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Fallout 4 Review
Fallout 4 has been eagerly anticipated by fans of the series for years, and now it’s finally been released it’s fair to say that gamers are ecstatic. While I can certainly say that Fallout 4 looks better and plays better than both Fallout 3 and New Vegas, the experience is marred with some annoyances, questionable design choices, and a few temporary game breaking bugs.
Fallout 4 starts off before the infamous all out nuke-fest that resulted in the world becoming an irradiated wasteland. Choosing to play as either the husband or wife, our 3 person family (parents and baby) enter a nearby Vault Tech vault only to wake up 200 years layer with more than a few mysteries to solve. From this point how you play the game is entirely up to you. You can focus on the main story missions, take a detour and spend countless hours on the sheer amount of side quests, or just simply explore the Commonwealth with no real destination in mind. The story starts off fairly interesting, but it quickly fizzles out as you progress. As a result you aren’t really missing much if you choose to focus on side quests and exploration over completing the main story as quickly as possible.
While there are some similarities between Fallout 4 and Fallout 3 with systems like VATS, a great deal has changed. Melee combat feels like it was plucked right out of Skyrim and brought into Fallout 4. Even better is the fact that shooting has had a significant improvement since Fallout 3 (which was notorious for having a terrible systems in place for how guns worked) – the new system is a lot closer to how guns work in most first person shooter games, although it can be difficult to play Fallout 4 like an FPS as ammo is limited early on in the game. You can aid this by choosing a perk that will increase the amount of ammo you find, but don’t rely on it to make it an easier experience!
Fallout 4 does a lot of things the same as previous games with the emphasis on exploration, quests, and looting everything in sight. It may feel like more of the same, but the content is so good that I didn’t really mind the similarity. Just like in previous games, you don’t have to travel the wasteland alone and can have a companion by your side for the majority of the game. From the lovable Dogmeat to the walking talking film noire cliché that is Nick Valentine, Fallout 4 gives the player several options for their traveling companion.
All kinds of new features made their debut in Fallout 4 as well, including the ability to modify and customize armor, power armor, and weapons. The crafting system also received a major upgrade: while there was a crafting system of sorts in Fallout 3, it was fairly limited and allowed you to only build a few types of weapons. Fallout 4 allows for far more customization: not only can you build weapons but you can modify all sorts of traits with your current arsenal, from increasing damage to improving range and stability. Modifying and crafting armor allows you to improve the defensive values on particular pieces and even gives you some options on what kinds of damage your armor provides protection against. The same applies to modifying your power armor, but you are also given additional options like changing the paint job of your iconic suit, or even adding in interesting enhancements like a jet pack! With so many things to customize now, Fallout 4 practically encourages players to pick up everything in sight. Items that used to be meaningless junk can now be used for parts in anything you are trying to modify or build – who would have thought that a screw from a toy car could be used to improve a gun?
Another large added feature is the settlement mechanic, which seems to be the result of putting the Sims and Fallout into a blender (only a lot less messy!). This allows you to customize and build a settlement for other survivors to live in, and gives you the opportunity to grow food, provide clean water, and even use electricity for lights and other useful functions. Having enough shelter, food, power, and water will help determine the overall happiness factor of all people living in the settlement. You will also need to make sure to build up some defenses in order for the settlement to protect itself from the dangers of the wasteland. With enough time, planning, and a boat load of parts you can build a town that rivals any of the official establishments or towns like Diamond City, and depending on what you choose to build, a settlement can provide nearly anything you could possibly need – from crafting to a place to buy and sell supplies or even a place to heal up when you run into Deathclaws.
Building your settlement is optional for most of the game, but becomes a mandatory step later in the main story quests. Normally this wouldn’t be too much of an annoyance, but to me it feels like the game deviates from what Fallout is all about, and you’re required to make a stupidly complex device with very little instruction on how to do so. To make matters worse, this particular quest is extremely buggy and results in a very frustrating and painful gaming experience. While we’re on the topic of bugs, Fallout 4 has no shortage of issues and glitches (as with most large Bethesda games), but thankfully most of them seem to be minor irritations rather than game-breaking monsters.
Overall Fallout 4 is a great game when it is trying to be a part of the Fallout series. There is nothing wrong with trying out new mechanics to keep things fresh, but I feel that the game would have been so much better were it not for the pointless and annoying settlement building mechanic. Fans of the series will love playing it and newer players will get a kick out of countless hours of gameplay and customisation. It may not be perfect and it may not live up to all the hype, but Fallout 4 is a great game to pour countless hours into.
Fallout 4 was reviewed on PC.