Posted by: libarebane | 29/11/2015

Fallout 4: Once more, onto the Wasteland.

url(this review will have spoilers about Fallout 4 story and ending)

Fallout 4 is one of those games which you have seen before. It’s an RPG, it’s a shooter, it’s a Bethesda Game. As with other companies, calling something a „Company Game“, means that there are certain traits one adheres to. The same is true with Fallout 4, it’s a RPG with first and third person views, with combat and okay story. That sounds like Oblivion. Or Skyrim. Or Fallout 3. Or Fallout: New Vegas. Yeah. It’s a Bethesda Game. And as most of us realize, that isn’t a bad thing. Having a formulaic outcome for a game works, when your team is as small as Bethesda’s. It’s a team of about 120 people, last I checked and that shows. You have art that is beautiful and looks better than anything Bethesda put out in the past. The gameplay is crisp, with few problems inbetween. There’s always bugs, but somehow, in my 35+ hours of my first playthrough, I didn’t see much buggy problems. And yet, it’s.. it’s a game, for which to me, delivered on the promise of „more Fallout“. I could characterize it as „Fallout 3 but better“. Which.. isn’t the whole truth. It’s very based on Fallout 3 and Skyrim but there are quite a few differences, ones which for some people, can make or break a game. This is the crux of people’s issues with Fallout 4.

 

The Good

 

The game begins with a very unique segment. You’re in a flashback to your pre-end-of-the-world-life. You have a veteran’s ball to go through, you’re washing your face and that’s where the first change in Fallout 4 comes. You’re a voiced protagonist. Not only that, but the usual „gruff“ narrator in the form of Ron Perlman has been axed for a more… Mass Effecty feel(though you do hear him in the game).  Your character is the one who narrates and immediately, you get to customize both spouses. You’re a pre-war couple of „Nora“ and „Nathan“ (pre-set names, can be changed). You have a son you call „Shaun“ (not changed, sadly). You have a house, a life and a kick-ass Mister Handy named Codsworth.

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The rest follows as the E3 presentation and the gameplay snippets have shown you. A visit from Vault-Tec. A panic over the dropping bombs. Escape to the Vault. See the Vault. Get cryogenically frozen. Be rudely awakened as they steal your son. Wake up later to go and try to find your son. Find a Pip-Boy (the game’s main menu tool/hacking assistant). Exit the Vault. See the wasteland. It’s a Fallout game after all. But this time, Bethesda have.. pretty much simplfied the story and the „RPG elements“. Since you’re a voiced protagonist, your talk options are limited to four „Mass Effect“ style (again, with the Mass Effect-ness. This is a theme you’ll see throughout Fallout 4) buttons. You can be snarky, you have a yes and a no option and usually a persuade option. The previous games’ dialogue which was very verbose has been severly cut down. On the plus side, the two main character voice actors, Brian T. Delaney(Halo 4 and 5, WildStar etc.) and Courtenay Taylor(Jack from Mass Effect 2), really shine in their roles as the two main characters. As you travel The Wasteland or The Commonwealth, a bunch of people can join you. You have the newspaper journalist, Piper, who is fun and one of the „Good“ companions. You have Preston Garvey, the goodie-two-shoes „Leader of the Commonwealth Minutemen“(a sort of the.. anti-raider group). You also have a Brotherhood Paladin named Danse, a dog, an Irish fighter named Cait, Detective Nick Valentine and many more, all together about thirteen different companions. They are all very different and cater to different people. The locales are also striking. The actual ruins of Boston aren’t as much of a radiated mess as DC in Fallout 3. It’s more of an inbetween Fallout 3 and New Vegas, with more colour added. The city itself is surrounded by water, with raiders, super mutants, dogs, ghouls and people in the middle, all vying for some sort of control. The outskirts and surrounding areas of Boston are split into: Sanctuary area or „Pre-City“; The Glowing Wastes (which is a very great zone, full of many, many ghouls, radscorpions and Deathclaws and constant radiation) and the coastline. The coastline is dotted with half-islands and islands, full of Mirelurks(Giant crabs).

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Fallout 4 is also a suprisingly scary game. Especially in the dark, with headphones, while you’re customizing a new area or exploring. Ghouls(the game’s „zombies“) now rise from their cold dead sleep instead of walking around which adds a certain danger element to seeing dead bodies. Mirelurks, Radscorpions(Giant radiated scorpions), Deathclaws(Giant dragon-like mutations), Yao Guai (GIANT RADIATED BEARS), bloodsuckers (GIANT MOSQUITOES) are all really scary now, which makes certain things invaluable. Like, sticking to the roads, using your Pip-Boy Light (TAB on PC) or perks that pacify certain animals. Which leads me to another change, The Perk Menu.

