Hi I’m cast and I am going to be reviewing Bethesda’s newest title release this year: Fallout 4 for PC. Now let it be said that this review is based off of a “non-modded” Fallout 4; the reason behind this is because at least 60% of the people that buy this game in the near future will not be moding it. So it is best reviewed straight out of the box; installed and ready to go on your PC, XboxOne or PS4. So with that in mind, let’s get down to business and check out all new gadgets, game mechanics and special features this bad boy has to offer. Now before the bombs start dropping lets cue up that same oldie but goodie opening line of dialogue to get this party started! Because war … war never changes.
Now at the start of Fallout 4, the cut scene pretty much tells you “Hey the world has been going to hell in a hand basket for a while now honey, so we created some power armor to keep people in line. And, Oh remember those iconic words spoken in every fallout game? Well were going to say them about three more times just in case you might have forgotten them in a span of a minute. With that said the screen steams up and fades in to show your character staring at himself or herself and thus begins Fallout’s first true character creator. This is to be expected from Bethesda after Skyrim where you could spend an hour on character creation alone. Sorry… I digress. So after picking from scars, bruises and many other customizations to your character you are now ready to step out of the bathroom. Fallout 4 stands apart from the other games in the fallout series by starting you out before the bombs drop and you’re left with a desolate wasteland filled with super-mutants, deathclaws and radscorpions. So for a brief moment you get to see the world in all its shiny futuristic utopia glory with robots, fusion powered cars and good old 1950’s family sensibility as far as the eye can see. Now not to spoil everything but things don’t stay nifty and long story short yet another vault dweller must set out for adventure and excitement, all while rocking the ever shiny “pipboy” we all know and love; this time in good old Boston, Massachusetts, or the Common Wealth as it’s now known.
So in Fallout 4, some good mechanics rise while others fall to the wayside. In previous fallout games you had the ability to construct weapons; which allowed you to make weapons not normally found in the world and really promoted character customization, So while exploring every nook and cranny, you would find new plans for weapons to build. However this has been removed in Fallout 4 and replaced with the ability to upgrade weapons and armor instead. This actually turned out to be a great game mechanic change because it gives those of us who tend to horde lots of stuff a way to make all that junk we just can’t stop picking up actually useful, as pretty much anything can be broken down into base parts for upgrades. Though both the old and the new mechanic should have been implemented I am sure someone will eventually place weapon construction back in the game through mods, but as stated in the beginning this review is a look at the game in its current, unmodified state at release.
The traditional mechanic for talking with NPC’s has been simplified. It no longer takes you out of the game and this gives you a way to either walk away or react if you are attacked, The negative is that its just too simplistic and takes away the meaning behind the choices you can make as you have no idea whether what you are saying has the right impact you want or not.
Another new mechanic is settlements: which are totally new to the fallout series, which allows you to make a home base in 1 of 30 places or in each and every one of them if you so choose. You can build a custom home or homes, connect them with power, plant food, supply drinking water and build defenses for each of your creations. However this comes with a bunch of minor problems. Honestly, I could probably make a video just on settlements, but here are few points of frustration: The snap features for walls and buildings not working correctly, The size of each settlement being too small and having to cheat by dropping weapons and scrapping them, a lack of settler uniqueness and a lack of identifying those settlers duties.
Finally, one of the last big mechanic changes in Fallout 4 was to the talent tree. Most people don’t like this change one bit! However it’s much more user friendly and its style fits the game nicely since you are now able to upgrade the base stats of strength, perception, luck, charisma, endurance and agility, which you couldn’t do in previous fallout games. The lock picking, hacking and pickpocketing skills, have not had any major changes in them from previous games such as fallout 3 and New Vegas and thus not worth mentioning other then in passing.
The controls for the game while feeling more reactive then in Fallout: New Vegas are pretty much the same as they always have been and are the standard layout for most First Person Shooters. The vats engine has been worked on to give it a fluid and useful feel should you enjoy using it, as well as adding a critical hit meter for those much needed times when you just can’t miss. Not many changes effected melee weapons other then some small adjustments to reach and damage.
Normally a brief overview of the plot is in order at this point but the great thing about the Fallout series is that like those old time “Choose your own Adventure Books” you can follow the main plot line to the end but if you don’t want to, well you don’t have to. You can go wander the commonwealth and find the quests you want to do and do them in the order that you want. The commonwealth also has several factions for you to interact with. These groups include The Brotherhood of Steel, The Railroad, The Minuteman and The Institute. Whether to help, hinder, double cross, exterminate or outright betray… the choice is up to you.
The graphics for Fallout 4 have been surrounded by controversy because people felt they could have been better than they ultimately ended up being. However the engine they went with fits the game well and runs smoothly on multiple platforms with very little trouble. Also while the music in the game is great, the problem with it is that the overall music selection is very limited. The big bands feel of the 1950’s or orchestral pieces are amazing but this game can be played for 100’s of hours’ worth of time and the music after the first 30 hours or so, starts to drive you a bit crazy. hopefully Bethesda adds some more songs in future DLC or someone releases a mod with some royalty free music from the 50’s in the near future.
Now this game is worth getting; the flaws are more than made up for by the fun you can have in this game as you explore the hundreds of hours’ worth of content waiting out there in the wastes for you to find. Bethesda is very good at telling engaging stories of devastation and about the people crawled out of the rubble and into the radiated wastelands of the commonwealth; how those people found their way into the great green walls of diamond city or what lead to the town of Covenant being formed. This game is worth buying and the next will be even better.