After I bought my PS3, my pal Scott gave me his old copy of Fallout 3, and I was almost immediately hooked. I couldn’t tell you how many hours upon hours that I’ve spent in the Fallout world, but I can say that I played three full games (good, neutral, evil) in Fallout 3, and 1.8 in the follow-up, Fallout: New Vegas (good, neutral… couldn’t finish because the game became unbearably glitchy). Why are these games so addicting? I think, just as with Grand Theft Auto, these games are basically an interactive extension of the imaginative playing I did as a kid. I’d spend hours with my action figures or Lego sets, creating worlds in my head and telling dramatic stories peppered with plenty of action. Now, thanks to these games, I get to still do the same thing, only the monsters or car chases are brilliantly visually realized.
So, I love me some Fallout. Rumors kicked up a while ago that there would be a new game announcement soon thereafter and that the game was set in Boston. Then it all turned out to be a ruse… a prank, with a countdown timer and everything. THEN, this summer, it was all suddenly true, and this trailer came out and got me a little emotional, I’ll admit:
“Let’s go, pal.” Man, that was just the icing on the cake! Speculation ran wild, folks took issues with various aspects of the game that were either assumed or presented in later marketing, but I just sat here waiting. To fill the void, I bought the prior two games during Steam’s Summer Sale; my goal was to play through them both again before the new one came out. I didn’t quite get that far, though, so I figured, “Well, maybe I won’t buy the new game right away… let other people bug-test it for me and finish the old games first.”
As the title of this post informs you, however, that didn’t happen 😉 .
This past Tuesday morning, I woke up and saw the many excited posts on Reddit concerning the game’s release that day, and the hype washed over me like a jolt of nuclear warmth. I bought and downloaded it on my PC that night… and I’ve been playing it ever since (save for time wasted spent working, exercising, and eating).
And I’m glad to say that Fallout 4 is absolutely wonderful in just about every way!
This isn’t a full review, but I’ve already come across so much that I thought it’d be fun to mention some of the highlights and thoughts I’ve had on the gameplay, as I did before for Red Dead Redemption. I won’t delve into the story, but a lot of these things were fun largely because they were fresh discoveries, so if you’re going to play the game one day and would like to go in as fresh as possible (which I recommend), don’t read on.
So, here is a list of experiences, loves, and commentary that came out of my first four days with the wonderful Fallout 4:
- As the game first started up, I was careful to not touch a single button, letting that beautiful theme music and opening cinematic presentation fill my eyes, ears… and heart.
- I spent a VERY long time, right at the beginning of the game, carefully crafting the best physical representation of myself (and my ideal Mrs.) that I could. He looks less derpy and more like me in-game than in this Snapchat shot, but we’re still a pretty foxy couple, regardless:
- Dogmeat, the ever-faithful canine companion, looks great and I love having him at my side.
- I love having him at my side less when he gets hurt during battle and I hear him whimpering and see him stumbling.
- I try to kill those who hurt Dogmeat a bit slower 😉
- Killing bad guys is very satisfying. Headshots feel like they really count for something, even at my lower XP level, and limb-shots offer a great variety of movement.
- The monsters in this game are genuinely terrifying, and I’ve only had to deal with wild mole rats, some dogs, and bloatflies.
- During loading screens, the game presents helpful tips about the world. I have seen things mentioned there that I hope I never encounter… but know that I will.
- The map looks a little small, but it also feels more dense than the prior games.
- Power armor is even more fun to run around in than I imagined it would be… especially when jumping from a high ledge. Or absorbing Raider bullets. Or stepping in and out of it. Or…
- I would really rather be playing right now than writing this list.
- The opening of this game is rough.
- Settlement-building has actually taken up almost more of my time than exploring and fighting.
- Speaking of settlement-building, while it’s a great addition to the game, I sort of wish I could clean up EVERYthing. The debris that is part of the game’s textures is a little unsightly.
- The new weapon system is very exciting, if tricky to get used to: guns no longer degrade with use, which is a big bonus, and they can be customized in a HUGE variety of ways.
- I’ve actually felt a little overwhelmed with all of the gameplay/customization options this game has presented in just this little time.
- The default keyboard layout is quite different from the prior games (at least, Fallout 3), which makes sense considering all of the new options. There are a lot of great conveniences to the new key-mapping, though there are also a few minor inconveniences.
- Trying to quickly get into first-person view to take a clearer shot at an enemy and instead bringing up the Favorites option while getting shot is slightly inconvenient.
- Scrapping items is possibly the most addicting/satisfying thing I’ve ever come across in a game.
- I would probably scrap YOU right now, if I could. I have a problem.
- Taking care of a group of people in a settlement really adds a great depth and engagement to the game. In prior games, coming across random folks or helping out on quests was one thing, but these are now my people… I have a home to defend and build up.
- Story-wise, I’m not exactly sure how it’ll all end up… but so far, it’s been my favorite tale Bethesda has yet told in this world.
Okay, I’m off to play some more, now. I only have 9.1 hours logged in the game, but this is the weekend… and that number is about to double 😉 .