REVIEW – I think I can safely say that the gamer community anticipated Fallout 4 as some messiah. It is just enough to think about how for the past half year, every gamer sites’ news article had some comment related to Fallout 4. We can also look at the sales, and we can see that the game is one of Bethesda’s biggest success.
No wonder considering the studio has released some pretty heavy hitters starting with Skyrim, and, of course, Fallout 3. The hype is real, but the question remains: will Fallout 4 be able to live up to the marketing machine?
On familiar waters
It’s easy to see that Fallout 4 was built on a template to which the groundwork was done in Oblivion. Even though ten years have passed, they have been unable to leave the open world design philosophy. That is not a problem as usually their games provide a tremendous amount of freedom
What is lacking here is the big jump, such as that was noticeable between Witcher 2 and 3. As difficult as it is to admit, Fallout 4 was not able to WOW me or provide any sense of newness. Sometimes I felt bored with the game. The content is massive, and probably the biggest Bethesda RPG. I have not even talked about the settlement options or the deep character customization that is available to us.
Expectations and the reality
The big issue is that we got a The Witcher 3 which changed my perspective of RPGs.
It is interesting that even though Fallout 4 has a unique open world design, and provides a lot of things to do, plus has a complex narrative – I still found myself enjoying The Witcher 3 more, especially regarding missions and gameplay. I did not feel that the story in Fallout 4 is that right.
Which is a shame because the lore is great, the voice acting is superb. They do not have a powerful impact, and most of the companions feel like dolls. Although there is cinematics in the game, they are very fixed and feel forced, while Witcher 3 had more dynamic cutscenes.
Still we can say that development team was able to become better, as the story is not of black and white as it was in Fallout 3. The game’s main factions – of which all of the can be joined – and all of which have viewpoints that we can identify with within the title. It was very similar to Fallout New Vegas.
Of course, if someone dives deep into the story, and reads all the last notes, sees how all the side missions link together in the end. It will truly show you who is evil and who is good in this post-apocalyptic hellhole.
Another great thing about Fallout 4 is the optional companions of which there are thirteen, and all have entirely different personalities. They also react to my decisions in gameplay and for the story segment. They comment on each of the missions and choices we make so the
Issues are plenty in Fallout 4 due to its identity problems. Although it is far-fetched to say that the game is inconsistent, it can barely figure out what it wants to be. It is not a great FPS, but the gunplay did evolve compared to the last games, and we are not forced to use V.A.T.S. all the time. – And this is the biggest issue – I would not call it a good RPG. A lot of things have been streamlined which makes the game less fun to some people. While streamlining should not mean making the game worse. Still, it is precisely what happened.
The conversation choices were made idiot proof, and was simplified to its basic core. It’s good that while you do not have to read a bunch of text game, but at the same time there is no depth to them compared to the previous Fallout games. Speaking of choices, most of them seem to provide us with a false sense of diverging paths. It turns out we do not have that much of a free-will regarding major plot points, and this is reflected in the plot entirely.
While the gunplay became better, unfortunately, it had an adverse effect on the RPG segment of the game. Most of the adventures will consist of slaughtering bullet-sponge enemies – if we’ll have enough ammo – which can become quite bothersome in the end. The multiple enemies were attacking us also kills off any potential for larger tactics. The forced shooting is the other main reason Fallout 4 can become annoying and pointless for me, besides the „I played this already” feeling.
Graphics, design, physics
I have mixed feelings about the graphics. The physically based rendering technique allows to every object to look real, which enhances the immersion – just like the volumetric lighting. It is phenomenal, and can provide beautiful sights for the eyes.
It’s also worth noting that there is an enormous range of interactivity embedded in the game.
We can pick and move anything within the game world, plus there is a bit of destruction physics added to the game that was not present in the previous games. The open world is vast, and now you can traverse the landscape vertically, as Boston has a few skyscrapers.
The technical achievements for the game are impressive, but there are still some problems. Lip-synching is barely non-existent, which results in some hilarious moments, breaking the immersion, and dramatic plot points.
The frame rate is also unstable, which is weird because either the PS4 version has higher resolution or better framerate when it comes to multiplatform games. Ergo a 60 FPS would have been nice since it is a shooter, but there are times when it does not even reach a stable 30 FPS. Of course, it would not be a Bethesda game without bugs, so better get ready cause a lot of you players will find a few of them when trying to complete the game
Even though it seems I am disappointed with the game based on my options in this review, but the truth is Fallout 4 is still a great game. The atmosphere is nice, the art design is great, the lore and the music provide a great ambiance for the player. Exploring the Commonwealth, and finding rare loot is always a great thing. The content is bigger than ever, and on every corner there is a new quest waiting to be completed by the player, or a new place to explore.
Customization down to the cell
Another strength of the game is its high level of customization. That is not just true for the character creation but weapons, and armor. The leveling system has been retooled, and we can form our hero any way we want, a bonus is that there is no level cap. So we can make any badass of the wasteland we want.
The cherry on the top is the settlement management system that is pretty much its own game. It is a sort of micromanaging system where we can create small communities by creating shops, houses, and medical facilities for our settlers. The creative or smart players will have fun using this feature in the game.
A real classic – maybe a bit too much
We could talk more about the title, but I wish for the players to discover every fun stuff, on the other hand, this is still using Oblivion’s template for an RPG game. If you played any of the previous Bethesda titles for the past nine years, you’d know what you are getting into. Fallout 4, in the end, is a great game that is worth every penny, but at the same time, it is limited by technical issues, an old engine, and a weak storyline. Due to these, I am not sure if it can earn a game of the year title in the future.
+ Anything can be customized
+ Great artistic design and ambiance
+ Lots of content
– Lacks innovation
– Identity issues
– Technical bugs all over the place
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Release date: 10th November 2015