‘Fallout 4’ is a vault of incredible game design

By Grant Meyer l @GrantMeyerDe l Daily Egyptian

Who would have thought a nuclear holocaust’s wasteland was so much fun to play in.

Bethesda Game Studios made yet another incredible game in “Fallout 4,” their second entry in the long-running post-apocalyptic series.

“Fallout 4” takes place in 2287, 200 years after humanity desecrated earth with nuclear weapons. Players customize their character and are sent on a journey to rescue their captured son from a mysterious organization in the ravaged remains of Boston. However, you play the game for the exploration and character progression, and they are as strong as ever.



Bethesda Game Studios is the best at creating open world environments and “Fallout 4” is no exception. Players can look up at the horizon and see a structure or landmark they can travel to and explore, providing countless hours of gameplay. The map is dense with buildings, caves and towns, which are all worth the time to seek out creating the epitome of open world game design.

This exploration is accompanied by a flexible first-person shooter system. The game’s traditional route is to use V.A.T.S., a system that slows time and allows players to target enemies’ specific body parts, giving players more strategic combat options. However, the core shooting mechanics have been greatly improved since “Fallout 3” and can be a viable alternative to using V.A.T.S. Most players will use a combination of the two.

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Building up settlements is the biggest change to the series. Players can unlock various outposts and towns across the game and can be populated with settlers and characters found on their travels. Furthermore, each settlement allows the player to build homes, generate food and provide defense from invaders, creating a miniature real-time strategy game.

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While a great idea for the series, it does not quite reach the depth it could have. Settlements are limited in size, maxing out at only 20 settlers. The interface of building a town is not as user friendly as it could be. Basic convenience aspects such as an undo button are absent.

Furthermore, the game frustratingly forces players to build using the game’s first-person and third-person camera angles. A bird’s eye view, such as in “The Sims,” would be superior for the building portions of gameplay. These are not game breaking, but it makes the settlements feature more tedious than it should have been. Despite this, the idea is perfect for a Bethesda-style open world game. It helps immerse the player even more in the world and generates even more reasons to explore every nook and cranny.

An improved feature is the companion system. While companions are not necessary to play, they do provide benefits when accompanying the player. The best thing about companions is their deep backstories players can discover by earning the companion’s trust. Each story is interesting and makes you understand them even more. Upon reaching maximum trust with a companion, players receive a permanent perk which makes them more powerful. Overall, it is a huge improvement over previous iterations.

Customizing weapons is also more fleshed out. Each weapon and armor piece can be modified or enhanced using resources found in the environments. This is great and gives players more options to fit their individual play styles.

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The conversation system has received an overhaul. In older entries the player’s character was mute, but in “Fallout 4” they are given a voice. This is controversial, because players may prefer the previous style of a voiceless protagonist. Overall, the voice work is done well and the game is not any better or worse because of it.

Previous players of Bethesda games will feel right at home playing “Fallout 4,” but it suffers from having a significant learning curve. This is not helped by a lack of tutorials provided to players, which are usually just vague on-screen pop-ups. Players must learn many aspects of the game on their own.

Ultimately, “Fallout 4” is another incredible achievement for Bethesda Game Studios and, as expected, this game is massive and consumers can easily spend 100 or more hours exploring and leveling up in the game’s world. This game defines getting your money’s worth.

5 out of 5 stars.