(I’m currently playing Fallout 4 on PC, as I did with Fallout 1, 3 and New Vegas (I also played 3 and NV on PS3) )
Nearly 6 years after the release of Obsidian’s Fallout: New Vegas, Bethesda finally released their next East Coast entry – Fallout 4 – set in The Commonwealth (Of Massachusetts). With around 700 hours playtime between the previous games, I find myself torn between loving the world and hating the “consolisation” (designing the game only around big selling consoles) of the series.
- THE WORLD: I’ve never played a Bethesda game with as much depth as Fallout 4 – I’ve put (a small, but significant) 36 hours into the game in the past week and have only gotten to the second story mission. I’ve stopped by so many interesting locations while on short quests only to leave with 4 more – and I love it.
- THE LOOT SYSTEM: One of my favourite new additions to the game is the looting system where you can just look at a body/container and get a list of the items – this saves on the dodgy freeze before the menu opens in 3 and New Vegas.
- THE CHARACTERS: The characters are miles ahead of 3 and on par with (if not better than) New Vegas – interesting random events with NPCs, great visual design on some enemies and brilliant companion quests almost forgive the mess that was Matthew Perry’s Benny. The highlight for me is the new Mister Handy robots with personality, but they sadly made Super Mutants stupid monsters again which is definitely a low point.
- THE “OPEN” WORLD: I know I mentioned the world in the good section, but it deserves a second mention here on account of the actual openness of it. Most buildings are now actually open and not gated by dodgy load screens, but this seems to have drastically lowered the amount to actually enter. Many are blocked off, but this gives me huge hopes for a DC Interiors type mod for Fallout 4.
- THE RADIO: While most of the new songs are absolutely perfect for Fallout 4 (and in general), there is still the fact that 12 out of 37 songs on Diamond City Radio are ripped straight from Galaxy News Radio of Fallout 3 – this feels more lazy than nostalgic to me.
- CRAFTING/INVENTORY: Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the crafting system is bad; in fact I think it’s great mostly. BUT, the settlement building seems to be done so heavy handed – like Todd Howard and co. looked at the last 6 years in gaming and thought “Wow, this Minecraft thing is popular” and put in a half-baked build system that at times just feels like a gimmick. Also, THEY REMOVED REPAIRING, COME ON!!
- THE DIALOGUE SYSTEM: Fallout has and will always be about the dialogue, but for some reason Bethesda decided to go Mass Effect on it and only give you 4 options to say – none of which you get to preview without a mod. Now Mass Effect is my joint favourite game series (with Fallout), but it’s dialogue system only lets you be good or a dick, not evil. This takes away the fun of playing Fallout as a monster because you just can’t and that hugely reduces replayability. This is probably the most obvious proof of “consolisation”.
- THE LEVELING/PERKS SYSTEM: This has to be my biggest problem with the game bar none, it’s like they wanted to make the game a shooter not an RPG (like Bioware and Mass Effect 2). I’ve read that there’s no level cap which helps slightly, but with this change it’s no longer your character or story – your build is set in stone whether you like it or not – that’s not Fallout. Also, THEY REMOVED SKILL CHECKS FOR SOME STUPID REASON!!
- FOLLOWER AI: PLEASE GOD BETHESDA FIX THIS! Follower AI in Beth games has always been janky at best, but I’ve never played anything this bad. Followers walk right into traps unless told to wait a good distance away, they alert EVERYTHING in a million mile radius immediately and just charge, usually resulting in your death. Dogmeat is by far the worst for this, even worse than he was in Fallout 3 and it’s caused me to dump him even though I actually like him.
I could talk for HOURS about the changes made in Fallout 4 and through the entire series, but those are my main impressions from a week hands on with my most anticipated game ever. Agree? Disagree? Tell me! I really do love discussing this type of thing, ESPECIALLY for Fallout.