Given the type of game Fallout 4 is I would not be comfortable with writing a review if I had anything less than 50 hours into the game so this is simply a first look.
Fallout 4 looks beautiful at a crisp 1080p at 60Hz on my computer monitor. The textures are detailed, the backgrounds beautiful and the colours convey the dreary-danger of the Wasteland. The character creation system is extremely detailed. I only spent half an hour working on my character but could easily sink an hour or more into it if I’d wanted to. Of course, there are also some pre-made characters for those not willing to put in that kind of time.
Getting into gameplay, it feels pretty much like Fallout 3 or New Vegas. Movement is fluid, combat is fast paced and very dynamic. There are, however, a few things Bethesda switched up from its previous Fallout titles. Fallout 4 adopted a LA Noire dialogue system, and more dramatically your character actually speaks! Adding a voice gives the character a much more concrete personality. However, it does place a small limitation on the freedom of imagination given to the player.
Another addition to the franchise is their revamped crafting system and stacked armor. This opens up a crazy amount of new weapon and armor customization, yet also means increased time in crafting menus and inventories. I tend to like the new system. It makes me feel like I have to be resourceful to survive in the post-nuclear wasteland. Yet loot hoarders beware! There’s tons more loot in the world than in previous games. Be prepared to give your dog companion that ten pound lead weight you decided to pick up for some reason.
It would be a tragedy if I didn’t continue to speak about the dog companion. You are introduced to dogmeat very early on in the game. He’s a little bit different than other companions in the sense that you can command him more. Also he will sometimes find useful items and bring them to you or sense enemies that you may not be able to see yet. As a sneak character I love him. His AI is much smarter than other companions and he doesn’t blow my cover every time he sees an enemy.
Meanwhile, the ambient music of the game gives off a vibe of solitude and hopelessness which complements the scenery beautifully. More so than past games Bethesda uses the music to cause a reaction in the player. I really felt the desperate desire for survival that my character faced.
Diamond City Radio, the primary radio station in the Commonwealth, plays the usual fallout staples of swing and big band music and also includes a variety of blues and early rock ‘n roll that give a more holistic view of popular music of the time period than past Fallouts. Bethesda also included a mix of songs from old Fallout games and new additions. While I enjoyed the nostalgia the old soundtrack gave me, I wish there was more new material to listen to.
Unfortunately Fallout 4 is not the perfect game. There are of course the usual bugs and glitches. At one point a Super Mutant’s arm got stuck inside his own chest as he tossed a Molotov at me. These are mostly funny and harmless but I do hope Bethesda is working on getting a patch out fairly soon.
There are also some points where the game feels a little too much like Fallout 3. While a little nostalgia doesn’t go amiss, I was left with the feeling that Fallout 4 didn’t do quite enough to establish its own identity within the franchise. I’m hoping that this changes as I put more hours into it and discover more of the little nuances of The Commonwealth.
Overall I’ve quite enjoyed my time with Fallout 4 and I’m planning on spending a lot more time with it in the coming months.
Players new to the Fallout games will love Fallout 4 especially after a patch or two from Bethesda. Veteran Vault-Dwellers might get a tad bored after a few hours because it’s too much like Fallout 3. However, like with all Fallout games, a simple change of playstyle, a new character, a different companion can change the game into something completely different.
Fallout 4 will be different for everyone who plays every time they play. That’s part of what makes it so wonderful. There’s always another adventure to be had.