Fallout 4 was my first in-depth experience with a game from Bethesda. (I dabbled with Skyrim and still have it, but never got far enough to feel I could say I’d actually played a game from them.) Fallout 4 was an amazing — and often frustrating — journey.
There will be spoilers for the main story of Fallout 4 from here on in — so if that matters to you, abandon ship!
For the rest of us, let’s talk.
The player is presented with the choice of playing male or female and there are loads of customizations for your character. You can even change yourself over the course of the game, by visiting hair salons and various doctors — you can even get tattoos! But what I liked best was the main story presented.
You live in an idyllic Boston, or so it seems, but then you’re being asked to invest in a fallout shelter, because well, you never know. Of course the worst comes to pass, nuclear devastation, and you along with your family, run for the safety of the shelter. Only to be…frozen? (That reminds me, I need to see if I can unlock the ice gun yet!)
Sometime later, you wake to find people breaking into the pod that hold your spouse and child. And you are helpless to do anything as they are… Taken? Killed? You aren’t exactly sure until you are able to bust out.
Fighting your way out of the vault, you discover the world forever changed. Everything you knew is gone — it’s two hundred years later and you, well you’re a relic.
You encounter many people and creatures on your journey, and are given the opportunity to travel with some of them. I traveled with Dogmeat until I discovered Codsworth was one heck of a murderbot and even better as a second in combat. Later, I’d travel with Danse, a pairing that led to a romance — the first time I played a romance in a game!
It was amusing and often delightful — he’d complain about me hoarding bullets and snack cakes, and then praise me in battle, and say I’d shown him what being happy was all about. Of course, you’re still a little preoccupied with learning what happened to the world. You might not care much about the factions who’re fighting each other, you want to know what happened to your kid.
If you’re a parent, it may well be a punch in the gut — it’s a good emotional hook that carries through to the end. You discover your son has grown up to lead the Institute, a company that claims it’s doing good for the Commonwealth. But are they? That’s a decision you get to make. One of the most emotional parts of the story was walking into the Institute, to see what had become of the child you saw carted away. Will you allow the Institute to continue their work or will you decide they need destroying?
My choice in that was complicated by who I’d gotten into a romance with, and which faction I ended up falling into. Which only made the story better, because it was constantly changing, and asking me as a player to really think about the choices I made. Those choices led to others, which lead to revelations that, I’m not going to lie, got me choked up! Good job, Bethesda.
As with any game, it’s got its quirks and technical challenges. This game likes to make my computer scream, because it eats all the resources! But beyond those, I had trouble with the interfaces and the dialogue prompts; often, the prompt had little to do with what was actually said, and I’d find myself down a path I didn’t want. But, that’s also life.
(Also a note for anyone else who is as doofy as me: you can scroll your perk screen. I had no idea until very late in the game, so wasn’t leveling things I should! At the bottom of that screen though…it scrolls. I felt so stupid!)
One of the best side quests I set for myself was locating the DJ who kept me sane in the early days — I was thrilled to discover he actually exists!
I’ve finished the main storyline with the Institute, but there is still loads to do. I’m learning how to build better settlements and connect them with traders. I’ve also outfitted my loveshack with disco balls, kitten posters, and all the Giddyup Buttercups I’ve come across so far. I have safes to crack, and weapons to liberate, and I keep trying to shush Preston, but no luck yet. He’s still jabbering about settlements, ghouls, and raiders. Hush, Preston. I’ve got snack cakes to find!
And oh my gosh, ten amazing things to do in Fallout 4!
My favorite monster? I love Deathclaws, but oh my gosh, the Mirelurk Queen! Ahhhh! She was probably my biggest challenge and taught me a lot!
My favorite weapon? Righteous Authority. With a few mods… I also love grenades. Who knew!
And those Fancy Lad Snack Cakes.
And there’s wine!
Scroll your perks!
Venture beyond the map’s southern border!