I'd say I was a big fan of the Dragon Age franchise, followed it from its start to its end, I've probably put more into Dragon Age: Origins than any other RPG, Fallout New Vegas not included. Now that the trilogy is all said and down and we're all waiting for the inevitable next installment, now seems to be a good time to look back at some of the choices we've had to make over the course of the series. More specifically, one of my favorites. Who do you put on the Throne of Orzammar? Whenever Dragon Age: Origins comes up in discussion we inevitably get to the conversation of the Dwarves of that world and I think its great a game from 2009 can still invoke such a discussion.
But first a bit of background information, a refresher for those of us who haven't played it in a few years. Dragon Age Origins follows the path of a young Grey Warden (conveniently enough, also one of the last in the country) who needs to unify all the disparate factions to form a united front against the Darkspawn, who are waging a new war against the surface world in the hopes of destroying everything. The Dwarves have been battling Darkspawn for centuries over the labyrinthine tunnels stretching under the entire continent of the fictional setting, Thedas and it makes sense you'd want them on your side. But it isn't that easy, Orzammar is currently lacking a King and you get to decide who is going to rule the city. Bhelen, son of the previous King? Or Harrowmont, the long time adviser and top lieutenant?
Of course, this isn't a new or revolutionary plot line. People have been after thrones in history and popular culture since mankind has cobbled together the stone to make them. But it was the first time I'd played a game that made me choose one bearded midget that wasn't any better than the other. After the death of the previous King, King Endrin Aeducan (who may or may not have been your father depending on the origin choice) from a 'broken heart' from the death of his oldest two sons (more on that in a bit) his youngest, Prince Bhelen, said that his father would have wanted him to be the King of Orzammar. However, Lord Harrowmont was the only one who was allowed in King Endrin's presence and claims that the King told him that he must be King, that Bhelen must never be allowed to rule.
Now the trick is that neither of them can outright claim the throne, as Lord Harrowmont clearly states in the beginning of the Orzammar arc 'it is the assembly that makes a King, and a King may nominate a successor. None of it is written in blood.' And seeing as how the Dwarven Assembly, a collection of powerful nobles, is split pretty evenly between the two of them neither Bhelen or Harrowmont is able to come out on top. The city is on the verge of civil war by the time you show up due to the gridlock in the political system. Now it's obvious that the game wants you to pick Prince Bhelen.
Bhelen is young, charismatic and his pledges make the most sense to us, what we want from our leaders today. He promises to bolster trade with the other nations of Thedas, to lower restrictions on the lowest caste and increase military cooperation to fight off future Darkspawn attacks, something that the Dwarves have to constantly worry about seeing as how they share territory with them. While Harrowmont is the polar opposite of that. He favors the nobility over the other castes, restricts trade with the surface nations of Thedas and will not accept any military aid except for the most basic of medical supplies. He's an older figure, more representative of the old, traditionalist establishment to Bhelen's younger and more progressive opposite.
Now before I tell you what I think the correct (see: less shitty) choice in this is, let me tell you what happens for each of them should you crown them. Bhelen makes good on almost all of his promises, granting the lower rungs more opportunities and privileges and securing Orzammar's place on the international stage, but not before he has Lord Harrowmont arrested and his entire family killed, and after he dissolves the Dwarven Assembly and changes the law to make the Kingship hereditary. Harrowmont on the other hand, restricts trade and follows tradition closely, so close that Orzammar becomes isolated to the extreme and after a series of rebellions, Harrowmont is poisoned and killed. (note: there is something of a continuity error, as he is mentioned to still be alive in Dragon Age: Inquisition, some 15 years after the rebellions, which see Harrowmont killed 5 years into his reign.)
Now knowing all this, I find myself siding with Harrowmont almost every time. Why? Because there is a critical piece to the puzzle that you're missing, a piece that can only be found if you choose the Dwarven Noble origin beginning. Instead of being some Mage, or city Elf or human noble, you start the game off as the second eldest son of King Endrin. And you learn some very interesting things about your little brother Bhelen.
