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The wastelander's guide to building settlements in Fallout 4

Nov 28 // Nic Rowen
Creating your character to be a wasteland real estate mogul  Before you lay down the foundations of your personal empire, you need to get yourself right first. If you want to be serious about your settlements, you'll need a few perks to make it work, including a hefty investment in charisma. This could be tricky if you've already been playing for 50 hours with an anti-social radioactive super soldier and just now want to start rebuilding the Commonwealth, but not un-doable (remember, you can get a charisma-boosting bobblehead at the insane asylum and invest perk points into S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats if you really need to get that number up, among other less savory methods that I'll discuss later). You can also just roll up a new character specifically made to dive into the building and crafting aspect of the game. You'll need six Charisma to get two levels of the Local Leader perk and at least level two of the Cap Collector perk. These will let you make supply lines (ESSENTIAL) and awesome stores in your settlements. You'll probably also want to go deep on Intelligence -- the Gun Nut and Science! perks are practically necessary if you want to build the best versions of generators and defense turrets and Scrapper is a little too good to ignore (it will let you turn all those junky laser pistols and pipe rifles you normally throw in the dumpster into useful copper, gears, and circuitry). I know, it sucks that the way crafting in Fallout 4 works basically pigeonholes you into a certain build. There is still plenty of room for creativity even after those stat demands though and the joy of raising a civilization out of the ashes of history does take the sting out a bit. The basics you probably already know If you want your settlement to grow, you'll need a few things: water, food, beds, and a radio beacon. Each settler you bring in needs one unit of food and water per day and they get whiny if they don't have a nice downy pillow to rest their head on at night, so you'll want to get those things sorted first. Plant a few crops (easily done by raiding other farms for their crops and it quickly becomes self-perpetuating when you can just harvest your own fields for planting supplies), install two or three water pumps, and flop down a few beds. No need to go crazy, it takes a settlement time to grow and you can always add more as needed (and later crafting options can make old ones obsolete so no need to waste scrap on something you won't need). A radio beacon draws a steady flow of new settlers to your homestead. You'll need a power source to run it so build a generator (which will come in handy for other things, anyway). Remember, you can turn a radio beacon off when you think you have enough settlers in one place. In some of the smaller areas like the Red Rocket station near the beginning of the game, you may want to put a cap on the number of people you take in. You'll probably want to defend your patch once you have it all set up. Turrets are the go-to option for this (and why you need Science! and Gun Nut so badly so you have access to the upgraded versions). Each turret, trap, or manned guard tower adds a few points to the defense rating of a settlement. Try to keep that number the same or slightly higher than the sum of both the food and water points to discourage attacks. When an attack does occur, you will be notified on your Pip-Boy and can help your settlers defend their home. Raids on your property can be unpredictable. In my time responding to would-be home invaders, I've seen everything from realistic flanking attacks from Super Mutants pouring over the hills, to packs of feral Ghouls somehow spawning deep inside the walls of a fortified base. Your best bet is to spread out your defenses to cover likely avenues of attack while also covering populated areas where your settlers are likely to take a stand. Building things! You could just work with what each settlement already has, but what is the fun in that? Leave your personal mark on the wasteland with a proud series of ramshackle apartments, abodes, and disturbingly militaristic forts. The tools for building things in Fallout 4 are honestly pretty terrible. Objects float about in weird ways, mechanics are never explained unless you go digging through the help topics in the menu (and even then it's hit or miss), and the way walls and attachments snap (or fail to snap) together will give you no end of grief. But don't let that stop you! With a little patience and a few pointers, you can make some reasonably cool-looking digs for your wastelanders. If someone could make this monstrosity of wires and pressure pads work, you can probably get a few fences to stand up straight. First thing first, lay down a foundation and a floor. Uneven terrain tends to mess with the building tools so you'll want to keep things as level as possible to make things easier on yourself. Try to build up! Many of the settlement areas have limited usable ground space. Small areas strewn with debris and hills do not make for nice buildings, but you can avoid that problem by building vertically. Don't be afraid to slap down ladders and staircases and build on top of what is already there. Not only is it space efficient, but a rad tower fort on top of the local Red Rocket station looks much cooler than a bunch of square boxes crammed together on the parking lot. Set up supply lines from a central hub to make life easier. Trying to cart around tin cans and microscopes between settlements and keeping track of which place has what is a suckers game. With the Local Leader perk you can assign a settler to run supplies between locations and everyone can share from the same pool of salvage (but not hard items like guns or armor). Make a supply chain by assigning one runner from settlement A to take goods to settlement B, and one from B to take goods to C, and so on. That way you can just toss all your junk in any workbench in the line and use all of it anywhere. Provisioners seem to be immortal like Companions, so don't worry about them dying on the road the first time they run afoul of some Mole Rats. Fences can really help with invasions by funneling attackers into kill zones as well as give your settlement a homey, lived-in look (murder and comfort together at last!). Sadly, when you start putting rings around all your settlements they also become material hogs, gobbling up steel and wood like nobody's business. I recommend you pick up an issue of Picket Fences from Beantown Brewery so you can make, well, picket fences. They don't consume steel when crafting them and they look more charming than rusty chain link (granted, they look slightly less so when splattered with Super Mutant blood). Light up the night How you provide power to your settlements is poorly explained in-game but essential for making a great homestead, so be prepared to mess with it. Basically, you have two kinds of powered devices at your disposal. Active devices like laser turrets and water purifiers that require units of power to run (meaning your generator has to be able to match their power draw to keep everything working), and passive devices like lights and traps that can run off the ambient grid. Active devices need a line running directly into them, while passive devices need either a nearby connected pylon or wall socket to work. Power pylons can be used to run line from a generator to far-away devices or a conduit. The maximum length of a wire is fixed, but can be cut short by obstacles, hanging on the ground, and so on. I recommend you build your generators in elevated positions to get the most out of your copper. Pylons give off a radius of electrical power that can be used to run lights, traps, and other things. Plugging a conduit into the wall of a building supposedly provides power to the entire shack, but my experience with them has been mixed. Mostly, they seem to work just like pylons (but are slightly cheaper to make and more compact to string up between nearby buildings). Making complex grids for my settlements has been hands down the single most frustrating and rewarding part of building things in Fallout 4. It's a very fussy system (I can't tell you how many times I broke everything trying to slightly adjust one little wall tile or light bulb) but once you get used to it, you can really make your settlements pop. Capitalism Ho! Shops are wonderful. While having to invest into two ranks of Local Leader and Cap Collector to make the biggest shops (which really is the only way to go) is a drag, what you get out of having a few shops spread among your networked settlements can be well worth it. There are six kinds of shops you can make for your settlements with four tiers of value. Each type of shop will boost your settlement's happiness and pull in caps, but a few stand out as handier to have in your personal base of operations than others. Weapon shops can be a reliable source of ammo without having to make a trip to Diamond City, trade goods shops can help cut down on the time it takes to scavenge for parts, clinics can help you cheaply cure addiction and radiation poisoning at your convenience, and bars are great for ingredients for cheap healing items. Armor and clothing shops are fun too and you'll probably want one of each in your network at some point just for variety, but they're not as overtly useful. You can build the first two tiers of shop with just the second level of the Local Leader perk. They're fine and will do the trick if