“Fallout 4” first impression: Newest in game series gives players more control

Wade Manns

Opinions Editor

“War… war never changes.” Those are the first words we hear out of every installment in the “Fallout” videogame series. And when we hear them, we know we are in for a wonderful story, a tale of post-apocalyptic madness, mayhem and sometimes mirth. The fourth iteration of this series is no exception; I’ve spent two hours with this game and I wish to share with you my first impressions.

From the moment I gained control of the player character, I got the feeling that this was going to be an adventure that, more than the others, I’ll have control over. I noticed this right away in the revamped character creation tool, which let me click and hold directly on the face to alter various characteristics, from the size of cheekbones to the length of the chin. Later on, as I was wandering through the nuked countryside of the Commonwealth (the Fallout universe’s name for the area around Boston), I discovered a unique gas station and the ability to open up a new, complex series of menus centered on building things, creating my own settlement. I don’t have a use for this right now, but I get the feeling I will later.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The game, unlike all the others, begins on the very day of the Great War, Oct. 23, 2077. (The logistics of a war occurring in one day are beyond the scope of this article, but suffice to say it entailed China dropping a whole bunch of nuclear bombs on us.) I got a front row seat to almost being nuked ourselves, as I, along with my wife and baby son, sank slowly into Vault 111. Something happens, I won’t spoil it, and I awakened 210 years later into the hell that is the Wasteland.

Like the rest of the 3-D offerings in the series, “Fallout 3” and “New Vegas,” I can project my violent tendencies onto the world with a unique method known as V.A.T.S., or the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System. Time slows down and I get the chance to make accurate shots on my enemies, to cripple, behead or, depending on my chosen weapon, even totally pulp or disintegrate them. This extreme violence is one of the trademarks of the series, and this game displays it with an all-new iteration of The Creation Engine, first used in the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Though I’ve only just scratched the surface of the game in two hours of play, I can tell it adds a great deal more character to the character that you play, who is now fully voiced, than the previous games. Also, at least my robotic butler Codsworth (who sounds like a stuffy British type, but is about as nice as a chrome-plated automaton can be), but potentially many more characters, calls me by my chosen name (my middle name Andrew, one of the 1,000 pre-recorded names for this feature).

Though I cannot vouch for the console versions, performance in the PC version is good on my dual core processor, despite it claiming that it needs a quad core. But as always with most of these games, it’s the graphics cards that do most of the work, and mine is pretty beefy. There are, unfortunately, a few hardcoded key binds that may result in somewhat awkward menu accessing starting out, but I got used to this quickly.

So if you are a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction in general, or the “Fallout” series specifically, even if you have an older computer, you can continue your love of the series easily and learn once again that war… war never changes.

Vital info:

Game: “Fallout 4”
Developer/Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Genre: Open-world RPG
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4

Website: http://fallout.bethsoft.com/