Even after six pages of content, it still feels hard to condense a huge game like Fallout 4 in a review. The experience can be so vastly different for every player. Bethesda has created a game that really transcends the trappings and boundaries of normal RPG's to create something really unique and special this time around. A journey in the Commonwealth can just keep going and going and going, continuing to take shape long after the game's beaten.
If the game is this massive on its own, we can only imagine what kind of expansions that user-created mods will bring. It's kind of like comparing a galaxy to a universe; once mods are introduced Fallout 4 will jump to a universal status with a near infinite amount of playtime on tap.
I personally have thoroughly enjoyed every moment spent in the Commonwealth. Fallout 4 does have its tedious moments--especially when you're scrapping everything in sight to fuel your crazed mats addiction--but these moments are more user-dependent than anything. If you don't want to scrap items or waste time picking everything up, then you don't have to. It's all up to you. Fallout is all about player choice, it's all about freedom, and Fallout 4 pushes that concept to the limit and beyond.
The game's character progression is designed to carry players well beyond end-game, complimented with the high-grade weapon and armor modifications. Being able to mix and match mods on gear sets is a huge boon for every Fallout fan, who can now customize every facet of their overall experience. Power Armor is deliciously effective but is perfectly balanced, so it's not exploitative, but it's oh-so-satisfying to use.
We also have to mention the game's atmospheric effects and dynamic weather systems. Day to night rolls by seamlessly to immerse players in a digital world, complimented with early morning fog and beautiful fiery sunsets that ignite the coastal waters in crimson.
Not all of the weather is beautiful, though; in a world ravaged by radiation, it's only natural to have freak atomic storms. These storms cast a sickly yellow-green light across the world, with cruel lightning strikes and tainted acid rain that inflicts radiation. It's completely enchanting watching the Earth cycle poison from 200 years past, and every time I see a storm I always wade in the eerie chaos.
One of my favorite features of Fallout 4 has to be the settlement creation system. Every time I go back to my home base at Sanctuary I'm overcome with pride at the place I've created for myself. Properly curating and maintaining a settlement does wonders for your experience, and I actually find myself equipping all the denizens with high-defense gear and weapons to boot. I fully look forward to creating a massive metropolis one day, complete with floating houses and walkways that stretch into the sky.
All of these things come together to make Bethesda's new post-apocalyptic venture one of the most memorable and amazing games of the year. When it comes to overall value and replayability, Fallout 4 is up there with The Witcher 3 regarding scope and gameplay. It's the kind of game that keeps on giving the more you play it and is earnestly worth the effort.
Weapon and armor crafting: Bethsoft gives players the tools to make their own specific armor sets and gear, adding scopes, frames, muzzles and barrels to a huge assortment of weapons for full customization.
Huge map to explore: Post-apocalyptic Boston is pretty huge, and there's tons of treasures and quests to find throughout your adventures.
Overhauled Perk system: Perks are incredibly dynamic and designed to compliment certain builds, with every single ability having key uses.
Creating settlements and bases: Being able to piece physically together your own home base is an extraordinary experience, especially since Bethesda gives you a ton of different construction pieces to work with. You can even make whole buildings and platforms float in the air--I have a bunch of floating defense turrets set in enclosures.
Fluid FPS combat system: The shooter mechanics are quite adept thanks to a few additions like iron sights aiming and refined scopes. Even with reflex scopes and quick-aiming it can be hard to hit faster enemies outside of VATS, and I'd still like to see a close-quarters roll maneuver to boot. Even still the FPS system feels just like a modern shooter and adds a new level of fun and challenge to the game.
Graphics: Since Fallout 4 has such a staggering amount of content it gets a pass for its graphics. On Xbox One and PS4 the graphics are definitely more noticeable, with the Xbox One having a few issues here and there, but both consoles have problems with distance shadows and detail.
Loading times: We know all of those textures and renders take a while to prepare, so again this is understandable with a game like Fallout. But you will start to notice the load times, especially with loading your saves at the main screen.
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