It’s been just over a week since Bethesda Game Studios rolled out Fallout 4 to the public, in that time I’ve clocked in over 3 days of play time, killed hundreds upon hundreds of humans and creatures and have explored the Commonwealth at length to discover it’s secrets and it’s rewards. to sum it all up into a few, albeit possibly shocking words: Holy Shit.
Fallout 4 takes place in the Commonwealth of Boston Massachusetts you take control of a player created Character in the defining moments before the Bombs dropped, The incredibly extensive face sculpting tool allows entirely new lengths of making your character your own, you’ll have a Husband and/or Wife depending on the gender of your Character and a little boy named Shaun after some incredibly unforeseen super heavy spoiler related content, you find yourself dazed and confused exploring the hometown you once called home just 10 years after the event of the Lone Wanderer leaving Vault 101 in Fallout 3 a few familiar faces may or may not make an appearance based completely on the choices you make throughout the game.
Now that I’ve swallowed half a bottle of anxiety pills while trying to write that incredibly difficult spoiler-free paragraph, let’s get down to business. How’s it play? What’s new? What’s Customization like? Does it look good? Please see the summary above for a brief explanation.
Fallout 4 plays like a polished version of it’s predecessors with a few minor but game changing exceptions. V.A.T.S., the Vault-Tec Auto Targeting System used to enhance the aiming capabilities of the player by targeting specific limbs now slows time instead of stopping it, so you may still be in danger if you try targeting an individual in a large firefight. Stimpaks now heal HP over time and Power armor has been overhauled completely. It’s now treated as well.. Powered Armor, it acts more as a suit rather than individual pieces of Armor and in exchange for massive Physical, Energy and Radiation resistance and a carrying weight bonus the Armor must be fueled by fusion cores. These cores are drained over time as the Armor is in use but there are perks available that extend the use of Fusion Cores meaning they need to be replace much less often.
The Game brings in a fan favorite favorite from Skyrim, the ability to sprint. instead of stamina, sprinting drains your available Action points (AP) use this wisely as if you sprint into battle, you’ll have to wait for your AP to replenish before using V.A.T.S. this makes traversing the Commonwealth much more convenient and adds a certain level of strategy just to travelling. Do you risk moving quickly at the risk of running into a Deathclaw while your AP is low? The choice is yours my friend.
Bethesda introduces a brand new element to it’s games, the main protagonist (YES the character that YOU MAKE) is voiced! Guys, we can talk now! We’re no longer some mute wastelander who blindly follows orders while we imagine the silly emotions that may have gone into each speech option. The new chat system no longer requires large clunky text boxes with a list of possible answers. Instead, answers are assigned to the Face buttons of your controller (X, Circle, Square or Triangle for PS4 and X, B, A, Y for Xbox One) These answers generally take the form of 4 different tones or emotions. Agreeable, confrontational, sarcastic or a question. Speech options that require Charisma are colored text options with difficulty of success indicated by the color of the text. Seeing two individuals have a conversation in a Mass Effect style conversation allows a much deeper connection behind the responses and offers a new experience that people actually want instead of skipping through pages upon pages of dialogue.
The Gun play has been greatly improved as well, to the point where you no longer need to rely on V.A.T.S as badly as you did in Fallout 3 or Fallout: New Vegas, in fact Bethesda was bold enough to say that you could go through the entirety of Fallout 4 without using V.A.T.S and for the most part, they’re right! I feel like there are some minor hit box detection issues and bullets seem to have a small travel time between leaving the barrel and hitting the target, but if you compensate for that you truly wouldn’t have a problem not using V.A.T.S. which is a huge step forward for this series.
Weapon Mods make a return from New Vegas but the entire system has been overhauled and expanded for a new remarkable experience, items that were deemed useless in Fallout 3 and New Vegas such as clocks, pencils, books, hammers, buckets… essentially everything that made the room look pretty that you wouldn’t dream of putting in your inventory for risk of it scratching your shiny new gun now has a purpose. These items can be broken down for parts such as steel, leather, cloth, lead, screws and aluminum that go toward creating modifications for your weapons and armor. I once found myself on a rampant hunt for animal skin so I could turn it into leather to improve my armor, I also went on a mad microscope frenzy to break them down and use the fiberglass for an upgrade on one of my Laser rifles. You can also customize the different parts of your Power armor to increase their resistances or give them specific perks. Have you fallen in love with one of your weapons? You can now rename them so you can call them something totally kickass instead of seeing “Advanced overcompensated fovused Laser rifle” plague your inventory.
So we’ve covered new mechanics, customization, and how easy it is to get around. But now we come to quite possibly the most controversial question that Fallout 4 has faced. Does it look good?
Though I find it ironic to explain the beauty of a world completely ravaged and destroyed by nuclear war, Fallout 4 offers a breathtaking environment for the player to explore. Does it look as crisp and clean as some of the other Blockbuster Triple A games? Certainly not. Does Fallout 4 put itself leaps and bounds ahead of previous games in the series? Without a doubt. Fans of the series, especially those who loved exploring the Capital Wasteland or the Mojave Desert will look at Fallout 4 completely amazed at the leaps and bounds Bethesda has made to improving the appearance of their game while using an old engine. Simply put, Fallout 4 looks absolutely awesome!