In this modern era of massive scale open world RPGs, Fallout 4 proves to be a top contender amongst its rivals. Immersive gameplay and customization will sink it’s fangs deep into you and the hours will slip away. New crafting and customization options help revitalize this entry, and prevent it from feeling like a stale addition. Fallout 4’s massive wasteland is a bountiful investment of your time, and will easily gain you membership into the 100+ hour club. The series’ usual bugs and glitches hold this back from being a near perfect experience.
For the first time in the series, your story begins before the nuclear blast. After learning of an impending attack, you and your family are led to their new suspiciously designated vault for shelter. Once there, its evident that something has gone horribly array. Intruders savagely murder your wife and kidnap your infant son. Re-emerging from your vault you embark into the desolate, radiation soaked soil of the Wasteland, searching for your son.
Developer Bethesda Softworks continues to show their strength in open path storytelling with Fallout 4. Different dialogue and opinions ensure that no two stories will be alike. The introduction of a voiced protagonist this time really helps the player to become engaged with the story. It lends an inviting tone, especially if you are new to Fallout.
Fallout 4 has an abundance of content. Managing all of this is usually where these huge games falter. The minute you feel like your spending more time in the menus and not playing, most gamers are out. Not with Fallout 4. Character management in this series has always been one of my favorite and continues to be. Using the infamous “Pip Boy”, checking in on stats, objectives, weapons, armor, ect. is all super intuitive and a breeze to navigate.
Main story progression is evenly paced and you always know what’s next on the agenda. Fallout 4 does a great job of not muddling everything together. It made my journey into the wasteland less overbearing. With this finely tuned gameplay, and my Pip-Boy in hand, this entry allowed me to explore and discover more than any other Fallout. Classic feats like acquiring the signature power armor and joining factions felt more intuitive and better handled.
The biggest features implemented into Fallout 4 are crafting and the workshop. The ability to craft your own post apocalyptic weaponry and armor really adds a new layer to gameplay. Now all the countless items strewn about the wasteland have meaning. Picking up items in the world allows you to convert it to materials used in weapons/armor making. This is a clever way of finally having all the loot you uncover have a purpose. You will find yourself picking up every possible thing in hopes of creating something unique and awesome. Hundreds of options between scopes, grips, barrels, stocks, ensure your combat in Fallout 4 is by your design.
The Workshop is Fallout 4’s new feature for building settlements. Settlements can be fully developed with crops for food, water, housing, and more. This is such a huge addition to this game and the possibilities are endless. You can spend hours just roaming from settlement to settlement making sure everyone has power, food, even clean beds to sleep on. Bethesda even intelligently infused the workshop function into main line quests. It’s exciting to be given the tools and option to bring life back into the wasteland.
Controlling Fallout 4 is done painlessly and with ease. Movement and gunplay feel like they received a huge overhaul. The slow, clunky, sludgy mechanics are a thing of the past. Traversing your environments controls way better than previous entries. The real shiner here though is the gunplay. It’s become super responsive and silky smooth, unlike its predecessors. Fallout 4 felt more comparable to today’s shooters. I found myself never using the V.A.T.S. targeting because I felt confident with free aim controls. I want the glory to be all mine when blasting super mutants with my green-glowing, post nuclear arsenal.
Sound design in Fallout 4 delivers. Adding a voice to the main character completely changes how you interact. Instead of just skipping dialogue, I felt more attached to my character. I suddenly cared about everything they said and who they were. The only flaw is the poor character animations trying to match the voice over. Fallout 4’s soundtrack is superb . There’s a certain appeal to tuning my Pip-Boy to the retro 50’s tunes as I discover new landmarks and kill mutants. Fallout 4 is the only game where you can listen to solid gold oldies, and still feel cool.
Visually speaking, Fallout 4 is so hit and miss. The problem is when it misses, it misses hard. From a glance, the environments and scenery are breathtaking. The moment you get close though, you realize all you did was breath in hot air. The textures are so drab and bland. The character models are extremely dated, and only draw more attention to the poorly matched voice overs. What really confuses me is how a game so mediocre in graphical power, can still have such bad performance. I’m talking there are moments that easily get down to single frames per second. Just barely moving along. Completely haltering the flow and engagement of the experience. I even had moments where textures would just flat out not load.
Bugs and glitches have always been a weak spot in the development quality of Bethesda. I ran into a few quest glitches forcing me to restart them because a quest specific item wouldn’t drop. I must also mention how many buggy interactions I stumbled upon between NPCs, honestly too many to count. Remember to save and save often, folks. I experienced a complete freeze out moment and had to restart the game all together. It’s boggles the mind to think that gigantic games like The Witcher 3 can run so smooth with higher quality graphics, but not encounter even half the problems Fallout 4 does. Don’t let this sour your interest though. Yes there are performance issues, but not enough to pass on this almost perfect game overall.
Fallout 4 is the epitome of what an open world RPG should be. Bethesda portrays once again why the Fallout series is a force to be reckoned with. Even with some performance issues, it’s compelling world and story can enrapture anyone looking to dwell outside of the vault. I foresee many more late nights in my power armor, diving deep into the wasteland.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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