Fallout 4, Weeks Two and Three

The penultimate role-playing game from Bethesda and also the successor to the cult series, Fallout 4, decisively does not lend itself to “simple reviews”. It is difficult to even roughly estimate the number of hours that need to be spent in the virtual districts of Boston to get a more or less complete understanding of the project.

Well, it turns out that we are a proud but still small blog, and we don’t have access to the bodies of the main blockbusters in advance. So let’s not try to win the general text race, especially since it was already lost before the start, and instead, let’s savor Fallout 4 at a leisurely pace.

Fortunately, the new Fallout turned out to be a game that is slow in all aspects. And first and foremost, heh-heh, technically.

There is garbage everywhere

In its time, your humble servant was quite surprised at how consistently well Skyrim worked and still managed to deliver pleasing visuals. In November 2015, it became clear that it was indeed an anomaly. Whether it was the two-hundred-year-old Gamebryo engine, despite its rebranding in 2011, not quite adapting to the new console rails, or whether the developers messed something up this time, even with graphics reduced to the level of tournament Quake 3, Fallout 4 manages to lag, stutter, and frustrate gamers.

The local landscapes didn’t help either. Of course, it’s difficult to evoke a sense of awe-inspiring landscapes when instead of majestic snowy mountains, steppes, and forests with dragons, you have to draw slums and garbage dumps, all in a serious and mature tone. And yet, the double visual gloominess doesn’t add to the initial enthusiasm.

But now it’s clear why the promotional videos and showcase screenshots looked a bit weak for an advertising campaign. It wasn’t the marketers being lazy; the rest of the game just looks rather dull.

Do you know what? I will not separately start FallUit 4 with good screenshots. On 9 out of 10 computers, the game will look like this, and you cant get anywhere here.

You know what? I won’t bother launching Fallout 4 separately with good graphics for screenshots. Get rid of unnecessary textures and particles that no one will ever see. On 9 out of 10 computers, the game will look like this, and there’s no escaping it. Expect a lot of nighttime shots where nothing is visible, but there is its own atmosphere.

However, I have just come out of the Vault, and the world is big, and moreover, there is a clear blue sky above. If you quickly and without unnecessary emotions bury hopes for a graphon, it becomes much easier to breathe the air of the new “Fallout”.

Plus, the eye of a series lover will still notice progress. For example, the tiny submarine compartments, which in the previous three-dimensional parts served as rooms and halls of the Vaults, took a deep breath and, thanks to this, acquired corners slightly wider and ceilings slightly higher. At the same time, the Boston surface dwellers finally woke up from the transition to 3D, took the initiative into their own hands, and began to build huts on every convenient hill.

It’s time to take a look around and see what’s what here.

Let’s get acquainted

The shelter from the first Fallout was functioning quite well, it’s just that one important piece of equipment broke down for the locals. In the second part of the series, they showed us a completely successful colony that survived the bombings and built an excellent post-apocalyptic life for themselves. Since then, a lot of water has flowed, and the developers-designers-screenwriters have managed to turn the already difficult history of the nation in blue jumpsuits into “Saw”. At first, everything was simple – it turns out that they stuffed a bunch of guys and only one woman into one shelter, and in another, exactly the opposite. In the third shelter, they opened the gates a month after the bombings and let in a lot of interesting things. The fourth, fifth, tenth, and all the shelters invented after 1998 were also lucky. New Vegas came to ritual sacrifices inside the bunker; the fourth part did not lag behind and as a prologue offered the hero/heroine to participate in an experiment on endurance inspired by Nazi scientists.

To make it even more fun, at the end of the prologue, raiders come, shoot your husband/wife, and kidnap your child.

This approach to the Vault story seems to be running out of steam, but our latest sadistic Vault-Tec novelty still has it. Every first bunker (this time – not just Vaults!) tells us a joke of varying degrees of humor through pre-war artifacts, and collecting these historical puzzles piece by piece is just as interesting as before. And, as is customary in Bethesda games, secondary adventures and wanderings through random locations turned out to be more vivid than the main story.

