I don’t really tend to get excited about new releases much, haven’t for a long time. Not because of there being “nothing new” or because “gaming is losing it’s touch”, but because I play so many games over so many generations, I’m usually fine to just go along my own flow and keep to my own gaming world.
However! As a huge, long time Fallout fan, when a Fallout title is announced, I get kinda excited…Ok I get VERY excited! These don’t come out often and this allows for anticipation to build.
I don’t enjoy the modern trend of “hype” and I like to remain blind when getting into a new title.
Fallout 4 proved to be difficult but with some unfollowing and blocking on social media I was able to contain a media blackout. Therefore, within my first hours of Fallout 4 I got to enjoy all aspects people already knew about months ago, as if it was a new thing. And that’s my point; it IS a new thing. Why spoil it?
So, without further ado, what did I find? Was it a “broken mess”, as is expected these days?
Was it “overhyped” as is also expected? Read on and find out.
*Caution: Care has been taken not to spoil any plot but some game features are explained below*
First of all, I love the introduction. Fallout 4 gives you a look into the before as well as the aftermath of the nuclear apocalypse. You get to see what life was like, why the world of Fallout is as it is (being based upon nuclear energy instead of the microchip) and just what exactly happened and how. You get to understand the politics of their world and the preparation for what might come.
I don’t want to spoil anything here but lets just say I actually felt my heart race as everything hit the fan. The way fear and panic was captured in the first hour was a new one for me. Games of this ilk don’t tend to do that very well.
With gaining full control hereafter, you can’t help but notice how things have improved since the last two Fallout titles. Fallout 3 and New Vegas, whereas I loved them, I found the controls clunky and stale. It seemed like you could only move in “blocks”. Just try jumping onto a desk and you’ll see what I mean as a smooth transition turns into staggered, jittery movement. In Fallout 4, this is no longer the case. Everything is smooth as you like and with a crank of the turn sensitivity (its set awfully low by default) you can turn on your axis very quickly, with no screen tear. You can even sprint!!! Finally.
Just wait until you get into combat as well. Fallout 4 actually has an FPS feel to it. Smooth, where you can track your enemy even using a controller and have no problems hitting them. Guns feels like guns and you can’t endlessly swing a baseball bat either, you must swing it like you would in real life.
The frame rate I’ve found to be very stable. I have encounter zero stutters and no moments of frame rate crashes.
Not so much as a single screen tear and no popping of the sound. Not even a flying, stretched out rag doll.
Games like Fallout 4 are so large, contain so much clutter and density that it’s worth sacrificing some resolution to gain more draw distance and object density in the land.
Fallout 4 is still damn pretty to look at despite the reduction, which isn’t that noticeable until you crouch and stare at the floor for a while. Think of it as GTA Online vs GTA V, a slight reduction but nothing too noticeable.
The car wrecks have enough detail on the interiors and the rust on objects has fine details. There’s a lot more attention to detail in creating a ruined world within Fallout 4 and I’ll take that over raw resolution any day.
The amount of clutter in non-specific areas (ones not picked up on the Pip-Boy map) is astounding.
In the previous Fallout 3 and New Vegas you ended up doing a lot of walking with absolutely nothing interesting to explore between areas, almost as if life didn’t exist outside of the D.C. ruins, or Vegas strip.
In Fallout 4, it’s difficult to go anywhere without there being a mass of clutter housing various goodies for the taking, or just a bunch of junk to gaze upon in amazement whilst gaining a feel of a true post-apocalyptic world.
Speaking of clutter, Fallout 4 has a focus on scavenging and I don’t mean looking for bottle caps in filing cabinets.
I mean everything, absolutely everything, has a use and you should grab it.
No going on adventures to fill your inventory with power armour and weapons to sell. Now you’ll be picking up pencils and enough coffee cups to make even Muggy happy.
Why would you be doing this? It is because of the new crafting system.Weapons, Armour and workshop items (for settlements, more on that later) require raw materials.
Any object made of steel can be broken down for steel to use on things like guns and armour.
Pencils can be used for wood, cups for ceramic. Alarm clocks can be broken down for gears, nuclear material and circuitry. No more need for scrap metal when you can take every piece of rubbish and reuse it.
As you can tell, Fallout 4 has a greater post-apocalyptic world where you need more than just currency to survive.
Other than for a few items, I’ve found myself almost not needing bottle caps to the point I’ve forgotten I even have any.
I’m sure they will be useful later, but for now I’m very self-sufficient and able to live sustainably by breaking everything down I scavenge in order to better my odds of survival.
Weapons and armour in Fallout 4 can be broken down for scrap, modified in many ways and even renamed.
So that “lightweight long barrel soft grip extended magazine pipe-gun” (yes, it will name them by their upgrades by default) can now be named someone as simple as “my handgun”, or whatever creative name you wish.