You see, Harrowmon'ts claims are entirely true. Bhelen killed the eldest son of King Endrin, or baited his second eldest into doing it, and King Endrin slid into an extreme depression that, combined with his old age, killed him. The letter you receive if you choose the Dwarven Noble origin proves this. Here it is word for word;
Perhaps you will burn this letter unread. For that, I would not blame you. But I would not return to the Stone without saying this to you: I have seen what Bhelen is. And when I saw it, I knew I had been a fool. For only a fool would cut out his own heart and burn it for the sake of appearances. I never believed in your guilt. I allowed you to be exiled because I feared an inquiry into Trian's (your brother) murder would taint our house with scandal in the eyes of the deshyrs (nobles of the assembly) and cost our family the throne. But I have saved nothing by this sacrifice: I sent my only child into an uncertain exile. Know that whatever you do now, you bear all the honor and pride of House Aeducan.
Now call me crazy, but when a charismatic figure emerges from a troubled time riven with uncertainties and gives them what they want while killing political opposition and increasing military might and removing what little democracy exists in that society I tend to get a little worried. Maybe not really worried, like 22% worried. But I still think that's enough to more than justify my advocating for Harrowmont.
I love sci-fi, it's probably my favorite genre of fictional literature and some of my favorite video games take place in a futuristic society full of space ships and aliens and political intrigue. Games like Mass Effect 2, Halo Reach being two of the ones that stand out the most in my mind for the quality of the story being told throughout the game. But I also like Real Time Strategy games, its an incredibly rewarding experience to have all the little pieces you set up fall into place in your Machiavellian scheme and I always keep an eye out for a sci-fi RTS game and if you're like me, then here are a few of the ones I've found over the years that rank among the best. Now the dedicated fans will likely recognize most of these but that doesn't mean they don't deserve some recognition. I'll be looking at games that have come out somewhat recently that are more accessible than others.
1. Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion
From Ironclad Studio, Sins of a Solar Empire is an old game, 2009 to be exact and I've been playing it for about as long as it's been out. In fact, it was the first PC game that I ever really played. But I'm not going to recommend you the 2009 Sins game, I'm going to tell you about the 2012 release, Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion.
Rebellion is the culmination of the entire series and it hits all of my marks. It's a rare game even in its genre, its truly addicting and yet it is so relaxed and almost casual, there's no stress in Sins and its got an easy learning curve. The action is fast and fun, but you're never going to feel like your whole Empire is burning to the ground and you don't know why. Trust me, you'll see that enemy fleet warping into your home system well enough. I am genuinely surprised that when I bring it up, more people haven't heard of it, that's why it's top of the list.
There are six factions, two for each race. First there is The Trader Emergency Coalition is a collection of human planets that relinquished their sovereignty in order to fight the other two factions after 1,000 years of peace and prosperity and is fighting a war to preserve what they have least they loose everything under the assault of the other two factions. The Advent is the second human faction, returning to Trader Space after their exile exactly 1,000 years ago to exact vengeance for their exile. And finally the only truly alien fact, the Vasari formerly ruled a massive swathe of the central galaxy 10,000 yeas ago that lost everything to some unknown threat and is running for their life, cutting a bloody swathe through Trader space in a desperate bid to escape, and you've been fighting for thirty long years. In Rebellion each of these has spilt between Rebel and Loyal, hence the title Rebellion.
There are only 3 resources in the game, Credits (made by having developed planets and trade lanes), and crystal/metal (made by controlling resource-specific asteroids). It runs like your standard RTS but the one thing that helps it stand out is the Pirate system. You place bids in the pirate market and wage a brutal proxy-war against your enemies. But careful! the pirates get stronger the more they get paid, requiring a careful balancing act. The worlds of your map are connected via lanes, meaning that some worlds will have strategic value as natural chokepoints but little else to offer and forcing you to plan your expansion carefully, as each world has 2 or 3 lanes.
