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DrMath

Math Reviews Fallout 4

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It’s been awhile since its release, but with the last of the official DLC released I decided to write up some thoughts on Fallout 4, so here we go. Fallout 4 comes after a well-received Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout 3 (critically acclaimed) before that. It had a lot to live up to and looked interesting, though at first it was difficult to say what sort of story you could have around the Boston area, they did a decent job of trying in some of the iconic history of America from the region into the story. So let’s start there, the story.

The main story of Fallout 4 is probably one of the best in a Bethesda game I’ve played. With the introduction of voice acting from your character it is easier to immerse yourself into the world and actually put yourself in the character’s shoes. Losing your son and seeing your spouse die are powerful emotions to drive a person to do all sorts of things. When it comes to the main quest line, this stays as a driving force, however in many cases it becomes irrelevant in tangential quests. I would expect something like that to play more of a role if you wanted to drive a strong narrative, which I assume Bethesda wanted to in this instance given the changes they made. Ultimately though there is enough to make you feel the feels and choices you have to make at the end feel even more consequential given what you discover.

The story does well to fit into its surroundings as well. The Minutemen harken back to the founding militias, the Railroad references the organization that helped escaped slaves, the Institute are scary scientists leftover from an MIT-like university, etc. They made the setting work in unexpected ways and kept me in the world when I thought I wouldn’t be able to make sense about why the location was picked. From what I have heard from Bostonians as well, the game does a decent job of sticking to what parts of the area are actually like, so kudos to Bethesda.

I was also happy with some of the new mechanics in the game. Power armor is no longer a regular equippable armor, but has a frame and is something you actually go into, visuals and all. This was cool visually and made more sense in the game world, and is always fun to watch and interact with. Additionally, you can work on power armor and mod it just like you can now with weapons and armor. The crafting system does have its limits, but overall is fine for what it is.

Now, we get into some questionable things. First, we have the Settlement System. Throughout the game, you can find or are directed to places that need help from the Minutemen, and after completing a quest they become allied and you can build up that settlement, and throughout the wasteland you can unlock new craftable things, etc. However, the settlement are more like a distraction, a side-thing, and have no impact in the game. You could literally not do anything with them through your entire playthrough aside from the basic stuff to further the main quest and you would not be missing anything. I understand Bethesda wanted to give us something else to do, but it was literally extra. I would have liked to see settlement be more integrated into the game, more important, or have noticeable impact on different things. Two DLCs focused on settlements, the Vault-Tec DLC and Wasteland Contraptions, added some craftable stuff, but nothing really solid. Vault-Tec had some quests you could do, but building a vault proves to be complex (more so than it needed to be) and can be discouraging for people who don’t have enough time to spend learning it, then actually building it. Contraptions allowed you to make factory-style stuff, but again, more a distraction than anything useful.

With Bethesda’s focus on Settlement, it was clear they didn’t pay much attention to side-quests. There are some larger ones, but ultimately the Commonwealth wasteland is lacking side-adventures. In Skyrim, I was able to play several playthroughs before I had felt like I hit most things, but in Fallout 4 you can probably hit everything easily in one. Instead of focusing on narrative, Bethesda focused on making a big open world and filling it with nothing except different areas to build things that have no impact on the game whatsoever. This was a missed opportunity. Granted, Far Harbor added a very good new storyline to the game with a lot of twists and interesting characters, and did a better job adding some back-story to many areas you can build settlements to make you want to build them up, but once you finished the primary quest, there isn’t much else to do. Nuka-World added some interesting mechanics to settlements, such as being able to raid them, but it forces a decision upon your character in an otherwise free-decision game. You can still make a decision, but it leaves the area empty, boring, and cuts a new mechanic from access, simply for being a good guy. I’m not sure what they were thinking here, but Nuka-World, while an interesting setting, was ultimately lacking in depth.

I’ve played a lot just to see what each major-faction plot is like played through. So far I’ve done the Minutemen, Railroad, and Institute, but now I’m on the Brotherhood and will probably stop for a long while after that. Bethesda, seeing the success of the modding community, has become reliant on them to add longevity to a game which they should be developing. It also says something that they took so long to release the official modding kit, which limited mod development in the meantime (probably because they wanted people to buy the DLC). 

I’m disappointed that Bethesda could do so many right things, but forget what made the games great in the first place. With the lack of side stories, pointless settlements, and general lack of compelling questing, this feels more like a typical, very linear game and less like the open world we’ve come to hope for. I hope that Bethesda takes the lessons from Fallout 4 and keeps the improvements they’ve made while going back to older titles and remembering what made them awesome. I’d rather play Fallout 3 and Skyrim than Fallout 4, and I will probably go back to Skyrim after I am done with this final playthrough. Overall score if you want one, 6/10.
 

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I just wanna point out that the ending was probably the most disappointing thing in the whole game,in the older ones any action you did with different factions affected the game ending and you felt like it had a more major role even the very small details ,l and they made sure to show it to you like hey bro you just fucked shit up here you're insane,here its just hey here you go the same cutscene for any ending you go with nothing you did changed anything we're just gonna throw a flag here and make some soldiers from another faction patrol ,the end. To add on that , the minutemen were like super boring nothing interesting even tho it felt like they were the number one choice to go with for the best ending since they're the most neutral faction , on top of that Preston made the thing even more horrible with his lack of an interesting backstory and his dialogue was so repetitive and it felt like you were talking to a robot and he just wanted to force that "protect x settlement" down your throat.

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It was pretty anticlimactic. The story-ending stuff was nice, but you're right,. your impact on the environment is very minimal.

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