+New graphics engines are beautiful and bring the Wastelands to life
+Voice acting for main characters is spot on and immersive
+Weapon customizations and city building are welcome changes
+New perk system is spot on for S.P.E.C.I.A.L. talents
–Frame-rate issues can pop up in certain situations
–Some load times take longer than others
–Companions can sometimes seem to be lost heading to assigned towns
Editor’s Note: Due to the sheer size of the game and massive amounts of content we’ve had to put this and file it as a review that will continuously be in progress till the reviewer feels that the review matches the quality needed to properly represent our thoughts on the game. We will keep you updated once we take the review out-of-progress and when we make changes to it. Thanks your your understanding.
Review Update #1:
As you know our review has been in progress for a couple of weeks now. This latest update, which is the first of many, will discuss the community building situation as well as the modding system for both weapons and armor as well as your Power Armor, which we are sure by now you’ve become rather accustomed to owning.
When talking about a Fallout game we aren’t talking just about how small it is, but we are discussing in general just how big the game is thanks to massive amounts of content. With Fallout 4 we’re looking at more content than I’ve come to realize it has from dungeons to explore to sheer new additions. The latest may seem familiar to some of you who play Fallout Shelter as your goal is to build a community of Vault Dwellers, to take care of them, to get them to come around and become a living and breathing entity. Fallout 4 has embraced this philosophy with allowing players to take a place such as the starting area of Sanctuary or Sanctuary Hills and build a community out of it once completing the beginning game up to a certain point.
When in the building mode, players may become familiar with a small bit of information at the top of the screen that will indicate amount of settlers, happiness, defenses, electricity/energy, food, water, beds and capacity for settlers. These both will be manageable as long as players remember to have the proper resources built into place such as Gourds, Watermelon and even Tato’s in order to properly sustain their food sources. These can later be added to as players progress through the game in time, but so can their population by placing the proper items such as radio towers that will signal survivors to their settlement. Just remember, to bring in more? You have to have more water, higher defenses, proper energy, food, water, beds and even places for them to stay. This is quite important and will require players to improvise by putting down walls, fences, building houses, establishments and even bringing vendors into town in order to sustain a usable economy. Don’t forget though, these towns can be attacked and it won’t be uncommon if or when this happens. One problem that was noticed came with texture collision when it comes to fence angles, item locations and even some terrain based problems. While these problems can be overcome with slight changes in angles or item placement, it does leave a certain irritation for those who want to be perfectionists.
When encouraging players to build a settlement, it’s quite interesting to see that both upgraded weapons and even armor won’t go to waste since settlers (your named ones) can equip these items if players talk to them in order to trade. By doing so this will provide odds that are better suited for the players advantage. For example in my own town I’ve gone as far to equip Preston (you should be well acquainted with this gentleman by now). In my town Preston is no longer in his default armor. Instead he has been heavily upgraded using Synth armors and even some other under armor from the Gunners in order to provide him better protection during any fights he may get into.
When discussing armor it’s important that players do take note that some gear with have a “+” or “-” next to certain stats. Many times this is because an armor has been pre-modified thanks to enemies and of course a players luck. These modifications provide extra energy defense as well as things such as radiation protection as well as basic damage protection. These upgrades to armor can also include poison resistance, extra damage resistance, extra carrying capacity and even lowered weight in order to help players weigh less when wearing heavier pieces of equipment or simply avoiding a strength build to start off with.
Among this unique crafting system “food items” that are collected from enemies such as Mutant Hounds, Hounds or other animals, can and will create foods that can reduce things such as Rads, improve max HP or even increase max AP in order to make characters more effective in combat. The same can go for items such as Buffout, Jet, Psycho and the likes. All of these can be modified in order to make their effects stack with each other, but only if the player has the proper components for the combining of these items.
Weapons have also gotten much of the same treatment as armor in the regards that weapons can be fully upgraded for better damage, lower recoil, bigger clips, better accuracy and silenced, muzzled or however players prefer to have them set for their situations. These weapons, all of them pretty much, can be modified in order to provide better combat prowess for players. We’ll take a deeper look into this as we begin to modify weapons such as the Rocket Launcher, Institute Pistol and even the Laser Rifle with screenshots to follow.
There was a time when I could have told you that I’ve seen it all, done it all and felt that war had finally began to change only to once more be thrown into a Wasteland that seems familiar yet very different from the ones we had seen before. Fallout has become a franchise that Bethesda Zenimax fans like myself can tell you holds a soft place in our hearts thanks to the company’s creativity and attention to detail. With this never-ending attention that they give each of their respective IP’s we’ve seen some of the most amazing open-world RPGs come to life. One of these renowned titles was The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which can be noticeably seen in many respects of this game and with good reason. Many of them can be seen deep within the game’s mechanics, skill system and even the overall use of dialogue-defining choices players will make throughout the game.
