Fallout 4: Hazmat, Will Travel

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

Heading back towards the Deathclaws isn’t actually any kind of problem, as I can stay in the water and hug the coastline until they’re out of sight. As soon as I emerge onto the shoreline, the temptation to get into more trouble appears: a huge asylum, replete with unnecessarily sinister statues stuck to its walls.

This is getting comical now. I’m no more than a couple of minutes further South than the largely menace-free road I walked not so long ago, but I’m nonetheless repeatedly running into intruiging or deadly things that are keeping me from my own true goal – getting back to my near-dead Power Armour and continuing with my voyage around the world. I’m feeling fairly annoyed by my long diversion, as all I’ve really gained from it is some poor monster’s severed hand.

With a heavy heart I start to stride through the asylum gates, before being challenged by a mercenary. My PipBoy tells me that he’s pretty damn tough, and also that, technically speaking, walking through the asylum would not be the most direct route ‘home’ anyway.

Exploring an inland asylum no doubt means all sorts of spooky and somewhat tasteless thrills, but going around the world it is not. Plus I’m not exactly resplendent with ammunition, have no power armour and am in any case becoming quite accustomed to cowardice. Have it your way, mysterious mercs.

I creep around the periphery, and wind up close to the shattered bridge I’ve passed by various sides of twice already. At which point I am set upon by yet another Deathclaw.

Oh come on! What did I ever do to you guys? Apart from briefly steal one of your eggs and then start wearing one of your chums’ hands as a glove. And I did fire that one rocket into your mum’s face…

Fortunately, there was enough distance between me and my latest beclawed nemesis that I’m able to clamber onto a section of the bridge then drop safely off the other side, then disappear into the undergrowth before the thing can get a bead on me.

I then narrowly dodge an entanglement with a suprisingly fearsome-looking insect, before stumbling across what appears to be some huge mining operation.

A quick survey from the safety of stealth suggests tons of raiders and tons of turrets, plus it’s very much in the wrong direction. A strange, cubist concrete structure just beyond it is not, however.

My geiger counter goes crazy as soon as I approach the angular tunnel leading into this odd building’s apparent centre. I can see, ooh, tripwires, promixity mines, sticky bombs, explosive barrels, radioactive barrels and a machine gun turret down there too. That short grey corridor would be the deadliest 50 metres of my life. Which means there’s got to be something worth defending at the end of it. If there were obvious enemies here, I’d run at this point. But the environment is Michael Radiatin’s speciality. I’m going in.

For once, it’s a challenge well within my skillset. I neck some rad-blocking meds, stick a sackcloth gasmask over my face and creep in, disabling the traps one by one then taking out the turret with a few laser blasts before it realises I’m there. The rads have taken a fairly heavy toll on me, but it’s nothing I can’t sort out, thanks to all these magic wasteland drugs. I just have to hope that this doesn’t go on too long.

It doesn’t. Inside, I find a bed with a corpse on it – in my experience, at least 60% of beds out here have corpses on them, and I’m so numb to it that I just lie right down next to the body to grab some much-needed pillowtime myself. Hey, company is company.

Rooting around the dead guy’s irradiated squat, I find a chemical crafting station which I knock up a few meds with, some bits of ammo, a chest I can’t find a key for and HOLY OF HOLIES I CAN’T BELIEVE IT a hazmat suit.

In other words, the best radiation protection you can get. Paired with my recently-acquired ability to swim in even the most toxic of waters, this means that no road is closed to me. I have become a true globe-trotter at last.

I just need to get back to the Museum of Witchcraft and my poor old power armour, and then this whole journey really can begin in earnest. Watch out, the outer limits: I’m coming for you.

49 Comments

  1. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    I know you’re not doing votes on this one, but I vote that you go back to that quarry with all the raiders and have a good ol’ explore. Especially as you can swim now…

    • Universal Quitter says:

      We can vote, it just results in a non-binding resolution.

    • Alec Meer says:

      No more going backwards, but there will be more votes…

      • TheAngriestHobo says:

        Now you’ve gone and done it. If this were a movie, this would be the moment Michael Radiatin’ gets hit by a bus.

