Tuesday, November 10, 2015

consistency is the key

It's clear by virtue of its past employment of Little Glenn that GuardianUK is positioned as a mythmaker for those who want to label themselves as progressive and gravely concerned about the world's manifold injustices, and also by virtue of its track record --journalistic content wise, I mean-- that it considers itself a mapmaker (including, by necessity in its meritocratic position, legend creator) for reading the terrifying terra firma's terrors as they lay, all the better to avoid them.

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As already said, gloomily but with full resign to the outcome here, I haven't played F4.  So I can't review it.  But I can read other reviews and see if the reviewer understands the Fallout world well enough to make the review worth my consideration.

The legendary progressive stronghold has reviewed F4 today.

I haven't read the review for the inevitable subtle reminders of what each and every Progressive should believe about the world, technology, nuclear power, or the Fallout world's commentary on all those things from the perspective of a person who is an adult at the turn of the 20th into the 21st Century.  I looked only at the review of the game & game-play.

The intrepid scrivener complains that you have to use an unwanted (and, maybe more accurately, unfair) amount of foresight in choosing your SPECIAL attributes, because short-changing yourself on a category early on will make later game-play tough if, for example, you want to use a weapon but it requires more Perception than you have allocated yourself.

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I suppose I should not be surprised that from GuardianUK's perspective, soft-Marxist doggerel is essential to video game diversion.  It really cannot be overstated:  games must provide that No Child Left Behind vibe, a safe space for the game-player, everyone equal, no advantages in any native talent because we're all natively talented and most of all, fungible entities.

I think I have that correctly, but I'll wait to be rectified by the self-appointed paladins of Ultimate Truth.

Perhaps if F4 made every player equal to every other player who chooses to play the game, and furthermore, equal to every NPC encountered in the game, it could earn a 10/10 from GuardianUK.  Then you could start out with low Perception but still be able to use that wicked sniper rifle you pick up at Level 10.  The choices you made at Level 1 should not hamper your progress.  And progress is what matters, because without progress nobody's equal.

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If you go back to your 4th grade school class, do you remember every one of your classmates as being equal to every other classmate in every field of inquiry, every facet of human talent, every display of human morphology?

Were there kids who could play a musical instrument almost as if they were born doing so?  Others whose talents at mathematics made them seem like little Euclids?  How about the ones who could draw or paint as if it took no practice or refinement, relative to your own abilities?

Were there fat kids?  Skinny kids?  Kids with red hair?  How about freckles?  Any kids who already had a moustache?

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The Fallout series doesn't promise Utopia -- not as an experience in the game world, not as a refinement of the driving plot, and not as a game-playing concept.

It might even be a no-risk proposition to say that a watering-down of the game, in a manner that would raise its GuardianUK review score from 7/10 to 10/10, might leave only the rare few wanting to play it.

I think a different game is in order for GuardianUK readers:  one where the game is basically a story told in animation cinema, with minor occasional interruptions for the most routine levels of game-controller-device manipulation.  Perhaps L.A. Noire is more their speed.

22 comments:

Frank Lee, Professional Amateur Gamer said...

Not bad for an amateur amateur gamer, Chet.

Paul Behrer said...

Big money on the idea that Guardian readers don't want to imagine nukes as anything but the savior of our ...cough cough... energy problem. Post-nuke-apoc world would be shiny happy land, bro! Nukes are clean energy, they'd clean the world of ugly reactionaries!

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

It's more that the scared little proggies would prefer to be eternal like Mr House in FNV, plus huge and powerful while also being articulate like Marcus up at Jacobstown in FNV, and have at their ready deploy something like the Liberty Prime über-battle-bot, with all the brainpower resident at both The Institute (F4) and BigMT (FNV OWB). That's Utopia in pwog-land.

Faith in pwogwess demands that technology will fix the fallout/slow decay of teratogenic/mutagenic emanations between now and whenever our glorious global leaders determine that it's time to wipe the planet clean of reactionaries with some nuke exchange.

Charles F. Oxtrot said...

We all know that technology is autocratic and eternally benign when not benevolent. And that it's self-executing, in a manner that both promises and delivers exponential growth in progress. More than anything else in the corporal world and especially the metaphysical one, technology is the secular divinity to rule all soi-dissant divines otherwise roaming the astral planes.

We must all be reminded: in the post-medieval days architects designed cathedrals to dwarf humankind, to create reverence and awe for the divinity residing within; now it is incumbent upon us to recognize our prior mistake in putting faith in a divinity other than something humankind fabricates. We are duty-bound to put our faith in technology, which will save us from any mistakes created and acted upon by the reactionary contingent within humanity.

Chet Redweld said...

Strangely ironic that exponential growth on a path which seeks progress is one of the cellular reactions to radiation exposure at certain wavelengths.

I suppose we should ignore that because there are other radiation therapies available to one whose body has succumbed to the exponential growth/eternal progress tissue mutation, so it all balances out as an overall positive.

It's natural to be afraid of the unknown. I've even heard it said that fear of the unknown is the root of all prejudice and destructive violence practiced by humans.

