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(Disclaimer: The ver­sion of Fallout 4 re­viewed was pur­chased for the site by SuperNerdLand con­trib­u­tor John Sweeney)

Today we are delv­ing into the in­evitable next in­stall­ment of the Fallout fran­chise in Fallout 4. Bethesda hyped this game to the moon and back of course, show­ing off the new Settlement build­ing sys­tem, weapons and ar­mor craft­ing, and re­vamped Power Armor sys­tem off at this year’s E3 2015. Fans re­volt­ed a bit when the di­a­log sys­tem was also shown to be re­worked into a Bioware‐esqe di­a­log wheel that looked to lim­it con­ver­sa­tion depth, de­spite Bethesda try­ing to re­as­sure peo­ple by point­ing out that there was more record­ed lines (read: voice overs) than both Fallout 3 and Skyrimcom­bined.

How does the game stand up be­yond the mar­ket­ing hype? Delve into our thoughts down be­low!

Note: This re­view is com­ing from the view­points of three con­trib­u­tors to SuperNerdLand to help give a broad­er view of this ti­tle. With Fallout 4 at­tempt­ing (and suc­ceed­ing) to reach a big­ger au­di­ence, I felt it would be in­sight­ful to get more than one point of view. It’s a pret­ty in­ter­est­ing blind study re­view for­mat for me as we all wrote our pieces in­de­pen­dent­ly, and edit­ing this piece to­geth­er is my first time see­ing the oth­er views.

We will all have our re­marks pref­aced by our name in a cer­tain col­or for ease of read­ing:

Josh Bray

Michael Campbell

Killer Tofu

We are also go­ing to list our sys­tem specs at the bot­tom of this piece, as to com­pare our (or lack of) per­for­mance claims to what our sys­tems are.

War Never Changes (Except when it’s streamlined)


6f389afcef26cfcafc51ee985814cf3c1095a545Josh Bray
For me, Fallout as a se­ries has been tak­ing a steady over­all down­turn since Bethseda picked it up. While it re­mained a se­ries that was able to over­come its pit­falls to pro­vide me dozens of hours of en­ter­tain­ment since Fallout 3, the rich meal that Interplay cooked up in the first two in­stall­ments is get­ting wa­tered down. The rich­ly fla­vored Lobster Bisque that was the pre­vi­ous two Fallout games has turned into McDonald’s at this point. It’s built around at­tract­ing a mass au­di­ence now, and with that comes the usu­al di­lu­tion that mass mar­ket ap­peal brings. It also suf­fers from Bethesda’s pat­tern of mak­ing games that are very broad oceans of shal­low depth.

So cer­tain­ly bear in mind that my sec­tions of this re­view are com­ing from a slight­ly cranky fan of the old­er se­ries of games.

That said, Fallout 4 does enough right to come rec­om­mend­ed with caveats. It has every­thing need­ed to be a Fallout™ brand­ed game at this point, though stream­lined to fit even far­ther into an ex­plo­rative FPS rather than a full fledged RPG.

It has every­thing need­ed to be a Fallout™ brand­ed game, but is shal­low as ever” – Josh Bray


683e2cf1bdb338626038d867aba50eede11fe42eMichael Campbell
As a Fallout game, Fallout 4 falls flat in some ways. As a game that al­lows you to build and cus­tomize the al­most en­tire­ty of the game from the bot­tom to the top — from scenery, weapons, build­ings, char­ac­ters, and the NPCs that pop­u­late your myr­i­ad towns across a fic­tion­al­ized Boston with mu­sic re­cy­cled from Fallout 3 — it does fair­ly well. It is a com­pe­tent game that will of­fer new fans a glimpse into a uni­verse most nos­tal­gic play­ers will find lack­ing in places with re­gards to the ex­e­cu­tion. Hundreds of hours of game play await those that can en­dure its flaws.

