Following some glowing reviews and one of the best game launches of the year, it’s safe to say people are happy with Fallout 4. Gameplay wise the game is rich and expansive as expected, with a well presented wasteland that really does look destroyed by the ravages of Nuclear War despite a few bugs and sore points with the game itself. But for me personally, it really got me so here’s my gamer dad’s take on Fallout 4.
As a man with 2 little ones; a daughter who is 3 and a little boy about 5 months old, the start of the game put out a very strong emphasis on family and emotions that really got me sucked in just as much as the gameplay.
Now I’m got to STOP you here if you’re a gamer who HASN’T PLAYED THE GAMES OPENING SEQUENCE. It’s not a gigantic spoiler article and it’s nothing to do with game’s plot beyond the first few hours.
But if don’t what this spoiling don’t go any further.
If you staying with me I’m going to talk about the start of the game, my thoughts on the plot as a Gamer Dad and general impressions so far come down the page.
We’re also launching a Fallout 4 Podcast Today With Myself and David Game so watch out for that!
One thing about the premise of Fallout 4 is the simple seeds it builds the game from. What if the world had advanced after World War II in a different way? Well you get the nuclear infused 1940s looking future shown at the start of Fallout 4. But what if this world was under the very real threat of Nuclear War?
So these things set the scene, but what would be the catalyst for the lead character? It had to be something of great significance to really drag them, and you, into the wasteland. And here is where the game got me a little at a personal level, and I liked it.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t quite that feeling you get after The Last of Us starting sequence with Joel and his daughter, that will take some beating from a dramatic and emotional start to a game but this really did draw similar emotions and certainly got me invested in this character’s story.
This also fuelled a rather strange feeling that is inside a lot of guys. Most men out there are big kids with big imaginations, and often drift off into a trance (can happen at any time but usually when someone is talking something very boring or serious). Usually this involves being a superhero, spy or just themselves in a world ending situation being hero or villain depending on how twisted a mind you have (I’m looking at you, Neal!). And Fallout certainly appeals to this latter fantasy!
So if, like me, you’re a person who watches The Walking Dead like it’s a documentary and take detailed notes as you watch, you’ll know exactly what I’m on about here. While I joke at the detailed notes, honestly, myself and others where we work have a plan on exactly what to do if someone turns in the office… i’m heading straight for the metal mop in the cleaning cupboard and spearing my way out!
Anyway, back to Fallout 4 where you can live out that imagination, and once I’d invested a good hour in creating both a male and female couple I decided to go male this time and went to meet my baby son in the bedroom. Codsworth, my household robot greeted me by name which was cool (not one of the rude ones that he knows, but I feel really bad I didn’t test one of then myself!) and soon after me and my family were running for the Fallout shelter!
The bomb hits as we tumble down into the underground vault and we’re taken to a chamber for decontamination. My in game wife gets in her’s with my in-game son Shaun, then I get in mine.
Now at this point I’m already involved with my in game family which is why what happens next was so shocking and got me genuinely mad!
Here’s the small spoiler section, continue at your own risk! Not that it’s not already been mentioned in some articles already if you go on that internet people like to use.
You end up being cryogenically frozen in these pods for a while, a long while in fact. You awaken some time in the future to witness two people open your wife’s pod across from you (or husbands if you play female at the start). They take your small baby and shoot your wife as she resists letting him go. The even had the audacity to speak to you as the two leave with your son.
At this point, I hadn’t wanted to kill a videogame character as much since Vaas in Far Cry 3.
I can immediately emphasise with my new character at this point and the desire to get out and find the child is one of the best motivators they could have used in the game for me personally. It’s very well done too and it had me even more desperate to explore that wasteland!
Well done Bethesda Softworks on the great start.
I roam around, around around
After a sequence in the vault, number 111, where you discover you are the only survivor, there are some not so friendly mutant cockroaches and most people look like Skeletor now… It’s been a while since anyone was in the vault that didn’t die in the frozen chambers.
You, and your character emerge at the top… Or do you!
Unfortunately I caught my first Bethesda-Bug as I left the vault. Playing in 3rd Person view I entered the lift only for my character to go up but the camera to stay put! He got to the top but my camera never made it… Whoops.
This is just one example that proves one thing to get used to playing this game people: Quicksave Constantly!
It’s two button clicks to Pause and Quicksave that will really save you with technical bugs or even the many radioactive bugs that will be after you & can very comfortably kill you. The last thing you want is to lose all gained experience points wandering around through a cheap death or little bug in the game.
But I digress, we’re out of the vault now on a reload and all is OK… But for the destroyed world, lost son, no friends to speak of and it’s 200 years plus in the future. That’s sort of OK I guess.
The first thing to strike me is the nice, semi-linear way the game starts bringing you back home at first, onto a truck stop to meet your dog companion who’s a fantastic side kick. Then onto the first town.
After doing this you are eased into the game nicely and the good thing, in Dad mode when I say this, is the lack of stopping and starting early on. There is a flow to the game, which is nice since we don’t always get long spells of gaming as doting dad’s, it’s often in short batches. This is a great start but the hidden depth, even at the start is staggering.
You’re introduced to power armour, modification of weapons, crafting and building plus all the levelling up perks and options. It really does cram a tonne of content into that first few hours that really has much more too it than initially meets the eye.
Two sides of the coin here though gamers, first the good stuff.
You simply don’t have to bother with all that right away since you can carry on with the game doing nothing much with crafting or building your settlement if you don’t want to. Now you will be at a slight disadvantage quality of weapons wise so if you learn anything early on, I would suggest getting weapons upgrades going ASAP. The mechanic here is simple however, I do feel more guidance is needed.
Considering the depth to the game and all the options and you want to get crafting right away, or even coming back to it all later, there is no real tutorial guide to get you going. And the instructions you get on screen simply tell you “Make this” or “Craft that” even though you actually can’t because you don’t have the resources.
Not a game/deal breaker but poor really for such a big game, especially for those with less time to play around figuring it all out. That might be a whole gaming session spent messing about with water pumps and electrical generators etc. If you saw any of the fun S.P.E.C.I.A.L. videos for your leveling-up system, this type of thing would have made a fun way to help people with learning the basics.
But that aside, give this game time to grow and you will be absorbed right into it. Right now I’m just exploring areas around the people I have met and are safe with. I gradually move around getting into fights with scary Radscorpions and other delights of the wasteland loving every second of it, even when I turn suddenly and I miss a frame for a split second. There is so much to find and do, it’s certainly worth staying close to where you know and getting some XP built up early on.
Next time I’ll be talking about the main quest and side missions out there but so far this game is exciting. The best part to the introduction for me was certainly the family connection and emotion behind it. As a gamer dad I’m very pleased with my start so far but I’d love to here more from you GDs or Fallout fans out there.