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

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.

71 Comments

  1. Ednator says:

    I have spent many months avoiding any Fallout 4 gameplay videos or preview videos and demos videos and lots of videos to avoid spoling the main story arc. Now that the game is out (and i’m waiting for the weekend to hop into it), it has beens extra hard to keep myself out of spoilers. So i’m beeing extra careful.
    Then in the first paragraph you spoiled it without warning. >_<
    Thanks!

    • Assirra says:

      That happens in the first 15minutes of the game. If you truly want to stay in the dark completely, why would you NOW look up stuff?

      • meepmeep says:

        I read the first paragraph of the article because it was on the front page, seemed innocuous, and all the other Fallout 4 articles on this site come with clear spoiler tags.

        It wasn’t til I reached the end of the paragraph that I realised it basically states the entire opening sequence of the game.

        • Zelos says:

          Oh my, not the opening sequence of the game!

          Not that sequence that has been shown in pretty much all official media and is probably spelled out on the back of the box!

          That shit is not a spoiler.

          • Ednator says:

            Do you see the trouble it was to not have it spoiled?! As you said, the information is almost ubiquos.
            I almost managed to survive through the week (and the months since the announcement). Got shot down by this post.

          • PseudoKnight says:

            I have this new rule of the internet that’s so far held up every time. Any time someone says “not a spoiler” it’s guaranteed to be a spoiler. lol

            Guy read first paragraph wanting to know what the article was about. It was probably a mistake, but don’t tell me that’s not a spoiler. I didn’t know about it until he brought it up, and knowing it happens changes how he will experience that moment. Here’s a nice rule: does it happen in the game/movie/show/book? It’s a spoiler. Not all spoilers are that bad, and I’m not saying people should feel bad for spoiling things, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a spoiler. Some viewers/readers really like it when you say things like “I’m going to talk about the first hour of the game”. No one loses.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Why in gods name would you expect a press site to go to even more trouble to avoid spoilers than the freaking creators of the game?

          • Blastaz says:

            Let’s have a spoiler safe space where there are only puppies and blankets.

            Crap I just spoiled the whole of 101 Dalmatians…

          • bonuswavepilot says:

            Oh great, now I know there’s 101 of them. Goodbye immersion!

          • BooleanBob says:

            First generation Dalmatians are the only ones that count in my book. The sequels just got carried away with all those weird designs and extra types.

    • ribby says:

      Why did you start reading the article?

    • Martel says:

      Warning: there’ll be spoilers for the very intro to the game, character names, locations and maybe more!

      • Ednator says:

        I thinks this warning came after… Or feedly cropped it out. >_<

        • ribby says:

          You think having the opening spoiled is bad? Ha, all I did was look up a video showing the new radio tracks. There were two comments, one about how much they were looking forward to the game and a reply, which spoilt the ending…

          People are dicks.

          • Cleave says:

            Yeah there was a guy who spoiled the ending on Youtube on a bloody graphics comparison video. Literally wrote the ending then pasted the sentence repeatedly into a wall of text. God knows why I was reading the comments in the first place but still..

    • Beefenstein says:

      Spoiler: your time spent playing this game will contribute no value to the universe as your existence is unimportant and its end will be met without fanfare by the ruling hand of entropy.

      • kderby42 says:

        Since I can’t help the universe, then I might as well have some fun playing Fallout 4 then right?

      • Cleave says:

        Therefore anything else you might be doing is equally as unimportant so you might as well play Fallout.

    • njury says:

      Didn’t it very clearly state:

      “Warning: there’ll be spoilers for the very intro to the game, character names, locations and maybe more!”

      Reading beyond that point seems like a dumb thing to do if actively avoiding spoilers?

      • Millenix says:

        Articles are syndicated across the web. That warning wasn’t present the first time the article was shared, at least not when it was shown on the Steam store pages for the game with the opening paragraph containing spoilers revealed in the article intro/summary before clicking to read. Looks like they’ve amended that now, but it’s too late for some.

    • Millenix says:

      Turns out the author of this article is being a dick in more ways than intended. The opening paragraph of this article appeared on the Steam store pages for the game and I accidentally saw it as I waited for the game to finish downloading. Like the op, I tried my best to avoid reading about the game to avoid spoilers like this, only to fail at the last hurdle. It wasn’t a conscious decision to read the article, I didn’t click to read it, it was just there summarised towards the top of the page amongst the general details about the game. It absolutely spoiled the opening twist in the story for the game and I was really disappointed by that, I then knew throughout the start exactly what was about to happen and what the story was about before it was even revealed to me by the game. It was like somebody coming out of a cinema who had just seen the film you’re about to see and saying “I can’t believe the twist where the main character died!…”.

      • Millenix says:

        Correction: it actually appeared on the “Recent News” section prominently displayed under achievements when you click on the game in your Steam library. It has since been amended to replaced the opening paragraph containing spoilers with a spoiler notice instead and is now not on the first page. Too little too late though, the damage is done for people like me :-(.

    • rudebox says:

      Dude stay away from the internet. I had the ending ruined while waiting for the game to unpack on steam by reading a spoiler free review. Some asshole in the comments got me :C

    • Chiron says:

      Maybe not read articles about the game? Its not rocket science.

