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Frustration at the Molecular Level in Fallout 4

Written by Benke the 12th of January 2016 at 10:58

This blog will spoil some parts of a mission halfway through the main story of Fallout 4. If you haven't made it there you may not want to continue reading. I was about 60 hours into Fallout 4. I had mainly been focussing on side quests, exploration the Commeonwealth looking for weird locations, collectibles, guns and equipment. But the time had come to progress the main story a little, partially because I wanted to progress the Brotherhood of Steel questline (they're intertwined), and this is where I came across the first truly rage quit level frustration I'd had with the game. It's an open world RPG from Bethesda so you expect some issues and you tend to save often. But nothing could prepare me for The Molecular Level, and more specifically it's final section where you build a fancy device to teleport you into the Institute.

I spent hours, not collecting the materials needed for the four pieces of the device or the generators needed to power it. No I spent hours placing them in various combinations in the hopes to trigger the next part of the quest. Playing on Xbox One and choosing the Brotherhood of Steel as my partner in teleportation - thus I built it at the Boston Airport site. For some reason even if there was enough power I couldn't get the platform to power up. Well, first I could get the platform and emitter to connect as I needed to scrap the rug underneath (never assemble IKEA furniture on a rug). Turns out I had to store all the items and place them in this order platform, emitter, generators, control console, relay dish. Then I first needed to connect the generators (6 medium sized ones) to eachother and the emitter, until finally I connected the control console and the relay dish. Voilá. Any other sequence and it wouldn't work. Freeform building is nice and all, but if it's part of the main questline it needs to work with quest triggers regardless of the order in which you build things (otherwise you need to inform the player exactly in what order you need to build it). There was no indication of what I was doing wrong in game, and quite frankly I'm clueless as to how this ever made it through testing. I'm guessing the testers were so efficient in the rules for building and how triggers work that they didn't notice just how horrible the user experience is and the level of frustration it will cause. Of course, you may be lucky and nail the sequence first time. Or some of this may be specific to the faction you go with or the location you build on (with the Minutemen I assume you've got plenty of choice). I realise it's difficult to test all conditions, but making sure quest objectives are trigger and marked as cleared properly is such a fundamental thing that Bethesda need to be called out on it. And I should perhaps add that Fallout 4 remains my personal Game of the Year for 2015 in spite of the Molecular Level.

Finally, Ingram. Stop fiddling with the Relay Dish for heaven's sake!