New feature to the blog: every Wednesday I will review SOMETHING. Anything. Video game, movies, maybe the previous week of football or another sporting type thing, myself perhaps? Can always use self reflection, guys. Point is, Wednesday is now the day that we look at something and judge it. Go:
It's back, bitches. The post-apocalyptic wasteland that is all you've ever dreamt of returns and then some with Fallout 4. I just bought it yesterday and I haven't logged nearly as many hours as I'd hoped for so far, but from what I've experienced and other reviews I've looked at I can assure you this: fuck yes.
If you're a fan of the Fallout games then you're familiar with the world and how it plays, nothing is crazy NEW so to speak (although that's not to say there aren't plenty of new and cool features cus there are, like a fully voiced character, a pretty amazing drag-and-pull face creation system to build your character, crazy gun and structure crafting, etc.), but everything you loved about the last games (and some things you hated) are back and greatly enhanced. I'll try my best to keep this a spoiler free review, and I'm also gonna avoid a lot of tech talk cus 1. I'd have no clue what the fuck I was talking about and 2. this isn't that kind of blog, nerd*, but here is my Love/Like/Meh/Hate list to review this beautiful simulated hellscape:
- Uh, everything. Seriously, it's such a cool world that I'll start this thing by saying that the game and story are so awesome that all of the things I'm going to complain about in the near future are but minor blemishes on a masterpiece. A tiny mole on a gorgeous pair of breasts, if you will. Sometimes the mole is even kind of cute, gives it character. And at the end of the day none of the moles even come close to taking away from them sweet sweet titties. I forgot what I was talking about, but point is that everything in this game is pretty epic and awesome, so just remember that when I start to complain.
- The Boston setting. The past two games have been much more of a classic "wasteland" setting, featuring mainly desert like areas, a lot of craters and rocks and urban ruin. But setting this game in New England where the forests are aplenty and things like streams and rivers exist gives this broken world an eerily peaceful feel to it, which only highlights how creepy it is. Especially being a guy who grew up in New England-esque settings (Pennsylvania, very similar landscape), it's pretty crazy seeing a neighborhood that basically looks like my family's now crawling with giant mole rats and mosquitos twice my size. Also, walking up on an abandoned but still lit campfire in the woods at night is double scary post-Nuclear Apocolypse, just FYI.
- The character voice. It's not spectacular voice acting or anything, but it gives the cutscenes that extra cinematic feel that I always felt was lacking from the previous Fallout games. They almost played more like a visual novel than anything, which is totally cool, but this one has an undeniably new cinematic feel to it. Not to mention conversations now all have their own little cinematic view (that you don't have to indulge if you don't want to, by the way), which helps further fuel your investment in the world even more than in previous games.
- New gun/armor crafting. It's pretty sweet because not only can you make crazy new guns/armor or majorly adapt simple guns to turn them in to spectacular ones, but because you need raw materials to craft or modify, it now puts an even bigger emphasis on scavenging than ever before, as almost anything can be broken down and used as a crafting material. Wanna turn your shitty pistol in to a high powered rifle? No problem, just need a little tape, some cutlery, a ping pong paddle and a bunch of pencils. Boom, assault rifle (no that's not an actual crafting list but you get the picture). The game has always highlighted scavenging as a means to survive, but purely from a monetary standpoint, as in the more you scavenge the more you can sell for caps. This time around that coffee mug and that wonderglue could go a long way toward that cool new power armor helmet you always wanted.
- Community building. Like I said, I haven't gotten to play very deeply in to the game so I have little experience with this aspect so far, but from what I've seen of the structure and community building capabilities, it's a nice new feature that can help make the game feel more yours. That's really all it seems to be for, however, as it apparently doesn't tie in to the main story much at all. You can set up settlements and start new communities, and even send caravans to trade back and forth between your various camps, but that's all it really seems to be for, other than making the wasteland a better place...
- Power armor changes. I'm not going to give it away cus it's semi spoiler-y, but let's just say power armor is now super badass. It does have it's flaws, which I'll let you figure out on your own, but overall I think it's a pretty sweet new way to use the iconic suits of armor that makes them feel more sacred, so to speak.
