So it’s finally here, after years of speculation and finally being announced earlier in the year, Fallout 4 brings as back to the wasteland following a nuclear war with a brand new storyline, location and tonnes of things to do in a very familiar setting.
This time the action begins in your family home before the bombs drop and you’re soon shuttled into a Vault for your own protection but as we know, these vaults aren’t what they seem. Safe to say you emerge about 200 years later to find something you’ve lost and get embroiled in all kinds of antics with a ragtag bunch in what was your home town now called Sanctuary, a military outfit you may remember called the Brotherhood of Steel and the inhabitants of Diamond City, an oasis forged out of the remains of Boston’s baseball stadium.
Roaming around the Commonwealth has a familiar feel, and the action hots up pretty soon with this one. You find your companion Dogmeat almost immediately and even get to play in some Power Armour and fight a Deathclaw before you’ve really had a chance to get properly acquainted with the game! That is of course if you follow the main plot elements. There’s absolutely nothing to stop you wandering off in the opposite direction you’re gently being nudged in to form your own adventure – if you can survive battles with huge bear-like creatures, Super Mutants and more with just a pop gun.
If you’re a fan of the series, you’ll be glad to know they haven’t toyed with the principles too much. You still get to pick locks and hack terminals, you’ll meet familiar monsters such as ghouls, bloatflys and molerats, and combat is still either performed in real-time or using the V.A.T.S. system which lets you target individual body parts and even force a critical shot if you’re power bar is full. You’ll also be levelling up your SPECIAL stats on top of which you can add perks based on agility, luck, strength, intelligence and the like.
New to the game is the fact that you now talk. The camera also enters 3rd person mode at times during conversations which puts things in a wider perspective and lets you see your chosen outfit from time to time. You can of course play the game in 1st or 3rd person mode but I find the character animations are still a bit weird, which is why I opt to look through my own eyes. It’s a bit better this time but still, a lot of the characters you meet, especially early on, seem to be a bit dead behind the eyes and run about like they have a pineapple up their rectum.
Graphics are also hit and miss throughout. There are some fantastic vistas at times but these can be spoilt by some poor textures, strange animations and clipping. As with previous Fallout games, it’s sort of forgivable because the game itself is so immersive. You’ll pick up elements from just looking hard at things and reading terminals and documents around you. Some of the stories are really imaginative and could easily be something you’ll miss if you don’t explore thoroughly.
Also new is the ability to use workbenches to upgrade your Power Armour and do up your settlements. Kitting out your home with beds, water and defences makes everyone around you happier and keeps them from being attacked. It’s an element you can choose to take part in or leave alone thankfully – I know playing The Sims isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
Gamers have been hankering for this latest Fallout and I’ve no doubt that this will definitely please Fallout fans with more of what they love. It truly feels like you’re carving out your own path and will provide lots and lots of game for your buck. It’s a little rough around the edges but it’s still a diamond so it gets 9 out of 10.
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New: Buy or download Fallout 4 from Amazon.com