Fallout 4

Once you start playing Fallout 4 it'll be hard to stop

By Grayshadow, Posted 17 Nov 2015

Fallout 4 entices you with mystery, and once you taste adventure you’ll want more. The dense wasteland is teeming with resources, people and locations to discovery, always leaving something unexpected in the wretched landscape. Bethesda has taken everything that made Fallout 3 and New Vegas such a captivating experience and improves on it in almost every aspect. Yes a few glitches do occasionally ruin the experience but the post-nuclear apocalypse version of Boston is a wonder to explore. I've invested over 60 hours into Fallout 4 and I'm still finding new things to discover.

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From a nobody to a leader, you are the catalyst that will change the wasteland forever through a series of dangerous, and sometimes weird, missions. It’s hard to believe seeing where your character starts; a well-established citizen living in 1950s Boston. After a peaceful morning with your spouse and child disaster strikes. An emergency broadcast alerts you of growing hostilities and then you see it, a giant explosion off in the distance. Leaving behind your life, and you robot butler, you rush into a nearby Vault 111 that Vault-Tec luckily granted you a reserved spot inside only moments ago. After being in cryogenic-stasis for over 200 years you wake up devastated and confuse. Your spouse has been murdered while trying to protect your son from kidnappers in front of your eyes. The world you knew is gone and now it’s time to build a new life in the year 2277 where what is left of Boston as become known as The Commonwealth.

For the first time Fallout 4 features a fully voiced, either male or female, protagonist. After a deep facial customization system I immediately began to connect with my character. They weren’t another mute block of clay that I forged over the course of the game, he/she was alive and spoke with incredible vigor every decision I made. 

You won’t be mindlessly running around the new world though, your objective is clear: find your son. This tragic event starts your journey, eventually leading to a myriad of new friends, enemies, loyalties andtreacheries. The environment is beautiful decorated and sets the stage for a destroyed world attempting to recovery from nothing. Radiation storms can happen at anytime, toxic pools dot the landscape and enemies pop out from nowhere. Bethesda has already established a reputation of building worlds that feel alive and Fallout 4 is no acceptation from this.

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The world of Boston is filled with things that want you dead, everything from mutated horrors to humans. Fallout 4 regularly challenges you with morally dubious choices while fending off these hostiles. Players can given up to four options to choose from during each conversation. Nuclear war has made a lot of people desperate, focusing on survival above all while some cling to a tattered code of morality. The Institute seems to have an idealized view that the world can be controlled.

Operating from the shadows The Institute serves after the primary antagonist of Fallout 4. This disturbed version of Massachusetts’ Institute of Technology and serves as the source of Fallout 4’s bioengineered androids, called Synths. The first models served basic needs but over the course of time The Institute has developed elegant new versions that could easily pass for human. The populist are scared, believing that anyone could be a Synth has caused people to question everyone from strangers on the street to their own family and friends. Fallout 4 challenges your views of what it means to be human by providing morally ambiguous choices that redefine humanity.

Boston is filled with small groups, each attempting to survive the destruction of the powerful overarching groups. Seems easy enough, choose to help the people who want to do good. However often that same person won’t being you any closer to finding your son, instead it’s the latter option.

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Throughout Boston are many secondary quests, most leading to raids in desolate buildings or fetching specific items. It’s these smaller stories that give Fallout 4 it’s charm, encouraging you to look into areas you would normally ignore. Sometimes they’ll offer a new NPC to speak offering a job or it could be a dangerous trap.

These challenges often require you to fight, and combat has greatly improved from previous iterations. V.A.T.S. makes a return and with it players can target specific body parts and get a percentage meter of how likely they’re to hit your mark and the damage. Unlike Fallout 3 or New Vegas V.A.T.S. no longer stops combat, instead everything moves at a slower pace. In addition your AP meter, which determines how much you can fire a specific weapon in V.A.T.S., is now tied to sprinting. Sacrificing too much power to fighting a loosing battle can put you in great risk when fleeing is the only option.

Fallout 4 has a broad array of enemy types. Raiders, super mutants, and many more creatures populate the Commonwealth; each with legendary variations that drop promising gear if defeated. Some variations of enemies will also behave different, for example the Ghoul variant called the Glowing One can revive fallen Ghouls.

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Of course V.A.T.S. isn’t a requirement as Bethesda has improved real-time combat greatly. Fallout 4 plays more like a quality FPS, allowing for precision aiming by holding down the sights, melee attacks with a gun in hand, sprinting, and weapon swapping on the fly. At times I forgot about V.A.T.S. and play without having to fall back on the assisted targeting.

