As is Midlife Gamer tradition with big releases, we’ve gathered a few of our writers together to have a chat about Fallout 4. It’s got nothing to do with the fact that the game is huge and none of us could be trusted to have finished it in time. No, not at all.
What have you spent the majority of your time in the wasteland doing?
Chris: Managing my inventory so I can carry as many items of scrap back to my homestead in Sanctuary Hills. I have been pretty obsessive with collecting steel recently in order to realise my skyscraper and adjoining tree house annex. We’ve just installed a jukebox in the bar which has the settlers pretty stoked I can tell you.
Derek: Honestly, feels like 40% of my time has been spent hiding on rooftops to fight overpowered foes, 5% managing my settlements, a further 5% exploring and the other 50% trying to decide what to drop from my inventory when I’m overburdened.
Simon: Put Simply, scavenging. The moment I found out you could turn junk into the materials to build stuff, I have been a one man Steptoe & Son. There is not an aluminum can left in Sanctuary and the surrounding areas. I have a three storey building in Sanctuary with each level housing a certain type of item. Ground floor, a chair for the druggie, a cooler box of aid items and a fridge full of cooking ingredients. First floor, some beds, a toilet and a dresser full of apparel items. Second floor and we have a toolbox full of ammo and a tool chest type thing full of guns. Third floor, a lookout tower or two and a sun lounger type chair. This isn’t forgotten my warehouse style building with 2 full power armours, cores and a selection of power armour parts. Then we have the gardening, carrots, melon, mutfruit. I’ve said it multiple times, there is absolutely no need for a next gen version of Farmville now we have Fallout 4.
Matt: Tootling through the missions as best I can. I’m a bit confused by the structure, I’d have much preferred for them to follow the example of, for example, Skyrim, where Primary Quests and Secondary Quests are split into separate categories so I can see what’s there to progress the story along and what’s there just for filling.
What has been your favourite element of the game?
Chris: I think it’s the level of depth within the crafting. Sure, you can build an amazing base or erect a monument from tenpenny towers from Fallout 3 with a giant flashing member, but the bit that I really love is crafting the different meds and weapons that make the combat so much more fun. Also, there’s nothing more satisfying than jumping from a high place in power armour and landing like a boss. It reminds me of the best parts of the Edge of Tomorrow and fits right into the roleplaying atmosphere.
Derek: couple of things I can mention. Both that were largely Unmentioned. Randomised loot first and foremost. Playing on the hardest setting you run into Legendary enemies all the time, and each drops a randomly generated weapon or armour price each with awesome perks. Second is the verticality. Previous fallout games had multilevel buildings, but fallout 4 has taken it to a new level. Nothing like having a firefight rage where you can snipe the enemies from the relative safety of a neighbouring rooftop, scaffolding or 3rd story window.
Simon: Can you not tell? This is Skyrim all over again for me. I spent 112 hours in Skyrim and had done two quests and spent the other 110 hours walking between 3 villages to get supplies for crafting and it is slowly starting to become the same in the Wasteland. I’ve started to venture out more and more but am still finding myself scavenging more than questing, although I seem to be doing enough to get a nice collection of companions.
Matt: I just love the world that Fallout inhabits, this version of the US that’s desperately trying to pull itself together after a nuclear disaster, a world that’s a now filled with people trying to just survive and terrifying enemies.. You never know what’s around the corner A Deathclaw that wants to tear your face off or a NPC who’ll hand you a new quest.
What could be improved with the game?
Chris: Two things stick out, aside from the bugs/glitches. Firstly I have spent a fair amount of time searching for companions, not knowing whether they are where I first met them, or whether I sent them to a settlement. It would be great to have a way of tracking them/keeping them in touch. It would make getting the partner perks so much easier. Also, I tried to blackmail a vendor (Trashcan Carla) right at the beginning. She now turns up to my settlement to moan the same dialogue at me whilst refusing to trade. There should be a way to either rectify your mistake with a bribe, or make her disappear without making Codsworth all eggy about it. If I hear her call me a “would-be robber” one more time I swear to Atom…!
Derek: One thing I would love to have seen, is the “new Vegas” survival mode. To those that haven’t played Fallout New Vegas, aside from the obligatory rad control, you must also manage your food, water and sleep intake to prevent Stat reductions and carefully plan how much ammo you will take as it all had a weight. Guess I have a bit of self punishment issues when it comes to my fallout games.
Simon: Apparently there are bugs, personally I haven’t seen any of them. However the thing that annoys me most is not knowing exactly where my companions are. Did I tell Codsworth to go back to Sanctuary or the Drive In? Is Cait waiting for me in the bar or is she wandering around a blood bug pond? How far is Piper away from walking back to Diamond City over-encumbered with junk? A small icon on the pip boy would do wonders.
Matt: I’m with Simon on this, I need to know where my companions are, for reasons I’ll come back to later.
What was the first thing that handed your arse to you?
Chris: Bloodbugs are the spawn of the devil. The animation where they go in to suck your blood has me sprinting away in fear wasting all my action points I should be pouring into VATS. Don’t even get me started on the Red Widow variety. Suffice to say I absolutely hate them.
Derek: First thing that handed my ass to me was regrettably mole rats. A pack of them got the drop on me, and included a legendary, a glowing regular and a glowing brood mother. Went down faster than Ubisofts share price after the release of Unity.
