Welcome to Fallout 4 and its post-apocalyptic vision of Boston. Well, not immediately apocalyptic. You get a view of happy, contemporary suburban life in Boston, and then all hell breaks loose. Nukes are unleashed on this pretty little Boston suburb, and there’s death and destruction all around. Your character flees for the safety of Vault 111, taking your wife and sproglet with you.
Conveniently, the nuclear disaster-proof shelter contains a whole bunch of cryo tech, so you can take a 200-year nap. When you wake, oh boy! First off, as the vault and the cryo chambers are opened, your infant son gets kidnapped by a dark and mysterious organization known as The Institute. Your main mission is to get him back, at any cost.
The irradiated world is filled with Super Mutants and a whole bunch of nasty critters. The city is devastated and is a clear interpretation of the American Dream gone horribly wrong.
Now the game really gets started. The graphics are, as expected, truly outstanding. The level of detail is breathtaking and makes for a truly immersive experience. Beautiful destruction surrounds you at every turn as you make your way through this devastated world. And that world is huge. There’s so much to explore, you’ll be entertained for countless hours.
While the game landscape is filled with despair (although beautiful despair), based around the aftermath of nuclear disaster, and the potential humans have to destroy each other and the planet, there’s glimmers of hope, too. In the form, for example, of a city that industrious survivors have built from the wreckage of the city in a baseball stadium. These society-seeking humans have built themselves homes in the stands, and on what was the field, there’s a bustling market that even includes robotic fast food vendors.
As you make your way across the Fallout 4 map, you’ll come to the irradiated nightmare that is the Glowing Sea, a virulent green horror-filled wasteland and Ground Zero for the nuclear attack during the Great War that decimated Boston. This nightmarish location is not for the faint-hearted – nor is it for low-level players and those without adequate protection and supplies. There’s a distinct shortage of med packs, food, and weapons in the Glowing Sea – but here’s an ample supply of seriously nasty mutants, including radscorpions, feral ghouls, and deathclaws. Rain clouds that pass above this toxic desolation become irradiated, then spread radiation to other areas. Fallout 4’s Glowing Sea adds 10+ Rads in just a couple of seconds, and this rockets to +60 if you stand in water. So stay away from the area until you’ve got a reasonably high level, and only if you take plenty of RadAway and Rad-X. We’d also recommend getting yourself some power armour or a hazmat suit before tackling this part of the gamescape.
Fallout 4 offers plenty of diversity and an array of challenges for players of every ability. Like previous iterations, this latest addition to the franchise makes use of hybrid gameplay, mixing role-playing and FPS. You’ll also see the V.A.T.S ability that premiered in Fallout 3. It stops time to aid you in dispatching large numbers of enemies or when you need a precision shot. This time around, however, Bethesda listened to player feedback, and they’ve improved the V.A.T.S ability to provide smoother, more precise, balanced use, so whether you’re shooting from a distance or getting up close and personal with mutants in a melee, V.A.T.S is your friend. This ability has also been morphed into an actual assisted targeting system, instead of just a time-freeze. It slows time, letting you accurately target enemy vulnerabilities. Plus, thanks to the slow-mo instead of time-freeze, you can watch a mutant’s head explode like an overripe melon. It’s pretty awesome.
Fallout 4 forces you away from just following a linear path to hit each point on the main mission. To survive, you’ve got to go foraging for weapons and essential resources. If not, you’ll never make any real progress. The conditions are harsh, so you’ve got to take the time to find supplies to help you on your way. There’s plenty of side-missions to keep you entertained, too. We strongly advise that you tackle every side-mission you come across – aside from the obvious completion rewards, the interesting and thought-provoking story of each individual you come across really do help to complete the overall experience.
You can fly solo all the way if you want – but getting yourself a partner is strongly encouraged. Choose from fellow humans, your trusty pooch, Dogmeat, mutants, or robots. With the new and improved Companions system, partnering in Fallout 4 is much more useful and enjoyable. There’s plenty of commands you can give your partner, but the awesome AI improvements mean that you can take a more hands-off approach, and your partner will still be an invaluable member of your team.
Whether you’re brand new to the Fallout franchise or a series veteran, there’s so much content here, there’s no way you’ll get bored. There’s a fabulous balance of familiarity with the previous versions, combined with new and improved elements. The world is bigger, better, and more detailed than ever before, and there’s noticeable Skyrim-esque elements – like the new crafting and alchemy system. With a twist on Skyrim’s crafting system, you can build structures, too. As you amass raw materials, you can build everything from single houses and shelters to full-on settlements that will eventually home an array of game characters.