Enemies aren’t the only obstacles you’ll face. Radiation saturates the Commonwealth, lowing yourmaximum health the more you’re expose to it. Traps in the way of turrets, mines, and tripwires can spell doom for those attempting to bolt though dangerous areas. Playing smart, such as sneaking around, can not only yield bonus damage against hostile targets but opportunities to turn enemy defenses against their owners. 

Gaining experience and leveling up is still a major incentive in Fallout 4. Each time you gain a level you can invest a point into one of seven attributes: Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, and Luck. Each one has a set of sub-skills that can only be reached if one of the primary attributes has enough points invested into it. Each one has been brilliantly animated with the iconic Vault Boy’s design. Small touches like having that Vault Suit wearing graphic appear after waking up are delightful touches from developers who care about their work.

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You’ll also be able to further enhance your abilities by acquiring new gear. Weapons and armor are litteredthroughout Boston, ad looking for new loot is a constant pursuit. It not only grants increased resistance to certain hazards but also puts in a position of gathering much needed resources. Gadgets, housewares, and other previously inconvenient items can now be scraped into primary parts and repurposed for building or modding your equipment. Workbenches, cooking stations and chemist labs are littered throughout Boston, allowing access to custom made items that can only be obtained through crafting. Thankfully you won’t need to repair weapons anymore.

The new armor system lets you equip six pieces of armor. A helmet, chest plate, and each individual arm and leg can be suited with a specific item. If you want something more deadly a Power Armor is available for use. Requiring a Fusion Core to use these walking tanks grant the user increase defense, mobility and looks very badass. The issue is that these run on a finite amount of energy and cannot be customized as deeply as other pieces of armor. 

Health items and ammunition are still key to your survival, not to mention bottle caps. Bethesda has done a wonderful job of crafting a real-time looting system where menus are a thing of the past. Just walk over an item and you can loot whatever item from the target without having to go into another menu. After experiencing this system it’ll be impossible to use to older methods without becoming incredibly vexed.

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If you want the rare commodities you’ll have to access hidden, or locked, rooms. These activities usually involve puzzles in the way of terminals and locked doors. At first you’re encouraged to plow through these small distractions with the promise of interesting items. However most of the time these small tasks become more taxing than rewarding, with locked doors and chests become more frequent but less alluring. 

Scrapping material have become a new norm in Fallout 4. Whereas other games had you hording items for selling this time you can deconstruct items into their basic parts for building material. You can erect homes, establish gardens, fortify defenses and construct thriving communities. These are limited to certain confined sections but seeing your community grow is very rewarding. The major issues sprouts from the inability to share resources among the settlements. Attempting to regulate each community’s resource intake and protection becomes draining, ultimately I ended up just investing into one settlement; leaving the others to perish.

The Pip-Boy still serves as your one-stop interface for everything from switching weapons to viewing your map. The developers have included many interesting additions to this handy device such as the ability to play video games on it to sorting items based on a selected option. The menu interface remains the same as past installments. You navigate a series of menus to access aid, weapons, armor and other inventory you’re carrying. Fast-traveling is made possible through the map interface, although it’s no where asintuitive as Skyrim’s interface. The biggest issue from the map stems from the navigation bar which for some strange reason only highlights the distance from your target when you’re 100 meter from it.

As you continue your journey you’ll encounter many faces along the way, some will join you. Unlike Fallout: New Vegas companions play a larger role in Fallout 4, passing judgement on your decisions, offering insight into certain quests and even becoming romance options. Issuing commands involves you moving the cursor over the companion and choosing an option. During combat these prove troublesome. Each companion offers different services and talents, some are great for combat and others aid in finding hidden items. I never felt that I had to take one ally over another, it was always my choice who I favored.

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With a game this large and complicated you’re bound to run into a few issues. On several occasions my game would refuse to register commands or fail to bring up my Pip-Boy interface. The worst issues came from frame rate slowdowns and complete hitches that would last for up to 10 seconds. Despite these constant recurring issues I still found myself having difficultly putting down the controller. There was always some location I didn’t explore yet and had to see what was inside.

It’s impossible to deny, Fallout 4 is extraordinary. The world, crafting, exploration and story all come together into one hugely wonderful sandbox role-playing game. It obsessively encourages you to explore every area and horde items while looking for your next mission. Technical issues still plague the overall experience but once the momentum starts it’s hard to stop playing.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Fallout 4

90/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Bethesda Game Studios
Developer(s): Bethesda Softworks
Genres: Action role-playing
Themes: Post-apocalyptic
Release Date: 2015-11-10

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