What GameSpot Would Like to See in the Next Fallout

Now that The Elder Scrolls Online has been released and we're approaching E3, I suspect more and more publications will produce their own version of this GameSpot editorial from Kevin Van Ord, which offers some wishes and ideas for the inevitably upcoming but not yet announced Fallout 4. Luckily for us, it's not a banal take on the subject:

An Identity of its Own

And thus what I want most of all is for Fallout 4 to be its own unique entity, with vague ties, if any, to Elder Scrolls mechanics and structure. The nostalgic Fallout fan in me longs for isometric exploration and turn-based strategic combat, but I believe that the console-driven world in which we live precludes the possibility. Therefore, Bethesda needs to do all it can to make Fallout look and feel different from its other famous series. A good place to start is with combat: Fallout 3 and New Vegas allowed for real-time shooting, but no one could accuse those games of feeling like actual shooters. There are two possibilities here, presuming Fallout 4 doesn't just copy its predecessors' combat. The first is to go full-on shooter and make gunplay (and swordplay) fluid and fun. To do so would either require the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System to be overhauled so that players couldn't just shoot their way through every encounter in real time (does anyone want Fallout to become Rage?), or require V.A.T.S. to be scrapped altogether, a prospect I don't relish. The second possibility is to remove real-time shooting and make Fallout 4's combat fully tactical.

Such a system could take many forms, but the one I envision would flip the world seamlessly from first-person to an overhead view as soon as combat begins. This kind of gameplay, in which real-time exploration transitions into turn-based action, is hardly new, but the transformation between camera views is an uncommon approach. Done properly, such a battle system could retain all the joys of exploring a postapocalyptic landscape through your character's own eyes, while making every battle a meaningful event. Maybe we could actually get a full-on adventuring party in the mix, but given how Bethesda can't even get a single companion to work properly, I won't hold out hope.