I called my first gun “Obligatory First Gun” just because.
You can alter the barrels, receivers, clips, grips etc for the guns. The armour gets interesting as not only can you add better damage resistance at the cost of weight, but you can even add pockets to them to increase carry weight.
Armour isn’t just one piece either as you can make a unique suit by combining different arms, torso and leg pieces.
Metal legs and leather arms with a Raider chest? If it meets your requirements, why not?
I spoke above of settlements. I won’t give TOO much away, but let’s just say you can actually build yourself your own “Megaton” of sorts by liberating select land masses of undesirables and using their workshop to rebuild them.
You can attract people to live there, build farms for food, pumps for water, generators for electricity and of course, small structures as well as furniture such as chairs and beds.
Let’s not forget manned and automated defences to fend off attacks now.
If you love the Sims, you’ll be happy to know you can have an element of that within Fallout 4.
All wrecks on the land in these areas can be broken down for scrap. Destroyed building? Break it down for raw materials. Sea of scrapped cars? You know what to do.
Trees? Good source of wood. Tyres? Rubber.
I’d give this area a minor negative, only a tiny one. But building a town in 1st person or even 3rd person is quite difficult when some objects are too large to see. Lining up can be difficult.
Next to that, the UI is very simple, as are the stats. It took a mere 15 minutes to understand and you get a “tutorial” of sorts in the way of a quest somewhere early on anyway.
Difficulty. Let’s talk difficulty in Fallout 4.
Remember when you could just stand there and sponge bullets from a mini gun? Brush off a grenade?
Step on a landmine with nothing but a cripple limb? I hope you enjoyed those days while they lasted, because that is no longer the case here.
A gunfight can go terribly wrong if you face even as much as two enemies at once without cover.
Tripwire explosions and landmines are INSTANT DEATH!
I will advice everyone reading thus far to SAVE OFTEN. The auto-save of Fallout 4 is miles better than the previous titles and it will make up to 3, giving you a bit of room to backtrack. But it will never do it in times of need, especially when enemies are around. You can use the handy quick save which takes all of about 2 seconds, but remembering to can be a challenge.
Personally, I love that it’s been made difficult. being able to sponge dozens of bullets to the head never made me feel like running for cover. Outside of the beginning I was never careful of traps, knowing I could just sponge them. Now whenever a landmine goes off I fill my pants and run for cover so damn quickly I thank the newer, smoother controls. These quick movements would not be possible in Fallout 3.
Now whenever you explore, you must pay attention to sight and sound. Is that door safe? Check for trip wires. Is that a landmine? How many enemies can I hear / see?
Survival. That’s what Fallout 4 has opted for its gameplay here, at least so far.
Enemy AI in Fallout 4 is impressive. The will take cover around corners, behind desks and anything they can. They will shoot, blind shoot, call out to one another and try to flank you.
I’ve found myself in a pickle before as a Raider found a way around to my flank whilst his friend with a minigun distracted me.
And the Feral Ghouls of Fallout 4, oh man I LOVE these! They really are like zombies. They’re fast, tenacious and will throw themselves at you, literally, tumbling on the floor as their legs give way in a moment of desperation. And do be careful, because they will play dead. I’ve had many a corpse animate on me to be a sea of Feral ghouls, which lead to gunshots which lead to more waking up.
Don’t think you’ll be safe in buildings either, as I’ve had windows smashed, locked doors torn off the wall and hatches open, leading to being ganked by enemies, either living or undead.
Feral Ghouls have a very resident evil way of appearing from behind cars, under tables, out of tyres and wrecked buildings or just falling through the roof, landing on your head.
You’ll experience this early on in a certain side-quest. A destroyed city will be like an early episode of The Walking Dead, as gunshots only make things worse and perfectly safe areas become a deadly trap you willingly walked into.
I could talk about Fallout 4 all day,I’ve only scratched a few features on here, but truth be told 20 hours is VERY LITTLE! I’ve barely done any side quests and only the first main quest, which isn’t much past the first few hours.
I find myself deeply immersed in the atmosphere to the point I’ll even stop to look at nothing more than a pile of wrecked cars, or a crumbled highway, wondering if there’s anything hidden there or if I can put myself to what life was like before the bombs fell.
I enjoy building the settlements a lot, to the point I go out and look for more materials to build with.
So, is Fallout 4 broken? No way. Does it run? Yes, very smoothly. Does it crash? No, not so far.
Does it jitter? Nope, the frame rate is very constant for me, even when everything blows up around you.
There is nothing to fear here. I had a tiny patch of less than 500MB on day one and that is all so far.
But don’t go on just what I say, less so the big reviewers. Go out and get a copy today and see for yourself. Hardcore fan, casual fan or newcomer, I’d say there’s more than enough here for either and probably more so for the newcomer than before.