aNewDomain — It was one of the most anticipated games of the year, for sure, but is Fallout 4 really all that? I wanted to find out if this new game from Bethesda Publishing is worth the hype. So I took a long, hard look. Here’s my Fallout 4 review.
First off, a bit of premise for those who aren’t familiar with the Fallout series: It all happens in a world like ours, where all the great powers have nuclear weapons but hesitate to use them for fear of causing an all-out nuclear apolacypse. But in this version of reality, relations between China and the United States have soured to a point nuclear war breaks out anyway. The game starts right before the inevitable world-destroying apocalypse.
To begin, you create your own character. You get to select his or her gender, appearance, and other features. The game then transitions to the vault where you’ll take shelter during the nuclear war to follow. That’s when and where mysterious men will show up, kill your spouse and kidnap your baby, starting the main storyline of the game.
While the storyline itself is gripping, the most compelling thing about Fallout 4 is the sheer number of features it has.
For example, the open world in Fallout 4 is absolutely huge, which allows for a ton of exploration and lots of hidden easter eggs. The wilderness is reminiscent of what we’ve seen in games like Assassin’s Creed III, where the presence of wild, radiated animals are a welcome sight for any would-be explorer.
Careful not to eat the radiated meat, though!
Aside from the wilderness, there are also cities where you can buy and sell items, just like in a classic role playing game (RPG). And it’s amazing, the stuff you can buy.
There are other perks, too. Fallout 4 comes with a huge breadth of outfits for the player to customize their own characters — and there’s a ton of weapons to match your character’s own fighting style.
Plus, the non-player characters (NPCs) aren’t just dummies that make up numbers like in most RPGs. In Fallout 4, NPCs are important in the world around you, whether to guide you on side quests, or to give cool items. That and the NPCs are actually interesting. Many of them have stories of their own to explore, and some are companions to the player on their quest. On that topic, Boston — or The Commonwealth, as it’s referred to in the game — isn’t just a ruined town. Rather, it’s up to you to rebuild the place.
Also, the junk you pick up lying around can be used to build and expand the community in The Commonwealth. That’s unlike the way it’s worked in other Fallout games.
What really impressed me about Fallout 4 is the detail that Bethesda put into characterization. I mean, characterization is an important part in any RPG game, as the traits of a player basically determine his or her playing style, and to an extent, the gameplay that they experience.
Fallout 4 includes mundane traits such as speed, strength and cleverness, but it also selects for less common traits such as charisma. And these more obscure traits find their way into gameplay, too, with charisma allowing the player to persuade NPCs in certain situations. It’s great, because for a game that reels in such a large fanbase, it allows each player to play according to his or her own style.
Another cool feature is the critical hit attack; this will remind you of the awesome concentration feature found in Ubisoft’s Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood. While critical hits in Fallout 4 don’t always result in one-hit KOs, they can cause significant damage. And they let players act and react in split-second situations. However, what surpasses all these is the sheer number of side quests included in the game.
Side quests are ubiquitous in Fallout 4. You typically find them by exploring all the conversation options. The rewards for these missions are plenty, and embarking on such quests allows the player to explore the world. Plus, I always want to hunt for every piece of dialogue. I find that interesting.
Finally, the graphics in Fallout 4 are absolutely awesome, with Bethesda doing all it can to making the world alive. If there is anything bad to say about Fallout 4, it would be in part due to the execution. The game uses the same engine as Skyrim. Yes, Skyrim stands as one of the best games Bethesda has ever made, but the game engine doesn’t seem to work well with the new, next-gen graphics in Fallout 4. The result? Some fairly hilarious glitches.
Overall, I give Fallout 4 a solid nine out of 10. The open world is amazing, there are a large number of side quests and the player to NPC interaction is top notch. The only catch, as I said, is that the game engine, the same as Bethesda’s Skyrim, needs some more power for these next-gen graphics. Still, I highly recommend it. Fallout 4 thoroughly lives up to the hype. It really is a great game.
For aNewDomain, this is Puching Zhang signing off.