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I'm not sure if anyone was expecting something different, but almost all of the early reviews for Fallout 4 are very positive, much like the reviews for Fallout 3 before, though they don't quite reach the highs of Skyrim's reception. To be honest, considering all the interest displayed by players before release, I don't think reviews will influences sales much either way, but it's still an interesting thing to note.
A word of warning, though: bugs seem to be a common complaints in most reviews. Unless you're absolutely itching to explore Bethesda's latest open world, you might want to wait for a couple of patches.
A story that begins as a basic search for your lost family evolves into something much more complex and morally nuanced. Like in Fallout: New Vegas, we're drawn into a struggle between several groups competing for control of the region, and deciding which of their imperfect post-apocalyptic philosophies to align with made me pause to consider how I wanted events to play out. Even the highly questionable Institute has a tempting reason to side with them, and turning away from them in my playthrough wasn't as clear-cut a choice as I'd expected. I was impressed by the sympathy shown toward the villains, too - even the most irredeemable murderer is explored and given a trace of humanity.
We Got This Covered, 4.5/5.
I must be honest, though, and admit that I haven't had the opportunity to complete Fallout 4 yet. It's such a long and involved game, and releases at such a busy time of year that it's been difficult. I have put quite a few hours into it, though, have experienced a ton of what the wasteland has to offer, and look forward to spending more time with my most anticipated game of 2015 over the weeks to come.
Alas, it's time to conclude this lengthy review, and I'll do so by saying that, although it isn't perfect and has some elements I'm not a big fan of such as the settlement building and management mechanic those things don't drag down what is an otherwise great game. Fallout 4 is very similar to Fallout 3, which people may complain about, but it pushes forward and is certainly its own title, one which everyone should consider picking up.
There are complicated internal politics and conflicts happening within each city peace always seems fragile, and while there are factions, the term feels reductive here. The social hierarchy of the Commonwealth is far more nuanced than in previous Bethesda titles. Each city has a relationship with the other outposts, and generally, characters have relationships that link them to more than one place. It's not as simple as jumping through a checklist of hoops to do some quests though that's also available for each. Instead, there are difficult relationships between them. There are no easy allies, and no easy moral positions to align yourself with.
Even companions see a deeper sense of development and interconnectedness. When you're not traveling with a companion, you can send them back to a specific settlement. And when you take on a different companion, they almost always interact with your previous partner in a way that reveals a relationship there.
Bethesda leverages this dynamic, along with the strongest writing it's ever managed, to present really difficult choices in the latter half of the game's "story." In turn, it's exponentially more complicated than the Enclave vs. Brotherhood of Steel narrative from Fallout 3 or even the mangled amnesia plot line of New Vegas. It dawned on me fairly early into Fallout 4 that my choices could have unexpected consequences that wouldn't be clear till later. As I approached the last third of the game, I agonized over trying to do the right thing or even knowing what the right thing was. Fallout 4 played enough with my expectations of its fiction to keep me guessing, and its endgame is tense and fantastic for it.
Push Square, 9/10.
Fallout 4 is a masterclass in open world design. Consistently engrossing and absolutely stuffed with intricacies, it's a title that'll keep you enthralled for hours at a time as you gradually unravel its desolate yet hopeful post-apocalyptic portrayal of Boston. Although it's let down by some disappointing frame rate issues, it's not enough to detract from what's otherwise one of the most atmospheric and beautifully brutal games on the PS4. Significantly improved combat, a constant wealth of gameplay options, and a heavy emphasis on player choice combine to create an adventure that's truly memorable.
I've put over 30 hours into Fallout 4 already, and I'm nowhere near finished with all the game has to offer. I plan on taking my time and working my way through all of the wasteland beyond the final main story mission, because the game allows that to happen seamlessly. DLC and future content updates are bound to come, and I can't wait to see what the mod community does to this game either. There are bound to be two camps this year. One who loves the Witcher 3 with all of its heart, and one whose love belongs to Fallout 4. For my part, I'm torn between the two. But for what it's worth Fallout 4 has certainly topped its predecessors as my favorite game in the series and sets a new bar for what to expect from a Bethesda RPG in the future.
The Sixth Axis, 9/10.
Fallout 4 is hugely ambitious and without a doubt one of the best games this year. It's not without its flaws, but very few games made me care more about what I was picking up, how to use it, what choices I made, and even the communities I'd founded. By streamlining some mechanics, Bethesda has made room for other more complex ideas. If you can forgive a few technical imperfections, of which there aren't as many as prior instalments, Fallout 4 exceeds all expectations.
