Nothing S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Just My Big Boy – Fallout 4 Impressions

Games like Fallout 4 only come around every 5 years or so. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim came out in 2011, and for the last 4 years, it was the game to which all open world RPGs have been compared to. Fallout 4 is going to be that game now for the next several years until Bethesda outdoes themselves again, and make no mistake, they’ve outdone themselves, big time. I won’t be reviewing this game, heck, I probably won’t even finish it this year, and we all know it’s a great game, so here’s my impression of it so far.

Choices matter. In any open world RPG, if your choices don’t affect the story, it’s a bad game. The amount of choices I’ve been given in the last few days of playing Fallout 4 have been staggering. First off, you have to choose between being a male or female protagonist. No big deal for Bethesda, right? Wrong. Unlike previous entries, this game is fully voice acted, much like The Witcher 3, and so far, it’s done just as well. Gone are the days of your silent protagonist, character interactions are mostly small cutscenes now, and sometimes, being blunt gives you blunt results like in the video above. I expected maybe a little pushback when I said “Kill the Synth,” but nope, he was dead 2 seconds later. I have no idea what a Synth, or The Institute for that matter is, but that happens in open world games. Sometimes you’re thrust between factions without even knowing it. There’s also a million weapons to choose from, my personal favorite so far is a Chinese Officer’s Sword. As you’ve also seen, I also have a Big Boy, but I’ve yet to find any ammo for it, so who knows, shooting mini nukes may become my favorite weapon. There’s a bunch of different guns, melee weapons, and other stuff, including a freeze gun. Personally, I suck at using guns in Fallout 4, and I’ve done just fine with a melee build so far, occasionally pulling out a gun for unreachable enemies, so there’s plenty of choice in weaponry. The biggest new addition to Fallout 4 are settlements, where you tear down and rebuild places so that you have safe territories to send workers, store items, mod weapons, or just take a break from killing raiders, and there’s more than one. Settlements take a lot of time to work on, so it’s up to you to choose how robust your settlements become. Aside from story, battle, and settlement choices, you also have to decide at the beginning of the game where to dump a lot your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points.

Stats in Fallout 4 are kind of complicated, but here’s the dumbed down version. Each category has 10 levels with a perk for each level. Some perks have multiple levels. Unlike previous Bethesda entries, there is no level cap, which means you can eventually get every perk and every level. Unless you’re playing on PC, getting all those perks will take a very long time. So choosing what to pick first will set your tone for the rest of the game, because you can’t respec later on. Are you going to focus on crafting, or survival, or maybe hacking and lock picking? There’s a lot to choose from. You start off with 20 something points which can only be used for category increases, but no perks. As you see above, I put most into Intelligence because more intelligence gives you more experience, but depending on how you play, you might focus elsewhere.


So, I’m going to get back to playing Fallout 4. I’m only level 7. I am not prepared for what lies ahead. Let us know in the comments below how you’re enjoying the game. This is my first time playing a Fallout game, and I’m sorry I wasn’t sooner. I’ve played my share of Elder Scroll games, so I’m familiar with a lot of the basic mechanics, but I’m enjoying the hell out of this new setting.


Game Information
Name: Fallout 4
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Game purchased by reviewer and reviewed on the PS4.

All Geeks Must Die! – An Original Short Story by Giovanni Russano

Don’t ask us how, but somehow in the Geeks of the Round Back Channel chat we got onto the subject of horror stories and all of us being in one.  Since we happen to know a damn good author, Giovanni Russano decided to actually make it happen.  So, submitted for your approval, is a horror story starring your favorite editors/hosts/vidcast guests from the Geeks of the Round crew.

This story is not for kids. It is a horror story, which means that it is bloody and violent at times. It also includes other forms of adult content including drug use and implied nudity. If you have any problems with any of that, please do not read this story. Geeks of the Round and its staff have no intention or want to offend anyone with this story, but if you are then that’s on you. You can download the full story, in PDF form, via the link in the image below.  You can also have Mr. Russano kill you on paper as well;  just sign up here.  Lastly, if you like what you read here, you can find his books at http://www.rottinghorse.com. Mr. Russano did not ask for us to endorse him, and we paid full price for the story; we just really like his work and figured he deserved a shout out.

Here is an excerpt from the story:

  “No,” Charles said with his old man voice and crossed his arms over his chest. “I’m staying right here. I’ve had a good enough night, thank you. More partying is not worth the risk of entering that building and getting raped or murdered or stepping on a needle and getting Hep-C. No way. Not doing it. You wanna go? Fine. Have fun. Bye bye.” He waved and smiled sarcastically.

