Fallout 4 Review - Apocalypse Now

Author: Luc
Date: 2015-11-18 15:00:00
The review was based on the PC version. Also applies to PS4, XONE versions

It is impossible to point to a title that has been more anticipated in the last few years. The announcement of Fallout 4 caused euphoria in many, and in others it raised some concerns, but regardless of attitude - the game was on everyone's lips. After taking over the full rights to the Bethesda brand, it made this post-apocalyptic world one of the most recognizable universes among video games, and although these developers can be accused of various things, if it were not for them, we would probably never set foot in any crypt again. Not everyone liked the changed formula in Fallout 3 , but a moment later we got New Vegas , which gave fans hope that the "classic Fallout storyline" is still possible. Hopes that some people also transferred to the "four". In Fallout reality, I spent a good several hundred hours throughout the series (and paradoxically, at the top of this small ranking there is no "three" or its extension at all), so as such I have an understanding of the subject after all and - honestly? At the time of the announcement of Fallout 4, I was terrified of what it would be. I was scared watching the first and subsequent trailers. I was scared when I installed it. I was afraid when I started to play ... and I was afraid when I finished. Though in the latter case, the fear resulted from entirely different reasons than at the beginning. The reasons that surprised me completely and which I will try to explain later in the text.

The adventure in Fallout 4 begins as befits a real Fallout - with character creation. A short, relatively atmospheric intro puts you in the right mood and we see it - the main character and the protagonist. When standing in front of the bathroom mirror, we have the opportunity to accurately model the appearance of the protagonist and already in this place, without unnecessary wrapping around the bush, we must admit that the wizard is absolutely amazing . By dragging individual parts of the face, we are able to create virtually any character. The tool works fantastically, is very intuitive and allows for an infinite number of combinations, and it has been known for a long time that the process of creating your own alter ego in the virtual world is one of the greatest attractions for RPG fans. Going further, we get the option to choose the initial statistics, but due to the fact that this is a much more complex issue, I will discuss this aspect a bit later. For now, let's focus on what happens to our hero when we finally "accept" what he looks like.

This time we do not start as a child in the crypt, a descendant of the protagonist living in a small village, and no one sends us on a mission to the surface to save the inhabitants of the shelter. In Fallout 4, the story begins just before the great war, i.e. in 2077. The possibility of seeing the reality before the apocalypse is really a real treat - and although everything around it seems overly plastic, it has its own unique charm . The idyll does not last long, however. A moment later, the TV announcer informs about the impact of the first atomic bombs, and we and our family rush to a nearby crypt, into which we are happily admitted. However, there is a slight surprise waiting for us - we find ourselves in the cryogenic chamber. We only come out of hibernation after 210 years and we have to face a dramatic situation right away - our son is kidnapped. Without thinking too long, we set off in search of a descendant.

The beginning of the main plot intrigued me a lot. The diagram may be a bit similar to what we know from the "three" (we looked for a father instead of a son), but the way it was presented meant that the story simply sucked me in. Vault 111 is not particularly large, after a few minutes of hanging around in the corridors, I finally came to the surface, ready to be drawn into the rest of the plot, but ... I quickly realized that my hopes for a captivating story were illusory. What was served in Fallout 4 is mediocre at best, and although there is an unexpected twist from time to time, after the first excitement with the search for the missing son, the spell is broken. The story turns out to be clichéd, without any flair, often with only loosely connected and meaningless threads. There are several endings to the main plot, but the one that happened to me after joining the Brotherhood of Steel was probably one of the biggest disappointments I've ever had in my gaming career. I don't want to reveal anything, so let me put it this way: “we've seen it somewhere before”, but - worst of all - we don't feel that we've changed anything. Someone died, we destroyed something, someone survived and that's it. The narrative is conducted in such a way that it is difficult to empathize with the role played and let the events become absorbed, but ... Exactly. I would be lying if I said that Fallout 4 never impressed me once.

I will come back for a moment to exploring the world, which is exactly where Fallout 4 shines brightly. Interesting locations with their own, unspoken history are, of course, not all that awaits us while traveling the next kilometers of the Community. Sooner or later, the goal of every traveler is also collectibles, and these are really a lot - comics, books, retro games or figurines that improve our statistics are difficult to find, but finding them is a great satisfaction. The situation is different with the hero's equipment. Just as the mentioned collectibles do not spill from the screen, the same cannot be said about the other items. In Fallout 4, weapons, medicines and armor are falling from the sky on us. This applies to both ordinary "garbage" and much better equipment. Take, for example, the "Fat Man", which has always been one of the iconic weapons, which gave a huge advantage in fights. This time I came across at least a dozen of its copies and at different stages of the game, and you can forget about the ammunition running out. While traversing the "newest" wastelands, we get the impression that the apocalypse never really happened, and instead there is hardware prosperity in every corner of the community. We have too much of everything and after a dozen or so hours of gameplay, I stopped picking up even the most powerful items - which was once completely unthinkable in the series.

