Fallout 4 is the game of the year! Or is it? In my opinion it really isn’t. It’s one of the top 5 that’s for sure, but given my preference, Fallout 4 isn’t my favorite. Maybe it’s because I haven’t played a Fallout game before (gasp!) or maybe it’s because I don’t really have the time to dedicate to an RPG that promises hundreds of hours of content. If you want a fanboy review of this game, there are plenty of other sites that have already given this game 10/10, 5 stars, their first born and will be happy for you to read them. If you want a first timer’s, honest and objective review of Fallout 4, please read on.
Fallout 4 really doesn’t need an introduction. It’s a game that’s set in a retro-futuristic world based off of the spotless charm of the 1950s. Imagine steampunk but instead of the Victorian era, you have the Eisenhower era instead. It’s a really neat perspective that adds some old timey fun without having to stretch so much when it comes to weaponry. There are still pistols and shotguns, but then you get ray guns and other fun weapons that turn your enemies into goo. Of course you can get this in steampunk, but the 1950s “let’s power everything with nukes” mantra makes it all the more fun. This time in Fallout 4 you play the concerned parent who wakes up after 200 years to find their partner killed and their son missing. It’s up to you to find him.
Before the War
Before Fallout 4 came out, I bought Fallout 3 on Steam for a ridiculously low price to get my feet wet. I had already committed the 120 dollars for the Pip Boy edition, but I wanted to know for sure if I should open the game and give it a go. I’ll touch on the Pip Boy Edition later. When I played Fallout 3, I didn’t really like how the game moved slow. I was raised from a baby to a teenager all the while staying in the safety of the vault. I would have progressed farther, but Fallout 3 doesn’t play nice with Windows 8, so when I would go and punch a bully in the face, the game would crash. Game crashing bugs aren’t really my style so I assumed that I wouldn’t have any issues with the console version of Fallout 4. After all, it’s been seven years since the release of Fallout 3, so one would hope Bethesda got their stuff together and there would be minimal issues. I was wrong.
Number one rule of RPG – save early and save often. Luckily I only lost 4 minutes of play.
Fallout 4 is buggy. At least for the Xbox One it is. You can tell me I deserved it for not choosing the PC Master race, but that’s really not the point. A game should work across all platforms and since the console version is the true version (the PC version is a PORT btw) it should work as intended. And let’s be clear here: I’m not talking about bugs where I get hit and I go flying off of the screen because of some silly calculation. I’m talking about game crashing, save corrupting games that seriously hinder my ability to play a game that I paid $60 hard earned dollars on.
I’m currently level 10 and have logged about 10 hours playing which way way less than my friends here at Epicpower gaming. You might notice a lack of content on the site and I can assure you, the writers are hard at work building settlements and fighting raiders in Fallout 4. In those 10 hours I have encountered 5 crashes and 1 corrupt save. Truly unacceptable for a triple A title that has been in the works for close to a decade. The bugs aren’t even caused by something I’m not supposed to be doing. The last bug was me following Dogmeat and going up some stairs. I could forgive Fallout 4 for bugging out if I tried to strafe through the map to get to an area I wasn’t supposed to be in, but for walking up the stairs?
All bugs considered, the game’s story is mysterious and non-linear. Like with Elder Scrolls, the game gives the player a ton of freedom to just roam around. You don’t have Dogmeat whispering to you every 15 minutes saying you really should be heading off to the castle to join the Minute Men. Sometimes I want to take a break from the quests of the game and just build up settlements which becomes a game unto itself.
Settlements in Fallout 4 have the ability to bring out the creative types. If you like Minecraft, then settlements in Fallout 4 will give you something to do if you’re bored. The good news is that if you don’t like building things, Settlements aren’t 100% necessary in the game. You need to complete one quest for settlements and they can be satisfied simply by putting random objects on the ground. My garden is right next to my turrets and generators. But of course if you really want to build, the tools that are provided are really easy and translate well to the controller. Simply pick what you want to build and place it in a spot that the game will allow. Need to rotate? No problem, just pull the right or left trigger and you’re good to go. Don’t like there those melon plants are? Again, not a problem, just store the item and move it to the other side of the settlement if you want to.
you can assign settlers to garden and build
This game is expansive. There’s a ton to do and since I work full time, I’m lucky to get in an hour a day to play Fallout 4. I would absolutely hate this game if I couldn’t fast travel between cities that I have already been to. Fast travel is a godsend in a game like this. The wasteland is boring and dangerous. A lot of people will argue that Fast Travel ruins the immersion of the game, but when your main goal is to quest and not explore, the Fast Travel option gives you the perfect balance of speed and exploration.
