My quest to find a game which does not frustrate me to the point of launching my joypad continues and this week I finally finished Bethesda’s mahousive game, Fallout 4. Did I find my perfect game or did it make me want to set the world on fire? It’s time to find out…
To paraphrase Douglas Adams; Fallout 4 is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to Fallout 4.
And I guess that’s half the problem for me…
When you have to do boring adult things, like work for a living, the 100 or so hours needed to fully appreciate a game on the magnitude of Fallout 4 is as hard to find as a helpful traffic warden.
This is a shame because Fallout 4 is brilliant, maybe not as good as Fallout 3, but epic nonetheless.
* Spoilers ahead * Fallout 4 moves it postapocalyptic vision to Boston and you play as a sole-survivor of a cryogenic vault, who during his time ‘on-ice’ witnesses the murder of his wife and the kidnapping of his son. As soon as he is thawed out he sets out on a quest to find his son.
And that is essentially the plot, (War and Peace it is not!).
But don’t worry futuristic and yet strangely set in the 1950’s fans, there is so so much to do, you will not get bored! Immediately you are dropped on the edge of a map spanning a million miles, with tens of thousands of missions, hundreds of thousands of characters and many other statistics I have just made up.
And that’s what I love about this game so much, you’re dropped in a vast map and basically told to go and have some fun. You can just do the storyline if you want, but you will miss out on Fallout’s quirky humour, the joy of finding a comic out of the blue which boosts one of your attributes or the pleasure of winning a persuasion argument and Fallout’s character popping up on-screen, giving you a wink and doing pointy gun hands at you.
The one criticism I do have is that it’s a bit easy. Fallout 3 fans will remember the power armour which, from memory, you don’t get until near the very end of the game. For some reason you are given one really early on and there are several scattered around the map for you to find. The fusion power things are plentiful and so if you ever do have a battle which is a bit tricky, it’s actually not an issue as you just pop back to wherever your power armour is stored and go straight back to battle and kick some mutated creature’s butt.
However, dear reader, this unfortunately is not the game which stopped me from launching my joypad. There are 2 main things which frustrated me to the point when the joypad suddenly levitated above my head.
Firstly there is the crafting system. One of Fallout 4’s new additions is the ability to ‘build’ a settlement. Now this is not a bad idea, but the mechanics feel like trying the hammer treacle to the wall. Also, it turns the game into Farmville, which is all well and good, but when you quickly realise that partaking in the crafting has absolutely no bearing on the game, it does feel like a bloated add-on which is sapping that vital time I do not have.
But the main thing which launches my joypad and I’m afraid it’s a hangover from Fallout 3, are the Pip-Boy controls.
They are so cumbersome and unnecessarily complicated. Menus, sub menus, lists, long bloody lists, another menu, oh dear I’m in the wrong menu, how do I come back out? No don’t come out of Pip-Boy altogether, oh crap here’s a mirelurk, where’s my weapon gone? Ow! you overgrown crabby bastard! *launches joypad*.
I think this is a leftover from the original PC Fallout games and I can imagine the Pip-boy works better on a PC, but for a console it doesn’t work. I will admit though that I didn’t discover the Pip-boy app on the iPad until late on and running this does make life a little easier. A touch screen Pip-boy does make more sense that the button crunching mess Fallout sometimes becomes. I hope they develop this concept further for future Fallout games.
But I do love this game and the 40 or so hours I did manage to find was a worthwhile experience. I love being able to explore vast spaces, with no pressure to follow storylines and the added Fallout humour just makes this a joy to play.
The 4K enhancement for the Xbox One X does make this a beautiful looking game and it’s a pleasure to see all the usual Bethesda bugs in glorious UHD. Dogmeat hovering above a chair, characters getting stuck in walls and the weird rainbow reflections texture glitch have never looked so good!
It’s far from perfect but it’s my kind of game and whilst it may make me want to launch my joypad, it doesn’t make me want to go full on nuclear!