Almost suddenly announced by Bethesda a few days before E3 this year, Fallout 4 it was, in all probability, one of the most anticipated titles in the short term that accompanied us until the launch. Five months during which Bethesda was able to perfectly titillate the hype of the fans, between a clearly filling (but not for this non-engaging) management software such as Fallout Shelter, animated trailers and small but targeted revelations about the game system.
Obviously, the reaction was felt, and either for the interest in seeing (and experiencing) for the first time the events preceding the explosion of the atomic bombs, or for the criticism of a graphic quality perceived as not adequate to current levels, Fallout 4 was certainly discussed and gutted even before its arrival on the market. Now, what remains to be done is to see if the Commonwealth of Boston will hold its own against its illustrious predecessors, and whether massive dose of innovations introduced by Bethesda will live up to expectations.
VERSION TESTED: PC
I, a vagabond who am I ...
The new chapter in the series appears to have been designed by Bethesda with this in mind the concept of "familiar novelty": Anyone who has ever tried a game in the series will immediately feel at home in the Commonwealth, but at the same time, many of the cornerstones of the Fallout universe are being revised in a new light, starting with the general atmosphere.
It is October 23, 2077, man has never developed transistor technology, but has discovered how to make the most of atomic energy. While for twenty years this small but vital divergence between the Fallout timeline and the real one was simply a story, remembered mostly in the form of artifacts from a lost and ruined world, the opening bars of the fourth chapter. they force us to live those last fateful moments before the fall of the atomic bombs.
And let's not use the term "force" at random: the first few hours of Fallout 4 seem wanting to renew at all costs that sense of amazement that fans of the series are likely to have lost as the chapters pass. The old world is the apotheosis of science fiction of the 50s, clean, naive and with a retro charm.
However, the specter of impending tragedy already hangs over all the small gestures that lead to the creation of our alter ego. The result is an atmosphere that hits hard both the novice player and the veteran, and pushes you to experience that short amount of time at a greater level of immersion than we've seen in the entire series so far. The first descent into Vault 111 is accompanied by a sense of shock, curiosity and general despair, while the ascent into a now dead and deserted anti-atomic bunker, accompanied exclusively by the voice of our protagonist (fully voiced, for the first time in the saga), reinforces, like an inner monologue, the sense of disorientation that one might expect from such a disaster.
The dubbing also has the dual effect of ensuring that the gaming experience follows the narrative style desired by the developers, while offering the most complete freedom in following the plot.
Unfortunately, the main victim of these compromises is the plot itself, which despite having its moments, on the whole it never stands out for its originality or depth. The NPCs are rather stereotyped, framed in certain very specific narrative roles and with little depth, appearing in all respects, while the supporting actors and companions of our survivor are often reduced to simple pack mules to increase the space of our inventory.
Fortunately, the main story has almost never been the strong point of the titles in the Fallout universe, and the sheer amount of things to do, places to explore and enemies to face is more than enough to entertain the player for several tens of hours.
CABIN, SWEET CABIN
To add meat to the fire, Bethesda has introduced several gameplay innovations, first of all settlement management. While in the previous chapters the villages and communities that arose in the post-bombs were simple pre-existing locations, in Fallout 4 we will have the opportunity to roll up our sleeves and lay the foundations of a new settlement, attracting other survivors, welcome guests such as merchants and caravans, or unwanted raiders to defend against.
Underlying this is the renewed crafting system, which not only allows us to customize weapons and armor (from which the wear parameter has been abolished over time), but also real boundary walls, complex structures such as walls and stairs, furnishing items, defensive positions and much more.
After discovering an area suitable for the foundation of a village, we will be able to enter a particular construction mode, which no longer confines our alter-ego to the workbench, but allows us to range within a limited area in which to give vent to our inspiration. Obviously both the number of structures that can be built and the materials to do so are limited, even if we will be able to recycle a large part of the rubble and debris present. However, once we start our new community, the game offers us a new set of parameters to maintain its effectiveness and safety. We will therefore have a full-fledged management system on our hands, albeit simplistic, which not only does not clash with the more "optimistic" imprint of Fallout 4 compared to its predecessors, but also rewards players who will dedicate time to it with bonus equipment and precious materials to upgrade our weapons and armor.
And this is a need that will soon make itself felt in all its strength ...
IT'S A DIFFICULT WORLD…
Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks of Fallout 4 is themore complete inconsistency of the difficulty curve, also immolated to the most immersive cut impressed by the development team.
For the first few hours, we will probably have no problem taking down the giant cockroaches and rat moles that we occasionally find on the road, or mowing down the occasional raiders who will have the misfortune to cross our alter ego and his new plated power armor. in rust.
The sudden encounter with a deathclaw in an underground tunnel, however, will instantly remind us of an important truth from the post-apocalyptic world: man is no longer the dominant species.
The power level of the enemies, fortunately, does not scale according to ours, and while some creatures will initially be highlighted by the symbol of a skull to indicate their lethality, or a star associated with particular and unique elements of a faction / species, it is easy that with a few more levels on their shoulders they are reduced to simple and annoying setbacks .