you want to be a skinflint about it. But if you invest all the way to the third tier of shop by getting two levels of Cap Collector, your market stalls will start to carry surprisingly great gear. What's better is once you have tier-three stores, you'll occasionally run into special vendors in the wasteland that you can invite to work at your locations who will turn them into unique fourth-tier stores that carry special gear. Shops will generate an income you can draw from on their own -- just check your workbench from time to time and you'll notice you have a handful of caps you can pull out. But don't get the wrong idea: shops accrue money slowly, so you won't be diving into a vault of caps like Scrooge McDuck anytime soon. The value of having a nice network of shops is the convenience of being able to talk to a merchant on demand rather than wander around looking for a traveling trader or making a special trip. It lets you make more money off of explorations (you can trade found gear for caps more easily) and enables you to restock and refuel faster to get you back out in the wastes. Advanced DIY tips There are plenty of mechanics involved in the settlement system that the game doesn't go out of its way to tell you. I'll try and shed some light on them here. Did you know the maximum population of your settlements is tied to your Charisma stat? Ten people by default plus one extra per point of Charisma. For most people, this either means a 16 settler max, or up to 20 if you went whole-hog on Charisma. I'm told wearing Charisma-boosting gear can let you break that cap but I haven't noticed it in my game. Spread out your beds. For the longest time my settlers in Sanctuary were complaining about “the bed situation” despite having plenty of cots to rest on. At first I assumed it was a bug (this is a Fallout game), but I stumbled on some other people online having the same problem. Apparently, putting too many beds in one area causes makes your tired and poor wastelanders cranky (maybe they'd like it back in the wilds with the Deathclaws where I found them). I haven't found exact numbers, and testing for it is difficult, but it seems like four beds to one room or hut is the sweet spot. Water purifiers are a godsend and you should put them in any settlement that isn't landlocked. A single industrial water purifier will produce 40 units of water, far more than you'll ever need for a settlement on its own. Plus, extra water goes into your workbench as an aid item. You can pull out a bunch for cheap healing, or sell them all to a trader who wanders into your settlement for a stack of caps. Equip gear on your settlers for protection and convenience. Instead of scrapping or selling every spare gun you pick up, try placing it in a settler's inventory and have them equip it (use the triangle or Y button on the console controllers) and a single piece of ammunition for it (it will last them forever, thanks to Lex for the tip!). I know this might be really obvious, but I keep hearing from people who missed it! Not only will they be able to help next time a Super Mutant wanders into the neighborhood, but you can coordinate their outfits to help you keep track of what jobs people are doing. Or just give them a creepy uniform look if you want to make your own apocalypse cult. Each settler assigned to work on crops can sustain enough plants to generate six points of food. This means you only really need three or four full time farmers, which frees up the rest of your population for things like guard duty at watch towers, scavenging for supplies, or manning the tills at your shops. Speaking of guard posts, while they initially seem like a terrible deal (only a measly two defense for a manned post), if you set up multiple posts and assign a person to one of them, he or she will walk between up to three of them like a patrol and provide the defense benefit of each. So one person on guard duty watching three posts can actually provide a decent six defense; better than a level-one turret. Folks assigned to scavenging benches generate a small amount of junk for the workbench on their own. What they gather is fairly inconsequential, but something is better than nothing if you don't have them assigned to anything else. Interestingly enough, they tend to walk around with their weapons drawn, seemingly looking for a fight. Not sure why they do that, but I like to put the best of my spare weapons on them so they can be ready to draw down on any intruders. Build a bell! In the miscellaneous resources menu you can find a bell that will summon settlers to your location. This will save you loads of time when trying to assign jobs or equip folks since they can hide like ninjas when left to their own devices. I didn't find this until embarrassingly late in my game and it would have saved me a lot of time. In a nice little touch, settlers will congregate at a bar after hours if you build one. When the workday is over, everyone just wants a nice slice of grilled brahmin and a drink, I suppose. So maybe spend a little extra time laying out chairs and making your bar area look nice. Hey, you can always cheat I've really enjoyed building up my settlements, tinkering with the crafting tools, and spending entirely too much time equipping all of my little serfs with laser pistols and shotguns, but I'd be lying if I said it hasn't also been a chore. It just takes too long to collect all the knick-knacks and scrap you need to make things. I don't want to have to root around in some raider-infested warehouse looking for power coils and broken light bulbs for hours just to wire up some patio lights in my fifth fully-loaded farm house. Or maybe, like I mentioned earlier, you built your character to tame the wastes with hands made of concrete and a bulletproof hide. You didn't give any thought towards a useless dump stat like Charisma when you started the game. Now you're stuck looking at the unappealing idea of tossing multiple perk points into your stats just to start building decent settlements. So might I recommend cheating? If you're on PC, this is easy. Open up the console command line and go to town. If you are like me and playing on the PS4 (or Xbox One for that matter), you'll have to get a little more creative. There are two super easy exploits you can pull in the console version of Fallout 4 that will make building your settlements much easier. The first is the vendor scam, where you can clean out a vendor's entire stock (including all their junk and tasty shipments of fiber optics and oil) with some tricky re-selling. First, see what ammo a vendor is selling. The near-useless .38 is always a safe bet. Transfer most of that ammo type to a companion or drop it on the ground or you'll lose your own stash of it in the process, but keep 15 or 20 bullets in your inventory just to make the trick work. Next, click on the entire stack of that ammo from the vendor like you were going to buy it all. Hop over to your side of the trade window and sell back a single round of that ammo type from your tray, then sell the rest. If it worked right (it can be hinky and isn't always 100%) you should still have a phantom round left to sell. Mash on that until the vendor owes you a hundred caps or so, then flip back to their tray and “buy” the stack of ammo from them again. Weirdly, it will still count as you selling it and they'll owe you caps. The effect compounds and you can hit this multiple times until they owe you some ridiculous amount like 10k and then clean out their inventory for free. Now I'm delighted every time I bump into Trashcan Carla because I know it's another shipment of fine asbestos coming my way. This may be one of those things that's easier to watch than explain, so check out this video for a demonstration. [embed]323060:61293:0[/embed] When it comes to boosting your special stats, Dogmeat can help you with that. Head back to Sanctuary with him and check out your old house. In Shaun's room you should find a “You're S.P.E.C.I.A.L!” book on the ground that will immediately let you boost a stat of your choice. Once the book is in your inventory, find a nice level place (one of the cleared houses works fine) and get Dogmeat ready. Drop the book on the ground, call Dogmeat to pick it up, and JUST as he goes to snag it, pick it up yourself. The timing can be tricky since Dogmeat will grab stuff from different ranges (and generally act like a fool), but when done correctly, you should have a copy in your inventory while Dogmeat drops one at your feet. Drop them again and pick them up and one will let you boost another stat. You can do this again and again to raise your S.P.E.C.I.A.L points as much as you like. I'd recommend a light touch (completely overpowered characters quickly become boring), but this is a great option if you decide to get into crafting with an already developed character who doesn't have much in the way of Charisma or Intelligence. Exploits like this are going to be something players will have to come to or avoid on their own. Personally, I don't recommend cheating like this right off the bat. It can ruin the experience. But if you're 30 or 40 hours deep into the game and pulling your hair out because you built your character wrong at the start or just can't find enough oil to keep your turrets up and running, it's nice to have a safety net like this available. 
Settlement guide photo
A beacon in the wasteland
Okay, so you've been playing Fallout 4 since launch and you've wandered the wastes, scoured the ruins of Boston, and swam in the glowing sea. You've had a lot of adventures. Now you're thinking about settling down, and checki...

