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THE REASONS FALLOUT 4 FALLS SHORT

Posted on Monday, November 30 2015 @ 16:58:04 PST

So I've beaten Fallout 4. Despite having to run my business and not having a lot of time to play on a daily basis - I used the Thanksgiving holiday to grind through the game - completely ignoring my girlfriend's physiological and emotional needs and "beat the game".

I chose the Brotherhood of Steel path - killed everyone in the Railroad and blew up the Institute's underground HQ.


I felt saddened, not so much for blowing up a terminally-ill Shaun, but, honestly, for destroying the beautiful laboratory and all the scientific progress the Institute was making.
That's ultimately what Fallout does right: it made me feel connected to some of the characters and their plight. I hesitated, for example, to execute Danse because after having fought besides him so long, I felt a connection to him that I didn't want to break. Granted I could reload a save point from a bit earlier and effectively bring him "back to life" - he left me no choice but to kill him since I hadn't leveled up my charisma enough to give him the option of going into hiding and handing me his dogtags to present as "proof" I'd killed him. Putting two bullets in his head was the emotional equivalent of abruptly hanging up a phone on a telemarketer for me or putting-down a sickly, old dog.


I never played the original Fallout or its sequel and my first experience with the Fallout universe was Fallout 3 on Xbox 360. The game's desolate ruins of the Capital Wasteland were instantly addictive once I was able to make it through the learning curve and escape Vault 101. From that point on, hours of my life flew by as day became night and I grinded through the world in search of weapons and caps.


Fallout 4 feels like more of the same old Fallout 3 only with better graphics and a building system to construct settlements.


Unfortunately, the same old problems which were passable on the Xbox 360 rear their ugly heads again.


#1 The load times are too long. No matter which system or PC setup you have, the load times are long. This becomes extremely annoying when you have to lighten your load by selling weapons or materials and must fast travel to a spot just to meet a vendor. Vendors run out of money, forcing you to meet multiple vendors to sell your items without a loss.

#2 There are some bugs - which can freeze the game solid - requiring a restart.

#3 The Power Armor's requirement of Fusion Cores makes them expensive just to use, since the Fusion Cores are not very plentiful - even in the Brother Hood of Steel's base. Makes no sense to force soldiers to "pay money" to afford their armor or ammo. Once you ally with the BOS, this stuff should be free. Or at least cheaper...

#4 Dialogue is glitchy (worse than Fallout 3) and I can't easily order my companions into and out of Power Armor.



THE SETTLEMENT BUILDING SYSTEM deserves an entire diatribe. It's poorly explained and it's not implemented well.


#1 Before you can truly "do anything" you must level up, which means you might as well leave settlement builds for after you beat the game. You'll need Charisma level 6 and the Local Leader perks just to allow you to build stores for merchants.


#2 You'll need the Local Leader perk before you can establish a "supply line" to allow you to share
resources from individual settlements to your main settlement - which will probably be in Sanctuary. Till then, you'll have to physically carry items back and forth between settlements - which due to the mass caps means you'll likely be extremely frustrated.


#3 In older games such as Command and Conquer, you could build generators without being forced to "wire them". It doesn't take a huge leap of faith to believe that power lines are "buried" underground. Yet this game demands you build pylons, wiring and conduits/switches to wire buildings together. This requires extra resources that shouldn't be necessary and can be a massive headache if objects get in the way.


#4 The Building system is necessary to construct a teleporter - in order to progress in the game. The problems of the building system - including wiring individual devices together - become more apparent here when you are told "everything must be on the same "grid" (whatever that means) and you find yourself going mad trying to wire things together which already appear to be "connected".
I felt tremendous anxiety just preparing to approach this project and even feel that anxiety days later - after beating the game. Why? It's a poor design decision to force the player to do things that aren't implemented well. Even a piece of carpet can interrupt the building site process - and this isn't explained at all.


Overall, Fallout is a very well done game - with massive appeal. Once you finally understand how certain aspects of the game work - you'll love it. Unfortunately, there is a STEEP learning curve before you'll be able to take advantage of many features of the game. Hopefully DLC will patch some of the problems and keep us playing into 2016.



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