Let me start by telling that game’s main scenario isn’t something you can write home to. But if you consider yourself a Bethesda veteran, that’s not surprising as well. These guys (if you ask me anyway) write brilliantly structured side-quests but when it comes to main quest they suffer a terrible case of banality. Apart from the main quest, however, game mechanics are satisfactory. Be it crafting, shooting or graphics they are marvelously done. Speaking of graphics, I sometimes stop and wonder at the scene rendered before me and say, “Ten years ago they would consider this as a concept art, but right now we are playing in it!”
We take control of our character just before the great war turns this earth into a nuclear ball of fire. We are married, with a child and a robot, and if we have chosen the male gender as our player, we act as a person who is just discharged from military; and female gender is a recent graduate of the law school. Half an hour later the nuclear war happens, and we run to our vault. But our vault is designed by Vault-Tec as a cryogenic shelter, so we enter our cabin, turn into a human popsicle and wake up 200 years later. Technically we wake up twice, when we first wake up we see our significant other murdered and our baby kidnapped. Those guys refreeze us as a backup and when we wake up because of a malfunction the game properly starts.
The scenario’s main point is this. Namely, we play as a parent who wants to find his/her son. But… to be honest at this point I find it hard to understand why Bethesda thinks a parent story whenever they hear the name Fallout. In Fallout 3 we were searching for our father town by town, city by city as you remember.
Mechanically I believe Fallout 4 has 3 interlocking systems. FPS part provides the action, murder and scavenging of the parts & ingredients from enemies. Crafting part is used to consume these items to upgrade our tools and weapons. And settlement system provides a more effective usage of those scavenging mechanics, makes resource gathering easier, enables us to build shops and activate other sorts of anti-frustrating features.
If you noticed I haven’t mention any levels or perks. Yeah it has those elements but compared to other Fallout games Bethesda decided to gut out stats and skills and replaced it with a leveling up system which enables us to put those points to increase our SPECIAL points or take or enhance one of the listed perks listed for each attribute. Our character is not a specializing actor but a übermensch who is on his way to godhood. Specialization only enters the game when you want to decide short term effects for your character, like if you have a thief/sniper character you may decide to take on sneak perks instead of melee bruisers. Then again because those perk upgrades are locked by levels you eventually open all the perks because you can’t spend those points to anywhere.
Instead of character specialization, we have weapon and equipment specialization. You can spec those babies to hell and back and the first weapon you get in your hands, a 10mm pistol, turns into a tactical scoped, silenced, damage dealing beast. The pathetic leather armor you get from that dead raider, well, it turns into a damage soaking armor part in no time. Speaking of armor, there are two types of those. One of them covers your whole body, and the other who has parts like torso, legs, arms. As far as I can see the second type protects your body better. Even power armor is designed like this, so don’t be surprised when you see armor pieces separated (like I did). Also, Pipboy in this game sometimes lies to you without any malice, because, for example, if the energy resist value is higher than the armor you are carrying it’ll show it with pluses and if your poison is ballistics at that part of that game, you’ll get a weaker armor on that sense.
Now, speaking of power armor there is a storytelling tactic Bethesda used regarding it and I didn’t like it one bit. Usually this piece of armor is given to you near the end, or at least when you have survived the early hell of low levels. But this time it is given nearly at the beginning; they tried to limit the usage by powering it by Power cores but… I have never seen it lacking. If you want it you can play the whole game in power armor (especially if you have the automatron DLC which makes its robot enemies come with Power cores as loot)
Game map is freaking huge. Without any exaggeration there are tons of stuff everywhere. This is both good and bad; if you like exploring you’ll have a solid game experience but considering everywhere is populated with various stuff, this liveliness run contrariwise to it being a wasteland. Like if you leave it to its devices it’ll pack itself up and running in five years tops.
I haven’t discussed about followers yet and this is a conscious choice because I haven’t seen anybody memorable except for Dogmeat and Nick Valentine. I even flat out disliked Preston Garvey who make you an honorary minuteman from the get go. But if Bethesda decides to make a spin-off game or DLC based on Nick, it would be an insta-buy for me. I don’t know how spoilery this would be but a game featuring a hard-boiled robot detective as its protagonist would be interesting. By the way whoever modeled Dogmeat should get a huge bonus to his/her salary because a dog can’t be cuter or more beautiful than him. Because I am pained by his pain sounds I’ve sent him to the settlement and when I arrived there I see him lying down in his tiny doghouse, wearing a doggy-grin on himself.
Lastly, I want to discuss the Survival mode which had been included with the patches. This mode, like New Vegas’s mode, turns off fast-travel, adds food, hydration, sleep mechanics as well as weighty bullets. But I couldn’t play in this mode very long. Not because I die too easily from radiation, bullets or hunger and thirst but bloody infection! This disability hits you periodically and you need antibiotics to fix it and this item doesn’t pop from everywhere. You can craft it by yourself, but you need the Chemist perk to do it and to get that you need Intelligence 7. I have turned off that mode because I was sick and tired from getting infected from everything in the world.
Game has three big dlcs:
- Far Harbor
- Nuka World
Far harbor takes us to its namesake island which is located away from the Maine coastline to solve a case file of Nick. It’s like they have said, “You thought the main map is big, eh? Well here some more content!”. Nuka World also takes us to its namesake, this time to a theme park which is now a Raider city. Automatron DLC opposes us to Robobrain who, or which, is trying to take over the Commonwealth by his robots. This DLC also gives us the ability to build and customize our own robots.
Finally, I can say this is one of my most favourite games. An advice to you is, if you have a SSD, do try the Load Accelerator mod with this game. I don’t know why but Bethesda locked the loading screens to fps count and this results in you waiting for no reason. This mod, which consists from a DLL and an ini file) speeds up the fps on these screens and makes them load in seconds instead of a minute. Henceforth I think this mod is critical to enjoy this game.