Like many of you, I assume, I was playing a hefty dose of Fallout 4 last night — with no regrets, I might add. Man, I needed some good post-apocalyptic adventures in my life this week. I probably clocked in around three hours and I’m already thinking about restarting to build my character a bit differently. I hear luck is a really good stat this time around and I only have three points.
Anyway, I really, really like how the game starts us out pre-apocalypse — a first for the Fallout series. Getting to see a slice of alternate timeline Americana was a treat, from the robot butlers to the sci-fi ’50s cars. Knowing what was to come, I took so dang many screenshots to preserve the moment.
Seeing the bomb drop — and narrowly escaping the heat wave — was harrowing as well, although I was perhaps a little more distracted by my character’s choice of high-waisted pants.
Bethesda got a little bit clever with the Vault conceit this time around, turning it into a carbonite chamber of sorts to shoot us forward in time. I definitely liked the Vault from Fallout 3 more with its full cast of characters, but it was pretty cool to wake up and have this smaller Vault to explore.
Then came the first visions of the post-apocalypse, 200 or so years later. And it’s actually a bit pretty. Life post-bomb is returning and it’s not all muddy browns and depressing greys. There’s a New England fall beauty to it and some welcome splashes of color amid the wreckage.
I deeply appreciate that the game wasn’t trying to rush me through a narrow corridor of a storyline after the Vault. Instead, I had the freedom to poke around and get my bearings, not to mention loot, loot, loot. There’s something about the wasteland that turns us all into gleeful scavengers, and Fallout 4 definitely plays this up.
I worked my way through the little burb of Sanctuary and its surrounding outskirts, netting some weapons and, after a raider attack, some armor. I’m still trying to get used to switching over to VATS during fights for better ammo efficiency and cooler moments.
Getting Dogmeat was a lovely treat. I loved seeing him go to town on molerats, and while he did get in the way from time to time, having a happy dog bound around you makes the wasteland feel a lot less lonely.
One thing I’m not looking forward to is the sub-game of base building. I don’t know what it is about single-player RPGs these days and the need to cram in a base building system, but I do not care about such things outside of persistent worlds. I’m not going to spend 30 hours building up a base in a game that has a “Game Over” screen, and it’s not important to me here. I just want to wander, explore, loot, shoot, and quest.
I feel like I’m missing a lot — Fallout 4 does not exactly hold your hand nor does it adequately explain many of its systems. I learned early on that splashing around in the water is a good way to get radiated, so I am adapting.
But in the meantime I’ll just poke around and enjoy the journey, seeing where it takes me. Hopefully somewhere with better armor and a shotgun.