Gump Of The Wastelands
I decided for my second play through of Fallout 4 to see what it was like playing a character that was a bit different to my usual style of play through. I’m usually a stealthy scamp, generally pleasant, perceptive, but open to thievery and mischief. This time I wanted a completely selfless, all round nice egg. Reliant on his good nature and luck to get by. Just how far can you get along in the apocalypse by being nice? Well, I thought, Forrest Gump would definitely try.
The rules I set out for myself were pretty straight forward. In conversation, pick the option that was friendly but a bit clueless. In gameplay, RUN. Everywhere. In combat, RUN. No sneaking. And only shoot if I really, really needed to. Oh, and here was the twist – The latest mission available, I had to start. Like a distracted St Bernard in hopes of helping the next person in need. Could I get anything done? Would I ever see my son again? Would Garvey let me? Only time would tell.
After a shaky start in the character editor, I filled in my personality points like the nice Vault Tec rep asks. Endurance, Agility and Luck are all off the charts, whilst the others are non-existent. I later fill in the charisma points as a first point of call, and I think I’ve got a pretty accurate Gump (in stats at least) ready to face the world. After leaving the vault, I find Jenny (who seems to want to be called Nora) has left me a nice tape so I can listen to her loving words and Shaun’s baby gurgles, to really kick me in the balls when I’m down. My mission is clear – I need to find Shaun! Codsworth points me in the direction of a place he knows I can try, so off I run, determination in each footfall. I meet a dog, and a band of travelling folk who are being held captive in a building and need help. My first dilemma – what do I do about raiders?
It turns out Dogmeat can dispatch raiders quite well, and I occasionally shoot one in the knees to help him out. So I send him into rooms first and burst in after, running around as a distraction and knee popping every now and again. It’s not efficient, but it gets Garvey and his people out the building. They ask me to go with them, so I think, ok, I can do that. It turns out they want to go live in my town, possibly even my house. Well, I guess that’s not so bad, I’m going off into the wastelands to find my son so I don’t really need a home any more. I’m about to leave to go do just that, when one of them asks me to make them some furniture… to make my house nicer for them to live in. So, with a heavy heart I smash up Shaun’s crib and belongings and turn it into some comfortable beds for them. Once again, I am on the cusp of adventure and son finding, when Garvey finds me mid water pump building and asks me to go help some other people he knows so they’ll be his friends again. I figure he must be tired from all the walking and standing he’s been doing whilst I restructure a town for him, so it’s a good job I’m so fit. I put down my tools and set off to Tempines Bluff.
Along the way I come across a woman and her addict recovering son having a heated debate with two other business associates. Guns are waved and threats fly, but I manage to calm everything down and everyone likes me. I buy some blue paint from the mother as a gesture of goodwill. And some Jet off the other party. Off I run again. When I get to Tempines Bluff I find out they want me to go murder a troupe of travellers called raiders. I’m not sure how I feel about this but I agree to help and set off deeper into the wastelands to see what I can do. It turns out they are pretty bad people. I send in Codsworth and dash about dodging bullets. It turns out my robot butler is pretty swift to BBQ. I’m back out the door to tell the settlers the tragic good news I’ve eliminated many lives for them to grow tomatoes without hassle. But what’s this? A radio signal? I stop in my tracks and instead home in on the distress call to see if I can help. I’ve not been back to Sanctuary for a long time, I’m on the verge of being over -encumbered and have the idiotic magpie need to continually pick things up and throw things down in a slowest juggling act/run to aid ever seen.
Laden down with everything but the kitchen sink, I meet the one and only Lieutenant Dan, who tells me to call him Paladin Danse. He interrogates me and then soon after recruits us into helping him with a mission of his own. He gives me the good grace to come back when I’m ready however, which is an excuse for me to run back and quickly try to tie up helping the settlers and getting myself healed up. I also finish off making the defence systems the settlers asked me for before Garvey told me to go help his chums.
This turns out to be a mistake. Garvey is so pleased with my handiwork he hunts me down on my way out of Sanctuary and tells me he is calling me General of his one man army. It feels like a compliment but I must admit, by this point I’m wary whenever I see this cowboy hatted man patrolling towards me. I give him the benefit of the doubt and take the promotion, and then he hits me with another request of helping out another settlement. He doesn’t even seem embarrassed. I want to argue that we have room for maybe 50 settlers in the two spaces I’ve made for him already, but either my cognitive skills are too slow or there just isn’t that tree of conversation available to me. I’m bound by my pledge to help the last person who asks for it so off I run. This sort of carry on happens a few more times before I am feeling rather guilty about LT Dan waiting for me back at his station.
As I step out into the sun from another harrowing bloodbath of murder I pick up a distress signal from a Trinity Tower. Well, I might be the man to help. I’ve got a couple of stimpaks and I’m pretty loaded up with junk and armour from my corpse raiding, but that is no matter when there is someone who needs help. Along the way I pick up a military signal and I must now follow that. It’s exhausting. After a while I realise this is LT Dan’s military signal I picked up a while back. Well shucks, what a mix up. I’m confused now, torn between who I should help. In the end the previous emergency seemed more emergency-like, so I turn tail and run back to the other signal, Codsworth chastising me every time I stop to pick up some litter.
And so I reach the tower. I look up, shielding my eyes from the radiated storm that’s beginning to kick off. I have no stimpaks now, I’m out of fancy lad snack cakes, and on the tower steps is a legendary super mutant. I puff up my chest in determination and send Codsworth in to sort him out. I run around taking pot shots from the shadows. The climb of the tower is painful, in every sense. I’m laden down with crap, bleeding out of every orifice and then I accidentally stand on a mine which ensure’s I am now woozy with a limp. I come across the occasional stimpak which is a lifeline to me right now. I’m saving after every excruciating encounter. I’m eating meat off hounds faster than they can die, I’m begging Codsworth for more purified water, but he’s unconscious on the floor. Slowly but surely we make our way up the tower. It has become an epic battle of my rules versus taking the easy way out. But I’ve come so far and stubbornness sets in. I’m teetering on Gump conquering the tower, butler in tow, with nothing but grit and a broken body carrying a heap of desk fans.
It takes a long time, but we make it. I limp over Fists dead body and set Rex and Strong free. I find a stimpak in their cell and heal myself up as best I can. We head back down, killing any monsters before us. We have been through hell, the devastation and corpse figures are astronomical. For the first time I wonder… at what cost it was for Forrest Gump to be the helpful stranger in the wastelands. I begin to head back to Sanctuary, to finish what I had started before the multitude of diversions hours previous. Another radio signal is picked up. I sigh. I head in the direction it’s coming from.