Fallout 4 (PS4) review
So, what is Fallout 4 and what is the game about? Fallout 4 is a post-apocalyptic RPG that allows you to experience the world 200 years after nuclear war wiped out most life and left the planet looking like a barren wasteland. Your character (either male or female) experiences the pre-apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic world, as the game opens with you and your family running to Vault 111 to escape the nuclear attacks. Inside the vault you and all its occupants are cryogenically frozen for 200 years, but during this time you are awoken when raiders break in and steal your infant child and kill your partner. When you are eventually fully thawed out your only goal is to find your lost child and exact revenge on those who stole him.
As plots go Fallout 4 is straight forward, but in the end the plot does create an amazing and fun journey as the game’s story has you meeting, interacting with and joining various post-apocalyptic factions. These interactions help shape your idea of the wasteland with character talking about secret advanced societies that act without restraint, and learning the secrets of the wasteland through side quests helps create your own ideas of the societies that inhabit it, for example the Brotherhood of Steel, a faction that covets pre-war technology, looks down on other factions that strive to survive in the harsh nuclear wasteland.
If you were to look at Fallout 4 just through its main story you could be easily left disappointed, but the factions, characters and side quests you receive helps elevate the main story and the world around you. If you are planning on playing Fallout 4, I highly recommend performing side quests and other side activities as these interactions will help you with some morally though decisions.
Since you can play as either a man or woman, you might be wondering what the game’s character creation like? Well, it is limited to only altering the characters face, but while it is limited to this the alterations are pretty in-depth as you can heavily customise your character’s look by simply selecting a part of his/her face and scaling the selected portion to your heart’s content. If you want to create a truly unique character Fallout 4 offers the right tools for the job.
Like any good RPG, Fallout 4 has a number of stats and perks to help make your character feel as unique as possible. In Fallout 4 the perk system is known as S.P.E.C.I.A.L. with each letter representing one of the game’s seven main stats. When levelling up you can choose to put points into these main stats or use them on perks, which you can unlock by reaching a specific level or main stat. These perks along with the main stats help to create a unique forms of gameplay, with perks and stats allowing you to specialise in certain fields for example if you aren’t the type of person who doesn’t like to run and gun you can, for example, improve your sneak ability, and increase your locking picking and hacking skills.
Speaking of combat, it is very much similar to previous Fallout titles. Most combat is done at ranged with the various firearms you find in the game. However, if you aren’t overly confident in your shooting ability you can use the V.A.T.S. targeting system to slow down the fast-paced shooting into a more tactical form of combat as you have access to a more precise form of aiming with the ability to target limbs much easier, but there is a trade-off as the amount of times you can activate this system is limited to the amount of AP you posses at the time.
While fighting is usually all bout shooting or punching there are other ways to win a fight. In Fallout 4 you can talk your way of battle and win confrontations by using your charisma to talk enemies into giving up or gaining new information. The conversation addition to combat and dialogue is a fascinating addition, but to fully utilise it you must be very much focused on levelling your charisma stat.
Speaking of dialogue, what are conversations like in Fallout 4? Well in terms of presentation they are an improvement over past Fallout games as Fallout 4 is fully voiced, but this change limits it as I was constantly left feeling that dialogue had to be trimmed down and additional ways of talking were reduced or removed. There was also one other noticeable issue I had with the dialogue and that is how the charisma focused additional dialogue worked. The issue at hand was the use of a colour scheme to denote your chance of success with yellow being the easiest and red being the most difficult, but these colours didn’t give a clear indication because at times I found myself been successful with a red colour while still failing an orange difficulty. I would have personally preferred a percentage chance beside the choice with or with the different colours.
If you had followed the game in any form before release you would have learned that your character has a companion in the form of a dog called Dogmeat. Dogmeat is one of a number of companions that can join you in wasteland adventures, with each companion having their own unique trait. For example, Dogmeat can pick up items and bring them to you, and the detective Nick Valentine can hack computers for you. Companions are a great addition as they can help level the playing field when combat gets tough.
Moving away from the plot, stats, dialogue, and companions what else does the game offer? Well like every RPG you have crafting. Crafting in Fallout 4 is divided into six sections: workshop, armourer, chemistry, cooking, power armour, and weapons. Disregarding workshop for the moment, what can you do with the crafting? Well, armourer and weapons allow you to improve and customise your armour and weapons; with the weapon crafting being the most obvious with the customisation, for example, you can turn a simple 10mm pistol into the likes of a sharpshooter’s light 10mm pistol, which offers better recoil and hip-fire accuracy. Other than weapons, cooking and chemistry are important as cooking allows you to make none radioactive food, which means there is less of a need to worry about a piece of food lowering your overall HP while still healing lost HP, and chemistry allows you to make temporary status boosting items.
To make crafting viable, you have to scavenge the wasteland for parts, which means you may want to pick up every little item you run into. This idea of every item you run into being potentially valuable is a double edged sword as there is a limit to how many items you can carry at once because once you begin to carry too much you will become encumbered and be unable to run or even fast travel.
Crafting also relies on your perks as some of the more powerful crafting modifications for weapons and armour are locked behind one or even two perks.
Outside of combat and completing quests the game allows you to build settlements. Settlement building is a side activity that turns the game into something akin to Minecraft as you use all the items you find to create items such as walls, beds, crafting tables etc. with a settlement’s workshop. The game features numerous settlements, which you can unlock by completing quests for the Minutemen faction in the game. Settlement maintenance is a very much a side activity that offers very little apart from the enjoyment of finding a use for all the items that litter the world, I never found myself really engaging with the activity, and don’t worry the settlements that you liberate and help don’t seem to care that you don’t engage with them, because if a settlement is attacked and you decide to do nothing there doesn’t appear to be any noticeable consequences.
Now that I’ve done talking about all of Fallout 4’s gameplay elements, is there any issue or bugs? The answer to that is a resounding yes. On the PlayStation 4 version of the game I’ve had Fallout 4 crash at least once, drop frame rate to the point where it becomes nearly impossible to play for several seconds, clipping, and my personal favourite so far having the game freeze and my character getting shot up into the air so high the ground textures disappeared, then after several seconds being dropped down to earth with a bang. If you don’t like running into issues or bugs, I would advise holding off on the game until Bethesda fix the numerous issues.
In terms of graphics Fallout 4 has well-modelled character and an art style that offers some vibrant colours in what could have easily been a washed out colourless environment. The audio, for the most part, is impressive, but I feel Bethesda put too much emphasis on it as the fully voiced setup took away from the game’s dialogue, but, on the other hand, the dialogue helps liven up the atmosphere of the game.
Fallout 4 suffers from a weak plot that is well covered by a well fleshed out the world and numerous side activities. However, Fallout 4 is riddled with major frame rate issues and bugs that range from annoying to game breaking.
|+ Side activities help flesh out the world||– Settlement building is boring|
|+ The ability to modify your weapons||– Numerous bugs including crashing and framerate/screen tearing|
|+ The characters that inhabit the wasteland|
|Bethesda Studios||Bethesda||RPG||18+||PS4, PC, XBOne||November 10, 2015|
Author: Aaron Meehan
Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.