Review – Fallout 4

Fallout4_ReviewBanner
Played On: PlayStation 4*
Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Released On: November 10th, 2015
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Genres: Open-World, Action-RPG
ESRB: M – Mature
Modes: Singleplayer
Distribution: Download, disc

*Review copy was bought by the author*

One of the most anticipated game of the year is finally here and we didn’t have to “officially” wait to long since they announced it at E3 this year, which was done at Bethesda’s first conference at the event. With multiple AAA game announced at this conference including Doom and Dishonored 2, Fallout 4 was the piece of resistance presented at the end of the event and didn’t only offer a small trailer, but a multitude of gameplay videos, game mechanisms and concept art that left fans, and myself, waiting impatiently for the release of the game on November 10th, but is the game really worth it? Let’s grab our Pip-Boys, which you can see the unboxing video below, and walk the wasteland of Fallout 4.

Unboxing Video of The Pip-Boy Edition:

Me-Time Gamer Plays – Fallout 4 – Part 1:

STORY

I will try not to spoil to much of the story for you, but you start off in pre-war Boston minutes before the bombs fall when suddenly klaxons go off, making people, and you, rush to their pre-assigned vaults. Bringing Nora your wife, Shaun your baby son and yourself, you make it just in time to your safe haven from atomic annihilation. After unforeseen events, you leave the vault on an adventure and explore the wasteland in front of you.

The general way the story goes, I find, is interesting but might be lacking because it suffers from what a lot of open game suffer from, and that is the main protagonist almost seems at times indifferent to the problem at hand. Of course, at the beginning of the main story’s event, your character is very emotional during the beginning of the story, but that seems to fade away as you adventure and meet story related characters, which I think is due to the fact that you have multiple choice answers to one question. These vary from polite, compassion responds to ones that are more sarcastic in their approach, which does lead to some funny comments.

In the end, the story has some compelling events but unfortunately, there isn’t anything that I would consider monumental. There was event a point in the story that was supposed to be a major turning point but it was portrayed as if the situation was the same as, let’s say, fighting a group of raiders.

VISUALS

Now, don’t go into Fallout 4 expecting top shelf graphics in the line of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain or The Witcher 3, you will be disappointing, but this doesn’t mean that they are awful or event bland. No, the visuals are a very nice upgrade to New Vegas and the Capitol Wasteland, and of course multiple other recent releases. You do get the occasional lag spikes that sometime happen at the most inappropriate times, like major events, but I didn’t get annoyed by it has much as I taught it would. This might be due to the fact the other Fallout games suffered from the same problem, or other games had worse problems.

In any case, the only other visual hiccup I saw was a bit of popping and weirdly angled cameras. Besides these things, Boston looks stunning and will leave you amazed by some of the scenery it has to offer.

WORLD

At first glance, Boston can seem underwhelming in size compare to the other games in the franchise, but do not go screaming “The British are coming!” just yet. There’s a lot to do in this historic city either on the surface, in a deep hollowed out cavern or even in the bright blue sky. There’s also many secret locations not shown on the map that might make you laugh or want to explore more of it. For me, Fallout 4 feels vibrant and full of stuff to do, and it isn’t dragged down by and orange or green mist that leaves the world bland. The map has different parts to like downtown, The Glowing Sea or even a swampy area filled with Mirelucks. There’s plenty of good times to be had in the post apocalyptic Boston.

GAMEPLAY: MECHANICS

Fallout 4 bring back what you liked in the Capitol and New Vegas with a couple new modifications which improve some mechanics. One that caught my eye, and not many other reviewers talked about, is when you loot boxes or bodies. Instead of going into a looting menu by pressing X, on PS4, you just put your cursor over whatever it is and it just pop up. Then, you can either select certain items or transfer all items to your inventory which is very useful for quick pick ups.

I won’t go over all of them but there’s a lot of improvement to mechanisms that really help the gameplay progress faster and smoother. Their will be some you won’t notice as much but others are night and day in Fallout 4.

GAMEPLAY: ENEMIES

When it comes to enemies, most of them are series regular like super mutants and feral ghouls but Bethesda introduced new one like synths and Assaultrons, which are particularly a pain in the button at times. One thing I enjoyed is that they redesigned the Mirelucks from Fallout 3 to be even more detestable. You can even notice that when fired upon, bullets and lasers deflect off their shells which I a very cool touch.

Furthermore, I have to commend them for their redesign of all enemies. Take the super mutants such as, if you get close enough to them, you can see human features in their faces which look distressed and almost in pain. Of course, I couldn’t talk about the enemies if I didn’t mention the Gunners. These a basically Raiders but way better organized and can actually give you a hard time when in large numbers. Personally, I cannot find anything negative about the enemies. Even the Sentry Bots will give you a run for you money.

