> # Welcome to GameGrinOS v1.01 > # How can I help you? > # Press ` again to close
Hello… | Log in or sign up
Fallout 4 Review

Fallout 4 Review

It’s been long awaited, due to Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas being so beloved. The worlds are so full of lore, secrets and stories that people have only discovered after hundreds of hours spent exploring, you would be forgiven for not realising that there’s an actual storyline. It’s not unusual for people to spend many hours on a single title, but for a game with only a single-player component, it’s extremely rare -- most games that come to mind are from Bethesda.

If you’re unaware, the Fallout series takes place in the future, after the nuclear war of 23rd October 2077. Much like the Anglo-Zanzibar War, it ended very quickly after it begun. Although, unlike that war, the Great War ended once the United States, China and the USSR all launched nuclear weapons at each other, following hostilities between the nations over a number of years. In the years before the war, the world had deviated from what we know, some time before the first moon landing in 1969, because whereas technology advanced quickly, culture did not. This left the world with a perpetual “The Future™, as imagined in 1950s sci-fi” aesthetic.

I won’t bury the lede, the biggest improvement of the title isn’t the graphics, the script or the music. The biggest improvement are the enemies, pure and simple. The first feral ghouls (the staple ‘zombies’ of the franchise) I spotted, I figured I'd pick off long before they reached me. Sadly, I wasn't playing Fallout 3. As I ran backwards, unloading ammo clips and getting lunged at and dodged from, I was afraid I'd stumbled across some kind of Super Ghouls! I hadn't. These terrifying bastards are everywhere, desperate to chase at full pelt, dodging shots -- that is, when they're not learning tricks from The Walking Dead to jump out at me without warning, or crawling through gaps…

Other enemies are similarly horrifying, making me compare this more to a horror game than previous titles. Jump scares are all over the place, and I have to admit that I was wary of the Capital Wasteland of Fallout 3, but the Commonwealth really brings home the whole post-apocalyptic vibe. Feral ghouls are hidden all over, human raiders and super mutants are just as eager to kill you as the ghouls are, and that’s ignoring the animal life!

Things that kill you aren’t even always moving, either. There are pools and barrels of radiation (which saps your maximum health), landmines have been scattered around streets, automated turrets from before the war are hidden inside buildings and even the weather is against you. One of the most breathtaking changes are the radiation storms. They travel across the wasteland, and whereas normal storms bring rain, a rad storm will bring a rumble of thunder, followed by flashes of radioactive lightning. And if you can see the lightning, it will irradiate you -- unless you’re wearing a hazmat suit, hopped up on rad-reducing drug Rad-X, or inside a suit of power armour.

Very early on in the story, you come across a suit of power armour which was created before the Great War for skirmishes against the Chinese. One of the factions, called the Brotherhood of Steel, have refitted and upgraded many of the suits, so even if you decide to ignore that first suit, you have plenty of chances to pick one up. Unlike in previous games, where the power armour was just like normal armour, these things need to be climbed into and piloted, almost like Battle Armour from the BattleTech universe. It is very helpful as it guards against radiation and, of course, gives you higher defence than normal clothing. You need to use power cores to make it function properly, which can be collected in many locations across the wasteland.

One thing to beware, is that this is much harder than both Fallout 3 and New Vegas. Outside of combat, nowhere is this more apparent than how difficult it is to find things. Ammunition and caps are very rare without a specific perk, and the power cores only become a more regular pick-up after a few Brotherhood of Steel quests.

As I already mentioned, being a Bethesda game, you just know the side quests are going to be numerous. Even without befriending all of the companions (there are loads of people who want to accompany you for various reasons) and making them friendly enough to give you their own quests, there is still plenty to do. There is no ‘endgame’, this means you should pick up every quest you can, otherwise you might struggle to find them later on. You may quiver at the thought of entering a Super Duper Mart which is full of feral ghouls now, but by level 20 they won’t pose nearly the same threat they did at the start of the game, though that might be because you no longer suck at combat.

I play most games at the easiest difficulty, mainly because I’m absolutely terrible at games. More than once, I’ve finished a fight with very low health and had to double check that it was still set to Very Easy, despite steamrolling through all but the toughest Deathclaws in previous games. This is probably because of the new ‘cover’ mechanic, which allows you to peek out from around corners -- something the AI takes full advantage of.

The controls are mostly solid, but you no longer have to choose between a gun or a grenade, as all throwable devices are tied to the same button as your melee attack -- just make sure you don’t hold it when you mean to tap it… The controls are surprisingly good (though I’ve heard complaints keyboard & mouse users on PC) for the newest feature: settlement building.

