Published on November 10th, 2015 | by Andrew Bistak
Fallout 4 Review
Summary: Fallout 4 is an amazing gaming experience that is filled with entertaining and quite clever gaming mechanic that looks amazing on the XBox One console
The Fallout series has a huge following in the gaming world which was originally released on the PC in 1997 and 18-years later, the highly anticipated FALLOUT 4 from Bethesda Game Studios (BGS) is finally here. Needless to say, Bethesda has been quite clever in their marketing and when I first saw the early trailers of this action RPG, this game had me hook, line and sinker. Available on the PC, PlayStation 4 and XBox One (reviewed), Fallout 4 is set 200 years after a nuclear war which has the controller playing their own customisable avatar in this post-apocalyptic world. So if you thought The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was big, wait to you get your hands on this game!
Unlike previous instalments, players can actually experience the Fallout universe before the nuclear attack on the United States which served as an introduction to the game and allowed the player to totally customise their character which includes gender, race and appearance. To keep with the post-Fallout theme, there is a “story” that loosely revolves around your character who was a former soldier before the blast and was married with a baby called Sean. It was the perfect “1950’s” inspired life.
However when you wake from your cryogenic chamber, you witness your son being stolen which puts your character on a path of revenge fuelled payback that targets The Institute, one of the Commonwealth’s biggest threats. So as the story progresses, you soon join the Minute Men, a group of patriotic heroes who help people against Raiders and all sorts of nasties which serves as a direction for your character. What I liked about the Fallout 4 universe is the politics involved, especially between humans and “snyths” who look like real-humans but are indistinguishable and definitely causes a ripple through this broken society.
Before exploring this post-apocalyptic world, gamers must first customise the statistics of their character which is broken down into strength, perception, endurance, charisma, intelligence, agility and luck which are the founding blocks of your character. So in classic RPG fashion, you are awarded a set number of points which then need to be divided amongst your statistics. Depending on what points are used where, this will affect your characters perks such as “iron fist” or “heavy gunner” with one dependent on melee and the other allowing you to use heavy weapons like mini-guns. Perks also affect how you interact with others and even your companions that includes dogs, humans and robots.
For example “attack dog” gives your German Shephard the ability to hold down your enemies or with the “local leader” perk, it gives you additional bonuses while dealing with non-player characters. You also have some really silly but useful perks like the “Idiot Savant” that allows you to accrue XP faster or the very useful and powerful “Grim Reaper” which gives you this almost death-like power by filling up your action points faster which is ideal for taking our multiple foes. Thankfully with all your levelling in Fallout 4, you’ll have plenty of chances to taste quite a few different perks.
The main in-game hub is well designed as well which gives you useful access to enemy location, a compass, your health/radiation, ammunition and some additional information to either warn or inform the player of something that is in the area. When you wear the power armour, additional information is given to the player and at times you feel like you’re inside a mech or some futuristic Robocop. Needless to say, it’s a careful juggle with the in-game hub to ensure that your character is safe and that you are informed of what may be lurking in the area.
BGS should be commended on the control schematics of Fallout 4 on the XBox One because it is well mapped on the controller and this can be tweaked if you find the pre-sets a little awkward. The menu system for your character in Fallout 4 is via your Pip-Boy which is a Personal Information Processor and is a 50’s inspired computer-like device that gives you access to Statistics (Special, Perk, Combat), Inventory (Weapons, Apparel, Aid, Misc, Junk, Mods and Ammo), Data (Quests), Maps and Radio.
However one cool thing that BGS have done is by implementing a companion app that works like a charm for owners of Fallout 4. Simply by installing a small app on your smartphone or tablet, you basically get this system as an app on this device which definitely makes accessing key elements in the game a much more fluid experience. For quest lovers, Fallout 4 is broken into a handful of categories that include “main quests”, “side quests” and then story quests that are linked to a main theme. However if you want the full Fallout 4 experience, you definitely want to engage in as many of quests as possible which does increase your experience points as well. I really enjoyed the quests in Fallout 4 and still have quite a few left to finish.
Furthermore, the gaming world of Fallout 4 is massive and thankfully there are two types of maps which include a long range or local map. So while you explore the environment by setting markers and finding cities and new locations, you are able to fast travel to them once you have discovered them that makes exploring quite a fun part of the game because you never know what you might discover. And just like the TV trailer for Fallout 4, you definitely feel like a wanderer with all the exploring and walking that you do.
Then you have your “house” which allows you to create your own Minecraft-like base from a plethora of different materials to even being able to decorate the inside of your base. Add in fortification options, companions and a bed to sleep and I had a blast searching for new materials to make my Red Rocket gas station a true home away from home that allowed me to rest and store the insane amount of items that I found during my travels. With that said, Fallout 4 is oozing with thousands upon thousands of items to find that not only allows you to trade with others but you can customise (craft) equipment and weapons.
Combat in Fallout 4 is a mixture of first person (or third) meets strategic thanks to the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting Systems (V.A.T.S.) and by pressing the left shoulder button on the Xbox One controller, this allows you to target a particular area of your enemy or enemies which may include their head, torso or even their appendages. The V.A.T.S. is very integral to playing Fallout because against the larger more powerful enemies or multiple enemies, this allows you to target specific areas of your enemies in order to stop them with deadly forced.