  “Dude, chill out,” Mr. Lou tried. “Don’t get so worked up over it. I’ll stay here with you and wait. If everything is fine then someone will come back out and get us,” he paused and thought, “Why is the first place you go always rape?”

  “It’s a legitimate thing to fear!” Charles fired back.

Click on the picture below for the PDF and Enjoy!

Screenshot from 2015-06-11 17:11:12


				
					

Supergirl – Episode 3

This week’s episode was all about separating Supergirl’s story from Superman’s, but I’ll get to that later. One thing I’ve noticed is that the writers are pushing a lot of anti-sexist sound bites into the show. Whether this is a reaction to the criticism the initial trailer received, or it was always intended, I don’t know, but it’s a good thing. My spoiler-laden review begins after the warning image.

Spoilers

This episode begins where the last one ended – at the beginning of Supergirl’s interview with Kat Daniels. Their exchange sees Kara hit back at a sexist question, and in the same breath shows her inexperience by revealing too much. This leads to the villain-of-the-week, Reactron, learning that Kara is Superman’s cousin. In a departure from the comics, Reactron is portrayed as one of Superman’s tougher enemies, and one that he had never really defeated. This leads to many people telling Kara to call in her cousin to help.

Supergirl E3 Interview

Cue a couple of battles. It wouldn’t be a superhero show without some battles. The kink in the plan, however, is that Hank Henshaw and the DEO refuse to help on the grounds that Reactron is not an alien, therefore outside of their jurisdiction.

After a tease last week, Maxwell Lord is fully introduced. Lord is usually a good guy, but here he comes across as self serving and overconfident. He’s not shown as likeable, and yet, as Reactron tries to kidnap one of his people, he volunteers to take his place, and then helps Reactron repair his suit. When Supergirl comes to his rescue, Reactron gains the upper hand, and before our hero can gather her wits, Superman swoops in to the rescue. One reason Superman needs to stop appearing is the way he has to appear blurry all the time.

Supergirl E3 Damselled

And here we have it. Supergirl is damselled. The good thing is that this is not the end of the episode. Reactron is not defeated by the big blue guy, but at least a very annoyed Kara is saved. She then discovers that Jimmy had called in Superman, and is even less happy. It gets even worse when Maxwell thanks Superman for his rescue rather than Supergirl. Kara doesn’t get whiny. She gets furious. She also manages to turn it around and save a couple of guys who get damselled, but that happens later.

Supergirl E3 Kat and Kara

Meanwhile, the subplots continue – Kara manages to have Kat unwittingly mentor her in how to be a better Supergirl, her budding crush on Jimmy Olsen gets noticed by Alex, and then gets crushed by the arrival of Jimmy’s ex, Lucy Lane (Lois’ little sister).

Supergirl E3 Hank

Hank Henshaw’s mini reveal as being more than human is shown in a bit more detail, along with a hint about his powers – he senses that Alex Danvers is working off book on helping Kara with Reactron, and while his red eyes are ominous, and his presence is imposing, he volunteers to help Alex rather than restrict her.

Supergirl E3 Magazine

The writers’ attempts to pour on a pro gender equality message is shown even in set dressing. Supergirl’s magazine cover shows a secondary headline regarding shattering the glass ceiling. I’m, of course, loving all of these little mentions that promote gender equality, and I hope they continue, but I also hope that they become a little less like sound-bites and more like natural conversations.

This episode was a little heavy handed. It didn’t feel as solid as the second episode, but it was still better than the pilot. It achieved what it set out to in that Kara has a chat conversation with Clark where he admits that Reactron was a job for Supergirl, and that he won’t step in again. Hopefully that will reduce the frequent mentions of Superman. While this story is about Superman’s cousin, it’s not about Superman. He really needs to be less of a feature in the show. This episode scores a solid 7.5/10, purely because of the many small touches that show how Kara is growing into her role, both in and out of costume. The actors are also coming to terms with their characters, and their performances are improving.

Do you think Superman will become less of a feature on the show? Where do you think the next episode will go? How long before we find out who the mystery person was at the end of episode 2?

Let me know in comments!