      “Oh this article is about Fallout 4, I best avoid it as I don’t want to be spoiled”

      Well that was easy.

    • hamilcarp says:

      I have some news. No one cares.

    • gmillar says:

      Look, if you don’t want to know what happens in the first few minutes of a game, not only are you a very silly person, you should not be reading ANYTHING about that game. People who complain about intro spoilers were probably spoiled as children.

  2. sandman2575 says:

    @John Walker — As a Commonwealth resident of long-standing, I feel compelled to inform you that you could achieve a more authentic-sounding title by rendering it thus: “The Bahstin Bastid”

  3. ribby says:

    Omg I had to play ‘The Swan’ for one of my early saxophone exams ages and ages and ages ago!

    • jonahcutter says:

      What was the final body count?

      • ribby says:

        Pretty low. Saxophones are melee weapons and 13 year olds have low strength

        • bonuswavepilot says:

          When I was saxophonically equipped at a similar age, I found the ‘accidental harmonics’ mod (also known as squeaking) was best for upping damage to passers-by. The easiest way to unlock it is by equipping a reed which is too hard, and not practicing enough so that your embrasure is rubbish…

    • hamilcarp says:

      I think it’s interesting that you think anyone cares.

      • ribby says:

        well that’s not very nice… And yet you care that someone decided to kill some good guys in a videogame?

  4. meepmeep says:

    Plot spoilers above the break? Come on now.

  5. NephilimNexus says:

    But… this is how I’ve played every Fallout game?

  6. Dogsbody says:

    Are there NPCs that you just straight up can’t kill? That’s pretty disappointing. Didn’t Fallout 3 let you murder anyone in the game?

    • Jac says:

      Nah, Bethesda games since at least Oblivion have always had certain important npcs tagged as immortal until their purpose in the game has been fulfilled and then you can kill them. They used to have a different icon when you focused on them so you could tell but isn’t in this one.

      • Chaoslord AJ says:

        I liked how they did it in Morrowind. You could murder everyone. Upon killing an essential character you received a message about severing the threads of prophecy, reload or persist in the doomed world you created or such which I found somewhat poetic.
        Even so they still had a backdoor for the main quest.
        Such a glorious game this darling.

    • Werthead says:

      New Vegas did. Apart from one robot vendor behind a bomb and bullet-proof screen, every single character in the game (vital or not) is killable.

      • Solidstate89 says:

        That just isn’t true. While there are much fewer of them in NV, all of your companions are marked as essential. So is Yes Man.

        • All is Well says:

          The children were immortal as well. I know because I tried shooting some of them.

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          It’s very nearly true. Your companions can be marked as essential – ‘can be’, it’s optional. I think it’s dependant on difficulty? Children are invincible because videogames. Aside from that it’s ONLY Yes-Man, and that’s because he’s a living backdoor to make sure the final quest is completable because for some reason that’s important.

          On the right difficulty setting you can render the entire adult population of the waste extinct with the exception of one robot. I’d call that pretty close.

          • Jason Moyer says:

            Hardcore mode makes your companions killable. Even without hardcore mode the only non-killable NPC’s are the Gun Runners robot (because he’s inaccessible), Yes Man, and your companions.

          • Jason Moyer says:

            Also Victor and children, although if you kill a certain NPC (don’t want to overly spoil things) Victor is disabled.

          • Jason Moyer says:

            I would die for an edit function.

            Anyway, I believe Victor and Yes Man being unkillable was hand-waved away via the fiction, as you can disable their physical chassis but they’re just uploaded into a new one.

          • LionsPhil says:

            I believe you can actually destroy the robot Victor is inhabiting at any given time, yes, so he’s not incongruously God-Mode.

            As for children in videogames…try doing a Deus Ex 2 bastard run, where you kill everyone you meet. It has some very clunky (and pretty ridiculous to the fiction) no-weapons zones. The Tarsus Academy isn’t one. (Disappointingly the game only reacts so far as to have a handler chew you out—the Bad Guy whose bidding you’re inadvertantly doing at this point doesn’t pick up on it in dialogue, and Alex still calls them a monster.)

            …and of course if you are fed up of being pickpocketed by the little scamps in Fallout 1, you can always leave nowt but an armed bundled of dynamite in your pants.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            A quick Google shows there are far more, I even found a mod that disables their essential status and lists all the affected.

            This is in line with my memory aswell, but off course we are all just too busy complaining about the horrible and dreadful Fallout 4 to notice.

            Such horror! I don’t even know why they released it and why people like it! Stupid people they must be.

  7. Jake_R says:

    I expect to see a full playthrough of this exact same thing by Many A True Nerd on Youtube sometime in the not so far future. He already did a “Kill Everything” for Fallout 3 AND Fallout: New Vegas, in which he showed you could never kill absolutely everything, due to the “essential” tag some NPCs have (some of them logical, some of them… not so much.) … aside from mods and cheats, of course.