- New V.A.T.S. System. VATS, if you don't know, is a mode you enter during combat that slows down time and allows you to pinpoint who you want to aim at and where you want to aim on their body. Keyword here: slows. Because in previous games, VATS used to stop time altogether, giving the player a huge advantage in planning out an attack in otherwise dire circumstances. Now, time only slows instead of stopping, meaning bullets are still flying your way, people are still dodging you, and animals are stil jumping on you. It still gives you the familiar advantage but without losing the stress of being in a high pressure battle. Also, still cool to shoot people faces off of their heads in slo-mo VATS cam.
- New Perks/Ranking system. So attribute points are gone and instead you just improve your character by adding to your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. skills (look it up) or selecting from various perks. Perks have been a big part of character improvement in the past, but now it's the only thing that matters and it makes improving your character way simpler. It may take away from making a more specialized character, at least I could see that argument, but it's a cleaner way to just select a new skill and learn it without having to worry about stretching out attribute points over a large range of skills.
- New looting system. So in the old games you had to select the body of a dead guy/girl in order to access, and eventually take, the "loot" they were holding on to. It used to be a simple click of X when you put your cursor over a dead body/container of sorts, then you saw what they had and had the option to take their shit, leave some of your own, etc. Now you simply highlight the dead body or container and the inventory immediately pops up, meaning you just have to hit X when that menu shows to take whatever item you've highlighted. In theory, the new way sounds easier and more efficient, but in practice, it's more a nuisance than anything. So many times I've tried to talk to a moving person only to have them move out of the way of my cursor, leading me to accidentally pick up an item, which in this fickle world is theft, and is obviously a reason to start pulling guns out left and right to begin murdering. It's not a big deal, but it's more frustrating than it is simple and has been the catalyst for many a HUGE misunderstanding.
- Glitches/graphics deficiencies. Honestly, I don't really give a shit about these but I feel obligated to mention them because it's the thing everyone's talking about the most in terms of complaints. Yes, there are some glitches like characters mouths not moving while talking, people floating in the air or moving through solid objects from time to time, overall clunky character movement, etc. Basically all the things that happen in all Bethesda games still happen here, and you know what? Who gives a shit? No glitch has been so cumbersome that it's taken away from the overall experience, and when you're talking about a game of this size and scope, small glitches are to be expected. So if you're an asshole who's gonna bash this game because it's graphics aren't as good as its story then go buy Mad Max. Style over substance for days.
- No quick gun recycling. In past games, your weapons deteriorated after use, leading you to have to recycle other guns of the same type In order to repair your primary one. It was a super simple one button click on your Pip-Boy and boom, done. This year, it seems like deterioration isn't much of a factor, which is nice, but the other thing that the recycling was good for was space saving in your inventory. Now, I just find myself with a shit load of the same weapons that seem to be doing nothing but taking up valuable inventory space. It's not a huge thing but it's annoying, and it leads me to my final "meh"...
- Inventory space. Managing what you're carrying has always been a big deal in the Fallout world, but in this version it seems to be even more of a burden because everything is valuable for the first time. Before, you could create space by selling all your "junk" items. Now, those items could be key in crafting new shit, so you feel more inclined to be a hoarder, which obviously means running out of storage space ril quick. Again, it's a manageable complaint, but a weight adjustment for junk items so that it doesn't feel like they're taking up your entire inventory would be nice.
- You if you thought I had something in this category. Be a more positive person, dickhead.
So there it is, my Love/Like/Meh/Hate for Fallout 4. I didn't think that review system through at all before I started typing, but having said that I'm sticking with it going forward. And if it wasn't obvious from my review then please go buy this damn game. Old Fallout heads will love it and it's a great game to experience Fallout for the first time if you haven't before. And if you're one of the dumb dumbs that pre-ordered this game via Best Buy and can't play it until Friday, like some in the Shorts Show family, then all I have to say is, ha ha ha, ha ha.
Overall rating for Fallout 4: Fuck Yes out of Fuck Yes.
* Yes I know I just wrote a 1,000+ word review on video games after making fun of nerds. Fuck you, nerd.