Fallout 4: Spoiler-free thoughts 10 hours in

Time for some expanded thoughts about Fallout 4:

As mentioned, it certainly feels like a Fallout game, which might sound obvious, but is something that could have been lost (think Diablo 2 vs Diablo 3, for example). I think maybe the only complaint I could raise here about the feel of the game is the overuse of color in the world; at times it makes it a little too easy to forget that a nuclear war happened with all of the trees, brooks, and leaf colors. Some color is nice, but the ‘man bombs sure did hit this place’ feeling you felt leaving the vault and looking at the landscape in Fallout 3 is a LOT stronger than it is when you leave the vault in Fallout 4.

Speaking of graphics, I think the pre-release worry about the game not looking great were massively overblown. Is Fallout 4 the most graphically striking game ever? No. But are the graphics a big jump from even a heavily modded Fallout 3 or NV, and overall still really solid (on Ultra settings)? Yes. The graphics do their job and then some (feral ghoul animations are awesome), with really the only grip being some of the character facial animations dipping into the uncanny valley of uncomfortable at time.

The shooter gameplay is much improved, and not in the way I was worried about as someone who isn’t a huge FPS fan. They are smoother and more responsive, rather than now being ‘hardcore FPS’ feeling like you might get from a Battlefield or even a Payday 2. Weapons feel very different from each other, and even modding a weapon can result in a noticeable difference. I also feel like there is a bigger distinction when fighting different enemies. Mirelurks really force you to avoid hitting their giant shell, feral ghouls jump around, human enemies use cover more effectively, and animals are usually dumb animals and just charge you; all this makes combat more fun and engaging.

My biggest issue with the game is the UI, which is clearly more designed for a console and its limitations than a PC. I know a mod will come along and fix that sooner rather than later, but right now its annoys me anytime I have to take my hand off the mouse to hit an arrow key, or move the mouse more than I should to select something.

Some minor improvements to the Fallout formula that I love:

You can see what is inside a container/body without opening it, and can loot it without going into a special UI, which greatly improves and streamlines the whole looting aspect of the game. No more stopping to pause for 10 seconds at every box and trashcan!

There are ‘legendary’ versions of enemies, which are basically mini-bosses that also drop better loot. I think they are pre-scripted rather than random (or at least I’m positive some of them are pre-scripted), but they add a nice bump in difficulty during an encounter and also get you some fun new toys (for example, I was able to loot a pistol off one legendary enemy that adds a burn effect to each shot. The pistol can still be fully modded, but that special/unique effect of the burn stays, which is really awesome).

I can confirm that when you switch party members, the outgoing member will interact with the incoming one, sometimes in pretty significant ways.

The companion you have around will like you more/less based on the actions you take, which eventually opens up special perks if they like you enough. This adds a nice layer of depth to companions IMO.

The stories that I’ve experienced so far have been good, with a few being really great. I do feel there are fewer terminals and notes scattered around that give random backstory to a location or event, but without experiencing the majority of the content yet, I can’t say if this holds up for the whole game or just the pieces I have seen so far.

As someone living in the Boston area, the setting is amazing. The game nails the feel of downtown Boston.

I like the change to leveling up, where you get one point to put into either a SPECIAL stats or a perk, especially because it allows you to change course and become something different than you originally rolled with your starting SPECIAL stats, something that was basically impossible in previous Fallout games.

Jury is still out on crafting and settlements. I like what I have experienced so far, but I haven’t really dug into either to any extreme. Same for the main storyline, I’m not very far in, but at least what I have seen so far has been great.

More to come as I dig deeper in.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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14 Responses to Fallout 4: Spoiler-free thoughts 10 hours in

  1. Jonneh says:

    I am not a fan of the new speech options, I don’t like it when I click something and the response is something completely different to what I thought it was going to be. Also I’m not 100% sure on this but it seems the skill needed to perform certain actions is no longer set at a certain level, rather it increases your chances of it happening. I’ve had a few conversations where I have tried to persuade an npc and the response was yellow(easy) and it still failed. Makes planning your character out a lot less interesting and just encourages you to reload to try again.

    I’m also not impressed with the levelling system, the choices now seem a lot less than what you had before. High level safes and computer terminals are just straight up locked from attempting if you don’t have the skill level.

    Overall I’m on the fence, it’s ok but I don’t think it is as good as everyone is saying it is and I don’t think I’d give it over a 7.5. I’m only 6 hours in so things might get better, although I noticed I don’t seem to care what has happened to my son anymore he’s just been a bit of side talk since I left the vault.

