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Crawl Out Through the Fallout with this Fantastic Offering from Bethesda

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    Fallout 4

    Rating: 4.5 – Outstanding

    Crawl Out Through the Fallout with this Fantastic Offering from Bethesda

    Another great entry in the Fallout series:

    Fallout has fast become one of my personal favorite series, with its fun gameplay style, great lore and story, excellent humor, and just an overall engaging game-world, and Fallout 4 is no different.

    When news of the Boston setting was announced I was incredibly excited because there is so much to explore in and around Boston as well as the possible inclusion of "Definitely not Fenway Park" in the game.

    Without further ado, let’s start the review!

    Story: Fallout 4 initial starts before the Great War, not to be confused with THE Great War, World War I, but the inevitable nuclear apocalypse that plagued the timeline and game universe of Fallout. You can choose to either be a female lawyer, canonically named Nora, or her husband, a veteran of the United States military, Nick. (Note: As is the custom of every Fallout game, you can change their names to whatever you’d like, but for the purpose of this review I will be referring to their canon names as well as their title: the Sole Survivor).

    You and your spouse have a son named Shaun and a faithful Mr. Handy robot named Codsworth. Just a few minutes before the bombs drop you are visited by a Vault-Tec rep that tells you that due to the faithful military service of Nick, your family is guaranteed a spot in Vault 111 just outside Sanctuary Hills.

    After he leaves, a news reporter announces on the TV that the bombs have dropped, soon after sirens go off, and the U.S. Military swarms Sanctuary Hills to escort the population to the Vault, the problem is that not everyone has a spot in the Vault. You and your family are allowed into the perimeter and just as you are descending down the Vault elevator, a mushroom cloud erupts over Boston and you barely make it in time to the vault.

    Around 200 years later, you are awoken from a cryo-chamber, only to see that not only the former Commonwealth of Massachusetts, now just called "The Commonwealth, had been utterly destroyed, but also has been caught in the middle of a war between multiple factions. What you do is up to you now and the story is very open to personal style.

    You can help the Minutemen rebuild the Commonwealth with settlements, you can become a Brotherhood of Steel member and rule over the Commonwealth with an iron-fist, you can help the Railroad free Synths and wage an underground war with the Institute, a mysterious organization that utilizes top of the line technology to implant their version of society on the Commonwealth, or you can join said Institute. The choice is yours, with each faction having their strengths and flaws with fleshed out quests.

    You can also spend countless hours on some of the very excellent side-quests, with one of the better ones being the Silver Shroud side-story, if super heroes are your thing, be sure to complete this side-quest.

    Due to the sheer amount of different storylines in this game, I could not possibly include everything in this review. However, with that being said, the story and the characters of this game make it a fantastic game.

    Story: 9/10.

    Gameplay: Fallout 4 borrows a lot from the previous two first-person Fallout games, as well as the original two games, however, it changes many key features.

    The dialogue system, for example, is stripped down, instead of seeing a full sentence to choose from, as was the custom in all previous Fallout games, you only see a short description of what type of response you can give (i.e. sarcastic, threatening, yes, or no). While many fans of the series did not like this feature, and I did not at first either, but I came around to it, as I realized that’s kind of how you respond in real life, you do not have a sentence laid out in front of you, if someone says something to you, usually what comes to your mind is whether or not you want to give a sarcastic response or to be serious.

    The action of Fallout 4 is very past paced, with more reliance on a first-person shooter than an actual Role-Playing Game, which was another turn off for many, however I felt it made the game more fun to play, as I relied less on VATS, which is still implemented in the game, and more on just some fun gun-toting around.

    Gone is the Power Armor of yore, instead of them being just regular armor like previous games, Power Armor in Fallout 4 is more of a vehicle than anything, with its own set of hit points and additional pieces you can repair. Due to the implementation of fusion cores as the energy source of Power Armor, you can only wear them for so long until you run out of energy, luckily as you progress later in the game, fusion cores become abundant to find.

    There is also a sort of world building in the game, luckily it is not necessary to play the game aside from early on in the game if that’s not your thing. I never could truly get into the whole settlement building portion of the game, but I did have fun setting up the settlements, even if they looked like a hodge-podge of randomly placed shacks and beds. If you truly want to get into the settlements, it can definitely set you back several hundred hours of playing.