It's a solid game, I enjoy it even though after so many years, I've kind of burnt myself out on it. I like the setting that they've built, the lack of real concrete details really hurts them because I think they were on to something unique and great with the galaxy Ironclad was building and I want to see more of it. But a 2 minute video trailer giving you a run down of the universe and a few paragraphs on the Sins of a Solar Empire website are all we get.
Finally, the games visuals must be mentioned. They are excellent, not flashy but they just work. You zoom in up close and you can see every detail on the ship and if you zoom out you can see every one with a distinct icon, always letting you have the big picture image even when you've zoomed all the way out to view the entire star system. You can find it here on Steam for $39.99.
Stellaris from Paradox Interactive ran on the slogan of 'Make Space Great Again', and it did just that. Released back in April of this year, making it by far the youngest but in typical Paradox fashion the steady stream of updates and improvements the game sees means that it gets better literally every single day, and the very vibrant and active modding community means that you aren't lacking for fun.
The factions and races are entirely of your own design, with some 90 species portraits for you to choose from. You decide how it looks, what kind of traits it has and what its native homeward is and even what its language sounds like. There's just enough customizability to make your race feel unique to you but not so much that you'll be sitting there staring at the screen for 40 minutes struggling to come up with something. There's even a bio section, allowing for you to jot down a quick history of your race.
With Sins, there's only one way to play and that's war. With Stellaris you have much more options. Are you the peaceful explorer, boldly going where no man has gone before? The violent expansionist who ethnically cleanses every alien world you come across?
You start off with one world and work your way up as a species that just discovered interstellar travel, and you'll run into space faring amoebas and primitive societies of various technological levels, even massive stagnant precursor empires. That's not to mention the rich galactic history you get to build. All those little research projects help to tell a story that you're writing. You discover alien terraforming equipment on your planet. Do you dare activate it? What happens to you if you do? It's honestly fun and makes sure no two games feel the same.
It's quite a bit more complex than Sins, with all manner of types of space travel, research abilities and resources you can find on your travels. While its much simpler than other Paradox games, it does have something of a learning curve but Paradox does a good job of holding your hand through it. Diplomacy takes on a much bigger role as does the species that inhabit the galaxy. Some will be smarter, some will be faster and some will be physically repugnant and some of them you'll just want to force into extinction.
Now it's still a young game, less than a year old so there is lots of room to improve but Stellaris is far from unplayable. It's a good game, and it's first DLC is going to be coming August 4th which introduces new portraits, it's a cosmetic DLC not a content one. You can find it on Steam for $39.99, so it's the same price as Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion but far younger and with more room to expand and grow.
3. Endless Space
Endless Space from Amplitude studios is the only one of the trio that is turn based but the game isn't any better or worse for it. Released on 2012, it is the one that I have the least experience with but I can still recognize after five minutes of playing that it is a good game. The universe is more fleshed out and creative than either Stellaris or Sins and I'd say its about as complex as Stellaris is in terms of gameplay and while it may seem to be a complex mess, its a remarkably balanced game, more so than the other two are and rewards the creative player, and while it lacks the recognition of the previously mentioned it games it is just as smart and polished as the other two. Now if it's rapidly approaching sequel, Endless Space 2 were out we'd be talking about that one, but alas it is not. Trust me though we will be talking about it eventually.
There are eight major factions from you to choose from, the majority of them some kind of human but some of the standard troupes are present. The Hissho are the Klingon-esq honorable warriors and your giant bugs called Cravers that exist to consume but there's a fresh enough coat of paint over all of it to make it interesting and unique. It seems to me that its almost a blend of the first two, the openness of Stellaris combined with the storytelling ability of Sins but lets talk about what makes the game stand out from the other two.
It explains things far better than Stellaris or Sins, you hover your mouse over something and you've got an explanation of how it does something and why, very rarely does this trick not work which makes it even more frustrating and micro-managment is a bigger aspect in this game than in the other two, another somewhat frustrating element but the slick interface makes it bearable. But perhaps the biggest flaw? Combat.