What're you playing? IS IT FALLOUT 4?

Nov 28 // Steven Hansen
I was playing Fallout 4 recently, but I think I’m going to leave it for a while for some decent mods and bug fixes to come out before heading back into it. Instead, I’ve been slowly trudging my way through my first run of Bloodborne (currently trying to beat the Shadows of Yharnam), as well as the recent PC rerelease Sonic Lost World. Playing something as grimdark as Bloodborne and then immediately hopping into a Sonic level based on colourful tasty treats can feel like being hit by a freight train sometimes, but both games are a lot of fun!  I can't stop playing Rise of the Tomb Raider. I think it might be a sickness. I know I have a tendency to fall in love with games (even crappy ones), but there's something so soothing and zen-like about exploring the Geothermal Valley and scouting for Survival Caches. It makes me not wanna finish; in order to delay the inevitable, I've taken to returning to old paths and gathering all the collectibles and finishing up all the Challenges. Besides the diving. Lara will not fecking dive for me. Otherwise I'm playing Destiny. I did leave it for Halo 5 for a bit, but there's still no better multiplayer experience. Like a booty call, I came crawling back to Bungie, a bunch of wilting flowers in one hand and shrugging off my jeans with the other.  I've been a bit restless with my gaming recently, so I've gone back to play a couple of games that I know I enjoy, having a little bit of comfort gaming in among the big reviews season. Revisiting Danganronpa 2, replaying To The Moon and even briefly jumping back in to Half Minute Hero. Other than that I've been sinking some time into playing Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires for Destructoid which should be getting some coverage toward the end of this week and playing the odd game of Peggle on iOS while travelling. I just want to get through all those challenge puzzles again. I'm so bad at playing video games, folks. I've got probably six or so hours clocked on Fallout 4, and after my save being erroneously deleted I think I might wait a month or two before coming back to it. Meanwhile I've been dragging myself kicking and screaming through a genocide run in Undertale, as well as putting a few runs into Sublevel Zero before I sleep most nights. I went on a shopping spree a week or two ago and grabbed a bunch of Dreamcast games, so I'm finally learning Street Fighter III: Third Strike as well as finally getting around to playing Jet Grind Radio for the first time. Oh, and that Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows DLC is dope. I've been in full-blown "gotta catch 'em all" mode with Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon and Yo-Kai Watch. I'm pretty much done with Yo-Kai Watch, but I'm still trying to beat some of those post-game bosses. They're really hard! I'll probably have to find a good place to grind if I ever want to beat them all. Apparently if I lived in the world of Pokemon, I would be a Mudkip. Who knew? I'm a bit disappointed that I haven't been able to recruit Cubone yet, but I'll manage (I guess). I like that Super Mystery Dungeon lets me see a side of the Pokemon that I don't often get to see. They all have personalities, quirks, and opinions and it's really fun to get to know them all. It's like that episode of the anime where they all wash up on a desert island and Ash's Pokemon end up hanging out with Team Rocket's Pokemon and you get to hear what they're actually saying to each other. Except in the game, you don't have to listen to all that "Squirtle Squirtle!" "Charmander!" "Bulba Bulbasaur!" nonsense. Thank god. At my real job, we're entering what is known as the busy season, aka hell month, aka all employees on suicide watch month. That's right, I work in retail. So after eight stressful hours of people telling me I ruined their Christmas or I made their children cry (both of which just make me laugh, laugh, laugh), I like to come home and play a game that really relaxes me; like Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson. Nothing helps me get through the holidays better than pretending the people I'm slicing and dicing up in that game are the customers who annoy me so much. What's that Mrs. Stevens? Your Christmas is a bust because we ran out of Monopoly sets and you decided not to order until December 22nd? How about I make it up to you with a katana to the face? Oh Mr. Peters I'm sorry. You were supposed to get that package before Thanksgiving so you could give it to your daughter as a Thanksgiving gift, as if that should be a real thing? Eat boot, asshole! Baby life has kept me from playing any game solo for more than 30 minutes at a time, but I've been playing Nintendo Badge Arcade every morning while I'm in the bathroom (70 badges so far and I haven't spent a cent), and I've got a new record on Super Graviton in VVVVVV (19.43 seconds!). I also finally managed to get through Plague Knight's campaign in Shovel Knight, and was shocked by how sincerely touching many of the cut scenes were. When other people are around, we've been popping in Runbow, Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival, and Sportsball while swapping off turns keeping the kid happy. Juggling games and child care is like a game unto itself, and so far, I haven't lost any lives. Maybe I should go pro. My backlog's now ballooning to include the likes of Metal Gear Solid V, Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, the last episode of Game of Thrones, Destiny and other games which I know are really good and fun to play, and it's all because of Fort Construction Simulator 2287 Fallout 4. About 30 of the 40-or-so hours the savegame timer is telling me I've had with Bethesda's latest have been spent with the game's gratuitously deep settlement system. On the one hand, it's dreadfully unnecessary and essentially cuts the legs out from under Bethesda's most accomplished main story