Let’s talk Fallout Shelter first. For a free game (and it is free, as buying extra boxes is truly a dummy trap to skip playing the game, nothing more), its not bad, and certainly worth downloading and messing around with. How long you play it depends on how much you like this style of game, and how crazy you are about the Fallout setting. I’m a fan of both, so I’m pretty into it.
Ultimately, as presented, it is a time waster similar to Progress Quest. There is certainly some decision making, such as were to place rooms, when to expand or upgrade them, who to assign to rooms, and how you equip your vault dwellers, but once you do that, the game is mostly about seeing how things unfold and progressing forward.
The one strange thing about the game is a lot of things only happen when you have it open (events, major resource shifts), while other things happen in real-time (wasteland exploring, child aging). I think the game would be better overall if everything was designed around having the game open, with no progress happening when the app was closed.
Moving on to Fallout 4. As I’ve said before I’m most excited about the Boston setting, since that’s home for me in the real world. Can’t wait to see Fenway Park and MIT in the Fallout world, along with a lot of other locations. I can also see why some might be bothered by the graphics not being bleeding-edge stuff, but I don’t think they look ‘bad’ or will distract from the experience, plus mods will make things better anyway. Fallout 3 today is still a gem, despite its more aged graphics, so I’m more than fine with how Fallout 4 looked in the presentation videos.
Far more importantly, I think the gameplay improvements we saw were awesome. The crafting, where you can finally break things down to be used for a larger variety of things, is a huge step forward, and is complimented perfectly by the vastly expanded crafting options in terms of weapon and armor mods. I’m really hoping this finally takes crafting from feeling like an unfinished side thing (Fallout 3 and NV) to making scavenging around the world and finding all those random bits more of a focus.
I’m also hopeful that the housing shown fits into the above as well, and has some real meat to it. We saw raiders attacking and being shot at by defenses (very cool, very tower defense), and the building/placing aspect seemed like a solid improvement over Skyrim’s housing, but I’m still not convinced that at release this will be a major focus for players to really sink their teeth into. That said, either an expansion or mods likely will fill in those potential gaps.
The rest of what was shown was all good, and exactly what I want from Fallout 4. I some ways I just want more of what Fallout 3 was, but improved/expanded for 2015, and that’s what Fallout 4 looks like it is. The fact that Bethesda fooled some by putting the pre-order up, and then revealing at E3 that the game is basically ready to go, was brilliant. Also very surprising that in this day and age, they were able to keep the fact that they have been working on the game for years a secret.
My threshold for what I spend $60 on in gaming continues to rise thanks to Steam and other factors, but Fallout 4 is a no-brainer pre-order. Yea at launch it will have some bugs, that’s basically a given, but unless they are major game-breakers (didn’t experience that with Skyrim), I’m ok with it. Especially since you know Fallout 4 is going to be a game you play through multiple times, with future expansions/dlc and over the years with various mods, so getting in that first, pure run with the game along with the rest of the world is something I don’t want to miss.