In Bethesda we trust
A slate of games always seems to come out near Christmas time and I liken most of the titles to that of the “Summer Blockbusters” for movie goers. For us nerds however, spending at the minimum $60 (before DLC) on games that are sub-par and almost always a carbon copy of sorts to the previous versions in the series. A blanket statement maybe but, true none-the-less. For the general nerd, this simply ‘does not compute’, as-it-were.
It had been a little over five years since the release of “Fallout: New Vegas” and there is good reason. Don’t take what I say out of context, please. There is some truth to these words, for crying in the rain.
For example; Call of Duty, Madden, Assassin’s Creed, Rainbow Six, Need for Speed, Batman, and others. I have played each one, most with little to no complaints. So, Bethesda keeping the core of a game; mechanics, physics, graphic style, and such; all the while making gamers feel like they are immersed in a completely different game and/or world is well worth the wait.
With Fallout 4, Bethesda Softworks has done what most aspire too and only a few have conquered.
One glaring (yet somehow still wildly popular) and some would call negative aspect of the game is, of course Fallout is set in a post apocalyptic world. I do read and watch “The Walking Dead” and have played each and every (good or bad) game in the “Resident Evil” series. Heck, I’ve even seen all the movies. Still, the theme is beaten to death.
Well, the review certainly seems to have digressed. Back to it then.
Ups and downs of “The Commonwealth”
Fallout 4 begins in 2077; the world looks set in a time between 1940 and the mid to late ’60’s all mashed together. What you’d imagine writers of those eras saw the world when they looked 100 plus years into the future. Walt Disney’s original ‘Tomorrowland’ comes to mind as a prime example.
First-things-first you jump into a “live” create a character segment; shortly after a neat context video that asserts “War never changes”.
Once you’ve chosen gender, then comes the bells and whistles. When you’re done, the immersive world of Fallout begins and abounds. It shouldn’t come at much of a shock and/or spoil(er) but the world of 2077 doesn’t last long. Don’t get too used to it. Would be sort of neat if it did but maybe another time.
The world “ends” and our adventure begins. Remember every decision you make (big or little) affects the outcome of the player and game and it starts pretty early on. One of the main reasons the replay value is so high. It can be time consuming but, just following the main story line will allow you to get through the game the way you like or maybe take a different path just for fun in a much more timely matter.
Even without the DLC aspect of this game, you can pile hours upon hours and still have only completed one or two main story missions.
Fallout 4 is that big of a game. The world itself can take hours just to move around in. Thank Bethesda for fast travel. As a simple spectator I would love if the team at Bethesda would start offering some sort of transport; horse, car, bike, or hover-board. This would make the world seem slightly smaller (in the best of ways) and avoid so many loading screens.
Obviously these features aren’t in the game and are only up for debate if Bethesda decides to move forward with the series. It would be pretty rad though.
To Infinity and Beyond
The world beyond 2077 is a much different, though it shows glimpses of what the world you left behind looked like. Nevertheless, the similarities end there. You’ll find friends, enemies, some friends become enemies, and some enemies friends. No, that wasn’t a Haiku of sorts, that is the simplest way of explaining how the world pans out around you.
The three latest installments of Fallout are in fact ARPGs (action role playing game). Meaning it isn’t turn based play (like a standard RPG) even though HP (hit points) and AP (action points) play some of the larger roles in the game, of course leveling up is the only way to make it in the ‘wasteland’.
One of the more frustrating things about any given RPG/ARPG (and Fallout is not an exception) is the weight system. You can carry weapons, apparel, aid, misc. junk, mods, and ammo. Each item holds a weight value from zero to whatever yet your avatar can only hold so much. This is determined by level and perks. Once the threshold is crossed, you can no longer run (or sprint) without ridding, selling or storing items. Sometimes patches come along to fix this (i.e. The Witcher 3) and sometimes it is just a harsh reality. Without said weight systems these games would be much more fluid.
The Bad & The Ugly
While on the subject of cons there are a few more to write about. Sounds can get “stuck”, video may freeze, and missions may need to be replayed. Minuscule things such as bad acting and repetitiveness can annoy ever so slightly.
