Fallout 4 Review: My First Time In The Wasteland Won’t Be My Last

8.5
  • Playstation 4
  • Windows
  • Xbox One
  • RPG
2015-11-10
fallout 4 review
Exiting the Fallout shelter for the first time and it was glorious. Bethesda

Hi, my name is Phillip Martinez and I’m a Fallout virgin.

Bethesda Games is ready to roll out the fourth installment of its beloved Fallout franchise, and while fans are foaming at the mouth waiting to re-enter the Wasteland this was my first time.

I’ve been aware of the Fallout franchise, but it never really appealed to me. Growing up and now as an adult I’ve gravitated to the fighting/sports games. I’ve sought comfort in the glow of my Nintendo 3DS as I played Pokemon and similar games while most of my friends flocked to the Halos and Call of Dutys of the world.

It just wasn’t my thing, and frankly, I felt I was terrible at the first-person shooters so you can say fear of failure turned me off to those types of games. But Fallout 4 is a whole different animal. Much more than a first-person shooter, much more than an RPG this game is a full immersive experience that I haven’t experienced in a videogame in a long time.

Fallout 4 was my first time but it won’t be my last.

fallout4environment
Some of the lush environment in Fallout 4 Photo: Bethesda

All the credit goes to Bethesda for making Fallout 4 a perfect jumping-on point for those who want to get their feet wet and join in on the phenomenon.

There’s no continuity that you need to follow from the previous games, except for a mention or two that I know Fallout fans will love to hear, and the setting and plot are well-established way before you actually get into the meat of the game.

This is a relief, whenever you see a “4” next to a video game title you normally expect to be bogged down by years of gameplay and story continuity. But Bethesda does everything right from the load screen to the cinematic opening scenes to establish this world and what you will have to do to survive.

I won’t get into the intricacies of the main story of Fallout 4 but know it’s simple and tugs at the heartstrings.

But where the game really shines is in its gameplay.

As an open world RPG, Fallout 4 has the scope of the best installments in the genre -- the Witcher and Skyrim’s of the world. About 20 hours in and I’ve explored, taken in the environment and performed side quests. And, boy, are there enough side quests you can do in Fallout 4.

It’s a little jarring to be sucked into what a coworker of mine called “side quest hell.” You start doing one sidequest and before you know it, it leads to five. This is done at your own pace and you’ll easily forget the main storyline or that, you know, you will have to complete the main quest to finish the game.

It’s an interesting tactic from Bethesda as the main story almost takes a backseat to the other missions and favors you can do. I wish that the main storyline felt like it had more weight behind it because once you find out what your mission is you’ll instinctively want to see how it plays out, but it’s way too easy to forget it with no apparent repercussions or sense of urgency tied to it.

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You'll have plenty of NPCs giving you side quests Photo: Bethesda

There are some graphical hiccups I notice while exploring. You’ll see NPCs phasing through items or a limb poking out of a wall but nothing too egregious.

But with those little nitpicks out the way, Fallout 4, again, is an experience where you play how you want in the pace that you want. This gives time for a newbie, like myself, to explore and understand the world and get used to the controls and how to play.

I’ve said earlier that I’m pretty terrible at first-person shooters. I’m not exactly sure why but usually the controls don’t make any sense to me. So I expected more of the same in Fallout 4, and the controls are typical of first-person shooters but the VATS system definitely helps out with lousy aimers such as myself. Camera angles are steady and it’s easy to scope out areas before a gunfight and easy to maneuver when you’re in a fight.

Again, perfect jumping-on point for the series for any other newbie.

fallout 4 vats
The VATS system in Fallout 4 makes aiming easy Photo: Bethesda

And like any good RPG, Fallout 4 allows for so many play styles that you can play the game in a number of ways. From fighting styles and perks to whether you want to go ahead and build your settlements in a series of Sims-style construction binges, Fallout 4 has something for everyone.

The amount of time that you will put into Fallout 4 will be staggering. And with upcoming DLC and mods and whatever else Bethesda will come up with, this game will be a staple in your PC/console for years.

Fallout 4 is another homerun from Bethesda. From a player who has never played a Fallout game before, this game does an amazing job of introducing the world and letting players choose their pace for any players like me to get acclimated to the controls and layout.

The game isn’t perfect -- shocking, I know -- with the story lacking a sense of urgency to complete the main story and the minor graphical hiccups in Fallout 4 it doesn’t take away from the overall greatness of the game.

What the lack of urgency to complete the main story gives players in return is the number of side quests you can partake in. These side missions feel so important that you are compelled to complete them. It’s because of that players will forgive the storyline taking a backseat.

Fallout 4 made a great first impression on me from the moment I booted it up. It has nurtured me with its care and attention to detail that I can happily say I’m in this relationship for the long-haul.

REVIEW SUMMARY
Fallout 4
8.5
Post-Apocalypse Wow
Fallout 4 is a must-buy for Bethesda fans, and a worthy investment for anyone looking to get a long shelf life out of a game. A few bugs and a few wasted hours on settlement management keep it from getting a perfect score, but don’t let that deter you from experiencing one of this year’s best games.
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