Feature

Why We Love Fallout 4's Nick Valentine

by Tim Turi on Jan 03, 2016 at 09:43 AM

The drab wastelands of the Fallout games are filled with surprises. Sometimes the unexpected involves raider attacks, vaults that reveal the experimental origins of Super Mutants, or an unforgettable character. Fallout 4's Nick Valentine falls into the latter category, and several of us Vault Dwellers at the Game Informer office just can't get the debonair detective from Diamond City off our minds. These are the reasons we adore Nick Valentine, private eye.

A warning to fledgling Fallout 4 players: This post contains spoilers pertaining to Nick Valentine. If you want to discover the awesome detective on your own, go seek him out in Diamond City.

Personification Of Human/Synth Unease
The Institute is a huge focus in Fallout 4 - a mysterious organization that's the point of origin for robotic killer Synths. At their worst, these androids convincingly disguise themselves as human and lay waste to settlements, a la the Replicants of Blade Runner. Nick Valentine is an early model Synth with no evil intentions toward the human race. Part of his story, which the detective reveals as players earn his trust, involves his struggle to earn the trust of Diamond City, the walled village built within a baseball diamond. Getting to know Nick is the same as getting to know a well-meaning synthetic human's struggle against human prejudice.

Iconic 1940s Archetype
Nick is an early Synth prototype who was destined for decommission. However, he came to on a junk heap one day with memories of a '40s-style police detective who went by the same name. The result is a mechanical composite of classic film noir protagonists like Phillip Marlow (The Big Sleep) and Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon). The result is a smooth-talking, trench-coated private who slides into the world of Fallout 4 like a rusty, spiked glove. He wins us over with classic lines like "So much for Skinny Malone. Think he's lighter or heavier with all those holes in him? Bullets probably add a few ounces..."

Double Guardian Angels Wearing Fedoras
One of Fallout 4's most powerful and badass perks is the Mysterious Stranger. Pumping points into this perk increases the odds of a silent, G-Man-esque helper randomly appearing in VATS to blow away one of your foes. As an added treat, Nick occasionally shouts, "That was him! The Stranger! He was right here! Where'd he go?" Fans of pulpy 1940s fiction can't deny the awesomeness of two classic undercover types helping them take down killer robots and giant scorpions. Even better, outfit your Vault Dweller with his/her own fedora, trench coat, and revolver that kicks like a mule.

His Case Files Make For Great Quests
This gumshoe is more than a pretty, decomposing synthetic face to look at - he also comes with a variety of fascinating side quests. The cabinets of Valentine's Detective Agency are filled with some of the best missions of the game, and his loyalty mission has you hunt for notorious crime lord Eddie Winter. This 133-year-old cold case takes the player and Valentine on a quest to recover holotapes hidden around the Boston Commonwealth's derelict police precincts, each offering an additional clue as to Winter's whereabouts. I won't spoil what happens at the end of the pursuit, but players should definitely learn for themselves.

He's A Dadgum Robot Detective!
Did we mention that Nick Valentine is a robo-detective? Because if we didn't, that'd be a tremendous oversight. The concept isn't entirely new territory, but Bethesda Softworks manages to make Valentine both an endearing 1950s film noir stereotype and a lovable character in his own right. From his glowing digital eyes to tracking down leads at the Memory Den, Nick Valentine should be a priority companion for any post-apocalyptic adventurer. 

For more on Bethesda's post-apocalyptic epic, read our Making of Fallout 4 feature.