so far (though that isn't saying a whole lot in the grand scheme of things). On the other hand, my Sanctuary Hills settlement is really coming along, in that romanticizing-shantytowns kind of way. Check it out below (complete with royalty-free music courtesy of Youtube's copyright enforcement thingamabob): [embed]322272:61236:0[/embed] I've spent every spare moment of the past two weeks as a post-apocalyptic hoarder in Fallout 4. Just like grandpa working on his train sets, the miniature model enthusiast in me has surfaced in a weird way and I've gone deep on the settlement building aspect of the game even though it's really, genuinely, terrible. All of my settlers have cute little ramshackle apartments, access to clean water, and all the laser guns they could ask for even though I'm still not sure what (if anything) they can do for me after 20 hours in. Please send help. After spending around ten hours getting the elderly Mama Murphy high as fuck in Fallout 4, I fell back into my own personal addictions: Halo 5: Guardians and Hearthstone. I can't help it, I just love opening card packs, as well as the rush of having close matches which both games provide. Recently played through the first episode of Tales from the Borderlands with my boyfriend which was surprisingly hilarious, plus it fed my newfound obsession of Hunter S. Thompson, as there is a character that looks and dresses like him.  Other times I'm lying in my bed with my Vita playing through Superbeat: Xonic for review obsessively, while loud techno and metal fill the air alongside my swearing.   I want to say I'm re-experiencing Undertale's charming pacifist run. A game chock full of so many secrets that I'd replay the entire game to see the things I missed like Sans' room or beating Thundersnails. Or I could say I'm replaying Bayonetta 2 and trying to unlock the other, extra hard secret characters like Rosa or Rodin. But I'm not. I'm playing Nintendo Badge Arcade. I put a dollar in to grab the Animal Crossing badges just now, because of course I will, I have the Isabelle and signboard 3DS theme. You can also never play too much Super Smash Bros. 4, especially with Cloud on the horizon. I recently finished up the latest Minecraft: Story Mode episode for review, and it was all right. I have a few games on my list to get to before we start working up our Game of the Year lists, like Undertale and Life is Strange, but I haven't started either of those. Right now I'm on vacation, away from my PC and consoles, so all I'm really playing is stuff on my 3DS and my phone. I've been getting through Hitman GO, which is dressed up like a cute little board game about murder. Also still chugging away at Ultimate Angler on the 3DS, because StreetPass games are always going to be the best. What am I playing? More like what aren't I playing, right?! But, can we talk seriously for a minute? I'm begrudgingly playing Fallout 4. Have a bunch of people above me already talked about Fallout 4? I haven't bothered to look, but I bet they did. You're probably reading this article while you take a break from Fallout 4. It's goddamn everywhere. I'm not sure I have a lot of nice things to say about it but I'm still playing it. I guess that counts for something. I think it's my favorite Ubisoft game ever. The missus and I are currently burning through The X-Files, just in time for the new mini-series in January. You know, I'm amazed at how well the entire show holds up (though, I say this as we currently work our way through Season 7, a.k.a. David Duchovny's last full season, a.k.a. it all goes to shit) and I've totally fallen back in love with Gillian Anderson, reigniting my first TV crush from all those years back. Not even her awful wig in those new trailers can diminish it, now! Anyway, as part of the binge, I played The X-Files FMV game in its intended place during Season 3; between Wetwired (where Scully goes coco-bananas due to broadcast signals) and Talitha Cumi (the finale where Mulder befriends that guy from The Invaders). As a game, it has all the hallmarks of why FMV failed, but also it works remarkably well in trying to emulate the show within such limitations; especially when it came out just as The X-Files loosened up, got cool, and put out its best work. Also, I'm currently playing through Breach & Clear: Deadline, which isn't too bad considering the Steam Sale price. It's a spin-off of a tactical shooter in the vein of Rainbow Six/SWAT/Doorkickers, but the fact it involves rushing zombie hordes makes a lot of your tactical decisions, and the very title, a tad redundant. But, hey, it's actually a fun little game if you're not too cynical about the planning and light RPG elements. Also, also I'm still playing PAYDAY 2 because I'm a monster on par with Hitler. If you've followed my quickposts of late, you know I have been on a huge Castlevania binge, which will be concluding soon with Rondo of Blood, Order of Ecclesia and then Symphony of the Night's Maria Mode. I also recently finished Dawn of Sorrow and Portrait of Ruin. I've also been playing Child of Light, Fire Emblem: Awakening and Super Smash Bros. for 3DS. This will be my third time through Awakening, which is starting to become something of an annual tradition for me. It's just such a charming game and I usually lose Vaike along the way, but maybe he'll live this time. Sadly, I can't marry Tharja, but Nintendo will let me marry her prior incarnation in Birthright next year. Smash is the main obsession right now, though. Just unlocked Jigglypuff and I'm maining Zero Suit Samus, Robin and Pikachu so far. Mostly Zero Suit Samus since Samus is the best ever when she's not in Metroid Other M. Robin is an interesting challenge with the limited use of tomes and swords, I just have to get over Robin not looking like my Robin in Awakening. It's like seeing a Commander Shepherd, but it's not your Shepherd. I'm hoping Shovel Knight and Shantae get to join the fray through the Smash Ballot, too. If some sulky, spikey-haired, fake soldier with glowy eyes can get in, the Cerulean Spader and a bellydancing half-genie are fair game. I guess we'll see. My experience of Fallout 4 as read by SNL’s City Correspondent, Stefan: The hottest new experience in video games right now is Fallout 4.  