The day I bought my PlayStation 4 just so happened to be the day Fallout 4 was released as well. At the time I had not really played a lot of the Fallout series so I wasn’t as into 4 as I should have been or would later become, but I DID read an article on the game in Official PlayStation Magazine earlier that day and thought that it sounded amazing. So as we were checking out I had to run across the store to the restroom and on the way there I ran into the Fallout 4 display and there was only one copy in it! Needless to say I swooped it up without hesitation and ran in up to the register and the rest, as they say, is history.
Considering the fact that I have put almost a hundred hours into Fallout 4 so far and have only completed a handful of the story missions, I’d say it’s a perfect opportunity to write a ‘spoiler free’ review since i’m still pretty clueless as far as the plot is concerned. Luckily it is VERY easy to get distracted doing one of the myriad activities in this VERY large, VERY deep game. There has been numerous occasions were I played all day and did not complete one single story mission, side mission, companion quests, etc. On one of those occasions, I spent the day upgrading one of my settlements. The settlement builder is new to the Fallout series in this installment and it is implemented quite nicely. You can scrap out the stuff you don’t want any longer and use those supplies to build anew. You can build new homes, populate them with settlers, beds, dressers, cabinets, televisions, etc. You can even assign your settlers to certain duties to keep the settlement running properly as you are out exploring the vast wasteland. You can assign settlers to tend to the gardens, post up at the defense posts to watch over the settlement, you can even assign the settlers to their own respective beds. At the settlements you can place workstations to modify your weapons, armor, a chemistry station to cook up your own chems, a fire pit to cook and purify your obtained meat to rid it of harmful radiation, and a workplace to edit the settlement itself. Once you have multiple settlements and the ‘Mayor Perk’ you can even arm and assign a settler to a supply line so you will be able to share supplies between your multiple settlements. The settlement builder is nothing short of a whole other game within a game and can be quite fun and time consuming.
Once you are able to peel yourself away from your settlements, there IS a vast wasteland to roam and explore to your hearts content. Right from the get-go the entire map is open to explore, but be mindful of enemies that are ranked too high for your current level. When you come across an enemy that is out of your league, there will be a small skull next to their name and health bar. I like with a simple button press you can change it from first to third person view, even though I play it in first person view virtually the entire time. The only time I switch it to third person view is after I strap on some new gear and I want to see how I look. I enjoy both first and third person shooters equally, but the first person shooter mechanics are much smoother than the third in Fallout 4. The third person isn’t bad, it’s just a little awkward especially considering how solid the first person shooting is in this game. V.A.T.S. also makes a return in Fallout 4. In this version though, V.A.T.S. doesn’t stop the action entirely while in it. In Fallout 4 when you enter V.A.T.S. it slows the action down to a crawl while your AP goes down and you line up your shots. In Fallout 3 a lot of people looked at it as a kind of cheat mechanic since it stopped that action, but in Fallout 4 since the action is still moving, you can still be attacked and take damage.
One of the first things that comes to mind when I think of Fallout 4 is how on earth this game is able to run. I mean it has to push every little bit of the tech of the PS4, Xbox, PC to their absolute limits. The game is massive. It is gorgeous. There is the whole settlement building mechanic which is a game in and of itself, and it’s not like you just build one settlement either. I don’t remember the exact number but I believe it is around 20+ places you can build settlements. You can literally interact and pick up virtually every thing you come across in the game world. There is a ton of NPC’s you can interact and have a chat with and a lot of them you can even have join you on your adventure through the commonwealth wasteland as your companion. And if you are already traveling with somebody (or something) you can send them to one of your settlements. One of the only minor complaints I can come up with is the fact that there isn’t really a ton of new enemy variety in this iteration, but that is quickly forgotten since there is a good variety of baddies even if most of them have been seen before. Bethesda has remedied this in their Fallout 4 DLC Far Harbor-which I will get into in a later post. Admittedly I have not spent a ton of time with the Fallout series before this one, but Fallout 4 has literally become one of my favorite games of all time. Needless to say I am officially hooked now and have every intention of going back and playing more of Fallout 3 than I did the first time around and get into Fallout: New Vegas as well. Bethesda is just truly gifted at building these massive, engrossing, interactive worlds that we love to explore. They established this with their Elder Scrolls series and they have outdone themselves again with Fallout 4. Even if you are not a huge RPG fan, give it a go, you will not be disappointed.