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Fallout 4

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: RPG/Action
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Bethesda
Release Date: Nov. 10, 2015

About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.

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PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Fallout 4'

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on June 15, 2015 @ 6:00 a.m. PDT

As the sole survivor of Vault 111, you enter a world destroyed by nuclear war. Every second is a fight for survival, and every choice is yours. Only you can rebuild and determine the fate of the Wasteland. Welcome home.

There has perhaps never been a more expected announcement than Bethesda announcing Fallout 4 at its pre-E3 press conference this year.  Fans of the series have known it was only a matter of time, and the series has been in deep slumber since the release of Fallout: New Vegas.  We finally have some concrete details, a release date, and some new information about what the new game will offer.

Development on Fallout 4 started soon after the release of Fallout 3, and it runs a next-gen version of the Creation engine.  The presentation began as Todd Howard took the stage and spoke of how the team has an obsessive attention to detail.  A slew of concept art was shown before the first bombshells of the presentation started dropping.  Unlike every other game of the series, the story of the protagonist starts before the bombs fell, in an idyllic suburb with your adoring spouse, cute baby, and hovering robot butler.  You sculpt your character design in the bathroom mirror as your wife looks on, and switching your gender switches their places in front of the mirror.  In this way, you can edit your character's appearance and the look of your spouse, and the mix also determines the look of the baby.


Once out of the bathroom with a freshly made character, there is some time to explore the house before a Vault-Tec salesman shows up at the door.  You fill out some paperwork to establish your SPECIAL scores and head to the baby's room.  It is at this moment that the robot butler, Cogsworth, directs your attention to radio reports about an impending nuclear attack.  The protagonist's family races toward the vault, only to stand on top of it as the bombs fall.  Though details are scarce about what happens in between, it is 200 years before the protagonist goes topside again as the sole survivor of Vault 111, and the world is a vastly different place.

During the ensuing gameplay demonstration, a few things stood out.  First, the game has the same offset third-person view as New Vegas, and that it seems to have a minimal HUD regardless of your viewpoint.  The environments look gorgeous thanks to volumetric lighting and keen attention to detail, and they look as expansive as the other wastelands in the series.  The conversation system is supposedly more dynamic this time around, letting you watch them in first- or third-person, and the latter makes sense given the now-voiced protagonists.

Before long, the dog character from the trailer shows up, and he seems a hell of a lot more useful than the followers in previous games have been.  There is a context-sensitive system in place that lets you command your canine companion to go to an area, interact with an object, and bring it back.  I can see it being useful to give commands during combat, and if there are other followers in the game, I can only hope that the same system works for them — though perhaps they won't bring a wrench back to you with their teeth.


VATS makes its triumphant return, with at least one obvious tweak.  While in VATS mode, time slows to a crawl instead of stopping.  It also seemed to take up a lot less space on-screen, despite having the same number of targetable zones and chance to hit information.  As in the previous games, it also has the same style of bullet cams to deliver a cinematic experience when you dispatch enemies.

The presentation then switched to the new Pipboy design, which seems like a somewhat higher-tech version than from games past while still feeling decidedly low-tech, as fans of the series would expect.  Its UI design doesn't seem terribly new, though the layered armor system certainly was.  The presentation didn't go into any detail, but it looks like armor is going to amount to more than just a body slot and a head slot now.

The biggest revelation surrounding the Pipboy came in the form of the announcement that the collector's edition of the game will have a wearable Pipboy into which you can snap your smartphone.  Additionally, there will be a phone app to make the whole thing act like a Pipboy, and it can also be used as a second-screen experience.  The app will work just as well with or without the Pipboy accessory, and it was said that it will be available alongside the game at launch.


The presentation then dove into the new crafting engine for the game, and it looks as though Bethesda has kept a close eye on the mod scene for its games and ran with those ideas.  You can scrap items in the game to get base components, including entire houses down to their foundation.  You can then build piece by piece, designing your house first with structural parts and then later by rotating and placing individual pieces of furniture.  Beyond the basics, you can do more advanced things, such as setting up power generators, using them to power terminals that program turrets, and setting up perimeter lighting.  This seems important, as apparently your home can be attacked by raiders that you must fend off.

The depth of crafting also seems to extend to the weapons, as evidenced by the demonstration.  You can take a relatively lowly laser pistol, swap out its parts to make it even better, or go as far as converting it into a laser rifle.  Howard showed many weapons getting this treatment, from turning a pipe pistol into a sniper rifle to decking out a baseball bat with mahogany wood and saw blades.  The power armor from the trailer can also be modified to some depth, though the purpose wasn't immediately apparent from the video.


The presentation ended with a gameplay montage with a few more interesting tidbits.  At one point, you can see the protagonist melee someone with his pistol, and later, he seamlessly throws a grenade without switching away from the primary weapon.  Once in power armor, you become something akin to Iron Man, with a new display full of gauges and massive chainguns in your hands.  Apparently, you can call for a chopper pickup and ride it while manning the minigun on the side, or you can use your jetpack for a more personal mode of transportation.

To cap it all off, it was announced that Fallout 4 will be released this year on Nov. 10.  From what I saw in the presentation, it seems that Fallout 4 addresses some of the rougher patches of the gameplay in previous titles while also incorporating some new features from mods.  Between those two things and all of the new features, it's a really good time to be a fan of the series.  Thankfully, given the title's release date this year, we won't have to wait too long before we can dive into the game for ourselves.



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