The main story is dedicated, firstly, to the search for our avatar’s son, and secondly, to the search for a new faction, the Institute. The main evil of this very Institute is that the more factions there are in the world of Fallout, the tighter it becomes, and it is unclear who died in the local nuclear Ragnarok.

Character exploring a desolate and radioactive landscape

Fortunately, from this very basic story, you can successfully turn away for many tens of hours if desired. Luckily, there is something to do. Classic sightseeing trips, chance encounters, and the whole rest of the Western role-playing gentleman’s set remained in place. Plus, Fallout has added trendy sandbox survival elements. In other words, finally, a Vault dweller was able to build their own village with brahmin pastures and automated turrets. And not just one.

Thanks to Vault 111, 200 years after the nuclear war, a titan of urban planning thinking woke up in the Boston area. If there is enough enthusiasm, in the devastated lands, forgotten ruins, and other junkyards with workshops for n hours of collecting scrap metal, growing watermelons, and advertising on the radio, a whole microstate with developed infrastructure and a trading network will grow in the world of Fallout 4.

Now I will show these half-hearted NCR soldiers, who once dodged righteous lead distribution, how to really rule a post-apocalyptic state. Or wait, I lack charisma, and along with it, the necessary perks. My character has gone to level up.

People of their word

The first big mistake I had to make was focusing too much on the intelligence of my alter ego. As it quickly turned out, the only parameter that really mattered for operational improvement was charisma.

With the help of post-apocalyptic science, you used to be able to do a lot of interesting things. By the fourth episode, the benefit of having a high virtual IQ during travels was reduced to opening electronic locks. Hours of research in various locations, and all my wisdom (eight out of ten) allowed me to do was acquire ten extra stimpaks and have fun hacking and destroying a security robot once.

Not quite what I wanted. Where are my clever responses in dialogues, where are my complex machines waiting for their time in abandoned scientific complexes?

Ah, there they are. Waiting for their time, stuffed in the “Do It Yourself” menu.

Perks for intellectually gifted vault dwellers now securely chain players to workbenches. That’s where the real freedom is, it turns out! You can attach a scope to a laser rifle, fortify a reloading station with machine guns, and conjure up some mega-stimulant – if only you have the materials.

Severe radiation storm in a post-apocalyptic setting

Rate the quality of the subtitles!

In the new “Caesar” from the first person, as mentioned earlier, it is generally interesting to play, but what to do with your great mind on campaigns? It’s frustrating – to come out of the shelter, get ready for the journey, and find out that smart people nowadays stay at home more. And the main conquerors of Boston are sudden charismatics.

As a rule, Fallout 4 quests are completed in two ways. The first is to shoot everyone. The second is to persuade someone important and only shoot half of the people who get in the way. In several dozen hours, not a single scientist wanted to listen to any interesting theories, not a single fighter agreed to a clever maneuver with explosives, and not a single refugee was saved by emergency surgery. In other words, there was not even a chance. So it turns out that either you are surrounded by Conan the Barbarian, or you invest in charisma and get at least some space to maneuver.

However, even with a well-hung tongue, local human stories don’t exactly bloom with special color. Following some fashionable instructions of their own, the developers simplified the dialogue branches to the maximum, leaving players with a maximum of four answer options in each dialogue. The options themselves are as follows: “Ask about the matter,” “Ask nonsense,” “Persuade with charisma,” and[Sarcasm]”Very rarely is the option ‘Forcefully drag’ encountered, but it never works because we still develop charisma. Well, of course, specific response phrases will not be shown to us when choosing, only sometimes unclear meaning cutoffs and the same.”[sarcasm]Such a wonderful approach has already created waves of complete[sarcasm]network folklore, as well as modifications that forcibly extract complete dialogue phrases. You look at mod screenshots with understandable human sets of phrases and wonder why it couldn’t have been done properly in Bethesda.

Radiation storm. Provokes irradiation and sentimental mood.

Radiation storm. It causes radiation exposure and sentimental mood.

