It has been seven months since Bethesda released the much anticipated Fallout 4, with the final DLC titles being announced last week at the E3 showcase. I have taken some time to reflect on the latest game of the Fallout series and decide once and for all, whether Fallout 4 is the sequel it was hyped to be.
After much deliberation, and hours of "research" replaying the three games developed by Bethesda, I remain unswayed in my opinion that Fallout 3 reigns supreme in the battle of the latest Fallout games. Here's why;
Repairing Weapons and Armor
The weapons and armor in Fallout 4 are great, and I love having the ability to craft and improve them. However, Fallout 4 is missing a key gameplay element from the previous games - repairs. Degrading weapons and armor made sense. As you used a weapon, its quality declined. This is a challenge I really miss, and to be fair, was more successful in showcasing the large arsenal available in the game.
By being forced to use a wider range of weapons (because your favorite broke during an epic Deathclaw battle) you were able to get a more balanced and challenging experience. Plus there was nothing more satisfying than collecting 10 nearly broken pistols and combining them all together to make one as-new pistol (It was a great way to ease the weight off your overencumbered shoulders too).
I am sure we can all agree that the dialogue in Fallout 4 was a bit of a disappointment. Where do I begin? Firstly, it was voiced (Unlike in Fallout 3 and New Vegas). I am a huge fan of the silent protagonist as it makes a game that little bit more immersive. As soon as a character has a voice, a voice that doesn’t sound like mine, a voice with a different accent to me, I begin to dissociate with it. This is just a character, this isn’t me.
Next was the way in which the options were presented to you. In the previous games, players could read through the entirely of the dialogue and make an informed decision on which option to take. With the new system, it was a roll of the dice. Should I reply with sarcasm? Which of these 2 word sentences will accurately get across what I want to say? The worst part is when you finally decide on something, and your character says something completely different than how you interpreted the description.
On top of all this, the skill checks were notably missing. While these have snuck back into the game with the recent release of Far Harbor, it was too late for me. Having already finished the game with the dissatisfaction of feeling like your S.P.E.C.I.A.L skills has a much less influential role in shaping your unique character, and influencing how they interact with the world. I love being able to create a smooth talking asshole character who could talk her way out of anything, and then playing through again and this time using those points to make a she-hulk who would just slaughter everyone with her fists.
This is quite personal, and I can understand why a lot of people maybe aren't as bothered about the lack of Karma in New Vegas and Fallout 4, but it was one of my favourite parts of the game. I love being a bad guy. If I am ever given a choice in a game about the morality of my character I will hands down, 100% of the time, be as; evil, destructive, thieving, conniving and psychopathic as possible. My whole life requires me to be a good guy, so when I game I want to be a person I could never be. I really enjoyed the satisfaction of being told that you were doping wrong, and how it was recording along the way just how evil you were. I loved the sound that chimed when you did something wrong too - it was so satisfying!
While in New Vegas there was the option of joining with Caesar and being getting my bad guy kicks that way, Fallout 4 offered nothing. With no karma, and no obviously bad side to choose from I felt a bit ripped off. Being forced to being a hero is a bit shit. I didn’t like it.
While in Fallout 3 and New Vegas the VATS system stopped time completely, in Fallout 4, it only slowed it. This meant that in Fallout 4 you had to be quicker in making your decisions - which I wasn't too worried about. What did annoy me though, was even when I thought I was being quick, I would still somehow miss the target as they managed to duck behind cover or move out of my reach.
This point is the hardest to describe without spoiling the plot of any of the 3 games, but I will try my best! Firstly, I loved the plots of Fallout 3 and New Vegas - they were each so different yet so much fun! Fallout 3 however, was my favourite overall. And it began with the beginning scene. Bethesda really sucked me in using that first sequence. I loved shaping my character and their backstory, watching them grow and giving them a real feeling of belonging within the vault. It was really effective in making me feel truly alone when I emerged from the vault for the first time, and I felt sacred as I saw the big scary wasteland lying in front of me. I also liked the motivation for the plot. We all have a dad, and I understand the need for a young adult, alone for the first time trying to find the only family they know, to protect them. I also like all the science! Science based missions and goals make me happy.
With Fallout 4, while the story was really good, I really struggled with the motivation. The vault was never my home, just a lab to freeze me for a few hundred years and I was annoyed at how this silly bimbo was so obsessed with finding a baby. For someone without kids, who doesn't want kids I personally could not get as emotionally invested in the motivations behind what I was doing. I also wasn't a fan of the ending, and how your choice of "sides to pick" plays out. I played all endings and never really felt invested in one ending over another.
Now don't get me wrong - I really enjoyed Fallout 4, and should there ever be a Fallout 5 I will throw all my caps at it. I just liked Fallout 3 better. In saying that though, Fallout 4 has some much needed improvements and to finish, I am going to list my top 5 things Fallout 4 did better than Fallout 3 and New Vegas - let's end this on a positive note!
The Graphics - Boy oh boy does Fallout 4 look good! A much needed improvement on the earlier games.
Base Building - With all the empty buildings around the world, it just makes sense that people would colonise them and create new, unique towns. Taking that step further and letting players choose how settlements would look and function was one of my favourite additions.
Companions - It was so nice to not have to travel alone (especially in those really hard parts). With Fallout 3 and New Vegas I actually gave up on having companions as they didn't last long before they inevitably got themselves killed. And there is only so much dog deaths I can take!
Mods - As a console player, I am so excited that mods have been released for PS4 and Xbox, this is really adding depth and many many gameplay hours to the game.
- Character Creation - At the beginning, when you get to create your face and your husbands - wow! That was so much fun, and allowed for such a wide range of customisation. I loved it.