One of the interesting things I think about Fallout 4 is the fact that’s built around the Bethseda Creation Engine, which was first used in a commercial product back in 2011 with the launch of Skyrim. Previously, they used the Gamebryo engine which other cool games used such as Bully, RIFT, Ragnarok Online II, Morrowind & Oblivion, Warhammer Online, and my personal favorite Wizard101. What’s interesting about the switch to the Creation Engine is that while you’re thematically in the Fallout universe, there is a lot of parallels to Skyrim, which is pretty interesting to me.
First, one thing we have to understand is that Fallout I & II are completely different games than 3 & 4. Interplay developed the original game, with Tim Cain at the head of the ship. After Fallout II, some of the team moved on to Troika, where they made Arcanum, The Temple of Elemental Evil, and Vampire: The Masqurade – Bloodlines.
Meanwhile, Bethseda picked up the IP and used the same engine they used for Oblivion to craft Fallout 3, which was a major success. Mostly cannibalizing the previous lore from the earlier games, they were able to successfully make a very successful game. Using the same engine from Fallout 3, they made a semi-expansion called Fallout 3: New Vegas.
If you ever wondered why Fallout 3 not only felt way different than Fallout 2, but seemed to play much like Oblivion, well now you know.
Now that we’ve moved to their internal creation engine, we’re now at two games utilizing it: Skyrim and Fallout 4. The consequence is that, realistically, they are very very similar, although thematically opposed. For instance, like in Skyrim, you can now walk around everywhere in Fallout 4 looting random junk off the table. Unlike Skyrim, the random junk you find has a use in the sense of being part of the complete crafting system, whereas in Skyrim a goblet realistically is just going to be sold for gold.
Both games have sneaking and, interestingly enough, they operate on nearly the same mechanics. Whereas in Skyrim, sneaking is clunkier, it’s a bit more expected with Fallout 4 (due to the VATs system).
The open world and complete sandbox is the allure of both games, yet Fallout 4 did something very, actually Skyrim-ish. Unlike Fallout 3: New Vegas, where your access to the world is almost completely tutorial free (I’m not even sure if there is any combat before you leave the doctors house), Fallout 4 holds your hand and actually nearly forces you to complete the first few tutorial quests. Unlike Fallout 3 though, the vault sequence is actually rather short lived, but you’ll spend a good 15 minutes unable to go anywhere until you leave. Once out of the vault, the first few quests are right slap in front of you, along with a few companions, and some starter gear.
Likewise, leveling is very much the same between the two games. The higher your level, the higher level the enemies are, leaving the entire game and anywhere you want to travel being able to be done at nearly any level. Perks, like skills in Skyrim, only offer some assistance in dealing with the increasing challenges. For some, leveling slowly is a must.
Building your house is actually rather similar between to the two games. The Hearthfire expansion offered quite a bit of in-world building tools and Fallout 4’s settlement system has expanded on it, offering the ability to defend your settlement, meanwhile, there are certain settlements that function just as homes – which is very similar to Hearthfire.
The only other major difference between the two games is that ranged combat in Skyrim is clunky (bow & arrows) or magic based, whereas Fallout 4, much like Fallout 3 has the FPS element. Of course, the series differences of setting, core mechanics (VATs vs. punching things), and the such are of course different. Some things are just the same though, like the radar and the GUI, like I mentioned earlier, random junk everywhere, and NPCs who don't like it when you plunder from them.
The odd thing about Fallout 4 is as I play, I do feel more like it’s similar to Skyrim. I might not have a horse, but the world is really chunky with everything squashed together, so it’s not like I’m ever hurting for wanting to go faster. The desire to mess around with odd mechanics or just avoid the story completely is what makes a Bethseda game, a Bethseda game.
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