The Disappointment of Fallout 4

I promise this to be my last major rant on  Fallout 4

I find a game disappointing when it kneecaps it’s own good ideas. I’m perfectly happy to drop a game that I simply find unpleasant, but games that fail to deliver on their hints (or past examples) of quality  – are frustrating to play.

I’ll stick with these frustrating games in case they become as enjoyable as they were teasing, only to feel swindled when I reach the end.

A fun mechanic or a clever idea could be terribly implemented, or a great story could end in a terrible anti-climax, inconsistent with the rest of the game (*cough* Mass Effect 3).

Fallout 4 ruins the established(and enjoyable) working ideas of the Fallout series by introducing new and unnecessary ‘features’.

What is Fallout?

Disappointment is directly proportionate to expectation, so; what was I expecting out of a Fallout experience? Well, based on playing all the previous games:

Exploring an incredibly hostile world filled with interesting characters.

Starting very weak and inexperienced but gaining skills and substantially more powerful gear. For roughly the first half of each game almost all fights are desperate struggles until you reach a ‘critical mass’ point. This is the moment you get the power armor and can start fighting toe to toe with all the enemies that intimidated you for so long.

Working out how to resolve a situation, either by violence, bargaining, coercion, or getting all sides to agree/disagree.

Kitchen sink approach to ‘lore’. Aliens, monsters, mutants, magic, and nonsensical pop references while still managing to keep the dark-tone.

Liberal interpretations of ‘fairness’, whereby the player can be killed for silly, juvenile reasons.  Deaths that are certainly unfair, but always in the interest of humor and world building.

Difficult but satisfying encounters and end bosses.

What is Fallout 4?

Most, if not all, of the above are present in Fallout 4, but everything new neuters the intensity and satisfaction of each element.

For example, rarely will you find that new powerful gun. Instead you incrementally upgrade your pea shooter to a point where it begins to deal substantial damage.

You are GIVEN a crap version of the power armor during the second mission, which only becomes considerably powerful after many hours of crafting and finding modular upgrades.  Again, all satisfaction is gone as a difficult fight no longer provides a burst of power or a considerable gear upgrade.

Settlements interrupt exploration.  I could no longer lose myself exploring a remote dungeon/building because of constant nagging by the UI to return and defend or fix a settlement.  You can choose to ignore these messages, but as I have mentioned before: IGNORING SOMETHING IS NOT PLEASANT

The perk system change also castrated the Fallout formula. Previously, stats leveled from 1-10, so any increase would be a considerable boost and provide tangible changes. Going from 7 to 8 in Intelligence for example would likely provide new dialogue options and approaches.

The new perk system dilutes all stats, perks, and skill increases across hundreds of points.  Increasing your character’s level will provide only ONE point.  Another limp, drip fed increase in power that takes time – not challenge or skill – to get any considerable reward.

The simplification of the chat system also removed the ability to resolve issues through dialogue and intelligence.  You just kill soulless binary state enemies that are either hostile or not hostile.

I could go on, but I would never stop, I’m in a mood now.  Paying the full €60 for this game on release still bothers me.

You’re not my real Dad

Fallout 4 isn’t necessarily a poor game, if it were to exist in a bubble. It is however, a terrible Fallout game. It’s an unfortunate trend I’m seeing where the brand/IP is just a skin for whatever paradigm games are currently taking.

This weird, open world/sandbox, crafting experience, which takes hundreds of hours to complete – is the ‘product’  many companies seem to be working with lately – with the only apparent decision is what IP to use. This time it was Fallout 4. Capcom did the same with Dead rising 3 and 4. A current popular game model had The Dead Rising name attached, with none of the personality or soul of the originals.

Introducing current mechanical trends has rendered the core elements of the fallout series ineffective.  Bethesda’s latest open world game had no right be called Fallout.

I wanted a fallout game, instead I got a robot wearing the skin of a fallout game, faking the personality. A step-father desperately attempting to win the approval of a child who is fully aware of what they are up to. I bet your dad never took you to the workshop to build things!