Well, I don’t know, but I’ve been told.
Uranium ore’s worth more than gold.
Sold my Cad’, I bought me a Jeep
I’ve got that bug and I can’t sleep
~Elton Britt, “Uranium Fever”
If you’ve been playing Fallout 4, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about! There are those few select songs in certain games’ playlist which stick out and burn their chorus in to your brains. You may have a favorite radio station in GTA or Saint’s Row that you keep it to just waiting for that one track to come on, just waiting for your perfect “Fight Music” to bring you through the next boss battle. Or, you could have that one quirky jam that no matter what is happening, you’re going to sing along to while slaying the hordes atomic decay. That, my dear vault dwellers, is the song Uranium Fever by Elton Britt.
It has been awhile since I last discussed my progress in the Commonwealth, so it’s due time for an update! At the time of this writing, I currently have over 4 days worth of play time recorded in to the game. By that I do not mean I’ve played the game for four days, oh no; what I mean is that I have logged over 100 hours of playtime with the game, and I’m still not entirely sure how far I’ve gotten in the actual main story line.
“Another Settlement Needs Our Help!”
Let’s just…..Let’s just get this out of the way now. Preston Garvey, our friendly contact to the Minute Men, has gone from well intentioned wasteland companion to super annoying radiant quest giver. At first, it was a great XP booster since they are pretty simple to do and as soon as you complete one he gives you another one as part of the quest close-out. So I get the heads-up on another settlement, go clear out some Raiders/Ghouls/Super Mutants, come back, cash in some XP, and…..DAMNIT! Another Settlement!
The same thing occurs with working with my two contacts with the Brotherhood of Steel. One of the contacts has me seek out a piece of lost tech that is randomly placed in some chest in some random location, or I go clear out some random location of some random enemy type. Again, they are very easy, especially now that my character is over Level 50, and I am able to get quick XP.
While the continuous flow of XP is fantastic, it had gotten to the point where I just didn’t feel like playing the game anymore. Which, given my hype for this game to be released, was very disappointing for me. I had to wrestle a little bit with my completionist personality and allow for some quests to remain on my list while I go on to the main quest, or at least complete some other longer, major quest line.
My Advice: Have fun knocking these radiant quests out for the quick XP, but tear yourself away and move on eventually.
As with Fallout New Vegas, if you make nice with one of your companions you get a unique bonus for your friendship. How nice! I’ve been able to get a few bonuses, including Preston and Piper and currently working on Curie. What is particularly nice is that you retain these bonuses whether or not that particular companion is accompanying you. So, as soon as you make nice with a particular companion, drop them off at your settlement of choice and on to he next one!
However, keep in mind that each companion has their own personality, likes and dislikes. For example, while Cait was a great companion for combat there was no way I was going to get her affinity high enough if she keeps complaining every time I help someone!
So sorry for going out and helping people, it’s kind of my thing! Ya know, being NICE to people so they don’t DIE!
Traveling around with Companions adds a bit of spice to your Commonwealth experience. They will add some unique dialogue in certain situations and the occasional banter traveling around. However, if you’re trying to rock a Stealth build (like I am), companions have a tendency to launch in to a fire fight as soon as they’ve got an enemy in sight, which pretty much destroys any element of surprise you may have been relying on. I’ve been able to maintain stealth shots when sniping, but trying to creep around a building without alerting the guards can be a bit trying.
My Advice: Roll with a companion if you want, especially if you’re going to storm a stronghold or clear out an area for a bounty. But if you want to attempt a stealth approach, drop your companion and invest in the Lone Wanderer perk.
There is so much, SO MUCH going on in this game ALL THE TIME that even a seasoned veteran like my self is having issues keeping my wits about me. I’ve recently started investing in Charisma to unlock some additional functionality in my settlements. I am now able to build all sorts of shops and stores and establish trade routes between my settlements, but….why do I care? I have never cared about maintaining any kind of economics within any of my games before. Sure I’ve established my base of operations in my Bethesda games, but it was mostly to just to keep all my crafting gear and specialty gear all in one spot. To complicate things, EVERY settlement you help you have the capability of setting them up with defense turrets, additional beds for more settlers, and their own stores and shops.
