‘Fallout 4’ video game review
By Jennifer Stefan, Contributor
Bethesda Softworks’ highly anticipated Fallout 4 is finally out in the wild! I, like many others, could hardly contain my excitement, and stepped into the wasteland the night it was released. Bethesda’s Fallout games have never failed to impress, so there were a great deal of expectations surrounding this title.
Unlike other titles in the franchise, Fallout 4 begins on a day we’ve only heard about: October 23, 2077, the very day the nuclear holocaust occured and created the wasteland environments of the other games. The player begins at home in Boston, Massachusetts, in a 1920s-style neighbourhood with their spouse and child. There’s also Codsworth, their robot butler. They spend some time with the family before everything goes wrong, causing a mad rush for the shelter of nearby Vault 111. The next time the player sees the surface is 200 years later.
The graphics in this game are excellent. I run a mid-range PC, so I was a bit concerned about how that would affect the game, but the graphics were still smooth and detailed. This shows a lot in the characters, most notably in the character creation, which is far more intuitive than Fallout games of the past. Every bit of your character’s face, from the forehead to the jawline, is available to sculpt, which involves the use of your cursor to mould the shape you desire. The familiar slider-controlled presets of the past are nowhere to be seen, though you can still choose premade characters and sculpt from there. Both the husband’s and wife’s appearance can be managed by the player, and these decisions affect what their baby looks like as well. Fallout 4 looks its best with the highest settings possible, but is still playable and beautiful on lower settings.
Another major change is the ability to directly affect the world around you. For the first time, Fallout 4 allows the player to build and customize their own settlements. The areas you can settle appear to be predetermined, but what you do with the space provided is completely up to you. I have spent hours with this feature already. You can build houses, manage food and water sources, and invite settlers to come and live in the town you make. They will work, live, and defend it, so be sure to put up some defences so that no raiders can catch you unaware. This is still the wasteland, after all.
Shiny new things aside, Fallout 4 feels very familiar. The hacking, combat, and lock-picking systems are the same as other titles in the series, which makes it very easy for veteran players to get back into it. It’s almost like returning to a place you grew up in. There’s no secret about what to do in this game, or where to go. The map system is the same, complete with the fast travel we all rely on. Your quests and inventory are all in the same place you’d expect them to be. If you were looking for an entirely new system, this is probably not the place for you. But if you were looking for more Fallout, here you go.
If you’re new to this, don’t be afraid. It isn’t necessary to have even touched the other Fallout games to get a good sense of the world, and it promises hours upon hours of fun and exploration. The story is a brand new one, and you’re not pushed out into the world without a little guidance. While the wasteland isn’t always friendly, it’s certainly forgiving, and there are several companions you can choose from to bring along if you’d rather not go it alone.
Overall, Bethesda Softworks delivered another successful open-world game, complete with new and returning features. If you’re a fan of huge games with incredible environments, interesting characters, and the occasional morally ambivalent decision to make, I would definitely recommend Fallout 4. If you’re like me and have been in the wasteland before, I’m just going to say what all the advertisements have been saying: Welcome home.