Steam Community :: Fallout 4

Posted: July 31

“They have things like the atom bomb / So I think I’ll stay where I ‘om!”

A Pre-War relic defrosts like a microwave meal within a cozy and totally-legal underground Vault two-hundred-odd years after some nukes fell and a bunch of stuff happened. Now, with a dead spouse and a missing kid, venture into the Great Unknown (by which I mean Massachusetts) in order to completely forget about the aforementioned dead spouse and child within the first two hours, instead opting to complete menial side quests such as locating baseball collector’s items or solving marital disputes by locating a bunch of cash and drugs, aided by grade-A companions such as your Pre-War robot which might as well be hanging by a thread, a perpetually cranky Irish chick, a squirrel-esque mercenary who also happened to be one of the most annoying Fallout 3 characters, a detective android who is equal parts Replicant and Deckard, and MORE.

From the perspective of narrative, it is damningly hard to fully embrace Fallout 4. Coming out of FO2 with a deep appreciation for its storytelling and approach to overall freedom, followed by New Vegas’ ever-so-wonderful throwbacks to the former and its vast improvements on the outright godawful mess that was FO3, there’s just something that never fully clicked with me when it came to FO4’s attempt at writing a cohesive storyline with branching endings and impactful decision-making. Peek the wording; attempt at. There really isn’t as much satisfaction in taking on FO4’s larger side quests as there is in NV, where such quests and the outcomes thereof are portrayed in a way where it feels like it actually mattered. Remember that one time when you saved little Sally from getting eaten alive by twenty rabid Mole Rats without really thinking much of it besides “ooh, more XP”? Congrats, here’s a slide dedicated specifically to and voiced by her, talking about how she eventually would go on to cherish your memory to the point of becoming a Courier herself. I’m exaggerating here, but you get the gist; there was more weight in acting either out of good or bad will within the Mojave. Not here. Commonwealth don’t care, baby. And that’s without getting into the nitty-gritty of how no faction is really worth fully helping out, or how the Minutemen are worse at nagging than the entire NCR, or how the dialogue options have been dumbed down to a four-choice wheel, or how the main big-bad is a wildcat of janky writing, or—

Wait, hold on. I’m getting ahead of myself here.

“You’ve got to ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive / E-lim-i-nate the negative…”

So the narrative sucks more often than not. A shame. But that’s where the important part comes in; besides the possibility of vastly better engine optimization and less weird AMD-specific bugs, Fallout 4 arguably couldn’t be a whole lot better as a game – as something you simply pick up mid-day to roam around, take potshots at whatever feels like attacking you today, improving a settlement once in a while, telling Preston to buzz off, and so on and so forth. On the whole, the gameplay is streamlined enough to make Obsidian raise a brow or two, and certainly more than enough to make the FO3-era Bethesda blush. And, on that note – It’s a Bethesda game. For all its downsides, there’s really no end to all the mods you can slap on it in order to improve the experience from anywhere between “I guess it’s playable now” to “why’s the Sun rising outside?”. Your mileage WILL vary here. Maybe you’d just like a more optimized experience with a few extra options and tweaks to suit your preference of difficulty or style. Maybe you want an ENB, eighteen weapon replacers, fifty extra pieces of unfitting armor, a much greener map, and one of those mods that gives every female NPC a pair of questionably large knackers or buns (or both). I don’t discriminate. Taste’s a harsh variable. But my point stands; the options are there, and believe me, they’re all yours for the taking.

“Well, I ain’t kiddin’, I ain’t gonna quit / That bug’s done caught me and I’ve been bit”

I can’t fully embrace it, but I sure as hell can’t hate it, either. Of all the games in Bethesda’s catalogue, it shines in a way I can’t quite describe, being second only to Morrowind. There’s something irreplicable about listening to songs of love and bombs as you dodge bullets from on high and balance the increasingly-worrisome amount of junk in your backpack, reassuring yourself that the damage boost you’ll get from turning seven tin cans, a gas canister, and the bottom half of a motorized pony into a better receiver for your rifle is worth it. And it is.

A solid 8. Base game’s all good on its own, but GOTY Edition’s significantly more preferable; a good deal of mods have some form of reliance on (one of) the three main expansions – Automatron, Far Harbor, and Nuka-World – though some might require the Workshops as well, for whatever reason.

Leave a Comment