Clearly, therefore, the reactionaries among us are just afraid of the many positive things nuclear power can do for humanity, and their response is to object, and to see games like the Fallout series as sociopathically technophobic generally, and psychopathically against nuclear power specifically. Anyone who has played Fallout games knows that a Nuka-Cola Victory gives you 10 Action Points and 3 Hit Points, and that other negative side-effect stuff is just the price you pay for being a temporary badass, combat-wise. Adding 10 RADs and taking a -1 hit on Perception is so minor as to be negligible. If you can't see the positives clearly outweigh the so-called negative side-effects, you're not understanding the benefits of technology.

Chet Redweld said...

Actually, with a little less of the surgical approach and a little more of the stay-on-topic-with-the-main-entry perspective, I'd say that the GuardianUK reader just wants it all to be neutral in all ways. It's fine if statistically your character has major radiation poisoning, but let's not have your character actually experience any negative effects. Just keep it on paper.

It's like economics.

Harold Caidagh said...

None of them saw Beneath the Planet of the Apes, or those who did simply have evolved socially to that post-ironic, meta-hipster position of Beneath being "campy fun" or some other metrosexual, dictated-by-Pink-Velvet-Mafiosi meme-du-jour.

Since they lack a firm grasp on understanding the concept of irony, they often play out ironies with their popularity-obsessed, no-principles, weathervane approach to "taking a stand" with SJW rhetoric.

Thus, nukes can't be bad because nuke power is clean and requires sophisticated technology to create, and that technological sophistication proves we're Top of the Food Chain and serves as a monument to our progress.

I can only guess these robots have no conscience, because I'd have a tough time sleeping at night myself if I were such a Say This But Do That kind of hypocrite, especially when my Say This component is so strident, dictatorial, and pretending to occupy some higher moral ground.

The new Progressive Temple?

http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/planetoftheapes/images/4/4e/Mutant_service.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20090917145329

Honoria Helper, L.C.S.W. said...

I wonder if you gentlemen might be picking on quite a few stereotypes and using them as proxies for a perspective you don't understand -- namely, the Progressive viewpoint. True Progressives don't behave as any of you are suggesting. One of the driving forces in the Progressive wing of the Democratic Party is the avoidance of inconsistency and constant vigilance toward potential hypocrisy. For example, we Progressives mounted a tsunami of activism leading into the 2008 elections, reminding the world of how reactionary the Repthuglicans had been during the terror-reign of Bush-Cheney. We helped elect Obama, our nation's first Black man to hold the office of POTUS. We couldn't have done these things if we were hypocrites.

Harold Caidagh said...

I'm sunburnt from basking in the powerful rays of Change brought by Obama. It's a completely different world now, as compared to January 2009. So much cleaner, so much brighter. No more police-state tactics from the FAA and boarding planes is quick-and-easy thanks to that abolition of TSA, no fear-mongering about National Security since Obama disbanded DHS, no bogey-men constantly in the news for their horrible acts in some nation abroad whose women are being treated unfairly by modern American SJW rhetorical standards, cops have stopped using excessive force when confronting people who aren't committing criminal acts. The list goes on and on. It's a totally different world now. Obama/Biden has been the opposite of Bush/Cheney, not an extension and expansion of it.

Honoria Helper, L.C.S.W. said...

Kudos for your eager and well-described optimism, Mr Caidagh. If you think we've brought big changes since January 2009, wait until Obama passes the torch to Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton. In fact, wait until he passes it to both, not in an either/or situation. Co-Presidents. Historical first. And the social progress they will usher in, it will amaze and astound even the most hardened heart and deadened skeptic.

Perhaps the Co-Presidents wish is fanciful, but I would not be surprised to see the ticket be Sanders/Clinton or vice versa. I would imagine Elizabeth Warren will be put in charge of SEC or maybe that Consumer Protection cabinet entity we've been seeking for at least 3 decades now. Of course Ralph Nader would be the obvious choice to many, but I'm still not forgiving him for ruining things in 2004.

Frank Lee, Professional Amateur Gamer said...

Can we get back to game discussion, or at least Chet's review of the GuardianUK review?

Chet Redweld said...

I think Honoria sees real-life consequences much as the GuardianUK reviewer of F4 sees them. You might understand that there are such consequences, yes there are -- but they're externalities, and what matters is the bottom line goal of progress. Keep those negative side effects as a statistic, sure. But let's not pretend they actually play out in real life as negatives. Not when there's so much progress all around us.

That's why I said the GuardianUK folks should play LA Noire. You really can't screw up in that game, the movie will keep playing, the assured ending will arrive within the same arrival/departure error timeframe that holds for the Washington DC Metro system's trains. You're along for the ride and it's a beautiful, scenic one. You're just the limousine passenger.

Honoria Helper, L.C.S.W. said...

Mr Redweld, in reply I would say that going through life so pessimistically has to take a toll on your psyche.

