Fallout 4 Review

Published by Lewis Roth on November 15, 2015 12:05 pm
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Suit up and grab your Pip-Boy! We emerge from the vault and enter into the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Fallout 4 in our in-depth review.

Fallout. It’s one of the most well-known franchises, not only within the video game industry, but also outside of it. The name has become synonymous with role-playing games – a hallmark, if you will. Since the release of the third main entry into the series, Fallout 3, fans have been clamouring for the next instalment. Now, seven years later, its finally upon us. The burning question on everyone’s mind is – surely – was it worth the wait? Let’s dive into the post-apocalyptic world of Fallout 4 to find out. Don’t forget your Vault-Tec jumpsuit and Pip-Boy!

Though it is set in the remnants of Boston, Fallout 4 initially opens with a picturesque setting, that is heavily influenced by 1950s Americana. You’re a stereotypical couple in living in an idyllic suburb. You’ve returned from war, and are now looking forward to living in peace with your spouse and new-born baby.

It’s a time of great technological advancements promise to radically change the world, for the better – or potentially destroy it. The advancements have come at a price. Resources are growing ever-more limited, and the threat of nuclear war is on the horizon.

Before actually being able to sink your teeth into the game itself, you’re given the opportunity to select between a male or female character. Utilizing the same system that the development team used to design the non-playable characters that fill up the open-world landscape of Fallout 4, a plethora of customization options are available for both genders.

Once you’ve created your perfect you (for the purpose of this review, we’re going to write based upon the selection of a male persona) – and future nuclear fallout survivor – a baby is generated, based upon the chosen characteristics. A small, but neat feature, considering the child plays an integral role in the overarching story.

Fallout 4 Video Game Review Screenshots for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC

At this point, you’re given free roam of the family homestead and the plot, which leads to the inevitable apocalyptic-scenario, kicks into action. It begins with a visit from your local Vault-Tec representative, who informs you – in honour of having served your country – that your family has been allotted space in the local, underground fallout shelter.

Seemingly, only moments later, a broadcast comes through on the television, announcing that nuclear war is imminent. It’s time to grab your wife and child and leg-it to the bunker before the world ends and you’re all fried alive.

You’re not the only one with that plan – everyone’s running for their lives. You are, however, one of the lucky few with a reserved space. Directed towards the shelter, you arrive in the nick of time – literally, moments before the bomb is dropped – and descend into safety, where orientation begins. However, it will soon begin to dawn on you that everything isn’t quite as it appears to be, as you are shuffled towards a Cryo tube; where you are put into a cryogenically-frozen sleep.

In what feels like a moment – but during which many years have passed – your character, his wife and child are reawakened by two mysterious figures. They’re searching for something. Opening the Cryo tubes one by one, they reach your family’s. They’ve found what they’re seeking, your son, Shaun. Your wife, in a bid to protect him, is shot dead. Taking the child, the two individuals reactive your Cryo tube, putting you back to sleep once again. That is until you finally manage to escape, a total of 210 years later, and emerge from Vault 111 as the sole survivor – vowing to avenge the death of your wife and locate your kidnapped child.

The storyline of Fallout 4 is – for the most part – top-notch. There’s murder and kidnap. It’s filed with plot twists that will keep you wanting more. Yet, there is a plentiful helping of clichés, that have undoubtedly been done before. Though, that doesn’t stop it from being a solid story-telling experience and the multiple plot paths will make you think twice about your actions.

Upon emerging from the vault, it’s immediately evident that the world you once knew is long-gone. The Commonwealth, which consists of Boston, Massachusetts and surrounding areas of New England, has radically changed. Nuclear war has ravaged the once lush landscape and transformed it into a hellish, brutal new world.

It is a world that is now filled with more dangers than you can imagine. Not only is there the constant worry of radiation, which is present in the environment itself, in the food, in the water and other resources found throughout the game. All of which will have an impact on your character’s health. But, there is also the very real presence of a plethora of enemies, from the raiders and ghouls to the larger-than-life super-mutants and nightmarish deathclaws.


The sheer scale of Fallout 4 is staggering. Countless hours of bliss await.”

The sheer scale of Fallout 4, not only in terms of gameplay and customization, but its massive open-world environment, is staggering. There is an undeniable amount of depth, that will lead to countless hours of bliss.

Needless to say, in order to survive the wasteland of Fallout 4, you’re going to need one hell of an arsenal of firepower. It’s a good thing that there’s more than 50 base guns, of which can be looted from the bodies of enemies or from the environment itself, then. Each of which can be modified through the in-depth crafting system, with a massive amount of modifications, totalling some 700, being available.

There’s more to survival than simply weaponry, however. You’ll need a decent suit of armor as well. Similar to weapons, an enormous variety of clothing and apparel can be found throughout your travels. Ultimately, on this front, you can choose how you want to play. Do you want to pick style, and opt for little to no protection or do you want to starve of the radiation for as long as possible? Perhaps, instead, you want to load out on the bulkiest armor possible, for the most protection? The choice is yours – but be warned, it will have an impact on how you traverse and tackle each situation that arises on the fly.

Whilst we’re speaking of armor, it is worth noting that the Power Armor makes a return. A suit of armor that can be modified – with one addition being a jetpack! -  to protect the wearer, it is essentially a vehicle of destruction and death. After having been upgraded to its full potential you’ll be virtually unstoppable whilst using it. It’s some serious fun.

It isn’t the only returning feature, though. The infamous Pip-Boy, a wristwatch that provides instant access to the player’s vital stats, the world map, mission data, and items. It’s core to the franchise and is extremely useful. Once brought up, it pauses the gameplay, and allows you to rearrange weapons, ditch some useless junk you’ve been carrying around, or fast travel to a predetermined location, saving time trudging around the enormous and daunting landscape.