Whilst you play, you unlock several places that you can populate and build up with houses, crops, defences and supplies. You usually need to assign settlers who arrive -- or you recruit from other towns -- to each task, otherwise the settlement basically has no food being produced, or no defence from random raider attacks. You need to collect various junk during your travels, which is broken down into the parts you require for all of your construction efforts. Of course, there’s no need to build a single thing if you decide you don’t want to, selling all of your junk to traders, and getting rich. But if you go back to Sanctuary and think “this place doesn’t really look nice”, then you only have yourself to blame.

Graphically, this is definitely leaps ahead of the past two titles: but it’s only leaps, not leaps and bounds. Bethesda are still working from the same engine they have used since The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, just updated many times. Whether it’s because they’re getting their money’s worth, because they’re comfortable with it, or whatever reason, it’s still a little disappointing to see the same problems popping up on a new-gen system. Bodies floating in the air, limbs of dead enemies jittering for minutes at a time, textures changing at random, companions falling through elevator ceilings… The style is brighter than the last two games, but only during the daytime -- at night the wasteland looks as foreboding as it ever has. It’s unfortunate that they’re using the same engine, but what they’ve done with it is great. No doubt endless mods on PC will make it look even better, and I can’t wait to see how mods will transfer to the console versions.

Music is more disappointing, with most of the playlist just recycled from Fallout 3, though there are a few new tracks. It kind of makes sense in the game, as nobody is recording new music, but New Vegas had a completely different set of songs. There is a Classical radio station, however, which makes some encounters absolutely epic, with Ride of the Valkyries amongst others. You don’t even need the radio on, however, as the incidental music is wonderful to listen to on its own.

The writing is better than the last two titles as well, with each character feeling more fleshed out. The voice acting and way the dialogue scenes are carried out almost like little cutscenes, adding to the enjoyment, especially as the previous games relied heavily on the same character models and voices with a static ‘talking heads’ approach. The only times the writing suffers is because of the dialogue choices being stuck to a direction choice. You don’t have a list of things to ask, just a word or two choice -- one of which is often ‘Sarcastic’. It’s actually best described as the four options being ‘Tell me more’ ‘Good’ ‘Bad’ ‘Joke’. It’s quite watered down compared to past Bethesda titles, and your choices aren’t affected by the perks you choose when you level up. For instance, in Fallout 3 you could assign only one point to Intelligence, and your character would then literally say stupid things, like replying to questions with such gems as “Me am shoulder”. As the dialogue is all voice acted, the choices obviously had to be watered down, but it is still disappointing to those who wanted to control an idiot.

The way you level up has changed, too, as you can now choose from any of the perks, or even a SPECIAL. The perks used to be locked behind level gates, and your SPECIAL stats were locked in at the start of the game. As there is no level limit, you can literally get every single perk and the highest SPECIAL ranks, if you put enough time into the game, and that means there isn’t really any one ideal build -- your character will be able to do everything eventually. None of this is spelt out in the game, as you have to go into the pause menu to find tutorials on several areas such as the aforementioned levelling up, and the VATS system.

These points hamper what is an awesome game. I’ve played through Fallout 3 a few times, because I honestly enjoyed it more than the arid New Vegas. But I know I will play this a lot more than either of those titles, because there is just so much to do. To write an in-depth review would take months, and you might never see everything I did. I’ve read that some people are 90 hours in, and haven’t reached the sixth story mission! Fans of the Fallout series will find lots to enjoy with nods to the entire series, but newcomers will find just as much.

8.50/10 8½

Fallout 4 (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)

This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.

Some minor points mar a pretty great game, with lots of secrets and depth.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Andrew Duncan

Andrew Duncan


Guaranteed to know more about Transformers and Deadpool than any other staff member.

Share this:


azrael316 - 09:13am, 24th November 2015

Currently about 30 hours in, and not even at Diamond City yet.. ;)

Hamiltonious - 04:15pm, 24th November 2015

It's not very often that I'll ignore a game's flaws but Fallout 4 is just too damn fun to care about the texture issues or the lack of indoor shadows. When modders get their hands on it properly this game is going to be crazy.

Calmine - 09:17pm, 25th November 2015

Great review. My only complaint is the dialogue system being very basic, luckily modders have fixed this - http://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/1235/? 

Alex - Modders have already got their hands all over it and they've been great and have already fixed some gripes with the game.