Fallout 4 has released this week, and you would really have to try hard to avoid hearing about it. If you haven’t heard of Fallout 4, you’ve been spending too much time living in a vault. With its release, reviews have been praising and slandering aspects of the title, and fans have been speaking highly of the title since its release. But should they be?
As I sit here pondering over my feelings towards Fallout 4, let me just lay out where I stand at this current point in time. I have picked up my Pipboy Edition on its release date, ordering it back in June following its announcement at E3. I’ve never been a real Bethesda games fan. I tried The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Skyrim and Fallout 3. I have never ‘completed’ either game, making it through to its main quest end. But, like with any Rockstar Games release, Bethesda games are those kind of games that make the world drop what they’re doing and pay attention. Adding Grand Theft Auto or Elder Scrolls and Fallout to your collection just seems like the mandatory thing to do. So I’ve done it, most recently with Fallout 4.
I picked up the Pipboy Edition on Tuesday, but due to personal commitments, I had to do some traveling, and won’t be able to play my new game until I return home on Friday. In that space of time, I’ve been experiencing various articles and reviews, comments and first impressions from the media, community and friends. I have already invested, but I’m hearing loads of good and bad things.
The most common thing I hear about, that we all seem to joke about, is that Bethesda games are always riddled with bugs. “It wouldn’t be a Bethesda game without bugs”, and “It’s such a massive game, there’s bound to be glitches” are what we have become accustomed to. Should we though? In this generation, we’ve already seen some cool, awesome looking games and gameplay experiences that feel great too. Most notably for me this year, is Batman Arkham Knight. Sure, the PC port was a shambolic mess at release, and it still suffers today, but on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, it was a gorgeous game, with minor bugs, and it played well.
On a review I read by VG247 only this morning, it was said that “Fallout 4 feels like a Triple A budget game”. The game was not scored on that website however. Two review sites who did review it with a score were Giant Bomb and The Guardian, both scoring it a low 6. I can imagine a massive outcry of hardcore Fallout and Bethesda fans, hurling abuse at both. Remember though, these reviewers are gamers just like us, who want to play fun, meaningful working games, who may feel somewhat disappointed. Name a game you wanted to love, but ended up sucking. It’s not hard to do.
That’s not to say the game isn’t great. It’s the little things that matter, the details, the missions, the size of the world, the scope of the experience. In this day and age, games are getting bigger and bigger, and more detailed. Take a walk through Los Santos in first person view on single player, and take in all the minor details of conversations, animations, rubbish blowing down the street, the store names and colours. It’s glorious. Certainly one of my favourite games of all time, considering how much time I spend on GTA Online with friends. I have yet to play Fallout 4, but as I have said earlier, I have already purchased it, and I can imagine a few gamers who have never played Fallout before or any of the Elder Scrolls titles may have been swept up by the waves of the hype train have also invested in the game, unbeknownst what to expect.
Will they find frustration in the less than stellar graphics for such a highly praised and recommended title? Will the choppy frame rate cause them alarm? Will they also be thinking“It wouldn’t be a Bethesda game without bugs”, and “It’s such a massive game, there’s bound to be glitches” as quoted above? Reading elsewhere, although I can’t recall where; if EA or Ubisoft released a game like Fallout with such glitches and performance issues, would fans or neutral gamers be so defensive or supportive of the developer or publisher? I’ve been in gaming long enough to have a fair idea of what to expect. You don’t have to think back so far to remember the launch of Assassin’s Creed Unity, which was released in a terrible condition.
Like others however, I will be starting my playthrough of Fallout 4 soon, but with all of these pros and cons already on my mind, swaying my own initial opinions and impressions. Will I go in saying “I expect glitches” or “Yeah I heard the frame rate drops when roaming the open world” and think nothing of it, or will it frustrate me when I initially witness it for myself? Should I just wait a few weeks for a patch that addresses these launch issues? Will I feel like the game should have been delayed to be further polished? Am I just moaning because I know people on the internet will see my comments, and hope that they agree with me?
I’m sure Fallout 4 will be great however, as Bethesda pour so much love into their games. Despite its faults, the game has a lot of positives to offer. I’m just hoping that the positives far outweigh the negatives, and that the ones defending the glitches, bugs and choppy frame rate weren’t just fanboys in denial.