Disappointing Writing (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Wasteland Discussion' started by Plautus, Sep 26, 2014.

  1. Plautus

    Plautus Angry Preacher

    Nov 24, 2010
    I was really excited for W2 to come out and that I stayed away from early access just made me even more excited. Of course, going in I did not expect the game to be "Fallout, but with--" but also did not know exactly what to expect given Wasteland 1 was, well, significantly before my time.

    A lot of the complaints leveled at the game are not complaints I share. I don't care about graphics. As long as the interface is coherent and the graphics are crisp enough for me to tell what's going on, that's enough for me. In fact, I really liked how nondescript a lot of the NPCs were in Fallout and Fallout 2 because that better allowed me to imagine what they looked like. Gameplay is brutal and down to the wire, resources come and go (at least in Arizona) in a feast-or-famine pattern, so trips back to Ranger Citadel felt really satisfying, especially with a few requisitions stored up. The difficulty of the combat and the challenge of the resource management create a consistent tone. I like a lot of the incidental writing as well- like in the Fallouts, NPC descriptions are evocative without being too wordy. Place descriptions are pretty good too. A minor nitpick is that the item descriptions frequently have typos.

    Now, as a disclaimer I've only just breached LA, so I don't know exactly, where the narrative takes its big concepts, but there are a few things that are extremely disappointing so far. The narrative starts out strong in my opinion. Vargas' opening narration sets the stark tone and establishes the mystery and lack of information in the world effectively. His voice actor's pretty good, too. I also like the early quests dealing with Highpool and Ag Center, as well as the Rail Nomads quest. I think these sequences are well enough designed insofar as there's not necessarily a perfect option, but there's enough maneuverability to get a functional outcome that makes you feel like you did your job at least competently.

    Where the game starts to lose me is when Matthias came in. I've already seen too many doomsday plots in post-apocalyptic stories. The fact that they call themselves "Children of the Citadel" feels way, way too much like a retread of the Children of the Cathedral in Fallout 1, but with tech instead of mutagens. Frankly, I think the idea of someone threatening the existence of yet another crapsack world is just plain boring and derivative. It got even worse when Dugan showed up with his robot army in LA. Again, I've seen all this shit before. It's neither new nor interesting and after Fallout: New Vegas refreshingly departed from world saving and doomsday villains, I expected much more out of this narrative.

    Another issue I have with the writing is how "relentlessly bleak" is conflated with "mature" all the time. One of the most obnoxious parts of the game, I think, is the series of radio transmissions from the dying woman in Happy Valley. They drag on and on, especially when the woman to decided to sing all of Amazing Grace into the radio. I get it. The wasteland is bleak and depressing. Stop bludgeoning me. Furthermore, certain narrative beats sacrifice the opportunity to do something interesting for the chance to be darker. For example, Damonta is built up to be this big exciting location, then when you show up, everyone's dead. This would feel punchier if you encountered a settlement beforehand that was actually thriving. When you hear that Vargas sent a team ahead of you into LA and then that Angela's in a helicopter you just know that a.) the team's going to die (heaven forbid someone on the protagonist's side other than the protagonist does something useful and succeeds at it) and b.) the helicopter's going to crash. Of course. Because this is a dark and gritty story and whenever helicopters are involved in dark gritty stores they have to crash. Boring.

    I'm not saying all the writing is bad. Incidental dialogue is really well handled. The merchants and farmers of the wastes feel believable. A lot of the Rangers come across as really respectable and likable. I enjoyed my interactions with Vargas, Mercaptain, Sagarra, and Eggleston. I've heard Angela's a neat companion, though I missed her completely in Arizona. I like Pistol Pete and I'm enjoying the Rodia quests so far. Even some of the bad guys are compelling. I though Danforth was an intriguing tragic figure, for example. The issues with this game's writing are mainly that it leans hard on tired cliches for its broad story arc and that it forgoes originality and interesting writing at times to bludgeon the player over the head with more dark grittiness.
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  2. woo1108

    woo1108 Vault Senior Citizen

    Sep 27, 2012
    Well, actually, Child of the Cathedral was kind of remake of Servants of mushroomcloud+Cochis robots.
    so they might not copied it from Fo1 but from WL1.
    it's too sad they seem like reusing plots from previous game(seriosly, main plot of Arizon reminds me WL1 too much..)

    I agree that they too much obsessed with dark feeling story..
    too much things are driven to doom.
    I can't help both Ag and HP because it's triggered by place..
    I can't bring perfect peace for Titan valley.
    I can't save villagers in happy valley(they all slautered by RMS..)
    etc.. too many things are blocked for sake of doomed apocalypse setting.

    woman in happy valley supposed to be saved like this
    1. Get a cure from skrip vendor
    2. go to Temple of Titan and get the cure
    3. find her husband.
    why didn't they make those method?
  3. Sub-Human

    Sub-Human -

    May 31, 2011
    My expectations, too, were crushed when we heard about Matthias and his synthetic army. That's hardly different from Wasteland 1, let alone the hundreds of other RPGs with an evil force only the player can stop.

    I've just left Arizona and the Rail Nomads is probably the most interesting location in the game so far. The conflict between the two tribes and the people involved was very refreshing in an otherwise cliched game.
  4. woo1108

    woo1108 Vault Senior Citizen

    Sep 27, 2012
    I think whole plot of Arizona is kind of remake of plot of WL1: Ag center and Highpool to Vegas.
  5. Matroska

    Matroska First time out of the vault

    Oct 10, 2014
    I agree that sometimes grimness and edginess is confused for maturity, but in this case I'd actually say that showing that you can't happily resolve everything like an episode of Scooby Doo actually is a mature thing. You can't save everyone, there isn't a silver bullet for every problem. One of the things that make game plots so immature and cartoonish is the way in which you nearly resolve every single problem you come across - this is simultaneously immature writing, something on the level of an average comic book (I know not all comic books are like that, of course), and also a fear of annoying the player by not allowing him or her to do every single thing perfectly. I like it how in FO1 you are actually against the clock, you can't just meander around like a student on his gap year and still inevitably be able to save the world.

