Fallout 4 Review

A couple of months ago I declared Skyrim as the greatest video game that I have ever played. That statement is now under serious assault from a title that I largely ignored for over a year. The fact that they are both from the same developer is quite astounding in my opinion. The only other Fallout game I played was New Vegas, and it is the only title in the first-person series to be done by a different developer. I didn’t much care for it and basically dismissed the series as cartoonish.

Around a month ago I cobbled together some gift cards and discounts and I bought a digital download for Fallout 4 on Newegg for $9.99. That provided me with a legitimate Steam key where I could download the game from my favorite online retailer (they were selling the base game at $29.99). Later, I picked up the Season Pass and have since been lost in this game.

Much of what drove the negative reviews on Steam (another reason I shied away from this title) are the very things that I find amazing: A fully voiced protagonist (Courtenay Taylor does an outstanding job as Nora, the Sole Survivor), a settlement building mode that you literally can be consumed by, and simply one of the best gunplay/first-person shooter packages I have ever experienced.

I have over 300 hours in and have reached level 71, but have yet to finish the main quest (or most of the DLC content for that matter). One of the things that I love to do in Skyrim is to go on raiding parties, hitting known bandit locations and wiping them out to rid Tamriel of their vile scourge. In Fallout 4 I have spent a great number of hours doing the same thing, ridding the Commonwealth of Massachusetts of the vagrants that pose a threat to the settlers.

Fallout 4 is an amazing game that has completely taken me by surprise, and is simply one of the best (if not the best) video games I have played yet.

There are many historical locations in Massachusetts represented in the game that add to the immersion.

Not all quests relate to killing things or finding lost artifacts. Here I must rescue a runway cat from another vault.

There is so much Power Armor in this game it is quite easy to assemble a junk yard of unused sets. I typically play without this armor as it is resource intensive to maintain (it is the only armor in the game that must be repaired when damaged). Mostly I use it to go back to a location to scavenge for materials as it significantly boosts your carrying weight capacity.

While Raiders and Gunners are the most prevalent enemy, there are situations in the base game where they will talk to you (and not immediately try to kill you). While there is no overarching karma system here, your actions can directly impact the affinity system of a specific companion (if you are traveling with one). Dogmeat has no cares about such interactions and doesn’t judge you if you kill them, pay the toll, or pay the toll and then kill them.

There are quite a few specialty items littering the Wasteland that can do everything from boosting a critical stat to allowing you more decorative choices in designing settlements. Finding these things (magazines, bobbleheads, etc.) has become somewhat of a minigame within the main game.

Companions in the game also typically have a perk that can be obtained when you maximize affinity with them. There is in addition to this a romance system that does not have to be engaged in if not desired, and does not affect the ability to gain the companions perk (which is permanent and cannot be taken back). Also, the game is not judgmental as to whom you choose to romance.

The bobblehead perks may seem inconsequential but do add up overtime to make the player character more robust across several of the games mechanics.

Settlement building can either be embraced or ignored, but is a quite satisfying aspect of the game. If you like designing things and not using cookie-cutter solutions to solve every problem, the game has many locations that should be addressed at a custom solution level to solve their issues effectively. In the end, I find this to be one of the bestselling points of the game.

While some people complain about companions, I find their combat AI to be exceptional. Yes, there is the occasional interference of them walking in front of you when you are aiming, but this is quite minimal in my opinion and is vastly outweighed by their superior use of cover and concealment. This is better implemented at the AI level than in any game I have played before.

There are many “Holy Shit” moments of the game where it pivots and becomes something entirely unexpected.

The landscape is littered with developer wisecracks.

Curie is exceptional in combat, and her dialogue lines are some of the most situationally hilarious available in the game.

When I encounter difficult situation such as this, I let the combatants weaken each other and then move in to mop up the surviving threats. This is an especially useful tactic when not in Power Armor and facing an enemy several levels higher than your player character.

The Silver Shroud questline is one of the most enjoyable in the game. The over the top voice acting of the character Nora (as voiced by Courtenay Taylor) is one of the most hilarious things you will hear in a video game.

Managing settlers can be a bit finicky, but the game provides some assistance with management software. There are mods available that do even more, but sadly they seem to have been broken by game updates and abandoned by the mod author, so I tend to shy away from those as it can have a detrimental impact to your save game file.

The kill cam in the game can be quite amazing at times, producing incredible images.

This a nightclub in Sanctuary for the benefit of my sym population.

Fallout 4 is an amazing game that I am not even close to finishing yet. If this game even remotely interests you, I would recommend picking it up on a Steam sale.

It is amazing.

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