Fallout holds a very special place in my heart , Fallout 1 was one of the earliest games I had ever played and I played every subsequent release on Day 1. So you can say when Fallout 4 was announced I was a bit more than just excited. After a painful few months November 10th finally arrived and now here I am writing the review for one of the most hotly anticipated games this year.
Note : I played the game on my PC with a Xbox controller and as such I will be solely focusing on the PC version in my review and its merits/demerits. This review has mild spoilers.
Fallout 4 is a post apocalyptic RPG set in post nuclear Boston , 200 years after the bombs drop where you play as the sole survivor of Vault 111.
The game starts out in a cheerful tone , your character and their spouse are taking a look in front of the bathroom mirror and this is where you customise your character , you can go ahead with the default facial presets that have already been designed by Bethesda or you can let your creativity flow and re design your character completely with a robust character customization system that allows you to fine tune every little detail including body structure and for the first time in the series, the protagonist is completely voiced.
After you set up your S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats, things start going downhill when the bombs are dropped. You are sent down into Vault 111 and end up getting frozen..after watching your wife murdered by mercenaries and your son kidnapped, you wake up after your nap of 200 years to find yourself the lone survivor. Once you break out of the vault and reach the surface you are thrust into the vast and intimidating wasteland that was once your home.
After reaching my house and having a reunion with my robot butler, it wasn’t long before I had met my first companion, taken up arms against a band of raiders, donned my first power armor suit and killed a Deathclaw. Unlike its predecessor, which was slowerpaced, Fallout 4 throws, advanced gameplay elements, high level enemies and major plot elements at the player within the first few hours. The overall gameplay is brutal and unforgiving, rushing in head first will almost always result in death on higher difficulties or will result in crippling injuries , the enemy AI has vastly improved over previous games and now uses cover fire and grenades to flush out the player. The waiting feature that allowed players to heal themselves is now gone so you’ll either have to use a real bed or stimpaks/foods to heal yourself, VATS no longer freezes time so you’ll have to be quick and precise when taking shots. These changes make the combat more challenging and satisfying, often requiring strategic thinking to get you through sticky situations.
Fallout 4 also has legendary enemies that can mutate to become even more dangerous, these special deadly enemies drop some nice loot upon successful kills, taking them down requires a lot of work but the challenge and the rewards make it all worth it.
The variety of enemies is also great, and each of them have completely unique attacks and require different approaches to take down. Various types of enemies also have different variants that use different tactics to take down the player. Enemies communicate with each other and make use of the environment to get an upper hand in combat.
The arsenal of weapons you can use to take them down is equally varied, and there are some pretty wild ones out there, including the returning Fat Man launcher which is a tactical nuclear catapult weapon.
Every weapon can be fine tuned to your liking thanks to the new weapons and armor customization system in Fallout 4. You can change almost every aspect of your guns and armors and even rename them. Mods can be purchased from vendors, found as loot or as side quests rewards. The armor system has also been completely reworked, and now you can have layered armor components on top of a base armor.
The whole world is full of things to do and places to explore, and it takes a while to get adjusted and wrap your head around the whole thing, almost every nook and corner leads to random events, discovering radio signals that lead to side quests, stumbling across settlements that lead to even more side quests. After 10 hours, my pipboy was bursting with missions that demanded my attention and settlements that needed tending. NPCs will react differently to you depending on what you’ve done for them, and might comment on what you’re wearing. Companions will even talk to you more depending on how much they like your actions and each of these small things add to the immersion of the world.
The wasteland can turn from peaceful and relaxing to a living nightmare within moments,like how one moment I was trading with a travelling merchant the next moment I was being mauled down by a Yao Guai, time does not freeze when you talk to NPCs so be careful and watch your environment.
Fallout 4 has added a feature inspired by mods that allows you to build your own settlement and customize every small detail, every bit of junk that you can find can be broken down for materials and used for crafting turrets, fences, guard posts etc, and keep residents happy. The whole system adds a lot in terms of content, but feels empty and hollow as most of the settlers don’t have much to say outside of their usual one liners, I also felt the settlement building system was a bit messy and needed some tweaking. I found myself only occasionally returning to the sanctuary to swap companions, mod my weapons and refit my power armor, exploration was a bigger attraction for me.
Speaking of companions, you have a long list of companions whom you can take with you on your adventure but you are limited to only one(though I suspect it wont be long before mods take care of this). I genuinely liked all of my available companions in Fallout 4, they all have interesting backstories and different personalities. They make unique comments on the locations you visit and if companions approve of your actions during the game, your relationship with them will deepen. Some of the additional dialogue sequences I unlocked when that happened were really satisfying. HOWEVER, the companions system also houses one of my biggest gripes about this game: the AI pathfinding. I constantly kept losing Dogmeat, often finding him missing during combat, only to find him stuck trying to climb over some rock or just frozen somewhere.
The splendidly written side missions are always unique and not generic fetch quests(although there are some of those) , in one mission I received a distress call which turned out to be a Brotherhood squad in trouble and a chain of events led to me joining the Brotherhood of Steel. Another side quest was in the form of a detective case and required solving clues.
The main plot itself however falls a little flat, the idea of getting revenge after losing one’s family is a tried and tested storytelling trope, but I constantly found myself distracted with the more interesting side quests but that’s the beauty of Fallout, you are free to do whatever you please, you can spend all your time turning your settlements into bustling trade hubs and completely ignore the missions.In this world you are free to do as you please, and complete the game at your own pace.
Bethesda has tried to do something more character-driven with the game, the individual story quests are stronger than ever. The game’s main missions are all extremely fun, featuring unique locations and some of the best characters in the series’ long history. The conversation tree has also been reworked and the game features some pretty well written dialogues.
XP earned from missions and other objectives allow you to upgrade your character via perks. The perks system has undergone some major changes from previous installments, Perks are special bonuses that augment your character’s abilities to better suit your specific playstyle and build. Each time you level up in the game, you gain a point to spend on any of the game’s 70 perks
Although the game has come under a lot of criticism for its graphics, I personally found Fallout 4 to be, without a doubt, a work of art. Everything about the game’s art design – the characters, the enemies, the wildlife, the environments – all of it looks gorgeous. The game atmosphere immersed me more than any game in recent time.
The sound design is just as brilliant: everything from the voice acting to the ambient tracks to the sound effects to the licensed music works beautifully within Fallout 4’s post-apocalyptic world and Inon Zur’s soundtracks match the barren beauty of the wasteland making the whole experience so beautiful. I would occasionally just stop and take in the wonderful world that Bethesda has created.
Thats not to say that my experience was entirely flawless, the characteristic Bethesda glitches make a return. My camera would occasionally freeze, NPCs would stop firing for no reason even when I was at point blank range, companions would get stuck and there seems to be texture clipping issues as well.Although none of them were potentially game breaking bugs, I would like to see Bethesda patch them up as soon as possible.
Although I have spent a meagre 27 hours in this game, which is just barely scratching the surface, I can say without doubt that Bethesda has created one of the best RPG’s in recent history.Fallout 4 is an excellent addition to the series, it took some of the strongest points of 3 and NV added in some of its own new elements inspired by none other than player made mods and mashed them together to create a truly wonderful experience. Fallout 4 is everything and more its fans were hoping it to be.
What I liked :-
+ The Huge Open World and Design.
+ The Combat.
+ The Missions.
+ Some Of The Best And Interesting Characters in the series.
+ The Weapons Upgrade System.
+ The Overall Art Style.
+ The Beautiful OST.
What I didn’t like:-
– The Bugs
– The AI Pathfinding issues.
– Settlement System Needs Some Tweaking.