How Does Fallout 4 Compare to Previous Fallouts?

The internet continues to be swamped in articles dedicated to Bethesda's latest title, Fallout 4, and today I've rounded up a couple of critical looks at the game's place in the franchise in terms of design and narrative.

YouTube video creator Noah Caldwell-Gervais dedicated a full 40-minute video essay to the issue, entitled "How does Fallout 4 compare to previous Fallouts?", that contains heavy spoilers but offers a comprehensive analysis of the ways the game both reproduces and distances itself from the franchise staples. It's very much worth a watch, provided you've already finished the game and put a significant number of hours in its side content:

While Patricia Hernandez on Kotaku looks at the reactions to the game on the internet and offers some personal reasons as to why she considers Fallout 4 to be both a good game and a bad Fallout title:

Last night, while wandering in Fallout 4, I heard something strange in the distance. A man on a megaphone was enthusiastically commentating a race. I'd never heard something like it before, so I had to take a closer look. To my surprise, I didn't find a horse race, I found a robot race. A robot race! People were cheering them on from the sidelines, possibly even laying down bets.

It was one of the coolest things I've found while playing Fallout 4...and then Fallout 4 ruined it. Mere moments after I arrived at the scene, a band of raiders descended on me and started shooting. See, the raiders were the audience they'd apparently rigged up their robots to run a race. Because the audience was hostile toward me, the robots turned on me, too. I did the only thing I could in that situation: I killed them all. Afterward, when I looted every robot's corpse, I found out that each one actually had a special racing name. The names were clever: (Piece '˜O Junk,) and (The Boston Blaster,) for instance. I chuckled, but mostly, I felt sad that the way Bethesda let me appreciate this neat thing in my playthrough was after a mess of combat and death.

More than a hundred hours into Fallout 4, I keep coming across things like the robot race. The game itself will spoil its neatest surprises with a consistency that makes me wonder where the heart of Fallout 4 even lies.