Ulysses is kind of a moron...

Discussion in 'Fallout: New Vegas Discussion' started by zegh8578, Oct 16, 2015.

  1. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    I always took Ulysses' odd way of speaking and theatrics to be a result of his life as a tribal, belonging to a group where their hair was supposed to be full of meaning and stories depending on how they twisted/styled it. There's also the fact that living and serving with the Legion would probably give you a good feeling for the mythical/theatrical part of life what with all their titles and imitations of Ancient Rome.

    You've also got to keep in mind that Ulysses isn't mentally stable either, he is absolutely obsessed with the Courier. Leaving behind the tapes and markings and the Courier actually finding them is pure coincidence (The Courier tends to be lucky like that...) it's equally as likely that he would never find them, Ulysses is just fucking nuts. I also thought his plan to nuke the wasteland was a nice callback to the Fallout plots of yore (Maybe even a reference to Van Buren?) whereas the actual plot of New Vegas was political in nature, the one in the DLCs had a Big Bad like the Master and the Enclave.

    Ulysses' actual plan to nuke the wasteland isn't THAT non-sensical, as when you question him on it he says he's not going to actually straight up blow them up, but destroy key locations and roads so they "bleed out" (I realize there's a disconnect from that and what actually happens if you set the launch.). You've got to keep in mind that he's utterly obssessed with the Courier and his loss of the Divide. In his twisted mind, he thinks that firing all these nukes stored under his old home and getting revenge on the random mailman that he blames for it (It obviously isn't actually your fault. He just can't cope with the situation so he blames you) will somehow bring back the Divide. Return what was lost. Obviously it doesn't make any sense but the guy is just lost in the head. His life before the Divide was pretty nomadic and obviously the loss of his tribe traumatized him. Finding a home in the Divide was obviously incredibly meaningful to him, and having it snatched away just fucking broke him.
    • [Like] [Like] x 8
  2. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Gyro Captain

    Dec 11, 2013
    This is the best description of Honest Hearts (and my reaction to it) ever.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  3. Dr Fallout

    Dr Fallout Centurion

    Aug 17, 2015
    Honest hearts is okay... but the idea of a Mormon settlement could have been handled better.
  4. Walpknut

    Walpknut This ghoul has seen it all

    Dec 30, 2010
    Honest Hearts suffered from being too light on story. The opposite problem of Lonesome Road. The quests in Zion should've involved the Mormon missionaries and the Tribal companions more than just collecting things as an excuse toexplore the park.
  5. Battlecross

    Battlecross Banned

    Jun 17, 2015
    No joke my first time into Honest Hearts I Follows-Chalk or whatever was shooting near me and I killed him, which then caused his group along with Daniel to agro me and I killed them and was told to head home. I scratched my head and then realized he shouldn't have been shooting at me and I shouldn't have killed him. It was worth a good laugh though when I just re-started the whole thing.
  6. Trannigan

    Trannigan Banned

    Nov 21, 2015
    No Ulyssys was very much the moron. He's written to be an intelligent phylosophical individual when he's just the same crazy small minded fool that every other terrorist is. He's not even intelligent enough to realize that corruption is as much human nature as war itself is. "Kill em all" wont change that.
  7. Jabberwok

    Jabberwok Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Jun 7, 2008
    I think it's pretty clear that he is an irrational, if not half-insane person. He follows you around the wasteland and leaves rambling tapes for you, all about this weird combination of vendetta and obsession. That's the way I read him, though I didn't feel that the VA sold his character very well. Cool sounding voice, but really awkward delivery. But I'd say he fits the terrorist-psychopath bill pretty well. So I wouldn't ask him to be something he's not. The guy certainly would not have a future in politics.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  8. Lexx

    Lexx Testament to the ghoul lifespan
    Moderator Modder

    Apr 24, 2005
    Agreed, but then the DLC would have required more time, and more writing with voice over (more NPCs), which would have driven the costs high again. I remember Sawyer saying Gun Runner's Arsenal was only made because they could show Bethesda how cheap the making would be.
  9. Dr Fallout

    Dr Fallout Centurion

    Aug 17, 2015
    I loved Honest Hearts, found it fun and sadly too short.
  10. omphaloskepsis

    omphaloskepsis First time out of the vault

    Dec 13, 2015
    I just finished Lonesome Road for the first time and I absolutely agree with the OP.

    Throughout the journey, Ulysses and the scrawled messages kept inviting you to go home, which is exactly what I wanted to do. I had no incentive to continue except for the fact that I'd had the DLC sitting around unplayed for a few years. I'm not even sure what Obsidian was trying to accomplish with Ulysses. One thing that kept popping into my head as I played was Apocalypse Now, and the difference between the two. It might be unfair to compare a movie classic (with Marlon Brando, who alone would have broken Obsidian's budget) to a small studio, but I couldn't help it.

