Fallout 4 – First Impressions

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If you follow video games at all, you probably know that Fallout 4 came out this week. Tuesday, as a matter of fact. I broke my personal rule with this game and pre-ordered it. There are very few games I’m willing to buy sight unseen, but anything in the vein of Elder Scrolls or Fallout will always get my money up front. Since it just came out Tuesday, I haven’t spent a ton of time with it, but I just wanted to go over a few of the major points and features that have stood out to me so far. This is by no means an exhaustive look at all the new features, it’s just the ones that stood out to me. Also, while I’m going to avoid major spoilers, there will be some small spoilers when it comes to features of the game and some early portions of the game. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about Fallout 4.

Graphics

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Just so you know, I’m playing this on my PC (you can see a list of my specs here if you’re curious). A lot has been said about the graphics of this game, and I have to admit that they’re not great. They’re not bad by any means; they’re just not anything special. I just finished The Witcher 3 last week, and that is a game with jaw dropping visuals. Fallout 4 is not that, but the important thing to remember is that these games have never really been that. If you’ve followed along with the Elder Scrolls and Fallout series, you know that these games always look a bit off and have some physics-based glitches. Fallout 3 and Elder Scrolls: Oblivion both looked great for their time and were a huge step forward for both series. Unfortunately, the series hasn’t progressed much in the way of visuals since then. For me, it’s not a deal-breaker. I’ve always loved these games for their game-play and created worlds, and that is where Fallout 4 really shines.

Crafting

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One of the first aspects of the game you’ll notice is the heavy emphasis on crafting. Almost immediately after leaving the vault, you’re bombarded with crafting tables upon crafting tables. There’s a ton of stuff that can be crafted and modded in the game; unfortunately, the game does almost nothing to teach you how to go about using the crafting systems. One early mission has you building up a stronghold with the newly added base creation tools. You have objectives, but it’s not explained to you how to achieve those objectives. It’s a bit frustrating, but if you stick with the game long enough, you will probably turn the corner on crafting. I’m now way into it. I’m now as much into the armor and weapon crafting as I was with Skyrim. Actually, I’m more into the weapon crafting with this game due to the seemingly endless combinations and options. The exact moment that sold me on crafting was the first time I decided to sit down and figure out how to upgrade my armor and favorite pistol. I went through the menus, upgraded all my armor and popped out to walk over to the weapon crafting station. Suddenly, I realized that the look of my armor had changed. That sold me on the armor crafting. I hated the way the initial armor I picked up looked, but by upgrading it, it suddenly looked much better. I then upgraded my pistol and went back out into the wasteland. When I encountered my first group of raiders with my newly upgraded pistol, heads went flying. It’s a bit of a pain to figure out early on, but crafting ends up being very useful.

Guns

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Speaking of pistols, let’s talk about the shooting in Fallout 4. The actual shooting outside of V.A.T.S. has never been great in the Fallout games, but this is definitely the best it has ever been. I actually rarely find myself ever entering V.A.T.S. It slows down the action in a way that I don’t like and that seems unnecessary now. No, you’re not going to find as tight of shooting as you would in a AAA shooter like Destiny or Black Ops 3, but it’s not bad. The guns have a certain heft and tightness to them that I’ve really been enjoying. I actually look for fights now, because the shooting is surprisingly fun. Even the energy weapons, which I have always avoided, are much more fun. I used an energy rifle as my primary weapon for quite a while towards the beginning of the game. The guns are balanced, fun, and might just have you forgetting about V.A.T.S. You can drop those super mutants on your own now.

Loot

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With all the raiders and super mutants you’ll be mowing down, your pockets are bound to become packed with loot. Fallout 4 changes up the way players pick up loot in a way that I initially found very frustrating. Instead of selecting a downed enemy, choosing items to take, and then closing the menu, players now simply move their reticle over the enemy and a menu with their items automatically pops up. You can take what you want and simply move on. Looking away from the enemy causes the menu to disappear. The reason this was so frustrating to me, is that I was constantly accidentally pulling up my Pip-Boy. I would hit the button to close the menu which in fact opened the Pip-Boy. It took me a while to get used to the new way, but I really enjoy it now. You can quickly pick up caps and ammo without having to break stride and slow the game down. It’s just another addition that helps the game seem streamlined.

Plot

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The last point I want to talk about is also the one I’m going to be the most vague about. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I do want to say that this is my favorite Fallout plot so far. The story missions, characters, and locations have all been genuinely interesting. The main problem I had with Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas was that both games felt sparse to me. They had one major color scheme, the stories were thin and uninteresting, and hardly any characters stood out to me. Fallout 4 resolves all of those problems. The Boston setting is full of color and varied locations, the story is compelling in a way that causes me to actually want to put off just wandering in order to find out what happens next, and I remember the name of every character I’ve encountered so far. It is hands down the best game in the series so far, and I know that I will be spending a huge amount of time with it.

Go Play It

If any of this sounds remotely interesting to you, go get this game. It certainly has its flaws, but I think most people recognize what kind of a game this is and whether or not they would enjoy it. If you’re a fan of Bethesda games, the Fallout series, or just open-world games in general, give this a shot. You can get Fallout 4 here.

You can follow me on Twitter @jakecrump.

If you’d like, you can support my work through Patreon here.

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