The best Rust game since Rust” – Michael Campbell


efc939f3125ea04f02806953f4d1c3c2bb98ed8bKiller Tofu
Once again Bethesda at­tempts to re­hash an­oth­er IP they swiped from a body like hot loot. Only this time they gave it the Skyrim treat­ment. Overall, the gun­play is nice and sol­id here, and gives you a feel­ing of ac­tu­al­ly us­ing a weapon that shoots bul­lets in­stead of a knife shoot­ing can­non like in pre­vi­ous ti­tles. I do feel as if this in­stall­ment fell flat on it’s face, though. It tried so hard to be a Bioware RPG, just sans the RPG el­e­ments that made even Fallout 3 some­what en­joy­able.

This is the most ex­pan­sive Doom mod I ever played!” – Killer Tofu

Deal with it.
Deal with it.

Story


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Josh BrayOh Bethesda. You tried. Not to say the sto­ry is hor­ri­ble. It’s just very bland in a lot of places. There are parts of the sur­round­ing quests, com­pan­ion quests, and some sto­ry bits lead­ing up to the main threads that are en­gag­ing. But a lot of the ma­jor plot lines, re­veals and “twists” a bit dead on ar­rival. Quest are giv­en with no chance to ac­cept or de­cline them a lot of the time as well. You can just be close enough to hear peo­ple talk­ing, and trig­ger an­oth­er er­rand on your list that you may not even have the time or in­ter­est in even tak­ing on.

The sto­ry this time is de­liv­ered by a ful­ly voiced cast, but de­spite the sheer amount of record­ed di­a­log the sto­ry this time is as shal­low as ever. There is no more ex­plor­ing ex­pand­ed uni­verse lore or un­earthing neat­ly tucked away con­tent via talk­ing to peo­ple. If you are not sup­posed to talk to some­one, they just give you a canned re­sponse. If you are sup­posed to talk to some­one you get the tired trope of the di­a­log wheel.

But even this is not im­ple­ment­ed as well as the Bioware games this ti­tle is try­ing to em­u­late. (Sarcastic re­sponse here). This isn’t even con­sid­er­ing that I missed some con­ver­sa­tion bits com­plete­ly be­cause an NPC walked away from me in the mid­dle of talk­ing, only to talk about the oth­er bit of their pro­grammed quest giv­ing AI with­out me ever get­ting to fin­ish that first con­ver­sa­tion. At least there is still a lot of uni­verse build­ing via com­put­er ter­mi­nals at var­i­ous lo­ca­tions, with some re­al­ly bru­tal finds in those texts still to help off­set the PG‐13ness of the main quests. The di­a­log sys­tem is just a janky mess here, and you’re go­ing to pull some hair at the times you are not close enough to trig­ger a di­a­log wheel, or when NPCs just skip bits of the con­ver­sa­tion as you press noth­ing, or when your char­ac­ter turns 180 de­grees be­cause you pressed the Up di­a­log wheel op­tion.

There is also an in­creased fo­cus on com­pan­ions in Fallout 4 now. And it is done fair­ly well. For my re­view char­ac­ter I was most­ly with the Synth P.I. Nick Valentine, and I re­al­ly felt for the guy. Damn Bethesda for not let­ting my lady Lone Survivor bone the ro­bot in­ves­ti­ga­tor. I have toyed with a cou­ple oth­er com­pan­ions on oth­er saves, Codsworth and Piper, and they seem per­fect­ly well fleshed out as well. As it stands, I look for­ward more to ex­plor­ing the oth­er com­pan­ion sto­ries than play­ing the main sto­ry­line the first time around.

The very be­gin­ning of the game doesn’t leave the best taste in one’s mouth ei­ther. Let’s say this game cer­tain­ly gets bet­ter as it is al­lowed room to breath, but that first sip is a bit­ter one. I think Bethesda pret­ty much wast­ed the pre‐war bit of the game, and could have ex­tend­ed the tu­to­r­i­al far­ther in this area and era. I think spend­ing a bit more time in your pre‐war home­town would have let the loss of it all hit more as you were stuffed into Vault 111. This game is so anx­ious to get you out into the waste­land Bethesda built that they didn’t give much time for you to feel like you re­al­ly lost any­thing be­fore head­ing out on your grand ad­ven­ture.

