Some Overlooked Fallout 4 Features
In the initial days after launch, Fallout 4 has received nothing but praise. And that’s not surprising.
Fallout 4 is a complete overhaul of its predecessors — rocking a fully voiced protagonist, nicer looking environment, and a new way of playing the game. Weeks later, people are starting to realize that Fallout 4 (like all games) is not completely free of bugs or minor annoyances. While I understand the importance of discussion, I think it’s equally as important that people realize that there are some amazing, and often overlooked features of Fallout 4.
In this article, I will briefly cover some of the features that I think are worth recognizing.
First and foremost, let’s cover settlements. Remember Wasteland Defense? If you’re like me, you remember how fun building your own fort in New Vegas was. Shooting Cazadores, and spawning Super Mutant Behemoths to test out the strength of your Fat-Man equipped Farmers; you can imagine my excitement when I found out that settlement building was going to be a feature implemented in Fallout 4.
As time when on, I realized that this seemingly simple feature allowed you to build anything you wanted. I could decorate the floors with Brahmin skulls, make a chair out of pre-war cash rolls, or construct the grandest, most spectacular and ostentatious Dick-Butt that the Commonwealth has ever seen.
And it doesn’t stop there. To build a settlement you need parts, and to get parts, you need to scavenge and find them. This is the first game where Bethesda put something other than the monetary value on what we would normally consider “useless junk.”
In total, I think I’ve been on about five scavenging runs. I have never been so excited to find a pile of duct tape or a typewriter before.
Now, if there is one feature I’m going to really compliment Bethesda for, it’s going to be the way the way they changed how the game was meant to be played.
In Fallout 3 I remember relying on VATS for every shot. Not only was it completely impossible for me to aim at a Radroach scurrying towards me at speeds that will get you in trouble even in the post-apocalyptic wasteland, but after a certain level, VATS was essentially a mini-god mode. You could pick up the Grim-Reaper perk early on and shred through most encounters. Oh, a Behemoth wants to say hello? Not a chance.
Soon enough though, combat became stale. What the game lacked was a sense of helplessness. I wanted to feel the rush and excitement you would typically experience in a firefight. I wanted to hide behind cover, wait out the suppressing fire, and return some love in the form of .308 rounds. Often times, the threat of violent encounters was usually met with me spamming the VATS button a couple of times, completely pausing the game and breaking immersion.
This got much better In New Vegas when Obsidian decided to introduce iron sights and impose a couple of hefty nerfs on the iconic combat feature. Instead of instinctively initiating and relying on VATS to do the dirty work, I was aiming down the sights of my rifle and shooting geckos by the quarry. Trust me, it was a lot more fun this way.
People weren’t kidding when they said that the game actually felt like an FPS. You could hide behind cover, peak out and shoot, and lob some grenades with the touch of a button. Everything felt much smoother and more rewarding. VATS was also changed in that, instead of completely pausing the game, it just slowed down time. Ultimately, they could have made VATS more ridiculous than before and I wouldn’t have cared. 40 hours into the game and I’ve only used it on a few rare occasions. Aiming down the scope of your sniper rifle and picking off raiders one at a time is the most satisfying thing you’ll experience in the Wasteland.
And speaking of the Wasteland, that brings us to my next overlooked feature…
Bethesda is a company best known for two things: creating awesome and immersive worlds, and ridding them with bugs.
Do this for me. Move your shoulders, shake off the tension, and think of Skyrim. Remember those small encounters between Stormcloak soldiers and Imperial guards? However tame they may have been, they were a neat way to up the entire atmosphere. In Fallout 3, I loved coming across a wastelander fighting off a horde of mole rats on their own. I loved hearing the sounds of mysterious gunshots and Enclave robots blasting the radio.
Although it did well in other areas, this feeling dissipated when I entered New Vegas. I mean, it makes sense…
90% of the game was a damn desert.
Fallout has always been unique in that, unlike other Bethesda games, the world is everything. Sure the Elder Scroll series had an amazing world too, but its driving point was the story and lore. I didn’t pick up Oblivion just to explore, I expected a beautiful story-line that took us deeper into the Planes of Oblivion and explained why the hell Mehrunes Dagon was so pissy.
Fallout is our world, and I think that’s a unique characteristic about the game. I want to see our world in a post-apocalyptic mess. I want to see the cities of Los Angeles, San Fransisco — hell, I even want to see the Midwestern states like Minnesota. Bethesda did an outstanding job of making Boston come alive. I’ve never felt so much tension exploring a city in a video game before.
From its tight corridors, distant sounds of firefights and disgruntled Super Mutants, and packs of roaming Feral ghouls knocking down trash cans and tin cans, Bethesda did an amazing job of encapsulating what truly defines a dynamic world.
Though Fallout 4 was obviously dumbed down in some areas, Bethesda compensated by completely improving the features of others. I’m enjoying the Commonwealth and everything Boston has to offer. And surprisingly enough, I’m enjoying the story as well.
If Steam achievements are indicative of any sort of progress, I’ve only completed about 46% of the story so far. So yes, I have a long way to go. And in that time, my opinion may change. Until then, however, I will enjoy exploring the large and beautiful world that Bethesda has created for us. And I’m excited for the day I can finally review and deliver my final opinion on the game.
It’s been a while since I truly felt like a survivor in a video game world.