Arguably the biggest game of the year, Fallout 4 released to much fanfare, but does it deserve it?
gameplay 55 / story 65 / graphics 70 / sound 75
Fallout 4 has been one of the most speculated and hyped games for several years now. From the first rumors that the series was heading to Boston, until it’s release nearly 2 weeks ago. Anyone and everyone who enjoys gaming had to get their hands on a copy of Fallout 4. And after the runaway success of Fallout 3 and TES: Skyrim, there was absolutely no way Fallout 4 could possibly fail. Commercially the game is a HUGE success, already generating nearly $1 Billion in revenue, it is literally the hottest selling game this year already.
But the game doesn’t meet my expectations after their previous success with a very similar game engine. Much like TES: Skyrim, Fallout 4 has a very short main quest, and is generally the same length as many of the faction side questlines. In fact, if you look at the available quests for each of the factions, the main quest is the shortest of the bunch. To add insult to injury, Fallout 4’s ending is practically non-existent. I apparently beat the game and did two missions for the newest faction questline and had no idea I had already beat the game. Sure, there was a pretty big plot twist at the end of the main quest, but usually those are reserved for the middle of the story, not the ending.
Going into the game, I was saddened that I couldn’t invite my friends to see my settlement, but now I wouldn’t even care if the feature existed. The ability to build up your settlement left me with more questions than answers. Why can’t I burn away the unnecessary brush and bushes surrounding the old homes? Why can’t I remove dead bodies and/or giant rocks that are unwanted inside my settlement? How come I can snap walls and floors for my building, but not the city walls protecting my settlement? Why can’t I place my food when there’s obviously room, and why is it floating in the air? Why are my settlers constantly fixing the house, but it always looks like shit? Why can’t I patch holes in the wall? There’s obviously can’s of paint in the game world, why can’t I paint my house? How come the Red Rocket settlement doesn’t need a power generator to turn on the lights and why can’t I use that to power the recruitment beacon? I can pick up a broom, why can’t I sweep some of this dirt out of my house? The more I used this new feature, and the more I wanted to improve my settlement, the more the feature felt unfinished. Like everything else in this game, the concept is addicting, but the delivery leaves much to be desired. I don’t want to build up my settlement just to have it look as trashed and dumpy as the rest of the world, I want to build a place I’d actually want to stay.
In other areas, the game continues to fall short of expectations. The sound is unbalance, often leading to issues where the music plays louder than npc dialogue, or the return of the well known glitch where an NPC will wander into the vicinity of your conversation, and begin their own conversation over the top of the one you are in. Graphically the game looks like it could have been an Xbox 360 or PS3 game. Aside from an increased draw distance, which even then just enhances the terrible pop-in that occurs all over the place, especially with items built in your settlement. Even during a cutscene, NPC’s, animals, or even your own power armor block the camera so you cannot see the character you are talking to. If that wasn’t enough, I often noticed odd mannerisms while talking to another NPC, especially when wearing power armor, where it looked like the main characters arms separated from his body, and other body parts would float. Hell, I’ve even been attacked by a headless enemy.
On top of all those flaws, somehow the game is still fun, to a point. But my experience was more frustrating than fun, the result of being beaten down by numerous glitches and bugs. The main issue I had was the poor save system, I probably lost a good 5-6 hours of game time due to the absence of a competent auto save system, which only saves after using the Pip Boy, and on extremely rare occasions, during the middle(but not end) of a mission. The game doesn’t even save after leveling up. Discoveries on the map lost, upgrades to your settlement gone, missions completed having to be run again. This is by far the worst save system Bethesda has ever implemented! Toss on top of that the wealth of glitches, from not being able to fast travel when after visiting “Listening Post Alpha”, to disappearing companions, to the game breaking glitch in “Monsignor”, to corrupted save files, massive frame rate drops, and some unforgivable input lag. And this was a game supposedly finished back when it was unveiled at E3? What should have been an amazing experience is marred by poor performance at every angle.
Final Word: What Fallout 4 has going for it is the fact that it is one of the more addicting single player games on the planet. Unfortunately everything else about the game absolutely stinks. From the short story with no real ending, the last gen worthy graphics, and more bugs than a New York apartment complex, this game deserves no more than a 60, out of 100.
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