They also in­tro­duce you to Power Armor way too soon. You get a low­er lev­el set of Power Armor as part of the tu­to­r­i­al track, and this re­al­ly kills how spe­cial these con­trap­tions should be in this uni­verse. You get it as just a de­fac­to piece of equip­ment in your Fallout™ brand­ed ad­ven­tures.

I do have to give ku­dos where it is due. There are post‐storyline com­ple­tion quests giv­en that give some log­i­cal clean up to bits, and tie oth­er plot threads that are ly­ing around. There is some­thing to be learned here from oth­er devs. I was a bit shocked at one bit I re­ceived at the end of the Railroad main quest. No spoil­ers, but… damn.


683e2cf1bdb338626038d867aba50eede11fe42eMichael Campbell:
I’m go­ing to be hon­est.

I’ve nev­er play or beat Bethesda games for the sto­ry. This game is no dif­fer­ent for me. But start­ing in the 2070s, and then wak­ing up in the 2280s af­ter wak­ing up from cryosleep is semi‐plausible as an in­jec­tion into the waste­land. You play the Lone Survivor who is giv­en a va­ri­ety of names af­ter wak­ing up from cryosleep, and you are thrust into the waste­land to make your own sto­ry (with­in the con­fines built by Bethesda). You im­me­di­ate­ly meet a num­ber of com­pan­ions, and then en­gage upon the sev­er­al dozen set‐pieces in the Wasteland.


efc939f3125ea04f02806953f4d1c3c2bb98ed8bKiller Tofu
The sto­ry, while not hor­ri­ble, is not the best sto­ry I’ve seen in a game ei­ther. It doesn’t hold a can­dle to the writ­ing of Obsidian in New Vegas. The char­ac­ters feel flat, and I felt no rea­son to care about find­ing my son. I spent the first 2 hours run­ning around killing things rather than do­ing the sto­ry sim­ply due to the fact that I had no mo­ti­va­tion. I per­son­al­ly felt as if the en­tire tran­si­tion from hav­ing every­body in the waste­land pret­ty much scared to death of The Institute to sud­den­ly be­ing fine was very harsh.

You are just thrust in­side what has been built up to be a pret­ty bad or­ga­ni­za­tion. The only prob­lem is that there’s no real build up re­gard­ing who they are and how hor­ri­ble they are — just some hearsay. A lot of their lore isn’t touched on or de­vel­oped. The dis­con­nect is even greater when you de­cide to team up with them, as every­thing seems hunky dory un­til all of a sud­den it isn’t.

Gun‐filled Gameplay


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Josh BrayThe ma­jor­i­ty of this game is re­al­ly just fine, all in all. Despite there be­ing is­sues with about each as­pect of this game when looked at on it’s own, it does con­geal to­geth­er ad­e­quate­ly well as a fi­nal prod­uct. There are parts that are im­proved, and (as you’ve read) parts that have tak­en a step back. It’s an ex­treme­ly stream­lined ex­pe­ri­ence this time.

They have stuffed a large part of the RPG/numbers as­pect of pre­vi­ous ti­tles be­hind the game en­gine, this time pro­vid­ing a whole host of perks to se­lect a lev­el at a time. This re­al­ly takes a lot of the nu­ance out of build­ing your char­ac­ter. Your char­ac­ter starts off be­ing able to use any weapon off the bat, with weapons perks in­creas­ing things from base stats like in­creased dam­age or ac­cu­ra­cy. Locks and ter­mi­nal hack­ing is just linked to sim­ple tiered dif­fi­cul­ty; if you want want to un­lock a mas­ter lock then just get that lev­el of lock­pick­ing perk. There is no am­bi­gu­i­ty, you ei­ther can touch it or you can’t. This just grinds me a lit­tle bit as I think this is a ma­jor step back. It is ob­vi­ous they are stream­lin­ing this game to cater to a larg­er and more FPS ori­ent­ed au­di­ence, but this feels like a hack job.

