Bethesda’s end of the year hit, Fallout 4, released about a week ago, making millions of fans feel like living up until now was actually worthwhile and making oodles of money in the process. Now I’ve never been a huge fan of the Fallout series, but since this was such a big release, I figured I owe it to you all to review it. This’ll be spoiler-free for the most part. Anything in particular I mention in particular is something you’ll see within the first hour of playing so don’t get too upset.
For those somehow unaware of the Fallout series, you take control of a survivor of a world-wide nuclear war and must make a new life in the irradiated wastelands of what the locals call the Commonwealth. The nuclear fallout has spawned some horrible creatures as well as caused many to go crazy or grow desperate to survive, challenging the player to survive in harsh and hostile conditions.
As previously stated, I’ve never been a fan of the Fallout series. I didn’t like the mechanics for Fallout 1/2 or the first person shooter formula for 3/New Vegas, so I went in expecting to be disappointed in many aspects and ultimately dropping the game. I hated the aesthetic, I hated the gameplay, I hated the setting, I just hated everything. With this outlook still in mind, I fired this donkey dookie up anyways and got to playing.
The story kicks off with the game giving you a single, main plot hook, but even with circumstances involved, I just could not bring myself to give a single shit about it. I do not have the right to talk about the story because it was so horrendously boring to me I barely started it. Could I have powered through it and just experienced it anyways? Yeah, I could have, but I’ll tell you what I did instead: everything but the story because it caught my attention faster than the plot.
To me, Fallout 4’s side quests were infinitely more rewarding than the main story line. For instance, you gain favor with a group called the Minutemen very early into the game and can optionally opt into helping their cause, roaming the Commonwealth and offering help to smaller settlements. Every settlement you establish requires its own resources, population, food and water sources, and means of defense.
“Well, if they all require a bunch of work, why do it?”
Thing is, you don’t have to. You can be a wanderer for your entire playthrough if you want. However, building settlements involves my favorite part of the entire game: the customization and construction aspects.
During your time wandering the wastelands, you can pick up a slew of items from hair brushes, desk fans, telephones, wild fruit, and even chunks of irradiated materials. Breaking down these random objects will net you building materials which you can use to construct different facilities and structures at your settlements as well as modifications for your personal weaponry. You have a lot of free reign assembling structures for your settlements and many weapons include 4 to 5 different aspects of the weapon to alter, save melee weapons. You can even salvage mods off of weapons you pick up and place them onto your primary weapons to save time and resources.
For those familiar with the game or who have hung around here for a while, you’ll understand when I say the game reminds me of Dark Cloud 2. You go out and journey for materials to upgrade your weapons and assemble structures back at one of your many settlements. It’s a very fun system and an extremely pleasant surprise for someone who expected to hate every second he was playing the game.
The game also features legendary creatures, formidable foes that drop legendary gear when defeated. Some of these items can be extremely powerful, like a shotgun with exploding buckshot, but are usually just as tough to earn. Exceptions exist though. I have a laser rifle upgraded for maximum damage with the legendary effect of dealing double damage to anything I shoot that has full HP. Since my laser rifle is essentially a sniper rifle that shoots red lightning, it is equally terrifying and powerful, and to date, nothing has survived a fully charged six cranks from it. The best part? I got it from a big ass cockroach I one shot out of reflex. Thanks roachy.
The game does have objective flaws, however. The game is prone to frame rate drops. Although an early patch helped alleviate some issues, the drops aren’t completely gone and tend to arise in really inconvenient spots, such as being chased by a horde of irradiated feral ghouls. For those who care about soundtracks, Fallout 4 apparently makes very liberal use of tracks from Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas, which can prove irritating if you listen to the in-game radio stations a lot. Being someone who barely played those games anyways, you’ll be glad to know that I liked the radio, coming to like “The Wanderer” as my favorite song thus far. It really tops of my signature look of homicidal maniac, usually soaked in blood, wielding a rusted machete, an dirty old jacket, and a burlap sack as a mask, whispering words of affection and encouragement to his favorite pistol, the Rooty-Tooty Point n’ Shooty.
All in all, Fallout 4 was a nice game to toy around with. For those who don’t like Fallout but enjoy city builders, give this a try. Maybe it’ll change your mind like it did to me. Maybe I won’t play it for hundreds of hours like the people who eat this series up, but I’ve played for about 25 hours and can safely say that this game is a decent buy for those looking for a new Bethesda-style RPG to play with a lot of replayability. If I were to cave in and give it a number, I’d give it a solid 7 out of 10 and the honorary title of “The Only Other Bethesda Game That Wasn’t Oblivion That I Can Actually Stomach Playing Because I Fucking Hate Bethesda Games.”
That aside, I’ll probably put another ten or so hours into the game easily. Maybe I’ll keep going or maybe I’ll drop it. We’ll just have to see.
Now if you don’t mind, I have an abandoned factory with raiders that need to be slaughtered.
I didn’t expect to be a messed up homicidal maniac, but hey, things happen.