4 Companion Fails in Fallout 4

We’ve written about ways to survive the apocalypse before, so have others, and we’ve warned you against interacting with people. Many of those skills we focused on – like hunting, scavenging, stealth, armour and weapon crafting – are the very same set of skills you’ll need if you enter into the digital post-apocolypse world of Fallout 4.

Fallout 4 Companions: More Curse than Blessing
Fallout 4’s Companion system is fraught with problems that only give the player a headache.

If you’re not a gamer by nature, Fallout 4 is the latest release from Bethesda Studios, taking players into the radioactive wastelands of Boston. A nightmare-scape filled with feral ghouls, super mutants, raiders, and irradiated roaches, all driven to prey upon the weak – well, you. Into this mix Bethesda has tossed the player a chance to join up with a host of NPC’s (non-player characters) who are supposedly devoted to assisting you on your travels. Whether Bethesda intentionally made these characters a burden is unclear, but despite their individual skills or relationship advantages, one thing is clear: friends can become assholes quickly, and the random, contrary, and infuriating behaviour of an asshole companion is often the difference between life and death.

Here are 4 Ways Travelling with Companions in Fallout 4 Pissed Us Off – and how you can avoid the frustrating disadvantages of wandering the wastelands with a digital dickhead.

 

Fallout 4 Companions lack Tactical Awareness
Once again our soldier of fortune charges into the breach – filled with fire and super mutants. Thanks a lot guy!

1. Tactical Turmoil

You can’t spell “teaming up” without TEAM! For Fallout 4 companions, however, teaming up just means travelling in very close proximity to you while you continue your scavenger crawl through nuclear remains of Cambridge. In the case of combat, a frequent occurrence in the deadly open-world, your companion is likely to engage the attackers without warning or direction, giving away your position and generally calling hell down upon the innocent player. Your so-called teammate will engage in conflicts they can’t help but lose leaving you scrambling to decide whether to indulge your inner Sundance Kid or lay low and watch your companion bleed. Your old companion Dogmeat from the previous 2 games? He’s about as useful in the wastelands as a 3-year old.

Fallout 4 Companion Strong, the Super Mutant
Yes, yes. ‘Strong like to eat Humans’. ‘Strong no need many things’ either. For a super mutant with limited language skills Strong sure likes to talk.

2. TMI

You expect Piper the Reporter to be inquisitive, hounding you for interviews or grilling you on your connection to the disappearances blamed on the illusive Institute, Fallout 4’s boogeyman, but the incessant nattering of other less expected companions had us whistling Quiet’s MGS5 tune just to block the chattering out. This constant chatting and kvetching is especially notable when you’re in your settlement and your companion is going about their own surly business. Oddly, the slow speaking super mutant companion Strong, who is otherwise not all that vocal, can become easily looped in the same repetitive dialogue about his existential crises while cooking. Despite his clear combat advantages, we left Strong behind on more than one occasion to enjoy his first love, flame grilled food (probably bloat fly) and constant bitching.

 

Dogmeat stands still, alert, on the road.
Fallout 4 companions are either giving you too little or too much space. Be careful of what your order companions to do. Tell them ‘go over there’ and they will…. for days… we were lucky to find Dogmeat a week after he went ‘missing’ No icons mark companion locations.

3. Personal Space

Bethesda worked into Fallout 4 a method of communicating with your companion, albeit not as fleshed out as the system used in Fallout 3 or Skyrim. You can quiz your companion on the current state of your relationship,  as the actions you take in their presence sway their opinion of you. You can have your companion haul loot, open safes, hack computers, even send them to one of your settlements to perform a task like gardening or manning the defences against opportunistic raiders. All this is done with the touch of a button, the same button you use to interact with in-world objects, or collect spare ammo from the corpses you found or created. It’s a smooth system and keeps the narrative experience of the game going. Issues with this system arise however, as your companions never yield you personal space, choosing instead to hover within an uncomfortably close proximity to our player character. This means that it’s far more likely that you will start an interaction loop with your ally mid-combat when you actually meant to quickly scavenge a rifle or pick up a mine before it explodes. Sticking together with a friend is supposed to be a metaphorical term, unfortunately – in Fallout 4 – there are plenty of ways to get stuck with – or behind – your partner.

4. Big Old Block

We’ve mentioned the close crowding of companions twice already, but the most annoying aspect of this joined-at-the-hip relationship is you companions persistently act out their insane need to be directly in front of you at all times, even when you’re trying to shoot at something. Your companion will regularly block doorways or stairwells, making passage impossible. Your companions will often crouch in front of you while you line up a target in the distance, filling your scope with there empty heads and asking you why you haven’t taken your shot yet. In some cases they will even nudge you, knocking you from a ledges or cover position, exposing you to the deadly accurate return fire from a fight instigated likely by your companion (see #1). If you have time, you may be lucky enough to command them verbally to move, but if you are engaged and outnumbered, its more likely the last sound your companion will hear is you cursing their name. In the case of trying to back away quickly from a trap or landmine – good luck. If you have a companion on your heels, you’ll be lucky if they don’t push you toward your death.

 

Two Ghouls, Two Types of Companions in Fallout 4
Companions is Fallout 4 are broken into two types: those that will stay behind at settlements and workshops doing tasks from defines, to farming, and scavenging, and those companions that will head-out on the road with you causing trouble… for everyone.

In previous Fallouts you could tell companions to keep their distance, but that option is sadly missing from Fallout 4. As mentioned, companions in Fallout 4 can do far more than just carry loot or act as another gun. With Fallout 4 introducing a robust settlement system, allowing players to create their own towns or workshops, companions can be instructed to run these operations in your absence – thank god, because they sure as hell aren’t any use on the road.

Keeping your distance from these NPC knuckleheads is key. Like in the real apocalypse, close relations can become compromising weaknesses. It’s good to have some place to come home to and someone to water your garden while you’re away, but we suggest the path of the Lone Wanderer, a level 3 Charisma perk which will decrease incoming damage, increase your carry capacity, and give you all the incentive you need to keep your enemies closer than your so-called “friends”, who – as far as we can tell – will only get you killed.

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