Bethesda engines has recently released a new game to add to the Fallout series, Fallout 4. The official release date was November 10th. When I found out this game was being made a while back I was intrigued and curious over what the developers could possibly do to improve from Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas.
When I finally got the chance to actually play it I was pleasantly surprised by the new additions of the game. Aready I am 18 hours into the game and (unsurprisingly with that amount of playtime) I have been hooked from the day I downloaded it. What I’ve felt already is the sense of it being a much larger, more tangible world than in the last few Fallout installments. For example, to start things off, the player now actually has a voice. Although it might seem superficial, this is actually quite important as it creates a sympathetic connection between the player and the character: it feels a lot more natural to have a voice, despite it not being that of the player’s, rather than being mute like in the last few games or having to rely on your imagination whilst choosing your dialogue options. Furthermore, the new perk chart where the player can choose their skills and perks to suit their type of gameplay is beautifully presented with different columns for each skill decorated with the ever-popular Vault Boy who, as usual, comically acts out what the skills do for the player’s character. It’s another brilliant addition to the gameplay and makes the whole character building process which can be tedious a more enjoyable experience.
The NPCs you meet along the way throughout the story are wholly memorable, especially the synth detective, Nick Valentine, who helpfully becomes a companion to you through many hours of the game. Thankfully, he acts like a tank and can soak up a hell of a lot of damage, which means you can sit back and take your time picking off choice enemies while they’re distracted by the fedora-wearing, robot (did I not mention that?) detective. Of course, there’s also the mechanic butler Codsworth, the house robot whom you employ/own pre-nuclear war and whom you see again once you’re out of the vault, who can become a companion too later in the story.
The story itself, so far, is irresistibly entertaining and has layers to it. The reappearance of the Brotherhood of Steel will please many, and they are still a simply fascinating part of the story. This faction allows the player to shoot at super mutants from a Vertibird (a big, big helicopter) with its all-powerful mini-gun and attain a full set of power armour, which makes continuing the story less intimidating – it’s hard to feel vulnerable whilst wearing several kilos of badass metal armour that you have to climb into. The item-building mechanics and camp construction are complex but intuitive additions which allow the player to build up a newly-established sanctuary for various residents living in them. So you don’t only get showered with XP and nurture city-planning skills that Chris Traeger would be proud of (but don’t add city planning to your CV just yet); it also means that as your camp-building skills increase into architectural magnificence, your harem of bases grows and strengthens, leaving you with what the more egotistical of us might call a kingdom.
However, it must be noted that there were a lot of framerate issues during the game; disappointingly, it was constantly freezing and lagging as I explored the great wasteland of Boston which did affect my immersion at times. The loading times were also something I found quite irksome, where it would take a considerable amount of time to load up new areas, which shouldn’t really happen for literally every load point in the game regardless of its size. On top of this, even though the new additions to the gameplay were great, the graphics weren’t much improved from Bethesda’s previous works and the interface was very much the same which was a little disappointing.
Overall, although it played like an improved version of Fallout 3, if you can stand the bugs and issues, or alternately have a NASA-quality PC, Fallout 4 is an addictively enjoyable game that’s well worth the purchase.