Combat in Endless Space is the worst of the three, with a rock-paper-scissors element to it that I really hope is not going to be in the sequel, but other wise I hope that the majority of the mechanics are left untouched and the formula in Endless Space is found in Endless Legend, a game I am very fond of. There are 5 resources, each of them controlling a different aspect of management. Science is for research, Food for generating pop, Dust for purchasing things and Industry for your buildings and planets, and Influence for diplomacy. That's not mentioning the specialist resources you'll want to unlock and will have to work a bit harder for. Nothing special, nothing especially unique but what little I've played is fun.
It features ship design just like Stellaris does, you can customize the build out of your ships and just like Sins of a Solar Empire it isn't a very diplomacy-focused game. Like Sins, you travel down lanes to get from planet to planet. Like Stellaris, its got a very streamlined UI. Make no mistake, it is it's own game and it is the cheapest of the three, at $29.99 on Steam and is a safe purchase despite its age, if you mention it people will most likely know it and it serves as a good launch point into some of Amplitude's other works. I would recommend you save your money though for its sequel but if you absolutely must have it, know that it's not going anywhere anytime soon.
If you've been here for a little while now, you'll know that Dischan Media put out two very good games before falling apart. What we're going to do today is a quick rundown of what exactly happened to the company, something I've been promising to do for awhile now but haven't gotten around to.
To recap, Dischan Media is the company behind two finished visual novels, the stand-alone Juniper's Knot and Dysfunctional Systems, which was part one of five in the planned series. The company had something going for itself, a unique atmospheric look and the ability to tell a good story. After the success of Juniper's Knot the group moved onto Dysfunctional Systems, but while Juniper's Knot was all done in-house the new project was far bigger than the last, and as such required more money. Dischan did what anyone in Indie gaming looking for money does, they went to Kickstarter.
Now I love Kickstarter, when I used to write for Cliqist I developed a new appreciation for it as a place for gamers and those who want to make games but lack the resources of companies like Activision and Bethesda could go, a place where you decide which games you want to see made instead of sitting around for those companies to just hand you something you might not want. Now a lot of people making a Kickstarter run into the problem of not having an established name or fanbase to help carry them, but Dischan didn't have that problem and raised around $50,000 for Dysfunctional Systems.
However on January 2nd of 2015 a surprise announcement popped up on the Kickstarter page after a string of semi-regular, yet positive, updates. Development of the Dysfunctional Systems series had been halted, and refunds were being issued to those who pledged over $5 if you asked for one. What befell Dischan Media is ultimately the same beast that sees many Kickstarter projects fall short. The Kickstarter funds were badly handled, people who were brought onto the team to finish the game were not needed, there were serious miscommunication issues for months and the final nail in the coffin was that people just started to lose interest in what they were doing after it stopped being fun, and started being hard.
Now fifty thousand dollars is a lot of money, and while no one wants to be told 'hey I lost it all and you probably won't see most of it' a lot of fans were willing to let it slide. More so with the announcement of Dysfunctional Systems Episode Zero, a prequel of sorts that was done and ready to be released. It wouldn't be the same as episode two would be, but it was something and the fans were grateful and that helped ease some of the disappointment. Until the excuses came out. If there's one thing that'll turn a crowd against you, it is telling them that their money was spent on nothing. Episode Zero was not released because the developer felt that it was just average. At the end, what I think played a big role into Dischan's very public collapse is that gap between the fans and the developer.
But all is not lost. Announced on April 3rd of this year (although I just found out about it today), Dischan is back in action. Their website states that we fans shouldn't 'expect to see anything out of us (Dischan) soon though. We're going to be taking our sweet time making self-funded stuff worth making.' Note the last sentence of that. There's even a new project in the works, a game engine called Dismae, although I don't know much about it. It's an open source project, so emphasis on the transparency.