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Gone are the days of a menu popping up at level up, now you have an active menu which tracks what perks, stats and things you have and what you can unlock at every level. Gone is the level cap, and getting all perks may take you over 200 levels. Also, no more weapon skills. Damage is now calculated through weapon modifications and perks/stats you happen to pick. Also damage scales to level, as far as I know. This can lead to interesting things, such as a High Strength character who can stab people really well, leading to a more specialized playthrough. It also lends itself to you hunting for all of the perks. And there are many, many perks tied to finding different books throughout the game. Also, finding bobbleheads, the main Fallout collectible. The game still has things to do after you finish it.

The Bad

In my time with Fallout 4, I found the most egregious issue to be the story. Which.. Is a bit of a dissapointment. Okay, let me get into this. The story itself is actually pretty novel at times, with seeming like subversions of Fallout 3. The way the game handles it’s new chat system and story, is where I kind of start to see errors. The game’s original chat is really bad on the PC version. It’s a bunch of FOUR buttons, usually your up-down-left-right keys. And even then, the options are a Mass Effect/LA Noire style of „hey we’re just gonna describe in two words what you mean“ which led me to download this mod for the PC version. This makes one of the worst things about Fallout 4 a somewhat better system.

Right, continuing with the points about story: Some choices don’t seem as meaningful as before. Especially in the later stages of the game, what you do, doesn’t seem like a problem, since the game guides you back into being „good“. As a lot of people have pointed out, there is no option to be bad, to be a complete dick. You’re just an „anti-hero, ask for more money“ kinda dick. And yet, that maybe speaks more about Fallout 4 than anything else: It’s a game where you can’t be bad. Where you can’t fuck over the Wasteland for selfish reasons. The closest the game comes to that is The Institute. The Institute is a „shadowy“ faction who’s taunted as the game’s boogeyman from the second main quest. „They’re the bad people who kidnap others and turn them into robots“ is the general thought about the Institute for most of the game. You do meet a couple of Synths(synthetic robots, think Blade Runner) in the game. The rest of the Factions are your general factions. You have the Minutemen, who as said before, are the good guy settlement builders and they’re the main reason why the building game is there. They’re also very cute and colonial. The other factions are the Brotherhood of Steel, mainly from the last game, led by someone from the last game. And the fourth faction is The Railroad, a faction of people working against the Institute to free the Synths because advanced AI robots are human, by their standards. By my standards however, the Railroad were my enemy. Even after meeting the Daring Do Synth Detective Nick Valentine (mentioned above), I was still more about the future of humanity than robotic kind. I also found the game to be somewhat slow at times, with load times up to a minute or two on my setup(i5, Windows 10, GTX 960). Which leads me to:

The Ending

Now, I do have to state out that I’ve only gotten ONE of the possible four endings. I have no idea at this point what the others are, but my chosen ending was… dun dun dun, the Institute one. The ending itself was very.. sudden, with a final „battle“ of sorts, over the Boston Airport and then you go back into the Institute and.. game over? To me, this is where Fallout 4 made another mis-step: It didn’t give your decisions in the story enough merit. You save The Institute, destroy The Brotherhood of Steel and The Railroad for what? To see a minute long cutscene and for the game to go „Okay, it’s over, good job, continue playing.“ You do however find your son in the last few quests and see him.  You do however find your son in the last few quests and see him. You can also be a bad parent and kill your son. For some, it could be seen as the end of one story and the start of something else, a free-roam-wait-for-DLC section of the game. It certainly will be that for me. We shall see how Bethesda handles DLC and how the future fares for Fallout 4.

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Verdict:

Fallout 4 is very enjoyable if you enjoyed Fallout 3 and New Vegas. It doesn’t have a lot of past Fallouts’ RPG elements but it’s a good enough game to justify the price for me. It’s undercut by the lack of gravity in it’s story and ending, plus some optimization issues but the game itself isn’t bad if you set yourself the right expectations, like it being a Bethesda Game.

Final score: 8/10, a Good video game.

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Responses

  1. Hello to all, the contents existing at this website are genuinely awesome for people experience, well, keep up the good work fellows.


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