GAMEPLAY: COMPANIONS

Like other iteration in the Fallout series, companions play a key role in your success in the wasteland. Fallout 4 offers many types of companions like robots, ghouls and so on, and pretty much all of them have their own story to tell. Also, they offer unique character missions that you can unlock when you get to a certain level of friendship which can lead to some awesome and unique loot. The nice thing is that they don’t die at all and some might last longer than others, which can be a burden a times when it takes 2 shots to take them down and you’re left fighting on your own. One advantage to having a partner is having extra carrying space when you need that extra loot to build your armor or weapons.

GAMEPLAY: WEAPONS, MODDING AND CRAFTING

If you played New Vegas you saw a bit of weapon modding which was presented as pre made mods that you just bought and you equipped. This time around, you can craft over 300+ mods and pretty much all the weapons are modifiable. Some can produce a higher hit point damage to enemies and other let you get precise headshots from a distance without a hitch. At first, the modding systems might seem confusing but it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. I really enjoy the new way of doing it and you will too.

GAMEPLAY: POWER ARMORS AND MODDING

On of the many new features in the game is power armor. I know, it’s been there for a while but Bethesda have found a new way to make the armor feel like you’re putting on a tank when hoping into one of the many power armors hidden in the wasteland. In past iterations, power armor was really only accessible closer to the end and you had to meet 2 criteria: you had to have a certain strength and get power armor training from the Brotherhood of Steel. In fallout 4, you are given the suit almost immediately from the beginning, but instead of being some armor your equip from you inventory, it’s actually a standing battle station you hop into and that you can also customize to your liking. Of course, you’re limited by the amount of Fusion Cores you have on you to make the suit work. This is a great new approach to the power armor that feels unique and makes it feel like you’re equipped with a massive amount of protection. If you are familiar with the franchise, the game offers 4 iterations of the suit: the T-45, T-51, T-60 and X-01. There’s also a raider one you can fine which looks heavy metal, pun intended.

The only thing that really gets annoying with the power armor is the going in and out animation it has to do every time you want to use or get out of the armor. Ya, the first couple time is great but you cannot skip it unfortunately. But still, you can add a jet pack to it, increase your carrying weight or even paint the damn this pink if you want. I have gotten addicted to collecting these armors, bringing them all to the same base and trying to get a different color on each of them. There’s many things you can do with these suits and I feel this way of doing things does justice to the power armor.

GAMEPLAY: BASE BUILDING

Brand new to the series, base building bring another time waster for players to spend ghoul fighting downtime building bases filled with turrets, shacks, furniture and many other things to make it your own, sky’s the limit. You can put up recruitment towers to attract settlers which will help you gather food, run your traders and basically be your defenses when you’re not present. One problem I have with the base building is the fact that beside building and defending, bases are don’t have much other usefulness than being a hub for your equipment, companions and resting.

GAMEPLAY: COLLECTIBLES AND LOOT

I hope you enjoyed bobbleheads from previous installments because they make an appearance again in Fallout 4. These nice little nick-knacks represent skills and your S.P.E.C.I.A.L abilities, and beside from being a nice little nightstand filler, these collectibles upgrade your abilities that help you along the way. It’s a nice little callback from its predecessors and they’re still fun to go hunt for in the waste.

One thing that was improved on was the loot scattered all over the place. In past Fallouts, you would mostly grab the most valuable junk and sell it for caps. In Fallout 4, loot takes a turn for the best by making it useful for modding and base building. Very item you can carry in your inventory can pretty much be scrapped to produce material like steel, adhesive or rubber. I find myself buying junk from a trader to use it for modding my weapons or painting my power armors. Who would of though another man’s junk would be another man’s useful scrap. I even found myself dedicating play sessions to collecting junk by emptying my inventory of everything, leaving only one good weapon, and going to an already cleared location to collect.

AUDIO

If you played Fallout 3 or New Vegas, you will see that of the greatest hits from those games make a strong comeback to Fallout 4. See I saw Fallout 3 being played back in 2008, what attracted me to the series wasn’t necessarily the settings but in fact the music. I don’t know if it’s just me but the mixture of 50’s era music and the baring post-apocalyptic wasteland just seems to gel together. It give a sort of up beat mood to the whole situation at hand and this is present in this iteration of the series.

Don’t worry, you’re not left will only Bob Cosby and The Ink Spots type music, the nice audio folks at Bethesda Game Studios have given players a nice classical music station and an American revolution type music station. These stations offer a great alternative and puts a touch of refinement to your mutant killing sprees.

If the radio is not quite your jam, the wasteland itself is full of vibrant sounds, either from a gun fight in the distance or a Deathclaw coming to rip you apart from behind. Also, when you turn off your radio, the game offers some great mood music to create a nice ambiance to what you’re presently doing, and chances according to the situation at hand.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There is no thought in my might that to me Fallout 4 is my game of the year. Not only does it improve on old mechanisms, give you improved graphics from previous iterations or even cool new things to do, it offers everything a Fallout veteran what he wants from the franchise and then some. It you haven’t picked Fallout 4 up by now, you should definitely do that after reading this review.

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