Fallout 4 Video Game Review Screenshots for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC Fallout 4 Video Game Review Screenshots for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC Fallout 4 Video Game Review Screenshots for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC

The Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System (shortened to V.A.T.S.), also makes a return. It can often be the key to success in combat, slowing down time, allowing you to select areas of attack of enemies with pin-point accuracy, to cause the most damage possible. There’s good and bad elements to the system. For one, it allows you to strategically place your shots. For example, you are able to cripple an enemy, making them easier to confront head-on. However, it can feel slightly unnecessary, and somewhat detracts from the on-the-fly decision making nature of the game. It doesn’t feel as brutal, unrelenting or real.

Let’s get back to customization for a moment – because it’s a big part of Fallout 4. Seemingly almost every aspect of the game can be modified in some way. This also includes, for the first time, the ability to create your own settlements. Though entirely optional, you will find yourself sinking in large amount of time into building your own safe havens – a light in an otherwise bleak world. This consists of prefab structures, which can be used to construct buildings and a selection of decorations and furniture to adorn them with. If your settlement is going to thrive, however, you’ll need to setup defensive structures and establish and maintain vital resources, including power, water and food. Once it’s off the ground, traders and storefronts can be setup, helping it to further expand. This, in turn, allows for new items to be purchased, which were previously unattainable. You’ll also have more vendors to unload your useless items on, allowing you to attain more bottlecaps than you know what to do with – after all, who doesn’t want that?

The sheer amount of customization options present in Fallout 4 is staggering and doesn’t even end there. At the very beginning of the game, you are given a number of points to spend in its expansive progression system, which spans seven statistics: strength, perception, endurance, charisma, intelligence, agility and luck. Upon earning a new level, an additional point becomes available, allowing you to further upgrade your character’s abilities. Though, with more than 275 perks, you’ll need to invest some serious time to unlock them all.

One thing we love – and we’re sure others will as well – is the return of companions, similar in nature to Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. An ensemble of characters, ranging from our personal favourite, Dogmeat to Codsworth can assist the players as they traverse The Commonwealth. They are not only a dab-hand in sticky situation, but are able to perform a variety of useful tasks, including picking locks, if the player is unable to do so. It’s a shame the ability to bring along more than one at a time doesn’t exist, however – as we’re always left saddened when we have to swap out Dogmeat for another character.

We’ll be honest, if we were to delve into every aspect of Fallout 4’s gameplay, then we’d be here quite some time. From the amount of weapons and armor, to the unbelievable amount of crafting options that can be derived from them. There’s simply more than one could list and likely some, that will be only be found in the future, hidden deep into the game. Time will tell. But, there is an undeniable amount of depth that exists within the game that will lead to countless hours of bliss.

Fallout 4 Video Game Review Screenshots for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC

As not only the first entry into the franchise in several years, but the first to be released on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Fallout 4 certainly has – and perhaps understandably – high expectations to live up to. The pressure on Bethesda to deliver an experience that remains true to the legacy of the previous titles, whilst also delivering new innovations to meet today’s audience, was undoubtedly massive. This is especially true in the visual department. So, how does the role-playing behemoth stack up?

We’re pleased to say, that for the most part, the open-world environment of Fallout 4 is outstandingly beautiful. At least, on a first glance, that is. Why, you ask? Well, from afar, the landscape and its vistas are rather stunning to behold. There’s a true sense of scale and awe. The world is ravished – it’s been destroyed by a nuclear holocaust and the atmosphere of the landscape reflects this with utter realism.

Yet, upon closer inspection, there are some issues. Lower resolution textures that pop out like a sore thumb. They look muddy and rather messy, at times. Some, might say that we’re nit-picking, however. They might even have a point. There’s always going to be trade-offs in a game the size of Fallout 4. Smaller, less important objects, don’t receive as much attention as more prominent ones do. That’s understandable, as they aren’t going to be seen as often. Development teams have a limited time scale, thus it’s obvious as to why they’d want to focus their time on the true eye-candy and larger set pieces. Considering how fantastic the rest of the world is, we’d forgive them on that front.

That very same sentiment rings true for the characters that inhabit the world, as well. The characters which receive the most screen time and play an active, integral role in the development of Fallout 4’s plot, have been given the most attention. Less prominent characters, are not near as high-quality, but serve their purpose. The enemies, including the behemoth sized super-mutants and deathclaws, are note-worthy mentions in the visual department. They stick out and are awesome sights to confront.

Fallout 4 doesn’t simply deliver in the visual department, though. It also excels in the auditory field. The amount of dialogue – at an estimated 111,000 lines long – almost boggles the mind. Bethesda teamed up with Brian T. Delaney and Courtenay Taylor to voice the male and female protagonist, respectively. Despite some of it feeling a bit robotic and stiff, they generally perform up to scratch. A highlight in the cast list is that of John Cleese, who voices Codsworth, and delivers across the board. Heck, he even recorded some 1,000 name variations, by which his character can call the player.

When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, Fallout 4 delivers in almost every way imaginable. Those who’ve long-awaited its release will be pleasantly happy to find, that whilst the tried-and-true formula has been tweaked, it ultimately remains true to the legacy of the series. It is set within a hauntingly brutal world, which will provide countless hours of adventure and enjoyment. The sense of depth and scale is almost incomparable. There’s little more you could ask for – let alone want.

Are you ready to rebuild the wasteland and unite The Commonwealth under one banner? Fallout 4 is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. Read on below for the verdict.


The Verdict













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