In my opin­ion, if they are go­ing to dis­till the se­ries down this much then they might as well take the route of class­es and class trees for skills, with perks re­main­ing as ex­tras. You could at least im­ple­ment weapons re­stric­tions at that point, ac­tu­al­ly need­ing prop­er train­ing to use some of those fan­cy ass weapons. A lot (not all, but a good amount) of the lev­el build­ing here is just tack­ing on ex­tras to sys­tems you have ac­cess to from the start.

On a bet­ter note, one of the im­proved as­pects is the gun play. As Dick men­tions be­low, it’s ap­par­ent the id Software folks helped smooth this out com­pared to Fallout 3 and New Vegas. Guns are dif­fer­ing and sat­is­fy­ing to use, and their SFX is done pret­ty well. Especially when you hear fights off in the dis­tance.

The new­ly in­clud­ed craft­ing sys­tems in Fallout 4 is fun to tin­ker with, but comes up against the same wall a lot of craft­ing sys­tems have in that I nev­er feel there isn’t any­thing in­her­ent­ly bet­ter that I could craft com­pared to what I can find all around the game world via dead bod­ies, loot finds, and ven­dors. Aside from the Power Armor (more on that in just a bit). Maybe I just haven’t ex­plored the late lev­el craft­ing sys­tem enough, but I haven’t been com­pelled to thus far.

The Settlements feel a lot more like busy work as the are cur­rent­ly im­ple­ment­ed, too. A game like Fallout did not nec­es­sar­i­ly need fluff work to fill out it’s game play, and it’s not that I feel like the in­tend­ed it to be filler. It’s just as they are cur­rent­ly ex­e­cut­ed, they cre­ate a bit of ar­ti­fi­cial depth.

The one change that I feel worked out re­al­ly well is how Power Armor is treat­ed in this game (in­tro­duc­tion of it be­ing too ear­ly notwith­stand­ing). I think it works great as a “ve­hi­cle” style of game­play, and the craft­ing sys­tem for this as­pect is great. It’s Fallout: Pimp Your Power Armor Edition. Some of the up­grades you can get for your­self are a blast to play around with. Even if it is a lit­tle odd to need so much duct tape.

One as­pect of the stream­lin­ing I do want to ap­plaud is how you loot bod­ies and con­tain­ers. In Fallout 4 you can just cur­sor over some­thing with shines in it, and take them from there. You can ac­cess the old style list­ed loot screen with a key press, but this con­ve­nience saves so much time. I want to shake the hand/s of who­ev­er thought that up.


683e2cf1bdb338626038d867aba50eede11fe42eMichael Campbell
For those who are fa­mil­iar with Fallout 3, it is ab­solute­ly al­most the same game here. However, in this case the skills are made sim­ple and are hid­den be­hind the en­gine. There are about 3 and a half dozen mis­sions that aren’t re­cy­cled mis­sions as well. Where the game does shine is the com­bat en­gine, and also what I will deem the “Rust” as­pect of the game in the Settlement sys­tem. Recycling the junk found across the waste­land, and turn­ing it into a use­ful stuff is one of the most sat­is­fy­ing things present in the Fallout 4.

 


efc939f3125ea04f02806953f4d1c3c2bb98ed8bKiller Tofu
You can re­al­ly tell that Bethesda pulled the top peo­ple from id Software to tight­en up the gun­play. It re­al­ly shines as one of the best im­prove­ments so far to the 3D in­car­na­tions of Fallout. The amount of cus­tomiza­tion is great, and you have to love how pow­er­ful the char­ac­ter cre­ator is. I re­al­ly felt like I could shape my per­sona into who I want­ed to wan­der around as, but no oth­er voice op­tions was very much a let­down. I felt they could have in­clud­ed a few dif­fer­ent choic­es per gen­der.