This post-apocalyptic thrill kill club has it all. Ashes. Crab people. Mad Max Scarecrows. And just when you think you’ve seen it all…what’s that? Teddy Bear Night Light! (It’s that thing where you kill a Glowing One then cover it in teddy bears.) Thanks to The Old Hunters DLC, I'm back into Bloodborne. I left off months ago with a new game+++ save file, so I had to start fresh and work my way back up to even access the expansion, much less make any real progress in it. Far too many hours later, I'm so close to the end. I've done everything but take out the optional boss, and I can hardly imagine that ever happening without summoning a near-flawless co-op player. It's such an unforgiving fight! As much as it's a total slog and I've become exceedingly impatient, I'm too stubborn to give up. I also got one of those $20 PlayStation TVs and, after scrolling through the online system library, I'm now just playing old favorites like What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord? and Patapon. Worth it. People can pretty much see what I've been playing through reviews, but in addition to the Bloodborne DLC and Xenoblade Chronicles X, I'm peppering in some Final Fantasy XIV and Destiny. The latter is really winding down though as Bungie hasn't introduced anything new in a while, and since my normal raid group is starting to get pissed at the triple-RNG involved in hard mode (getting the item, then getting the right level, and the right roll), they don't play as much. Beyond that my wife and I still play Pikmin 3's bingo versus mode on occasion, as well as Black Ops III via split-screen. Whenever I'm in the middle of college finals, I tend to gravitate towards games that can be played in the space between cram sessions. And every year since 2012, the game I pick to fill that void is the regular Call of Duty release. I am part of the problem.  Black Ops III is difficult to come back to after the similarly-themed Advanced Warfare. The gun sight that lit up enemies and the corner-friendly boost in Advanced Warfare were cornerstones of my almost 1:1 K/D ratio (impressive for someone who is normally very bad at shooters), and losing those tools in the transition to Black Ops III was a blow. Plus, as of Thanksgiving, we've officially hit the point where people have those maps memorized from every angle. Call of Duty's progression system continues to be immensely satisfying on a macro and micro level, culminating in a cycle that's difficult to escape when there's an upgrade perpetually right around the corner, so it's not like I'm going to quit any time soon. I barely have time to play anything else! I'm still playing Dragon Age: Inquisition. Is it just me or does this game not have an end? Sure, I picked it up in the summer almost a full year after release -- but I'll be damned if I haven't given in to my completionist mindset trying to pick up every last shard. Is it worth it? Almost 100 hours into the game and at this point contemplating ways to conjure up a mass kool-aid suicide in Skyhold just to keep something -- anything -- moving along in the plot. That Cullen though. He's no Alistair, but you can't deny that fur mantle. BioWare - 3; Caitlin - 0 (let's not forget about Thane). Reporting live from Santa Teresa, New Mexico! This forced vacation has allowed me more game time than usual. On the way over here in the RV, I played Eldritch Horror and Dungeons & Dragons with my lady and her brother. On the digital front, I brought my laptop and I've been playing more Killing Floor 2 and some Downwell. If you think the latter game is difficult, try it on a bumpy ass RV with poor weather stripping. Before the trip, I finished Rise of the Tomb Raider, which I enjoyed, but might as well have been called Tomb Raider: The Exact Same Narrative Beats as the Last Time, or even Tomb Raider: Why are the Only Good Parts of the Story Buried in Shitty Audio Logs? Obviously, I have some thoughts about this. You'll be hearing from me soon. And gosh, I haven't even started playing Fallout. I might just wait until next year.  I've been eclectic. I jumped into some first-time-in-months Rocket League that dulled after winning at least 10 in a row. I turned on XCOM, got in that save where I was naming everyone after Destructoid staff, remember I'd fucked up last time I was streaming it, and proceeded to watch everyone I work with impaled and vomited on by chryssalids (only Caitlin and Darren survived by virtue of having been in the infirmary). Kicked around some Downwell but it wasn't pulling from the cloud save and knocking off rust sans Levitate style was taxing. Stopped myself from mindlessly playing more Resident Evil 4.  After all the hit 'em and quit 'ems I settled into some The Testament of Doctor Mabuse because I wanted to watch more Fritz Lang and fell asleep during Stromboli. All substitutes for Rififi and other Criterions not in Hulu's collection. I've also been watching that Jessica Jones program, the only superhero thing I've seen since Guardians of the Galaxy (and before that, the first Avengers, and part of some X-Men movie in the airplane window reflection of the guy in front of me). I appreciate the reduced scale and attempts at not sharing the same visual style as others of its ilk (all the action looks the same! They're all shot and edited the same!), I'm torn on always having "Basketball Jones" stuck in my head. - What in Sam Hill are YOU playing?
What'cha playin'? photo
With my heart?
Lord on a skateboard we did it, that's it, the year's over, there's nothing left to get through in 2015 (year 3 of Luigi). I'd like to thank everyone who got us this far and let's just coast into 2016, done completely with ho...

