Why is Fallout 4 so good?

Sorry for the lack of content, a combo of being a bit under the weather and playing Fallout 4 almost exclusively (CoC/BB/Dungeon Boss aside) hasn’t sparked a lot of blog content.

One thing that I’m still trying to fully pin down is why Fallout 4 is so awesomely entertaining. It’s honestly the best game I’ve played in years, but no one part leaps out and defines why. It’s not even a ‘sum of its parts’ situation, just more of a ‘everything you do is fun’ thing.

The main storyline is solid. It’s not the best story ever told in gaming, but its very good start to finish (at least the finish I saw), and at no point did it feel like a slog or dip too low. Removed from everything else, if Fallout 4 was just the main quest, it would still be a very good game, easily better than most titles that have come out recently.

The same can be said about the ‘side’ content (which in a lot of ways is more main content than side). Whether its all of the bite sized stuff you can start and finish in an hour or less, to the bigger side arcs (I just finished Cabot House, which was fantastic), not only is all of this content good, it also perfectly ties into the overall feel of the game, while still giving you just enough change-of-pace to mix things up. More so than even Fallout 3 or NV, I’m honestly want to explore every single location in Fallout 4.

The knocks on the game’s graphics have always felt like complaining for the sake of complaining to me. Yes, F4 isn’t a technical marvel, but does it really ruin the experience for you because a desk texture isn’t as photo-realistic as you want? If the answer is yes, you must be a blast at parties. The graphics overall do more than get the job done, and stuff like the ghoul animations, the toxic rain storms, or some of the lighting effects are truly impressive and ‘stop and stare’ worthy.

My main complaints I hope are solved with DLC.

Settlement building is fun, but would work a lot better if it had more purpose behind it than one story arc and random raiders that occasionally attack. Give me a DLC that not only expands the building options, but also the whole system. Give it an event system where you have to resolve issues between your settlers, or between your settlement and those around it. Make the raids against them have more meaning, with small story arcs of who attacks you and why. Expand the ‘find a specialist’ system, where side quests can yield better guards, farmers, or recruiters. Tie settlement growth into the game’s major factions, so once you are big enough, The Institute, Goodneighbor, The Gunners, etc see you as a potential threat or partner. Hell, allow me to ‘convert’ my settlement into a Gunners base if I go down that route. There is a solid foundation here, but it could and should be so much more.

Crafting is in better shape currently than Settlements, but could also use some expanding. Right now too many of the options aren’t really options, just natural progression. If you have the resources, there is no reason you wouldn’t upgrade gun X with mod Y, because mod Y is just the best outright improvement. An expanded system would have three or four choices at every upgrade level, and those choices would be tradeoffs; more damage for less range, more accuracy for a slower RoF, etc. And this should apply to almost all weapons (some uniques aside), not just a few types. It’s a lot of fun to modify pipe weapons because you have so many options, but its a lot less fun to work on something like a combat shotgun were eventually you will use mods X, Y, and Z, because that’s just the obvious best option.

Those two areas aside, I can’t really thing of anything else Fallout 4 is missing or lacking. Maybe something major like starting the game as a ghoul (you didn’t make it into vault 111)? Or being a member of the Gunners or a synth? I think that might be hard to tie into all of the other content of the game, and I’m not a big fan of DLC that takes you out of the main world and puts you into a little self-contained compartment.

That’s enough rambling for now, time to get back to exploring The Commonwealth.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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19 Responses to Why is Fallout 4 so good?

  1. Shandren says:

    Is there a mod out yet to make inventory management a bit “easier”/less tedious? Otherwise I would count that as a negative as well

    Other than that I am rather enjoying myself there. I’ve really been enjoying building a base, something I usually never do.

    • SynCaine says:

      The big ‘fix’ for inventory for me was using the sort, especially sorting by weight. All quest items and random tidbits have zero weight, and most consumables are low weight, so all of your gear and stuff that would really impact your ability to carry more goes to the top. Makes equipping settler/companions, and selling to shops much easier. Would be nice if it stayed sorted like that, rather than having to sort every time.

  2. zaphod6502 says:

    The general consensus amongst those that actually play the game (and no the game review trolls on Metacritic do not count) is that Fallout 4 is a solid game and worthy of an 8/10. The recent Angry Joe review echoes my own sentiments regarding the game.