    Apocalypse Now is about a journey to remove a bad-ass Colonel gone rogue who turns out to have gone insane. During the travel to meet the Colonel, the main character experiences firsthand the chaos and insanity that "created" the bad guy, plus the protagonist himself wasn't the most stable individual at the beginning anyway. Regardless, he soldiers on and carries out his mission.

    The thing about Apocalypse Now, though, is that it was riveting. Brando was insane, but there was some depth to it, in terms of history, the environment, and the character's rationale. He was extremely charismatic, but his words also made a certain kind of sense, especially because you ride along for the journey that sets up the confrontation.

    Ulysses, on the other hand, does endless mythopoeic babbling. There's no weight to the dialog, just the appearance of weight, and the voice actor doesn't sell it (nor does the trip itself). It's just blather. And because the entire DLC revolves around Ulysses, it falls flat.

    Lonesome Road was just a journey of whys for me. Why am I doing this? Why are these folks called Marked Men? Why are they all attacking? Why don't they just leave that hellhole? Why can't I have a single dialogue interaction? Why did that missile just launch? Why did this sandbox RPG turn into a linear corridor shooter with empty, pretentious dialog? Why are they forcing my character's past at the last minute? Why am I supposed to care about something that I had no control over?

    Obsidian built up the mysterious courier across several DLC but didn't have much to say in the end. I get that they were trying to create some self-reflection about how the protagonist's choices effect the world, but for me it was a flawed delivery system with a tiny payload.

    FWIW, I'm actually a big Obsidian and FONV fan. This DLC just didn't work for me.
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  11. Vergil

    Vergil Banned

    Jul 8, 2014
    Ulysses is an extremist. If you'll allow me to go on a bit of a tangent, honestly looking back on it I'd say I agree with a lot of his views. Both the NCR and the Legion are unstable governments that are doomed to fail due to their need to hold onto the past to the point of self ruin. The NCR is pretty much doomed to end up just like the pre-war government did with all it's corruption and bureaucratic nonsense. Caesar manages to get more done quicker due to him taking the reigns but his odd views seep into how he runs things causing the Legion to shun helpful things like technology and modern medicine (ironic since the actual Romans weren't like that at all). House is pretty much just setting up a stagnant little doll house of pre-war Vegas to play with for eternity.

    Back to Ulysses; he's what you'd usually call a "Well Intentioned Extremist". He believes that so far all of the major political players in the wasteland are weak, unstable and doomed to go up in disaster. He also thinks that out of the disaster something new and worthwhile will rise (like Hopesville; remember Ulysses pretty much views it as a perfect paradise in his mind. Whether or not it was actually that great or not is unknown and irrelevant). So, in order to speed things up and not waste everyone's time with a bunch of worthless pre-"perfect society" factions he's just going to blow them up. Speed up what nature is going to do anyway. I'm not saying I agree with his methods or his beliefs but using his logic it makes "sense". Of course theres also a mixture of need for revenge and just general mental and emotional trauma that's clouding his judgement.

    At the end of the day I don't think Ulysses is a moron, he's a very intelligent but insane man who thinks that he can recreate Hopesville but blowing up those responsible for it's destruction. The NCR, The Legion, Pre-War America (House) and The Courier. Along the way he happens to point out some of the very apparent flaws in all those he is going to destroy to further justify his actions.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  12. zegh8578

    zegh8578 Keeper of the trout Orderite

    Mar 11, 2012
    Summed up nicely

    I get what they tried to do, really

    And to be even more fair, writing this kind of overblown megalomaniac in a convincing manner is difficult! But, in the name of freely criticizing things that rub me the wrong way, I felt some criticism of Ulysses was strongly due.
  13. Ilosar

    Ilosar Vault Fossil

    Apr 20, 2010
    I get the idea behind Ulysses. He lost his tribe, then thought Hopeville was the best thing ever, and lost it too, so he became half insane and started thinking he could revive it if only he destroyed the current, and fallible, civilizations of the Wasteland. I got that part.

    I still think he fell flat for a number of reasons.

    First, his voice acting and delivery. The VA sounds almost bored. Avellone has a well-known hatred of pronouns but Ulysses's speech method is just too terse to take seriously. And really, ''NCR'' and ''Legion'' aren't much longer to say the ''bear and ''bull''.

    Second, he's a raging hypocrite. I mean, sure he's a villain so I don't expect him to be a model of moral purity, but still. There was another great community in the Wasteland; it was called New Canaan and he led the White Legs to burn it to the ground for no other reason than the fact Ceasar told him to, without a care in the world. And then he gives shit to the Courier for destroying Hopeville in a completely unforeseeable event?

    He also likes to tell everyone how they misuse symbols, especially Pre-War ones, but not only was he part of the Legion (which uses Roman symbols with little of its identity) but he proudly displays as some kind of model the flag of the old US, the dysfonctional country that participated in the nuclear war in the first place and was secretly ruled by a cabal of fascist assholes.

