Welcome to the wasteland.
There’s a reason The Good Kind of Geek hasn’t done the review for Fallout 4 yet until now: it’s because there are way too many things to talk about, and we’re having a lot of difficulties to even start. The game is huge, full of places to explore and rich in activities. It’s the perfect game to get away from daily annoyances, and even after more than 70 hours of gameplay, I’m still managing to find new and exciting things. This is easily the Game of the Year in my opinion.
This time around player takes up the role of Sole Survivor, a person who has been alive in Vault 111 since the pre-war era 210 years ago. After his son is abducted by the secret organization of The Institute, the Sole Survivor must face the harshness of the post apocalyptic world for the very first time in order to find his son. However, we all know that the main quest is only a suggestion. The charm of Fallout series or other Bethesda games such as Skyrim is that you can do almost anything you want, play them anyway you want and still have a rich and full experience.
The open-world RPG game takes place at the ruins of Boston area this time, commonly known as The Commonwealth. Bethesda really up their game here and created a world so dense and detail oriented, it’s hard not to explore every corner possible and being sidetracked. While fast travel is definitely a go-to way to move from one point to another, the game really encourages me to travel around on foot to find some secret locations not listed on the map. I discovered a lot of fun locations, and encountered a lot of intriguing characters this way.
It’s fun to be sidetracked, but it can also be dangerous too. Main quest not only gives you a clear goal in the game, it also gives you a steady pace to grow. I still remember being sidetracked to a comic book shop, and being ambushed by a horde of feral ghouls. It’s usually not a problem to face feral ghouls, but it can be dangerous when your level is low. Anyway, The Commonwealth features a diverse of landscapes from urban settings all the way to Glowing Sea, the ground zero of nuke detonation. All these different locations forces player to approach them differently, and at the same time, makes exploring more interesting than ever. The Commonwealth is alive, and it’s up to you to find out what secrets it is hiding.
Deep down, the Fallout franchise is still a first-person shooter game and the gun play is improved a lot here. While it’s still nice to have VATS (Vault-Tec-Assisted Targeting System) around, you don’t really need that anymore as the game actually allows you to aim and shoot your enemies with ease. Following the footsteps of Skyrim, you can even assign favorites on D-pad that allows easy access to your favorite items. However, every once in a while, I still like to access the items through Pip-Boy instead. D-pad access doesn’t pause the game, but Pip-Boy does. This way, if your health is really low you can actually feed yourself enough stimpaks to power through the battle, instead of one at a time.
VATS is a lot different this time around too. It no longer stops time, but slows it enough for you to make decisions. Other than that, you can manually activate critical-strike, or cancel out of the slow-mo anytime you want. It gives player a more strategic gameplay, as you have the option to decide when to fight and when to quit. Using VATS uses up your action points, and it’s a great way to prevent player from overusing it. Also, I strongly suggest you to get the Mysterious Stranger perk, as it’s very helpful in VATS.
There are a lot of colorful enemies too in the wasteland of The Commonwealth. From the basic fractions enemies such as raiders, gunners and super mutants, there are also vast creatures such as mole rats, mirelurks and mutant hounds. Every once in a while, you might encounter giant, deadly enemies too such as Deathclaw, Yao guai and behemoth. The game sure makes things interesting, and traveling in The Commonwealth is both dangerous and fun.
Running into a Deathclaw in the wild can result in instant death, unless you have a Power Armor. Thankfully, the game is nice enough to give you a Power Armor early in the game and have you fight a Deathcalw with it! The Power Armor is a lot different in this game, as it functions more like a tank and has limited fuel resources. You can no longer wear your Power Armor just for the sake of it. I’m actually a big fan of it, as I’ve feel wearing Power Armor is a little too overpowered in the previous games. Also, the pieces of the armor can individually be repaired, switched and upgraded, giving you more options what kind of armor you’re going to wear.
If for some reason you’re sick of exploring, you can sit back and enjoy the new crafting and settlement system. Collecting any junk you can out there, because they might end up being the one component you need to build that one special weapon. It’s also easy to craft too, as the game makes it easy for you to look for the right material with tagging and more. You will want to collect anything you can, meaning that managing weight limit is more important than ever. The game makes it easy though, as you can easily dump all the junks in a settlement workbench and access them in a different workbench with ease.
You can easily upgrade your weapons with different components, and make the weapon of your dream. There are different things you can add to your gun, including a sniper scope, shock resistance, larger magazine and many more. The weapon’s stats will increase, and it will also show in the actual gun as well. It might look a bit ridiculous, but you gain so much in exchange of look. Meanwhile, you can also upgrade your armors too by adding different parts for both cosmetic and functional effects. However, it doesn’t work as well as the weapons, as a lot of outfits cannot have add-on or upgrades at all. It’s quite a shame, as I would really like to improve my Minutemen General’s Uniform.
The newest settlement system is probably where most players are going to spend a lot of time on. The game allows you to build your very own settlements, and you have the option to give settlers beds, food, water, defenses and more. It’s really fun to recruit various settlers, give them a place to call home, and arm them with weapons to protect such settlement. Personally, I chose Sanctuary Hills as my go-to settlement, as the place has a nature defense system and not a lot of entrance for enemy attacks. A strong and happy settlement might not necessary be an important gameplay requirement, but it’s nice to know that your actions make someone really happy, and you have a safe place to keep your gears and Power Armor.
A nice settlement will make your likeable among the settlers, but there are much better ways to make friends, and it’s through the companions. There are some great companions this time around, and they allow you to have more enriched experience during your gameplay. For example, the lovable Dog Meat as the ability to pick up hard to find, hard to get items, and Nick Valentine has the ability to unlock high security terminals, so you don’t have to wait for your character to learn those perks.
Picking the right companion is part of what makes the game so interesting. If you’re the type of player who likes to do the right thing and help the weak, you will want to have Nick, Piper or Preston Garvey around as they approve those actions and make you feel better. However, if you’re the type that likes to steal, kill or lie, then you will want to keep Strong or Cait around. Also, you have the option to romance your companion to unlock special perks, and it’s not going to be easy if you can’t get along with said companion.
Alright, with all the goods there must be some bads. Like every other Bethesda game, Fallout 4 is full of physic breaking glitches, character clipping through and frame rate drops when doing absolutely nothing at all. These are no big deal, but it’s a super nightmare when the game crushes, quest won’t properly begin/end, or worst of all, save file corrupts. I’m lucky enough not to encounter anything that actually hinder my enjoyment in the Commonwealth, but knowing the possibility is there still scares me.
It’s a long journey, but Fallout 4 is definitely worth it. The ending can be a bit underwhelmed regardless what fraction you chose, but the fact that you can further explore the wasteland and no level cap at all is really nice. My love for the game is clear and there’s nothing more I can say. If you will excuse me, I’m gonna stop my review here and go back to Commonwealth for more adventures.
– The Good:
- Great established world.
- Improved combat system.
- Superb crafting system.
- Great characters, companions.
– The Bad:
- Deadly glitches and bugs.
– Overall Score: 9.7/10