In Defense: Fallout 4

No game series is as interesting as Fallout. While many games have a dystopian or post-nuclear environment most of them don’t build a world so well developed. Say what you will about the Fallout franchise, but each game crafts an interesting landscape with quirky characters, missions, locations, and stories. Despite the brilliance of Fallout’s design, fans harshly criticized the latest entry in the franchise, Fallout 4.

Why do players praise the rest of the franchise yet view Fallout 4 with such bitterness? Unlike most games, this is easy to figure out. It’s because of how Bethesda handled the final product.

There is a pattern with Bethesda’s in-house games. Their titles are often huge sandbox worlds built on player choice and progression while also being broken messes. This is part of why Skyrim is so well loved and hated. Yes, the broken-game aspect was a pain, but the scale of the world helped players feel like they were part of it and going on a real adventure.

A similar idea was in Fallout 3, wherein players were free to wander the desolate wasteland, following a central narrative but also creating their unique story. This philosophy has driven Obsidian’s New Vegas and Bethesda’s second Fallout effort, Fallout 4. But where New Vegas is loved, Fallout 4 is viewed disdainfully.

After playing through New Vegas I see why many enjoy this world more. The sights and sounds of New Vegas are astounding. Seeing the lights of the New Vegas city shine in the distance over the Mojave wasteland is incredible. But in terms of fun and stories, Fallout 4 is the better game.

New Vegas and Fallout 4 are each unique, and how much a player likes one over the other depends on one’s gameplay preferences.

Where New Vegas plays similarly to Skyrim and Fallout 3, focusing on traditional gameplay within the context of a role-playing game, Fallout 4 creates an action-oriented experience. The reason why many disregard Fallout 4 is because it’s a game for beginners that emphasizes accessibility.

People come to expect too much from a franchise. Many of the long-time fans want franchises to cater towards them and not open up to wider audiences. With Fallout 4, Bethesda created a game with a simple and somewhat evocative plot that is easier to get into.

A comparison of the opening areas in New Vegas and Fallout 4 elucidates the games’ differences. In New Vegas it is easy to get killed as soon as the game begins, whether by Powder Gangers or geckos. In Fallout 4, defeating the handful of raiders you meet in Concord is easy, and you are quickly gifted Power Armour. Your first real challenge is defeating a Deathclaw, but by this time you are confident and can manage.

Fallout 4, created with newcomers in mind, is a much easier game than Fallout: New Vegas. The game gives players more freedom in combat and the missions are more linear, not requiring players to have spent excess time creating a specific character for specific tasks, or trying to do a series of annoying fetch quests for Elvis impersonators.

The most important note about Fallout 4 is that it is misunderstood – people need to understand this game better. Sometimes we need to judge a game by its own merits and not by its predecessors’. Fallout 4, through a similar framework of the other Fallout games, carries a different vision for the franchise.

Simply overlook the past and you will find yourself enjoying this game much more. Suddenly every location and idea in the game is exciting and does not seem like a watered-down version of something previously done.

Though the game sold well people failed to give it a chance, judging it on a selection of dumb side quests and a world that failed to grab them. Yet, if you try playing the game on its own merits, you will find one of the greatest games ever made through its setting and side stories.

There is one consensus with Fallout 4 that I agree with: the ending of the main game failed to be anything special and does not leave a lasting impact. However, this does not greatly taint my overall love of the game. In terms of staying power, Fallout 4 has plenty. By ignoring the main quests you are free to wander a fantastic playground, and even find settlements and build them up to your hearts’ content.

Of all the Fallout games, in Fallout 4 there is more reason to scavenge for rubbish because everything is useful and can be transformed into a handy tool for a bases’ development. To build structures, see the world transformed by your own actions, and give the people of the wasteland a place to call home is a memorable adventure.

At face value Fallout 4 fails to offer long-time fans the same adventure they loved in past games, but Fallout 4 offers a wonderful experience for newcomers. There is plenty of fun to be had exploring the wasteland. If you can keep in mind that this adventure takes the franchise to a more basic level you might actually like it.

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