If Halo 5 marks the end of my multiplayer phase of gaming, Bethesda cracked open the single player RPG door when it dropped Skyrim back on the PS3 and kicked it open when it released Fallout 4. Although Skyrim is easily the more iconic game, Fallout 4’s much improved combat system makes the game a much more enjoyable one than Skyrim. Bethesda has brought yet another massive open world experience with a main storyline that will take around two days of playing time to get through.
Combat has always been an issue in Bethesda games. Skyrim’s may be one of the worst I’ve ever seen in gaming. Fallout 4’s combat is an improvement just by virtue of the game being a shooter rather than a high fantasy experience. Fallout also has a slowdown mechanic that allows you to target specific body parts, adding more depth and strategy to combat. With that being said, Fallout 4 may have the worst live action gunplay I’ve seen in a first person shooter. Aiming feels wobbly, the recoil is usually ridiculous, and the gun sounds feel off to me, making the guns unsatisfying to use. Melee combat is in the game as well and is basically copy and pasted from Skyrim.
Bethesda games usually aren’t played for the combat but rather for the sense of progression and exploration. In this department Fallout 4 does not disappoint. You level up at the perfect rate and you’re constantly picking up newer, better weapons to replace your old ones. The map is littered with locations to be discovered, all of which you most likely won’t find on one playthrough. Fallout also allows for plenty of choice when it comes to building out your character. You could be a thief who hacks every terminal and picks every lock, or a tank who just beats people up with a wood plank, or a gunslinger who usually fights using the slow down mechanic; there are a lot of ways to succeed at this game.
I’m a sucker for stories involving artificial intelligence, so I enjoyed Fallout 4’s take on the “androids that are indistinguishable from humans” trope. Granted it’s not as deep as something like Westworld or Nier Automata, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The companions you meet along the way were all great. Each had his or her own unique qualities and it was fun getting to know their likes and dislikes. A lot of people have issues with the dialogue system in the game, complaining that the player’s speech choices don’t have any effect on the story. This may be true, but for the vast majority of players it won’t be noticed, since they’ll likely only play through the game once. So although it’s shady for Bethesda to develop separate speech options that all lead to the same outcome, it ultimately had little effect on my enjoyment of the game. Let me clarify, there are still certain actions you can choose to or not to take that will lead you to one of four different endings, speech just isn’t one of those actions.
Bethesda took a lot of hate when they came out with Fallout 4. People complained that the game didn’t take any major steps forward from Skyrim, and that may be true, but I really don’t see how you can play this game and say that Skyrim is the better game. Skyrim was a revolutionary game that still holds up today; I dropped by my friend’s house the other day and he had it running on his Xbox One. I know plenty of people who have replayed Skyrim at least two times and many choose to go even beyond that. I feel sorry for those people, as they are missing out on an even better experience in Fallout 4. Like all Bethesda games, Fallout 4 has its share of flaws, but remains a fun and addicting experience nonetheless.
FINAL SCORE: 8.5/10