Fallout 4 is the much awaited successor to the series of open-world role-playing game Fallout, a set of massively engaging titles initiated by Interplay and later on taken over by Bethesda entertainment.
Available on: PC (tested), PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
After nearly half a decade of silence on any updates regarding the sequel to Fallout 3, Todd Howard took to stage at E3 2015 to announce not just the main title, but also its second-screen experience titled Fallout Shelter, for Android and iOS respectively.
Out on PC, PS4, and XBOX One, Fallout 4 is a faux-direct sequel to Fallout 3, which came out in 2008, and tells the story of a pre-war suburban American family embroiled in the consequences of nuclear war. The story starts off from a pre-war setting, providing an emotional attachment to the narrative, which also serves as a prologue connecting to the post-war plot driving a complex narrative of coming to terms with a huge, sudden change, and a desperate search for answers.
The subtleties of Fallout 4’s plot culminate into something that’s not as morally contrasting as you might expect it to be, taking you out of having to adopt a karmic stand in the face of adversity or debilitation. Instead, you’re handed an earnest hero who occasionally sways between the acceptable and reprehensible, attributing this sporadic alteration quintessential to his/her goals. With moral flexibility an ambiguous affair this time around the player is less focused on karmic choices and more on achieving their goals.
Whether this monolithic jump from traditional Fallout mechanics has been a bad move on Bethesda’s part is debatable, but what’s certain is the rule is situated around the lone survivor’s quest to find answers, and then some.
Hard to get used to is the fact that you now manoeuvre a character who has his or her own voice, but the choices made are painfully restricted in that you’re given four options to select from, a departure from tradition which allowed a selection of multiple options of expression to choose from. This alone has injected linearity in gameplay which demands profoundness of decisions and paths, and a franchise like Fallout is certain to falter in the absence of that.
Fallout 4 offers a gameplay not unlike its predecessor with a notch cranked up to a level which can indulge you for hours at an end, as it carries over much of what made the previous titles appealing. Customisation makes a return with an evolved weapons crafting mechanism allowing you to upgrade any weapon suited to how you play the game.
There’s also a bit of DayZ in Fallout 4 in the shape of building and management; you’re given complete freedom to tear down abandoned settlements and recreate the architecture suited to your needs. This allows you to create a stronghold complete with markets and vendors, which you then have to provide securities to by installing automated machine guns or hired goons to avert any sudden onslaught of potential hostile forces, including, but not limited to, raiders.
Motley features and lack of depth in the main plot has garnered this otherwise nigh excellent role-playing game polar reviews. One ends up pondering on the rationale behind various moves that shaped the game to its final form, when it’s being thrown around that previous two titles in the series are more superior to this lacklustre attempt at subsequent instalment. Whatever your view maybe, one thing is certain: Bethesda made this game with a vision in mind, and although we may or may not find that notion encouraging, Fallout 4 with all its shortfalls is a game worth trying out for a fan of the series. A not-so-perfect sequel to its predecessor, Fallout 4 brings improved gunplay, hundreds of hours of engagement, and a moving narrative at the expense of gameplay mechanics.