Fallout 4 – War Never Changes – Xbox One Quicky Review – MINOR SPOILERS

Fallout 2One of the biggest games of the year has dropped. We are back in the Wastelands of Boston. A lone Vault Dweller on the hunt for their son, armed with an arsenal of guns and some rusted power armour. We are a pre-war relic who watched the bombs drop on the US. We fled to the Vault and were lured into cryostat chambers that froze us for over 200 years until one day we wake, in a daze we watch as our wife/husband’s casket is opened and the baby ripped from their hands and a bullet lodged into their skull and then we freeze again. Waking up again, we manage to escape and witness the effects of the experiments created by Vault Tech industries and we stagger out into the open to see what happened to our home. Now, this is as much as a can say without dropping some big spoilers but considering I’ve only logged in about 25 hours of gameplay so far and 5 of those are in the actual quest line, what little I have experienced so far is fascinating and incredibly engaging.

My experience with Fallout is very limited. I’ve watched gameplay footage from the first game and played a few hours in Fallout 3. I enjoyed the experience but I got frustrated when I ended up wandering the wasteland in zones way to big for me. So much so, I got lost and never managed to make it back. Since then, I’ve matured (a little) and have experienced the ever amazing Skyrim and find myself more than competent to progress through this. So I’m not fully versed into the narrative of the world but I know the lore behind the Vaults and the effects its had on the world and the mutated wildlife that has taken control of the environment.

Obviously as a company they would have cut a few corners to make them optimum for next generation consoles and this has been done by utilizing various parts from previous titles such as the animations from Skyrim. Now this isn’t too much of a problem. For something so large scale, I tend to be a lot more lenient but a little variation wouldn’t go a miss. Now here is the big issue that people raised prior to launch and that was the visual quality. Trailers made it look a little cartoonish but dropping in myself, I think its a gorgeous art style for a world ravaged by radiation for 200 years and it is much easier on the resources available. Now this hasn’t stopped the game from loosing frames rapidly when loading areas and in combat situation and that comes down to poor optimization across the consoles which could have been resolved had it been play tested correctly. Otherwise it looks fantastic and the quality is fantastic. Sure, its not Square Enix levels of detail with incredible hair physics but its good enough.

As it stands, I had no idea what to expect from this. With the rate of triple A titles dropping that suck and the bombardment of early access games supported by industry giants that really don’t live up to their own hype and run when shit gets difficult, faith in the industry is a little fractured, just look at the PC port of Arkham Knight. I had prepared myself for the worst. I worried about wandering off into the wasteland and never coming back home armed with nothing more than a kitchen knife, but I was wrong. I love it. I was hooked within the first 20 minutes. The opening sequence, War Never Changes is one of the most striking cinematics I’ve ever seen (Click the link to watch Sip’s playthrough and experience the opening cutscene and some gameplay). Its a gorgeously filmed and animated piece that shows you the events that led up to the “Great War” that created this lawless world as narrated by our lead man. As the cutscene disappears, we are greeted by our narrator and his wife looking in a mirror readying themselves for the day ahead, this is our character customisation and creation. The customisation is a bit of a fiddle but its extensive and deep enough that you could almost create yourself. All the way through the process, both of the characters chat, little bits of information around items you’ve just changed from witty quips to cute interactions that made them feel so human, so real and then you begin your day. Walking to the crib of your new born to say morning,greeting your robot babysitter that does all the dirty jobs around the house and living the daily routine while the news chatters away in the background. We all know the bombs are dropping and shit goes wild, I won’t ruin anything from here for you but its such a touching experience that gives the characters an incredible amount of story in such a short space of time, even if the baby does look like its farther was actually an alien…Fallout

How about its core mechanics? The shooter aspect is very clean, weapon variation has been fairly limited and buying weapons is pretty much a definite no no. Modification of the weapons is the best way to increase your chance of survival and they’re giant, from tons of saw blades too new receivers and various other pieces that physically change the aesthetic of the weapons too. Alongside the classic VATS system that now slows time down, means you have to make on the fly choices on where to hit and the estimated damage can significantly drop by the time you accept your desired choices. One of the biggest talking points is the power armour. The Fusion powered heavy armour that gives you a huge level of strength and protection is great fun and getting it from the start of the game allows you to survive the harsh environment a lot more effectively, however, its cumbersome to obtain the Fusion Cores to run the armour as they either cost a fortune or you have to find locations and caches out in the world. I, however, stole a ton because the guides online were actually wrong for my playthrough. If you were playing the Fallout Shelter app that released earlier this year on the reveal of the game, you’ll love this next section. You can have bases. You craft items, make sure your people have beds, food and defences to protect them. Its a cathartic experience that I’ve spent an unhealthy amount of time and effort working on. It doesn’t have much of a purpose yet but its a typical thing that would appear in such an environment. As for the rest of the core mechanics, many are derived from Skyrim. Slight differences in skill management but the typical dialogue tree is very basic and doesn’t allow for a variety of choice dependant on skill.

To sum it up in the briefest ways possible, we are back in Skyrim. They’ve taken something successful and implemented it into one of their other titles and added a load of extra little features.  If you enjoyed Skyrim, its a guarantee that you’ll love this. The Music is phenomenal and side quests are really where your time is going to be spent, whether you mean to or not. Its a game that is going to last. Not a 6 hour campaign with so many hours of multiplayer that is a literal repeat, over and over again. Its varied and probably has a good hundred or so hours crammed in that are immersing and engaging. Its taken pieces from other titles, albeit bearable, there is no variation between them and that really knocks it out of you and characters have no facial expressions with very little mouth synchronisation in conversation which is fairly poor for new titles. Considering that is is highly addictive and I’m shooting through this, just so I can get back to playing it is testament enough to how enjoyable it is (I’ve hardly been on ARK too!). At £40, its value for money. Its not often that you get hundreds of hours playtime with very little bugs and glitches. There are a few glitches, one has surfaced in the last few days that can crash the game completely across all consoles and I’ve witnessed mutated bears moonwalking up trees but for the current gaming era, its got most of its shit together and thoroughly deserves..

8/10!

PS – Deathclaws be scary

 

Fallout 1

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Posted on 16/11/2015, in Games, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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