Review: Fallout 4 (PC) – Part 2: A Wasteland Unfamiliar

Review: Fallout 4 (PC) – Part 2: A Wasteland Unfamiliar

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After all the blinding hype dust has settled and I’ve just finally managed to beat the game myself, I stand by my initial assessment that Fallout 4 is pretty dope. However, as you can assume by me actually following up on a Part 2 to this epic reviewing saga, there’s a magnanimous but here somewhere. And boy, what a but it is, that but being: while Fallout 4 is great in its own right, it didn’t feel like it was the Fallout I’ve grown up (literally) to know and love. (But)

Now before I get pelted with rocks and empty Nuka-Cola bottles, I know this has been something already talked about. Kotaku already summed it up better than I can (if only because I’m a wordy sonuvabitch):

Fallout fanatics might say that the franchise lost its way a long time ago, when Fallout was turned into a shooter with more ‘mainstream’ appeal. But if you ask an average fan, they’d probably say that Fallout games are supposed to be rich, choice-driven games where you have the freedom to role-play as you wish. That description could more or less apply to Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. But that’s not what you’ll find in Fallout 4. The newest Fallout is more of an action game than even its immediate predecessors, and as such, Bethesda has streamlined many of the elements that used to define Fallout as a role-playing series.”

In Bethesda‘s defense, when they rolled out Fallout 3, it was often toted as “Oblivion with guns” by disgruntled fans who enjoyed much of what Bethesda’s RPGs have to offer aside from the clunky gun mechanics that didn’t make much sense. Aiming was all but a joke but at least it made VATS – Bethesda’s attempt at appeasing the fans of the original Fallouts‘ turn-based combat by integrating a targeting computer, allowing you to queue up attacks to then unleash in cinematic fashion – all the more useful. This time around, they made shooting anything that moves actually exciting, intuitive, and strategic, even using Destiny as a reference, but now the complaints lie in that there was too much focus on the guns and too little on the RPG elements. Ugh. There’s no pleasing nerds, is there?

Review: Fallout 4 (PC) - Part 2: A Wasteland Unfamiliar

Fendin’ off the haters like

Nerd rage aside, there’s something else amiss. What we’re seeing here is a franchise in the midst of an identity crisis, being pulled on by two different fan bases: the old guard (players and fans of the original cRPG-style games by Interplay Entertainment back in the 90s, such as Fallout, Fallout 2 and non-canonical Fallout: Tactics) and the new blood (players first introduced to the series after its acquisition by Bethesda in 2004 and are familiar with Fallout 3 and now Fallout 4 which, by design, are heavily influenced by The Elder Scrolls games). Fallout: New Vegas is the middle ground between the two camps, being published by Bethesda and using the same engine as Fallout 3, but developed by Obsidian with some Interplay veterans on staff to help rekindle some of that original post-apocalyptic magic. But this is the closest most of the new blood has gotten to what the old guard experienced. And that’s not close at all.

While I identify as a part of the old guard myself (my father introduced me to Fallout and Fallout 2 when I was but a babe, and his father before him… okay maybe not that last part), I will say I’m saddened to see the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system no longer as S.P.E.C.I.A.L. anymore, or that the wasteland as I knew it has been defanged, declawed, and deloused, making it all too forgiving with immortal “core character” NPCs and factions that express an uncomfortable amount of trust in half-frozen strangers that crawl out of holes in the ground. I can thump the Fallout Bible all I want, but even Master Avellone has declared it dead and moot now that the series is in Bethesda’s hands. What on God’s (glowing) green Earth am I going to do now?

Uhh.. probably keep playing the game. Because it’s still really good. I don’t need to convince the new blood of this since they’re already pretty pleased, but for my Interplay Fallout brethren, I urge you not to despair for not all is lost. If you’re concerned about the lore or the franchise heading in the wrong direction, let me give you two big reasons why you shouldn’t worry.

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Anthony Magestro

Anthony "Tony" Magestro--or known on the field of battle as Metzge--is an avid writer, gamer, and entrepreneur. When he's not writing, gaming, or entrepreneuring, he enjoys cooking, trippy movies, and trying to be awesome to varying degrees of success. Feel free to check out his LinkedIn page, especially if you need freelance help with content writing or digital marketing. Or just like to network, that's fine too.