Fallout 4 is Bethesda’s biggest, baddest, and hottest new game in the Fallout franchise. We’ve been walking around the Commonwealth for weeks and now it’s time for us to sit in Sanctuary and tell you what we think of the game.
The story begins pre-nuclear fallout, unlike previous titles. This gives the game a more relatable, personal tone, as you get to get a feel of your hometown, your family and some characters before you enter Vault 111.
As an immense Fallout: New Vegas lover, I felt the story in this game fell short of ‘what could have been’. Starting the story pre-Vault helped in some regards, but the narrative was not the game’s strong point. It starts off particularly slow, but does ramp up as things move on, which is positive.
There is a ‘feels’ moment in the beginning, but there’s so much more to do that you sort of get sidetracked, and the main story is pushed back.
That’s a testament to the gameplay itself – the story isn’t amazing, but the game doesn’t falter.
I absolutely loved the gameplay. It had all the familiar elements, such as the SPECIAL (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck) stats system, VATS and the Pip-Boy, while is still easy to pick up for the gamer new to the Fallout universe.
Capitalising on creativity, the game introduces the ‘Settlement’ mechanic, where players salvage materials from junk and build a brand new settlement for other survivors. The feature has been a huge hit, with players posting photos of their settlements on forums and social media – it’s really fun to explore.
The SPECIAL system has been simplified and is a lot easier for players to use. Unlike previous Fallout games, putting only one point in Intelligence does not alter the speech in the dialogue between other characters (which would sometimes result in hilarious options).
There’s the usual Bethesda bugs (my character looked at his Pip-Boy which mysteriously vanished), but in a way these add the charm we’ve all come to know and love, like when Dogmeat clips through the stairs and activates a trap, killing everyone including yourself. The bugs and Fallout logic problems are fun, rather than infuriating.
Bethesda also released a Pip-Boy app. You can now use your smartphone with the full capabilities of the in-game Pip-Boy, allowing players to change clothes, and check the map and inventory without having to activate the device in-game. Navigating the Pip-Boy is much easier using your phone over the controller. It’s also seamless and easy to use.
Overall, the gameplay felt smooth, despite the game not running at a full 60 frames per second.
Graphics and Sound
While the game has the post-apocalyptic look going on, it isn’t visually stunning, but isn’t rough either – it just falls in the middle.
I’m not obsessed with perfect-looking games over gameplay (especially since I’m playing this on the Xbox One and not the superior PC), but the game has some areas to work on. If you’re on PC, then there’s probably already a sweet shader/graphics mod available.
The sounds and music are great, from the crisp barks and growls of Dogmeat to the beautiful soundtrack. The song written for the moment you step out of Vault 111 is perfectly suited for the moment.
The radio stations are a fine feature. One particularly good station is Diamond City Radio, one of the first stations you can get. It features DJ Travis (voiced by Brendan Hunt), who makes walking around Commonwealth oh-so much better. His tired, monotone voice reflects perfectly on your surroundings and shows the reality of a monotonous, repetitive job with no recognition in the Commonwealth.
Overall, the ambient radio sounds makes up for the average-looking graphics.
Fallout 4 is incredible fun. From spending hours creating Sanctuary, to the great gameplay and memorable Bethesda bugs, Fallout 4 is a must buy.
While I don’t rank it above Fallout: New Vegas, I would put it above Fallout 3 (Fallout: NV > Fallout 4 > Fallout 3 > Fallout 1 > Fallout 2). Where the story falls short, the gameplay more than makes up for it.