I had been looking forward to the video game, Fallout 4, for years, even before it was announced it would be released in early November 2015. Being an avid fan of the two previous installments–Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas–I was excited to begin a whole new adventure in a post-apocalyptic world. When I saw the first previews and news about Fallout 4 in the summer of 2015, my anticipation grew exponentially. Unlike the previous installments, this new game looked to be a far more immersive experience. There was so much that got me excited.
Instead of playing as a character born after the world was destroyed by nuclear war, players were treated to someone from the old world that got frozen in time for 200+ years. This new character, customizable according to player preference to be either male or female, would also have a voice; the game’s developers commissioned a couple actors to record a ton of dialogue for this purpose. For my first play through, I chose to be a redheaded female modeled to look like a character from one of the fiction stories I write.
However, I did not anticipate the different style of gameplay or know that I needed to exercise more caution to avoid getting killed. In the midst of adapting and learning tactics, I encountered enough harrowing or unusual situations to put together my Top Ten List of WTF Moments, each with its own subtitle.
Before I delve into this list, I’d like to start with a few honorary mentions – one from Fallout 4 that I encountered after I wrote up this blogpost, and one from Fallout 3 that I had forgotten about.
Who are you?
Sometime during my first playthrough of Fallout 4, I was walking along the road when I saw someone coming from the opposite direction. Didn’t think much of it until the guy spotted me, pulled out a tire iron, and started running at me yelling, “You’re gonna pay!” After I gunned him down, I found he was from one of the game’s shady factions that, as a do-gooder, I’d managed to tick off.
Here’s something you don’t see everyday.
I was having such a tough time during a battle against a couple of Fallout 3’s Super Mutants that I eventually ducked behind some cover to recoup. I took down one of them after some doing and was planning my attack against the other when he suddenly stopped shooting at me. When I poked my head out, I found that some wacky game glitch had turned him on his side and buried him halfway in the ground.
Now the list, leading up to the Number One WTF moment:
While crossing a bridge over one of the many waterways, I wondered aloud, “Why is there so much gasoline here?” After taking another couple steps, I heard the telltale beeping of an incendiary landmine ready to go off. I futilely tried to escape, but didn’t make it in time.
9) What the hell was that?!
While running from a group of hulking green creatures called Super Mutants, I heard a beeping that didn’t sound like a land mine. Before I could even figure out what that sound was, something exploded right next to me. I later found out that one Super Mutant in each group acts as a suicide bomber with a mini-nuke.
8) Are you kidding?!
While sneaking my way through a monster-infested city using alleys and sticking to the shadows, I was caught off guard when a mutant black bear, usually found out in the wilderness and not in the middle of a city, started walking past the entrance to an alley and spotted me. It killed me in one blow.
7) Who’s shooting at me?!
At one point, I was given a mission by one of the game’s NPCs, or non-playable characters, to rid an auto factory of a gang of raiders. The roof had a walkway around the smoke stacks. While I was elevated, I took a good look at the roof and didn’t see any raiders in sight. As I was descending the staircase, five bad guys literally appeared out of nowhere and opened fire on me. My best guess here is that my computer’s graphics card was having trouble rendering the enemy units until I got close.
Upon my first visit to a friendly settlement, one of the children running around offered to give me a tour, which for some reason qualified as a quest to complete. During the tour, I stopped to loot some food and healing items from one of the rooms. The next thing I know, the words “Quest failed” appeared on the screen because I didn’t keep up with my guide.
In one underground facility, I was pitted against a pack of creatures called molerats who tunneled through the dirt and ambushed me in whatever room I happened to be in. Somehow, one of them got stuck due to a game glitch, which I didn’t figure out until I’d descended a staircase and wondered why it wasn’t coming after me. For some reason, it kept popping in and out of a hole in the same room. I eventually backtracked to finish it off so I could get rid of the “danger” indicator flashing on the screen. Even attacking it with a blade didn’t interrupt this behavior; I could only deal damage to it intermittently. Killing it took some doing.
4) Oh, my God, I’m gonna die!
From my time playing Fallout 3, I knew that the largest creature around was a Behemoth. When undertaking a mission to reclaim a fortified settlement that had been “decimated by a giant creature that came out of the water,” I assumed that this was what I would be fighting. I had already taken down one Behemoth in this game, so figured this wouldn’t be a problem. So imagine my surprise when the monster I was fighting turned out to be an equally huge sea creature that could spit acid and took me ten tries to beat.
3) My bad.
As part of the main questline, I needed to track down a character named Virgil for information. When I got to the cave where he was hiding, I mistakenly thought I needed to eliminate his guards to talk to him. Unfortunately, my decision to start shooting made Virgil outright hostile. I was forced to attack him; once his health was depleted, he collapsed to the floor and appeared to be winded for several seconds. I thought this would enable me to talk to him when his health suddenly filled all the way back up and he resumed attacking me. This cycle repeated at least three more times; at one point, I personally blurted out, “I’m sorry, Virgil. I just want to talk.” I soon figured the only way to fix it was to load from the last savepoint.
2) Holy crap!
Just when I thought I had gotten a good handle on the game and how to survive, I was thrown for a loop while wandering through a rundown section of a science facility. I ran into a cyborg called an Assaultron I had never encountered before in any previous Fallout game. Even so, I thought I was doing okay until this high-powered laser beam shot out of its visor and completely depleted my health in 1.5 seconds.
1) Hold the elevator, or Preston is suicidal?
At one point, I had to escape from a thirty-story building by taking a window washer platform down. Once my character was on board, I pressed the button to go down since I was under fire. After the ramp slid back, my A.I. companion, Preston, came running like everything was normal and dropped off the side of the building. Because A.I. companions are indestructible in this game, he survived the fall. What makes it even funnier is that this wasn’t the first or last time that Preston tried to get on an elevator after the ramp had retracted.
Overall, Fallout 4 is an amazing game; I feel it is far more engaging and interesting than its predecessors, and there is no shortage of areas, both above ground and below, to explore. I look forward to countless hours spent enjoying all this game has to offer, as well as what the expansion packs, released and forthcoming, will add to it.