Fallout 4 Review

Fallout 4 is a 2015 action role-playing video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks.  It is the fourth major installment in the Fallout franchise, released for Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, and PlayStation 4.  The game follows the Sole Survivor of Vault 111 who, after witnessing the murder of their spouse and kidnapping of their only child, ventures into the world of Commonwealth to find their missing child.


Positives:

  • Challenging combat system
  • Compelling characters
  • Vast open world exploration
  • Well-written story
  • Beautiful score
  • Lots of replayability
  • Tons of customization
  • Awe DLC
  • Good, detailed graphics

Negatives:

  • Game freezes during loading screens
  • Long loading screens
  • Some lame DLC additions
  • Repetitive settlement missions
  • Choices don’t feel important
  • Occasional graphical glitches

Campaign:  An extensive campaign with a great story, where characters can explore the world and engage in sidequests outside of the main quest at their leisure. The story follows the Sole Survivor of Vault 111 who, after witnessing the murder of their spouse and kidnapping of their only child, ventures into the world of Commonwealth to find their missing child.  The story is interesting and gradually reveals more about the Commonwealth, it’s people, and the mysterious organization known as the Institute.  There are tons of well-written, likable characters though some could be more fleshed out than others.  Some standout characters include the Institute leader Father, the mercenary Kellog, drug addict Mama Murphy, and BOS member Proctor Ingram. (5 out of 5)

Gameplay:  Players take control of the Sole Survivor of Vault 111 and are given the ability to switch between first-person and third-person perspective.  FO4 features many gameplay elements similar to its predecessors, such as gaining experience and leveling up, obtaining companions, using VATS in combat, character customization, and the game’s highest point, its high level of exploration.  New to the gameplay is the insane amount of customization the game gives to players in several ways.  Players will experience the extensive crafting system where materials scavenged from the environment can be used to craft drugs and explosives, upgrade weapons and armor, and construct, furnish and improve settlements.  These two factors alone make gameplay highly extensive, however, the weapon maintenance and repair was removed from the game. Players can now dawn Power Armor and it must be maintained (using Fusion Cores to power it) and repaired (using materials scavenged in the wasteland) and can be customized with different colors and added effects.

Another element introduced is Rads drain a players HP and cannot be restore unless the Rads are removed.  VATS has been overhauled, where real-time combat is slowed down instead of stopped, and action is played out from varying camera angles in a computer graphics version of “bullet time”.  Bobbleheads have been reintroduced as well as comics that level up certain Skills and Perks. Like previous installments the game does suffers from extremely long loading times, game freezes as well as crashes, and even technical issues like glitches.  Can’t say how many times this game experienced one of these problems. (4 out of 5)

Graphics: Visually the game is the best in the series.  Character models have depth and emotional transitions do run smooth.  Terrific environmental settings that feel alive and vibrant, especially with the various weather changes.  The map is vast and highly detailed.  It also feels very active with things happening in the distance such as firefights between varying factions.  Though the cinematics are good they could’ve been helluva lot better especially if developers had used actual high quality rather than the in-game.  This could’ve helped when some emotional or dramatic moment occurred like when the Sole Survivor witnesses their spouse die and child kidnapped.  Even when it comes to the climax which would’ve been more emotional. Loved how during conversation the Sole Survivor is actually shown which makes the character feel more relevant. (3 out of 5)

Score: The score is more than phenomenal, it is just brilliant.  The overall theme of the Commonwealth has this weird, isolating feeling to it.  Even when players explore the underground or just abandoned buildings there is enough emphasis by the music to make it feel creepy. The strong piano remix of the Fallout theme as the intro is just powerful. My favorite selection is “Dominant Species” song that kicks in when in combat sometimes (particularly when fighting powerful opponents).  The voice performances are handled rather well though sometimes it could be better.  The sound is on point.  Weapons have their own unique sound and feel, the various creatures and enemies sound unique, and the world itself is pretty active.  Some of the most prominent will be hearing gunshots echoing in the distance and become clearer the closer players get.  (5 out of 5)

Replay Value: Branching storylines do keep the replayability really high especially when it comes to the different factions, perks and abilities, companions, and settlement crafting.  And for players like me you’ll spend a crap ton of time customizing the various settlements, defending them against potential threats, and even maintaining their productivity.  In one playthrough I played as myself, another with the Brotherhood of Steel, the next with the Minutemen.  Also, the large open world encourages exploration and trust me even through several multiple playthroughs I kept discovering new locations. There is also the various sidequests to embark on as well as finding the Bobbleheads. Players can spend time gathering all of the companions and earning their Perks. Most of the DLC is worth having, the three specific ones being Far Harbor, Nuka-World, and the Automatron.  And for those who’ve purchased the DLC there is the sweet Vault 88 which allows players limitless freedom at not only creating their own vault (which includes clearing out areas of rubble and hostile creatures) but also giving them the choice to run their own experiments on its citizens.  (4 out of 5)


The Verdict:  In the end, Fallout 4  is a terrific game that captures the magic of the previous Fallout games and amps it up ten fold.  Despite the glitches, long loading times, occasional freezes, game crashes, and visuals, the gameplay is immersive, tons and tons of exploration as well as content, high replayability, terrific score, great voice performances, and a compelling story.  Fallout 4 gets 4 out of 5.

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