    My only criticism is that the graphics in the game are inconsistent. There are some excellent highly detailed texture maps and other texture maps that would be considered awesome during the 8-bit computing era. I am not sure if this is an issue with the graphics engine or simply the game needs a high-res texture pack or more polish. Either way a good 3rd party graphics mod can easily fix the issue.

    I also agree with Shandren the game definitely needs some inventory management love which is a bit of a mess. Even so I am 40 hours into the game and have barely scratched the surface. It is brilliant.

  3. MrSnuggles says:

    Stop trolling. Fallout 4 isn’t good, it’s horrible and an affront to the fallout legacy.

  4. cristiand90 says:

    I don’t think it’s better than Fallout 3, but not worse either.

    The inventory is just as bad, that Pipboy is quite inconvenient to use as a single hub for everything you do in the game. And I feel that by the time something fixes it, I’m already done with the game.

    Your remark on graphics is one-sided. If play it on “low” and the game looks horrible, lighting is incredibly bad and tiresome, and the details lack badly.

    Ok, so I play it on Low, I should buy a better PC yada yada, but… It looks worse than games from 2-3 years ago and can’t run on the hardware that could run those games at high back then. They are really bad at this.

    The weapon select is probably the worst part about it, I still haven’t figured it out after 10 hours of play. There are some numbers there, but who knows what they mean because they don’t reflect the actual numbers on my keyboard.

    Yeah, it’s not a bad game, but there’s too much hype to it. I feel this is due to a lack of proper games in the last year.

    • SynCaine says:

      My take is that it’s F3, just better in almost every way.

      For instance, downtown Boston is one awesomely large, open area, and really feels like a downtown area that got hit with bombs. Downtown DC was a bunch of smaller spaces connected by subways.

      The stories, the companions, the companion system, the FPS gameplay, the graphics, the world; it’s all better in F4 vs F3. I actually think going back to play F3 at this point would be eye-opening and somewhat annoying, because it would even further drive home how much better and improved F4.

      Also what do you mean about numbers and weapons? Are you talking about the hotkeys you can set for switching between them?

      • cristiand90 says:

        Couldn’t speak about how well it matches reality, so I’ll take your word for it. From this perspective, I like both games as much. The FPS elements are better, but subpar for an actual FPS. The character control is nowhere near a source engine game.

        Yea, the hotswap of weapons didn’t really make sense to me, and seeing how ammo was a big issue, I rarely used a weapon for long enough to merit a hotkey. So I didn’t bother for more than a minute to figure it out, and it was frustrating because what seemed obvious, didn’t work.

        I blame consoles for this, since Far Cry also had one of this bullshit systems instead of the classic 1,2,3…->9,0 weapon select. Meh, maybe i’m just being petty.

        But I still like the game despite it trying so hard to make me quit it.

        • SynCaine says:

          Weapon swaps do work 1-2-3, you just have to bind the weapon first. When in inventory, hit Q on the weapon, then whatever key you want to bind it to. I don’t think that aspect is really different from a FPS.

        • cristiand90 says:

          Well, I did bind a weapon to 4, it pulls out a weapon when I pressed 4, but it wasn’t the weapon I wanted. After that I just stopped using the binds.

        • SynCaine says:

          That’s odd, never happened to me, and I keybind a ton of stuff (weaps, drugs, food).

  5. Mikrakov says:

    I’m only a small way into the game, haven’t even made it to diamond city yet but steam recons I have logged more than 20 hours now! For me one of the reasons it’s the most fun I’ve had in ages is that I love to explore. One moment that stood out for me was casually entering a hospital only to find it infested with raiders. Over an hour later, and after crapping myself when it concluded with a surprise deathclaw fight, I had emerged with a bunch of cool stuff and had a whole heap of fun doing something completely optional and not what I had originally planned for a small play session. For reasons I can’t quite put my finger on though, if it had been the “hospital level” of some linear shooter I would have probably found it pedestrian.

    • Mikrakov says:

      Oh yeah, and I haven’t been reading much about it on forums or anything so this is the first I’m hearing about bad graphics. Some people are hard to please, the thought hasn’t even crossed my mind!

  6. Matt says:

    It’s still too easy though. Even on survival, while I have to be careful in fights, supplies are not even kind of scarce. I’m walking around with a virtual armory/hospital in my bags.