The music in Fallout 4 is eh. The game is made to feel desolate and lonely. The lack of music in the game plays well to the theme and the ominous score when someone is about to kick your ass makes tense moments even more so. If you really want to listen to music, you can pick up stations with your Pip Boy and choose to blast some tunes while you battle and explore. The one thing that did bug me is that when you do have a radio station playing, you can’t hear what people are saying. This is really frustrating when you come across someone and they decide to tell you an integral part of your story. You would think your character would have the common decency to turn the music down while you talk to someone. Talk about rude.
The Dialog in this Fallout 4 is robust and you can interact with almost everyone in the game. The only issue is that a handful of people actually give you quests. This can be frustrating as sometimes a person who you recently spoke to will just walk by as you say high and then at a later time tell you their sob story about how they need you to take out a hornet nest on the other side of the map. Talking to people in the game is fun, but only if they have something worthwhile to say. In other RPGs such as Alundra or Final Fantasy, the NPCs all at least have something worth saying even if it is just the same thing as the other guard said.
The graphics in the game are on par with what Bethesda has been capable of in the past. The textures are wonderful and the scenery is photographic. The characters that you interact with have maybe 4 different gestures that gets really boring when you trigger a “cinematic” event where the character talks for the next five minutes. But if you’re buying a Bethesda game for the ultra realistic graphics, then you’re buying a Bethesda game for the wrong reasons. Many will complain that it looks like an upgraded Skyrim (because it uses the same engine) but they don’t take into account that you can pick up almost anything in the game and place it anywhere else on the map. There aren’t many graphically intensive video games that can do that.
Pip Boy Edition
Everything fits in a nice little package
Yes, I bought the premium Pip Boy Edition even though I’m not a diehard fan of the Fallout series. I am however a fan of video game collectables so when I saw the Pip Boy edition, I knew I had to have it even if the game turned out to be a dud.
The case that the Pip Boy and the game come in is made of sturdy plastic. It measures about a foot wide and a foot tall and a foot deep. To open the case, there are two prongs that release the lid and opens up to your new Pip Boy. The case is lined with thick foam which is important since there is nothing protecting the game from the elements. If this were to sit on the shelf, you wouldn’t know it’s for Fallout 4. The level of detail that went into this case is amazing. Even on the bottom it says “2077 – Vault-Tec Corporation” How cool is that? This thing really looks like something that you would find in the game and Bethesda really goes all out to ensure that their collector’s editions are worth collecting.
The Pip Boy
The Pip Boy itself is another game accurate prop. It’s made out of rigid thick plastic and for the most part is a scale replica of your Pip Boy in the game. The only complaint that I have is that it looks too new and I would have much rather had an imitation steel paint job like the Mini Nuke Fallout Anthology version does. But it is a “new” Pip Boy so I see where they were going with it. I really thought the user manual was a nice touch although I’m a bit disappointed that they have to specify what pages are satire and which are actually to operate your Pip Boy.
The Pip Boy comes with a stand for display when the Pip Boy is not in use. The cool thing about this prop is that it’s useful with the Fallout companion app. The Pip Boy fits most modern Android and iOS phones up to 5 inches. All of you with Notes and iPhone 6 Plus are out of luck. The Pip Boy fits comfortably around my wrist and provides a fun way to use the companion app, but I found it cumbersome after a while and now it’s prominently displayed on my shelf next to my Power Glove.
Fallout 4 is a pretty cool game that even a casual RPG player can jump into. I wouldn’t call myself a super hard core Fallout fan now that I have played it, but I see why people enjoy the game. It has a deep sandbox for players to pump out endless hours of content and that’s before the modifications. I’ll be interested to see what type of mods are available to Xbox One users. I doubt it’ll be as fun as the PC players, but I’m sure we’ll get something.
If you haven’t played a Fallout game before in your life, Fallout 4 is a great start. The good thing about the Bethesda games is that it’s not necessary to play the whole series before jumping in on the sequels. Even the Elder Scrolls games are welcoming to new players. I would however hold off on Fallout 4 until the first patch comes out so that Bethesda has a chance to fix any bugs that might be plaguing the game. I for one am looking forward to it.