What to say about Fallout 4… well it is great but at the same time it is great for almost all the same reasons that Fallout 3 and New Vegas were great. Fallout 4 even fixed some of the things that fans have been bitching about for years. Hell, take out some key ideas and you could literally be reading a review for any of the more recent Fallout games. Make no mistake though it is the greatest game for a long time and the best open world game since Skyrim. If I had a diary of my time playing (which I kind of do with the hours of gameplay I put on YouTube) it would note I took a vacation to play almost four days straight; by the end I wasn’t even sure what the date was and still only cracked roughly half the game. So while I may leave a lot out it’s not because I didn’t notice but because it has already been pointed out multiple times and on reviews of Fallout 3 and New Vegas; or because there is just way to much shit to make note of. If you haven’t figured it out yet almost too much depending on how you look at it and with fan mods and DLC coming out in droves there will be plenty more to come… almost wish my PC could handle it. So I’m going to try and focus and what’s different.
One difference and what most fans or non-fans have bitched about for years is with the VAT system. Some people complain it makes it too easy or the game isn’t really a shooter anymore. While the VAT system itself hasn’t changed much it has been pretty much outsourced. Since AI are smart enough to go to cover and stay there now it means a lot more manual shooting for the player. Maybe it is just me but it felt like you just didn’t do much damage or aim very well in VATs anymore either. Either way it is a lot easier and faster to just play the game like any other shooter. What’s nice is that it doesn’t really change the game, it just helps it flow a bit more. The appearance of the perk system has changed a little as well but it still operates the same; except now you can see all perks at once and see what path works best for you. It is also possible to add points to the base stats which is nice when you need a boost to strength or luck.
Companions are a bit different this time around and I’m not sure I like it very much. Like previous games all the companions have thing they do and don’t like and may leave the player if it becomes too much. However now they seem to openly judge anything and everything the player does and it becomes tedious after a while; if you want the maximum perk with a companion you have to get rid of them before doing something they won’t like and some of it just feels really arbitrary. I loved doing all the companion missions in New Vegas but it wasn’t so hard to try and fit them all in. In Fallout 4 you have to do a lot of stuff the companions like before they will unlock more quest and I’m not so sure there is enough time in the game to do them all. Not to mention that if you design your character to be good a certain things but some companions don’t like those things then you are kind of screwed. Curie and Nick were the only companions that seemed to work with me but as soon as I chose to go a certain story route Nick kept getting upset with me.
This leads me to the major change which is the good and bad system; I realize it was only in place to make the player play multiple times but that is still going on. People will judge you for what you do but everything just kind of leads to the same conclusion anyways. While being sarcastic is fun there is little other options and the game lacks any sense of actual evil; instead it is more like just choosing between four groups that are all basically the same but just dickish about different things. I miss the days when I knew I was a good or bad guy. Regardless of which faction you choose this time you end up basically the same; if I didn’t know better I would think the game was trying to make some ironic comparison to real life or something.
Unlike in Fallout 3 where you could destroy an entire town and blow away anyone you want almost there isn’t much like that in this game. It almost seems to be pushing you to be good through its new town creation system; instead of destroying you have to build a whole series of towns and farms. To be fair it is fun, like mine craft it is really easy to get sucked into just building entire elaborate buildings just for the hell of it. I’m still trying to find the wood and steal to build a massive apartment building with turrets galore… and then the penthouse with strobe lights so me and Curie can have some alone time. It also means every damn little thing has some value now which is interesting but can be annoying with weight limits but that’s the challenge. I can’t really consider myself evil though when all the NPC’s just do what I want either way. Weapons mods have also become a lot more useful as well; every weapon can be modded in multiple ways that make it more powerful and badass. My favorite was my mini gun covered in spikes and barbed wire because a mini gun isn’t pants crapping scary enough apparently.
While dialogue is all spoken now I can’t help but feel like we lost a little in the process; talking is all so bland and everything conversation is treated the same. Many people are probably just going to keep pressing the button to speed up dialogue because the only other options are to question, say something snarky or say the same thing but angry. I also don’t like the change they made to the players ability to talk other characters into doing what I want. Previously it worked by percentage so you knew whether you would be able to do it or not; now it goes by easy, medium or hard and there is no guarantee regardless of level. When I have 9 charisma and multiple clothing items to boost charisma there is no way I should fail a medium hard speech challenge. It is nice how the game focuses on who you are talking to though and characters have a lot more life to them. Companions especially have far more diverse backgrounds than usual… although I argue that the New Vegas companions were also good. At the same time though you can really see how low the graphics are and how awkward characters look this way. This is kind of a moot point though because PC people can easily take care of it later and on counsels the game would self-destruct trying to do much more at one time.
The story is interesting, while not Bioshock 1 crazy it did drop a couple of plot twist on me that I didn’t expect at all, which is high praise from me. I want to say it could have been paced better because it feels like it jumps around randomly from one faction to another but I suppose that is kind of the point of playing Fallout. I never really felt like there was a defining point either where it was obvious which side I was choosing so I kept trying to tiptoe around them all and I feel like I lost something in the process. Then I was eventually told do this and these people will hate you and knew my place in the world… and subsequently killed everyone else in it, except the Minute Men because no one really seemed to care about them. While I haven’t gotten to every ending yet I can assume from what I have done they are also basically the same thing; besides the big guy from Fallout 3 making an appearance they were all kind of boring because it was all the same thing. The last two Fallout games had some bizarre missions, Fallout 3 especially with the cannibals, talking tree or the super human/villain battle. I was afraid we wouldn’t get any of that in Fallout 4. Thankfully around that time I found a ship stuck on top of a building full of pirate robots and life was good. I won’t spoil it but the ending to that mission is great and you get a literal hand cannon out of it. There isn’t much like that in the game though. I did find something about witches that sounded delightful but then a bunch of guys with super radiation blasters chased me off.
I could go on forever about Fallout 4 but I can’t so I have just a few last things. Maybe it was me but this game feels a lot harder to start than previous games. Power armor needs batteries now which really sucks but it is cooler. On top of two headed cows we have two headed deer which is weird. Not only that but even general enemies level up along with you which kind of let me disappointed, it was still a challenge but at the same time I never got that sweet taste of one-shotting a weak enemy who dared to piss me off. The map also seemed a bit small to me and the majority of missions took place all the central part of the map. I had to go down to the southern part myself just to see what I was missing; what I learned is that I hate nuclear storms but Deathclaws love them and not much else goes on there. I am also happy to say I ran into very few bugs and only one crash so far; unlike New Vegas where I found more bugs than enemies until the first major patch was out.
There is a lot of other new stuff but for the most part it is still the same Fallout; so if you loved Fallout 3 or New Vegas you should still love this. A lot of the same with some new bits and improvements and even the improvements are good for the most part. While the story let me down a little in the end it can still be turned around in the DLC. Hopefully it is more like the Fallout 3 DLC but New Vegas was also good, maybe we will even return to Point Lookout? Or maybe the Vault dweller from Fallout 3, it’s only been like a decade between 3 and 4 I guess. Even with all its flaws (which are minor in the grand scheme of things) Fallout 4 is great, hell the greatest in some time I say and it will take any player some time to reach even a single ending. I would suggest anyone and everyone get this game because until the next actual Elder Scrolls game comes out you won’t see much else like it.