Fair warning – this is more of a vent session than anything. So if you're not interested in listening to a genuine fan of the game rant about the writing, you should probably ignore this post.
OK, so, I've played FO4 quite a bit – over 1300 hours according to Steam – and I just finished the main quest line on my 3rd playthrough. This was my first BOS playthrough. And I really wanted to roleplay this one, so I intentionally put off contacting the BOS as long as possible. I built settlements, and joined the railroad, and helped the synths at Far Harbor, all that stuff. Because I really wanted my character to fall completely under Maxson's spell as soon as she met him. Just, like, "OMG, this dude makes perfect sense. I see it now. Synths really ARE an existential threat to humanity. I've been totally wrong all along." And then, on meeting her son, she would have doubts. She would listen to him and explore the Institute and talk to people. And THEN, she would discover the dark underbelly of the Institute – replacing people in the commonwealth with synths, abducting people to do FEV experiments on them, etc. – and here's where I started having trouble.
In my mind, at a certain point, my character would realize that her son was an evil bastard and confront him. Only problem is, there is no opportunity to do that. You can't do a couple of Institute quests and then have a change of heart and tell Shaun he's an asshole.
I thought the perfect time for a confrontation was after the Battle of Bunker Hill. I went in with the BOS, killed all the railroad operatives and all the synths, expecting to go to the roof of CIT and tell my boy off. But no matter how many synths I killed during the battle, they were all friendly all the way to the end. And then I met Shaun on the roof of CIT and the only dialog options I had were "My fault", "I released the synths" (which I didn't – I killed them), "We were ambushed", and "It doesn't matter". None of those fit. It seems to me that "It doesn't matter" is just random filler to give you a 4th option, and could (and should) have been replaced with something confrontational. Then I could have had some kind of closure with this asshole before blowing his shit up.
As it was, the best option I could find was to sneak in a couple of headshots before he had a chance to teleport back. And that resulted in this really bizarre version of the "Banished from the Institute" quest where I had to teleport back to the institute so some random guy could yell over the intercom, "You killed him! We'll find you!" and then teleport me back out again. You'll find me? Dude, I'm right here!
I went back to an older saved game, and as far as I can tell, the closest you can get to telling him off is when you first meet him – if you insist that you're not on board with what he's doing, he tells you to leave and lets you know that you'll be considered an enemy in the future. If you say "I'm not sure" and he tells you to meet the department heads, even if you tell every one that will listen that you're not planning on staying, you still complete the Institutionalized quest and get the Synth Retention quest.
It's just very unsatisfying. You can kill Shaun at any point and instantly become an enemy of the Institute, so the Sole Survivor having a change of heart is something that's planned for in the game. So why no dialog option? "Please, son, can't you see that this is wrong?" "You're The Institute's child, not mine! I don't have a child anymore!" "If The Institute wants to continue to treat the people of the Commonwealth as lab rats, they can do it without their lead 'scientist'. (Attack)" "You're less human than the synths you manufacture." "I have an idea for an experiment – How long can the snake known as The Institute survive with its head cut off? (Attack)" SO MANY GOOD OPTIONS! SUCH A WASTED OPPORTUNITY!
OK, rant over. Thanks for listening.
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