So once you have selected which areas of the enemy you want targeted, you simply resume the game by pressing A and watch the combat commence. It’s not a turn based perse as the world moves extremely slowly when you activate V.A.T.S. and this can mean damage or death. Trying to fight a Deathclaw in just first person or third person is quite tricky but when you slow-down time with V.A.T.S., it makes things a little easier.
There are things that effect V.A.T.S. which include distance of enemies, whether you have enough ammunition and what your perk level is with the weapon. But if all else fails, you can play the game like a first person shooter by manually attacking enemies but you might want to try that on the lowest difficulty. For me, I used a combination of V.A.T.S. plus the first person shooter option for those easy kills. With that said, Fallout 4 does support four different levels of difficulty which can be changed on the fly.
Nonetheless the combat system in Fallout 4 is very sturdy and the gaming mechanics really allow for some great strategies as you need to use the environment and your companions carefully. In relation to companions like Dogmeat, you can give them basic orders like follow and stay which must be taken into consideration because they do have their own minds and it broke my heart seeing my dog yelp and then crawl with his two back legs broken. They did pay… and they paid with their lives!
Fallout 4 has a huge amount of weapons available from automatic to non-automatic, heavy guns, melee weapons, punching weapons and lots of explosives to go boom in the night. And if you’re lucky, you might be able to find some “legendary” weapons which truly pack a punch. Of course it wouldn’t be Fallout without the armour and the power armour in the game gives you some great protection and firepower that when tweaked, allows you to take on even the toughest of enemies.
In terms of enemies, Fallout 4 is once again bristling with hundreds of different enemies that again lends itself to the realism of this title as each area has its differences like radioactive scorpions to powerful mutated dogs called the Yao Guai, humans, robots and synths. It’s full of surprises and some of these creatures and humans can be quite tough so you need to change your strategy for quite a few of the enemies.
Thankfully you have gatling lasers, battle axes and even “home-made” pipe bolt action shotguns to dispatch your assailants. If you do get injured, you can flee the scene in order to eat food or use stimpacks, retreat to your home to sleep it off or take chems which are basically drugs that give you temporary increases that can not only be expensive but also highly addictive. So as you can see, Fallout 4 is truly a massive game!
Visually, Fallout 4 is a very impressive game on the Xbox One that has some insane attention to detail. From the very first time you set foot into the world of this post apocalyptic game, you feel like you’re on another world and whether that’s the 1950’s inspired post-game introduction or walking out of the bunker for the first time, BGS have really hit the mark when it comes to the atmosphere.
So no matter where you look like the ground, the sky or as you enter a plethora of different buildings, it’s definitely a labour of love and really immerses you into not just the character but the world itself. Character design is another highlight, particularly the non-humans. Humans on the other hand do seem a little bland in terms of facial details. Add in realistic lighting, weather effects and some truly gruesome gore effects that when matched with the gameplay creates a truly enjoyable experience on this console.
When it comes to audio, Fallout 4 boasts a whole world of sound effects that supports the gameplay well. All the weapons have their own sounds that include both melee and ranged items. Voice acting is good but some of the voice acting does sound a little flat at times and my main character at times lacked some emotion, especially with what happened to him post-fallout.
Fortunately there are some great characters with equally as entertaining voices like Codsworth who has some great laughs in the game. However where the audio shines is through the all the background ambience which almost makes you believe that you are in a world ravaged by nuclear war. So whether it’s the wastelands with all the strange sounds of the twisted creatures to the sometimes eerily silent cities that boast the occasion sound, the audio has been crafted very well.
Fallout 4 is a big game and I mean a BIG game on the XBox One which means don’t expect to knock this game over in just a couple of sittings or over the weekend because you could easily spend in access of 100 hours playing and exploring this game, particularly with the ability to craft items and even your base.
The gaming mechanics are almost flawless which gives the player a sturdy control system in this action RPG that successfully teleports you into this post-apocalyptic world as you search for your son and “save” the world. Sure, the story does take a back seat but this is because you create your own character and make your own story and what a story it is. Imagine being the star of I am Legend or Mad Max as you control your destiny in this nuclear devastated world.
- Freedom and Liberty!
Do whatever you want in a massive open world with hundreds of locations, characters, and quests. Join multiple factions vying for power or go it alone, the choices are all yours.
- You’re S.P.E.C.I.A.L!
Be whoever you want with the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. character system. From a Power Armored soldier to the charismatic smooth talker, you can choose from hundreds of Perks and develop your own playstyle.
- Super Deluxe Pixels!
An all-new next generation graphics and lighting engine brings to life the world of Fallout like never before. From the blasted forests of the Commonwealth to the ruins of Boston, every location is packed with dynamic detail.
- Violence and V.A.T.S.!
Intense first or third person combat can also be slowed down with the new dynamic Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System (V.A.T.S) that lets you choose your attacks and enjoy cinematic carnage.
- Collect and Build!
Collect, upgrade, and build thousands of items in the most advanced crafting system ever. Weapons, armour, chemicals, and food are just the beginning – you can even build and manage entire settlements.
Game Title: Fallout 4
Primary Format – Games – Xbox One
Game Genre – Role Playing Game
Rating – MA15+
Game Developer – Bethesda Game Studios
Game Publisher – Bethesda Softworks
Fallout 4 is available on PC, PlayStation 4 and XBox One from 10/11/2015 at all good retailers