  2. Particlebit says:

    I see you are playing on PC – have you had any technical issues like some console players have complained of?

  3. zaphod6502 says:

    Agree about the UI. It is a mess. Same as in Skyrim without mods. For me the biggest issue is how it obfuscates the items you pick up for crafting and building your camps. It is very confusing how an item is scrapped. Sometimes I can explicitly scrap an item and other times I simply drop it into the workbench storage and then I assume the game scraps it automatically.

    I have so far spent most of my time in my first settlement. I love building stuff and being a Minecraft fanatic this scratches my itch. I can see a lot of possibilities for developing some diabolical traps with this system for my camps. The first area of the map seems relatively free of mobs/monsters – I haven’t encountered much apart from in towns. Hopefully this opens up later. Some of the underground areas in the starter area will definitely reward return visits as there are some vaults and terminals that will require higher skills.

    Finally after connecting the Pip-boy app on my iPad Mini to the game this is so much better than trying to navigate the Pip-boy UI within the game. I would almost go as far to say it is essential. It is also seamless. When you start the game and load up you simply start the app and it automatically connects once you have set it up. I hope more games use this type of feature in future.

    • SynCaine says:

      Only reason I’m not using the app is I heard it causes slowdown in-game when you have the map open in the app. True or no?

      • zaphod6502 says:

        That hasn’t been my experience. I have the map open on the iPad 90% of the time when playing the game. My network is an 802.11ac network and my video card is a factory overclocked GTX980 so unless slower machines or networks suffer I definitely have not had any issues.

  4. zaphod6502 says:

    Just want to add to the above post the game has run very smoothly. I have had the following issues so far:

    1. Using the latest GeForce driver (358.91) which is supposed to give the best Fallout 4 experience the game will crash when the opening cinematic starts running full screen. This problem was solved by setting the game to run in a full screen borderless window.
    2. The quarry area of the starter area glitches out with weird angular graphics issues which cover the terrain until you move closer.
    3. NPC’s, my dog, and enemies will frequently get stuck on terrain objects. Sometimes this results in some absolutely hilarious situations. I saw the same in Skyrim although later patches seemed to fix that game.
    4. The dog will often fall off buildings or staircases when I am climbing or descending. It will then be in a damaged state requiring a stimpack. I don’t think the dog will die though.

  5. Josch2k says:

    Game is downloaded but I did not have the chance to have a look at it.
    Regarding the controls. Is there no chance to use a Xbox controller in the Game? For me personally I found that this works very well playing consolish games. GTA V was a perfect experience on PC with a controller for example.

  6. cristiand90 says:

    “As someone living in the Boston area”

    Probably my biggest “sigh” when hearing about games that replicate real places is that they will never be about a place that I live in.

  7. seth says:

    The only legendary enemy I’ve run across so far was a radroach, hah. It dropped a walking cane with cryogenic damage (?), so that’s… something.

    Honestly, I think the weapon & armor crafting is my favorite part of the game so far. So many mods, so many ways to customize your loadout, and so many unique, powerful perks you can find out in the wild.

    I’m playing a sneaky sniper, and my modded high-powered sniper almost feels overpowered, but I love it.

  8. Caldazar says:

    If you ever want to play around with settlements, something that isn’t obvious but incredibly handy: If you connect all your settlements through supply routes (accessed through one of the charisma perks, enabled by making a free settler create a supply route). If you make supply routes to one central settlement, every settlement will be connected, so you don’t need a massive interconnecting network to access your gear everywhere, just connect everything to sanctuary.

    Also: Hate the dialogue options (sarcastic what?) and the UI is horrible. For me this is by no means the best fallout game (That would be new vegas or fallout 2), but I still love the atmosphere.

  9. Izlain says:

    I’ve had a couple legendary enemy scuffles, plus a few enemies that were elites with the skull symbol next to their names. Of the legendary enemies I did kill, I got armor drops. The armor layering is nice, I have some Brotherhood chest armor, but then a whole suit underneath and random pieces of armor for arms and legs. Starting to get more durable, that’s for sure.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I disagree about the graphics. A well modded FO3 or NV IMO looks much better than FO4.

    Actually not a fan of FO4 in general, but most of it is your opinion so I’m not going to say it’s wrong or anything. Graphics are an opinion too, but I think that is one area where there is more room for objectivity.

    Also one other thing, you could always put an extra point into SPECIAL categories in FO3 and NV too. Doing so would gimp you heavily of course and most wouldn’t bother, but the option was there. Especially in NV with quest rewards and implants you could get some pretty high SPECIAL numbers.

    In FO4 you should also probably just take the perks instead too.

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