Itís hard to know where to begin with Fallout 4. Certainly the game is not shy in giving the player mission objectives from the outset, which are generally clearly-marked and easy to approach. However, once the player ventures out into the wasteland, the urge to see what is over a hill or whatís inside a ruined building becomes irresistible.
It is so easy to lose hours of real-world time, Civilization-style, just by exploring the real star of the game, the vast wasteland. Whilst this experience is not unique to Fallout 4 (indeed, Fallout 3 and New Vegas offered a similar experience) other titles, including those from Bethesda's own back catalogue, have rarely offered either the frequency or scale of encounters provided here.
Whilst walking to a new mission objective, I came across what appeared to be a small-scale war between a band of Super Mutants, armed to the teeth, and a small militia. The militia were most certainly doing a good job of holding the Super Mutants back, however this all changed when the mutants decided to fire off the Ďmini nukesí that they had brought with them. Game over for the militia, but rich pickings for me as I waited for the battle to conclude before running in and eliminating the survivors.
On another journey between missions, I was wandering
through a ruined city when I heard a woman calling for help. I ran over and she said that people were sick inside the building and needed help. She ran inside so I decided to follow her in. I couldnít find her inside but then I overheard some Raiders criticising her, saying she should have brought me in through the back. The Raiders then attacked me. Fortunately, I managed to gain the upper hand and cleared the building. Whilst searching for loot I came across a large pile of (near) naked bodies in the basement. Evidently the Raiders had been pulling this stunt for a while, only this time they hadnít been so lucky.
For me, Fallout 4
is all about stories like this and the unique and rather depressing atmosphere that the Fallout
universe achieves to an even greater level of intensity in this iteration. I was only able to play Fallout 3
and New Vegas
in short bursts because I found this atmosphere too oppressive for long periods of play.
The wasteland in Fallout 4
is rather brighter and although this makes travel rather less depressing, its sinister calm is still deeply unsettling. As with earlier adventures in Bethesdaís take on the series, the radio stations provide some level of companionship.
Initially, I was rather disappointed to be hearing so many familiar songs from earlier games in the series, but logically this makes sense as the game is set in the same universe as previous iterations of the wasteland, though a few more new tracks would still have been welcome.
Discussing the main storyline here would be largely pointless as it is only a fraction of what the game has to offer and I also want to avoid doing a ĎMichael Foxí of Joypod fame (spoilers). I would, however, like to make some comment about the opening of the game which has been heavily trailed prior to release. If you really donít want to know anything at all about the story, please skip the next two paragraphs.
opens slightly differently to Fallout 3
and New Vegas
. In promotional material leading up to the gameís release, there was a large emphasis on the fact that the game begins before the nuclear holocaust. This was an intriguing and exciting premise - rather than waking up in a Vault and having to piece together backstory from the surroundings, the player would be given greater context as to their predicament. In theory, this would also provide greater storytelling opportunities as the player could be given a real reason to engage in the post-apocalyptic world. However, it doesnít quite pan out that way.
The game does indeed start pre-apocalypse and the player is given the opportunity to build their character and then
interact with both their in-game spouse (male or female) and baby son. This interaction is extremely brief as it isnít long before the bombs start falling. The player then runs for the shelter of the local Vault with their husband/wife and baby. The scene is chaotic, there are other residents also running for cover who inevitably donít make it.