      • Krazen says:

        You say that now …

      • Chiron says:

        What about twirling, twirling towards victory?

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Anytime you hit a location with “Dunwich” in the name the only alternative is to go deeper and downwards.

    • popej says:

      I’m not sure it’s the same quarry you’re thinking of? Could be wrong though.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Ericusson says:

    At one point it really seems like paid for editorial content.
    Does not mean it’s not a good read though but still.

    • Alec Meer says:

      It’s not, we have never done and would never do that, and actually you’re being very rude indeed.

      • Andoni says:

        Hey, Alec! I’ve been enjoying this diary thoroughly. A great read indeed :). I think we should really tackle sandbox games in the precise manner you are playing Fallout 4. It adds a whole extra dimension to the narrative.

        I’m eager to read the next entry.

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        I think Alec is putting it mildly. This is possibly the most insulting thing you can say to a journalist

      • Beefenstein says:

        I’m not going to be rude:

        This is amongst the most entertaining and engaging episodic games journalism I’ve ever read. Thank you very much!

    • benjamin says:

      I enjoy Alex’s diary because it’s well written and I have no plan to ever play Fallout 4. Alex allows me to live out an experience of playing the game with a crazy quest that I wouldn’t have the patience or willingness to do myself.

      • Andoni says:

        Yes! That’s exactly why I care to come here every week and check if there are any more entries. It lets me experience the game as a spectator but always within a personal scope.

    • Whiskey Jak says:

      My understanding is that RPS exists to inform us about games in an interesting and often entertaining manner. I think it is pretty obvious that their style of humour and how they present content is playing a huge part in their success and this is a key reason people are coming back (I remember falling in love with the Blood Bowl Skaven team diary).

      If you immediately link that style with “it must be paid advert”, I can’t help wondering what it looks like, viewing the world as you do.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      I can’t even fathom what bit they think is…

      Nope, not going down that road. Too many people are too nonsensical and I’ll lose my mind trying to comprehend.

      If they could just not be dicks about it

    • theblazeuk says:

      Look at how sad you’ve made Death’s Head. You cur.

    • celticdr says:

      @ericusson did you even read the article???

      How this diary can be conceived as advertorial is beyond me… besides RPS have never done those anyway.

      Keep up the great writing Alec, I’m voting on a walk through the ocean in the hazmat suit next time we have the option.

    • Beefenstein says:

      Paid by whom: the Hazmat Suit Appreciation Society?

    • Sin Vega says:

      Yeah, aside from several other reasons it’s obviously not so… when have Bethesda ever hired a good writer?

  3. TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

    Any time a game implements this “do your own thing” approach, a diary of this kind pops up, assuming it’s a game someone is enjoying at least.

    So, either you are into conspiracy theories, or just yet another one who just can’t stand this game being covered for some reason.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      And yes, this was supposed to be a reply.

    • Von Uber says:

      Oh it’s interesting and a fun read. I’m just disappointed it’s completely drowned out November’s game of the month, with not a single article (apart from one news item) on it.
      A real shame as it is a much more interesting game with plenty of things to be discussed – in reality this diary could be copy pasted for oblivion, fallout 3 / NV and skyrim with very little changes.

      • ZippyLemon says:

        You did not play very much Oblivion.

      • rifflesby says:

        The notion that they would have written more about your pet game if only they weren’t so busy writing about Fallout instead is an obviously bogus one.

        • Von Uber says:

          Given that it was game of the month it’s a logical conclusion that there would be at least one article.
          And ‘pet game’? What are you, 6? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to see coverage of a fairly unique game, especially when the site itself espouses that it will do so.

          • LennyLeonardo says:

            As Fallout 4 itself sometimes demonstrates, the amount of content is not proportional to the quality of the game, or RPS’ collective enjoyment.

            As someone mentioned below, Fallout 4 clearly lends itself to diary series and goofy explorations in a way that Life is Strange doesn’t.

          • Von Uber says:

            Granted – it’s not they there shouldn’t be any fallout 4 articles, it’s more the perception that it has completely swamped LIS. As noted below, the disparity is articles for a supposed game of the month is quite clear as a comparison.

