Fallout 4 PC Review
Fallout 4 is the widely anticipated sequel to Fallout 3 and its successor Fallout: New Vegas. The way the game works is carried over from its brilliant predecessors in nearly every way. This is not a bad thing and the game is a huge improvement from Fallout: New Vegas . Fallout 4 benefits from an interesting story mode and a great Boston wasteland to explore. However the game has its flaws, such as bugs and questionable graphics from such a large publisher, which damage the overall experience.
The storyline consists of you searching for your lost son after waking from a cryo-chamber. Then being thrust into a post-apocalyptic world which draws you into a struggle between several groups vying for control of the region. The story allows you to make decisions and influence certain sides, which was far more compelling and the choices were much harder than I expected.
The main story however, as usual with the Fallout series is not the most interesting part of the game. The many unique side quests that you stumble upon exploring the wasteland kept me gripped and there seemed to be something new at every corner. I could barely finish one point of a story quest without running into something else, such as legendary enemies with a chance to drop unique items, which distracted me. There have been complaints about the size of the area which you can explore. The area did admittedly, seem smaller than the previous games but there was far more content which to discover. Unlike previous entries to the series I wasn’t wandering aimlessly in large open spaces without finding something which caught my interest. Whether it being running into a group of murderous raiders or finding a new building or site with its own interesting back story to figure out. On one occasion I found a man on his knees with a doppelganger pointing a shotgun at him, each man was trying to convince me the other was a synthetic impostor which ended in an interesting decision. The game sees the return of the highly popular companion “Dogmeat” which follows you around the wasteland helping fight enemies and sniffing out loot. There are many other companions you can convince to follow you in your search for wasteland power.
The latest entry to the series has also revitalised the levelling up system with a perks chart in which you pick perks to upgrade your character. These range from things such as better lock picking and hacking of terminals to more eccentric things such as the Mysterious Stranger who can randomly appear in the VATS mode. This Fallout plays down the VATS mode which in previous entries stopped time and allowed you to target different parts of an enemy’s body. The gunplay is much improved and I found myself not needing to use VATS which only slows down time in Fallout 4 instead of stopping it like in previous entries.
Fallout 4 has managed to come up with a brilliant way to make use of the junk found across the wasteland. In previous entries it was just useless junk you could find. Fallout 4 allows you to break down junk into useful materials. These come in handy with the new gun mod system which has 50 in game weapons and over 700 unique modifications. Every weapon is customisable granted you have the right materials and a high enough gun mod level on the perk chart. However the biggest use for materials in the game is creating your own settlements. You can customise villages by building houses and defences which attracts settlers. These have a happiness meter which requires you to maintain their upkeep and help defend them from raiders. If you are into creative settlement management hours could be spent on this.
A fully voiced male or female protagonist is the first in the Fallout series. This sounded exciting, however I really don’t feel like it was executed properly. A Mass Effect style wheel replaced the previous straight dialogue options. Conversations can often be boring and I found myself reading what characters were saying and skipping through before they could finish.
PC performance on the game was a let-down to say the least. The game is remarkable, don’t get me wrong. However with a GTX 970 and an I7 processor I was still dipping from 60 to around 40 frames for no apparent reason in some areas. AMD processors and GPU’s have also suffered badly with frame rate in Fallout 4. The graphics were a huge disappointment for a triple-A game. Coming straight from playing The Witcher 3, I was quite shocked and despite playing on ultra-graphics I found textures and lighting lacking. At one point I got stuck on a rock and could not move, forcing me to re-load an old save, hopefully these issues will be fixed in a future patch. Animations have also been copied and pasted from Skyrim which I thought was rather lazy.
The content in Fallout 4 makes the game. Exploring, crafting and atmosphere all contribute to a brilliant and refreshing experience which can be played for over 100 hours. The game is more of the same for the series but takes its place as Bethesda’s best entry to the series. It’s a shame the graphical issues and bugs put a stain on the overall experience, but this shouldn’t stop you from playing it and it feels like there’s something for everyone to explore in the Commonwealth.