    There’s also not a level cap, so take that how you want with that, I frankly enjoyed that aspect personally.

    Gameplay: 9.5/10

    Characters: I feel it is necessary to include a separate section for the characters because of their huge impact in the game. You can choose from 13 companions: the Minuteman, Preston Garvey; the reporter, Piper Wright; the Synth master-detective, Nick Valentine; the wise-talking Ghoul mayor of Goodneighbor, John Hancock; your faithful Mr. Handy robot, Codsworth; the scientist with a French accent and a heart-of-gold, Curie; Deacon, the Railroad master of disguise and spy; the mercenary, Robert Joseph MacCready (yes, that MacCready); the Brotherhood of Steel member, Paladin Danse; Cait, the former raider and cage fighter that somehow has an Irish accent in 2287, the super mutant in search of "Milk of Human Kindness," Strong; the Institute Courser, X6-88; as well as Dogmeat, well… the dog, because you cannot have a Fallout without including a dog. Because, "Who’s a good boy? That’s right, you are! Now go attack that ghoul for me please."

    The only drawback is you can only have one companion at a time, and that includes Dogmeat, you cannot have him and a humanoid companion at the same time, that was a major disappointment, to be honest. However, it was awesome of Bethesda to include romance-able companions, including those of the same-sex, an interesting step-forward for them.

    Characters: 9.5/10.

    Graphics: The game-world is pretty, the setting of Boston and the surrounding area is very well put together and the attention to detail is amazing, however, the character models and some textures feel off, especially for a game that was released in 2015. While definitely an improvement graphically from Fallout 3 and New Vegas, the game still did not meet the graphical achievements of some games that were released around the same time. This was a minor grievance for me because I still was able to sink an incredible amount of time into the game.

    However, it should be noted though, that as is the custom with Bethesda games, some incredibly hilarious bugs are present, such as faces disappearing, trees clipping into the ground, characters morphing into walls, etc.

    Graphics: 7.5

    Sound: The radio stations in game are just like your typical Fallout games, with old-fashioned songs from the 1940s-1950s, however, this game added a few songs from the 1960s, which I felt were a great addition to the game, the de facto theme, "The Wanderer" fit perfectly in the game. The original soundtrack is also very fitting, the main theme from the main menu is epic, Inon Zur did a fantastic job with the soundtrack, as many times I would turn off the in-game radio just to listen to the ambient soundtrack.

    For the first time ever in a Fallout game, the main character has voice dialogue, and I believe both the male and female Sole Survivors’ voice actors did a phenomenal job and each VA’s line delivery was fitting of the characters’ default looks, I will admit, however, that with the ability to essentially transform your character to look like whatever you want them to look like, the voices don’t necessarily match with the looks you could potentially give Nick and Nora.

    I will admit that I am a sucker for a French accent, so I found Curie to have the best voice actor in the game, however, Piper’s actor did a fabulous job as well, as does Nick Valentine, with his 1940’s detective style line-delivery. Those three I found to be the best-voiced characters in the game.

    Of course, Ron Perlman returns, because no Fallout game would be complete without his distinctive voice.

    Sound: 10/10.

    Length and Replay-ability: Fallout 4 can easily take from under 30 hours to complete one main story arc to over 100 hours just to do the main story and a few sidequests, or it can take 300 hours to do one playthrough, really the choice is yours. With multiple paths and multiple choices to choose from, the game has high replay value.

    I still have yet to everything and I have played well over 300 hours of the game, with all the collectibles to everything to explore and see, the game has so much to offer which is customary to every Bethesda developed game.

    With the abundant amount of mods on not only the PC version but the console versions as well, you have so much replayability that it is almost insane.

    Length and Replay-ability: 10/10.

    Final Verdict: Should you buy this game? Well frankly that is up to you, but I hope with the information I have just given that you can have a good indication of whether not this is a game you’d want to buy, I say go give it a try as it is a good entry in the Fallout series.

    Overall Score: 9.25/10.

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