Final Fantasy VI photo
Final Fantasy VI

Final Fantasy VI rated for PC

Probably the ugly mobile port
Nov 28
// Kyle MacGregor
Final Fantasy VI is on its way to PC, a new PEGI rating suggests. While Square Enix has not made any official announcements regarding the matter, the publisher has re-released a number of classic Final Fantasy games on the pl...
Yakuza photo

You can fight Majima anywhere in the world in the Yakuza remake

Haha, awesome
Nov 28
// Chris Carter
Yakuza: Kiwami, a remake for the original game, is shaping up to be a pretty awesome re-release. There are a ton of new features packed in, one of which is the ability to fight Majima Goro, a Starscream-esque friend of t...
World of Warcraft photo
World of Warcraft

Here's a quick look at World of Warcraft's new Demon Hunter class

For the Legion expansion
Nov 28
// Chris Carter
The World of Warcraft: Legion expansion isn't set to debut until mid-2016 (!), but Blizzard has provided alpha access to some individuals far ahead of its release. As of this week I had a chance to try out the Demon Hunter cl...
StarCraft II  photo
StarCraft II

StarCraft II co-op goes free-to-play, but only directly with friends

The Starter Edition has been updated
Nov 28
// Chris Carter
StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void is out, and with it, a few new modes, such as the full co-op portion and Archon Mode -- which allows two players to control one base. But if you aren't willing to take the plunge yet, the Star...
Donkey Kong Country 2 photo
Donkey Kong Country 2

Let's take a moment to reflect on how amazing Donkey Kong Country 2 was

It turned 20 this month
Nov 28
// Chris Carter
Donkey Kong Country 2 turned 20 this month. To celebrate, current Rare Creative Director (since 1998!) is reminiscing on the game, tweeting out tons of concept art, as well as used and unused ideas. It really brings...
PES 2016 photo
PES 2016

PES 2016 is getting a free-to-play edition soon with seven teams

Starting December 8
Nov 28
// Chris Carter
For all five of you who play PES 2016 (just kidding, it's a wildly successful franchise) will be delighted to hear that your friends can join in on the action soon for free. Starting December 8, there will be a free "ent...
Nintendo photo

The Nintendo UK Store just got a huge amiibo restock

An official online store, imagine that
Nov 28
// Chris Carter
In the UK, Nintendo has a dedicated online store where you can go online, and buy amiibo straight from the source. I know right? Here in the US we have to hunt for retailer exclusives and hope that our F5 tactics actuall...
Xenoblade Chronicles X photo
Xenoblade Chronicles X

You'll want to watch this Xenoblade Chronicles X map guide video

Haha, this game
Nov 28
// Chris Carter
If you're hyped up for Xenoblade Chronicles X, you'll probably want to take the time to watch this nine minute video regarding the game's map system. It's pretty complicated, and X doesn't actually explain everythin...
Deals photo

Xbox One Fallout 4 1TB bundle $329 in early Cyber Monday sale

Yes "early" as in two days early
Nov 28
// Dealzon
Here's an Xbox One Fallout 4 bundle that crept up on us "unexpectedly." We somehow thought this sale was going to happen on Sunday night or else we would have mentioned it earlier. Turns out the spreadsheet said 9PM PST on 11...
Story of Seasons photo
Story of Seasons

Story of Seasons will now launch next month in Europe

On 3DS
Nov 27
// Chris Carter
Story of Seasons launched earlier this year in the US (last year in Japan), but Europe still hasn't seen a release from Marvelous AQL's latest farming simulator. Fortunately, Nintendo of Europe has confirmed that it will be b...

