Video Game Review: Fallout 4

Video Game Review: Fallout 4

The heavily anticipated continuation of the Fallout universe is finally here, but how does it compare to the previous Fallout and Bethesda games?

For those unacquainted with the Fallout universe, these games take place in a world that was identical to ours until the nineteen twenties and society never really left the fifties. This includes the cold war. Eventually the “Nuclear War” happens and the world is permanently changed. One of the series staples are the Vaults. These were underground shelters commissioned to protect the citizens so society can start again, but ended up being a series of elaborate social experiments on the inhabitants.

Fallout 4 begins on the day of the Nuclear War. You get to customize a husband and wife and choose which one you want to play as. You then rush to a nearby vault once you hear of the impending nuclear attacks. Avoiding spoilers, you soon exit the vault to find it is over 200 years later, and are now searching to find your son, Shaun. You wander the Commonwealth (Boston) to gather information, meeting various groups and people along the way.

The atmosphere of Fallout 4 is incredible. Like previous entries, the 50’s image of the future inspired wasteland is incredibly unique. Everything from the radio to clothes and cars add to the games style. This game offers an experience like no other. It’s art direction is fantastic. The Commonwealth is easily one of the best wastelands in video games. The world finds the perfect balance between size and places to discover, the Commonwealth is filled with places to explore. Fallout 4 also does an amazing job at recreating Boston. Many of the historical sites in Boston are perfectly recreated in this game with my personal favorite being the Freedom Trail. The world is begging to be explored. There are stories all over this world with tiny details included in the game. The Commonwealth feels used and lived in, and that makes it even more interesting.

There are dangers all around in The Commonwealth. Along with the regular mutants and raiders, Fallout 4 has the addition of radiation storms that randomly occur. While the storms are not as dangerous as they seem, they still add another layer of immersion to this game.

The story is incredibly good and will keep you coming back for different experiences. However, and this is without any spoilers, the multiple endings are somewhat weak. Other entries went more in depth with the choices you made along the way, but Fallout 4‘s ending does not delve as deep as previous endings. However, this game does allow for you to continue playing on your character after you finish the central story, which is great. There are many side quests and locations in this game that the story does not even touch, allowing you to find them at your own leisure. There are some that can only be discovered after hearing an NPC speak of them.

The combat has been completely revamped. It now plays out much better and makes the game much more enjoyable. Combat is now very similar to that of Destiny, which is definitely good. The games V.A.T.S. system has also been reworked to not pause everything, like in Fallout 3 and New Vegas, but instead slows everything allowing you to pick your shots better.

One of the changes that I was initially skeptical about was your character having a voice actor. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I realized how much this addition helped to make the game more cinematic. However, one change that I did not enjoy was the change Bethesda made to the dialogue system. Before you had the entire piece of dialogue presented to you to choose from. Now you only have a short blurb about what you are going to say, similar to the Mass Effect games. Charisma seems to be the only part that matters in dialogue with the dumb dialogue options seemingly gone.

The new base building and management is a nice addition as well. While it certainly wasn’t a primary focus during the games development, it is still very enjoyable to build settlements in an effort to clean up the Commonwealth. The free-form system of designing your settlements is a great improvement over the Hearthfire addition to Skyrim. It allows for you to really make this world yours by creating unique settlements that only you have.

The characters in this game are also great. There are plenty of fun and interesting companions you can choose from. Companions you have with you can actually interject something into a conversation. They serve as the games karma system. Rather than simply state that you chose to do something bad or good, your companions reaction to that allows you to have your own moral compass when playing. Each companion has their own likes and dislikes (Except for Dogmeat, who is just a dog and likes you no matter what). There are definitely some that stand out more than others, but it is pretty hard to be cooler than a robot detective.

I do have an issue with the radio in this game. While the songs are certainly great, they are mostly songs we have already seen before in other fallout games. The announcer is funny, but he gets old pretty quickly. He lacks the charisma of Fallout 3‘s Three Dog. My advice for people who have the same issue is to simply create a Pandora station with the artists featured in the game. It provides more variety, if you don’t mind ads.

I have had an incredible amount of fun while playing this game. It has so many elements that come together perfectly to create a truly amazing experience that you can not find in any other game series. While it certainly has its flaws and glitches, none of these took away from my enjoyment. The plot is great and offers a multitude of preferential and moral choices for you. You can really play this game however you want to. There is no designated way to play this game. I will definitely continue playing this game. It is well worth the price for the freedom it offers.

Rating: While not the absolute best game of the year, Fallout 4 is definitely close.