The Fallout series never fails to exercise my rage quit limitations and with Fallout 4, the latest in the line of post-apocalyptic scavenger games, that limitation is being pushed to it’s utmost limits. That said, i’m guessing it’s a good thing to say that 10 hours in and I am yet to actually quit in a fit of rage.
The best way for me to describe the game is comparing it to say…a shit sandwich. A compliment topped with shit topped with another compliment.
So far, Fallout 4, for the most part, has encouraged me to develop a rather nasty hoarding disorder worse than anything seen on one of those reality hoarder shows but unlike those shows where the crazy woman keeps empty cans of beans from 1985 because she has an emotional attachment to them, i’m hoarding for the fact that everything within Fallout 4, from plates to hairbrushes, cars to trees, can all be turned to scrap and reused for modding weapons, armor and camp building purposes.
Now…camp building….we all remember that feeling we got when Bethesda released the trailer for Fallout 4 that showed how we can rebuild settlements from the ground up? Us Fallout fans squeed with delight at this new element to the series and it seemed the possibilities were endless for what we could do with settlements…I tell you though, this is one of the most frustrating features of the game.
Aside from trying to ration your pack between broken cups, cigar boxes, sniper rifles and ammo, the first attempt at rebuilding a settlement felt a bit tedious and yawn inducing. Here we have a massive, massive land we’re yearning to discover but right off the bat, the game requires me to run around town demolishing everything in it just so it can be rebuilt again.
The second attempt at building, I found myself in an old drive-in unable to build more than a handful of shabby shacks and plant some corn because the ground was so uneven and hilly that whatever I placed down was floating in the air making it unusable, thus a waste of resources. Add into that the inability to remove dead bodies of slaughtered raiders, creatures, skeletons or general ground rubble and suddenly you become incredibly restricted to what you can build and where it can be built.
That said, once far enough into the game, maintaining these settlements does become a feature and I find myself, in between missions and side quests, travelling from camp to camp trying to make sure there is enough power, water, food and beds to keep wasteland survivors happy.
One of the main things I have found myself liking are the companions available to follow you throughout the wasteland. Characters like Diamond City reporter Piper, Dogmeat the dog and private eye synthetic Nick Valentine have much better and engaging personalities and are much more fleshed out than those featured in previous outings though your will to put a bullet in these companions will be tested when they all but ruin any chance you had of making a stealthy kill as they burst in shooting and bashing any enemy in sight or block you from leaving or entering a room as they choose to stand in a doorway reluctant to move no matter where you direct them to go.
The downside to these companions is how easily they get lost in the sprawling wasteland. While you can determine where your companions are sent to when you trade one for another, trying to remember who is where can be nightmarish, especially when it comes to Dogmeat who seems to wander about. While i’m sure I sent him to Sanctuary, he’s now presumably roaming about aimlessly in bumfuck nowhere. An ability to contact these companions without having to physically grab them would have been a much wiser choice.
One word of advice however is NOT to play this game with your own fluffy companion in the same room. My girl found it necessary to react any time Dogmeat barked or growled aggressively or yelped in pain.
Interactions with NPC’s have vastly improved to a point where travelers within your camps can be assigned tasks from gardening to patrolling the grounds or used as storage bins to hold more of your junk you find. Don’t like what someone is wearing? You can even swap out their current outfit for something that you’ve picked up along the way meaning you can fit out an entire town – men and women – in nothing but purple sequin off the shoulder dresses (something I haven’t done but am tempted to do)
As for bugs and glitches, I’ve read there’s more issues on consoles versus the PC release, but for me, playing on the PS4, the only ‘odd’ thing I’ve come across so far is a massive brahmin stuck in my bedroom (how on earth did it get there?!) which I later shot dead and pillaged. Now the damn thing is just laying dead on my bed rotting away.
Overall, Fallout 4 achieves its main goals of feeling true to the Fallout series and offering an immense game that will gobble up hours upon hours of your life as you try to complete everything that pops up across your travels. Even as I write this, I’m only 10 or so hours into game play and I have barely scratched the surface of what Fallout 4 has to offer.
It’s brutal, it’s crazy, it’s full of distractions and it’s immense fun. It is Fallout after all!