Fallout 4, developed by Bethesda, is another game in the long lasting series of Fallout, set in a post-apocalyptic alternate reality world. Hardly making its way out of the 70’s, Fallout is set within/after 2077 (2287), with robots energy weapons and nuclear powered cards being an everyday occurrence, but with a lacking of colour TVs. This split world has always had a great appeal to the gaming audience, from the catchy old style music to the way the characters portray themselves. Released almost 7 years after the last numbered release and 5 years after the Obsidian developed New Vegas, Fallout 4 seeks to put Fallout into the current gen of consoles with better graphics, gameplay and advanced mechanics.
The Fallout world is set after the Third World War, which pretty much turned most of the world into a post-apocalyptic retro-future, full of Radioactive Ghouls that plague the lands as well as radiated water supplies. This time the game is set within Boston, Massachusetts, a part of the map known as The Commonwealth.
Like most other Fallout Games you start the game off inside your very own Vault, though in a slight turn you get to start just a little bit before you enter the Vault closest to you. Living back in 2077, you will get to look at everyday life for the average Joe, looking inside houses, neighbourhoods and how people held themselves “back in the day”. It adds a nice touch and really adds more of a background to the game and the lore, being able to see how life used to be.
From the old time of 2077 we are frozen inside Vault 111, another experiment which is what most Vaults were made for, experimentation on human life, society and how they react to certain stimuli, way of life etc. Waking up in the year 2287, 210 years after nuclear war, we find ourselves in a run down and devoid of life Vault. Our Son Shaun has been kidnapped and our mission is clear, leave Vault 111, enter post-apocalyptic Boston and find our Son. Get your “X to Shaun” fingers ready.
It’s hard to put a length on the story itself, due to the random occurrences during travel, the route you will take and how many quests along the way you will complete. If you do nothing but the story missions it will go by pretty quickly in comparison, with answers almost 2 hours into the story. I spent over 30 hours exploring and completing side quests before going to the first major city, with several missions in my log left to do. It could take you 36 hours to complete the story, or 8, it can even take less than an hour as we’ve seen with previous releases and the speed runs dedicated to them.
Moving away from the “slower” style of gameplay, Fallout 4 takes some nods from other First-Person Shooter games, shifting to a much faster paced game. Bringing in grenade weapons, quick stimpaks, more options for buffs, Iron-Man style power armour, Fallout 4 sets itself up even more as a “FPS” than ever before. Swapping out Gun Condition for a plethora of modifications and special weapons, what you take into a fight can be extremely different then another player.
Through playing the game you will gain XP, caps (The currency), weapons, armour and junk, either through fighting, scavenging or completing quests. Levelling up with XP gives you a stat point to put into your S.P.E.C.I.A.L skills, the abilities of the game determining strength, intelligence and the like. You could instead use that point and learn a perk, allowing you to access harder locks and terminals or simply increasing your carry weight.
Weapons and Armour are drastically changed from previous releases, going for more of a Borderlands style to how they are made. Each weapon has different slots on them for mods, like barrels, clips and attachments, with each gun coming with some randomly chosen ones. You can of course scrap them for metal and parts, allowing you to make your own mods, but the best weapons are from legendary enemies, dropping Starred equipment with boosts to stats, defences and damage.
Junk, the holy junk, varies from pots and pans to pencils and watches, collect everything you see as if you were practicing for the part of Gollum. Anything you pick up can be scrapped for parts, like steel, wood, screws etc. These components are then used to make modes for weapons and armour as well as being used in construction for base buildings, defences, lights etc. If you play the game enough you will come to learn how much junk will be filling your pockets, that of your companions and workbenches in your settlements.
Speaking of settlements, in a flash/mobile/browser style of gameplay you can now create structures in villages, put up electric circuits for lighting and turrets as well as even set up a quaint little bar. Clear out a village and you will “own” it, allowing you to build inside its area of control, set up trade routes as well as place down trading stations. Settlements give a nice break between crossing the Commonwealth and killing most of its inhabitants. These setups will also make junk and generate caps for you whilst you’re out.
Overall thoughts and feelings
Music wasn’t always a highlight of Fallout games, being more of an atmospheric game with sounds and music being left for events and entering new places more than anything. If you’re hearing music it’s more of a reward or to show you how important the current situation is. When music is played it is definitely fitting for the time, mostly action packed with some slow tracks for travel. A lot of the music in the game comes from radio transmissions, playing 3rd party tracks of yesteryear.
While 4 has changed a lot from 3 it is still very much a Fallout game, the atmosphere, people and game are all very similar. Gameplay is smoother and more engaging, making part harder while simplifying others. You can still get lost in the lore and side quests, especially with the random draws you get when travelling, you might be asked to go to a mall to get an item or to clear out ghouls, whereas another player is told to go somewhere completely different. With Oblivion I did every side event before heading to the Abbey, you can do pretty much the same with Fallout 4, though it should be different every time you decide to playthrough it.
Like any Open World game, Fallout 4 has its fair share of bugs and glitches, most Bethesda games that come out are full of them. It is always going to be a problem due to the size of the map and how much is inside of it, but thankfully there aren’t too many game breaking bugs, however I am forever haunted by the Roof Dwellers. Loading a past save can fix most bugs, while others sort themselves out in time.
Fallout 4 gets a 5/5, even at its base it is packed full of content, with DLCs to come and mod support allowing players to add their own stories, equipment and more to the game. It has evolved from its past 2 games but in a way that is just “different”, neither good nor bad it appeals to a different kind of audience whilst giving something to old fans and new fans alike. Base building draws on the Minecraft/Sim lovers while gunplay is more edged towards FPS, with the lore, world as well as some of the gameplay resembling Fallout in all its glory.