To be honest, I don't know what the future holds for Dischan. Maybe they'll reach the heights they used to command, maybe not. Maybe this is all one desperate attempt to revive the good old days, driven more by nostalgia than anything else but I have my hopes that they're back for good. I'll update this article as I learn more but this seems like a good note to leave things on.
As the summer semester crawls to its inevitable conclusion and I find myself returning with increased frequency to my old pastimes. Specifically, the MMO's I would pour hours into over previous summers instead of going out into the world on a Friday night and infecting the world with my bad taste and mild paranoia. I powered up a personal favorite, Guild Wars 2 and proceeded to slowly empty my mind of the past few weeks of education with a few buddies. What started out as some good natured banter devolved into a full blown argument about the economics behind games like EVE Online and Guild Wars over the course of the night. Now I'd like to mention before we dive into this one that I'm no economist, I'm just a university student with a surplus of free time and nowhere else to go but hopefully I can provide some useful information as to how markets work in your own MMO and what to do in the event things go south.
First off, we're going to have to define inflation. In casual use, the term “inflation” is used to say that price increases. From the perspective of the Austrian School of economics, though, that price increase is a secondary effect of the increase in the amount of money that is out there in your virtual world. Quite bluntly, more money=more problems. Hyperinflation is when the inflation spirals so rapidly out of control that your currency becomes worthless in a matter of hours. The most famous example of hyperinflation could be the Weimar Republic from 1922 to 1923, where the average price level increased by 20 billion, doubling every 28 hours.
To understand why hyperinflation occurs, we must first understand money. Simple enough, money is a medium of exchange. People use money instead of trading good for good (bartering) and money has value because people say it has value. They agree that 1 bottle of water is a buck fifty, and a gallon of gas is five dollars. An oversimplification, but you get the idea.
For most of history, money was backed by some precious commodity like gold or silver which prevented government expansion of the money supply, and this inflation. But in the 20th century this was left behind and we were left with fiat money, or money backed by nothing. With the advent of fiat money, governments can print as much as they want and this is the issue with MMO's. MMO currency is backed by nothing more than faith and prayers.
Most of the time, you get money in game like Guild Wars 2 by killing enemies or selling items and resources at vendors. But the resources and enemies are always respawning and with millions of players, this means that the money supply is increasing FAST. As the amount of coins in game increase, so too does the prices and sometimes the economic instability is enough to completely destroy a game.
Remember, game economies are private and players are there by choice and can switch games easier than they can a country. There is no explicit mandate to ensure inflation control as one sees in real world economies. That said, knowing that complex MMO's can be upended by economic problems, there is a clear business interest for companies in keeping virtual currencies and the greater economies as a whole stable.
So what do companies like Blizzard, Trion, and CCP Games do to prevent this? Well, they try to get the money out of circulation as quickly as it gets in. They're called Currency Sinks, and they permanently delete money whenever its spent. You put a small tax, yes a genuine sales tax or transportation fee just like real life, for things like fast travel or the market place and sap the amount of money in each players personal account. Making it cost money to start/maintain a Guild or Clan, fees for armor repairs, CCP even goes as far as to encourage player wars because war is expensive and has a way of draining coffers at an alarming rate. Some attempts have succeeded, others have failed. It's a balancing act, just like in the real world. But what basic steps can be taken by players themselves?
Don't go it alone. It's called a Mass Multiplayer Online game for a reason. Find a guild, a clan or a group of friends you can play with. It is much easier to pool your resources in a you scratch my back, I scratch yours deal than it is to do everything by yourself. Another good tip would be to keep bartering items. Generally a good idea regardless, a lot of games have personal storage spaces separate from the main inventory. Items like potions, raw materials, gear that might not be usable by your class but are valuable to others. Then throw out a little blurb in the chat box asking if anyone is looking to trade. This cuts out the need to spend gold in its entirety and keeps items in circulation instead of being deleted from the economy by NPC's, thus sustaining the economy. Sell items on the market to other players instead of the vendors, barter with other players, build a little circle of friends you can all sell and exchange with.