A huge game that's anything you want it to be. An immense RPG, shooter, and world to explore that is only constrained by your imagination and desire to explore.
PSN Stores, 5/5.
Both the overall gunplay as well as the optional RPG-like V.A.T.S. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System) have received nice overhauls. Bethesda actually hired some ex-Bungie support to fix their gunplay from their previous game, stating that they wanted Fallout's guns to feel more impactful. They've achieved that goal, with gunplay so good that V.A.T.S. is not as absolutely needed this time around. Having said that, V.A.T.S. works a whole lot better, with it slowing down time rather than pausing time. Successful hits on various limbs update on the fly while time slowly progresses. V.A.T.S. also has a critical meter that charges by the hit and can be unleashed at the player's discretion. Melee attacks still only target the enemy singularly rather than limb by limb. Note that even though V.A.T.S. no longer pauses the game, entering into your Pip-Boy still does, so no rush on planning out what mix of chems and weapons you need to use to take out that Super Mutant Brute.
It's obvious that Fallout 4 is a contender for the game of the year, and if you've never played its elder brother then adding an extra point onto this score wouldn't be too far out of the realms of sanity.
The fact of the matter is, though, that this is more of the same, even if that 'same' has been pushed to new heights. If you hated Fallout 3, then there's not much to get you onside here. If you loved it, then you'll love this all the more, because of its differences as well as its similarities.
Eurogamer "recommends". For reference, the highest honor the publication awards a title is "Essential":
Fallout 4 has given me some of my best gaming memories of 2015, along with some of my most frustrating. These are legacy problems that aren't going away any time soon, and as fun as the settlement crafting is here, I'd gladly do without it for a game engine that offers a more dependable foundation for future adventures. Fallout 4 is a great game. It's also kind of a mess. Caveat emptor.
While I enjoyed my time in the wasteland (and will probably continue to enjoy it for a few dozen more hours), it's hard to say that Fallout 4 represents a significant improvement over Fallout 3 or New Vegas. Perhaps it has gotten better in minor ways, and the core gameplay of exploration and gunplay is still fun, but many new additions seem useless, and there's a lot about it that feels dated in this new generation of games.
In my mind, Fallout 4's greatest triumph, and its one major point of evolution is in its storytelling, crafting a lengthy, unexpected ending and resolution that I will remember for years to come. It also remains one of the best games in existence for those who simply like to wander and explore and unearth long-buried secrets. But it struggles with archaic gameplay systems and an inflexible engine that anchor the game to the past for all the wrong reasons. Fans may enjoy more Fallout and a brand new map to explore, but this sequel will not be heralded as revolutionary or overly impressive this time around.
Destructoid is one of the least positive outlets so far, 7.5/10.
After spending roughly 40 hours with the game, I can safely place it somewhere in the middle of Fallout 3 and New Vegas in terms of quality. A lot of the franchise's signature problems have carried over directly into Fallout 4, but all of its charms have come along for the ride as well. It manages to do a whole lot right, but the story drags at times, and glitches...glitches never change.
In the grand scheme of things, Fallout 4's minor issues pale in comparison to its successes. When you put the controller down, you think about the friend you betrayed to benefit another, the shifting tide of an incredible battle, or the moment you opened a drawer and found someone's discarded effects, making you wonder how they felt before the bombs fell. In moments like these, Fallout 4 can be an intoxicating experience. You're often forced to sacrifice something--a relationship, a lucrative opportunity, or your health--to make gains elsewhere. And the deeper down the rabbit hole you go, the more you wonder: what if I chose a different path? You second guess yourself, not just because you had other options, but because you aren't sure if you did the right thing. The fact that your decisions stick with you after walking away from the game is a testament to the great storytelling on hand. Fallout 4 is an argument for substance over style, and an excellent addition to the revered open-world series.
God is a Geek, 9.0/10.
It's hard to find genuine fault with what Bethesda has done here beyond the performance issues. They've taken everything learned from Fallout 3, New Vegas, and Skyrim and refined it into one huge, intelligent action-adventure movie. It's more cinematic than you might expect thanks to a clever script and a dynamic chat camera, the combat missions are well thought-out blasts of adrenaline, while the trademark Fallout weirdness makes a welcome return now and then to relieve you of the constant need to fight something. It's very much your game and your story, and everyone will play it differently simply because there are so many ways to play, and each one feels natural.
