Guest Blog by @DanRush
From the first start up screen, it’s clear that Fallout 4 is a quality game, designed with a real focus on user experience. Throughout the installation, you’re presented with a series of humourous videos showing the benefits of each of the game’s core SPECIAL statistics; Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck. Not only does this serve as an excellent explanation prior to setting these stats for your character, these shorts set the tone and kickstart that immersive experience from the moment that you load the game. Bethesda Game Studios finest hour perhaps?
The main quest plays out as a role reversed Fallout 3, tasking you with finding your missing son. This is far from a simple retread, however, with part of the setup throwing in a unique twist for the series that will keep you guessing exactly what’s going on throughout your play through.
The numerous side quests play a fantastic role in creating a unique player experience. I’ve enjoyed talking to gamers who’ve had a completely different adventure to me, simply because they headed in another direction at one point. From pirate obsessed robots who need help fixing up their ship to ages old laboratory research in need of completion, there’s so much to do here that you will undoubtedly have plenty more to discover after dozens of hours of playtime.
Throughout your journey, you’re tasked with managing an ever increasing number of settlements, and while optional in the main, it is beneficial to do so. The most immediate advantage is the generation of currency through trade, so build up shops, plant crops, and ensure they’re adequately defended. Everything build-able has a list of required materials, and this is a game changer for the series. The junk that litters the world now has a real purpose. I’ve never felt more like a true post-apocalyptic survivor as when wandering the wasteland looking for old plates.
Notably absent when compared directly to Fallout 3 is the karma system. In its place, your companions will either like or dislike your actions based on their personality. For example, the synth detective Nick Valentine likes when you hack terminals and dislikes when you act in a threatening way. This feels far more natural than the rigid good or evil choices presented before, and contribute to that unique experience depending on player choice.
Graphically, Fallout 4 isn’t the most beautiful game of this generation, and there was one moment that I experienced a severe drop in frame rate (I’m playing on PS4), but all of this is easily forgiven when you look at the scale of the title. There is so much to see and do here, and it’s all of such high quality, that if a choice had to be made between content and aesthetics then I’d choose the content every time.
Despite all of this praise, when I finished the game I didn’t feel entirely satisfied. I was hoping to experience the same sense of wonder that came when I left Vault 101 in Fallout 3. I’d never experienced anything like it before, but with Fallout 4 I had, in its predecessor. This was more Fallout 3, with added polish and gameplay refinement. More Fallout 3 is no bad thing, but a magic trick is never quite as impressive the second time you see it.
Guest blog by @ DanRush
Video Game Reviews for the PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch
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