  8. Jac says:

    That angry brotherhood guy is on my list. Most disappointing thing in the game for me so far is that planting a grenade in his pocket whilst nobody can see you or cracking his skull open whilst stealthed means they instantly turn on you even if they don’t see it.

    I mean sure he just exploded whilst i’m hunched over skulking away from his exploded mess but what happened to innocent until proven guilty sheesh.

  9. Cinek says:

    The sad part? You cannot complete the game without killing anyone.

    • MrUnimport says:

      Is this the gold standard for RPGs now? Bending fate and causality around you so that the protagonist doesn’t have to get their hands dirty?

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Which is nothing new, especially without silly tricks and various exploits that one may or may not find legit.

  10. renner says:

    Wait, so your son is kidnapped, and then 200 years later you set out to find him? That’s gonna be a pretty disappointing reunion.

    • All is Well says:

      *Spoilers for the like the first five minutes of the game*:

      Nah, 200 years is the total time you’re in cryosleep. At some point in time you, your son and your husband/wife (depending on which gender you choose) get thawed out and your son is removed from the cryochamber. You are then put back to sleep for an indeterminate amount of time and when you wake up again you’re let out and the game begins.

      A personal gripe about this is that, while it is extremely obvious to the player, your character seems totally oblivious to the fact she was re-frozen between the kidnapping and being let out of the vault, so she tells people she’s looking for her “infant son”. It points very neatly towards a dramatic reveal when you find out that “your son has grown up while you were frozen! surprise!” or even “Guy X whom you encounter early on was actually your son all along, gee isn’t that something” or some other twist that only really works if you choose to ignore certain things the game tells you.

      I’m hoping I’ll be proven wrong when I get around to doing the main quest.

      • Chaoslord AJ says:

        I hope I won’t be spoiled on this. I wonder who the son will be. Might be the only surprising plot hook in the game.

      • Monggerel says:

        I… didn’t actually notice the player character specifically mentioning that their son is an infant? Just that they were looking for him? It seemed to me like the PC is indeed aware that because of the cryosleep, their kid might well have grown up and died an old man while moms/pops was in the freezer (since they never actually refer to the kid as a baby… but only because I haven’t noticed that they did. Also I avoided the dialogue options about looking for the kid because lol Bethesda leave me alone with your silly main quests).

        • All is Well says:

          Well, to be fair, it was only in one conversation (with Preston, I think) that my character specifically referred to her son as an infant. It just stuck with me because it was a particularly plot-centric conversation, that occurred when you’ve escorted the survivors from Lexington back to Sanctuary and you explain what you’re up to and he tells you what to do next. I haven’t progressed the storyline beyond that point (because lol-Bethesda-main-quest and look there’s something behind that freeway over there), so I might be entirely mistaken.

        • Cleave says:

          *sort of spoiler*

          At the beginning the PC assumes the son is a baby, it’s not until some information is revealed later that you find out some time has passed between the kidnapping and your awakening.

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        Andy_Panthro says:

        When I pick this game up (eventually, still playing Skyrim and MGS5), I plan on making my character as goofy-looking as possible to see if that has any effect on how my son looks. That way he might be easy to spot.

  11. Monggerel says:

    A thought occurs: Fallout 4 already uses several songs from the 60s, which is apt because there’s been a progression through music between Fallout 3 and New Vegas too.

    Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” came out in 1970! And the entire album is perfectly apt for the game from War Pigs through Iron Man to Paranoid (if a little on the nose). It’s literally pitch-perfect. Shame Bethesda didn’t get at least a one song in.

  12. Moonracer says:

    Since there is no (visible at least) karma system in this game, can you let us know if there is any growing recognition of your deeds through this play through? I’m guessing not.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Some things are recognized, not sure how often but it’s still better than NPCs scanning you with magical karma detectors.

  13. TheAngriestHobo says:

    “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.”

    So THAT’s how all those wars that CNN reports on begin.

  14. ainokmw says:

    So, basically Many a True Nerd’s “Kill Everything” run, but without MATN’s innocuous tenderness and British charm.

    • April March says:

      Hey! Ain’t no one got more British charm than John here. He’s basically a giant stuffed teddy bear drinking his five o’clock tea.

  15. icarussc says:

    But Carnival of the Animals was written by French genius Camille Saint-Seans, surely?

  16. OmNomNom says:

    I do really enjoy the game but it really lacks challenge once you get going, i have 20 cores for the suit (which I’m trying not to use because it makes encounters trivial), 5 spare suits at home.
    It even feels like they’ve made the already trivial lockpicking and cracking easier (I have 70 spare ‘bobby pins’ right now and im on survival)
    Can’t wait for hardcore mods and currently trying to figure how to create one myself since I’m impatient for great mods like Dust to come about that really punish you and push you into a certain playstyle.

  17. HERP DERP NANOMACHINES says:

    Ah but NPCs aren’t really life, they are automatons, so it’s not that odd that you’d be dismayed by people wasting all that hard work and time spent on intricate fake-people!

  18. Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

    RPGs where you can be an evil satan and it’s meaningful and acknowledged by the world are great; It’s been a while since we had one of those however, and F4 sure as hell doesn’t look like one to me.