Fallout 4 Review

fallout 4 review
War never changes. But property value has reached an all time low.

Welcome Back to Post-Apocalyptia

As with any classic RPG, it’s impossible to pin down Fallout 4 with a single sentence. It’s giant, impossible to put down, and honestly terrifying. It both builds off successful predecessors and jumps headfirst into new territories. The Fallout series is a 19-year-old giant, played and loved by fans both casual and diehard. Each installment has been hugely successful and stayed true to the Fallout essence. Like war, perhaps the games themselves never change.

But does Bethesda’s Fallout 4 remain loyal to the franchise? We love Fallout for a number of reasons, but a few key factors persist. Does the game fulfill its directive as an immersive RPG? Does it instill that desperate sense of survival? Does its world feel desolate, but filled with wanderlust and adventure? And, most importantly, does the game keep the old spirit alive while still adding new innovations? This review aims to answer that and more.

A Story to Tell

"Mmm! What a beautiful day! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and nothing bad is ever going to happen."

The game opens with you getting ready in a charming pre-war house. You share a mirror with your spouse, using the robust character creation tool to pick and tweak every detail. My spouse commented on my new haircut and dashing good looks as I artfully crafted my face into the likeness of a Neanderthal. I'm talking bulbous nose, droopy lips, beady eyes, and a jaw square enough to hurt a boxer's fist.

Character creation is easy to use and near limitless. You can create a pretty convincing picture of yourself, friends, or celebrities. I was impressed with the improvement from Fallout 4 (and Skyrim for that matter). A few minutes in, and I already had a dozen ideas I wanted to try.

Once I completed my character, I was given free rein to explore the house and its retro 50s furnishing. My character commented on everything I touched, from sugar bombs to laundry detergent. I sipped a cup of coffee brewed by my robot butler (who said my name!) and enjoyed an issue of Grognak the Barbarian. I bantered with my spouse and played with my child. Life felt pretty good for my hideous character. The domestic peace serves as a great setup for the inevitable calamity that is to come.

The bombs fall. The run to Vault 111 was tense; I genuinely felt anxious as the whole neighborhood panicked. We just narrowly made it inside before the nuclear blast swept over us. The relief was short lived, however, as the survivors then stepped into what looked suspiciously like stasis pods. Crackling frost branched across the pod's window, and my shivering breaths went quiet. When I woke up, it was only to witness the death of my spouse and the kidnapping of my son. I climbed out the pod and, upon dashing up to the body of my spouse, uttered a surprisingly lackluster, "I'll find who did this." And that was that. Bye, honey.

The main quest is all about tracking the killer and finding your son. The problem is, I didn't care about that. There's no reason to. It's the difference between watching a bully kick a puppy and watching a bully kick your puppy. It's sad, but it's not personal. Since I didn't feel any attachment to my character's family, I didn't care about revenge or my lost kid. Unlike Fallout 3, where an entire segment is dedicated to getting to know your dad as he raises you, Fallout 4 didn't offer enough to go on. Hell, my spouse's killer got more development than them. I honestly felt worse about shooting him in the face and stealing his jacket than witnessing my spouse's death. (Okay, but I still wore the jacket though.)

It wasn't until I left the vault that I felt my excitement rush back. The main questline is, ironically, not the game's main draw. What enraptured me was the plethora of well-written side quests. The rivalry between the factions as they struggle for control of the Commonwealth. And of course, stories of the area's boogeyman, the dreaded Institute. Fallout 4's setting is simply amazing. All I wanted to do was explore. I found myself sinking hours into the game just soaking in the wild, unforgiving wastes.

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A writer who loves games.
Gamer Since: 1997
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Fallout 4
Top 3 Favorite Games:Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Borderlands 2, Mass Effect 2
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