Simon: That first Deathclaw. Stupidly I tried killing him from the rooftop with V.A.T.S. as every time I tried firing the mini-gun like a pistol it, unsurprisingly, didn’t fire. It wasn’t until I learnt to keep my finger on the trigger and just spray bullets at him did I actually kill him. Since then nothing has really caused me much trouble. To be fair though, melons don’t tend to shoot back.
Matt: There was a named Super Mutant in Trinity Tower who carrying a minigun and enough health points to make a rather low levelled me weep with frustration. Like with the above question though, I’ll explain more when we get to the bugs section.
Favourite companion and why?
Chris: I’d have to say Cait so far. She lets me be the annoying sarcastic guy who goes around asking quest givers for money, and pickpocketing those that don’t cough up. She also has a decent back story that gives a little content to her abrasive nature. Breaking that down as you become better acquainted is a treat of the more ambient storytelling in the game.
Derek: So hard to decide on one, but if had to it would have to be Cait. Can’t help but love that Irish lilt.
Simon: I’ve only really taken three companions out on my travels thus far, Codsworth, Dogmeat and Piper. Although I only took him for comic relief, Codsworth is slowly becoming my favourite just because of his selection of inbuilt weapons. I don’t have to worry about if he is dressed in armour or has a weapon, he just follows orders and kicks ass. Piper I found is far far too trigger happy and would start a fire fight in a empty room if she could. Finally stealth really isn’t Dogmeats forte. For me even his ability to find things is outweighed by his ability to aggro enemies at the drop of a hat.
Matt: I loved Nick. He’s a sharpshooter with his pistol, plus the ability to hack high level terminals was really handy. I don’t really think I’ve met too many more. There’s Dogmeat, obviously, and there was a Super Mutant at some point but I’ve got no idea who or where he is.
Bethesda games always have their fair share of bugs. Has anything happened to you?
Chris: Sadly yes. I’m playing the PS4 version and I’ve had a couple of complete freezes that required me to close the game down and reload at the last save. I’ve also had a few of the more amusing glitches where a floating hat or gun is haunting the game as the character has disappeared. Not enough for me to get annoyed though, I (contrary to what I should) feel that this is a reasonable price to play for such an epic game.
Derek: Thankfully, no major bugs whatsoever other than the default dumb AI issues, which I use to my advantage obviously, which is pleasantly surprising given the 80 hours I’ve put in so far.
Simon: Really can’t comment, nothing as yet. The problem I have is are things really a bug or are they nods to previous games? The cutting off a head to store items in it “glitch” for example. There has been a couple of things that I know of, one I took advantage of (the weapon from the first vault) only to never actually use the weapon yet and the unlimited caps to clear out a trader of goods (what exactly is the point?). I imagine there will be a fair few unhappy campers when the first patch actually hits.
Matt: Yeah, and it’s frustrated me to point that I’ve put the game down. The first problem was during the aforementioned fight with a Super Mutant in Trinity Tower. He was a high level enemy with a skull next his name, which I like to think is iconography for “you’re fucked”. The game decided to autosave as he was filling me full of lead, meaning that every time I had to reload after dying, and I died a lot, I would respawn in the process of being obliterated. Next up I had my first visit to Vault 81. I stepped into the lift and promptly fell through the ground on a loop, described by one viewer as ‘looking like a Chemical Brothers video’. The final straw was the disappearance of Nick Valentine. After randomly bumping in Dogmeat out in the Wasteland, I sent Nick back to Sanctuary…and he never arrived. I’ve reloaded, rested for ages, left the game running, checked his detective agency, all to no avail. Nick, come back. I miss you.
Classic Bethesda. pic.twitter.com/dKuMniAdMJ
— Matt (@munkimatt) November 20, 2015
Finally, there’s probably some bloke under a rock somewhere who hasn’t decided whether or not to buy Fallout yet. What would you tell him?
Chris: If you believe the hype then you should buy it ASAP. This is a serious 10/10 as far as I care. If you have no interest I’m not going to convince you. Just don’t expect us to have a meaningful chat about videogames for the next 6 months – I’ll be too busy selling purified water and Mutfruit in Diamond City.
Derek: To those unaware, Fallout is by no means perfect, but the sheer scale, amount of quests and other activities to do means you will more than get your equivalent bang for your buck. Worth every penny.
Simon: If like myself you don’t like first person titles then, like other Bethesda titles, you can flip to third person (why do more game developers not do this?). If you like Minecraft or other similar farming style games then Fallout has you covered, if you like exploring, you can do that too. If you want a story, then apparently there is one involving your son or something along those lines (I’m already expecting the twist around the “big bad” of the game). However with all that said i this a great game? No but it is good. With patches incoming and the season pass content due to drop I would suggest maybe waiting for some deals or a game and pass bundle for around £50-£55 before dropping some caps.
Matt: I’m considerably more on the fence than the other three here but, then again, I’ve put it to the side for the time being. It’s just not grabbed me in any way like Fallout 3 did, plus the loss of Nick (COME BACK) has rather wound me up. That said, I’m considering buying it again, just this time on PC. With the addition of mods and console commands I’m sure the things that bug me can be rectified.
Over to you guys, how have you found Fallout 4?