At the end of the day, the biggest source of Headaches are NPCs. They can not negotiate, they can not innovate and they are not dynamic. When confronted with instability, the NPC's won't do a thing about it but the wonderful thing about human beings is that we quite enjoy the sense of stability, and when that goes we are very quick to find ways to return to it as quickly as possible. But as I said earlier, I'm no economist. I'm just throwing my two cents into a fountain that's already overflowing.
A new and rather cryptic tweet from Creative Assembly, the creators of Total War: Warhammer has just gone out to twitter a few days ago which was quickly followed by a video detailing a DLC release. There's no accompanying text to help explain what it is that they're talking about or what the letter means which could leave many scratching their heads, until the actual trailer came out. And surprise! It's a Beastmen DLC. Well, not so surprised actually. I knew that this was going to be high on the list, and here's why. Now I'd like to point out at the start that I'm more of a fan of Warhammer Fantasy's cousin, Warhammer 40k but I know enough to hold my own and please correct me if I'm wrong down below in the comments.
The Beastmen are sometimes referred to as 'Children of Chaos' which, if you know anything about Warhammer, you know this is not generally a good thing to be known by. They are the descendants of humans corrupted and twisted by the influence of Chaos when both the world and mankind was young. The Beastmen are a violent, war-driven race that seeks only to plague and destroy the civilizations of Mankind. They prey on the weak and defenseless, striking at lonely settlements without warning in a rampage of destruction before disappearing into the protective darkness of their forest wilderness. They are found on every continent, like parasites and have a heavy concentration in The Old World, the continent that Total War: Warhammer is set on. Specifically, they have a heavy concentration in Drakwald Forest.
Drakwald Forest is mentioned directly by name in the tweet, and that 'tracks led to it, some men and women no doubt; others not'. Now for those of you who don't know, Drakwald is one of the five largest forests located within the northwestern lands of The Empire of Man, in what was formerly Drakwald Province.
The region is well known for being the most dangerous territory within The Empire and has been infested with all manner of creatures you wouldn't want to see in a dark alley at night. Most prominently being the Beastmen, who infested the region for the longest time before the province fell to such a state of instability and interwar that it was disband and divided Norland and Middenland. Note that Borland and Middenland are both parts of The Empire, and present in Total War: Warhammer as minor factions that Empire players will have to deal with, but now it seems there's a new kid on the block as well.
I have the nasty habit of buying all of my games post-release. It’s probably the cynic in me, quietly judging and mumbling ‘so you just spent sixty bucks on that new computer games when they could have gone for groceries? Good job.’ But with Fractured Space, I’m actually quite glad I shelled out the money for a pre-purchase, although today it’s moved into the free-to-play territory. Developed by Edge Case Games and released back in 2014, its a 5v5 tactical combat game with some emphasis on teamwork. But instead of some nerd with a bow or some lady with a foxes tail you’re in command of a interstellar battleship that’s 1,215 miles long with a crew of 5,335 brave souls armed with a front facing cannon capable of cracking large asteroids in half. This isn’t any little rinky-dink fighter, you’re in charge of a capital ship that makes The Enterprise from Star Trek look pathetic in comparison. You’re squaring off against five other ships, all equally armed and dangerous out for your blood. You pick the ship, build the crew, upgrade the weapons, and then duke it out on a battlefield powered by Unreal Engine 4. Isn’t that just the coolest?
Read the rest at GameSinners.
I can remember the first Fallout game I played was New Vegas, way way back in middle school when all I had to worry about was Mrs. Parker's science tests and how I was going to get out of gym class that day. I'd never played anything like it before, it really changed the way I looked at video games. I began to see them more as a means of telling a story, of creating a unique world and complex entertainment experience full of grays instead of the black and white of Halo 3 or the comedic simplicity of Lego Star Wars (a childhood favorite of mine). And then, after finally claiming the city of New Vegas for the New California Republic (please forgive me it was my first play through) I found out that the next one was years away. It wouldn't be until I started college that the next Fallout would grace the world. I feel like now it's been out long enough for some honest discussion on the topic.
