Fallout 4: Fishy Factory Blues

Continuing a perma-death Fallout 4 diary, in which I begin with absolutely nothing other than a plan to to voyage around only the outermost periphery of the world.

You’re all a bunch of WEAKLINGS.

In the last instalment, I asked you to vote whether Michael Radiatin’ should continue his planned journey around the outermost periphery of Fallout 4‘s Commonwealth, even though it involved wading through an irradiated ocean for an indeterminate and quite probably lethal amount of time, or move the goalposts so that he always remained on land, heading prematurely South but avoiding a watery grave.

45% people wanted me to swim for it. 55% wanted me to remain a land-lubber.

The cowards have it.

I’m both disappointed and relieved. I hate to walk away from a challenge, but I’d also hate to have ended this series so soon. And at least this way, the Commonwealth still retains some mystery for me – what would happen if I went all the way out East, into that water? Would I return? A tale for another day.

As it happens, it’s not long before I wish I’d run into the sea instead. I’m out of my depth even on dry land. A greenhorn like Michael was never meant to wander so far from Vault 111 quite so soon – my PipBoy deems almost every creature I encounter to be far deadlier than I am. Every fight is horrendously stressful, the humblest ghoul able to take huge chunks out of me and requiring me to constantly consume irradiated food and weird drugs, and squander those few medicines I find. I run away a lot too, but because I’m determined not to head backwards, I keep running headlong into new trouble.

Following the coastline, I’m soon dragged a little further East anyway, onto a small peninsula with a large, colourful building at its end. A gangrenous ultra-ghoul guards it, and one punch removes most of my health and showers me in radiation. My wholesome BBC namesake would be appalled by how many chemicals I shove down my throat in order to survive, though he’d probably think more highly of my decision to hide inside the cabin beached boat and wait for the ghoul to lose interest.

After a while, it scuttles away.

I creep out of the cabin.

It immediately sprints back over to me.

I scramble back inside, and uselessly lodge a couple of bullets in its head. Might as well have thrown confetti at it.

I manage to break its line of sight once more, eventually it scuttles off again. I climb out and OH WHY WON’T YOU JUST PISS OFF. And repeat.

The next time around, I plunge off the side of the boat and into that water you’d all told me to avoid. The suit protects me from the worst, and I’m only in there briefly, but it keeps me hidden enough that the ghoul doesn’t return. I skirt along the edge of the peninsula, finally reaching the crumbling factory at its tip.

There are a few fresh Raider bodies scattered around the place, which doesn’t bode well. Someone else has been here. Question is, are they still here? If that ghoul’s anything to go by, I’m going to die finding out. But I will find out.

There’s something very fishy about this factory. This is because it is a fish factory. Or was, anyway. Sadly I don’t get to fill my pockets with a piscine bounty, but instead just the usual assortment of junk, entry-level pistols and irradiated ready meals. I skulk everywhere, as occasionally I hear the sinister flat voice of some hostile robot. I don’t know what it is, but judging by the state of the raiders – look what they did to this one…

…I don’t think I want to. It’s not like I have a choice, though. For as long as there seems to be any route forwards, I can’t go backwards, which means it’s not long before I’m nervously riding an unpleasantly open-sided elevator down into the factory’s bowels. Where I’m spotted by Synths right away.

Michael Radiatin’ doesn’t know what a Synth is. Synths definitely don’t know who Michael Radiatin’ is, though it’s possible they’ve seen Spamalot and that’s why they’re so hostile towards a Palin-alike. They also carry energy weapons, which I quickly learn fire incredibly quickly but don’t too much damage per shot.

They bee-sting my hide, gradually wearing it away, but I stay alive long enough to reach a sheltered area.

In it I find more junk and a chemical crafting station, at which I knock up some random carcinogenic cocktails, purely because I can. Then it’s back out into the fray. Three of them, my PipBoy adorning each with a little red skull to denote deadliness, are on me instantly. Health pours away. I reach desperately into my pockets and….

Darkness falls.

I should have gone into the water.

