So as I mentioned yesterday, we got an X-Box One. And not just any X-Box One (is there such a thing? They seem to all come with a game…), but the Fallout 4 X-Box One.
Now Fallout 4 was not a game that was really even on our radar. We’d played only a tiny bit of Fallout 3, only a smattering of Skyrim, and as we mentioned, had to eventually give up on Elder Scrolls Online. So we’ve had a rocky recent relationship with Bethesda. But then my news feeds starting filling up with stuff like this…
And I began to wonder what we were missing… so when the Fallout 4 X-Box One was $100 cheaper than the Halo 5 X-Box One, it seemed like an easy choice… And once I had it, it was time for a try, right?
Actually, we got home and I was like, “okay, we should really watch a trailer for this and see if we’re interested.” So we did.
Okay, that looked pretty good. The political machinations, something that’s always a part of the Bethesda games, seems to be really good here. It certainly looked worth trying, and we had it, and so I did!
I played enough of Fallout 3 that I definitely remember getting out of the Vault and heading out into the world. I remember a few epic fights then, etc. etc. But the Vault – a whole society, locked away and finally heading out into the wide world. A world deep into the post-apocalypse.
So what I was not expecting was finding myself pre-apocalypse at the beginning.
They do a great job in just the opening narration of laying out the world for you. It’s an alternate history to our own – the 1950’s went very differently, and all the dreams of the “home of the future” became reality thanks to nuclear power. Which eventually led to nuclear war, although it did take a century. Oh, so… that could still happen to us too. Another thing to worry about with the Geek Baby…
So minutes in, as you might expect, the bombs are going off and you’re ducking into a Vault. What you’re not expecting is what happens next in the Vault… and what happens after that… and then you wake up.
What happens in between was the story hook, and I have to say, it’s the best one I’ve experienced in a Bethesda game. We liked Elder Scrolls Online in part because it felt like there was always forward progression, somewhere to go and something to do in a logical order. So often, the Bethesda games end up with me lost and wandering, which is part of the charm. But they’ve never hooked me to the end.
This time? I’m definitely finishing the main plot. Well done.
So there’s a few different systems going on, and I’m just far enough into them to feel like I could give some thoughts.
The combat system seems similar to my memories of Fallout 3 – the whole V.A.T.S. deal, where you can tell the game where to shoot on your target, and can see the accuracy percentages. Otherwise, it’s shooting and hitting and stealth like in another Bethesda game.
Then there’s the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats, and I wish I had known they had videos that played about them while the game was installing… I would have watched them all if so. Instead, I caught the first couple. Hey look, they’re all online!
Fun editing, there, to combine them. Well done, Internet.
So I didn’t really know what I was going for with my stats, but you do get access to the Perks page right before you finalize your stats. I still wasn’t sure and kept my stats, with a few points in each… We’ll see how it goes. Others I’ve talked to – and Holly – have specialized (pun intended?) far more than I have. But then, that sounds like my play style…
What’s neat with the Perks is how they are available as long as you have a high enough score in the associated stat, and higher ranks just based on level then. You can spend Perks points to raise the stats, and I’ve found one permanent stat boost as well so those will help. Then it’s just a matter of figuring out order for the interesting looking skills…
The crafting system, meanwhile, is awesome. When you go to make something, it requires it’s base, simple ingredients – like adhesive, wood, or aluminum. However, you don’t collect those things specifically in the world – you instead collect all the items of the world around you like in any Bethesda game (forks, plates, brooms…) and then, when crafting, the game breaks these down into their simple parts, telling you which ones it’s breaking down.
It’s the post-apocalypse. You’re going to have to make a lot of makeshift stuff. But I like that the crafting system so completely feels like that is what you’re doing. I found some duct tape and was like “this has to be useful.” Then I found a weapon crafting station and found that basically everything takes some adhesive – yay duct tape! Then I upgraded a makeshift Pipe Pistol into a Rifle, and then into a Sniper Rifle.
That’s a good crafting system!
The town-building Workshop side of the crafting system is where I am realizing that I am playing a computer game on a console – controlling placement and facing for furniture, defensive placements, and fences… not the easiest thing. And I don’t have enough stuff yet to just tear everything down and start over… but the temptation is there… And the fact that it’s programed into the game that you even could do that? Pretty cool.
Oh, and I used some Power Armor. Yep, that was badass.
They’ve hooked me on the story, I’m enjoying the system, and I’ve hopefully created a character I can live with and not start over… my biggest problem in the Bethesda games, other than the lost feeling because it’s so big and open, is that I think of a new combo and start a new character.
With so many of the abilities so easily available in this, I think I can hopefully avoid that desire at least a bit…
But those are some of my first impressions of Fallout 4, coming from a place of not being part of the hype at all. How about you? Are you playing it, or on the fence? Thoughts and discussion in the comments below! Although if you are playing Fallout 4, the Internet would lead me to believe that you won’t see this post anytime soon…