To be totally honest, I was not immediately aboard the Fallout hype train as it left the station following Bethesda’s E3 presentation earlier this year. I was left standing on the platform, wondering what everyone was so excited about. I didn’t understand the appeal of the game at all, having never played any of the previous Fallout titles. Until about 3 years ago I played a very narrow selection of games, and didn’t play them very often (by my current standards at least) and none of the Fallout games had ever really appeared on my radar. Over the past few months I have watched the trailers release, the hype train hit full steam, and heard so many gamers talk about their amazing past experiences with Fallout. The more I’ve seen, the more my excitement has grown, so I’ve decided to write about my first experience with the Fallout franchise.
From what I’ve read, I’ve been assured I’ll have no troubles jumping into the series at the fourth title. While each game is built around a similar story premise, they each occur at a distinct time-stamp on the Fallout timeline. For Vault 111, somewhere between 2077 and 2287 an unknown disaster occurred, leading to the deaths of all residents of the vault, except one…
So as I sit here on the eve of the release of Fallout 4, I’m contemplating what I’m expecting from the game, so I can reflect on this once I’ve spent some time in the wasteland. I’m expecting a full bodied RPG, with shooter tendencies. For me, the allure of this game is an in-depth character system, and the ability to play the game as a wide variety of character types. I’m expecting my character to naturally build towards a play-style that I feel at home with. I’m also expecting to feel overwhelmed with the sheer volume of items to collect, side quests to participate in, and vast areas to explore.
Oh, and I’m expecting one super, badass dog.
Fast forward a few weeks, and many hours of gameplay later, I am thrilled to find my original predictions hold true! I haven’t played this much of a game for a very, very long time. Fallout 4 has done a magnificent job of capturing my attention, and every minute I am not in the wasteland is spent wishing I was back there. Fallout 4 offers everything I want an action RPG to have; a gripping storyline, enough crafting to please my inner Sims fan, and characters I thoroughly enjoy learning more about. I’m willing to admit I probably spent too many hours building my Sanctuary base, but y’know what, I had a dang great time doing so! And I’m glad I did – I feel so much more invested in that settlement now, and that’s important. I firmly believe enjoyment in an RPG entirely depends how much you’re willing to buy into the story. If you hotfoot it through the game and skip all the conversations, you’re probably not going to care when those story-lines unfold. Building a community, having somewhere to call home, and eventually becoming a leader, are all important elements in Fallout 4.
As I had been told, there were absolutely no issues jumping into Fallout this far into the franchise. With the exception of a couple of minor gameplay mechanics, I was on my way immediately and was taught most things I needed to know by the game’s short and sharp tutorial phase. To be clear, this is not a game that will hold your hand – plenty of mistakes will be made. But the good news is you learn as you go, and more often than not, those mistakes make your overall story experience better. I’ve learned I need to cook the meat I find (and should have been all along anyway, hello free XP!), I can change my clothes to get a small skill point buff, and I can have my dog wear goggles and a bandana while he helps me fight the evil guys. Badass dog confirmed.
The sheer size of the open world of Fallout is at times overwhelming. The game doesn’t demand you travel along the story in any particular linear fashion, which in my opinion is fantastic, as the stunning wasteland landscapes invite you to explore. It’s easy to immerse yourself in the many unique and interesting locations and storylines, each equally as rich and compelling as the main quest itself.
The only source of real frustration for me in the entire game has been the Pip-Boy’s clunky user interface design, which I am willing to forgive as it fits well with the primitive vibe of all the technology throughout the game. Fallout 4 is a fantastic game full of surprises, meaningful relationships, moments of real emotion, and is sure to be a favourite contender for Game of The Year.
This article was originally written for and posted on The Spinoff.