Probably the single most anticipated video game release of 2015, Fallout 4 – the latest in the insanely popular post-apocalyptic RPG series from Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks is officially here.
Following its Game of the Year winning predecessors Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, a massive fan following, and more hype than has been seen from any game in quite some time, it’s probably the biggest understatement one could make in saying that Fallout 4 had a lot to live up to. But did it? Let’s get right down to it and find out!
Set in an alternate future reality where essentially the Cold War never ended, and (at least United States) culture never truly moved on from the 1950s/1960s, although massive technological advances utilizing nuclear power were made, the Fallout Universe tells the story of the events following “The Great War of 2077” where conflicts between China and the United States came to a horrifying conclusion resulting in complete nuclear devastation. As the game lore goes, it was not, however, the end of the world as many predicted, instead we were left with the destruction of civilization as we know it, and humanity lived on in the wastelands left behind.
Set in and around Boston, Massachusetts, the game begins with a brief prologue set in 2077 on the day the bombs fell. You create your character (either male or female, your choice) and shortly thereafter grab your family and retreat to nearby Vault 111. But the thing to understand about these Vaults is that Vault-Tec, the corporation that created/manufactured these underground survival shelters, only actually created a handful for actual nuclear war survival. All the others were created as various living experiments. Your vault, Vault 111, was created to test the theories of cryogenic stasis (that’s where a person is frozen in a suspended animation, for those unaware). As you might have guessed, the experiment is a (well, sort of) success, and you awaken 200 years later as the sole-surviving adult of Vault 111. The only other survivor, your infant son, was taken from the Vault while you were still trapped in your cryo-chamber by unknown kidnappers. You escape and set out into the world above ground as a man/woman-out-of-time searching for your child… and facing all of the new dangers of the post-nuclear wasteland now known simply as The Commonwealth. What will happen? Well, this is a SPOILER FREE review, so you’ll just have to play and see for yourselves!
The gameplay hasn’t changed too much from the well-received previous installments of Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, but there are some major changes here. The first, and possibly most talked about is the use of power armor. As opposed to previous games, power armor is now more like a vehicle that you wear. You still equip whatever attire/armor you’d like, AND you then equip your power armor. You can customize/mix-and-match/modify each part (helmet, body, arms, legs) of it, and much like any vehicle, it needs fuel, so you’ll need fusion cores to operate it (don’t worry, the more you play, the more you’ll find/be able to buy). It’s honestly the most logical choice here the more I think about it.
Other notable changes are the highly improved levels of weapon/armor customization, the new critical hit system in VATS mode, and of course the full-control of survivor settlements that you can found/customize/maintain. Of course maintaining settlements is optional, though it does give a use to a lot of the junk you’ll find out in your travels, and does give you something nearly unlimited to do once you’ve exhausted all your missions. And yeah, I know, let’s just leave the total control over all these settlements in the hands of the weird guy/girl from 200 years ago who just woke up/got here… but c’mon, you’re a good person who will do well by them, right? Or maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll just kill them all. Who knows?
Technically speaking, as you would expect with the new next/current gen setup, the graphics and visuals are amazing, everything and every character type has received a massive update/overhaul, and perhaps most notably, the dreaded freezing/crashing and general ‘bugginess’ of games past isn’t an issue here (or at least, it wasn’t/hasn’t been for me). As Fallout fans know all too well, that was always the low point of previous games (and let’s be honest, Bethesda games in general) so it’s great to see the developers making such an effort to rectify this. As far as I’ve seen, only one “bug” (other than the horribly mutated baddies you’ll face, that is) actually exists in this one… and that’s “The Infinite Money Glitch” – if you feel like exploiting that one… here’s a pretty easy step-by-step on how:
“The Infinite Caps Glitch”
Step One: go to a vendor/merchant and select their highest-priced ammo.
Step Two: buy (but don’t confirm) all of this particular type of ammo.
Step Three: sell (but don’t confirm) ONE piece of it back to them.
Step Four: then, sell ALL BUT ONE piece of it back to them.
Step Five: button mash over and over and over as you watch the caps (that’s money for you new players) pile up!
Mind you, this doesn’t work on all merchants, and it absolutely is cheating, but if you’re so inclined, it’s a cool way to rack up that post-war wealth in a hurry. This actually had little-to-nothing to do with my review, I just wanted to share with my fellow nerds who might not have already figured this one out.
The Bottom Line:
Overall, Fallout 4 is a beautiful, exciting, well-rounded, and most importantly FUN game. It more than lives up to the hype, and is as good, if not better than its predecessors. Highly recommended for anyone who loves a great story and great game, and flat out required for all fans of the Fallout series. Simply put, this isn’t just a Game of the Year contender, it’s a shoo-in. Bethesda has done it again! – 10.0/10
Editor: Nerd Nation Magazine