Life, morality, free will, love, adventure, vengeance. Words that one can easily take to describe a journey for an answer, a journey for the truth of what happened in the days after the bombs fell. Fallout 4 picks up where Fallout 3 left off and adds a dash of familiar with a stewing pot of brave and bold new ideas for the latest entry into the Fallout family. What makes Fallout 4 a worthy entry into the already impressive family line up? It’s flair. Fallout 4 attempts to change what we see as a typical RPG, in only a way that, Bethesda Game Studios, can show us. We will be refraining from revealing spoilers and will mainly focus talking about what we liked or disliked in terms of the story elements.
So, to get story well and out of the way, Bethesda delivers a very engaging and compelling story. I really felt invested in it. Tackling the moral dilemma in what defines free will and how we perceive things is something that has always been of a bitter debate. Your character will literally influence the path of the, Commonwealth, and where it moves on from the ending of Fallout 4. The writing and story telling is leagues better than it has ever been with a Bethesda title and all the work that was put into Skyrim’s story, is almost doubled if not tripled here. The loving detail though to the little things, no matter how flat, has always been a charming point for Bethesda. While the story may not be as compelling or engaging as I would love for it to be, it still is a great story never the less. With more than two factions having a say for the ending, it really adds perspective and a different caliber of story-telling than past Bethesda games have had. I personally played through the Brotherhood of Steel’s ending missions for the Story and I felt very conflicted the whole way. So, who is to say I won’t try to follow the, Institute or the Minutemen next time? It’s the replay factor that the story gives us, that makes us want to play it again and again. That and great voice acting.
The voice acting this time around is superb. With Brian T. Delaney & Courtenay Taylor head-lining the acting pool, we get delivered a game that can stand up on it’s own two legs and can still make us believe that we are in control of our fictional character’s life. Now, there have been a lot of huff and puff over the addition of a voiced player character. Many felt it would detract from their own mental dialogue and character history. While the character history aspect may be harder to swing around, it isn’t immersion breaking for me. I know this character had a past and that they missed it very much so, I still played it as if they had a clean slate and fresh start. My character would find her own way in the wastes of the Commonwealth, with or without her original family. I still have a personality type for my character and I have played it as such. Both actors bring a level of depth and emotion to a voiceless character that I haven’t seen since, Mass Effect. It really is a fantastic addition to the series and it fully fleshes out the player. Now, as far as dynamic NPC voicing goes, I have run into one actor that tries their hand on different tones and accents but, it is still that one dude. However that is the only one I have come across as everyone else has a dynamic spread of voiced talent behind them. I love all the voice talent they picked up for this game. I am pretty sure with the files to support voiced work and lip animations, it is going to provide modders some serious flexibility to add in so many new and awesome characters for the game.
Gameplay and graphics. Two of the biggest gripes and points that gamers look towards. While I am reserved when it comes to graphics, gameplay is a dynamic that I need to have perfect, if I am to continue to play or even play it. Bethesda has always delivered this aspect for me and gameplay is something that has never been a bother or concern. I will literally dump, countless hours into this game world and I will continue to work my way through the game, even after I know the spawn locations and loot drops. The NPC’s are so much more lively an they add a better sense of depth to the crowded game world. They take cover, flank and make your life a living hell or a living paradise. The radiant AI has much to do with this and I got to say, great job. The Companion AI on the other hand… Needs desperate improvement or a fix. Just about everyone but Codsworth, was useless in a fight and I often found myself staying away from the rest. This will hopefully be a fixed issue, once patches start to roll out for us all. I also adore the new crafting and building mechanics. They are fun and insane! It makes hoarding much more fun and scavenging much more rewarding than in previous titles. I’ve embarked on crusades for typewriters and camera’s, more times than I would like to publicly address. Skyrim’s alchemy system is brought back via the Chemistry station and while you don’t have to sample items to learn their affects, you can mix them and match them to create better versions or improved healing abilities. It is a nice and clever addition for those like myself, who love to make out own junk.