To be continued…

35 Comments

  1. thekelvingreen says:

    I voted for the water. I just want you to know that. Michael’s death is not on my hands. It was them.

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      Andy_Panthro says:

      I will admit to being a coward… :(

    • TheChimeraGamer says:

      I am so sorry. I am such a frikin’ coward.

    • Rhodokasaurus says:

      I know we’re all having fun and pretendin’ here but why was “swim in the water” even a vote? You know there’s nothing out there except the edge of the map and radiation poisoning.

  2. Krazen says:

    I’m not sure going inside the building would have been part of Mr Palin’s usual sight-seeing ethos. Detouring from the plan is what lead to failure.

  3. max.power says:

    I like this series. And I get the feeling that this is the proper way to play this game.

    • hungrycookpot says:

      Really? Because it seems to me the exact opposite of the proper way to play the game.

      • Vapor_Strike says:

        I dunno, it strikes me more as one of the infinite proper ways to play the game.

  4. fco says:

    meanwhile on kotaku, they’ve just found out you can play without fast travel..

    link to kotaku.com

    • Vapor_Strike says:

      “We can chose to not use a gameplay feature? This… This changes everything. WE MUST TELL THE WORLD!”

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        DuncUK says:

        I’ve always wished that they’d implement an in-game transport system, instead of fast travel. Something like a small network of of 2 or 3 train tracks that roughly span the length and breadth of the land, with enough stations to make them useful without depriving you of the joy of exploration. They could even involve real-time journeys to avoid breaking the immersion, with other characters in the carriages to interact with and random bandit raids for you to help defend against and perhaps a steep enough charge that you try not to use it unnecessarily. Add to this a ferry system for the coast or possibly even a zeppelin and you could have decent in-game travel mechanisms that are fun and immersive.

        The problem with not using fast-travel in FO4 as it was released, is that the Commonwealth is so hostile you’ll spend too much time and ammo fighting randomly generated raiders and occasional deathclaws that the game would get bogged down with dull procedural combat. There’s plenty of that already, just exploring the map for the first time.

        • fco says:

          You’re right. I loved how, for example, Red Dead Redemption gave you all the options:
          walking if you wanted to take it slow,
          horses if wanted to go faster,
          stagecoaches if you didn’t feel like travelling but still didn’t want to break the immersion (and if you got bored you still could skip it),
          and finally, yes, also fast travel between camps.

          • RicoXIII says:

            Yes they did it right and don´t forget that you could jump on a train to catch a ride :)

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          phuzz says:

          Like the carts in Skyrim then? and if they were possible in Skyrim, it’ll take a modder about twenty minutes after the GECK comes out to add them in.

      • fco says:

        “but there’s no quest marker there… what? explore? I don’t know.. do I get an achievement for that?”

  5. Sin Vega says:

    I voted for “stay on land” on the grounds that holding W across a featureless body of water until you spontaenously keel over would be really boring.

  6. raiders says:

    You know you’re killin’ it when you collect 10 achievements without ever setting foot in Diamond city after 25 hours of wandering!

    This game is insane, man! :)

  7. shagen454 says:

    It’s definitely a better game without fast travel. I just wish it was easier to organize your companions that give you quests. Like a PIP-boy menu where you can send companions to different settlements, but they have to travel themselves to that location real-time and can be tracked on the map instead of joining up/leaving them and then fast traveling them to another base closer to the mission.

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    Dorga says:

    Wow, I’m not sure I like the censorship. The first comments didn’t seem so flamey as to deserve it.

    • schlusenbach says:

      Yeah, that is not cool. I saw two comments about RPS becoming a Fallout blog and one questioning why there are no articles for the game of the month (Life is strange). With 3 Fallout posts per day and (if the search is working) one LiS-post since making it GOTM the comments were kinda justified.

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        gritz says:

        Hi, I wrote the deleted GOTM post. I’m 100% cool with it getting deleted, because that means someone at RPS at least read it.

