As one of the most popular RPG games today (the most popular RPG shooter) the Fallout games high expectations placed on them each and every iteration. While some titles have had their early hiccups or flaws that players eventually came to ignore or embrace, they always made a large mark on the gamin scene for years to come.
Fallout 4 is the latest in the series, and the first to take on the new consoles, giving it a whole extra set of expectations to break as players not only expect a new story and environment, but new features that take advantage of the freedom the more powerful systems provide.
During my first hours into the game those two thoughts kept creeping into my mind, has the game really advanced that much, is the story new and different? Fortunately the answer most of the time was yes, the game feels very fresh, there’s more to do and see, and the combat feels more alive. That being said, there is still a slight feeling of “been there done that” that’s hard to shake.
Fallout 4 feels like a whole new wasteland. The vast nothingness of the New Vegas desert and Capital wasteland are replaced with a decrepit irradiated Massachusetts, full of half fallen down buildings and less than friendly mutant/ raider inhabitants.
The map is reportedly larger than the New Vegas map, but it feels cozier because there’s just so much more in it. You would think this might make you feel safer but it’s actually the opposite. The ample scenery elements just create more stuff for the bad guys to hide behind and ambush you from.
Characters are definitely one of the more familiar aspects of Fallout 4, borrowing a lot of the animations from Skyrim but slapping on that old Fallout charm. The whole area is being fought over by multiple factions lending to that feeling of being in unsafe territory no matter where you are.
Vats has changed ever so slightly, but the impact is quite significant. Enemies no longer completely stop when you enter the assisted targeting mode, but instead slow down (albeit quite a bit). This small tweak actually changes the feel of the combat quite a bit. Fights feel like likes even if you use Vats regularly, instead of a stop to roll the dice.
If Vats isn’t your thing, the real time combat feels like it’s gone through some fine tuning. Combat is frantic and the new power armor does a great job of making you feel like a one man tank.
Of course combat is only half the story in Fallout. You can still sneak, steal, and talk your way through the game if that’s more your speed. Having a voice and a face takes some getting used to, but after the first few encounters you forget it was ever any different.
Other new features that were added but didn’t make it into my short time with the game are the settlement builder and crafting system. From the quick flashes of it I saw while stomping rad roaches, they look like a great break from wasteland combat.
Players can place structures and build a settlement up form nothing, eventually gaining electrictyand defensive buildings. Crafting gives a use for all that hoarding you do in the wastes. Armor and weapons can be whipped up when you find yourself at a crafting station saving you time searching and/ or caps.
This being a first impressions piece there’s no final verdict or score on the game. Even if I wanted to my time with the game has just been too limited. What I will say is that from the brief glimpse of what I have seen, there’s a lot of game going on here.
Fallout has never been a game where there was absolutely nothing to do and Fallout 4 takes this to new levels with the settlement builder and sheer size of the world. If you’re looking for a long term relationship kind of game, you should definitely consider diving into Fallout 4 head first.
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