In the “commonwealth” you’ll find your self in a plethora of places and situations. Some are noisy and others quiet. You may find yourself shooting at a raider. They yell some silly rhetoric at you and though the battle has been won, the war is not over. The stuck sounds (the ones just mentioned) may follow you around for a moment or, it may drag on and on. To fix this; save and reload, or reload from a few minutes before the stuck sound started, that should fix the problem.
Your avatar will see a lot in the vast commonwealth and some of it spectacularly beautiful and others not completely ‘loaded’. Have no fear; that problem if you happen to run into it will fix itself in a jiff… Most of the time. While I have both PS4 and XBONE, very little can compete with a well planned gaming PC. Fallout 4 is available on all of these platforms, and each have their issues, but if load times and rendered graphics are high on you list, consider building a PC. While more expensive, it will yield the best visuals every time.
A Few More Things…
Battles in game can be a hassle in more ways than one. First, your companion can and will engage the enemy without reason or warning, which makes trying to be stealthy quite difficult. When the fight does begin, and if a mass of enemies show up, they will slow the frame rate, overwhelm the GPU/CPU, and can frustratingly glitch out and/or crash.
Sometimes the game just decides to be a jerk and you’ll have to restart a mission/s — however; Fallout has a lot of ways to help with this. You can quicksave, save, save on “rest/travel/wait, or set the pip-boy to save every 5-60 minutes or disable saving altogether.
Speaking (or writing about it, rather) of the pip-boy, which is one of the coolest parts of the Fallout series, I mean it is a fan favorite — that Bethesda released a version of the game that actually came with life size version of the near appendage; though non-functioning.
Pip-Boy is the all in one tool/menu for Fallout. You can change weapons, tune radio stations, mark places on the map, fast travel, and everything else in between. One of the most vital aspects of the game and the HUD (heads up display) is retro and pretty cool.
All that being said, it can get you out of some sticky situations. While not a pause menu perse you can use it whilst fighting enemies to switch weapons and add some points to your AP/HP to get you through. The Pip-Boy also has a quick item menu that can be seen and used on the main HUD which is preferable in most situations.
A bit of background
The Fallout series we all know and love today wasn’t always so. It began with Fallout (1997) and Fallout 2 (1998) which were third person point and click style RPG for PC’s.
The entire thing was revamped in the FPS/third person/RPG/shooter/puzzle game we all know and love today. A mere two years after the critically acclaimed Fallout 3 was released came Fallout: New Vegas. While the critics weren’t “disappointed” New Vegas didn’t have the near perfect scores that Fallout 3 did.
So, instead of pushing a game out to “make some cash” Bethesda took it’s sweet time with Fallout 4. Everyone’s glad they did.
Please Sir, may I have another?
In this latest edition most things haven’t changed and if they have it is for the better. On top of that the world is now you’re proverbial oyster. Gone are the days of looting to sell so you can buy parts for upgrades or better weapons, armor and the like. Nnow you can do it all yourself. Not only that, but remember when you had to “fix” your weapon because it essentially decayed over a certain number of uses? Yeah, that part of the game no longer exists — well almost.
If you’ll recall in Fallout 3 you meet the “Brotherhood of Steel”. They have that super neat armor you only dreamed of using against the Supermutants and raiders. Well, now you get to suit up and it’s all customizable. Though as I pointed out earlier it is one of the two things you do need to “fix” after a fight. The other/s being crops and most things you create with the workbench.
Which brings us to our next adventure in our Fallout 4 in depth review: Workshops. To put it simply, you can build settlements within fixed areas. Sanctuaries from outsiders in the commonwealth. These workshops can be a full-time job in and of itself, if you so desire.
You can build settlements / workshops, fill them with people, homes, plants, safety measures (of all sorts) and several other things. Dependent on the time, resources, money and effort spent you can have these mini towns brimming with all the people you’d like or keep them desolate. You can assign jobs to settlers or let them aimlessly walk. A lot like society in the 21st century. Just keep in mind, the more workshops you build the more work you have ultimately made for yourself.
It would be nice for things like workshops to have more of a ‘tutorialishness’ (now I am making up words). Figuring it out on your own is somewhat rewarding but frustration will ensue. More than once you’ll find yourself thinking or saying aloud things like “oh!” and “Wish I would have known that a while back”.