Unfortunately, it is just as easy to stumble upon secondary quests or seemingly nonsensical events, studded with enemies horribly out of our reach, discovering only later what it was, such is the amount of events that Bethesda has entered. In this, fortunately, the management of game flags and scripts is excellent, and there will almost never be situations where taking actions in a sequence other than the ideal results in a problem. Simply the NPCs will simply recognize the mission sections already carried out, and will continue with the general script, skipping the parts already completed.
IT'S RAINING MODS, HALLELUJA
Perhaps the biggest novelty offered by Fallout 4, however, lies not in the work done by the development team in the creation phase, but in what it offers fans in the field of customization: for the first time, in fact, You can share mods created by PC users with console players, and in a title that's not bug-free and highly tied to each player's personal play style like Fallout 4, that's almost fundamental. Already a short time after the release, several changes have emerged aimed at fixing some of the flaws, filing here and there the work done by Bethesda.
In many cases it is a pure aesthetic job (such as extra slots for equipment and armor with Communist insignia), but at three specific moments, during the test, we felt the need for some more substantial changes to the gameplay.
The first (and most serious, in the personal experience of the writer) of the game is related to the user interface related to the compass on the screen: in a title full of locations, markers and various indicators such as Fallout 4, it is unthinkable to entrust everything to a small compass, who often and willingly refuses to show the next goal of a mission clearly. One of the "perks" (the renewed skill tree of the game) comes to our aid, indicating more clearly the locations to be reached, but even in this case the compass on the screen remains, especially in the more advanced stages, an indecipherable jumble of symbols that necessarily require you to recall the real map of the pip-boy. As has already happened in Skyrim, we are waiting for the community to take over the reins, if Bethesda does not do it first with the patches on the way.
The second, and fortunately less serious problem lies instead in a certain tendency of game animations and subtitles not to synchronize with dialogue, which is annoying in the long run. Again, the fastest solution is already offered by the development team, which grants the player the possibility to exit the dialogues at any time, even moving in the middle of them (the selection of the answers has gone from a static screen to being associated with four buttons, in a way not unlike what we saw in Mass Effect, freeing the analog cursor for other activities). A palliative system, which certainly guarantees playability, but which could certainly be optimized.
A separate case, however, is the system of construction of the settlements: in addition to the pieces that often refuse to fit together, or that cause "clipping" problems (interpenetration), the entire mechanics is bored by the need to free oneself from any part, held or even just pointed with the cursor, before being able to select one of the submenus of the various sections; obviously this becomes quite difficult to do within a closed structure entirely created by the player. The problem also summarizes in small a certain sense of constriction in the use of the keys (for the sake of completeness we tested with both a Microsoft controller and the keyboard + mouse combo) Many of the functions depend on the prolonged pressure of a key, which activates a secondary command: the same command activates the pip-boy and the torch, diametrically opposite there is the reloading and the holstering of weapons, the select button activates the view in third person, while a long press brings up the settlement construction interface, and so on. Certainly the amount of commands needed is high, but without a doubt there is room for better mapping (And of course that's not a defect for the console versions).
By virtue of this extreme possibility of expansion due to universal mods, we feel compelled to specify that the final grade simply reflects the title "as is" at launch. From this foundation, the gameplay experience in Fallout 4 can radically change and be tailored to individual players. However, to maintain an objective level of evaluation, in this review we have taken into account only the potential offered rather than the actual contents. Verdict 8.5 / 10 Even the war changes from time to time Comment What can I say ... the wait for Fallout 4 has not been short, and has been accompanied by several rumors and denials over the years. However, the time Bethesda has taken to design such a familiar yet profoundly renewed gaming experience compared to its two immediate predecessors is being felt, and the wind blowing over the bomb-ravaged Boston Commonwealth is certainly a far cry from the atmosphere. dark of the capital and the general "everyone for himself and God for all" of the Mojave desert. Although in fact, the title is affected by the use of the now dated Creation Engine already seen in the frozen lands of Skyrim, the beating heart of Fallout 4 is far more than the desperate search for the non-plus-ultra in the graphic rendering. On the one hand we have a renewed focus on the narrative plan, which does its best to empathize the player, and in the meantime it provides him with all the material necessary to write his page in the post-apocalyptic book of Fallout. On the other hand, we have a sacrificed plot in order to maintain the free-roaming aspect of its predecessors, and here and there files certain aspects of gameplay that are not very credible and cumbersome. The game as a whole is a bit of the apotheosis of "changing everything to change nothing", but, as a longtime fan of the series, I think that's exactly what it took to shake off some of the dust accumulated with two titles. essentially identical, and returning to intrigue veterans who now took it for granted that they had seen everything the Fallout universe had to offer. By combination, this is also what makes the game the perfect window for newbies through which to look out on the saga and its radiant expanses. At this point we just have to wait for the inevitable avalanches of mods between now and the next few months, in the hope that between these and the equally inevitable patches (first of all: one that can shorten the terrifying loading times between an area and the other!) branded Bethesda, are able to give a rough cut to this (already widely enjoyable) rough videogame diamond. Pros and cons ✓ 50+ hours of gameplay full of things to do
✓ Immersive atmosphere
✓ Game mechanics revamped but familiar to veterans
✓ Great entry point for newbies
✓ Cross-platform mod sharing x Excessively long loading times
x Flat and unoriginal texture
x Occasional frame drops and clipping issues