I wish I could say it evoked the same response that the last did. I don't know, maybe I'm just a bitter old man. Maybe I am a cynic, unable to see the good in life anymore. It certainly didn't help when the ending was spoiled online by a bunch of trollers.
Remember when you had giant territory-controlling factions with little third party enclaves sprinkled between, and walking into a camp in the wrong armor was enough to get you killed? No? What about when it felt like every city and town was a fully fleshed out entity, a little enclave of civilization that had some stake in the outcome of your machinations? You had entire tribes of people at your mercy, begging for your aid. Because I remember those days.
Alright, what about this. Do you remember when you had a character that was given the basic minimum, a gender, name and a little bit of info to spice things up, to make him/her more unique and than you're tossed to the wolves? For example, you're a courier who is shot in the head who embarks on a quest to find the shooter, only to become embroiled in the politics of an entire region. Or your entire life gets turned upside down and you are forced from the comfort of the only home you ever knew leads to an epic quest to find your father and answers.
Instead, we now have a wife. And a kid. It has been established for you that you were in fact a soldier in one of the wars leading up to 2077. Somewhere along the line after you got a wife/husband and had a wonderful baby boy, you purchased a robot butler to help around the house in the perfect nuclear family. And then a Chinese nuclear warhead is detonated in the nearby vicinity, thus jumpstarting the game. What if I don't want kids or a wife? What if I don't want to be some war veteran or mother? what if I want to be an angst ridden gay dude who wants to jumpstart the second atomic holocaust?
The entire plot centers around revenge, on justice and recovering what was lost and never once does it feel like you're focused on actually fixing the Commonwealth. Even when you've met with all of the major players, heard their pitches and their promises, it still revolves around your son and his machinations to get rid of the other players, if you side with him. If not, you can kill him and destroy everything he's built. And even at the end of it, there's a chance that you've basically gone back to square one depending on decisions and have a synthetic son. Shaun 2.0 as it were, and that makes it a bit more awkward if you've just shot your golden baby boy in the face with a shotgun.
You've just decided the fate of an entire region of the world, you've played God on a massive scale with the lives of hundreds and yet you don't see it. Instead you get a short few sentences on a black and white slideshow with practically the same lines with a few modifications for one of 4 endings. How life changes, and you cant stop it etcetera etcetera. Then they say it. War...War never changes. And you've got your post campaign play, free of consequences to run around like you did before you found your son.
If you're going to do a more linear RPG, do a more linear RPG. Nothing wrong with it. But if you're going to do a Fallout game, do a Fallout game and don't pretend or aspire to be something else. People bought the hype instead of the game, a bold claim sure but one that I think is defendable given the sheer number of trailer reaction films on Youtube with people oohing and awing at the fact there was another German Shepard named Dogmeat. Instead of actually doing something new, something innovative, you just ride that sweet, sweet wave of nostalgia and bring back Liberty Prime. Content to make little changes here and there, like adding fusion cores for power armor. Maybe you could even take some time out of pillaging to build up a settlement and make sure everyone's happy. But you won't.
That's not even to mention the atrocity that is the dialogue wheel, four meaningful choices where three secretly mean yes, and the fourth is no. What happened to the dialogue box? The over simplification of what is arguably one of the most important mechanics in the game is quite honestly unforgivable in my eyes, and what might be one of the biggest reasons I haven't touched it since I first beat it.
It evolved as a shooter, but devolved as an RPG. A common complaint perhaps even cliché, but when you're talking about one of the most well known franchises in the world, it must be brought up. In the end it felt like Fallout 4 was trying to do everything, to compete with everything and grab as big a piece of the pie as possible. The crafting element, the settlement building, the new shooter element, the voice acting, the more linear plot, and in the end it just started to come apart from me. Were I a more tinfoil hat kind of man I'd say Uncle Howard tried a bit too hard to compete with The Witcher 3. On that note I leave you now with the immortal words of Rose of Sharon Cassidy.