Release date: November 10, 2015
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Genre: Action role-playing game
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Game Rating: Rated M – Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Use of Drugs
This is a review of Fallout 4 without any expansions.
Fallout 4 is your open world, post-apocalyptic, sandbox, gunslinging, mutant smashing, action RPG. That was a mouthful but it’s an accurate description of the variety of awesome systems comprised in Fallout 4. If you have ever played an open world RPG then the Fallout 4 game play will seem pretty familiar to you. If not, continue reading and things will start to become clearer. After you play through the prolonged game tutorial (otherwise known as vault 111) you are immediately introduced to a generally neutral faction called the Minutemen. The point of the minutemen is to protect settlements across the Commonwealth. The game then throws settlement building mechanics at you (with little instruction on how it actually works). Your first settlement is Sanctuary, but you quickly find more settlements to align with and help protect. As the game progresses you are introduced to other factions that compete with each other, awesome weapons/armor, new companions, and difficult choices. Your underlying objective is finding your son, but things get complicated as conspiracies arise and you move deeper into the game.
As mentioned Fallout 4 is a open world RPG, but the focus of the game is killing enemies with guns, swords, and/or blunt weapons (such as a baseball bat or sledgehammer). It’s a 3D game where you can play in first person or 3rd person (so you can watch your character swing that super sledge into the face of a feral ghoul). You can run, jump, stealth, shoot, swing, and even fly if you get the correct equipment. You have base stats known as SPECIAL and each letter can attain a base maximum of 10. This stands for strength, perception, endurance, charisma, intelligence, agility, and luck. Each statistic governs different play styles and unlocks unique skills that you can increase every time you level up. If you like to slice people up with swords or hammers you may want to invest in strength (this also increases your carry weight to lug around more junk). Perception will help your accuracy and can help with killing enemies with guns. Endurance increases your health and stamina. Charisma will give you an edge when interacting with other people you meet in the commonwealth (certain perks help with building better settlements). Intelligence will increase your experience earned and carry other unique bonuses. Agility will help you become a master assassin who can sneak and surprise your opponents. Finally, luck will help you gain criticals and find better items. There are many perks that go with each stat, and can add to the customizability of how you play Fallout 4.
Before discussing Fallout 4 graphics I would like to specify that my experience was with PS4 which has slightly better performance than Xbox One. Furthermore, playing fallout 4 with a PC that has a high performing graphics card will yield far superior graphics than either console. This is generally the case for any game that is cross platform.
Diving into how Fallout 4 compares to other games, I would like to emphasize it is pretty darn good. It has more color and detail than previous games in the Fallout franchise and performs great with minimal FPS drops. The game designers for Fallout 4 put so much detail into every item and piece of the environment which is impressive given that you can create your own settlements using these assets.
All that being said I would also like to mention that if you choose to load mods that improve texture or add more details to the environment you may get substantial drops in FPS and glitches. Mod at your own risk!
Fallout 4 is a single player game. This means that there is no compatibility for playing with friends online, splitscreen, or any other in game experience with other players. The closest you will come to multiplayer is getting mods from other players, or joining the online forums for Fallout 4.
There is however a large selection of npc (non-player character) companions to play with in Fallout 4. You can have a companion from any faction you choose and even more. As you explore the wasteland with your companions you can increase or decrease their affinity, give them weapons and equipment, have conversations with them, help them with personal quests, or just treat them like your own personal pack mule. The depth and characterization of companions in Fallout 4 is pretty enjoyable, but watch out for big game changing decisions as this may lead your companion to attack you if you choose to align with an opposite faction.
Ask any Fallout: New Vegas fan and you will receive a plethora of reasons why Fallout 4 is terrible in comparison. However, looking at the two games objectively you can clearly see that Fallout 4 has improvements with graphics, fighting mechanics, and depth of the environment. The building of settlements is a huge bonus for Fallout 4 but it also seems that this feature has a lot of potential for improvement. Settlement creation also increases usefulness for junk collection across the Commonwealth. The colors in Fallout 4 are more vivid than previous games, and companions seem to have a bit more depth. I won’t go into extra details on this, but overall it seems that Fallout is making gameplay improvements while keeping the basic theme from previous games in the franchise.
Fallout 4 is extremely addicting but it is not without it’s flaws. The biggest flaw in Fallout 4 is the lack of options for settlement creation and the inability to remove undesirable structures in certain settlements. There are even settlements that feature corpses that simply cannot be removed. You can see this flaw starting in the first settlement: Sanctuary. Some buildings allow for their removal, but others are stuck there with their damaged roofs and crumbling infrastructures. When Bethesda added settlement creation they went bare bones. You can start to see the lack of content after you’ve starting building your third settlement and every house you create looks eerily similar to the last one. Furthermore, right when you are about to create the perfect settlement you look up on the top right corner of the screen and see that you capped out on how many structures you can build. These issues can be fixed by downloading some mods but then you forfeit getting any trophies, and run into glitches that can be even more frustrating. Come on Bethesda, go all the way or go home!
In addition to the settlement building flaws you may also run into other issues such as glitched quests, settlers in random glitched locations, and your companion being unable to climb into their power armor. I’ll reiterate this once more, if you decide to download mods you will be subject to glitches and further issues.
Conclusion: 4/5 stars
Overall I rate this game as 4 out of 5 stars. I definitely got my money worth by exploring, custom gun/armor modding, and building relationships in the Boston Commonwealth, and I would suggest this game to anyone who asks. The game is addicting and you can sink hours into exploring, building, and killing, however there are some flaws that cannot be overlooked. Fallout 4 can act as a great backbone for better settlement building in future games, and maybe Bethesda can go all in on their next game.