Real Talk By: Ms. Throwback
If you’ve missed out on the Fallout series so far, it’s simply a huge chunk of gaming addiction that is hard to describe. While researching for this article I went back to find that the first Fallout was released in 1997. I can’t believe I’ve traveled the wasteland that long! While Fallout has radically changed over the years, it’s base elements have stayed the same. The story of a post apocalyptic world based in year 2287 begins our saga this go around. You are living the good life, a house, a spouse, a kid, when all hell breaks loose. You run to the nearest underground vault where you stay in cryostatus for 200 years. When you come out, your son is missing, your spouse is dead, and the wasteland is yours for the taking. What you do with the game is up to you.
Fallout has always been an extremely open-ended environment that has the feel of the future and the past all at the same time, and is the epitome of campaign gaming. While everyone else is all about the multiplayer online, Fallout 4 is about the single player in-depth experience like none other. A large landscape full of enemies and friends alike, awaits you. If I named everything you could do in the game it would take an entire article, in fact, there are entire articles of that, but collecting items, fighting enemies, creating companions, stealing, and trickery all play a huge part in the title. The game is full of tons of quests that just seem to compound on top of one another as you play. Bethesda makes it easy to follow each quest with their trademark map marking, and quest highlighter functions, so you’re not confused where you are headed in such a vast wasteland.
While you take on your adventures you have the high-tech pip boy at your disposal which allows the player to keep track of items, clothing, quests, map, traits of the character, and a ticker of certain actions you take in the game and how they are effecting you. Certain characters agree with a more sinister version of you and are more likely to do your bidding depending on your level of evil or good. Without the pip boy Fallout 4 would be an incoherent mess but this easy to use menu screen masked as an actual item in the title is a fortunate and necessary thing to have.
While most of the time you will find yourself picking up useless items that seem to be completely basic, the game allows you to up your skill level and use several stations to create better weapons, armor, chems, and cooking items to supply you with better health status. Something new to Fallout 4 is the power armor, a full body suit at your disposal for touch situations. It is more resistant to damage and radiation and can carry more items but it runs on power core cells which are not so easy to find. Damage to the armor has to be repaired using a power armor station and you have to collect the materials as you travel the waste land. Power armor isn’t the only thing you use materials for though, building settlements for other characters and yourself becomes an intricate part of many quests to gain more companions and to get people on your side throughout the wasteland, which means you must have a healthy balance for the materials you use for your power armor and what you use for the settlements. If you go into the wasteland constantly using power armor you may find yourself low on materials when you need them for something else and vice versa.
Another new and welcome part of the game is companions. You may only have one at a time but you can send others you meet to several places on the map. Human, robot, and animals can all become companions and fight by your side or carry a certain amount of extra items. Several of the companions have quests that are associated with them as well and unlockable items if you speak with them enough. I was slightly worried about this aspect of the game at first thinking they would get in my way when I was trying to get through doorways or have a gun battle with several enemies, while this is something that happens every now and then, it’s not half bad, and the benefit of having a companion fighting by your side outweighs any negatives that come along with slight mobility problems that occur on occasion.
Bethesda has had the engine for Fallout since the release of the original Skyrim game and the glitches are getting kind of old. I can deal with a character loading on the wall now and then, it’s a big game, you’ll have some glitches in a game this vast, but the 2 minute pauses while the game tries to catch up with a quicksave is unacceptable at this point. There have been several times I’ve had to turn off the system and start from the last save because it completely froze. Freezing is something you kids probably don’t even remember. It used to happen all the time back in the early disk console days, but these days it’s almost unheard of. I didn’t give it a hard time up to this point, but I think it’s about time someone starts complaining about it. I will give a shout out to the PC version that doesn’t have this problem however.
The VATS system comes over from earlier Fallout games as well. It allows the player to focus on certain body parts of the enemy during melee or weapons combat, the player will gain experience points for doing so. It’s an intelligent system and works well to balance out the enemy AI that can be overwhelming to the player otherwise at times. Shooting an enemies limbs can cripple the limb making it easier to go in for the last kill.
The fact of the matter is even with the somewhat annoying glitches at times this game never ends and is completely addicting. From looting a randomly found environment, to meeting new and intriguing characters it never seems to end! This is one game I can say I didn’t beat before I wrote the review because if I wrote the review after I beat it, I’d be writing it next year. You can’t go do one thing in this game without finding fifteen other things to do. Go kill an enemy, find a cave, explore the cave, find a note, three new quests, battle of the ages on the way there. I mean, it’s hard to even find a place you want to save so you can remember what you’re doing which is why…
Fallout 4 Gets
4.5 Out of 5
+VATS system and controls
+Interesting scenarios and characters
-Too much freezing and glitching, it’s time to fix it.