          • Sandepande says:

            Is there a stated minimum for the number of articles about the Game of the Month within a lunar cycle?

            Fallout 4 is easier to write gameplay-related stuff, I suppose. And there’s a lot of emergent silliness, and mods, and different ways to play it, even though the underlying philosophy is not terribly complicated (kill stuff, or they’ll kill you).

          • Dilapinated says:

            I agree that Fallout 4 has drowned out a lot of other games coverage, and been clearly handed the spotlight over the actual Game of the Month. People demanding citations of a fictional-minimum are missing the point; Game of the Months have usually been given an amount of inspection & thoughtful coverage like this, but since it came out, that role has gone to F4 almost exclusively.

            Obviously it’s not payed-for content. RPS has far more integrity than that, but I do think they’ve slipped up in collective focus here; It is wearying to see over and over, especially coupled with the fact that RPS gave a separate article to each new teaser-trailer advert in the runup to the release.

  4. zarthrag says:

    This is the best series since the big Solium Infernum smackdown some-years back. Can’t wait for more!

  5. Coming Second says:

    Ah, Dunwich Borers. An interesting location made utterly tedious by the stock raiders stuck on top of it. A metaphor for F4 as a whole.

    • Itdoesntgoaway says:

      True.

    • guygodbois00 says:

      +1. My thoughts exactly.

    • Sandepande says:

      This never bothered me (I like Raider-murdering), but it is perhaps because I never attached any special meaning to the name.

      Maybe I got lucky.

    • All is Well says:

      A perfect summation of my main gripe with F4.
      (Dunwich Borers is even more perfect as a metaphor for F4 as a whole since it’s (nonsensically) full of ghouls as well as raiders.)

  6. Wulfram says:

    I liked this article. Having said that…

    Number of articles tagged with Fallout 4 since November 1st: 30
    Number of articles tagged with Life is Strange since November 1st: 2 – one about it getting a boxed edition, and one on November 3rd proclaiming it the game of the month.

    May I suggest you retroactively declare Fallout 4 the November game of the month and give Life is Strange another shot?

    • TehKory says:

      Life is Strange deserves being game of the month over Fallout 4, but it’s also had an extended time in the spotlight and is–like any of the Telltale-likes–something of a closed system, one that’s very open to spoilers, and a much tinier–if far deeper–experience.

      Much like the world of Fallout 4, the breadth of game (coverage) doesn’t exactly reflect on the game’s entirety (of coverage).

    • padger says:

      Hardly surprising. Fallout 4 lends itself to lots of reporting and the nature of the game means it throws up tonnes of stuff people can write about. Not only that but literally millions of us bought it and are playing it. So it makes sense that this site (and most of the others) are posting bags of F4 material.

  7. cdkutusu says:

    Just registered to say that this is probably the funniest series of articles since The Song of Onionbog articles written ages ago.

    Just one wish though, more votes!

    • egattocs says:

      cdkutusu – thank you, but also dammit! Wasn’t even aware of the Onionbog diary until you mentioned it in your comment , so found it and have just spent a chunk of my (previously constructive) afternoon reading through it only to find out that it never got finished! Still, that was also a very entertaining read! Tempted to try Dwarf Fortress, does seem like I may need a degree of some sort though…

      • cdkutusu says:

        I sometimes secretly check for more Onionbog posts, but sadly, there are none..

        Keeping my hopes up though.

  8. Furius says:

    Love these posts. Would it be possible to get a visual update of how far through your journey you are at the end of each post? Just a shot of the map with your already traveled route, or just a start point and current point?

    • celticdr says:

      2nd the map screenshot idea, even if it is a bit late for that now…

  9. Kevin S. Green says:

    Well written! I like the way you write and wish you wrote more, I would like to read more your posts with pleasure. The latest article I read at link to tech.co was interesting too.

  10. Toadsmash says:

    The irony of this diary for me amuses me. I didn’t see a single deathclaw in my first FO4 playthrough till level 27.

  11. DaFaja says:

    Is this where you are at in your journey?
    link to fallout4map.com