On Fallout 4's Building and Settlements

On the pages of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Jon Morcom penned an editorial on the settlement system that Bethesda implemented in Fallout 4. It's quite a positive look, with many words of praise for the depth of the system, but Morcom concedes that he was inclined to like a feature like that ever since it was announced. Still, as someone who found the settlements incredibly clunky and unsatisfying, it's nice to read a counterpoint:

But this is where all the hoarding and resource-gathering paid off and the pleasurable deliberation over building began. Do I use prefabs or freeform structures? Metal or wood? Which beds should I provide the crusty-looking ones with the questionable stains or the whiter, more pristine jobbies? And then came the serious matter of where to place any defence turrets, strutting around each site like General Patton, fooling myself that I had some sort of tactical insight in determining the most likely direction from which trouble might appear. In the end materials permitting I wouldn't head off again until all the settlement resource indicators were showing some healthy green numbers.

Where Bethesda has got it slightly wrong is with the emergent scenarios that flash up, alerting you to help defend this settlement or other. I appreciate that I've become a Minuteman and that my ilk have earned a reputation for rapid response and these prompts really do tend to prick my conscience, but then the more pragmatic me thinks (You can fuck right off, people of The Slog, I'm too busy looting this factory.) As far as annoyances go, these alerts are on a par with GTA IV's Niko Bellic being randomly called by irritant extraordinaire cousin Roman and having him ask if you want to go bowling.

The times I have bothered to go and assist, I've frequently spawned right into the middle of a skirmish and won a face full of white hot fusion cells for my trouble. But generally speaking, I've been able to live with myself following the '˜Happiness' hit and any resultant collateral damage caused on occasions I declined to assist other outposts.

I enjoyed the topographical variations you would find between settlements and the challenges each site would present. The Minutemen's former headquarters and spiritual home at The Castle seems almost too easily defended while the uneven ground and compactness of the Coastal Cottage encourages creative thinking and a more vertical approach to building. I'm particularly fond of Nordhagen Beach, with its sweeping views of Massachusetts Bay and the ringside seat it provides should any highly combustible dirigibles just happen to explode in the area; its relative flatness also provides generous space for buildings and crops.