Game review on PC
Michael Luck / Sun 13th Dec 2015
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OVERVIEW Providing a new adventure around every corner, Fallout 4 is yet another release from Bethesda that you just cannot put down; exploring the vast wasteland of Boston and surrounding areas, Fallout 4 takes us on a desperate rescue expedition of retribution.
Unlike previous games in the series, players are able to briefly experience the world prior to nuclear fallout, and the privilege to do so in this game was exciting.
However, following a traumatising event you are promptly thrust out of Vault 111 and into the wasteland with a whole lot of unanswered questions. As the vault wanderer, you are on a trip to reclaim the life that has been stolen from you.
As expected, along your search for answers you will encounter new friends and make enemies throughout the wasteland. The immaculate characterisation of NPCs in the game just adds to the believability of this post-nuclear world.
Although the primary storyline is engrossing, the well-written side quests is where the game really shines. This only comes as a result of the immense freedom which the game permits. This is exemplified in the way the main narrative seemingly blends in amongst the riveting and intersecting storylines throughout the wasteland.
During the journey, there are momentous decisions for the vault wanderer which shapes the game's main story arc and will affect their reputation with key figures in the Commonwealth. It's going to take players multiple playthroughs to experience all of the possible pathways.
In comparison to Fallout 3, the way in which Bethesda tells its story has matured greatly. Albeit a change from previous releases, the implementation of fully voiced protagonists provides another immersing storytelling medium.
The refinement of the gameplay in Fallout 4 in comparison to previous releases has been long awaited. It is obvious that the gunplay has been heavily influenced by games such as Wolfenstein, resulting is a smoother and more exhilarating combat experience.
This streamlining takes the game to a whole new level as combat is now something to look forward to, as the previously clunky combat had been a downfall in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. As well as this, the tweaking to the V.A.T.S. to only slow down combat has also aided in this combat makeover.
There is no drought of enemies to enable you to experience this new combat system, with the number and variety of enemies in the game being vast. Ranging from the smallest of radroaches - to monstrous deathclaws - every battle is memorable.
A new dynamic in this Bethesda release is that enemies no longer dramatically scale up to your level. For example, if you travel back to an area first encountered at the beginning of your journey they will retain the same amount of difficulty. Because of this reason it is unwise to venture to distant areas of the game early on as the chance of survival is slim.
As expected there is also a wide array of companions which you can unlock and request to accompany you on your journey through the Boston ruins.
New crafting and settlement systems are yet another part of the game which will soak up hours upon hours of the player's time. They will no longer have to be guilty of their hoarding tendencies, with all junk in the game now able to be used in weapon and armour modification, and for use in the settlement workshop.
Clearly heavily influenced by games such as Minecraft and The Sims, the new optional settlement creation system is huge and enthralling as players are invited to build their own hustling and bustling settlements.
The manner which stats and perks have been managed adds to the delight of the game. The wide diversity of options will find players staring at their screens unable to decide on which ones to pick. With the removal of a level cap and no end to the game after completion of the main storyline, the sky is the limit in regards to character progression.
Although the gameplay doesn't leave a lot to wish for, the game has its fair share of bugs which unfortunately has become expected of Bethesda games.
Being the developer's first major release on next-gen consoles, graphically the game met the standards expected of it. Although the graphics are an improvement, they have not advanced enough upon the standards set in Skyrim. Because of this the graphics were a slight let down as more was expected from the players. This just shows that Bethesda's engine is in need of a redesign for their next major release.
In contrast with the improved voice acting, facial animations needed to be better. Because of this the performances could have been more convincing.
However, even taking these critiques into account, Fallout 4's graphics on the large are by no means lacking in realism.
To no one's surprise Inon Zur's musical pieces featured in the game are spectacular and truly set the tone for the adventure.
The recurrent juxtaposition of the R&B classics playing through the Pip-Boy radio and the noises of enemies' heads exploding is truly majestic.
Implementation of fully voiced protagonists was well done, and it appears that the developers put a lot of effort into this aspect to not draw the player out of the experience. As well as this, it was apparent that they had also insured that NPCs did not repeat themselves, learning their lesson following the famous 'arrow in the knee' situation with Skyrim.
VERDICT It just takes one good look at the Commonwealth in Fallout 4 to see the plethora of places to explore, people to befriend (or kill), and the secrets waiting to be discovered. Unapologetic in its barbarity and arresting in its immersion, Fallout 4 is an open world experience that you just need to splurge your caps on.
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