I can already see another meeting of designers, where they are explaining to the person responsible for staff dialogues.
There are four buttons on the gamepad, so there should also be no more than four answers. No, pressing “up-down” is not intuitive, and in general, no one does it that way anymore. Why doesn’t anyone do it? Because there are only four buttons on the gamepad, and we don’t want to confuse anyone.
Yes, and to make it completely clear to the players, we will visually distribute the answers across their four buttons so that they cannot miss. Therefore, in order for everything on our screen to be beautiful, simple, and concise, we will not show full phrases. We need the essence of the phrases to be captured in two or three words for the answer menu. The ideal option would be just one word. For example, “Sarcasm.” It is immediately clear what your character will say when you press “Sarcasm.”
Guys, we believe in you, you will come up with something.
Someday common sense will prevail over this brilliant designer approach, but unfortunately, not in Fallout 4.

The eyes are wandering

Texture, on the other hand, emerges when you climb into some abandoned bunker and start reading what its inhabitants have written in vintage terminal blogs. The scriptwriters really went all out. Since we can’t go all out on dialogue, let’s have some fun with the decorations.

To tell you where each joke is buried would spoil a good third of the enjoyment of the game; I won’t spoil the pleasure with retellings.

After exhaling following dozens of archaeological expeditions, you can’t help but succumb to melancholy; you used to have Fallout and The Elder Scrolls, both very different but equally awesome, and now post-apocalypse is more of a repainted Tamriel than the good old New California. The same straightforward fights are the hallmark of fantasy medieval times. But I want both holidays of the role-playing life to be available. However, Skyrim has so successfully optimized its gameplay formula that it’s hard to complain about it.

Plus, they left us with options for turn-based combat. The latter, of course, are not exactly what we need, but from time to time the VATS system proves to be a very useful addition to the standard headshot routine. The first and main clients of the local bullet-time with auto-aim and hit percentages are insects. Fallout’s starting punching bags for experience points are eager to make some sharp jumps or soar into the sky. In combination with the unstable engine and the overall murky-brown picture, these combat maneuvers become a much bigger problem than they should be. Well, if you rely on numbers and indicators from role-playing statistics. The tandem of agile cockroaches and sluggish 3D wastelands simply begs for time freeze and autopilot lead rain.

And with VATS, starting from the third installment, you can trick the Matrix. The essence is that hidden comrades like radioactive water creatures or snipers cleverly hiding behind random trees are simply caught in the field of view of the auto-aim, even if you have no idea where they should be. The same water creatures can be picked up from the very bottom of a deep murky lake through a random check for lice (through the water, if you think about it, you can’t see anything at all).

And yes, a well-adjusted VATS build still allows you to go where you shouldn’t go at your level and hit those whom you shouldn’t be able to hit based on their level.

Stormy weather and ruined cityscape in Fallout 4

But overall, once the engine is brought to a more human-like state (whether through official patches or fan modifications), Fallout 4 will become a decent shooter. Even before the game’s release, the developers hinted to the public: “We’ve taken inspiration from Destiny!” It seems like they weren’t lying. The third installment and New Vegas were still lacking in terms of emulating true FPS games, no matter how you justify them, but the 2015 “Fallout” really stepped up its game and turned into a less intense action-packed experience. Just a little more, and it will be just like Borderlands. Except, of course, with crafting, city-building simulation, a vast open map, and power armor.

Speaking of power armor, one thing that personally didn’t sit well with you in the new game is how they treated one of the main Fallout “artifacts,” which had become a symbol of the series. Power armor is mercilessly handed out – the player receives their first exoskeleton within the first hour of the game. How is that possible? Before, you see, we would spend hours running through the wasteland, hoping to someday acquire at least a standard power suit, rejoicing in the newly acquired pre-war luxury like it was New Year’s, and now, you see, on the very first serious quest, we’re sitting in power armor and shooting miniguns at some sniveling raiders.

Right after the raiders, a cheerful surprise emerges from the sewer during that mission, but that doesn’t change the essence of it. It seems too easy for these Boston folks to come across such rarities.

However, it quickly becomes apparent that our gift from fate comes with a catch, and gamers will have to deal with power armor separately. The armor pieces are lacking, the fusion core runs out, and it’s time to head back into the wasteland, scavenging bit by bit.

Fallout 4
PC, PS4, Xbox One
Action, RPG
Bethesda Softworks
Bethesda Game Studios
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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