Fallout 4 (Xbox One Review)
I’m sure there have been countless times when an RPG stands out among its peers by presenting us with an awe-inspiring world to explore, promising depths of customisation and lifelike characters to interact with. All of which culminates into an experience which you are simply enraptured by, unable to set your controller down as your insatiable desire to uncover every facet of this world’s lore and mysteries takes over. Now However, we are mostly gripped by the initial intrigue of what the game has to offer. We jump in for the first hour or so and suddenly feel heavy hearted by what we expected to be an enveloping experience transformed into one which is easily forgotten, with the game blending back into the unimaginative crowd of the uninspired. Fallout 4 treads the line of being an immersive, hardened staple entry of the franchise and being a simple re-run of what we have played before now turned stale. However, it is still a fun game for people to play. There are even these Fallout 4 guides that people can use to help them really get to grips with the game. You might just be interested in trying the game first before you check out the guides though.
Our eyes are greeted to an unusual scene, one with bright colours and warming atmosphere. We are firmly planted in the pre-apocalypse, some 200 years before the bombs drop with a loving spouse and child. And before you can even sit down to have a cup of coffee all hell breaks loose and you’re rushed off to the nearest Vault to safeguard your future. It’s a shame to see such a well imagined pre-war era being brought out into the light and playable for the first time to only have it swept swiftly away. Anyway, fast forward 200 years and you find yourself in the familiar wasteland setting you know and love only now there is no horrible greeny-brown tint covering your screen and your spouse has been murdered and your son kidnapped. Once you get your bearings you’re off on your first adventure to rekindle humanity and possibly save your son if there is time. The plot line arguably a very stereotypical one, up there with “save the princess” and “alien invasion” but it does enough to get the ball rolling just not enough to keep the momentum up. With so many optional tidbits here and there, quests to be finished, and loot to be uncovered it’s a miracle that you even remember that you have a son that needs rescuing. Funnily enough with all the questing I did I couldn’t tell which objectives were the “main” objectives and which were “secondary” ones. They all seemed to mesh together leaving me bewildered as to where I was supposed to be going and what I should be doing.
Back when the news first dropped that there was possibly going to be another Fallout game, I thought that It would be a good idea to revisit some of the older titles like Fallout 3 and try out New Vegas for the very first time. My lasting impressions of those two titles were somewhat mixed mainly due to the poor controls and combat mechanics. Simply aiming your weapon was no easy task in itself never mind trying to hit a target. The controls were janky and the firefights infuriating. The only thing that made it sufferable was the V.A.T.S. system which inherently reduced the amount of time the player actually participated in the game by taking control away from you and doing all the actual work. Now jump ahead a couple of years to Fallout 4 and the gunplay has improved significantly and I can pleasantly say that I can now proficiently attack enemies and defend myself without having to tell the game to switch to autopilot and do all the work for me. V.A.T.S. is obviously still a critical component as you do still need that extra helping hand with some of the smaller and faster enemies but it’s not as intrusive as it once was. The more beneficial side of V.A.T.S. this time around is your Critical meter which fills every time you make use of V.A.T.S. and can be executed once filled for devastating effect, useful in those near death encounters.
Companions are all still present and accounted for, with the addition that they are now immortal and sneeringly laugh at your own feeble attempts to struggle with life and death. The drawback with your companions being everlasting is that their intelligence has seemingly been dialed back a notch resulting in horrible scenarios in which they block the only exits available to as you’re being chased by a deathclaw or simply aggro the living hell out of any over-leveled monster that comes their way. They’re more useful to you as a walking dumpster than trusty extra gun as any trash you deem worthy enough to pick up off the ground can be funneled straight into their pockets for safekeeping till you inevitably scrap it later on.
Fallout 4’s graphical appeal has been strongly criticised over the years due to its overly brown colours and in some instances poor lighting. Bethesda may have wanted to capture the realistic feel of what a war torn and ravaged wasteland would be like by diluting the overall saturation to give it that desired effect, but left some fans uneasy with the environment feeling so drab. 7 years later and we are back again to revisit this new spruced up and more inviting Boston wasteland of Fallout 4. With improved dynamic lighting and a wider colour palette, it would seem. The wasteland is thriving with brighter vibrant colours and no tinted screen. Running on a next generation console or even a powerful gaming computer it is arguable that the overall graphical quality is not upto par with what individuals would expect from a big budget AAA game, and arguably they would be correct. Though it’s not always about graphical prowess and you’d still have to understand that Fallout 4’s game world is extensively large so it’s understandable that the overall quality might not be up to everyone’s preferred standard.
A game is never truly immersive until you can find someplace in that world to call your own and Fallout 4’s settlements are just that. Settlements range from small to large land masses that are used to develop small communities or outposts designed for your player character to rest, construct equipment, and siphon the majority of your in-game hours into building the most outlandish and obtrusive sights imaginable. Fortunately settlements aren’t a required aspect of the game, you won’t be told that you need to develop every free bit of land you come across and doing all of this is purely for fun and boasting on the internet as to who has the “raddest” looking superfort. Unless you have a Minecraftian complex you may feel that settlement building is a little on the monotonous side. Constantly having to scavenge for parts out in the wasteland for hours on end and to return with a handful of non-essential parts you were looking for. It’s a good forward thinking idea to help add a bit of diversity in what you can do from a game that was mainly about exploration and not staying in one place too long.
Fallout 4 is most likely going to be this year’s Game of the Year simply out of name itself. Looking at what Fallout 4 is in comparison to Fallout 3 there aren’t many differences. And that is both good and bad. Fans of Fallout 3 and even Fallout New Vegas will be in love with what Fallout 4 has to offer. The sheer scale of the game world, the new settlement building and that sense of exploration will all come flooding back to you. on the other hand, those who felt Fallout 3 was somewhat lacking graphically and even felt repetitive then you’re bound to have that same experience once again. The overall quality and the sense of “I’m sure I’ve already been here” will start to take over once you visited more than a dozen places and there isn’t much in the way to keep things interesting. If you are a PC player then you probably have less to worry about as there are sure to be plenty of mods to alter how the game looks and plays to your own preferences. Either way, Fallout 4 is a familiar trip down an already overly-trodden path.