    As for the specific example of the woman singing and wanting to die; this is because you're meant to want to put her out of her misery. This is reminding you that she's still there and suffering or else the player could just leave and forget about her. It's trying to avoid the "out of sight, out of mind" problem that many games have where when you're not there, the world ceases to functionally exist. Personally, I left her alone but I've heard you encounter her husband later if you do kill her, and I suppose her audio presence is there to encourage players to deal with it sooner rather than later. Otherwise you might just wander off and think "she'll be there forever just waiting for me to return, I'll solve this later" and miss that encounter. Yet it does this with your emotions rather than literally forcing you to kill her and trigger the encounter. I do see how it could backfire and cause someone to go back and shoot her just to shut her up (like how I wish you could gag the goats' incessant bleating) but I guess that still would lead to the encounter with her husband and cause you to view it all differently.
  6. ralphrepo

    ralphrepo First time out of the vault

    May 1, 2010
    What disappoints me about the writing is sometimes so obvious that it literally slaps me in the face... :roll:

    One example is how Ranger Citadel has a set of elevator doors that bear "scuff marks" and "slightly warped" from where Rangers had tried to gain access, but to no avail. The supposition then is that the Rangers hadn't gone downstairs into the lower parts of the Citadel as they didn't gain access through the elevator doors. But... like da-uh... look fellas... how about a rope? You can actually see downstairs so why not just climb or rappel down the steel girders?

    Another annoyance is the dearth of life in many of the towns. Outside of the main quest town, the world seems even more dead than is necessary. Example; you save the Infected Village with its few remaining villagers, only to find it abandoned and devoid of any signs of life later on. Even as the other Rangers in the Citadel comment and thank you for saving those places, it feels like those exact places then remain dead afterwards. It would be nice to have something living in the wastes to come back to once you've "saved" it. Rather than for it to feel solely like only one transient stop on a journey, and is quickly forgotten once you've performed some game related mission there. In essence there doesn't feel like a living world outside the game story parameters. I wish there could be more random encounters, not in the wastes, but rather in the villages, with traveling merchants, prostitutes, guns for hire, as well as the occasional mugger. It would be nice too, to have more non main story related NPC's that newly appear, going about their business, but with better and more robust dialog trees.

    Also, I find it rather strange that Jessie and Ralphy don't seem to recognize one another when I have Ralphy on my squad. After peace is reestablished with the Topekan and Atchisons, I go to visit Casey James. Outside his house is his daughter Jessie, who acknowledges and greets the Rangers as her heroes. Her supposed boyfriend, Ralphy, is in my squad and there is no sign of recognition, even though they no longer have to hide their relationship. I would have expected that at this point, Ralphy would have offered to resign from the Rangers in order to marry Jessie or something. But... no dialog, no nothing. It was as if they've never met before; in fact, even his own mother (Libby) back in her Topekan trailer, fails to see or recognize him, referring to her own son in the third person asking the Rangers to make a good Ranger out of him even as she's speaking with him. Just another self sacrificing day for the tireless Rangers I suppose.

    RailNomad LibbyTrailer 01.jpg
    Er... Mom? It's me... your son, Ralphy...

    It isn't like they didn't think about this possible relationship of having townsfolk talk with one of their own who became a Ranger. Scotchmo's old pals all recognize him and make comments about his new status as a Ranger. So, the writers DID think of this concept, but rather unevenly applied it to all possible NPC's.

    Oh... and the Meeting Hall after the peace deal is done has an invisible Chopper:

    RailNomad MeetingHall InvisibleChopper 01.jpg
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015
  7. Mohamed2001

    Mohamed2001 HATE NEWSPAPERS

    Jan 28, 2013
    Read the Ghost Book.

    They stated they tried to enter when they were assaulting the Guardians, but found that it was locked. When they looked down to go down using rope, they found out that there's nothing there so didn't bother.

    THEN a huge death squad of Guardians came from that elevator at the end. When they took the Citadel as the Ranger HQ, they tried to go in, but found out it wasn't worth it.
  8. The-Artist-64

    The-Artist-64 "Set Phasers to Fun."

    Jul 19, 2015
    That was my problem with the Wasteland series as a whole. The story always feels a little loose, like a hazy dream. As for Wasteland 2, it had some series dejavue problems. It felt like I was playing 'Wasteland: HD Edition', nearly the same plot as the original. Fountain of Dreams was much better suited to be a sequel, in my opinion.

    That's why I prefer the Fallout franchise. They go in different places, and aren't afraid to build upon what they've done. Barring the Bethesda games, of course. Wasteland 2 could have been so much more!

    This being said, I barely played much of Wasteland and especially Wasteland 2. I know a lot about the story, but I always prefer to spend a night playing Fallout 2 over Wasteland. Heck, I'm not even much of a gamer really.
  9. beans00

    beans00 It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Nov 19, 2009
    all of wasteland 2 is shit lol, not just the writing

    1 of the worst games ive ever bought, thankfully i used cs skins to pay for it
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  10. The-Artist-64

    The-Artist-64 "Set Phasers to Fun."

    Jul 19, 2015
    That's a little blunt, don't you think?