Get Destructoid ad-free for just a buck

Support your favorite editors
Nov 27
// Niero Desu
Get an ad-free Carter, ad-free Holmes, ad-free Devore, ad-free ... well you get the idea. That's zero ads on the Destructoid home page and no ads inside the articles, which means your mobile Destructoid loads FAST! (Note: Dis...
Odin Sphere photo
Odin Sphere

Here's every Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir character trailer

Nov 27
// Chris Carter
The Odin Sphere remake is coming as early as January in Japan (later in the year elsewhere), and Atlus is sufficiently pumping us up with character trailers for all of the old cast members. All of the usual suspects -- V...
JoJo photo

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven could give me that 3D brawler fix

Remember The Bouncer?
Nov 27
// Chris Carter
CyberConnect2's newest JoJo's Bizarre game, Eyes of Heaven, is coming along nicely. It's set to debut on the PS3 and PS4 in Japan on December 17, and this clip should give you a general overview of what the game is trying to...
This War of Mine photo
This War of Mine

This War of Mine is getting a board game

Cool, I'd give it a shot
Nov 27
// Chris Carter
This War of Mine can be a pretty heavy game, but 11 bit studios has a lighter sight in mind -- a board game adaptation. It will sport a companion app, and the creator notes that it will support up to six players with eas...
GTA V photo

This GTA V machinima channels The Force, lightsabers

'Darth Trevor and Michael Kenobi'
Nov 27
// Chris Carter
I can't believe that Grand Theft Auto V machinima is still a thing, over two years later, but that's what a robust PC release and editing tools with do. It helps that most of the videos I've seen are actually good, like...
amiibo photo

PSA: Ike and other rare amiibo are back at GameStop

It's a Black Friday miracle!
Nov 27
// Mike Cosimano
GameStop has made good on its advertised Black Friday amiibo restock. Not only are stores packed with the promised Ike amiibo, but you can also find the other restocked figures through its website. As of writing, the reissued...
Super Mario Maker photo
Super Mario Maker

Super Mario Maker adds the frog suit, NES Remix course

Great news
Nov 27
// Chris Carter
Nintendo has provided a new course for Super Mario Maker, based on the NES Remix series. After completion, it will net you the frog suit from Mario 3, which wasn't in the game previously -- it's important to note h...
BlazBlue photo

BlazBlue and Guilty Gear are currently seeing huge sales on PSN

70% off
Nov 27
// Chris Carter
While a bunch of fighting games are seeing discounts on Steam, Arc System Works has provided a few sales of its own for the BlazBlue and Guilty Gear series on the PSN. Each version of BlazBlue: Chronophantasma EXTEN...
Black Friday photo
Black Friday

It's ACTUALLY Black Friday now, here are all of Amazon's gaming deals

Real talk
Nov 27
// Brett Makedonski
Like I wrote about yesterday, The Black Friday Creep is a real problem. I'm pretty sure that actual Black Friday is just a formality at this point; everyone already got their cheap TVs a week ago. By the time it rolls around,...
One-Punch Man photo
One-Punch Man

This champion recreated the One-Punch Man anime in Fallout 4

Go go Saitama
Nov 27
// Chris Carter
Similar to Kill la Kill and other animes throughout the years, One-Punch Man has been making the rounds on the Internet in the past few months due to its absurd premise and high-octane fight scenes. In essence, the...
Disaster Report 4 Plus photo
Disaster Report 4 Plus

Disaster Report 4 Plus is looking real nice on PS4

I'm glad it's back
Nov 27
// Ben Davis
Disaster Report 4 Plus: Summer Memories received its debut trailer and some shiny new screenshots today. Developer Irem previously announced Disaster Report 4 for PS3 back in 2010, but it was delayed and then canceled shortly...
Azure Striker Gunvolt photo
Azure Striker Gunvolt

Azure Striker Gunvolt PC gets 50% off sale, new 'Christmas Mode'

Nov 27
// Chris Carter
From now until December 1, Azure Striker Gunvolt is 50% off on Steam, which is a sale you may want to partake in, as the PC version is being updated to incorporate a new "Christmas Mode." In essence, nearly the entire game ha...
Ghostbusters photo

The Ghostbusters board game is like a mini Arkham Horror

With multi-mission campaigns
Nov 27
// Chris Carter
Every so often we cover board games here at Destructoid, mostly from our tabletop expert Darren Nakamura. But when the opportunity presented itself to check out the brand new Ghostbusters game, I sprang at the chance. Ha...
Rainbox Six Siege beta photo
Rainbox Six Siege beta

The Rainbow Six Siege beta is back online, following a delay

Full game is out next week
Nov 27
// Chris Carter
In an odd twist of events, the Rainbow Six Siege beta was delayed last-minute, just six days before the game was set to launch on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Apparently sessions were not starting properly, and that it would b...

What is your favorite Bethesda era Fallout game?

Nov 27 // Chris Carter
Fallout photo
New Vegas, baby
Barring the amazing original PC series, I want to know what people think of the newer takes on the Fallout franchise. I've seen so many conversations regarding Bethesda's reign, and although there's lots of love for Fallout 4...

PSP photo

The PSP is shutting down digital operations next year in Japan

March 31, 2016
Nov 27
// Chris Carter
Sad times. The PSP will end software sales, and the UMD Passport program will be shut down on March 31, 2016 in Japan. After that point you can still re-download old content or buy though from other systems (PS3, PC, or Vita)...
Deals photo

$60 GameStop gift card deal for $50 on Black Friday

Essentially 17% off
Nov 27
// Dealzon
Update: The GameStop one is selling fast. Will probably go out of stock within a few hours. Planning to shop at Toys R' Us or GameStop sometime this holiday season? If these stores are your choice location to pick up amiibos,...

