Tech News on G4
Fallout 4, one of 2015's best
Nov 12, 2015
By Alexander Cattani - G4 Canada
Fallout 4, Bethesda’s long-awaited follow up to the universally acclaimed Fallout 3, was released as quickly as it was revealed. It was only six months ago at E3 2015 when the public was given their first glimpse into the next generation of the celebrated open-world franchise. The excitement of Fallout fans worldwide went through the roof after that initial conference and the hype train hasn’t slowed down since. Now, Fallout 4’s release is upon us...but is wandering the wastes in 2015 still as enjoyable?
Fallout 4 takes place in the post apocalyptic ruins of Boston Massachusetts. A location moderately referenced to in pervious Fallout lore. Though, for the first time in the series, you’ll be granted a brief glimpse into what life was like before the bombs dropped. Following a short chat with either your husband or wife in your peachy pre-war Boston home, you and your family are then hastily shuffled into Vault 111 as the United States enters DEFCON 1. After a series of hapless events, your customized vault dweller awakens from being asleep in their cryogenic slumber for two centuries and sets off to explore what is left of the once familiar city.
The time it takes to finally get let loose in the wasteland is significantly shorter than in Fallout 3. A decision I’m personally grateful for as roaming around the nuclear radiated hellscape of Boston is something I’ve been clamouring to do ever since the game’s reveal. Though, after about three hours into the main quest, all of my attention was captured by the surprisingly engrossing plot. I immediately wanted to mainline the campaign, rather than fulfill my prior intentions of getting lost in the wasteland.
Fallout 4’s narrative is one of the most engaging I’ve played through in 2015. The main quest line is laden with political intrigue, mysteries, factions on the brink of conflict and much more. Side quests also hold their own and serve as great distractions to delve into once the main quest has wrapped up.
I’ve never came to the Fallout series for its moment-to-moment gameplay. I found its combat to be sluggish and its shooting arcane. My personal draw was its comically twisted world as well as the ability to freely roam the wasteland and discover all manners of madness. This time around, Bethesda has finally taken past criticisms to heart and has modernized Fallout’s shooting mechanics to make for a more responsive and satisfying experience. Firing weapons feels solid and firm. Everything from kickback when firing to the weighty feel of a gun in your hands, right down to the amount of flash on a gun muzzle after a shot, are all remarkably improved upon and bring the series’ gunplay into the modern era. Of course stop and pop gameplay isn’t the only way you can engage with the various hostels of the wasteland. V.A.T.S. return for those who wish to employ a more tactical approach to combat but gone are the days of waiting to pick your shots without urgency. V.A.T.S. now works in slow motion, rather than pausing gameplay completely. This change keeps the frantic pace of combat consistent while still offering an alternative to how you engage hostiles. And engage many a hostiles you will. Boston’s downtown core and surrounding expanse are crawling with a slew of diverse monstrosities. From decaying feral ghouls to eerie life-like animatronics and everything in between, be prepared to encounter a plethora of foes during your playtime.
The modernization of Fallout is seen in more ways than just its combat. As you explore your surroundings, you will come across vacant stretches of properties known as “Settlements”. If maintained, these settlements have the potential to act as safe haven for civilians of the wasteland. Resource gathering and base building have both been popular trends in games over the last couple of years and the folks of at Bethesda have definitely taken notice. For these settlements to thrive, they need water, food and security. Your job is to build, craft and gather the various resources needed to make these settlements hospitable. The settlement management system is easy to navigate and use but I often found my self ignoring the system as a whole. I was too wrapped up in meat and potatoes of the game to worry if certain members of my various encampments have been fed or not. Furthermore, it’s not necessarily a feature that draws me to the series.
Resource gathering also seeps its way into the newly introduced weapon customization system. Looting heaps of miscellaneous junk now has meaning. These parts can be dismantled and made into various add-ons for the weapons in your arsenal. Want a better stock for your hunting riffle? Go out and find some wood and strong adhesive tape. How about outfitting those boring old boxing gloves with some spikes? Well, all you’ll need is some nails and glue to make that a reality. The sheer depth of the weapon customization is astounding and adds a layer of depth to a game already teeming with things to do. If that wasn’t enough, the iconic Brotherhood of Steel armour seen on the cover of the game is now yours to modify as well.
While Fallout fans remain some of the most hardcode, they’d be the first to admit that the series has never been known for its graphical fidelity. Fallout 4’s presentation is passable. It’s certainly not going to turn any heads but it is nice to finally see the series look at least comparable to other current gen titles, unlike the extremely drab and dated aesthetic of Fallout 3 and New Vegas. Unfortunately, not all past flaws have been rectified. The Fallout and Oblivion series, (post 2006) are no stranger to some bugs and neither is Fallout 4. During my time with the game I experienced two crashes, one broken quest that was impossible to complete and several occurrences of frame rate dips. While I am certainly willing to look past them, it would be disingenuous to not mention their presence and say they didn’t put a slight damper on gameplay. Thankfully, these glitches aren’t game breaking by any means.
While the latest entry in the series isn’t the RPG revolution that Fallout 3 was, it’s still one of the most complete and rewarding open world games to be released in the last five years. If you’re a fan of the series, you’ve most likely already got your copy but for those on the periphery who are still considering taking the dive, let me just say you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not indulging in the fascinatingly twisted world of Bethesda’s latest creation.
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