I’ve been playing the Fallout series since middle school (1997) back when it looked like a Diablo clone and fights were turn-based hex affairs. I’ve been playing Fallout for so long that I still have my generic Lego spaceman, spray-painted silver with tubes super-glued to his helmet to look more like power armor. Every time a new Fallout game drops I start telling my friends about the good ol’ days, back when we had to walk ten miles uphill through radiation storms for a bottle of Nuka-Cola. So when I was hit by the deluge of negative comments from older gamers about the new perk system, I expected to join the hate train pretty early. After all, hundreds of rabid fans can’t all be wrong, can they?
Yah they can! And I love the new perk system. But while we’re on the subject irksome things, there are a few game mechanics I would agree need a modder’s touch. Things like…
1) Fence Guides
These. These motherfuckers right here are what we need for Fallout 4. I’m not the only one who has taken to the internet to complain about the fences in Fallout 4’s construction mode. Walls snap-to onto other walls, floors, and roof sections, making it easy to construct buildings with clean 90-degree lines. In fact, founding settlements and setting up trade routes are, for me, the number one feature of this game.
Unless you plan on fencing in said settlement.
Fences (with attached posts) will snap-to. However, with additional complications like elevation, object collision, and object clipping, building fences around a settlement usually results in crisscrossing segments, fences stacked in layers, and floating fence-posts. My goddamn settlement looks like God tried to draw a crossword puzzle in cyclone steel and accidentally dropped a village in the middle.
What we need are fence guides. Just one of these bastards at the base of each new fence-line would allow you to ‘swing’ or ‘snap’ every fence segment, and adjust automatically for elevation so you can build a fence downhill without it turning into a spike-strip where it buries into the ground.
2) Wheelbarrows & Shopping Carts
Hobos have mastered using shopping carts for transporting goods in excess of 200 lbs, so why can’t I? The earliest wheelbarrow was being used around 200 AD. Why in the hell hasn’t my character (with his 7 Intelligence) figured out how to utilize the wheel?
I know I’m the Lone Survivor– a man displaced by time, in a world he doesn’t understand–but lugging around a hiking backpack worth of junk every trip should be a clue. Atlas he is not. And I refuse to believe a man responsible for rebuilding a dozen settlements in the post-apocalypse future would be able to supply each of those budding villages with a goddamn knapsack. There are even shopping carts in-game, yet the best my character can do is hip-thrust against them in futility.
Where’s Cormac McCarthy when you need him?
3) Car Keys (For Armor)
The first time you catch one of your settlers raking the lawn in your hard-won power armor, you will laugh. And yes, allies can and will hijack your powersuits if they find them with the batteries still plugged into the back. This is tantamount to stealing the bosses’ Ferrari to pick up the kids, because he was stupid enough to park it where you might stroll by.
“Just remove the fusion core.” Says the internet, collectively. To which I say; I will not.
I’m the warlord of this world. I built this settlement from mud and fallen logs. These auto-turrets didn’t just walk in and plant themselves because they were competing for Raider kills. If I want to leave my power armor plugged into the armor rack while I go melt Supermutant faces, I should damn well be able to. Wearing my power armor to make your gardening easier is a good way of telling me you want to be on night watch for the next raider attack. Standing in front of the guard tower. Naked. With a pistol and one bullet.
4) Another Game (While We Wait For Fallout 4)
Fallout 4 introduces several mini-games, with achievements for playing them tied to your Steam account. Games like Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, and Missile Command. Fine. That’s cute and nostalgic. Now make them available during the insanely long loading screens.
Fallout 4 is one of the biggest open worlds I’ve seen in a game. Which makes for some of the biggest loading times. That’s alright though. I can make concessions, especially with a game this involved, with so much immersion. But giving me play-tips at the loading screen is an insult in a game with 400 hours of content. After hour 5 you’ve seen every tip the game has to offer. How about taking those quaint Atari games and making them available in-between loads? Give us a little Skip Game button if we don’t want to play Red Menace, and load the rusted-out hellscape that is Fallout behind the 8-bit knockoff.
Or, you know, tell me about Deathclaws again.