Graphics on the other hand, is a section that I could give little thought to. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want it to be a potato but, I don’t really care if it looks like the next Crysis or Witcher game. That isn’t what Bethesda is gunning for. Yes, the graphics in this game are just beautiful and yes I may download some shaders, once console mods go live, but this isn’t something that is of the utmost importance. For many sadly, this is a make or break deal. If it’s not shiny, it’s not worth their money. If you have a PC then, graphics will be something that can be supplemented by ENB’s or texture packs. Console players may have to wait a bit longer for something to sprout up, if we even have anything the comes our way. Some players are waiting for a hopeful Bethesda, HD Texture pack for Fallout 4, much like they had for Skyrim.
Now, we all know I love music and guess what? Fallout 4’s main score, by the talented Inon Zur, really sets the mood. If the less than compelling story did not do it for you, then the music will most surely take the place of that. Inon Zur has poured so much emotion, so much depth into this score that it is hard not to love hearing that main theme play everytime I turn on my game or just leave it on the PS4’s Live screen for Fallout 4. Inon did help with the past Fallout score and that of Skyrim’s but, Fallout 4 was his time to shine. Speaking of music, the in game radio stations play some the most popular songs from Fallout 3 and the new ones from Fallout 4! It’s so great to be wandering the wastes, only to turn on the radio and find out that Dion’s, The Wanderer, is playing. Makes me want to skip through a raider den with a machine gun. While Bethesda totted that Fallout 4 has roughly three times the music than Fallout 3, I find it a bit hard to swallow for the radio station section. I have had many repeats of the same songs, sometimes two in a row. They may have been motioning toward the composed score. It’s got a TON of songs to look at.
Now the less than pleasant part. Bugs and broken assets. Bethesda is known for it’s… characteristic charm when it comes to bugs. Not really game crashing or file corrupting ones but often infuriating or comical ones. While my only bugs have been disappearing guns, broken ammo counters and broken texture loads, some have had bugs that fail to load an entire section or causes them to clip through a boundary and fall through the world. Others have had ones that spawn them high in the sky when fast traveling. It’s a long drop down to a reload. While most expect it of Bethesda, others are calling foul and saying there is no excuse for this. While this is true and we should push or developers to deliver more polished titles, it is always hard to catch everything pre-launch. We players have a knack for finding bugs and pushing the game in directions that Bethesda never intended us to. Sometimes, bugs that are patched internally before launch often pop up in different areas that were never affected, other just slip under the radar. Should we berate the developer? No. Should we send them a calm and nice feedback post? Yes. Just because your companion got stuck and or your loot vanished, it is after all just a game and no reason for you to get all riled up over nothing. With only a few days out of the gates, Bethesda is surly hard at work on getting the game polished up in the coming days.
Should you buy this game? Yes. Should you play it until the cows come home? Yes. Bear in mind, that if you are looking to itch a RPG craving then this game will scratch it for you while serving you some of the best humor and twisted stories that only the Fallout world can deliver. If you are coming here looking for a superb shooter then please, look elsewhere. The shooting mechanics are LEAGUES better than what Fallout 3 gave us and it feels very good. Is it Call of Duty level? No. It is, at it’s heart an RPG first. So, with that I would like to score Fallout 4 on following.
- Dynamic and varied world
- Engaging story and high replay factor
- Improved gun-play and crafting mechanics
- Beautiful vistas and scopes
- Excellent voice work
- Occasional broken textures and bugs
- Story is too short
- Some load times can be quite long (Only with fast traveling and starting up)
Fallout 4 is available now for the PC, PS4 and Xbox-One. Also for those of you with an Xbox-One, backwards compatibility has gone live and your copy of Fallout 4 will come with a digital copy of Fallout 3 for you to download and enjoy! It is a great way to get familiar with the title if you have yet to pick up or play a single Fallout game.