That be­ing said, it’s a wel­come im­prove­ment to pre­fabbed faces and char­ac­ter pro­por­tions from pre­vi­ous ti­tles. Something I find am­bi­tious, but don’t find my­self drawn to, is the Settlement sys­tem. It’s amaz­ing how Bethesda man­aged to stuff some­thing like Rust in a  full game. It’s not as deep as Rust by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion, but it’s sol­id and a nice mini‐game to burn time.

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It’s re­al­ly pret­ty at times (just don’t look close at the wa­ter).

Graphics

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Josh Bray: Let’s face it. Gamebryo is strug­gling here. A lot of the tex­tures in Fallout 4 are de­tailed and high res­o­lu­tion (some­times too high for their own good), but the Gamebryo en­gine is al­most bust­ing at the seams be­cause of them. But baf­fling­ly some of them are ul­tra low res­o­lu­tion. It is just kind of an un­op­ti­mized hodge podge that can tear your eyes when you look too close.

The wrin­kles in this weight­ed down en­gine are show­ing, and it holds back this game from look­ing as tru­ly amaz­ing as it could. There are some nice look­ing views to be had at times, but the fan­cy wall­pa­per here re­al­ly needs bet­ter walls and foun­da­tion at this point. As is the modus operan­di of this in­stall­ment every­thing looks ad­e­quate, but it doesn’t re­al­ly shine and you see the cracks in the sur­face when you look close.

I was able to keep it most­ly smooth (es­pe­cial­ly with the cur­rent beta patch) at med‐high set­tings. But you can still feel the en­gine strug­gling at times.


683e2cf1bdb338626038d867aba50eede11fe42eMichael Campbell
Gamebryo hasn’t aged well. The game re­cy­cles dam­aged build­ings and as­sets across the Wasteland. However on a high pow­er ma­chine, and with a de­cent amount of video mem­o­ry avail­able, you will be able to see the tex­tures in their com­plete­ly un­op­ti­mized but great look­ing form. I sug­gest this mod for low­er end com­put­ers.

The art that does ex­ist out­side of tex­tures, and the oc­ca­sion­al graph­i­cal glitch, is some­thing to be­hold. It cap­tures the feel of the uni­verse, with at least some of the sub­stance.

 


efc939f3125ea04f02806953f4d1c3c2bb98ed8bKiller Tofu
The art style, while not half bad, does feel al­most as if it’s what we ex­pect­ed from a new in­stall­ment of Fallout. That is to say to there is noth­ing that sur­pris­es on dis­play here. Besides the char­ac­ter cre­ation en­gine be­ing in full play, and NPCs do man­age to stay be­liev­able in their pro­por­tions and fa­cial struc­ture be­cause of it. The en­vi­ron­ments are — while still drab and dead (which makes lit­tle sense con­sid­er­ing how long it’s been since the war) — well put to­geth­er and nice­ly laid out. There’s lit­tle in en­vi­ron­men­tal de­tails that feel out of place, and the way things we’re pre­sent­ed is well done and looks re­al­ly good. I found the tech­ni­cal is­sues with shad­ows and the over­all slow­ness of in­door en­vi­ron­ments to be up­set­ting, though.

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Hey, Nick. There is no chair there… oh I love you any­way.

Music and Sound

 

6f389afcef26cfcafc51ee985814cf3c1095a545Josh Bray: This isn’t an area I wouldn’t give awards, but one that I also can­not give bad marks too as well.

As I men­tioned in the game play seg­ment, the gun SFX are im­proved in this game (but not per­fect), and dis­tant gun­fights sound sur­pris­ing­ly au­then­tic. Other game SFX  is stan­dard fare from pre­vi­ous Bethesda de­liv­ered Fallout ti­tles and works.