This aspect is similar to that as working with your companions, except exponentially more complex. With the size of the world map being so vast and saturated with locations, there are essentially games within this game that could be stand alone games of there own. Also similar to how I am handling companions is that I have stopped worrying about the settlement’s well being and moved on to the story missions. I could easily spend several hundred hours just scavenging and looting for materials to build and expand my settlements and establishing trade routes. However, I play games for their story and completing for the tale they wish to tell. All this is just extra and, quite honestly, I am still keeping my eye out for other games that are coming out later this year.
Stealth Build and Beyond!
As promised, I have gone full stealth build right from the beginning! I have maxed out Sneak, Mister Sandman, Ninja, Gun Slinger, Rifle Man, Lock Pick, Hacker. I have also maxed out Armorer and Gun Smith so I can build the best gear possible, particularly adding a suppressor to every gun and add “Shadowed” to every piece of armor. I am sneaky as hell, and I get a 5.3x damage multiplier with a silenced sneak attack with any non-auto gun. So if I don’t take the enemy out with the 1st shot, either they’re going down with the 2nd or it’s some kind of boss level elite that is going to take a few more hits regardless of what weapon I used. I have even upped the difficult to “Very Hard”, because anything less is simply not a challenge at this point.
But still, I continue to gain levels and perk points, so…..what now? As stated above, I’ve started to drop points in to Charisma because “why not?” and I maxed out “Lady Killer” for the same reason. I have also considered dropping points in to strength so I can experiment with Melee weapons or fisticuffs. The way I see it, I might as well have as many options as I can, simply because they are there and continuously using my 10mm pistol is getting boring.
My Advice: Start off your build how ever you want, but believe me when I say that if you play long enough you’ll be able to branch out. Don’t worry too much about holding to a particular play style as you can always bang out a few radiant quests to fill in some XP to reach that quick level.
One particular change from the previous Fallout titles that I am extremely pleased with is the placement of the Bobbleheads. These are the occasional collectibles that can be found throughout the world that give you permanent stat bonuses once they are found. There is a bobblehead for each of the S.P.E.C.I.A.L.s and a few more that help you out in particular specific ways. In past titles, these bobbleheads would be found in the most random places. They would have no apparent rhyme or reason to their placement. It would be simply walking around and scrounging and OH SNAP! A BOBBLEHEAD! In Fallout 4, the bobbleheads are now placed at the end of a mission line, conspicuously on a desk or table or some place where you’re going to see it. It has become more like a reward and typically has something to do with the content of the mission line.
For example, I completed one mission line where this guy started selling tainted meat. There were several journal entries about how he found some book about how to be a better salesman and he was able to market his meat so well that he couldn’t keep up with demand, thus the added “filler”. By the time you get to the final confrontation with the guy, and I blast the sucka away for locking me in the basement, there is a “Barter” bobblehead sitting on the console in the last room. See? It all fits!
My Advice: Never, NEVER max out a SPECIAL before finding the associated Bobblehead. There is always one for each stat, and it will give you one point in that stat. No worries bumping it up to 9, but hold off on that last point unless you’ve already found it.
The ride has been intense so far! I have recently taken a ride in a Vertibird and gunned down a Super Mutant Behemoth, and I have made contact with the head of the Railroad. Both the Railroad and the Brotherhood of Steel want me to make contact with The Institute, and I’ve taken a trippy stroll through the memories of a mercenary. I am actively avoiding all possible spoilers in an effort to stay genuinely surprised by anything coming up!
Yes, I am sure that there are plenty of gamers who have already completed the endgame, and it could very well be one of you who just completed reading this. Thank you all for taking the time for reading my ramblings, and PLEASE no spoilers in the comments!