Fallout 4 – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Overview

One of the legendary series of the game industry returns, but while many of Fallout’s peers aim for huge jumps and leaps between titles, especially considering length, Fallout simply adds new features, a new landscape to explore, a new story to experience, and everything else almost makes you believe you are playing the largest expansion pack ever made.

Characters & Story (with Commentary)

Thus far, the main goal of the game is for you to retrieve your child. Someone who, years ago, was kidnapped as you experienced one of the kinder experiments of the Vaultec as they shielded you from nuclear fallout.

I have personally been focusing more on sidequest, because I needed to level up, but thus far some of the storylines I’ve experienced is fighting alongside the Brotherhood of Steel and being invited to join their ranks; multiple minor quests dealing with kidnapping and disobedient children, as well as slightly twisted experiments; and saving a lot of small towns from ghoul and raider threats.

Highlights

  • Normal is so much harder than it was in past games, to the point where you may feel a tad bit forced to downgrade to an easier difficulty until you level up. For example, fighting against Super Mutants in past games is the level of difficulty when you are against raiders. Especially since Raider groups sometimes have a leader with power armor. Also, some radiated animals like mole rats and rad scorpions can burrow underground and make trying to run from a fight almost impossible. Not to forget, you can walk around, thinking you are surrounded by dead ghouls or other animals, and then they will rise and attack.
  • Building settlements can be a fun little distraction/ side quest if you are into world building.
  • When it comes to building settlements, as well as modding weapons and armor, luckily the game will have items you come across in the wasteland mark so you don’t have to memorize, or constantly check the internet, to see if this item gives you steel or aluminum, or other materials you may need.
  • You could, like I did, find yourself lost in a dozen upon dozens of side quest and barely touching the main story. While still clocking around 37 hours of gameplay.
  • The dungeons and areas you go into don’t seem like the same location with a slightly different floor plan.
  • The body and face customization is quite extensive to the point I wonder why they didn’t craft in facial importing.

Low Points

  • Can’t take command of how your companion fights, be it melee or distant, and you can’t easily change what weapon they use.
  • Companions often seem to disappear during battles, off killing enemies, and because they run off and you have to be in their vicinity to get XP, you often lose out on experience points.
  • If you trade one companion for another, hopefully, you have a good memory of where you left them. Otherwise, you may be searching each and every settlement for them.
  • While building settlements, it is sometimes hard to make a home perfect because the snapping mechanism is very particular and often you may find yourself putting up a wall and learning you have to physically turn it around if you want the roof to not face outward toward the street.
  • Despite missiles, fat mans, and more, there remains no destructible environments. Which is understandable, to a point, but the idea of setting a wooden fort on fire and enemies being forced to run out or the house collapsing on them is just too appealing.
  • No alerts when a settlement needs something like more food, water, or other necessities.
  • No upgrade to the pipboy besides being able to play video games based off known properties. Something I’m marking as a low point if only because it would have been nice to meet a vault which modified theirs, or a scientist which updated it to do something like communicating with companions who aren’t within sight.
  • The same physics from Fallout 3 are here and I mean from the running animations to how your enemies die after you defeat them.
  • Honestly, it seems Bethesda didn’t really consider enough tutorials for those new to the series, or for those who haven’t played one of their games in a while. For with so many changes, like how you interact with companions, to the settlement building, you’d think more things would have been broken down. For example, you aren’t informed how to assign a settler to a shop, food, or anything like that, you have to go online to figure that out.
  • Despite finding motorcycles here and there, we still have no vehicles.
  • The cover system is a joke. If you aren’t playing in first person mode you can’t use it and, even then, like many features of the game, you have to discover how to use it on your own. Also, your companion completely ignores using cover. Which sucks because, as mentioned, they can wander off and die and being that you’d have no way of knowing where they are, you can’t heal them.

On The Fence

  • No Specialized Ammo due to gun modding and while many may like the idea of not having to scrounge for armor piercing ammo, I do think it brought a certain type of difficulty to the game which could be appreciated.
  • No Weapon Repair, which takes away from one headache, but a part of me feels like the current modding system could have mixed well with the repair system.
  • I’m of the opinion that for easier game difficulties, perhaps there should have been more handicaps.
  • Being that I haven’t touched Diamond City yet, but have done about 20+ side missions, I find it odd during that time that I’ve only found a handful of places to buy and sell items. Of which, finding a caravan sometimes is an act of luck.
  • Some old features, like having a high perception meaning you can “sense” enemies in the distance, yeah that is gone. Which is more so something I’m personally am sad is gone, if only because many enemies have snuck up on me, like those damn bears.

Overall: Worth Buying

I don’t often play what would be considered AAA games, and certainly haven’t invested in many these years, so I can’t say Fallout 4 is worthy of “Game of the Year” distinction. Mostly because, this entry into the series largely seems like it was following the old adage: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Which is the feeling I got from my experience thus far. It feels very much like a polished Fallout: New Vegas. In a way, it reminds me of when people were doing HD mods of Grand Theft Auto 4 when it comes to the look of the game, and the feel makes it seem that with features like building settlements and modding, as well as building the commonwealth and writing the script, other things were ignored.

Even with that criticism, though, I find myself having to pull myself out of their world and even with the repetitive nature of the side quest thus far done, I am still enjoying myself and feel my $59.99 was justifiable. For even if this game doesn’t make huge leaps, arguably what Bethesda did was build off an established foundation than craft a whole new one just to make things look pretty and have the type of physics which would make casual PC Gamers like me forced to upgrade their systems.

Thoughts Since Original Review

I fell out of love with Fallout 4 quicker than past Fallout games. I mostly want to chalk it up to the characters just not being as interesting as the ones crafted in the past nor the missions. Alongside that, the physics system being, so it seems, the exact same one from the previous console generation was startling. This is a AAA title from one of the handful of game franchises well known that has been around for decades, and yet this is what was released? A huge expansion pack?

To me, that is what Fallout 4, after finishing the main mission and DLC, felt like. A huge expansion pack which added little bells and whistles, but didn’t really take the franchise forward. It just took the likely huge amount of rejected stories and characters from past pre-production stages, paired it with discarded art design from when they may have thought of placing things in the Boston area before, and then a slapped together ending since they felt enough material was placed.

Which isn’t to discredit the hard work done to make and design the game, but more so the lack of longevity and reasons to replay.

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