It is that time of the year again, it is Fallout season. As a long time Fallout fan you can imagine my excitement when our PS4 review code for Fallout 4 finally came. Fallout 4 seems familiar the second you start playing it if you have previously played a Fallout game (Fallout 3 most noticeable), but the tweaks and improvements in Fallout 4 are much more noticeable as soon as you put a few hours into it. Kick back and relax because judging by the share size of this game this is going to be a long review for the PS4 version of Fallout 4
For those that don't know Fallout is a series of games set in a post-apocalyptic world, it is a role-playing game first created by Interplay Entertainment. Fallout and Fallout 2 were developed by Black Isle Studios, Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel was developed by Micro Fortè and 14 Degrees East. By the time Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel came out for the Playstation 2 and the Xbox, Black Isle Studios was no more. In 2008, Fallout 3 was released, developed by now critically-acclaimed Bethesda (also known for the Elder Scrolls series), and in 2010, Obsidian Entertainment took control and released Fallout: New Vegas. With Bethesda now the owner of the Fallout series after a legal dispute with Interplay. Fallout 4 was developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks.
First things first, in with the new, this years biggest addition to the Fallout universe is the crafting and building of settlements. In Skyrim there was DLC released which saw the player being able to buy and own housings, with a workbench available to upgrade and customize their own houses. This implementation has been completely revamped and improved for Fallout 4 as you now have the ability to not only build houses, plant crops, set up defences, recruit workers, but you also need to keep your settlement happy by fulfilling different needs they have. You need to go back and visit your settlements now and then just to see if you settlement is blossoming or if there is room for improvements.
Your first settlement you get early on in the game, and you are introduced to the Minutemen, and as soon as you are introduced to your first settlement you get news about other settlements that needs your help. You head over to the settlement that needs your hand, help them out and they join the Minutemen and you now own and control this settlement along with any other you have already claimed. You can set up create trading routes between your settlements to share your inventory which is kept in your workbench located at every settlement you have.
You need to keep up with your settlements and give them what they want for it to blossom and by doing so you use items you pick up out in the wild and new to this years release is the ability to break down any item, weapon, apparel etc. into crafting materials, which you need to use in order to keep a settlement happy. Some of the items you craft needs additional power in order to work, so you need to craft a generator and then connect a power-line between the generator and the item you need powered up. Like for example, some turrets needs power while others don’t, if you want a way to rinse the water nearby you need power to do so etc.
Needless to say, you can sink hours, even days into the new crafting system, as I know far too well. I spent nearly 30 hours on my settlements alone and none of it felt like a chore or a grind. Discovering new settlements, helping them out with the necessary and then linking them to other established settlements never felt better. If you manage to keep a good trade route going you are occasionally visited by traders who usually have something special ready for you to purchase.
The only problem with the crafting system is that nothing is explained to you right off the bat, you need to seek out information and put some trials and errors in to really get behind the mechanics of the system as it can be overwhelming at first. But if you keep at it you will quickly master it and see if this is something you want to spend time with or not, because you can play the game without bothering to do much of the settlements if you want to.
And that is the beauty with Fallout 4, you don't have to do anything you don’t want to. If you want you can start heading in the opposite direction as soon as you come out of the vault. You can walk around and run into random encounters, NPCs, places and creatures and spend hours upon hours levelling up that way. Bethesda really lets the players choose how to play the game themselves in their own pace, and that is why I love the Bethesda games so much.
I do not want to spoil anything for you, but something happens as soon as you start playing the game which will explain why things are the way they are in the world and what you need to do. However, the way it plays out is so good that I think I want you to find out for yourself instead of me spoiling it for you. Lets just say something happens and that is your main goal, but as soon as you set foot above the vault the main story can quickly get drowned out by the incredible amount of side-quests available to you. I don't know how many hours I have spent doing side-quests and really enjoying them, problem with other open-world games is usually that the side-quests feels repetitive and uninteresting but most of the side-quests I have done in Fallout 4 all have back-stories to keep you invested in them which is always a nice addition.
As soon as you go back to your home town you are introduced to the families loveable sidekick, a robot helper named Codsworth. Codsworth becomes your companion and together you set out on an adventure of your own choosing. Codsworth can help you carry items for you and he also helps out in fights. There are a total of 12 companions available for you in Fallout 4, most of them needs to be unlocked later on in the game but you choose who to have with you and you are free to switch them out at any time. Two more companions are introduced early on in the game, Dogmeat which is a loyal German Shepard capable of anything Codsworth is, and Preston Garvey, the leader of the Minutemen.
Not only settlements can be customized as you are free to customize and upgrade your weapon and apparel as you see fit. Mods for your weapons are found spread across the entire map and by using gear in your workshop you can use a workbench to upgrade and customize almost anything if you have the gear needed for the job. However, some of the upgrades needs a certain perk which brings us to the skill tree in Fallout 4.
The skill tree in Fallout 4 is huge, the most noticeable ones are of course the S.P.E.C.I.A.L which stands for Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck, but there is a total of 70 perks available, with a total of 275 ranks in total. There is no level-cap, so you can, on paper, level up everything Fallout 4 has to offer but that is going to take some time. Some perks needs other perks to be unlocked which gives the player a reason to strategize when they start levelling up their character.
If you have played a Bethesda game before you know there are glitches and bugs, with games the size Bethesda is known for there is always room for improvement and I have ran into a bunch of them during my play through. However, none of the bugs I ran into were game breaking, none made the game crash for me, but some has made different missions harder then they were supposed to be. For instance, at one point I was fighting some rebels along side Codsworth, and since Codsworth loves to get deep into the fight he usually has a tendency to get right in front of me whenever I am about to shoot or hit something, meaning I probably nudged him in the back a few times too many, anyway, long story short, Codsworth flipped out on me and started attacking me. I tried everything, lowering my weapon, talking to him but nothing worked and it forced me to reload my save and try the mission again. Again, nothing game breaking but some situation like NPCs randomly falling out of the skies, wondering off into the ocean or just standing around spinning in circles. To be fair, most of them are more funny than annoying, but yeah, there are glitches and bugs here but again, nothing game breaking on the Playstation 4 for me during my play through for this review.
Listen, lets just stop beating around the bush, Fallout 4 is incredible deep, both in story and in share size. There are so many side-quests, weapons, NPCs and locations in Fallout 4, so for me to try and tell you everything this game has to offer I would be writing for about as long as I have been playing, and I am currently dangerously close to 50+ hours in and I still seem to find places and side-quests. I managed to finish the main story and even though I felt personally the ending could have been done better it might feel different for you. And when I sit back and think about everything I have experienced with my time in Fallout 4 I know for sure this game is going to be somewhere on my top games of 2015 list. If you enjoyed a previous Fallout game then this needs to be in your collection, and if you enjoy RPGs or open-world games then you should also buy this. Fallout 4 is an incredible game and everyone should experience it for themselves.