Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Fallout 4

Rating: 9.1
Happy Price: 59.99


Fallout 4 combines the first person shooter, RPG, crafting, and open world genres into one package. In addition to that there is a focus on handling each situation in a unique fashion, which makes violence an option in most cases. The player is often presented with critical decisions at certain points of the game which will determine the ending, making every person's playthrough unique to one another.


In previous iterations of Fallout, shooting guns always lacked the punch other first person shooter games had. They fixed it in Fallout 4 adding hit markers and more physical feedback to the player. An example is shooting a super mutant charging, each blast with a shotgun will cause the super mutant to be knocked back for a split second. It's a very rewarding feeling when a super mutant is holding a melee weapon and the player targets the legs with a shotgun. As the legs start to wear down the super mutant can't charge as fast, and eventually his legs will get blown off after a few shots. Less powerful enemies like Ghouls can be taken care of with a few shots to the leg with pistols and have the same effect. This allow the player to handle enemies different ways with different weapons. One thing I learned though, is taking out the legs on any enemy will usually have a good effect. There are some robots however, that will self destruct when that happens creating a nuclear explosion, so watch out! Below is some gameplay footage of me running around with an explosive shotgun, a very fun weapon.


Adding crafting and base building was a great feature to add in the Fallout series. In previous iterations it never felt like anywhere was truly "Home". The player now has the option to make home anywhere. It can be an island paradise or a heavily fortified castle ruin. The player can live alone, or invite a bunch of settlers to create a small town. Crafting is expanded beyond just structures for settlers and yourself. Weapons and armor can also be crafted. The degree of depth to which weapons and armor can be crafted is dependent on how skill points are allocated. Melee weapons, laser weapons, ballistic weapons, and armor all have separate builds. This makes the player choose how they want to play the game, it's an important decision because upgrading certain types of weapons has a large impact on your success. However grinding can always make up for a regrettable decision.

Crafting homes and structures however, can be a painful experience. Items like floors, roofs, and walls usually lineup relatively well. There is a class of items called prefabs though, and these usually don't line up well with one another. An example is making the "Large Shack" prefab which essentially builds a two story shack with a couple rooms. Adding a staircase or wall to this structure gets annoying, and it doesn't seem like adding on to these structures was an intended use of the crafting mechanic.

Building settlements is a large part of the game, since your main goal is to retake the commonwealth from Super Mutants and Raiders. To do that, resources are needed. What used to be deemed as "junk" in previous Fallout games now carry properties that are needed to create important things like turrets and water pumps. Never have I been so excited to take TV dinner trays (aluminum) or desk fans (screws, oil) so I can add to my resource pool. I would often find myself debating which junk I should take when I was carrying too much weight. Do I grab this desk fan or this legendary 10mm pistol? Meh, I have enough pistols, better grab the fan.

The Open World

The Main storyline is optional, which makes this open world the best one in gaming. I spent hours roaming the wasteland finding my own things to do and dealing with side quests. The game starts the player in the north west corner of the map. It becomes obvious after some time that the further south you go, the harder enemies get. I racked in tons of XP by discovering hundreds of locations, raiding them, and returning back home to deposit all the junk and weapons I've acquired. I discovered all the factions and did those side missions too, making my decision on which one I identified with most. By the time I actually decided to do the main mission, I had the best weapons and armor, and full companionship with four different people. I was obsessed with finding places and going inside them, to see what stories they had to tell. Every location had something going on. Seeing two people playing chess in skeletons, a skeleton in the stall with some Jet, or the remains of two people in bed together. These little things had me asking, "what will I find next?". Every location had a purpose and I personally appreciate the effort in creating a detailed world of this scale. Below is a place called Libertalia, a town created out of floating ships with a legendary Raider at the top of the half sunk freight ship.



I wish I could rate this game a 10. I think it deserves it, but there are too many instances were buggy behavior would make things take much longer than they should have. There are two notable bugs that occurred during large missions. One of them required me to board a vertibird for the brotherhood of steel. The vertibird would never show up, but I kept thinking I did something incorrectly. It took me about 45 mins of running around before I went online and found out a bunch of other people had the same issue. The other was building this object for the MAIN STORY. You will know what I'm talking about when you get there. In total, I probably lost about 5 hours because of bugs. One because I got stuck while in power armor and had done a bunch of stuff, but did not quicksave. I got so angry I had to stop playing, and returned the next day because I lost about 45 minutes of time that I had to redo.


Fallout has never pushed the edge on graphics, and this installment has improved since the last, but is still underwhelming. I must say the lighting and environment usually look amazing, but characters are lackluster. Ghouls and Super mutants look flat and plasticy (not a word), instead of organic. Maybe it is the radiation causing the skin to appear more like leather and it's intended, but it seemed like I wasn't running a Xbox One game on full settings. There is a significant improvement when it came to voice animations and facial expressions during dialogue. Considering previous games did not have this, it was a pleasant surprise this feature was added


During combat was when the art really shined. The weapons firing, explosions going off, and limbs flying everywhere was a real treat. Firing a Fat Man is one of the most fun things to do because of the mushroom cloud that appears afterwards, rewarding the player for using a precious mini-nuke. Another rewarding action is using a single shot rifle in V.A.T.S and having a 64% chance to headshot, but when it hits the targets head flies off and blood flies eveywhere with the rest of the body in a ragdoll state. These touches give Fallout 4 its character as an ultra violent game fused with dark humor that appeals to the slightly deranged hardcore gamer.


I think it takes a certain person to enjoy the Fallout games. The fan base is devout, and it does not appeal to everyone which is a shame. Despite the bugs, this is probably the most fun game I've played this year. I could not wait to get home from work to play, which gave me a feeling I haven't had since I was a child. The game is that good and addicting. I put 87 hours into my playthrough, but I can easily put in more. I'm currently debating on starting a new game with a focus on Melee and heavy armor, just to see what that is like. This game is a must buy and is too fun to pass up.

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