The voice act­ing that makes up all the di­a­log of this game is all done well. Everyone was dis­tinct, emot­ed well, and most de­liv­ered their lines with enough de­tail to paint the scenes nice­ly. Courtenay Taylor does great as Fem‐Lone Survivor, but it doesn’t reach the lev­els of Jennifer Hale’s FemShep — that is a high bar to reach though. I’ve only just start­ed on a Male Lone Survivor, but Brian Delany’s per­for­mance is en­joy­able so far. My choice for stand out per­for­mance in this game has to go to Stephen Russell’s act­ing with Nick Valentine. Stephen is the one that re­al­ly made me feel for that lov­able hunk of bolts.

The mu­sic is — again the mo­tif — stan­dard for a new age Fallout™ brand­ed game. There were a hand­ful of new tracks that are fit­ting and en­joy­able on the main Diamond City Radio, with just a bit too many re­cy­cled tracks from oth­er games. I can see why they would want to reuse some tracks (they are “icon­ic” to the se­ries now, plus they al­ready own the rights), but I feel this was kind of a bad move. The new­er Fallout ti­tles can feel kind of samey and repet­i­tive al­ready, and hear­ing some of the same mu­sic you al­ready heard hours of again can makes me feel a lit­tle like a ham­ster on a wheel.

Oh, and I loathe DJ Travis. I want to punch him in the face. And now that I know he can be re­placed, I may just go turn him into a pile of in­cin­er­at­ed dust. Don’t judge me. Just wait til you hear him whine on air. You will be me, then.


683e2cf1bdb338626038d867aba50eede11fe42eMichael Campbell:
Most of the best mu­sic from Fallout 3 makes a reap­pear­ance in this game, with only a few new songs for the Radio com­ing back to com­pli­ment them. One new song has stuck with me, how­ev­er, and that is “Uranium Fever.” Other than that, the at­mos­pher­ic mu­sic is ac­tu­al­ly rather well done, with gui­tars play­ing fevered melodies, and drawn out but quite sad an­thems.

 

 


efc939f3125ea04f02806953f4d1c3c2bb98ed8bKiller Tofu
I ac­tu­al­ly nev­er played with my ra­dio on, so I can­not speak to the qual­i­ty of the mu­sic much. But the bits I did hear when I switched my ra­dio on for a few side quests was fit­ting and of the era. The one thing I will men­tion is that I loved play­ing with the ra­dio on in New Vegas. The mu­sic was great there, and didn’t get fa­tigu­ing while adding that lit­tle touch that con­gealed the uni­verse into some­thing I want­ed to be a part of. The mu­sic in Fallout 4 was of the era, but it didn’t com­pel me to lis­ten to it. This kind of stripped away a lay­er of the world build­ing I wish they had done bet­ter with.

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Those high res­o­lu­tion tex­tures shin­ing.

Technicals and Settings

 

6f389afcef26cfcafc51ee985814cf3c1095a545Josh Bray: Settings are what one should ex­pect from pre­vi­ous Bethesda ti­tles. You do have a good amount of gran­u­lar graph­ics op­tions via the game launch­er, with some bits you can cus­tomize in‐game once you have launched up. The no­tice­able miss­ing op­tion here are for mods straight from the launch­er. You can still get these in (at the time of writ­ing) with some INI tweaks, or 3rd par­ty in­stalls. But this has got­ten hard­er as of the time of pub­lish­ing this re­view, as the new patch avail­able has seem­ing­ly tried to lock peo­ple out of mod­ding. You can still mod the game at this point, but it re­quires some fi­ness­ing and fix­es and may not be long term so­lu­tions.

The game ran most­ly fine at medium‐high set­tings at 1920×1080. I say most­ly, be­cause there were enough ar­eas, es­pe­cial­ly in­side lo­ca­tions, that would drop my smooth 60 FPS to stut­ters as it was load­ing in more chunks filled with 2k tex­tures. I played the game vanil­la, with the ex­cep­tion of a mod to im­prove the tex­ture loads with­out de­grad­ing qual­i­ty much. As of the writ­ing of this re­view, though, I opt­ed in to the beta patch avail­able, and it im­proved this as­pect dras­ti­cal­ly. The few days I played on this patch were night and day to what I had played on at launch when it came to frame rates. After this per­for­mance im­prov­ing patch, the only FPS drops I had would be ex­plor­ing the ar­eas of waste­land Boston more pop­u­lat­ed with build­ings.

