Wandering the wasteland of Fallout 4
Bethesda’s summer tent-pole game has arrived giving PS4, Xbox One and PC explorers the chance to leave vault 111 and wander through a new-gen post-apocalyptic world of Fallout 4.
As one of the year’s most awaited games, expectations are high for the sequel to 2008’s Fallout 3 and the contracted-out 2010 spin-off, Fallout: New Vegas. I’ve been playing the game on PC for over week and I feel I’ve barely scratched the surface.
As with Bethesda’s fantasy RPG Skyrim, Fallout 4, more so than its predecessors, offers players an alternative life. The world of Fallout 4, whilst devastated by a nuclear war, is packed full of interesting places to explore, fascinating characters - most with a story of their own to tell - and deadly enemies.
The game starts with a lengthy set-up sequence that gives us a glimpse of life before the apocalypse and also serves as a neat character editor. With your character designed, it’s not long before you find yourself frozen by Vault-Tech in a nuclear shelter - a vault - only to be awaken as your family is torn from you. Emerging from the vault we find that we’ve been catapulted forward by 200 years into the bleak and very familiar world of Fallout 4.
And that the first thing that hit me- just how familiar the world was. I was expecting something a bit different, like the contrasting world of Skyrim compared to Oblivion. Instead Fallout 4 comes across rather like a re-textured Fallout 3. Beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but VERY familiar.
Bethesda haven’t strayed far outside their comfort zone, as Fallout 4 uses exactly the same sort of gameplay mechanics as their other (very successful, I may add) games.
Cast out in an overwhelmingly large world, players must interact with other denizens; completing missions, defending themselves and scavenging useful items from the ruins of society.
One of the endearing things about the Fallout games is the retro future in which they are set. From art-deco buildings and appliances to white-picket fences, you are walking through the ruins of the American dream, a 1950s vision of the future that never was. It’s a great stylistic choice that really works.
The as with previous Fallout games, the emphasis is on scavenging, but more so this time. You start the game with very limited resources, weapons and ammo, so you are going to need to find more just to survive.
For this entry, however, Bethesda have make crafting, that is, building equipment and items, an important part of the game. Instead of just wandering the wasteland and surviving, your character finds himself tasked with rebuilding society.
The crafting system is immense. You can build and augment armour and weapons; but you can also build an entire town using a toolkit that’s not far off that of the one in EA’s The Sims.
Settlement dwellers will need houses, beds, power, water, food and security. All of which you must provide. Breaking down objects into materials allows players to build generators, water purifiers, beds, walls, lighting and many other items essential to survival in the post-apocalyptic world of Fallout 4. Not only that but crops can be planted and citizens assigned to look after them until they yield a crop. The depth of gameplay is incredible.
In adding resource management to the game and giving the player that ability to make their own mark on the wasteland, Fallout 4 is a huge leap forward. Gathering items and crafting equipment suddenly becomes so much more worthwhile as you watch your settlements grow and your efforts rewarded.
Fallout 4 is pretty much a perfect gaming experience, but it’s not without its quirks. The enemy still do that odd side-stepping walk that can be found in Skyrim and Fallout 3. I get the feeling that they have built on existing tech rather than started from scratch for the new-gen.
Whist I can’t really fault the graphics; I wouldn’t say that it was the nicest-looking game. Don’t get me wrong, it’s about as nice as a post-apocalyptic wasteland should be, but it is all a bit drab. Naughty Dog, with their The Last of Us still managed to show the beauty of the world, even though it had gone to hell. Occasionally, though, when the lighting is just right, Fallout 4, does look photo-real; so, I’m really torn as to how I feel about the visuals.
Fallout 4 allows the player to forge their own story. The most fun to be had in the game is just wondering about, meeting strangers- friends and foes - and experiencing the world that you’ve been allowed to play in. It’s probably the most epic and rich open-world adventure that I’ve ever had the privilege to experience.
Fallout 4 is a true new-gen open-world game and quite possibly the best game I’ve ever played. The game is out now on Windows PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, so I strongly suggest that you go and pick it up!