    Third, his plan is basically ''blow everyone up and hope something better rises'' because that worked so well last time, right?

    Of all of Avellone's characters, he feels the most like a mouthpiece for the author, which is a bit of an impressive achievement considering Kreia exists. I can't take him seriously and his pseudo-philosophical self-justification irritates me to no end. I liked hating the Master, the Enclave, Ceasar, Elijah and the Think Tank, but I just wanted Ulysses to just die and stop bothering me with his ramblings already.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  14. Jabberwok

    Jabberwok Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Jun 7, 2008
    I agree with this, in that I think Ulysses was hard to identify with to the degree necessary to make the character work. A big part of this was the VA, in my opinion. This isn't necessarily the actors fault, and a lot of the writing could have been more grounded, I suppose. However, I think the other elements fit together pretty well, it's just that things were not overt. You had to make some inferences on the backstory of the environment, which was fine with me. Structurally, it's a difficult thing to pull off, because there are no other characters. It probably needed the one person you interact with to really sell it for the whole thing to hit the same level as the other DLCs. I still enjoyed it. The darker tone brought something new to the table, and the locales were interesting. Could have been better, though.
  15. Marionettetc

    Marionettetc Banned

    May 15, 2013
    I wrote out a long reply and the forum ate it, so here's the TLDR:

    Ulysses is crazy and that explains a lot of his odd demeanor. The Lonesome Road DLC was meant to make your character reflect on his own actions and the legion/ncr war - which I think it was very successful in doing mostly due to Ulysses' writing.
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  16. Trash of the Den

    Trash of the Den Jet Dealer

    Dec 11, 2015
    I love the topic title hahaha! :clap:

    Marionetteto put it perfectly. The story writing in new vegas was very well done. I was very impressed with how they did them for the characters too. New Vegas still is an impressive piece of work compared to what Bethesda ever done. It is just another example how graphics and gameplay don't make great games.

    I personally never understood Ulysses either. He is a paradox to me. But the script, story and voice actor did an incredible job though.

    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  17. Khannis

    Khannis Rebuilding America

    Jul 3, 2015
    I actually really like Ulysses as a character, and I think his flaws are really what made him shine to me, his obsessions, contradictions. Lonesome is my favorite DLC of the bunch... But I guess I have an odd way of looking at New Vegas DLCs, because my first instinct was always to push the boundaries, and the results weren't too satisfactory.

    In my first Honest Hearts playthrough I wanted to purge the legacy of the Burned Man in the name of Caesar. Needless to say, was puzzled by how short the DLC was.

    In my first Dead Money playthrough, I actually ruled over the wasteland with Elijah using the Cloud; Granted, expecting to go back to the Mojave and actually roleplaying this would've meant a DLC of enormous proportions. But I was a bit "meh" nonetheless, although I thoroughly enjoyed the fresh horror / barebones twist to it.

    OWB is just pure fun, but not what Fallout really is to me. I enjoyed it multiple times, but I tend towards seriousness in general, I want to believe in the world.

    But more than Ulysses, the fact that Lonesome Road ended with real (if not exactly breathtaking) consequences to the rest of your playthrough really sold me.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  18. Marionettetc

    Marionettetc Banned

    May 15, 2013
    I agree 100%. Ulysses' character was written to represent the myth of symbols and tradition, and to (originally) give your character the option of a Legion sympathetic NPC follower. That was scrapped sometime into development and his assets and writing became the antagonist for the Lonesome Road DLC. (You can read Avellone's interviews if you want the full story)

    Sure, some of the writing and general settings of the Lonesome road was jarring (again, it reeked of being re-purposed ideas/concepts) but I don't think anyone can really deny the grand stage and high drama of the "final" road the courier had to walk.

    You weren't allowed any companions, all the enemies were brutal/twisted versions of normal humans, there were deadly traps and ambushes everywhere, all the while Ulysses threatening the final absolution of the bomb. I know it can be very easy to look at the execution versus the concept and say "it didn't work, it's just a rambling supervillian and some deathclaws", but to me the DLC hit me. It was dramatic, high concept, and final. To me it was much more than a bad guy with his finger on the bomb, it was about obsession, revenge, eventually forgiveness and peace.

    The lonesome road was to be the FINAL road the courier every walked, being that regardless of the eventual outcome - he/she would come out changed.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  19. Languorous_Maiar

    Languorous_Maiar A Smooth-Skin

    Oct 25, 2011
    Que? Could you say WHAT consequences? Nuke NCR/Legion, then reset your reputation from main quests... and no one care. Both empires don't exists anymore, but their armies still fight for Dam, no one mention anything about nuking... every bit of dialogue (and especially ending slides) is just making everything more absurd.
  20. Dr Fallout

    Dr Fallout Centurion

    Aug 17, 2015
    Yeah, if only it had REAL effects, but that would change the game ridiculously.