I am not sure if this can be called a “first impression”, considering I’ve played 100+ hours of Fallout 4 already. Still, I’ll write under that title as I want to make another post once I’ve finished all major quest lines. (And as usual, I promise there are no spoilers below.)
Fallout is a post-apocalyptic RPG game series. The games take place in my all-time favourite of fictional worlds and I am a complete fan of everything about them.
They take place in a parallel timeline where the microchip was never invented and instead technology was moved forward based on atomic power. The 50s music, ideals, and politics reigned until a nuclear war eventually broke out between the great powers.
The first Fallout game came out in 1997 and there have been quite a few sequels since then. There were two isometric RPGs (Fallout 1 and 2) and then in modern times three first-person (or third person, if you prefer) RPGs (Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas, and Fallout 4). I wouldn’t recommend the two early versions to a new player (the controls were already bad when I played them in the late 90s) but the three newer ones are still good. You don’t have to play them in any particular order so start with either one. With Fallout 4 you get some new functionality and a bit better graphics, but the story and gameplay are good in all three.
Fallout 4 comes with a brand new character creator and I spent more time than I am willing to admit perfecting my character. You can play as either a male or a female and you have numerous options of how you want to look. So first, take a big cup of tea and decide what you want to look like. Playing as yourself is a possibility.
Once you’ve started playing you will soon find yourself in the wasteland that remains after the nuclear war. You play as a survivor trying to find missing family and along the way you will find companions, collect nifty gear, and complete quests. There are as usual different organizations fighting for their ideas and that want to use you for their own purposes. (If you’ve played Skyrim you will feel right at home with the gameplay.)
Also worth to mention is that Fallout 4 is mod-enabled, which means you can install pretty much any mod. I really recommend installing mods if you find anything annoying in the game – it’s worth it. You can still play as usual and if you play on Steam you will still get achievements.
New in Fallout 4 is settlements (aka “Fallout Sims”). In settlements you will be able to coordinate and construct stores and buildings for settlers to live in. Everything you pick up in the game can be used as material for your settlements, which in turn means you will be walking around encumbered if you get too obsessed. The settlements are a good idea and I have had so much fun playing but it also brings quite a lot of frustration as the controls are more than clunky.
Now let’s talk about the world. One of the things I don’t like in Skyrim is that the world feels static. Nothing I did seemed to have an impact, and the NPCs I met in Skyrim were quite flat. Fallout 4 doesn’t have that problem. When I listen to my radio while I travel to a new city I can hear the news reports on the latest things I’ve done. The people I meet comment on what I’m wearing or what rumours they’ve heard me do. The world feels alive and changes as I impact it. I love how that’s done. Unfortunately, there are also quite a few “repeatable quests” that takes away somewhat from that feeling but on the other hand maybe that can be expected after my current gametime.
The companions I’ve met and travel are also interesting and in-depth (although I have to admit one of the things I’ve modded away is their dislike for a few things that I do). They’re people with feelings, backstories, and their own agendas which makes them interesting to travel with. My only wish is that I could increase my relationship with them without bringing them out adventuring.
Conclusion: So far so good! I have a few more thoughts about the main plot and especially about one of the factions in the game but I want to finish playing before I make a more spoiler-y post.
If you are intrigued by the world, play it!