Fallout 4 Is Not The Fallout I Fell In Love With, But That’s Okay
After 120 hours, my Fallout 4 experience is over. It was a mere 84 hours before I even started the main story. I spent most of my time freely exploring, uncovering the hidden tales across the ?Commonwealth. Every street corner, every barren field, all of them had something to say. Exploring was the most rewarding aspect to Fallout 4. I was never pushed towards a location, my curiosity was my motivation.
Eventuality, I had to begin completing quests. This is where Fallout 4 began to feel uneasy. At it’s core Fallout 4 is the least RPG of all the other Fallout tittles (excluding the PS2 Brotherhood of Steel title). Character builds meant little, stats became nothing put paths to perks. A number of the perks felt worthless, even more so towards the end of the game. My interactions and impact on the world felt minimal, nothing I chose mattered.
It’s quite sad that a franchise so heavily influenced by pen and paper RPGS is seemingly becoming a open world shooter. I don’t begrudge the change, it’s just a little hard to accept the direction of a franchise I love. Fallout was always a franchise that enjoyed dark humour, marinated with a fine touch of satire. With one foot in reality, and the other firmly in ‘what if’ science fiction, the Fallout world was a perfect RPG setting.
Fallout 4′s focus on more linear story telling, with much easier to adept combat, is fine. It’s fine in the sense it makes sense. I can’t deny, much like most Fallout fans, it’s been a long process rather than a sudden switch. Fallout 3 and New Vegas still maintained that pen and paper feel, but the writing was on the wall. Bethesda know what sells, they know the console market.
It’s a money making business, and I can’t be bitter towards the watering down for Fallout 4. It’s a huge money spinner. No longer is Fallout the nerdy numbers and stats game it once was, it’s cool now…super cool. Fallout 3 ushered in a whole new breed of fans, most of which never played (or even heard) Fallout 1 or 2.
Throughout my time with Fallout 4, at least with quests, I never truly felt in control. Unlike passed titles, this was not my story. Options never felt like options, be it speech or choices. Characters often went around in circles when I pursued more information. The moral choices were no longer ethical questions trying to define good or bad. Now reduced to nothing but picking between clearly good or evil options, it’s disheartening.
Fallout 4 is still hugely enjoyable, just as long as you forget the history of the franchise. The first two titles were love letters to table top games and pen and paper RPGS. Fallout 4 is a love letter to Fallout 3. It’s not a bad thing as such, just more of a case of things being overly familiar. With a lack of options in how to approach quests and dialogue, it’s hard not to think Fallout 4 is slightly diluted.
If this is the path that Bethesda which to walk, then let it be. It won’t affect the legacy of the Fallout franchise any worse than Fallout Tactics of Brotherhood of Steel did. The only real problem with Fallout’s new direction only really affects the console market. There’s a small niche that enjoy hardcore RPGS. With Fallout stepping towards action RPG with each new instalment, the niche is left longing.
I enjoyed Fallout 4, problems aside, but I didn’t love it. The only element I can truly reflect fondly on is Nick Valentine. In a game of weak characters, poorly crafted plots and forced emotions, Nick stands out. Kudos should be paid towards The Institute storyline that feels much more akin to the Fallout universe. Shying away from the black and white tones of other factions, the Institute feels much more crafted. The problem with the Institute is it’s firmly buried under a heap of generic quests and lifeless factions.
Fallout 4′s endings are possibly the best example of the direction of the franchise. Gone are the end game slide, the perfect picture of how this is no longer the players stories. One of the most rewarding elements of Fallout titles was seeing how the players choices affected the world. They may of been still images and text, but they felt personal.
Finding out how the players actions affected the people they helped/hindered made the wasteland feel more interactive.Those simple slides provided Fallout titles with definitive endings (bar the odd choice to retcon Fallout 3′s ending), unlike Fallout 4′s never ending continuation.
Fallout 4 isn’t the Fallout I love, but it hasn’t became something I hate. Franchises change and grow, it’s something I/we have to accept.