Saturday, 14 November 2015

Fallout 4 Review

There are a ton of improvements you notice right off the bat, when playing Fallout 4. Most obviously the graphics are miles better than previous Bethesda titles, the bleak world of the Commonwealth (Boston, US) still looks as sleak and brutally beautiful as The Elder Scrolls Online. Combat is a little more solid and fluid than before, you can favourite weapons to change quickly during gunplay, even putting health related items and chems on beck and call, without the need to constantly go in to the Pip-boy.

Of course, being Bethesda, this title isn't free of bugs and some hilarious ones have been found, like upside down Dogmeats, faceless bandits and even disappearing enemies, like a clan of Harry Hudidi fanatics, have been found among others. Beneath those minor problems is a game that is really fun to play and explore for hours on end.

The storyline, however, is something you should be wary of not getting the full picture of as the main characters personal journey comes to an end. Playing as either the mother or father, you're tricked in to an experimental vault by Vault Tech. Here you spend a long time in a cyrogenic facility. You're awoken to witness your infant son's kidnap, which fuels your rage or mediocre response, whichever you want to play as, as you travel through the Commonwealth.

Side missions are split in to five groups. Run of the mill side quests, you can complete if you want too and four factions. For spoiler purposes, we'll only touch on three of these, the Minutemen, a kind of policeforce for hire. The Railroad, freedom fighters of sorts and The Brotherhood of Steel, we've met them before. Each faction also comes with it's own companion you can use or you can choose whichever one you meet. Personally, we liked Cait best (who is found in the combat zone). A plucky Irish girl who likes you being selfish, mean and crafty with your lockpicking skills. Also, a little more on the nose, she likes you to be drunk or run round Diamond City naked. Whatever floats your boat.

The one thing that you can deffinitely see a change in, is leveling. In some ways, it isn't a bad thing. In others, you could find it almost "dumbed down". You used to get attribute points and SPECIAL points every level and then a perk to choose every other level depending on your attribute choices. Now, you have the perk chart. You get one point per level, these points go in to either your base SPECIAL attributes or any perk under those, as long as you meet the level requirement and SPECIAL level. This is a little easier to understand and you can see why they've decided it is a good thing to do, but there isn't a sense of depth to character development like you got from Fallout 3.

We touched on companions earlier. They're back and there are more than before. Each faction has a follower you can boss about, but more are found during the main missions or on random misc objectives and side quests.

Some can even be romanced, so far we've become best friends with Cait and Piper by reaching full affinity with them (coincidentally you can also choose to romance both of these lovely ladies). Affinity is gained by talking to them constantly and engaging in their specific side quests. You must trigger the conversations when they want to talk to you, to progress to their side quest. This also depends on how you play. Cait loves you being a rogue but Piper, for example, loves you being a man (or indeed woman) of the people. It's worth playing about and finding out what each one likes, it's worth it because you get perks out of each companions affinity bonuses. In the same manner as the comics and magazines give you bonuses when we read them.

Now the main bulk of what is new, is the ability to build new settlements, recruit wastelanders for them, then getting them producing food and defence for the town. You can even order companions or new settlers to run supply chains. This means you can get wood or steel etc, to the settlement you need it at or even get food around the Commonwealth. As you explore the crafting menus, make sure to take note which perks you need from your skill tree to build certain defences, power items or even shops and stalls. This will benefit you greatly in the long run.

The soundtrack is as brilliant as ever also, fitting in perfectly with the backdrop of the game and also situations. Bethesda rarely drop the ball when it comes to soundtracks and it's pleasing to see they haven't failed to deliver again.

On the note of sound. It's worth playing about with it in the options menu. It can sometimes be a struggle to hear speach. As wonderful as the soundtrack and sound effects of the Commonwealth are, it's sometimes hard to react to something you didn't catch first time around. This is the only real problem with Fallout 4.

Although it is technically sound, it suffers from easily fixable problems. We could go on and on about how the games main questline isn't going to be to everyone's tastes, but it does lead to something bigger. It's run time is also significantly increased by settlement building and management. It's well worth checking that out in particular. The usual bugs and glitches are there, but there aren't any majorly gamebreaking ones from what we've encountered. Making this a very strong outing, but not one without flaws.

Overal 9.5/10

Gameplay 9.5/10

Storyline 8.5/10

Graphics 9/10

Soundtrack 10/10

Crafting options 9/10


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