If you've played a Bethesda RPG, you should have a pretty good idea of what you're in for. Bethesda plays it surprisingly safe with the formula, but they also do a much better job with the story this time around, serving to elevate the game as a whole. While there's no denying that it can be a bit ridiculous at times, its sheer scope speaks for itself. Bethesda has succeeded in crafting yet another fascinating open-world RPG.
Fallout 4 is a roaring response to criticism that the series has ignored its qualities as a shooter in favor of its deeper and stronger RPG roots. Nearly every design change in Fallout 4 poises the game as a more streamlined modern shooter with high production value across the truly open-world Commonwealth wasteland. The introduction of settlements, newly designed power armor, and deeper crafting evolve the Fallout franchise for the better. This occasionally comes at the cost of storytelling, however, with a plot based on stringently polarizing factions as well as diminished interaction with characters in general. But despite these missteps, Fallout 4 will only improve with time, assuredly with the assistance of the community and user-created mods, and soundly reclaims the franchise as a forward-thinking series in the industry today.
After spending roughly 40 hours with the game, I can safely place it somewhere in the middle of Fallout 3 and New Vegas in terms of quality. A lot of the franchise's signature problems have carried over directly into Fallout 4, but all of its charms have come along for the ride as well. It manages to do a whole lot right, but the story drags at times, and glitches...glitches never change.
Fallout 4 is hugely ambitious and without a doubt one of the best games this year. It's not without its flaws, but very few games made me care more about what I was picking up, how to use it, what choices I made, and even the communities I'd founded. By streamlining some mechanics, Bethesda has made room for other more complex ideas. If you can forgive a few technical imperfections, of which there aren't as many as prior instalments, Fallout 4 exceeds all expectations.
In my mind, Fallout 4's greatest triumph, and its one major point of evolution is in its storytelling, crafting a lengthy, unexpected ending and resolution that I will remember for years to come. It also remains one of the best games in existence for those who simply like to wander and explore and unearth long-buried secrets. But it struggles with archaic gameplay systems and an inflexible engine that anchor the game to the past for all the wrong reasons. Fans may enjoy more Fallout and a brand new map to explore, but this sequel will not be heralded as revolutionary or overly impressive this time around.
Fallout 4 is another tense and enthralling romp through the Wasteland, but it's not quite the revolutionary experience you may have come to expect given the long hiatus.
Don't cancel your pre-order, but don't rush to buy Fallout 4 if you didn't place an order already either.
Fallout 4 is the game you've been waiting for months (maybe years?) which will give you fun for weeks
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If you're willing to put up with some technical issues, Fallout 4 is Bethesda's most ambitious RPG to date.