Happy Veterans Day From Geeks Of The Round

On this, Veterans Day and coincidentally the Marine Corps Birthday, we here at Geeks of the Round would like to thank the men and women of the Armed Forces, both those that are serving now and have served in the past. The act of handing your life over, even for a short time, in service of your nation should never be forgotten. Both DeAno Jackson and myself being Marines ourselves, we truly appreciate the courage and dedication that is so prevalent in service members of all branches. The sacrifice needed to put your country before yourself.
So to all my former JROTC friends that served after, to my Ruddock family service members, to my grandfather and to all of you that have served, I speak for all of Geeks of the Round when I say “Thank you for your service”.
And to all of you, especially to the Marines out there..
Semper Fi
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Spectre Review

Garnering hype is a challenge when your third act revelation and true identity of your nefarious villain is common knowledge to moviegoers months leading up to release. Studios and production members can deny astute fans uncovering the reality all they want, but all they were prolonging was inevitable disappointment; a reveal intended to shock that in actuality comes across hollow, eliciting the immortal three words of “No shit, Sherlock”. If you don’t know who the character is beforehand, that’s okay too, but I’m also not sure you’ll get anything out of it because the whole situation is handled surprisingly uneventful, almost rendered meaningless.

There is a point when Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz) tells James Bond (Daniel Craig) that he is “The author of all his pain” which is quite the loaded statement, but one that never truly resonates or rings true. Yes, he’s the leader of the titular shadowy organization dubbed Spectre and has deep personal connections to the life of James Bond, but you never get an earnest sense of that relationship. Simply put, a rivalry billed as personal doesn’t feel personal at all. Waltz is admittedly fairly menacing in the role, but the movie also somewhat wastes his talent by giving him very little screen-time outside of the third act.

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That one problem stems from an even larger, overarching issue; Spectre‘s stubbornness to root itself in formulaic nostalgia. Outside of modern day Aston Martins, cutting-edge special-effects, and updated weaponry, Spectre is scripted and played out as if it were a James Bond film of old. The big baddie has a super secret base in the middle of nowhere that takes 66% of the running time to locate, disposable physically imposing henchmen to carry out his dirty work (I will touch on Dave Bautista’s impressive turn later in the review), incredibly stupid plans for global control, and nearly every woman in sight is ready to fuck James Bond, because he’s well, James Bond.

That last note in particular is more frustrating because Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux) starts off resisting his suave posture and charming ways of comforting those under emotional distress. She is here for revenge in the name of her father just as much as James Bond is on a personal quest to bring down this organization, but after a superbly crafted fight sequence on a train with Hinx (Bautista), they decide to shag, presumably riding the high adrenaline of survival. It’s a shame because as the daughter of an assassin who hypothetically could turn down, at the very least, sexual temptation, it would have made for a nice juxtaposition between Monica Bellucci’s character who immediately gets down with James Bond after saving her life. Spectre is an homage to classic Bond through and through however, so prepare yourself for quite a bit of love making.

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Spectre isn’t an awful movie by any stretch of the imagination however, it’s just a soul-crushing step down from how amazing Skyfall ended up. In that film, James Bond failed to save various important characters (something referenced quite a bit here as a lazy attempt to make Oberhauser a more convincing threat), went up against a villain numerous times throughout the duration of the movie in a number of excellent action sequences, and most importantly, Skyfall examined characters on a deeper level than “James Bond and his associates are pretty cool, they save the day, James Bond gets the girl, the end”.

At the end of the day, it’s impossible to deny the thrill of moments like the opening Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City, complete with stunning Halloween reminiscent costumes and beautiful cinematography that tracks citizens enjoying the festivities all while James Bond walks across the rooftops of buildings before eventually getting into some peril including crumbling structures. The opening 15 minutes of Spectre (especially the mesmerizing opening credits montage featuring Sam Smith’s “Writings On The Wall”) set you up for what should be 150 minutes of spectacular storytelling and blistering chaos.

Unfortunately though, the movie does fizzle out quick and fast. One of the only enjoyable aspects of the action is the aforementioned Hinx side villain portrayed by Bautista. He makes the absolute most out of getting to take part in a James Bond film, and together with Craig creates some ferocious and primal carnage as they battle it out inside a train. Even his introduction to the scene where he out of focus casually walks up to the table James Bond and Madeleine are dining at, to kick it straight up in the air sends a message, jolting audiences. It’s an unexpected jump scare, and subtly one of the best moment in the entire film.

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It also goes without mentioning that even though Spectre can’t deliver on making its narrative interesting, even with plot twists, things do pick up considerably when Christoph Waltz is allowed to tear up the screen as a classically cheesy villain. The amount of punishment this guy survives is nothing short of ridiculous, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t love every single moment he came back.

Some have said that the official theme song by Sam Smith is a grower. Well, I found Spectre highly disappointing and mediocre, but who knows, maybe it too is a grower.

Rating: 2.5/5