Fallout 4 is the fifth major Fallout title from game developer Bethesda, and was released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on Nov. 10. Bethesda utilized the same game engine used to produce Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
It is interesting to think that Fallout 4 did not officially exist until June of 2015. For the past three years, rumors floated around the web and the gaming community of Fallout 4’s details, but none were confirmed by Bethesda. At this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, Bethesda officially announced Fallout 4.
Five hype-filled months later, gamers have the final product. In general, reviews have been positive thus far. Gamers hail the expansive world that Fallout 4 offers. With a canine companion named Dogmeat at your side, the New England Commonwealth is free for the player to explore.
Fallout titles have never been wholly about the main storyline. Fallout 4 starts off quickly. After an opening monologue, the player’s first task is to sculpt a character.
The amount of customization available for character creation can be overwhelming. Changing the facial features of the lead character is tedious but important. Fallout 4 features thousands of lines of dialogue, many of which are spoken by the lead character. The player may end up seeing his or her character face a lot of dangers throughout the course of the game, so creating a friendly face for the player is an annoyingly important step.
After working through character creation, players are given background to the storyline. Unlike Fallout’s other post-apocalyptic stories, the fourth installment starts before the bombs fall. The player gets to move around the house for a bit, talk to the character’s spouse and is then rushed to a fallout vault after the bomb sirens go off. This adds little to the overall experience because five hours into the game, it is unlikely that players will be heavily impacted by the pre-war world.
The main story takes place 200 years after the Great War, when the character wakes up from cryosleep and emerges from a fallout vault to a nuclear war-ravaged landscape.
The main questline revolves around the search for the character’s son. In any other universe, finding the missing son would be a top priority, but Fallout 4 is not designed to streamline the main quest-line. Players will inevitably be stopped by side quest and the innumerable other time-consuming activities within the game. The game offers a seemingly compelling narrative that is difficult to embrace.
What the game lacks in story, it makes up in gameplay. Gamers who have played other Fallout titles will be welcomed by similar gameplay mechanics. During combat, players still have the option to enter VATS.
In Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, entering VATS completely stopped time and allowed players to target enemies’ specific limbs. In Fallout 4, VATS slows down time but does not completely stop it. This is a welcomed addition to the gameplay mechanics, as this VATS style allows for a feeling of continuity during combat, instead of a cheapening pause in the action.
Though Fallout 4 is similar to previous Fallout games, Bethesda has made some obvious and fun changes to gameplay. A very detailed base-building element is present in the game from nearly the beginning of the storyline. Upon discovering Dogmeat at the Red Rocket fuel station, players are given the option to begin customizing it as their home base. The building itself is straight forward, but allows for a wide range of creative base layouts.
The actual building of items is done from a workbench, where players will use materials from junk scavenged from around the wasteland. In previous games, junk was everywhere, but not useful. Fallout 4 almost requires players to scavenge for junk in order to build structures.
Scraping junk for its parts is also necessary for modifying weapons, a gameplay element new to the Fallout series. Weapon modification is another thing that Bethesda got right in Fallout 4. Almost any weapon you pick up can be modified, from melee weapons to guns. Modifications require materials found in junk. Players can add scopes to weapons, increase damage, make pistols automatic and turn a pool cue into a spear, along with tons of other customizations.
Another excellent addition to the game is the inclusion of Power Armor. Power Armor has been available in previous games, but not to the extent found in Fallout 4.
Players gain access to power armor during one of the first missions in the game. The armor is also heavily customizable and allows the player to fight enemies in a seemingly impenetrable combat suit. The armor runs on a rare power core found only in a few locations in the Wasteland. Players must be wise when choosing when to use the armor.
Because Bethesda’s RPG games are large in size, players are likely to encounter bugs. Fallout 4 is no exception. Many console gamers have reported that their games have crashed, requiring them to reset their console. Players have also been reporting issues with dialogue, where characters will stop speaking in the middle of the sentence.
Fallout 4 is, without a doubt, a successful game. The amount of new features is enough to make Fallout 4 a new and unique Fallout experience.
Nonetheless, Fallout 4 does nothing to make players feel the awe they may have felt when playing Fallout 3 for the first time. In the end, Fallout 4 is an updated version of Fallout 3, with added features, more customization, a new setting and updated graphics, which is enough to make the players ecstatic.