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Fallout 4 Review

"Return to the Wasteland once more"

Campaign

Fallout is one of the most well known games of all time with the third entry being one of the most praised games to release on the last generation. Years later we're treated to the sequel with Fallout 4 which builds its own place within the Fallout universe taking place in the city of Boston. The design of the narrative this time takes an interesting turn at the start actually making you a character from the past that survived into the future wasteland. It starts off as a fresh regular day for a family that you custom and sculpt with a very unique character designer that was very well done with many options to make you special. A bit later after this calm opening sequence the alarms go off and it would appear that the bombs are being dropped, you were selected to live in the vault of 111 and you head down into it. From there you're put into cryo sleep which happens to be this particular vault's study as each vault has its own custom structuring system. Time passes with you awakening at some point to watch a sorrow scene of some people breaking into the vault and stealing your son. Moments later you get a chance to escape through this vault and head out into the wasteland above.

This last paragraph was meant to touch upon points and actually doesn't quite spoil any aspects, yet paints a picture for those looking to dive into the world. Fallout has always been a game of exploration and choice, the option to do anything you want in every situation is always available. While there's a main story line present to follow the option to split off for pure running around or tackling side quests is available. There are a ton of objectives present with stories appearing the more you look into the wasteland around. Aside from these quests more appear in other ways with these being smaller options or you can also join brotherhoods. I say that word in general term since many causes are present within the wasteland to join if desired. These include some favorites such as the Brotherhood of Steel or new ones like the Minutemen. How everything branches out is completely up to you and it can become a crazy adventure by not even following the main narrative. Another neat aspect present within Fallout 4 is the ability to really just continue playing after the main story as the leveling system just goes on though that will be discussed more under gameplay.

Fallout is also about relationships and the game presents more options than ever before. There are many people to chat with, others to pick as companions across the wasteland and romance options to explore. This aspect wasn't quite handled as well as it could have been considering how other games have actually done great wonders in regards to building relationships. In this game it felt like less of a romance option and more of a friendship system as it semed timid to really get into it. Like every other relationship in the game the companions are influenced by your choices with some liking certain discussion routes or actions taken while exploring. I just felt that it was lackluster in how far people could be affected by you considering the hours of making "liked choices" for nothing really. Personally I dropped the dog as soon as I met a much more useful companion, though I must comment on how great the design was for Dogmeat and the interesting protections options present.

Back towards the main aspects of story I did find it slightly too predictable for myself as I had a quite accurate guess of future events right from the start. I also felt it start to trail off a bit after a large reveal which just calmed things right down after so much anticipation. Still, the main story is honestly just a small portion of just what is possible within this wasteland.

Gameplay

The game is at its core a traditional first person/third person exploration game though still many aspects of the environments turn the game into a shooter. The combat controls are slightly awkward at times with guns being slightly odd to use and the system feels very much like Fallout 3 in that regard. The VATS system returns which slows time creating an interesting aim system along with a strong critical hit system built into that. Environments are a thing of beauty within Fallout 4 featuring some of the most beautifully desolate and depressing places I've ever seen. So many tales of death, loss and just general destruction are constant reminders of what the wasteland is like. It's crazy seeing constant scenes of combat that can just be watched from a distance or the many various factions battling it out around you. There are also many type of wild life present that are mostly nasty enemies and deadly at times as well.

Now to discuss the Pip-Boy that is your personal computing device on the wrist and a most useful of items. It holds all your personal health stats; inventory, quests, the map and radio stations. These areas are all quite in-depth so I'm only briefly going over them in that statement. An important part of the game is actually based around the radio station which can provide music or also great plot details and side quests to tackle. This pipboy also contains the skill chart that has been fully blown up into a crazy large building like design. It's got the core "SPECIAL" points with every level pertaining to a trait and then levels upon levels of unique abilities to gain. This includes things like special damage, better radiation resistance or even better charisma to barter in your favor as every bottle cap (currency) is useful.

As far as general gameplay goes the game ran well without any real issues as others had posted though I did have some problems with the graphics. Close up and far in the distance looked awful within the game whereas medium range environments looked great. I understand the world is large, but the immersion is slightly impacted at grayed out large buildings in the distance and some poor resolution items close up. I also had many bugs come up while playing the game including NPCs getting stuck in various spots including the middle of the ocean which completely disrupts play, though expected from Bethesda titles I suppose due to the scaling of the worlds. Companions have a great system for controlling and guiding them along with many other useful applications including holding of inventory. Inventory is something that is constantly full within this iteration due to the scavenging system which will be gone over below. It's nice to have your companion take off some of the load though you can still hold a ton of items yourself.

Settlements/Scavenging

This aspect was actually one of my favorite parts in the entire game and it completely surprising. In response to the earlier comment about keeping every item being something you can scavenge makes every item collected something special to build a new item with. The system includes every fork, desk fan or strange piece of paper you find across you journeys. These can all be stocked up within workshops to be used in the construction of community areas. This area has quickly blown out into what I would actually love to be a separate mode. Within the game you have full reign within workshop areas you control to destroy and then build whatever you want. I worked on my own house area and even built a tree house later on as my skills with construction grew. This aspect has an incredible amount of depth as well including the need to build electricity with power lines connected to each other, food and defense to name a couple parts. You will also assign members of the community that can be grown with radar dishes to tend to things like growing the crops or running general stores you've created. The amount of building options present just completely took over large portions of my gameplay along with some other friends I was talking to while playing as well. I no longer just see scraps lying around, I see possible ceramic pieces or copper which are both hard materials to come across. There were also many options present for customizing your weapons in a similar design to the regular settlement build area.

The Conclusion

Fallout 4 is a wonderful game filled with exploration across a bleak yet hopeful wasteland. It's amazing to just walk around and explore this vast world that just has so many things to do. The world is rich with characters to interact with or places to claim on your own. The story could have been stronger though I do appreciate the length present and the way it can branch out across the landscapes. The pure scale of cityscapes and wandering through buildings is something that never gets old. I loved the scavenging system as it made every item matter and the building of settlements was a great aspect which I just burned hours working on. Combat can be slightly hard to use at times and the game itself being a hardcore title as well which will challenge you to survive though it gets better as you progress through the perk chart. Fallout 4 is a perfect continuation of the series and paints a perfect picture of this crazy retro future wasteland.


Fallout 4 Xbox One Box Art

Review Done on Fallout 4 for Xbox One
Review Code Provided by 47


Rating Overall: 9.0

Reviewed by: Jason Stettner
@Skycaptin5

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner
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