There's always something to build, somewhere to discover, someone to help ,or something to distract you. Ignore the bugs (if you can) and leap into Fallout 4 with both feet, and you'll find a game bigger, brighter, deeper, and more personal than anything Bethesda has done before.
Player Attack, scoreless.
War. War never changes, they say. But the Fallout, for better or for worse, has indeed changed and in the process, intrinsically lost what it once was. Fallout 4 straddles an interesting line, choosing to buck its deeper RPG elements in favor of a more accessible and incredibly polished shooter experience. Thankfully, this move to a more homogenous experience hasn't come at the expense of one of the franchises greatest elements, the atmosphere and the characters. What truly sets Fallout 4 apart is to be found in its subtle and uplifting moments of beauty and humanity. To experience compassion, empathy and a connection to a series of 1's and 0's, if not only for a fleeting moment, is a grand task to achieve and something this game has achieved effortlessly. War. War does change. But Fallout 4 shows humanity's best qualities will remain steadfast and unshaken, regardless.
GameRanx feels the game has strayed too far from the series' core due to its settlement and crafting systems, scoreless.
When I walk away from a settlement, I don't want to think about them for the next several in-game months until I come back. I like to play the game as a rolling stone. That has always been supported by the huge freedom of choice within the Fallout universe. However Fallout 4 feels more like a resource management city builder. It creates a bizarre purgatory where I can't decide if it's too much like Fallout or not enough. It's one of the rare times I think the content should have been DLC, separate from the base game as an optional experience. I most enjoyed the game when I ignored the settlements and wandered the Commonwealth of my own volition, appreciating the scenery and looting as necessary, as I did in the Capital Wastelands. Had they not ultimately served a greater purpose in the Minutemen missions, I might not have taken interest at all. Fortunately, as I gained traction in establishing the settlements and could take them more at my leisure, my comfort level, and enjoyment of the game, improved.
It is hard to articulate what Fallout has meant to me over the years. It was the place I went when there was nowhere else to go. It was there for me when I couldn't deal with the pain of my reality. To not feel the same spark with Fallout 4 evokes a tremendous sense of loss. I superimposed myself over every vault dweller and through that channel I found a more real me. With the suffocating burden of rehabilitating the Wastelands, the unique weapons and armor now cheapened to random drops (not to mention the removal of Confirmed Bachelor/Cherchez Le Femme) I no longer feel myself in a universe I once called home.
It's true, you can't go home again. Or rather, like the Sole Survivor emerging on a dead Sanctuary Hills, you can. You just have to adjust your expectations and make the best of it.
But once you get there and the game's pulp plot kicks in, Fallout 4 finds its voice, unfurling conspiracies and machinations as gripping as anything in Obsidian's 2010 Fallout 3 spinoff, Fallout: New Vegas the series' storytelling high-water mark. The side quests, too, feel more accomplished and logistically intricate, less like quirky rabbit holes than proper subplots. Stick with the game through its early beats, in other words, and the multiple narratives pay dividends.
Despite that, I can't shake the feeling I'm really playing Fallout 3 season two. I guess it's time to acknowledge the elephant in the room: CD Projekt Red's masterful The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt this spring completely reset my expectation levels for storytelling, voice acting, pacing and congruous world design.
There's nothing Fallout 4 does worse than Fallout 3, that much you can depend on.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun, scoreless.
52 hours in, would I go back for more? Yes, absolutely. I lived and breathed Fallout 4 for the vast majority of last week and the fact I was mostly having a damn good time meant I did it willingly. It's glitchy, a little repetitive and over-familiar, and far too heavy on unconvincing combat, but the improved technology (or the budget) means it's able to realise the dense, detailed, beautiful decay that Fallout 3 did not, and its dramatically better-presented and performed characters means it's not shooting itself in the foot in the way Oblivion and Skyrim did. The personality gulf between Bethesda games and BioWare games feels a whole lot narrower now. I won't for one second pretend that it's what devotees of Fallout 1 and 2 want, but it does feel like the game Fallout 3 tried and, to my mind, failed to be.
Vibrant and characterful as well as immense, Fallout 4 is the giant leap forwards Bethesda's RPGs sorely needed in terms of presentation, though the unrelenting focus on routine, lightweight combat sees it fall just short of triumph status.