Review: Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon

Nov 27 // Ben Davis
Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon (3DS)Developer: Spike ChunsoftPublisher: NintendoMSRP: $39.99Released: November 20, 2015 To start things off in Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, the player will take a short personality test. The test determines which of the 20 starter Pokémon they will become; it also chooses their partner. However, the results can be overruled if the player is unhappy with their chosen 'mon. The game picked Mudkip for me, with Torchic as my parter, so I just went with it. The story of Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon revolves around a human who has been turned into a Pokémon and has lost their memory. The Pokéhuman wakes up in confusion to find that they're being attacked by a group of Beheeyem, but they're quickly led to safety by a kind Nuzleaf with a southern accent who shows them the ropes and brings them into town. Once in town, the player will make some new friends, meet up with their destined partner, and begin going on expeditions into mystery dungeons. From here, the main storyline will begin to reveal itself in bits and pieces. There are whispers of Pokémon around the world mysteriously being turned to stone, the Beheeyem are still following the player, and their memory of being a human refuses to return to them. Eventually, everything will start to fall into place and a grand adventure of world-ending proportions will unfold. But before all of that happens, there are dungeons to explore. These make up the core gameplay, of course. Mystery dungeons are made up of randomly generated grid-based floors filled with enemy Pokémon, items, and traps. Enemies only move when the player moves, so sometimes it's best to take things one step at a time so as to avoid suddenly becoming overwhelmed with foes. [embed]322769:61271:0[/embed] To attack, just hold down the left bumper to open up a menu of four possible moves, then select an action. It's also possible to combo moves with other team members by tapping the right bumper, which activates an "Alliance" to hit an enemy with multiple moves at once. Strategy is key to winning battles. Sometimes the best course of action is to waste a turn so that the enemy might move closer, opening up the possibility to land the first strike. Or, maybe it would be safer to switch positions with another teammate so they can take a blow and allow others to heal. Perhaps a liberal use of items will get the player out of a jam. A lot of planning and foresight is necessary in order to survive most confrontations, so simply spamming attacks is not going to cut it for the most part. Moving around dungeons will slowly heal injured Pokémon, but it will also decrease a hunger gauge as well, and if hunger reaches zero then the Pokémon's health will slowly begin to deplete. On top of that, there are status effects to worry about, such as poison or burns, which will stop Pokémon from regenerating health and will hurt them. Other effects, like confusion, can mess with a Pokémon's movement or ability to act. This can prove to be very annoying and potentially dangerous, so it's always a good idea to have the proper items available. Actually, a big part of mystery dungeon navigation involves managing items effectively. Only a certain amount can be held at once, but items will be scattered about all over the place and will quickly fill up the bag. It's a good idea to figure out which are the most important and plan accordingly. Some of the more important ones are oran berries and reviver seeds which are necessary for healing, elixirs which replenish the PP of moves, apples which stave off hunger, and wands and orbs that keep enemies at bay or help with dungeon navigation. There are also "Looplets" which act as the sole source of accessory. These can be upgraded with "Emeras" or gems which provide a wide array of different effects to help with combat and navigation (some may even cause a Mega Evolution!), but the Emeras will disappear upon exiting a dungeon. If the player fails a dungeon, they will lose all the items and money currently being held, unless they opt to wait for a rescue mission. These can be arranged on Pelipper Island, where the player can request help from other players via passwords, QR codes, local wireless, or IR connection. Alternatively, the player can simply return to their old save in order to retain items and money, but of course progress might be lost. Helper Pokémon can also be sent out from Pelipper Island for streetpass purposes, although I haven't encountered any yet. While story dungeons will force the player to use specific teams of Pokémon, normal dungeons will allow the player to choose any three Pokémon they wish to use. More Pokémon can be recruited by completing expeditions or simply chatting with folks around town, so the pool of possible allies will continue to grow larger and larger. All 720 Pokémon are available to be recruited, including legendaries, gender variations, all forms of Unown, and more. Using Pokémon in dungeons will allow them to level up and and learn new moves. I don't believe they can evolve, but since their evolutions can also be recruited, it doesn't really matter too much. Normal expeditions are where Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon really shines, but unfortunately they are few and far between until the main story has been completed. Free play finally opens up in the epilogue, but players are looking at about 20+ hours of gameplay and cutscenes before that happens. Aside from that, my only real complaints are the lack of skippable cutscenes and the fact that some story missions don't provide much opportunity for preparation. Even though it often allows the player to choose the items they want to take along and check out the shops beforehand, I still occasionally found myself woefully unprepared for story missions and ended up getting stuck with lousy equipment. The game also tends to save before long cutscenes right before boss fights, so I was forced to rewatch the same scenes over and over again whenever I died. The one before the final boss was particularly frustrating; it was so long! I'd have to say my favorite part of Super Mystery Dungeon is the way the Pokémon are portrayed. In most games and in the anime, the Pokémon simply say their own names and their personalities, if they have one at all, can only be implied. The main cast of characters in Super Mystery Dungeon consists of a good mix of Pokémon from each generation, and they're all given their own voice, each with different quirks, opinions, personalities, and sometimes even accents. It's really fun to learn about these guys in a new light. Some that I liked before I ended up hating this time around (like Pancham and Shelmet, those jerks!), while others that I may have ignored in previous games quickly became some of my favorites (like Espurr!). The cutscenes may have been long and the story may have been a little over-the-top, but I'd say it was worth it in the end just to get to know some of the Pokémon a bit better. Having never played any of the previous entries in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, I can't really compare it to the earlier games. However, for my first foray into Pokémon roguelikes, I had a great time! The difficulty seemed to ramp up considerably in some places, but between items, Emeras, and the random elements, I was generally able to figure out a strategy that worked well enough for me to just barely make it through. But if that doesn't work for some players, there are always the rescue missions to fall back on in case of an emergency. If you're like me and you haven't tried a Mystery Dungeon game yet, this one comes highly recommended. I'm fairly confident fans of the series will not be disappointed either. On its own, Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon is a quirky, light-hearted spin-off with well-developed dungeon crawling gameplay that provides a satisfying level of difficulty and gives the player plenty of room to develop their own strategies, all the while offering tons of customization options with a huge roster of potential allies and moves. It's a solid entry in the Pokémon franchise. [This review is based on a retail build of the game purchased by the reviewer.]
Super Mystery Dungeon photo
Like Magic(karp)
The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon spin-off series transports the colorful cast of pocket monsters from the role-playing games into the challenging world of a roguelike dungeon crawler. Super Mystery Dungeon retains the charm...

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