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The Boston Bastard: Being A Dick In Fallout 4 - Part One

War's changing for me

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Nice man John is playing Fallout 4 [official site] as a bad man intent on killing everyone he meets. Warning: there’ll be spoilers for the very intro to the game, character names, locations and maybe more!

Sometimes, you just snap. Some things are just too much for one man to bear. A nuclear war, terrified for family, then tricked into cryogenic freezing, briefly defrosted to watch my infant son kidnapped and my wife murdered, then awake to find everyone dead and two hundred years have gone by. And when I poke my head above ground, absolutely everybody I run into either wants to murder me on sight, or ask me to do their chores for them.

There’s a limit. My only desire is to find my son, but apparently to do this I’m supposed to obey the instruction of everyone who comes near, asking me to clear out this base, clear out that base, and on some occasions, go into that base and clear it out. This isn’t looking for my son!

After a few hours of following orders, sucking up to everyone in the hopes that they might have some useful information, flashing my charismatic smile at all as I perform my boy Scout acts, it became too much. No more. Hell, this isn’t my time, this isn’t my reality, I’m just going to kill absolutely everyone.

Or, slightly more honestly, I wanted to find out what Fallout 4 does if you don’t do anything anyone asks, and kill absolutely everyone it will let you. I thought I’d become a sociopath. Who says video games make you violent?

I’d not been playing this way at all. I was helping the Minutemen (which I choose to pronounce “my-nute men”, recruiting for their cause, even agreed to be their sergeant. I had joined the Brotherhood Of Steel, was rushing about picking up various pieces of technology for them, doing as I was told by George Clooney Soldier.

I’d picked every nice conversation option, done every nice thing, because this is how I play games. But, well, so is everyone else. I’m a JOURNALIST, for goodness sake, essentially equivalent to a war correspondent for CNN in terms of qualifications and duty and merited respect. I need to be the man willing to kill everyone in the entire game, just to see what goes wrong.

The first thing that went wrong, it turns out, is that I can’t kill everyone in the entire game. I couldn’t kill the very first person I tried to. Bloody smug-face Preston Garvey, just standing there while I fill his smug face with bullets. His Sanctuary chums are similarly impervious to the sweet embrace of untimely death. This was not going well.

Fortunately my next targets were more amenable. A family of farmers being attacked by Raiders. And me. Attacked to death. Take that, innocent farmers.

With blood on my hands, I went back to Cambridge Police Station, to see if I could hurt the Brotherhood. Ho boy could I. But they could hurt me too.

All out of power cores for my suit, I was going to have to take down George Clooney with just my human arms and legs. And bombs. It became pretty clear after a couple of tries that his super-laser-gun-blaster was going to take me down in as few as one hits, so I needed a plan. The smartest tactic was to take out one of Haylen or Rhys first, since they were easy targets but dangerous threats – and killing one of them would trigger the other two to turn on me. So I used that to my advantage.

I laced the floor with proximity mines while Scribe Haylen was separate from the other two. The trap set, I convinced her brains to be more on the outside than they were used to, and the others sprang into action. And Knight Rhys sprang into the air, landing on top of some filing cabinets. Just Paladin Clooney to go. So I hid in the toilet and threw hand grenades.

Did the trick.

I think it speaks of Fallout 4 more than it does me how little emotional impact killing such characters has. Without interesting, established personalities (Haylen: nice, Rhys: cross, Danse: bossy) they all felt like placeholder NPCs, cardboard cut-outs that get shot down in the fray. It’s only now as I write that I had a thought that made me feel a slight pang. I thought, “Those actors recorded an enormous amount more dialogue than I’ll hear now.” Which is an odd allegory for the termination of a life, but it’s the best I can find.

By the way, I really hope you’re playing Fallout 4 with the classical station tuned in. There’s nothing quite like stalking through a building slaughtering the innocent (or indeed the super mutants) while listening to Tomsic’s The Swan from the Carnival Of The Animals.

So there we are. My plan. It’s not a healthy one, it’s not a way I’d recommend you play Fallout 4. I’ve only just started, and I plan to keep going, to let you know what happens. Pray for my soul.

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Who am I?

John Walker

Senior Editor

One of the original co-founders of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, I'm now a senior editor and hero of humanity. Old and special.

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