious, but I definitely agree that anything you do in fallout 4 didn't have much of any impact on the game. In fact fallout 3 was similar, it seems whenever bethesda writes a fallout game they just destroy it and make it into a shooter with building involved to try and take attention off their horrible writing and lore contradictions.

Fallout 1,2, New Vegas, Van Buren had amazing stories and great writing. They need to get the original writers back on the job of this amazing franchise.
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