        Fallout is pretty much the only game I’ve played this month, and when I’m not playing it, I’m devouring content for it wherever I can find it. That said, it drives me crazy when RPS says one thing and does another, like naming one game of the month and then ignoring it entirely to talk about something else. Or having a running list of daily game recommendations that has devolved into “Here’s a game I vaguely remember, you shouldn’t play it.”

        This is the only gaming site worth giving a damn about, imo, so I feel strongly when they start slipping.

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      Harlander says:

      I guess they just didn’t like those posts.

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      Graham Smith says:

      We remove comments often if they’re going to derail a discussion or take a discussion down a pointless, ugly hole. “I don’t think you should write about this game” and “I can’t believe you’re not criticising this game” are two topics of discussion that would do so, because: we do and we have, respectively; other people like that we write about this game; criticising it doesn’t mean that we don’t like the game or that others aren’t enjoying it too; there are other things you could read if you don’t want to read this; differences in opinion are fine but sometimes nothing is gained by discussing them; those discussions don’t need to be had underneath every single article.

      And this doesn’t seem the place to talk about /other/ games or /other/ article series, either. Enjoying and writing about Fallout 4 is not the reason why other games aren’t getting more coverage. And rather than taking a conversation about a game people are enjoying and a fun diary series and turning it into something grumpy and fruitless, you could just email me, the editor wot is to blame for whatever is bothering you. I always reply and I’ll take opinions/thoughts/feedback into account in future months: graham@rockpapershotgun.com.

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        Dorga says:

        Thank you for your answer,it just bothered me seeing a few negative comments being taken down.
        I understand that you want to avoid vetriolic flame wars in the comments, and that there aren’t easy ways to steer clear of them.
        I’ve been a supporter since the beginning of the program and plan to be one for as long as possible, had it been another site I wouldn’t have bothered even reading the comments, next time I’ll be more thoughtful .

    • quiggy says:

      It’s not censorship for a privately-owned website to remove comments from their posts, for any reason.

  9. Raoul Duke says:

    Is something going on with the images on RPS, or are the graphics are incredibly average as they look above?

    • Vapor_Strike says:

      I’d go with the “incredibly average”.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      This is an odd thing I have noticed – the media released images in reviews and articles all look a little… underwhelming. However, screenshots taken by players look pretty swell! Particularly those over in the screenshots thread on the very site.

  10. ShaunOfTheFuzz says:

    I voted for land, because when I travel around a geographical area I usually don’t use the geometric shape of the map, be it a square, rectangle, or pentagon as the main criteria for my journey. When travelling around Europe for example, for some reason I automatically assume traveling from south Italy to Spain does not mean swimming straight across the Mediterranean like a bloody idiot, cutting out all of Italy France and Spain in the process.

    • Jediben says:

      300000 refugees can’t be wrong.

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      Don Reba says:

      I suggest, next time you travel from Southern Italy to Spain, start a poll on whether you should cut across the Mediterranean!

  11. Sinjun says:

    This really is the best way to play, or at least close to it. Permadeath is harsh, but I can’t imagine a more pointless experience than the one where people give themselves infinite encumbrance and all kinds of other cheats. There’s a fundamental dissonance in what constitutes as fun for those people and fun for me. Playing a game with no stakes and no consequence sounds more miserable than watching paint dry.

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    Hodge says:

    I’m absolutely loving this series.

    After doing all the introductory stuff in Sanctuary and Concord I basically decided to do the same thing as Alec and circumnavigate the map clockwise. I’ve been roughly one blog post’s worth of travel ahead of him the entire time, so each time I read a new entry I’ve just gone past what he’s about to blunder into. This is even more excellent than you’d imagine.

    The best part was last week when I looked at the poll results and thought ‘holy arse, they’re sending him to the fish factory’. The worst part is resisting the urge to ruin the whole experiment by posting comments with helpful advice from the future (i.e, ‘for the love of pugs don’t go to the fish factory’).

    I’ve stopped playing it for now so Alec will have caught up to me by the next one (if he’s still alive), but I have to say he’s doing a lot better than I have.