This Fallout 4 review is based on PS4 gameplay, but I guess it's relevant for players on Xbox, PC or whatever other system, since it’s… well… the same game.
Review in short, the game is awesome and well worth buying and playing… A LOT! The long version of the review… coming up :)
Fallout 4 is a game from the Fallout series which saw its first title come to light in 1997. Back then it was a top down RPG with turn based battles. Now it’s a first person RPG with real time battles.
The basic plot is the same now as it was back in 1997. The world is destroyed in an apocalyptic nuclear event (Read: War) and many people escape underground, just before the disaster, into big vaults made by Vaultec (some shady company).
A lot of these “vault dwellers” are frozen, so they could once again populate the earth once the nuclear fallout resides (or at least that’s the official story). But as always, life finds a way, and the surface world isn’t all dead. People that stayed topside adapted and/or mutated, new animals evolved and some machines got to a stage where they are pretty much human (they’re called synths and everyone hates them, because racism apparently also evolved).
That’s the bigger story of the world anyway. Your story as an individual is then set into this story and it’s actually even more saddening and horrific. This is the part where this Fallout 4 review might have some spoilers, but only for the first 10 minutes or so of the game.
The game starts with you being a happy dad with a wife and son. Even dough you don’t appreciate it, you’ve also been selected as one of the few privileged that can go into the vaults in case of nuclear war. You actually even joke about it, because it’s human nature that we for some reason never really see catastrophic events as a real possibility. Anyway… 5 second later, BOOM! Bombs start dropping. Guess what, the world is ending.
You run to the vault, barely making it of course, and recent to the safety of your cryogenic pod with your wife, holding your infant son, right in the pod across from you, so you can stare at each other as you wait for the world to get better (as if it ever does).
Sound great, right? Well it is… until some 200 years late someone unfreezes you for a brief moment, just so you can see how they kidnap your son and shoot your wife in the head, then freezes you back for who knows how long. Pretty screwed up, huh.
Of course you eventually get unfrozen as well and everyone (not just your wife) is dead, because your pod is the only one that didn’t malfunction. At this point, for some reason, you don’t decide to shoot yourself in the head and end your misery (maybe because you haven’t found a gun yet?), but rather that you’re going to try to find your son, because he might still be alive.
And the story starts unfolding from there. Pretty good, right?
Fallout 4 gameplay is well balanced between different aspects of the game as well as very intuitive. There are very few things that actually get annoying at some point.
The ever present encumbrance problem is definitely one of the annoying things. You’ll very quickly manage to hoard enough crap to have to start thinking about what you actually really need and what you’ve just formed an abnormal emotional attachment to. The problem is that many times you’ll actually need a lot of stuff, but won’t be able to carry it. This is especially true, if you like to build stuff. Then you’ll eventually come to that annoying situation where you’ll have to travel back and forth to bring everything to where you need it to be… or forget where you left that really cool weapon that you couldn’t carry anymore because you decided to take of your power armour.
None the less, the rest is great. The tools on your Pipboy are very intuitive and useful. Navigating is fairly easy to do. Battles are not too easy, but not that hard either. The game itself has many details and Commonwealth is an interesting place for sure.
Looking at you Pipboy (inventory, map etc.) pauses the game. A little (or very) unrealistic, but actually very useful.
As in any role playing game, quests are an important part of Fallout 4 as well and there sure are plenty of them.
If you’d like to rush through the game, you can always do only the main story quests, but you’ll miss a big part of the beauty that is Fallout 4. Side quests are very well thought of and shed light on some very interesting goings on in the Commonwealth.
Besides the fact that side quests are an important source of experience points, they are also very interesting from a story point of view. A lot of times you’ll think something along the lines of “What the hell is going on here?” and there’s a good chance that a side quest will answer that question. Maybe you’ve find a weird community, a strange house or someplace where you just know something bad happened… do a couple of quests and you’ll probably find out what’s going on.
You’d need to read a book to find out about all the perks in this game. Since this Fallout 4 won’t be turning into a book, let’s keep it short.
There are a ton of perks that you can build up while you level. You’ll need to think about how you actually plan to play the game. Will you be a brute or a thinker… or maybe a stealthy ninja? Build up your characters the way you like and take advantage of his strengths.
Granted, some perks are really useful no matter how you intend to play the game. Water boy perk for example lets you swim without taking on rads and will help you a ton no matter what. Lock picking is also useful since it’ll let you get to a lot off cool stuff. So for sure take some time in the beginning to at least skimp through all the possible perks.
One of the activities that deserves some extra review. In Fallout 4 you can hack computers (the ones that haven’t been blown to bits) to recover information, get access to locked off areas or to gain advantage by hijacking security systems.
The whole system is rather brilliant as it’s a mini game in itself. First of all, you need a high enough Hacker perk to hack systems of different difficulty. Second, you need some actual skill to hack it.
Hacking is done by finding the correct word from a cluster of words and gibberish. Every time you pick one of the words, you’ll be shown the number of letters that it has in common with the correct word. You have 3 tries get it right. The stronger the system, the longer the words and the more of them.
Find it too difficult? You can also scroll through all the gibberish to find extra bonuses in the form of reset tries or removal of dud words.
One of those things I usually find very annoying in games. In Fallout 4 however, the system is actually very simple and not annoying at all. All you have to do is find the correct spot and juggle it until the lock opens or not juggle it too much, if you’ve got the wrong spot, to not break the bobby pin.
The whole feel of the lock picking system is very well designed so you’ll actually feel like a thief.
Don’t feel your gun packs enough ammo? You can’t aim for shit and would prefer to have laser sight mounted on your rifle? Just want more BOOM? Well that can all be fixed. With the right resources, and a high enough Gunsmith perk, you can craft your own little extras for your favourite gun.
It actually gets even better. You can also pimp up your power suit. Anyone wants a jetpack?
While you move through the game, you’ll help set up new settlements or have existing settlements join your cause. The thing is though… most of these settlements are in pretty shitty shape. But no worries, you can become a full-blown real estate developer and fix them up!
This part of the game actually leaves a lot left to be desired. The building itself is kind of tedious, buggy and pretty impractical. The constant scavenging for resources is fun however, but it can become annoying when you just want to make something practical (like defence structures) and move on with the game. Still it’s a fun extra that adds to the game, you just won’t be building any metropolises any time soon.
In conclusion, Fallout 4 is an awesome game placed in an awesome world that grants endless possibilities. You can do so many things that it’s not unusual that you’ll get lost just doing random things or looking for some random adventure. If you’re not the adventurer/scavenger/explorer type, you can relax, build a city or work on your gear. Like I said, endless possibilities.
A tl;dr Fallout 4 review should definatly be “Awesome game, worth the money, must play.”.