Fallout 4 has arrived! The Vault is opened, and that means one thing: REVIEWS!
There are a ton of extensive reviews on the interwebs, with extensive playtime, walkthroughs, videos, and all kinds of nitty gritty on the play through of this FANTASTIC game. This is not one of those, but it is something I hope will be more relatable to most of you out there. I will delve into my first impressions now, and then come back as I progress through this game as many of you do: in my free time when my kid is not around.
Like most of you I am not a full time journalist. I am a “Working Joe” and as such I just got my copy of Fallout 4:Pip-Boy Edition for PS4 late Tuesday night, in the regular UPS delivery to my neighborhood, and only got to play it for just under six hours today. Six Hours. That is barely enough time to scratch the surface of the Post-Apocolyptic Commonwealth Wasteland in a game as massive and rich as this. So there is little chance of any SPOILERS in my article. If you want those you can go to any number of places.
I am a BIG Fallout fan. I grew up and live in the real-life Capital Wasteland of the Fallout 3 world and so I have a strong emotional attachment to the series. New Vegas was great, but this…This is Fallout 4, and I have been eagerly anticipating this for seven years! I opened my box from Bethesda Games to the sound of a chorus of angels (Puscifer on my stereo) and shafts of light landing on the wonder within (from the track lighting in the basement, but still…). I had been hoping that this would be the ultimate special edition game release/swag and I was not disappointed. The exterior box is designed to look like military storage box from the game, and it opens to reveal the (Brotherhood of) Steel-book edition, and a nifty “Pip-Boy Owners Manual”, seated atop a full-sized, wearable, Pip-Boy 3000 Mark IV, with working lights and able to accept the cell phone of your choosing (so long as it is an iPhone 4/4s, 5/5s, or 6/6s [but not plus], or a Samsung Galaxy S3/S4/S5) to become a fully functional Pip-Boy with the Pip-boy App (available on the iOS and Android stores) that is supposed to link with the game wirelessly via your phones Bluetooth for a truly unique second screen experience. Now I could not get the app to link to the PS4, but I will give it another try later. Now, that problem aside, in my six hours of game play, I have yet to bump in to any of the reported bugs or glitches (most notably on Steam, Xbox One and PC) that have been talked about extensively on-line, but there was a pretty significant update to the game before I could play, so it is possible that Bethesda addressed much of those right out of the gate on Release day. We will have to see as things progress.
Our story begins in a suburb of Boston, shortly before the end-of-the-world events that make the Fallout world possible. We get to see some of life before the apocalypse (and let me tell you, it is GORGEOUS in this next-gen!), and how people got to the Vault, Vault 111 in this case. In the opening sequence, you and your spouse are getting ready for the day in the bathroom, and, looking at yourself in the mirror, you get to use one of the DEEPEST character creators I have seen to create the look of your characters face. I was able to make a decent facsimile of myself!
I will not give away plot points, but you end up at Vault 111 after which you somehow jump forward 200 years, waking up with a world in ruins. The world you knew is long dead, and you must now make your way in this strange new world. Here is the first weakness I noticed in the game. There was a lack of gravity to this situation you find yourself in. I feel that the writers/creators could have given a lot more weight to this aspect of the story through the protagonist’s conversations and reactions to this place you find yourself in. But this is nitpicking. The world itself, both before and after the apocalypse is stunning in it’s detail and depth. I just was playing Fallout 3 for the last week, and the comparison is truly amazing. The controls are at once familiar, but with certain tweaks due to the newer controllers and such. I was annoyed that you can no longer “wait” unless you sleep, and weapons and clothing no longer take damage as they used to. There are a number of other changes and improvement, IMHO to game play that makes this game familiar yet new enough to be compelling. For example; V.A.T.S. only slows time, it does not stop it, so you have to make a quick decision for your attack, and the percentages change as the enemy moves, the weapon modding is INCREDIBLY deep, as is the costume modding, and the combat is much more fun and play friendly. One thing about the modding that I really liked was that you can add things to arms and legs individually in addition to the usual changing of the suit, or take a basic weapon and build it up. This goes WAY beyond the weapon modding from New Vegas. And then there is the Power Armor….OH the power armor! Now, I just got to that in the game I am playing, but there is a satisfying sense of what this armor is and how it is different than just another costume as in Fallout 3 and New Vegas. But more on that later.
There is SO much more I have not even found/ discovered/ unlocked yet. After playing for just under six hours, an hour of which was spent just playing around with the Character Creator, I have only gotten to Level 3, and I have not gotten more than a mile from the Vault! There will be updates later when I will have had more time to really progress into the story, and to check out some of the interesting and innovative new features, such as the ability to create a community as you build buildings and recruit inhabitants, the new Companion System, the deep modding, and updated leveling.
So far, I give this game a solid 4.5 Pip-boys out of 5!
Carry on Vault Dweller!