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StarFleet Carl: Blog

April 20, 2017
Posted at 9:48 pm

An updated Fall-Out 4 review (and a new chapter)

First, the easy stuff. Chapter 58 is posted and should be up for reading any time now. If you have an issue with plural marriages, well, too bad. There's also a couple of surprise wedding guests as well. And once again, just because I didn't want to do the Thieves Guild questline as it was in the game doesn't mean we're not doing some of the quests. (That's okay, someone noticed that I sort of avoided the College of Winterhold questline as well recently. Patience! I can only kill off the Thalmor so quickly, after all.)

Also a public shout out to Wayde. You're the reason this chapter ended the way it did. I honestly hadn't considered it at all. Three guesses some of what happens in Chapter 59, and the first two don't count!

I decided to update my review on FallOut 4 from March 10, since I started the game over and played through it a LOT more. (As in, slightly more than 250 hours over a couple of weeks - amazing how much couch time you get while recovering from foot surgery.) That, and I managed to snag a deal on all the DLC, which, while it didn't change some things, made the game more immersive. And according to MXR (look him up on YouTube), making it immersive is what it's all about. Immersive as f*&k, actually.

Having said that, screw playing the game without mods. It's a grind. We're playing to have fun, not spend hours trying to drag supplies from point A to point B so you can upgrade things - and then find out you need one more something or other. I'm playing on the Xbox One, and I have 36 total mods loaded and running. Here's a simple list:

Unofficial FO4 patch, Cheat Terminal , WRVR - New Companion, Snap'n Build, K-9 Harness, Realistic Bullets, Full Dialogue Interface, Busty EV, One Minuteman Radiant Quest at a Time, Pleasing Piper Attitude Adjuster, Ponytail Hairstyles by Azar, Player Marriage, Sexy Lingerie, Girly Animation, Increased Settler Limit Awareness, Improved and Rechargeable Stealth, Power Conduit Radius and No Build Limit, Upgrade to Crafting, 1950's Feminine Outfits with stockings, Push Away Companions, Visible Companion Affinity, Minutemen Morale Pack, Better Settlers, Companion Tracker, Ashara FO4 Under Armors, Vault 111 Settlement, Unlimited Companion Framework, Disable God Rays, Improved Map with visible roads, Alert Carry - Lower your weapons, The Cheaters Den, Realistic Ragdoll Force, Loving Cait, Loving Curie, Loving Piper

Seems like a long list - but you'll note that a chunk of them are just eye candy. (Hey, I'm a guy, since I can't do nudity on the Xbox, being able to have the girls run around in sexy lingerie works!)

Anyway, suddenly NOW the game becomes much more than I think Bethesda ever though it would be. The Full Dialogue Interface means you get to see what you're going to say first, making it okay to be snarky. Unlimited Companion Framework - no having to pick and choose who's going to go with you. You want Valentine AND Piper along when you go explore Far Harbor? Take 'em both with you. (And Far Harbor is … a damn good DLC. Well worth it.) Want to take Hancock and MacReady with you to Nuka-World? Take 'em both with you. Oh, and Nuka-World is fun, too, but … I don't know that I could actually do part of what the DLC wants you to do. But if you like being a Raider and don't mind destroying what you built in the Commonwealth, go for it. With the Automatron DLC, it's not much of a questline, but … yeah, make your own robots. There's just something pretty fun about running into a Behemoth, and having your own personal robot armed with gatling lasers. Or even better, your own personal ARMY of robots armed with gatling lasters. They chew up feral ghouls quite nicely.

To give you an idea - I've started another play through. About 40 hours into it. I'm married to Cait and Piper, romancing Preston, flirting with Danse, finding more things that I've missed from previous playthroughs, fixed the castle walls and have it defended with 40 laser and rocket turrets, have 15 settlements going strong … and I haven't been to see Nick Valentine to advance the main quest at all. It's sort of like Skyrim, where you turn left instead of right. Eventually you end up at High Hrothgar, but there's so much to do, you don't HAVE to do it right away - and it's really best to NOT do it right away. Same thing with FO4 - so with mods, I really do recommend the game. (It's still not the RPG that Skyrim is, but … meh, it's fun and addictive. Now, excuse me, I need to go build my own Vault...)

April 13, 2017
Posted at 9:15 pm

Life twists and a new chapter

Well, the wife is changing jobs again. This is one of those blessings in disguise, because that means she won't be moving up a corporate ladder and being forced to move to one of the places that God has already put the enema into the United States. There are several, but I truly loathe Chicago.

Keep in mind I'm originally from Indiana, so I know all about that city on the lake. I've been there many a time. Never felt safe at all. And keep in mind that there are people who will drive by and shoot at the National Guard armories there - and due to the stupidity of their gun laws, the soldiers can't defend themselves. So yeah, that shining example of liberalism in action isn't my favorite place.

So it's a good thing that she quit. And it's not like she'll have a tough time getting a new job - not with her actual avocation. (Nurse. Do I really need to say more?)