Something un­ex­pect­ed was the lack of game break­ing bugs here for me af­ter what I heard from oth­ers. I am used to Bethesda’s open world re­leas­es be­ing plagued with them, but my play through was clean of any­thing game break­ing. I didn’t even ex­pe­ri­ence any crash­es. This is not the stan­dard ex­pe­ri­ence from what I’ve heard from a few folks.

 

683e2cf1bdb338626038d867aba50eede11fe42eMichael Campbell: There is an ex­cel­lent set­tings pan­el, hid­den in the front and in the back of the game en­gine, ala Fallout 3. As for crash­es, and bugs, how­ev­er, there have been crash­es now and again, usu­al­ly in con­nec­tion to the en­gine freak­ing out due to physics be­ing at­tached to FPS count.

 

 

 

efc939f3125ea04f02806953f4d1c3c2bb98ed8bKiller Tofu: Even with a GeForce 980 Ti, this game limped along in­doors at points and shad­ows were the cul­prit. I don’t have a screen­shot of my set­tings, but it de­fault­ed to Ultra with every­thing maxed and I had to low­er those shad­ows. Despite the ob­vi­ous prob­lems that slowed the game, it has some im­pres­sive light­ing and par­ti­cles.

2b1988accbe89683e9d79c3e09327cdb7e75b302
This looks like some re­al­ly bad taxi­dermy.

Final Thoughts


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Josh Bray: Fallout 4 is the de­f­i­n­i­tion of sat­is­fac­to­ry game. Not great, but good enough. It still scratch­es enough of my dystopi­an waste­land and ex­plo­ration based itch­es to suck me into many hours of fun, but the ride is get­ting more and more bland as we get into this in­stall­ment. And it’s not due to a lack of in­ter­est in the set­ting, but how it keeps be­com­ing an in­creas­ing­ly av­er­age prod­uct as the se­ries moves along. Everything for it to be a Fallout™ brand­ed game is here, but this is be­com­ing a ghost of what drew me into the se­ries all those years ago.

Hell, strip away the craft­ing sys­tems and Settlements, and this might as well just be Fallout 3.

This ap­pears to be the way it is go­ing to be too, if mon­ey speaks as loud­ly as peo­ple say it does. 12 mil­lion sales day one, with only 1.2 mil­lion be­ing on Steam. Fallout is a main­stream con­sole game now, and open world hap­pens to be the cur­rent “de­fault game.” While I am glad that more peo­ple than ever are fans of this uni­verse, I can’t help but be a lit­tle wist­ful as I pour a 40 oz. for the fall­en bud­dy that was Interplay’s Fallout. Fallout 4 is a fun time, but it leaves me want­i­ng the old depth back.

The fi­nal ver­dict for me is that you should play it, but wait a few months to a year for it to not just be on sale, but to have the req­ui­site patch­es and mods that re­al­ly end up com­plet­ing these new­er Fallout ex­pe­ri­ences.


683e2cf1bdb338626038d867aba50eede11fe42eMichael Campbell
It al­most seems like I want to place this game en­tire­ly in the neg­a­tive. At times I want to throw this whole game into the sea and pre­tend it nev­er ex­ist­ed.

However.

I stop. Because the game is ac­tu­al­ly com­pe­tent when all is said and done. It’s per­haps one of the bet­ter ex­am­ples of a game that is just fun. Each el­e­ment on its own makes me want to pull my hair out of my head, and scream to the heav­ens. But with the way that each in­ter­acts with each oth­er, it ends up sell­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence de­spite each in­di­vid­ual piece leav­ing me flab­ber­gast­ed. The sound ef­fects are top notch. The mu­sic feels ap­pro­pri­ate. The tex­tures give the whole world this feel­ing of grit. And the voice act­ing can be quite en­thralling.