For many of us Fallout 3 was the last big one we truly enjoyed and found the most creativity in and for many of us it has been a long wait to see another polished title by the amazing minds at Bethesda Studios, but a little bit has changed since our last departure from the safety of our Vault-Tec Vaults. With now seven years behind us it has come our time to place the disks in our consoles and even our computers in order to take on this large-scale experience that has been carefully crafted, but this experience as foreign as it may seem will seem oddly familiar to fans who have explored the wastelands once before. As someone who has been playing Fallout for well over ten years, the games install screen has been one of the most entertaining as the game greets players who decide to boot the game up the moment the install finishes they will be welcomed by a Vault-Tec guide to the wastelands and the stats they will use as well as how they will influence your travels through the Wasteland. The videos being what they are, reflect a 1950’s like era where animated cartoons helped illustrate the world how we should know it.
Once we’ve exited this little introductory portion of the game it’s time to get down to one of the most entertaining portions of any Bethesda game, character creation after we’ve gone through the game’s introductory sequence that helps build up where we want to see things. In these opening moments we are greeted by a married couple, our choice of Wanderers, a male and a female one. Here we get to select our gender, our appearance clear from hair, nose, lips, cheeks, make-up (assuming you are playing a female), eyes and so forth. Unlike before, the game offers us some rather unique look into the world before the bombs fell, before our characters became test subjects to whatever their vault was using tests for. What’s most unique about the characters we play is the fact they are fully voice acted. Let alone are we given a new choice system, but we are given a unique response between both of the genders. While it’s nice to see such a thing approach the most interesting part is that the voices should come familiar as Courtenay Taylor (Resident Evil 6’s Ada Wong) and Brian T. Delaney (Halo 5: Guardians – Roland). While both of these are interesting choices for voice actors they add a rather lively aspect to the game that was never there before in the franchise.
With that aside the game does seem to visit a familiar face as the game at its core remains largely intact from its predecessors where players will focus on several things. This includes exploration, quests, factions and even quests, but the major plot is completely new, original and offers a twisted view as to what could happen if your son had been kidnapped while you were in cryosleep. A large question will emerge as fans attempt to figure out how long it had been since your kid had been taken from you. What’s the exact time frame since your sons kidnapping and your awakening, how long had it been since you saw your family fall apart before you? As your exploration of the Wasteland comes underway players will find themselves going through familiar places such as Fenway Park, the Freedom Trail and even other unique locales that could very well be visit in real life. Though some of these unique places will send players into fighting things such as Super Mutants, Yao Guai and even Synths. While Synths sound like the common one, there is something rather peculiar about them that you’ll find out by entering Diamond City.
The truth? They are the new enemy, the new focal point and even our newest and greatest enemy that will come before us. The question about the Synths and their creators “The Institute” can make things a bit more interesting as we learn that humans are being replaced by them little by little with their Synth counterparts. Story wise, Fallout 4 follows the tracks just as Fallout 3 did; something has happened, you are hunting your family member and the outcome may depend on how far you are willing to go in order to solve your latest problem. This one is why your kid was kidnapped, why they would want to and the outcome to finding out the resolution.
While on your adventures it won’t be odd to not go alone. Easier than in past titles to obtain, followers become a large part of this game. You’ll meet some such as an oafish Super Mutant named Strong to the famed series member Dogmeat clear to the rather uppity character named Codsworth or even the ill-reputed reporter Piper who just seems to piss a lot of people off with her news reporting. While each of these offer unique dialogue they all have their competitive advantages. While Dogmeat is a dog, he offers a chance to snag-and-snare enemies and even disabling them in combat by doing so. While other companions have the chance to use guns as well as more armor than Dogmeat sometimes it’s nice not to hear them randomly bantering as you explore or even their feedback about quests you are taking part in. Even though it’s nice to have human interaction among the Wasteland sometimes it’s just too much depending on what is going on and how. So what has really change this time around outside of companions that can’t die?
For those of you who are familiar with the level up system, many of you are accustomed to S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system there has been a few changes since players can now choose a state to level up or even a perk to level up. Just as before, some of these perks require certain levels, certain stats and even certain requirements in order for players to progress through the game with a bit more ease than before. While many of the perks return, there are some new ones that allow for weapon upgrading/crafting, food making, armour crafting and even alchemy items(drugs, medical supplies, etc) to be created so that players may take to the Wastelands with a bit more ease. Such as crafting items to make stealth a bit more effective, pocketed armour pieces to allow for players to carry more items and even padded so that players can take a bit more damage than before while weapons see vast amounts of choices to increase damage, range, decrease recoil and the likes.
Fallout 4 – PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One and PC
Developer: Bethesda Softworks
Publisher: Bethesda Zenimax
Cost: 59.99 USD
Release Date: Now Available
While there are flaws I could outline many of these are because of minor bugs that seem to pop up and disappear just as quickly as they first emerged. While some may find these bugs such as dialogue cut outs, randomly situated combat scenarios and even oddly placed items that may not be retrievable. While these minor things to some are critical, we do find ourselves enjoying the game in all its intoxicating craftsmanship. If you haven’t already found yourself down the rabbit hole and still falling we are sure that you won’t be landing anytime soon in regards to the sheer amount of content there is to explore. We just wish we could see the hundreds of thousands of people wandering the wastelands.
Stay tuned for further review updates that will include town building, friendships, etc. We do apologize that this bit isn’t in the review, but due to the sheer size of this game and the amount of content I was unable to include it in the initial review this far.
Our review is based upon the final version that one or more of our team members purchased. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 9 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter, Google+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.