Developer(s) – Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher(s) – Bethesda Softworks
Director – Todd Howard
Producer – Jeff Gardiner
PEGI – 18
As one of the most highly anticipated games of the eighth generation, Fallout 4 was released in November of last year to an astoundingly warm reception, taking everything the team had previously present in both Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, and expanding on the content greatly, and providing what is arguably the best game in the series overall. After playing the previous two games myself, I took a much dimmer view than what many other gamers took with them, as I found far too many issues with them to able to look upon them as classics. However, whilst I don’t see the fourth game as being the best title of 2015, it is certainly a massive improvement on any other game in the saga so far.
Graphics – 8.5/10
As far as visuals go, they are for the most part excellent. From a technical standpoint, scenery, characters, and enemies are extremely well rendered, with graphical performance and attention to detail being greater than it ever has been throughout the series before. The game stands out even more conceptually, set in a post-apocalyptic Boston and featuring locations such as the ruins of Fort Independence, and a huge hub city built around the ruins of the Boston Red Sox home baseball park, Fenway. The biggest factor preventing me from giving this game a perfect score in this respect is the fact that there a good few graphical glitches to be found throughout; even on the PlayStation 4 version, with things such as hovering characters and characters walking through solid objects, which can be a fairly common occurrence in the game’s creation mode I find.
Gameplay – 9/10
The game has more content and more variety than any other Fallout game to date, featuring the ability to build and maintain settlements, weapon customization, armor customization and to build and maintain power armor in addition to the traditional elements of exploration, side quests, and the mix of FPS and RPG mechanics. Just as Fallout 3 was seen as an improvement on what Bethesda did with Oblivion, and how Skyrim was seen as an improvement on what was done with Fallout 3, Fallout 4 is largely seen as an improvement on what Bethesda did with Skyrim, featuring many of the same features, but expanded upon. Although it initially took me a while to comprehend where I should have begun, and whilst I don’t think it’s as good as Skyrim is, I have had a lot of fun with this game, and I would recommend it to any fan of either the first-person shooting genre or RPG genre.
Controls – 9.5/10
One of the biggest improvements made in my opinion is in terms of the game’s control scheme. Calling upon id Software to help them, Bethesda has managed to dramatically improve her shooting mechanics, as well as the series’ famed V.A.T.S system, which players can take advantage of in order to aim for specific enemy body parts and weak points. Whilst playing Fallout 3 and New Vegas, many of my frustrations stemmed from this factor in the game, but now they have been done properly in Fallout 4, I honestly have no complaints about it this time around. The only problem I found with the control scheme was that it could be a little bit of a frustrating task to put a house together since commands can be misinterpreted depending on what the player is pointing at on the screen at the time.
Lifespan – 10/10
In terms of lifespan, players will want for nothing. Aside from the game’s main story, which can take up to 15 hours to complete alone, it’s possible for players to put in far past 100 hours of gameplay in doing additional things within it; be that developing settlers and protecting them from raiders, or playing the various different arcade games that can be found throughout, or completing the various different side quests scattered across the Commonwealth or gathering resources and materials in order to create the best weapons and armor possible to have in the game.
Storyline – 6/10
In my opinion, the biggest disappointment regarding this game is the story. Set in a wasteland called the Commonwealth, formerly Boston, Massachusetts, the player character is at first a down-to-earth family man, or woman, who has been selected for a place in Vault 111 ahead of an impending nuclear apocalypse. As the family is taken into the vault, it transpires that they are all part of a sadistic cryogenic experiment, in which they are frozen for over 200 years. During their captivity, the vault is infiltrated by unknown assailants, who kill either the wife or husband of the playable character and kidnap their infant child. The player character then vows to find the child and kill those responsible for his/her murder and the child’s abduction. The problems I had with the story were that many of the characters, including the main character, seemed extremely monotonous in terms of emotional expression, and don’t work very well to convey either the main story or side stories, to any great extent. The overall plot is also extremely reminiscent of that of the third game, which further confounds its lack of uniqueness in my opinion.
Originality – 7/10
Aside from the graphics and gameplay being extremely well undertaken by Bethesda, the game also does fairly well to stand out among the crowd too. It is probably the most robust mainstream game ever released in terms of content. Although this game isn’t the first to do many of the things that it did, which is why it only gets the score that it does in this respect, they have been done abundantly, efficiently, and all at the same time, and I can’t fault it too much for that. To me, it’s more evolutionary than revolutionary.
In summation, Fallout 4, whilst not being the best game of its kind that Bethesda has released, is most definitely the best game in the series, as well as one of the best games of the eighth generation so far. There is certainly more than enough to do for players prepared to dedicate as much time as possible to it, and despite that it may take a while for some players to immerse themselves in, I still greatly recommend it.