First off let me say that I love Fallout 4 and have spent 2 play throughs having a huge amount of fun with it. Through both of those 100+ hour jaunts I had a huge amount of fun but the further I went the more I began to notice the limitations that the game had that had seemingly been sacrificed to get rid of other limitations for better or for worse. Whilst some of these are good things there are some that I feel have been both over and underlooked by Bethesda and detracted from some of the depth that was present in the previous games.
In Fallout 3 you had the karma system rewarding you both good and bad karma for good and bad actions you made respectively, Fallout New Vegas kept this system and had the reputation system on top of it for the factions and towns of New Vegas so that if you help or hinder a faction your reputation with them will improve or suffer. Fallout 4 has….nothing! There’s no barometer of any kind for your actions or reputation in any means, you can turn factions and settlements hostile by simply attacking them but outside of that barely any of the quests will hugely affect how anyone reacts to you save for the quest late on in the main questline.
The Commonwealth’s good guys who just want to help those struggling to get by, they have a noble cause and for anyone who wants to play the hero they’re an obvious choice to team up with. It comes at a cost though as most will know who’ve interacted with Preston Garvey will know, he’ll send you on endless quests to help out settlements which are useful at first as it gives you a reason to explore the Commonwealth. After a few of those in a row though it becomes unbelievably tiresome and every time you speak to Preston Garvey he will automatically give you another quest to help another settlement, ask about the settlement you’re currently meant to be helping or on a rare occasion he’ll get you to go set up another settlement. It feels like this whole system was very much under-thought and was implemented in a rushed manner which in hindsight could’ve been re-worked into an intricate and interesting series of quests rather than being an incredibly arduous chore.
This Guy Again…
The weapon modding makes for a good way of diversifying the weapons on offer and is a great addition to the game. It seems that with this addition Bethesda chose to put a big limit on the amount of base weapons in the game as a trade off. Weapons such as Repeaters, Assault Rifle variants such as the Chinese Assault Rifle, Assault Carbine etc, The Anti Material Rifle, Grenade Machineguns, 10mm, .22 and 9mm SMG’s, Incinerators, Grenade Rifles and Launchers, Thermic Lances and Chainsaws to name but a few that have been left out. Personally I would’ve enjoyed having a larger variety to tinker with as I found once I got to a certain point in the game I could survive easily by using 3 or 4 weapons without feeling any need to experiment unless I found a particularly great legendary weapon.
Lack Of Ammo Crafting
On the subject of crafting, in a world where you can modify weapons and power armour using antiquated pieces of old household objects yet you can’t keep hold of a few salvaged bullet casings to manufacture some ammo for yourself? I can understand that the game is designed in a way that it makes you have to struggle for ammo and resources for the first half of the game but this really seems like a big thing to miss out. If the people of the Mojave in Fallout New Vegas had worked out how to do it then how on earth have the people of the Commonwealth managed not to?
So I can fix up this huge suit of Power Armour with a few old coffee cups and some Wonderglue but I can’t make a couple of bullets?!
Great Locations, Lack Of Possibilities
When I was wandering the Commonwealth I came across a few areas that seemed to have a big story to them which each time I was hoping I could delve into and get lost in. Easy City Downs which was an old race track that was now being run by raiders who’d rigged robots up to race around the track, The Combat Zone which is a cage fighting arena frequented by raiders and the General Robotics Galleria which is an old dilapidated mall run by robots who are blissfully unaware that an apocalypse has happened. All of these seem like places where you’d be able to pick up some quests perhaps or maybe clear them out and have some settlers move in and run the place for you right? Wrong, Easy City Downs’ and The Combat Zone’s raiders are immediately hostile giving you no choice but to clear them out immediately. Once they’re cleared there’s no way to claim either location, your only option is to loot everything you need from there. As for General Robotics Galleria there is a peaceful solution as long as you pass a speech check but once you pass it there are no other outcomes aside from the whole place remaining neutral to you and allowing you to loot everything without any repercussions. In general they all end up feeling like they’re somewhat underutilised and left me asking ‘what might have been?’
A Rush To Be Finished?
All in all it feels to me as though parts of Fallout 4 had been rushed and some of these things just had to be left in order to keep to the schedule of development. Looking at the positives Bethesda did make this into a much more cohesive and better FPS game than Fallout 3 and New Vegas with much better and responsive weaponry and aiming mechanics. They also have delivered a very large world to explore in the Commonwealth that feels sufficiently vibrant whilst also still decayed and perilous. With upcoming DLC there’s every possibility that Bethesda could seek to right some of these wrongs and implement some of these left out features, at the very least they’ll have new equipment and armour to add to the game and maybe even surprise us with some more features we’ve not even thought of. In the meantime, another settlement needs your help.
Written by Tom Hynes