And while I am not a video game player, if this Fallout 4 game is as pessimistic about nuclear power as you suggest, I would think it terribly depressing to play a game that surrounds you with such negativity. I might even think such games are unhealthy. From that point of view, I am surprised GuardianUK was generous enough to give 7/10. Anything that would make me wallow in despair in the manner you have described as being the Fallout world, it would have to earn no higher than 3/10 or 4/10. I would imagine 5/10 being the break point for uplifting game experience, versus despair-wallowing game experience.

Chet Redweld said...

The Disney World approach holds its appeal, I guess. As long as you recognize it's called fantasy for a reason, and that reason relates to the definition of fantasy.

Memorizing the definition of fantasy and acknowledging its category status is not the same as understanding fantasy as a contrast to reality, you know.

Harold Caidagh said...

Even the Capitalist Doctrinal Commentator finds problems with real-world negatives and the lack of Utopia at game's end or anywhere midstream:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2015/11/13/the-5-biggest-problems-with-fallout-4/

Of course I think UNSF threw a dagger at the same publication over its failure to accurately predict the failure of another Bethesda product, ESO. Not exactly convinced that people whose primary aim in life is acquiring more money and lavish trinkets containing within their number multimillion dollar yachts with helipad would have any idea what computer games are for. I'm pretty sure game designers aren't targeting Mark Cuban or Jackie Onassis with their ideas, story lines, or game play mechanics.

But it's a little scary to see this publication pitching fits over tangential ideas. Its review of F4 is like Tarzie "criticizing" Greenwald by fuming over his choices of necktie, fingernail buffing, or haircut.

Frank Lee, Professional Amateur Gamer said...

Chet, given the slant of your remarks above it would seem you would be critical of energy weapons to the point of not using them when you play Fallout games. Do you use energy weapons, power armor, etc., when you play Fallout games?

Chet Redweld said...

Frank,

I treat energy weapons in Fallout world much like I treat magic-as-a-weapon in the Elder Scrolls games. I play the two game worlds similarly, stealth characters who rely on ranged weapons but may develop a facility for close combat, or energy weapons/magic-as-weapon, for purely practical reasons. In Fallout, energy weapons tend to be useless against Deathclaws and weak against well-armored characters. They are weak at lower levels just like magical attacks are weak for low-level mages in TES games. Firearms can be more effective with use of armor piercing or hollow point rounds. Unless you are a 100+ Guns character in Fallout world, you're not going to take down Deathclaws easily without a Brush Gun, Sniper Rifle, well modified Hunting Rifle, or Anti-Materiel Rifle. (There are legends around the interwebz about people using the Red Ryder BB gun to take out the Legendary Deathclaw, but people playing Fallout on PC with a heavily modded version of the game remind me of trying to relate my own basketball skills against those of Michael Jordan. That's not the world I work in.)

In FNV, the YCS/186 is a pretty effective energy weapon analog to the Brush Gun or Anti-Materiel Rifle, but it doesn't seem to deliver one-shots on big enemies as easily as the AMR.

What I find funny about the Fallout world is their motor vehicles were nuke reactor powered just before the Big Cashout. I bet early death and heavy mutations of the most heritable kind were prevalent among those nuke-cruising drivers.

Chet Redweld said...

Also, no power armor. Usually light but sometimes medium armor. In FNV, if I want power armor on my side of the equation, I bring along Veronica Santangelo and let her use her Paladin Toaster etc. Rex with a new brain from Violetta is another good brutal melee assistant.

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

The Deathclaws of Fallout 3 are weak compared to the ones of FNV. You can go to Old Olney pretty early on in your F3 journey and survive the clutch of Deatchlaws that come after you. If you tried the same in FNV and walked right into Quarry Junction ignoring what Chomps Lewis tells you, you might last 15 seconds after the first Deathclaw sees you. The F3 Deatchlaws are more vulnerable to energy weapons than the FNV ones.

I don't know why that is. The history lore says there's only a 4 year difference in when each setting happens, big-time chronology wise.

Honoria Helper, L.C.S.W. said...

It certainly sounds to me like you gentlemen spend too much time in front of your television, and not enough time in the presence of your neighbors in your community.

Harold Caidagh said...

Yeah, those neighbors who are walking around in public while attention-glued to their smartphones? Those people?

Chet Redweld said...

Let me tell you that at Guns 100, I am routinely killing Deathclaws in FNV. One-shots happen with the sniper rifle (+ Carbon Parts + Silencer) fired from stealth using .308 Armor Piercing. Kills within 2-3 shots (torso &/or head) happen with Marksman Carbine in open (non-stealth) combat using 5.56mm Armor Piercing. No VATS used in stealth kills or open combat.

Other relevant stats:

Sneak 100

Strength 7
Perception 6
Intelligence 6
Agility 10
Luck 5

And even with Energy Weapons 100 I don't use them against Deathclaws.

I'm using light armor -- Joshua Graham's body armor and Salt-Upon-Wounds's helmet.

Veronica Santangelo is my companion and she's using the Saturnite Fist Super-Heated that I got from OWB. She has one-punched Young Deathclaws but definitely not adult ones. They usually take her down and knock her unconscious.

Character level is 36.