  7. Caldazar says:

    I’ve as good as fully completed fallout 4 with 108 hours played and am almost level 70. Also completed all achievements, and seen all four endings

    Crafting: I like the crafting, and you have a point with the tradeoffs not being strong enough. I mean, there are tradeoffs, its just that most stats are not valuable enough compared to others.

    Storywise: the main quest i found quite decent, writing wise not the best in any way, but very interesting, and I found it genuinly difficult which faction to pick. (albeit very little emotional interest in the quest, compared to the witcher 3, where I really cared) The sidequests were amusing and inventively written, but at the same time there is really little to them, and they are riddled by bugs (example: unlocking a settlement through minutemen quests will often lock you out of the quests there, to the point you just can’t accept or talk about them, which at least lets you not notice what you missed). An example of an amusing sidequest spoken about on this blog is the `cambridge polymer labs’. The story is really good, but the quest itself is rather bad. What is the quest: pick the 3 components (which are explicitely listed on the only terminal you need to use), and select the use option. It’s even bugged so you cant remove the faulty ingredients from your inventory. That’s it. Where is all the interesting and fun stuff? It is in the terminals littered around.
    A lot of the quests are like that, interesting stories littered on text files. Brilliant stories on those terminals, but does that make em good quests? Is it even correct to call em quests? I don’t know.
    The repeatable quests and lack of game awareness about it? Not so great. Having to go back to the same city to clear out the same ghouls for the same quest giver who still doesn’t recognize me after I’ve done about 7 quests for her, killed raiders, rescued her family, cleared ghouls,… Yea, that was immersion breaking

    Graphics: The graphics were fine, perfectly functional, and I had no issues with them whatsoever. They were not as good as the witcher 3 or mgs v. So while the graphics were not bad and did not bother me, but I had also expected them to be better, and at least on par with its competition.

    Settlement building: Great fun, bit finnicky.

    The gameplay and shooting etc was fine as well.

    I loved the game, and I loved playing it. The tiny hidden stories were great, and the main quest was certainly interesting. If I’m honest though, what really carried the game for me was the setting. I love the world and the post nuclear survival idea. But if this game had been in a fantasy setting I would’ve dropped it for the witcher 3.

    None of the individual components of the game were bad, but they’ve all been done better by its competition. For me the setting brought this game together, and made it as fun as it is.
    So what I’m trying to say is, I understand people scoring it low, but that doesn’t make it a bad game, it just means that reviewers find that parts of the game need work or don’t measure up. None of that means that the game is bad, just that its flaws warrant a deduction in score.

  8. Matt says:

    Another thing: is it impossible for Bethesda to make a decent saved game manager? Running multiple characters simultaneously is a nightmare with how it currently works, which I’m pretty sure hasn’t changed since at least Morrowind if not earlier.

  9. Derrick says:

    Can’t say I’ve had any problems with keybinds – I use number keys to switch between 6 weapons and to use 4 sorts of consumables constantly, and it always works flawlessly.

    FO4 is great. Yes, the graphics are merely “decent” – better than FO3/NV, though not enormously so. Yes, settlements don’t really serve a purpose aside from being something fun to do if you’re into that. And yes, the crafting is decent but could be improved.

    But all three of these things can and will be improved with mods. Consider Skyrim, if you will: There were well maintained, balanced mods that added open warfare between the factions that you could get involved in. Graphics overhauls that can bring a modern gaming rig to it’s knees (and that’s on a 2011 game!). Enormous crafting overhauls.

    There *will be* a hell of a lot of mods specifically for these things, because they are major points of interest. And, for the first time ever, those mods will be usable by the dirty console peasants too. Well, probably not the better graphics mods because obviously, but everything else should work.

    Don’t even need to wait for DLC.

    FO4 is freaking awesome, it’s essentially FO3 but better & more in every conceivable way.

  10. hospina says:

    My biggest complaint was the ending, they seem very generic compared to all the closure we get in all the previous fallouts 1/2/3/new vegas.

    But then again, there really isnt a lot of choices in the game. You pretty much do everything one way. Where as in previous fallouts you had at least two options when completing quests.

    • Derrick says:

      I haven’t played through the main quest yet – I never do, in Bethesda games. But the side quests very frequently have multiple options. They’re just not apparent: people ask you to do something, but you don’t have to do it. Sometimes, there are alternate options, but it’s on you to find them.

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