I am most definitely not the only gamer who is currently enthralled with the latest Fallout game.
That said, it’s very rare for me to buy a game at or before release, rarer still when it’s a big title. Partly I can rarely justify a new game at full price, and partly I’ve been a few years “behind” everyone else for so long that it doesn’t bother me.
I not only pre-ordered Fallout 4, I got the PipBoy Edition. I earned myself an award for best sister EVER by giving my brother the actual PipBoy as an early birthday present, but kept the game as he’d already pre-ordered his own copy. Truth be told, if I hadn’t known that I’d likely have pre-ordered another copy for myself anyway.
I have a few friends who are suspicious of so many people throwing money at a game before it’s even out. I can understand the thinking, especially from gamers who have been burned before. I hear a lot of accusations of blindly paying into a franchise or having fan-blindness.
The interesting thing for me is I’m really only a fan of the first two Fallout games. I don’t know why the others have never grabbed me, and I may give them another shot in the future, but as it stands I already wasn’t following the franchise just-because-Fallout. I’m like that with the Final Fantasy games as well – loved the NES and SNES games, but then lost all interest in the other titles until I decided to give XIV a try. I can love a series without loving or expecting to love every game in that series is what I’m saying.
In the same sense that I’m not sure why the last few Fallout games didn’t ping for me, I’m not entirely sure why this one did. Maybe it was knowing Dogmeat would be traveling with me. Or maybe it helped that it’s set in New England, an area of the country I lived in for part of my childhood. It could have been the tone of the trailers, or a combination of other things.
I’m glad I gave it a chance, whatever the reason. At about 21 hours in, it’s feeling like the Fallout sequel I’ve wanted, one I can happily spend countless hours exploring.
Getting into something a bit more specific than “it feels right,” I’m loving the crafting mechanics. I’ve always been someone who wants to pick up every last empty bottle and coffee cup, but I’ve generally had to talk myself out of it since there wasn’t much practical use for the items. I can at least tell myself I’m saving them for crafting now, while at the same time I expect folks who aren’t into rifling through every broken desk will do just fine collecting only the things they already have plans for.
I’m finding all kinds of lovely little Easter eggs, something else I remember fondly from the first two games. [Note: I’m not saying the other games don’t have them too, they just didn’t grab me long enough to catch them.] Little things like finding a toy from a poster I’d seen early in the game are lovely rewards for the explorer in me. While trinkets and collectibles are also good reason to poke around, fun little nods are just as satisfying.
I plan on keeping Dogmeat with me for the foreseeable future – though I like knowing I have other companions to tag in if I feel like it. Not everyone is going to be so hung up on our old four-legged friend, after all. I’ll admit that his extra inventory space is also helpful, a mechanic that led me to find a fun little animation he does if you give him a teddy bear…
The settlement aspect of the game is somewhat interesting to me, though it hasn’t grabbed me as much as it has some of my friends. I’ve seen some very impressive screenshots of buildings on my Twitter feed this week! It’s possible I’ll dig into it more as time goes by, since I am definitely a fan of having different things to focus on in a game. (I can totally spend hours chasing butterflies and collecting plants in Skyrim.)
The combat has been much more fun for me than I expected. I’m familiar with V.A.T.S. from previous games, of course, but the regular combat has also felt good – this coming from someone not always a fan of FPS-style combat. The more I get used to what I can pull off with my different weapons, the more I find myself switching between styles of combat instead of trying to always do things the same way.
The new perk system is growing on me, as well. I imagine it might seem overwhelming to some players at first, but I like having the flexibility to grow my character based on my playstyle. I’ve even been able to adjust to current missions, grabbing the Aquagirl perk when I was about to do a few missions in soggy territory. I’ll be interested to see what my character starts looking like at later levels.
Fallout 4 also just looks gorgeous to me. I don’t just mean the graphic quality; some of landscape is absolutely breathtaking. Even the broken-down towns and cities have a look to them that captivates the eye. This game and The Secret World are two of the only games I can think of that I’ll stop and take screenshots just because the view grabs me.
I suppose I’ve just spent nearly a thousand words gushing over the game, but I’m ok with that. I’m not trying to say the game is perfect for everyone, just that so far it’s the perfect Fallout game for me.