Game Info:

Fallout 4
Developed by: Bethesda Game Studios
Published by: Bethesda Game Studios
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Genre: RPG
Number of Players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Mature for blood, gore, intense violence, strong language and drug use
Price: $59.99
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Thank you Vagrant for gifting us a copy of this game!

Fallout 4 begins in 2077, the year of the Great War. However, the actual game takes place in 2287. Your family consists of a married couple and a young infant.  The player can choose their gender and the appearance of themselves and their spouse. As the player acquaints themselves with the controls and explores their 1950’s style house with a robotic drone, a man comes to the door and offers the family refuge in Vault 111 as a nuclear bomb threat is imminent.  

Upon agreeing to live in the vault, the bomb hits and the family is ushered to safety.  Instead of living in a vault like previous Fallout entries, this family is cryogenically frozen. After some time in a cryogenic sleep, I was woken up to witness my son being kidnapped and my husband killed defending him.  While I didn’t know why I was the sole survivor in the vault, I did know that it was my job to get my son Shaun back.

The combat tutorial begins as you make your way out of the vault and fight against rad roaches with your bare fists and hand guns.  A Pip-Boy is located towards the exit and will show your stats, inventory, and can play holotapes left behind to complete various missions.

Scavenging around my old house I find my robotic helper and after talking to him discover some points of interest to begin my journey.  At a nearby gas station, I meet up with a stray dog who is later dubbed Dogmeat and he accompanies me. He is very helpful in attacking raiders, ghouls and other radiated creatures.  He can also collect and bring back valuable items and guns.  I would love to teach my dog that trick!

Fallout 4

Strong Points: Lots of crafting possibilities; multiple companions, factions, and endings
Weak Points: Some repetitive missions; similar endings; no option to tone down violence and language
Moral Warnings: Lots of gruesome violence and strong language including blasphemy; alien references; discrimination against synths; drug use

Besides Dogmeat, humans, robots and synths can be your companion as well.  For the most part you’re limited to one companion; however, some missions let you have two if you’re not traveling with the required companion for that mission.  Synths are robots that look and act so human that it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference.    Many people are fearful of synths and ghouls (disfigured radiated people) and will refuse to deal with them or will kill them on sight.  

One of the factions called The Railroad sets out to assist synths who escape from their oppressive and elusive manufacturer, The Institute. Other factions that can be joined include The Minute Men and the keepers of technology, The Brotherhood of Steel.  

Boston’s Minute Men and the Sons of Liberty date back to the 1600s and are still around but dwindling in the 2200s.  The Minute Men are one of the first factions that you meet and can ally with.  Doing so will get net you some power armor which boosts all of your stats as long as you have access to fusion cores to keep it running.  

The world is a wasteland and scrounging for medical supplies, ammo, and scraps is necessary for survival.  You can collect and craft various items to modify your weapons, chemicals, and armor.  You can salvage and cook meat from killed creatures in order to lower their radiation levels. This makes it safer to eat.  Radiation builds up quickly and if not treated, will lower your health and will alter your appearance.   The Pip-Boy or power armor will let you know how much radiation is in your system.  Consuming a rad-away or seeing a doctor will get rid of it.

Fallout 4
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 88%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 36%
Violence - 1/10
Language - 0/10
Sexual Content - 8.5/10
Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 1.5/10

As you complete some of the mundane quests for the factions, settlement will appear when they join forces with your cause.  These settlements have needs and it’s up to you to construct and supply them with beds, power generators, water, food and defense mechanisms.    Without having these basic needs met, their happiness meter will go down and they will be susceptible to raider attacks.  

Throughout most of the game you can affiliate yourself with all of the factions without issue. However if you have a companion with you, they will like or dislike you based on your actions.  If you’re going to be doing faction-related quests, you may want a neutral companion along for the ride.  I like how each of the companions has their own unique benefits.  

For example, Piper the reporter would give me a snack or beverage whenever I talk to her, and Nick Valentine the detective was good at picking locks or hacking terminals for me.  No matter who I brought with me, they seemed to like me more every time I hacked a terminal or picked a lock on my own.

With every level you gain you can assign a point to various perks like hacking, blacksmithing, sneaking, water breathing, and other attack based skills. I highly recommend maxing out your lock picking and hacking skills to gain access to locked storage rooms that have valuable munitions in them.

Fallout 4

In this post-apocalyptic world, it’s kill or be killed and it’s in your best interest to have the best armor and weapons equipped. There are mutated monsters and vicious gangs everywhere and they will attack on sight. The VATS system is still available and very handy in precise targeting and getting critical attacks. Especially during boss fights. There are many fearsome foes that will bleed a lot as you take them down limb by limb.

Violence is unavoidable and is usually amplified when you use the VATS system. While many of your enemies are mechanical, not all of them are. When synths are killed, they too will bleed. Like many M games, there is a lot of heavy language and it is unescapable. Even the Lord’s name is used in vain. While I noticed a presumable red light district in a town, I didn’t notice any sexual situations. However, there is a lot of drug use and alcohol consumption. One of the people you can rescue will show her thanks by using her psychic abilities to track down your son. In order to get another reading from her, you’ll need to bring her some drugs.

The voice acting and character development in this game is really well done. Each companion has an interesting backstory that they’ll gradually share with you as you travel and get on their good graces more and more. The theme music is nice and I could tell I was doing something important when it started to play during an active quest. (I wish I had theme music in real life to let me know when I was onto something!)

Graphically Fallout 4 is pretty good. Since this is a wasteland, most of the things are in ruins and in bad shape. I liked the armor customization options and enjoyed walking around in my scrappy pink power armor. Since I’ve never been to Boston, I can’t say how good of a job they did in digitizing it. I would imagine anyone familiar with Boston or the Fallout series would enjoy this latest entry.

The story is good and I’m happy with the ending that I chose. There are still missions I can do to extend my gameplay even further. There is definitely a lot of replay value with the multiple endings, though I hear that they are not too different from each other. It took me nearly thirty hours to complete the main story along with several side quests. I enjoyed my time outside of the vault and recommend this title for any mature gamer who doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty and hearing some foul language.


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