Fallout 4 Review – Bethesda wins over gamers again!
For just under a week now I have been playing Fallout 4, Bethesda’s second iteration of the Fallout 3 franchise it inherited from Interplay Entertainment. Fallout 4 continues the familiar setting from the third game, a open-world RPG with shooter elements. Those familiar with other Bethesda games such as Oblivion or Skyrim will instantly feel at home with the gameplay, but instead of a fantasy setting the Fallout series is set in a post-apocalyptic world several hundred years in the future. Or at least, a future as would have been imagined from the fifties with its futuristic over the top space-age décor. At first sight Fallout 4 seems to offer little new to the franchise apart from as dog-companion that can’t die. But that assessment can’t be further from the truth. The open-world of Fallout 4 feels immersive in a way that Fallout 3 felt restrictive and contrived. Bethesda has attempted to introduce a lot of new gameplay elements and most of them work. Sadly, the game can also be overwhelming leading to situations whereby I would just choose to shoot my way out.
As you might guess from all the buzz surrounding Fallout 4, the game is very good. Some very solid gameplay that has been significantly upgraded since the last iteration. That said, the game is not without its flaws and not all of those have to do with the bugs that players including myself have been suffering from. Sometimes, the gameplay feels too diverse. Unlike fallout 3 you can now shoot enemy-combatants at range without fear of them closing the distance, but if you miss than shooting them a second time isn’t easy as their movements aren’t easy to track. One solution is to use the V.A.T.S system which will slow down time and allow players to select which body-part to hit. It will come down to chance if you actually do damage, almost like a classic turn-based game but I found myself using the system not nearly enough to get properly acquainted. At times the shooter elements disappear and the game becomes an insane melee of guns firing that would overwhelm novice players. Some of the immersion is lost when enemy players can spot you from a distance and shoot you with pin-point accuracy. Other elements, such as trading, is actually less important in this game than earlier Bethesda games. No longer are you reduced to looting every space clear and trading stuff for bottle caps. Now crafting has become more dominant, though the system remains somewhat overwhelming to use. Last but not least is the possibility to create small strong points, villages if you like. If you properly organize defenses and essential resources people will flock. This allows you to create small safe-havens where you can trade and accept missions. It has introduced an entirely new meta-game to the fallout franchise and with TV shows like The Walking Dead as inspiration you can attempt to safe the world from the apocalypse. This gameplay elements is not without its flaws, it is gimmicky at times but it does feel like a breath of fresh air.
Some people have complained that the graphics of Fallout 4 is not quite up to snuff with other triple A games that have been release. Compared to Metal Gear Solid 5 or even Call of Duty Black Ops 3 the game does looks less impressive but neither are open-world games. The Fallout 4 environment has been handcrafted with a great sense of care. Compared to Skyrim the world is a lot more interactive and a lot of the environment is actually destructible. However, a few times the map does look bland as interior spaces are recycled. Some of the objects and rubble also looks out of place. To get the full graphical experience you will certainly need a top of the line graphics card. I stumbled with my mid-range card, 16Gb memory and SSD card. The game is reliant on a high-frame rate for immersion. If you can’t make 30 frames per second it is better to switch off some graphical bling. Sadly, not everything could be turned down.
I think I have to choose my parting words carefully. Fallout 4 is a strange game, it is so much better than part 3 which at times felt too restrictive. Yet, I did not feel the easy-going experience I got from Oblivion and Skyrim. Fallout 4 is tough game, tough enemies with a tough to master inventory system, an emphasize on crafting and a lot of new meta-gameplay. I like the atmosphere, the graphics are very good but at times feel un-even. I am sure that some more polishing would have ironed out the bugs but the other issues cannot be so easily resolved. Fallout 4 is very ambitious, it tries to cater to many different people using its expansive gameplay. I think it succeeded but not everything felt right to me. That is not to say that it won’t feel right to you. Fallout 4 is to Fallout 3 what Skyrim was to Oblivion. It will be remembered long after Metal Gear Solid 5 and Call of Duty has been deleted from your hard-drive. This was my Fallout 4 Review. I hope you enjoyed it.
Score; 9 / 10. A very ambitious game that works for the most part.