Fallout 4′s Main Theme sets the tone for this Apocalyptic Epic.
Even as I popped the Fallout 4 disc into my PS4, I knew I was going to have to agonize a bit longer. The game installed, which took less than an hour and in the meantime played the entertaining ‘S.P.E.C.I.A.L’ series of videos released by Bethesda leading up to the game’s release. So if you haven’t already watched these funny (and pretty macabre, actually) animated bits, you should. They give a nice briefing on your character’s attributes which are vital to surviving, if not conquering, the wastelands of Boston.
Once the game actually started, with now-familiar opening theme and then the pretty epic, surreal live-action short relating the alternate history of the world leading to the game’s setting, I was really pumped to get into the game. And how do I go about it? By taking my wonderful time exploring every inch of my character Sam’s lovely home in pre-Fallout America (yes, I chose a female for my first playtime). The controls seemed easy enough, and responsive.
To make a long story slightly shorter, I got through the mostly-seen bit of running to the Vault once the bombs start falling. Once we actually get IN the Vault is where the surprises start piling up and I go into uncharted territory. Let’s just say that the experience my lovely Sam goes through in Vault 111 is nowhere near as benign or sunny sweet as they let us on in with Fallout Shelter. Sam soon finds herself waking up in a dangerous, frightening new world where she is left to her own devices to survive and carry out the mission she’s abruptly faced with.
Fallout 4′s live-action intro cinematic.
As I have been playing Skyrim for the past several years, many of the game’s systems are familiar- going into stealth mode, doing melee attacks, sprinting… it’s in there. One thing that I am really annoyed at ignoring was ironically a crucial one- V.A.T.S. (Vault Assisted Targeting System for you Out of the Loop). I treated the game for the most part like a shooter, firing away with reckless abandon with my guns. This is something you really shouldn’t do since, well, ammo is relatively scarce. Probably not Resident Evil or Survival Horror-scarce, but still- it’s not like you can go to a gun store down the block to refill your cache of munitions. As much as possible, once should use VATS when firing guns, if you have the AP and the chance to do so.
That said, Fallout 4 has proven to be a very competent FPS regardless. Once I got Sam suited up in a properly badass long coat and a gas mask (looted from some dead Raiders) and found myself a gun workstation, I was modifying my newfound firearms like a kid with new legos. Guns feel GOOD. The kick they have and the effect on enemies is satisfying, even if not always realistic (can’t see why handgun bullets can sever limbs).
Movement and sneaking around is a joy- at least the stealth in the game seems more viable than it was in other Bethesda games. I think that it would be quite awesome to specialize as a sniper, striking from the shadows. I spent an inordinate amount of time searching the alleys of the ruined town of Concord, sneaking in the shadows as would do Venom Snake proud.
When action finally erupted it was fierce and satisfying. Raiders aren’t supposed to be too hard but carelessness can get you killed quick. In a short while though, I found myself finding an AWESOME piece of kit- a full suit of Power Armor, which in this game is more like a vehicle than just a simple piece of clothing. With a minigun in hand and the ability to fall from heights unharmed, one can feel invincible wearing the Hulkbuster-like suit of armor. That, of course, could not be farther from the truth. A massive Deathclaw- which I feel is to Fallout 4 as Dragons are to Skyrim- appeared to be the first ‘Boss Battle’ in this game. Looking at my gameplay again (which I recorded) I now wince at the DOZENS and DOZENS of rounds I fired off in panic, when I should have used VATS. But ultimately, I cleared the streets of Concord and made my first friends in the new world.
The next few hours was filled with relatively more passive but still engrossing gameplay consisting of crafting, base-building and customizing, all of which can probably leech away hours and hours and HOURS of your life away… I know it did for me. It was only after I pretty much built a small town did I finally manage to decide to pack my gear, gird my loins and head off for new adventures elsewhere.
Then I realized it was 4 in the freakin’ morning.
You know what? This is the real deal. It is, easily Bethesda’s biggest and best game yet. It delivers on what was promised- the detail, the texture, the mood, the action and fun we’ve been waiting for has arrived. I wasn’t a Fallout fan going into this game, but now I am. I’ve been converted. The only way you’ll get me to let go of my controller is to pry it from my cold, Pipboy-encased hand.
Played Fallout 4 on PS4, with a female character on Normal Difficulty, exiting Vault 111 and exploring the areas of Sanctuary and Concord. Still so much to be done. So goddamn FUN.