As for the story, I figure I'm going to get a couple of e-mails from some of the people who regularly send me feedback. You guys have helped me a lot. Wayde, you've even influenced the future of the storyline, but you'll have to wait a couple of weeks to see how.

Poor Surgus ... death by snu-snu with three housecarls... (Okay, he doesn't die. But having to satisfy those three women? Hope he's UP to the challenge.)


April 6, 2017
Posted at 8:45 pm

Who saw this coming?

Chapter 56 has been uploaded and will be available shortly. I'm curious if anyone saw the way this was going. Ah, well, at least at some point in the near future there's going to be wedding bells for someone. It was actually interesting figuring out how to make what's happening and going to happen fit in with the lore of the game. It may not be canon, but it does fit.

I may also have not particularly wanted to do the Thieves Guild questline. This sort of takes care of that, I think. Martina may at times be rather devious, don't you think? Everyone have a good week and here's hoping we don't have a tornado or two. (It's spring, I live in Oklahoma, of COURSE we're going to have a tornado or two - it's just WHERE are they going to hit is the question...)

March 30, 2017
Posted at 9:54 pm

I feel like Charles Durning (New chapter uploaded)

Okay, maybe not in a way anyone is thinking. Unless you also have the slightly oddball sense of humor I do.

Specifically, dancing a little sidestep. (C'mon, you mean you haven't seen that movie? Let's put it this way - Whitney wouldn't have had a Bodyguard if Dolly hadn't written and done I Will Always Love You first.)

Anyway, I'm curious as to what you think about this chapter. Part of what happens is doable through a mod. But a lot of it isn't ... and I didn't really feel like playing the whole Thieves Guild questline. So ... I'm dancing a little sidestep. (Don't worry, there's another one coming later with the Mages Guild. Now taking suggestions on just how nasty a death to give Ancano..)

I just have one question. Is it supposed to be fun writing this? Because it's been a lot of fun. And things are starting to take a life of their own even more so, the further I deviate from the storyline. I'm scared ... and it's a lot more fun, that's for sure.

March 10, 2017
Posted at 11:58 pm

Reposting corrections and a game review (Fallout 4)

I'll be reposting a couple of chapters this week due to some minor errors I made. I actually wrote you're instead of your, and no one called me on it. There was another error also in that chapter. And I spelled a name wrong, so that bugs me.

I've now finished the 'main quest' playing a modded version of Fallout 4 on the Xbox console. One of the mods I used was the cheat console, because they are absolutely correct. Grinding is what we do to earn a living - when I'm playing video games, going on grinding mission after mission isn't a lot of fun, just to be able to get one more piece of junk to make into something else.

Did that ruin or destroy the game for me? Nope - no more than console commands destroyed The Elder Scrolls. I still have spent close to 200 hours in Fallout game play over the last 3 weeks. (No, I couldn't write that much, again, recovering from surgery, and no laptop.) Keep in mind that I easily have ten times that amount in Skyrim game play.

There will be SPOILERS if you've never played the game.

First, the good. Fallout 4 is a great, easily playable game. The richness of the environment, the level of graphic detail, and the level of voice acting detail are phenomenal, down to the original songs by Magnolia (aka Lynda Carter, for those of us who grew up worshipping her Wonder Woobies) You feel like you're wandering around in a post-apocalyptic wasteland that's populated by all sorts of people (and synths and mutants and ...). Due to the sheer volume of lines available in the game - over 110,000 lines of dialogue, and with you having 13,000 lines of dialgoue available for YOUR character - there's great immersion.

Now, the bad. Fallout 4 isn't an RPG. It's an open world version of 'The Sims' or Minecraft laid on top of a First Person Shooter, with an assortment of quests overlaid on top. Which means you're wandering through that wasteland - and killing everyone and everything. The actual main quest is rather short - which is actually similar to Skyrim in that respect. But unlike previous Fallout games, this one doesn't seem to have a lot of moral consequences for your actions. Oh, it might make your choice of companion not like you very much - but then again, a different companion might just love you for it.

There's definite replayability to the game, simply because there are many different choices to make. Having said that ... I still ended up playing FO4 like I do Skryim - sneaky archer. Or in this case, sneaky sniper. Stealth boy and what's effectively a Barrett on a high perch let's you rack up a LOT of kills. That's why I consider it shooter with role playing elements.

Oh, and for what it's worth, my first run-through, I ended up the General of the Minutemen, friends with the Railroad, and could care less about the Brotherhood - I may irritate them later just for the combat. I talked to Danse, but never finished any of it. (Who needs their stupid power armor - mine is already better than what they have.) And blew up the Institute, of course.

I suppose that's your moral compass. I just couldn't agree with the way the Institute was treating synths. And after a few in-game months of chasing after my lost baby ... well, I got over the death of my spouse and married Piper. And Garvey. (Yes, that's a mod.)

Quick Summary - it's a great action game. It's just the true role playing (and keep in mind I used to play the original Dungeons and Dragons, so I've done a LOT of role playing in assorted games over the last 40 years) isn't there.