Do I think that the voice act­ing was worth it on its own? No. I re­al­ly miss hav­ing more than four op­tions at a time to talk to NPCs. The mu­sic feels re­cy­cled, and is in a lot of cas­es out­side of the at­mos­pher­ic pieces. And the tex­tures are bloody un­op­ti­mized.

And de­spite all this, I am still play­ing the shit out of this. It’s an awe­some and fun ex­pe­ri­ence de­spite all the raw el­e­ments that leave a bit­ter old grog­nard fan of the Fallout uni­verse just a lit­tle raw.


efc939f3125ea04f02806953f4d1c3c2bb98ed8bKiller Tofu
Overall, Fallout 4 is a slight­ly janky mess with re­deem­ing qual­i­ties that makes you want to leave it cab fare on the dress­er as it leaves for the night. But you don’t call it back af­ter­wards. The whole thing feels like it was al­most there, and then they rushed it out the door to pick up sales dur­ing the cur­rent open world game trend that’s tak­en over a lot of the video games mar­ket. I just wish they had giv­en it more time in de­vel­op­ment, and had re­spect­ed the roots of the IP more. It would have been bet­ter than just a de­cent enough Fallout game.

 


Buy this game at full price if:

Josh Bray…you just ab­solute­ly must play the newest Fallout game NOW. If you have al­ready played the oth­er open world games that came out this year and need an­oth­er dozen hours of your life sucked away ASAP.

Michael Campbell: …you must ab­solute­ly have the new game of the year a year be­fore it gets an­nounced as such by its own pub­lish­er.

Killer Tofu: …you like wast­ing your in­come

Buy this game on sale if:

Josh Bray…you are most peo­ple. This game is just fine. It’s not a waste of mon­ey… if you pay the right price. I re­spect the hell out of the peo­ple who made this game, but there are tech­ni­cal­ly bet­ter games out there to shell out mon­ey on. Especially tech­ni­cal­ly bet­ter open world games.

Michael Campbell…you are a fan of Fallout, but can­not jus­ti­fy the price. Or you are leery of every­thing you’ve heard about it.

Killer Tofu…you want a cus­tomiz­able shoot­er ex­pe­ri­ence with mediocre sto­ry, and is a gi­ant play­ground of things to kill.

Don’t buy this game if:

Josh Bray: …what Bethesda has turned Fallout is blas­phe­my to you, or if you re­al­ly want an RPG and not an open world shoot­er dressed up as one. Also if you don’t have above the min­i­mum specs re­quired for the game. I’m sure the game will “run” at those specs, but it’s not go­ing to be smooth. And it’s not go­ing to be pret­ty.

Michael Campbell…you can wait the four or five months it will take to ful­ly and com­plete­ly re­move the ma­jor­i­ty of all the game‐stopping bugs.

Killer Tofu: …you loved Fallout 1 and 2, but hat­ed Fallout 3 and New Vegas.

System Specs:

Josh Bray:

Intel i5 4670 @ 3.40 GHz

12GB DDR3 RAM

1TB WD Black HDD

Nvidia GeForce 660 w/ 2GB Video RAM

Michael Campbell:

AMD FX‐8350 @ 4.0 GHz

12GB DDR3 RAM

1TB HDD

Nvidia GeForce 750 w/ 2GB Video RAM

Killer Tofu:

Intel Xeon E5 @ 3.50 GHz

16 GB DDR4 RAM

250GB Samsung Evo SSD/2TB Hitachi HDD

Nvidia GeForce 980ti w/ 6GB Video RAM

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Josh Bray
Josh has worked in IT for over 15 years. Graduated Broadcasting school in 2012 with a fo­cus on A/V pro­duc­tion. Amateur pho­tog­ra­ph­er with a pas­sion to make things work… by any means nec­es­sary. Editor‐in‐Chief and do‐er of tech things at SuperNerdLand