… Reviews never change. In the case of Fallout 4, that is both true and a great thing. Bethesda Softworks return to the wasteland has been one of the industry’s worst kept secrets, especially after a leak due to a casting call which occurred a few years ago. But that didn’t stop Bethesda from creating one of the most anticipated titles for current-gen consoles. Since the leak, fans have been clamoring for information and for the game to finally release and I’m here to tell you if that wait was worthwhile.
First, the game has changed locales from the Capital Wasteland of DC in Fallout 3 to the Commonwealth aka Boston. Players will notice many familiar areas which adds some authenticity but the developers have stated that the landscape will not be completely accurate, which isn’t really a big deal. Fans of the series will already know what to expect when they leave Vault 111, but for a first in the series, you will experience life before the bombs dropped. While this section is brief, it is used to set the story in motion. What I liked about my 2 separate playthroughs was that the first time I hauled ass from my home to the vault without really knowing what was going on around me. On the second play, I took some time to really take in the dialogue and scenery to give me a better idea of what was about to happen.
Once your player finally exits the vault, you will be treated to seeing the world around you in ruins. The sense of everything you once knew is now dead or destroyed will leave one completely flipped on their side. Although I must say that there is something beautiful about this new world around me. The game is bleak but does have color where color counts, giving some life to the lifeless environment around you. Structures still standing have amazing detail to the decay they experienced over the years. The landscape is a mixed bag of dirt, mud, dead grass, and concrete that blends together in all the right ways. My favorite thing about the world around me was the sky. The sky had the most beautiful blue to it, and then after a bit of exploring, it became alive as it turned to a bright green with grey clouds. In the moment I was experiencing an electrical storm and rather than take shelter, I spent my time outside looking up until it was finally over.
Story is something you know you’ll get from a Fallout game. As with previous entries, you are able to create your character and claim 21 points to put towards attributes to start your journey. After you create your character, you will find yourself fleeing for the local vault as the impending nuclear detonation looms in the distance. Once inside, you will be placed in a chamber that isn’t what it seems, all the while your significant other is across the way with your child. When you awake, you see their pod open and an unknown character will forcefully take your child and the life of your beloved while you are helpless to do anything.
That will be the beginning of your journey as you set out to find your child. A theme of reuniting family just like the previous game. Now you must decide what you are willing to do to bring your family back together. Don’t worry though, you’ll be reunited with a few friends along the way that are more than willing to assist you. Whether it’s the family robot, Codsworth, or the lovable mutt Dogmeat, you’ll be able to go into any situation with a little assistance. Remember though, they will be critical of your actions; if you’re a dick to the people around you then your friends will dislike you, but the more compassion you show and they will be loyal to the bitter end. This is Fallout 4’s new take on karma.
This is still just the beginning of your journey though as the story is not a simple campaign. No, you will learn quickly how easy it is to head out on a main quest only to be sidetracked by the requests of those in need or the simple desire to explore the world around you. At the time of writing this, I am currently at about 40 hours into both the Xbox One (male) and PS4 (female) versions of the game, and I am nowhere near completion of the main quest. That’s how packed Fallout 4 is, allowing players to get enough content to more than justify the $60 price tag.
Combat is exactly how they left it which is fine. Fallout 3 introduced V.A.T.S.. The targeting system that will help players take down enemies with more precision in a pinch. One difference from previous entries is the amount of guns found. I do not honestly remember finding as many weapons in the previous game, but in Fallout 4 they are practically littering the streets. Don’t get too excited though as the sense of dread will kick in once you realize you have all these weapons with little to no ammo. Ammo along with health are the rare commodity in this world, making it feel even more like a struggle that means life or death.
As a longtime fan of the series, I was excited for the release, even going so far as to completely ignore my girlfriend the moment a Fallout commercial came on the tv. But this series is something of a niche type of game. It’s a western RPG that appeals to fans of the RPG genre but never found itself passed that demographic. So when the game released, I looked at my friends list, a list made up of all types of gamers. You have your sports game fans, your Destiny/COD/Battlefield players, and your Minecraft fanatics. But at launch, I was surprised to see everyone playing Fallout. It was surprising because other than the people I expected to see with the game, there were those that I never would have imagined playing Fallout in a million years. Bethesda has finally appealed to a much grander audience and the response towards the game from these friends has been nothing but positive.
As for performance, the game runs smooth and by smooth I mean there were no visible hiccups to be found. The frame rate was steady, there was no indication of screen tearing, or issues with textures loading slowly. This was the case for both the Xbox One and PS4 platforms. Both consoles ran identical which I find to be a bit of relief in the never-ending fanboy war. PC as usual looks fantastic on the rig I saw thanks to a buddy of mine. Speaking of PC, for a first in console history, players will be able to access mods created on PC in Bethesda’s attempt at blurring the line between PC master race and console gamers. The only advantage I can think of is that fans who purchased the Xbox One copy will receive a free copy of Fallout 3.
All in all, the game is exactly what I wanted and then some. Fallout is as big and beautiful as ever. The game is ambitious, finely tuned, and more than deserving of my spare time only to find myself trying to devote more of it. I’m still far from completing the game but like war, I hope that never changes…
Fallout 4 is available now on Xbox One, PS4, and PC for $59.99.
4.5 out of 5