This week’s podcast (coming soon!) is all about our return to the world of Fallout 4 now that the DLC is live and available on consoles. But first, a tale of hubris that took place after we recorded:

I was feeling pretty smug, as I often do. This time it was because I had breezed through the end game with a ton of Luck perks and a tricked-out Gauss rifle, one-shotting fools on all sides and loving the hell out of VATS. I would have bumped the difficulty up a notch or two from Normal, but I wanted to get to the end a little faster.

And I did! And there’s neat stuff when you get there, at least in the Railroad-aligned finish. But then I started to check out the Automatron DLC, and, well, my lunch got eaten. By robots.

I stumbled into a one-sided firefight between a bunch of junky-looking robots and some wasteland folk and thought I’d save the day as usual, ho hum, shut up Preston. After murdering hundreds of Institute synths, these rusty jokers would make easy kills. I popped one with a quick VATS sneak attack and then took some time to check out the rest of the opposition. While scanning, I was quickly surrounded by my kill’s grieving friends, and before I even thought to look at my health bar, I’d been pounded into a slo-mo death animation.

Invigorating! I managed to take them out the second time with the help of some chems and a deeper investment in self-preservation, and I’ve found every battle since then to be challenging and life-affirming. I even had to drag a power armor out of storage for one battle, breaking my looooong chain of Silver Shroud cosplay.

And so I recalibrate my expectations and ponder cranking up the difficulty in search of punchier adrenaline squirts. Maybe a quick, smooth ride to the end isn’t what it’s all about. Maybe I need to wander through my settlements and build them up from the sleeping-bag-infested work camps I threw together in my rush to read the last page. Maybe death really does make us appreciate life more.