On The Subject of Settlements
These are one horse towns that all have the same Sheriff and that Sheriff is you. In trouble, they need you to rescue them. Not enough beds or resources, yep they will need you to provide them. Protection so Supermutants and Raiders don’t take over, you guessed it. You’ll need to be there for that as well.
Residents will also call on you to make sure they’re fed, hydrated, happy and from time to time call you in to eradicate some near by pests. These side-missions can become tiresome and repetitive (as mentioned earlier). You can’t go wrong with how much you can customize though — as long as you are willing to put in the time to farm the world for resources.
Early on in Fallout 4 you’ll run into companions, of which you can have many, but only one at a time. Workshops are perfect places to send a companion you don’t like, don’t want to use, or if you’d like to roam the world loner style.
Being a lone gun however isn’t much of an option. While there is no doubt you can take in the sights and battles alone you’ll have to join a faction or four. These groups will provide you with missions; some main, some side, and some that will earn you worth and/or renown.
The Fact(ions) of Life
Factions include Minute Men, Brotherhood of Steel, The Railroad, and The Institute If done correctly you can complete a whole bunch of quests before the factions become “hostile” to one another. One faction that will remain neutral is the Minute Men. Just one less thing you’ll have to worry about in the massive game.
Fallout 4 is quite the time consumer, outside of the main quests that is. Five plus days can easily fly by and not just “five days” but, 120 hours plus. The game is just so attention grabbing. Not just the graphics, the story line, character arc, music, and all that jazz — the game as a whole is nearly complete.
While the main story or quest line is quite engaging it can be ran through quite easily and quickly dependent on ease of game-play and forgoing the vast world that surrounds you.
Eleven is the number of main quest missions Fallout 4 has to offer. You will need to fulfill faction missions but the number of these missions depends on the choices you make.
The Point Is
Bethesda makes a real effort in trying to communicate with the player on how hard and/or easy a mission may or may not be. Objectives are color coded and can be a tremendous help when deciding where to go and what to do.
While the difficulty of play doesn’t have an outcome in the story as a whole, every choice you make does. This makes replay extremely welcoming.
Fallout 4’s player arc is in depth and because it is dependent on your choices, good, bad, or indifferent, the story lines are many and acts as another type of customization for an experience that feels hardly limited.
Last but of course not least is the beast feature in the game. Armor, Guns, and Power armor are all available to be customized just the way you’d like — for the right price and with the right material, of course.
You can upgrade any gun or armor found in the commonwealth and you’ll also be able to craft your own. Just remember to spend your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points on abilities pertaining to crafting and science. You will need said abilities to get the best, most powerful and even unique items.
From pistols to ray guns, to rifles to launchers, crafting and upgrading is one of the most enjoyable aspects of Fallout 4 — the armor choices can be pretty slick as well.
To Be Continued?
Will the Fallout series continue? Everything up to now is just speculation but the expansive DLC will keep you coming back for more and if you have a PC the mods seem almost endless.
From 2077 to the commonwealth, Fallout 4 is a journey of epic proportions and lives up and over the expectations.
Fallout 4 In Depth Review: The Breakdown
Gameplay: The commonwealth is vast, the missions are engagingly in-depth, nearly everything is customizable, side/sub missions combined with DLC gives you weeks of hardcore nerding out yet not without its bugs, but the pros far outweighs the cons.
Graphics: This one gets a four and not because the graphics are lackluster, because nothing is further from the truth, however with such an expansive open world this is to be expected.
Sound: Only because of the repetition (minor but annoying) sound glitches keep this from attaining the highest honor. Music, NPC’s, sound-effects are all lovely and spot on otherwise.
Replay: With the edition of DLC the replay value is higher than high.
Teamwork: This game is strictly solo.
Age: While the cursing can be abrupt, it is found few and far between, most of the time. Violence is high and can be extremely graphic but not very realistic. My kids loved to watch, but that doesn’t mean you won’t think completely different.
This may be a Fallout 4 in depth review, but even we can’t cover everything. Still, I couldn’t find a more comprehensive overview of Bethesda’s latest game. If you have any tips you’d like to add, or questions about the game, contact us. And do yourself a favor and pick up this amazing title
I was looking for a Fallout 4 in depth review. I couldn’t fond one. Not a satisfying one at least. Our Fallout 4 in depth review is just that. Extensive. If you’ve enjoyed it, please consider letting us know. You words mean a lot and help keep us going!