Do you ever feel disconnected from your character halfway through the game? When you just feel aimless so you start over in search of the perfect playthrough? If so, I think I've finally figured out why that happens and how to prevent it. Now everyone plays this game differently, and this post might not be for you, but after over 1500 hours of playtime I think I've figured out how to make the vanilla experience as immersive as possible. And it all starts with creating your character.
I'm sure i’m not the only one who can recall a moment when I achieved "peak immersion." For me, it was in New Vegas, and I've been chasing that high ever since. Once you commit to taking character role-playing seriously it becomes a drug. You start to care a great deal about getting in your character's shoes, and unfortunately that's just hard to do with a voiced protagonist, linear dialogue options, and mediocre writing….but it's still possible. Here are my tips for character creation to feel the most immersed in the game:
1. Don't re-write your history. You are Nate or Nora. You can give them a different name, you can choose their future, but you are limited with their past. Accept these characters on their terms, you are either a former soldier, or a former lawyer.
2. Form a strong opinion on synthetic life early and stick to it. Either they are abominations, machines to be used as tools, or sentient beings just like humans. Don't over-complicate this one. There is nothing in the base game that rewards a complex opinion on the synths.
3. Combat style shouldn't define your character. I've made the mistake of starting a "cool sniper" character or a "cool power armor engineer" only to realize later that I never gave them a personality, preferences, or opinions. Remember that combat style is only one of many puzzle pieces to a character.
4. The companions you choose are a dimension of character creation. Their dialogue contributions add color and depth to the RPG side of the game. Even "lone wanderer" builds shouldn't totally ignore them. If it just means taking them along for main quest moments with dialogue it's worth it.
5. Don't totally ignore the crafting system. This can be as simple as just building a cabin somewhere for your solo-rogue-gunslinger, or fully decking out your airport base for B.o.S, or Mercer safehouse for the Railroad. The main gameplay loop is explore -> kill -> loot. Settlement building and looting junk is a huge part of the game, and Ignoring it completely just makes your playthrough that much more hollow.
6. Finally, and most importantly, Role-play within an archetype recognized by the game. I.e., brotherhood soldier, railroad spy, overboss, etc… you will maintain an immersive playthrough long-term if you jump into these with both feet.
Point number 6 might seem obvious, but I think it needs a discussion all on its own, and I'm curious what you all think are the best archetypes in the game. After many playthroughs and lots of fudgemuppet videos, I've identified my personal top 5: (yeah I know, another list. Just bear with me). I base this list off of the amount of content in the game you can fully experience as they were designed. These are not "builds," as each can be done with different combat styles, but rather a framework of character creation that is recognized by the game.
5. The Raider Overboss: mean, tough, and ruthless. Nuka World is a one-dimensional experience so you really need to commit to a character who wants victory by domination. Personally I'm not a huge fan of this DLC and avoid it unless it's relevant to my character.
4. The General: a fully committed minutemen general never runs out of content since it so seamlessly blends into multiple main-quest endings, and there's always a settlement that needs your help I’ll mark it on your map… Memes aside, it's a satisfying way to play the game.
3. The Scientist. The classic high-intelligence institute Scientist with "iffy" views on humanity, but not necessarily bad intentions. High intelligence is a must! High charisma is nice to have too for key quest moments, but not necessary.
2. The Soldier. A classic run&gun character that sides with the brotherhood. Best played as Nate. Not really interested in leadership, and is content accepting jobs with someone else calling the shots. He can be a mercenary just in it for the caps, or an idealist committed to the brotherhood's cause, or just a broken soldier doing the only thing he knows how to do. Imo the Brotherhood has some of the best quests in the game.
1. The Detective. A detective has the most satisfying role-playing experience in Fo4 simply for the vast amount of content geared this way. You become Nick's Partner (the best companion imo), the silver shroud, a Railroad double-agent, tons of random side quests that involve tracking things down, the whole far-harbor DLC, and all without any sort of mental gymnastics to justify taking those quests. How many side-quests make you investigate and track down answers? Pretty much all of them in some form. A detective would totally snoop around longneck lakowski's, figure out the secret room in University Point, track down the vault 81 cure, accept the Human Error quest, swim out to a mysterious submarine, etc…when you play as a detective, the quests and general gameplay loop all just mesh together perfectly and set you up for a long and immersive playthrough. Nora could have been a prosecuting attorney, and Nate is a veteran, but I role-played that he was a cop for a bit before his military tour and was planning on joining the force again and becoming a detective. There's even dialogue indicating they are already aware of Eddie winter.
Anyway, after 1500 hours logged, this role-playing nut has decided the above 5 archetypes are the way to go, with “the Detective” offering by far the most satisfying and immersive playthrough. What are your thoughts? Anything you would add or change?
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