‘Bethesda Game Studios, the award-winning creators of Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, welcome you to the world of Fallout 4 – their most ambitious game ever, and the next generation of open-world gaming.’
Since it’s announcement earlier this year everyone and their grandmother has heard about Fallout 4. Now it’s finally here…
The game opens with a quick introduction to the Fallout universe and it’s backstory narrated by who we can assume is the male player character. Afterwards we are shown the player finishing washing their face in the bathroom where you get put into the character creation screen right there and then. The character customisation in Fallout 4 is a hundred times better than its predecessors thanks to the new sculpting options. You just highlight an area of the face you want to change and you can sculpt away, changing your character’s face for better (or worse). There are also a range of presets to choose from.
After the events happen which lead to you leaving Vault 111 you are free to do whatever you want. The majority of players will end up at their old house where they will meet Codsworth who will set you on your way to Concord. Along the way you will meet Dogmeat, your faithful canine companion who has the ability to find items for you by sniffing them out. After a quick trip down the road you will be greeted by a group of raiders attacking a museum after fighting your way through with a laser musket, will be greeted by Preston Garvey, on of the game’s possible companions and overall nice guy.
It is during this meeting you really get into the new dialogue system, which is very mass effect like but very simplified. The voice acting is superb especially for the Sole Survivor and the game’s characters. Definitely an improvement from the previous instalments where emotion in the voices was really lacking. The dialogue choices for you to make are nice but very over simplified at times which can be confusing. For example: I met a shopkeeper and after greeting me I answered back with the option labelled ‘Sarcastic.’ I got a good response from this since my character said his sentence in a way which shown he was joking but in some other situations it was the kind of sarcastic you are when you are talking to someone you don’t like very much, even though it may be unintentional for you to be that way. The new system could use some work but is a definite up side and gives a breath of fresh air to the series.
Once you are finished helping Preston with his issues and you choose to visit him in Sanctuary you’ll be greeted with the new option to build and upgrade settlements. This new feature is completely optional and not even part of the main game yet it is easily one of the most fun and time consuming things to do in the game. I spent around and hour or two straight after unlocking the settlement building just scavenging and building the town up. Very fun and gaining extra settlements to make supply lines and adding shops to them.
Everything in Fallout 4 has been re-vamped. The combat feels great and a lot smoother, even on consoles despite 30fps. The new Pip-Boy and HUD looks a lot better. One of the new features in the game is also the ability to play Vault-Tec iterations of classic games from the early 80s. The enemies have been given new looks and are definitely smarter. While I found ways to exploit enemies like ghouls they definitely realised what I was doing and would run away and hide until I came after them. A great touch by Bethesda and forces you to think about which corners you go around.
The new weapon/armour crafting is brilliant and allows all new types of playstyles when combined with the new perk system. You can also find ‘Legendary’ and ‘Unique’ items which come with special effects beyond the customisation options. These customisation options also extend to the Power Armour which has been completely changed and given a more beefy feel and look which suits it very well. Another good thing is the layered armour system which allows you to mix and match armour pieces (which can also be done with the Power Armour) and make your character look more unique to hoe you want.
There is a lot to do in the world of Fallout 4. I have put in around 2 days of gameplay and all I have mostly done is explore and do side quests. I have only just got into the more pivotal points in the story and have been having a blast. Even going back past areas I have been before is nice and I always feel like I have a purpose now even if it is just to kill something for a new weapon to scrap for parts.There are a lot better and random, non-scripted encounters also, some weird, others funny but it is always nice to find something new every time even when I go somewhere I have already visited. This was something the previous games were lacking and definitely has been improved upon. The visuals in the game also make each location look great and really bring them to life with the new creation engine.
Now, like any game there are some downsides to Fallout 4. One of the most surprising of which is that the Hardcore mode in Fallout: New Vegas was taken out. For those of you unfamiliar it involved survival traits such as having to eat, drink and sleep to survive in the wasteland. This could have added a whole new level of play but sadly this was not included. Personally I didn’t come across that many bugs and those I have found are minor such as slight visual glitches and the odd enemy flying in a direction after killing them, besides that nothing else although some have reported issues with the frame rate and errors for those of you on PC. I do have faith in Bethesda though since they spent a lot of time with Skyrim supporting it through its life-cycle and I’m sure Fallout 4 will be no different.