This ubiquitous prosperity is also associated with another, in my opinion, even killing some "fallout magic", solution. It is about power armor, of course. Winning it has always been a specific culmination of our efforts in a series, a great prize that you simply dreamed about when passing by members of the Brotherhood of Steel. This time we get our first copy within the first fifty minutes and if we play everything properly, we don't have to part with it for most of the fun. As if that was not enough, the multitude of parts of the armor and its skeletons knocks you to your knees. While traveling the world I came across at least a few pieces, some I brought back to my "base", and the rest after a while I simply stopped paying attention. One thing must be admitted to Bethesda - the power of the armor itself was absolutely sensational . The moment we enter it (it no longer replaces ordinary armor, but functions similarly to a vehicle) and we start to run, we even feel several hundred kilograms heavier and almost indestructible. Of course, it was decided to limit this reliability of the steel - the new proposed mechanics are based on the patent that power armor needs special fusion cores, which are initially rather difficult to find. Honestly, it works very well and balances the gameplay properly, but don't worry - the longer we play, the easier it is to find fuel. Cores not only lie in all sorts of dungeons, but can also be found at some super mutant outposts or simply bought from selected traders. As "wasteland sweepers" we run as much as we want. If not for the fact that the armor reaches us so quickly, I would have absolutely nothing to complain about this aspect of the game.

An equally interesting option seems to be the possibility of upgrading the aforementioned armor. At special stands, we not only decide on the color of individual steel elements, but also add amenities such as jetpack to them. There are quite a few combinations, and the workshop in which we assemble and improve weapons is even more impressive. The amount of components that can be added or improved is scary at times and - considering that the game offers no meaningful introduction to this matter - it is initially overwhelming, but through trial and error we quickly get what it is all about, having fun with this perfectly. Importantly, the introduced changes do matter, so it is not only art for art.

While I don't quite believe what I'm writing at the moment, I also spent a pretty good time building my own settlement - another new feature introduced in Fallout 4 . We process the rubbish collected during exploration into raw materials, we also process the immediate surroundings of the town and equipped with the appropriate amount of wood, steel, concrete and electronics, we can start building new houses or fortifications. Entertainment is moderately profitable in terms of experience points and at times it may even seem secondary, and obtaining the necessary elements takes a lot of time, but when I started building a "place", I did not leave this mode for several dozen minutes. And this despite the fact that the very mechanics of placing individual objects are extremely inaccurate. I can't quite explain it logically, but despite all my flaws, I just liked this aspect of the gameplay. And since there are quite a lot of options when playing Bob the Builder, I will certainly spend a lot of time "mayor" my settlements.

Just as building settlements and modifying equipment can be considered surprisingly complex, the same cannot be said about the character development system. Unfortunately, this is another key element of RPGs that the new Fallout has been brutally stripped of. Although SPECIAL is still functioning, it has almost completely lost its importance due to the new progression system! From now on, we can add points to the statistics with each level gained (unless we decide to invest them in perks), so nothing stands in the way of making our hero "Mr. Perfect" with almost perfect parameters in each category. Unfortunately, the famous "skills" that determine, for example, how well we deal with a specific type of weapon, are gone. The aforementioned perks try to close this gap somehow by offering various bonuses, but how their board is designed leaves a lot to be desired. One is that the whole thing is extremely illegible, two - the vast majority of it completely does not affect the way we play. Aside from isolated cases, such as the ability to increase the life span of fusion cores, perks have such imperceptible benefits that I just forgot to spend points on them most of the time . A little celebration for every RPG fan, that is, the promotion to a new level, in Fallout 4 is simply of minimal importance. I ended up playing at level 36, and to be honest, I didn't feel any more powerful than at, say, tenth level.

The development of the hero is also not helped by the fact that even investing in SPECIAL is not overly profitable. Apart from unlocking individual perks, high charisma or intelligence practically does not change anything - for example, an attempt to persuade is dependent on a roll of a dice and we can convince someone as well, having 1 point invested in this parameter, if we are lucky. And this leads to an unpleasant conclusion - if we don't "arrange" the statistics, we will end up playing in an almost identical way . Simplification of this type in Fallout is simply a scandal.

With scandals - it's time to do what pisses players off from the very moment of the premiere: graphics and errors. As for the visuals themselves, I have to admit that they are much better in action than I expected . The game looks tragic at times, but most of the time - especially in open spaces and with adequate lighting - the world looks pretty good (yes, despite its "colorful" nature!) And I do not intend to complain too much about this element. The animations, however, are a completely different pair of wellies - I haven't seen similar stiff figures for a good few years, and although such ghouls can throw left and right surprisingly agile, the rest of them apparently swallowed a broomstick. I don't even want to mention what the facial movements look like - in a game in which each dialogue has been shown in a somewhat cinematic perspective, it is simply not acceptable for the characters' faces to look like stone. Unfortunately, this is the case here.

I also have to complain about another important aspect - the interface. What Bethesda served in Fallout 4 simply cries out to heaven for vengeance. Most of the time I played with a mouse and keyboard, and believe me - if you don't have a third hand at your disposal, you will swear when navigating the menu multiple times . Absolutely everything is unintuitive, the mapping of individual buttons changes depending on the activity being performed, and finding anything in the inventory screen should be a penalty in the lowest tier of hell. Despite my sincere willingness to navigate and control it, I am not able to even count as correct. One step forward, however, has been made - I mean the shooting model. It's still far from perfect, but aiming and firing more shells finally looks decent, and with the modified VATS system (now slows time instead of stopping it) and the rather high level of difficulty, it works to the advantage of production. Well, you'll have plenty of opportunities in Fallout 4 to find out if those words are true - shooting takes roughly three-quarters of the game, and if we set foot outside of the city region, any kind of conversation will be rare . We keep our hand on the trigger, wherever we go, we can count on a cheerful group of aggressive opponents, and although they were made great (for the first time in my life I felt respect for the claws of death!), Making Fallout an almost unreflective shooter absolutely did not fall into taste.