The Good and Bad of “Immortal” Companions in Fallout 4

Fallout 4 is out!

I’ve been playing a lot of the game ever since I got it last Friday. Yes, I know I got it late. I really wanted to get Bethedsa’s latest game as early as possible but life (ie. work) got in the way. And it’s hard not to get excited by Fallout 4! Ever since they showed the first trailer way back in E3, everyone who’s a fan of the series wanted to play it! We’ve been waiting since New Vegas for another installment. Sure, Fallout Shelter was a good way to pass the time until then. But Fallout 4 is the big ticket game for 2015!

So, I’ve been playing it over the weekend. I managed to get my first companion, Dogmeat, which was pretty easy. In fact, you just meet him and he automatically joins! But ever since then, as I’ve traveled the Wastelands of Boston and have been assaulted by multiple raiders and feral ghouls, I noticed something odd: Dogmeat is a zombie. I say this because he just can’t die!

No matter how beat up he gets, he just keeps on getting up. You just can’t keep a good dog down in Fallout 4. And apparently, that goes for all of the other companions. None of them can be killed. For fans of the Fallout series, Bethedsa’s decision may seem odd, especially since companions could die in previous installments. But their explanation for this change makes perfect sense. I’ll let Todd Howard of Bethedsa explain…

While I totally understand his reasoning behind the change, I’m of two minds on the issue. On one hand, I’m totally in favor of it. But there is still a big part of me that doesn’t like it.

First, let’s talk about the pro side of things. His logic makes perfect sense. Not many gamers will continue once their companions gets killed! As Todd Howard said, it is indeed a “reload scenario.” In Fallout 3, Dogmeat was my companion of choice. Not because he was a dog but because he didn’t need weapons to be an effective fighter! Dogmeat is also incredibly easy to recruit as all you have to do is meet up with him in the Junkyard.

For some strange reason, I did grow attached to Dogmeat. A little too well, actually. When my Lone Wanderer became strong enough, I actually left Dogmeat it my house in Megaton since I didn’t want him to get hurt! Every time my lovable little pooch would die, I would actually reload my last saved game. There was no way I was letting my lovable Dogmeat perish because of me. I did get Fawkes the Super Mutant to join me during the latter part of the game because, well, he’s a Super Mutant! He could definitely handle himself!

Now, let’s look at the biggest con of having “immortal” companions: it destroys immersion. For this, let’s jump to my favorite companion in Fallout: New Vegas, Rose of Sharon Cassidy. I didn’t like Rose of Sharon Cassidy when I first met her in the Mojave Outpost bar. But after a few conversations with her and after I recruited her as a companion, she did grow on me. I actually gave her the best equipment I could get my hands on because, hey, she’s really good with a rifle and loves explosives!

I also gave her as many stimpacks I could spare because, if she was going to travel with me, she needed to heal up! I really didn’t want her to get killed! And that made me really care for Rose of Sharon Cassidy more than I really should have. I took care of putting her in the best attack positions where she could be the most effective. I know I could just reload the game if she did perish. But I just didn’t want her to die a brutal death.

This is in stark contrast with the Dogmeat I currently have in Fallout 4. I would usually see my dog rush headlong into a pack of feral ghouls and not really care for his safety. I was more concerned with my own! The Dogmeat in Fallout 4 is more of a bullet sponge or a distraction so I can get good shots in because I know he’ll just get up! Heck, even if you dump him in a vat of boiling liquid, he’ll still be okay. He’s like a honey badger because Dogmeat don’t care!

Personally, even with the big downside of breaking immersion, I’m all for having companions that will not die. It’s much more fun to have a tactical advantage against the enemies in Fallout 4. And there are a lot of enemies in the game; it’s very easy to get overwhelmed! I just don’t have time to look after my allies while making sure I don’t die! However, I would’ve liked it if Bethedsa gave gamers the option to bestow mortality on companions. I know a lot of gamers (myself included) wouldn’t be using the option but it would be good for the “hardcore” Fallout fans who would want things to stay the way things were like in the previous installments.

I think this article’s done! Time for more Fallout 4!

What’s your take on companions not being able to die in Fallout 4? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

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