Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Fallout 4 First Impressions

I'm wearing black leather, spiked hockey pads, and a gas mask. Clearly, I'm ready to party.

I enjoyed Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas when they came out. Fallout 4 is much of the same with a few major differences, namely the crafting system, conversation system, and graphical upgrades. After spending only nine hours in the Boston Wasteland, here's what I think.

1. Bethesda needs to retire the Gamebryo engine. Sure, they upgraded it for Skyrim and called it the "Creation Engine," but it's still the same shitty platform they've been working with since Morrowind. You still can't open doors without loading a new level. Though the textures and effects have been spiced up since the last Fallout game, Fallout 4 looks very familiar, to the point of feeling like a heavily-modified Fallout 3. I feel like we've reached the point of diminishing returns with graphics, but this game could've looked and performed a lot better.

2. The art direction saves it. I think Bethesda must've played a lot of Stalker, because the environments of Fallout 4 owe a lot to that series. While wandering around, you get the sense of traveling in an alien world full of rotting forests, crumbling ruins, and mutated monstrosities. The fog and lighting effects are used well; occasional radiation storms pop up to turn the sky black and send you rushing for cover.

3. There's too much loot in this game. Since the crafting system makes everything you find in Fallout 4 useful, you'll start to hoard junk like, well, a hoarder. Your inventory will be full of duct tape, screw drivers, pencils, and glass bottles. You'd think 200 years after the apocalypse, there wouldn't be so much junk lying around.

4. The Pip-Boy sucks. To be fair, it sucked in previous Fallout games. It takes up too much of the screen while having you click through various filters to find any useful information. And with all the junk in your inventory, it's difficult to cycle through it.

5. The conversation system is limiting. You have four options now, but they almost always lead to the same conclusion. This really affects the RPG element of the game, as does the decision to have your protagonist be voiced.

6. I'll still probably play it for 100 hours. Bethesda makes these huge, detailed worlds, and despite the faults their games always have, you always get your money's worth. It would just be nice to receive more of a sequel and less of an incremental upgrade next time.

Is this Fallout or Stalker?

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