Fallout 4 (PC) (2015)

Overview: You're the survivor of a nuclear fallout and your child's been kidnapped. Become strong and save him.

Fallout 4 was available on Steam Free Weekend, so I decided to take advantage and play the sixty-dollar game.*

The player's outer appearance depends on the equipment he/she is wearing.

Setup: The game automatically detected my hardware and set the graphics to medium. I was actually afraid I wouldn't be able to run the game. While it didn't look amazing, the graphics were still pleasing. Keyboard and mouse.

Gameplay Log: (Morning)
I searched for some character builds and found one by IGN.com which they called "The Brute.":
Strength 9 | Perception 3 | Endurance 7 | Charisma 1 | Intelligence 3 | Agility 2 | Luck 3

Note: The game gives the player choice of playing as a male (husband) or female (wife). While the player can only play as one, he/she can alter the looks of both (which will apparently also change the look of their child).

I allocated points based on a build I found online.

Note: I didn't know how to close the Pip-Boy, eventually I guessed it was 'TAB.' Only after first using a stimpack by accident. [I suppose I should have just gone into the settings and look at the key mappings]

Note: Before leaving the first level, the game gives the player the chance to change their character creation and appearance

I didn't realize that, as "The Brute," I could just run up to the enemies (I encountered a group of four raiders) and clobber them. I initially tried to shoot them from afar and lost a lot of my life. Though I had a tough time finding the fourth - I should have switched to third-person view - and he was right under my nose; how annoying.

In general, shooting moving targets was hard, but was necessary because it was difficult to melee the flying one that generally kept its distance and attacked from a range.

Collecting everything is actually a bit of a pain, because I already have a bad habit of wanting to collect everything.

Nora and Shaun

Steam Game Time: 2.5 hours (session game time); I spent almost half an hour on changing the male and female faces.

Gameplay Log: (Afternoon)
While I had my fill of the game, I made an effort to return to the game and make use of the Steam Free Weekend.

During this time, there were moments I enjoyed and moments I didn't enjoy. For the most part, the melee combat was enjoyable and straightforward. This partially might be due to my distribution of points as a brute. In contrast, the ranged combat felt weak, and I love using rifles, but obtaining one with a scope involves the crafting system. While I'm all for crafting, it was unclear to me how I'm suppose to go about finding the necessary parts. [Apparently taking intelligence to 5 and taking the Scrapper perk can help in this aspect.]

Also, while the weight system makes for slightly more realistic gameplay (although not really, it's not like anyone could actually carry ten guns, a couple of pieces of clothing, a bunch of food, etc. unless he/she was carrying three or four duffel bags.

Wearing the T-51 Power Armor

So honestly I think the game should decide to make it completely realistic (and require backpacks that will show up on the character model, and slings for guns, etc.) or let the player carry an unlimited amount of inventory.

On an alternate train of thought, I'd be fine with a limited system if the inventory was more manageable or if the ability to hoard and sell items was made easier.

In any case, after saving the Minutemen, I went to help out a settlement ("The First Step"). The settler asked me to clear raiders from the Corvega assembly plant (apparently the location was randomly-generated).

Note: NPCs can die. I saved an NPC from some mole rats and later I died. I started back at an early checkpoint so I first went to help the same NPC again. Unfortunately she got too close to my bladed tire iron and she died. She had some loot on her; I didn't notice if she had the money which she gave me for helping her the first time around.

Swinging the mighty bladed tire iron (it seems like a strong early game melee weapon)

The amount of men inside the building, before I went to the roof, made it seem like the raiders were spawning endlessly. But I later read the Wiki page (for Corvega assembly plant) and there are a finite number. This makes more sense, because I noticed the game tracks every dead body. In other words, if I killed someone on the roof, his/her body will be there when I get to the roof.

Long story, short, I made it to the top of the roof, ran into more raiders, and died. I had died enough times by that point to call it a night.

Tip: The turrets have a health bar like any other enemy.

Steam Game Time: 5.0 hours (session game time)

*It was on sale for twenty dollars during the Steam Free Weekend.

Despite what I said before, I ended up returning to the game and I started getting into the crafting system.

My sky fortress (20170527)

In particular, as I played, I learned various functions that helped make the game smoother.

1) A lot of instruction is tucked away in the "Help" portion of the menu screen. I would suggest new players read about half of it prior to leaving the underground facility and another half after about another hour.
2) When crafting or transferring, clicking the top part of the the inventory will cycle through categories, e.g., Weapons, Aids, Junk, etc.
3) Using the sort on the bottom right is also useful, especially when comparing weapons. On a related note, I eventually realize that I should only keep one gun per ammo type in my inventory and transfer all others out.
4) Eventually there will be vendors, so instead of scrapping items, it might be easier to store them and wait until there are vendors to which the items can be sold, I'm not sure.

I eventually found building structures fun, though there's a medium learning curve so I would recommend saving the game first (twice, just in case you accidentally overwrite one of the two), and then playing around with all the options. When done experimenting, load the saved game and do any actual building you want to do.

One of the problems I faced - in large because I didn't own the game - was that my eventual play style (sniper) did not match my chosen play style (melee/brute). While this opened up a new style of play, it was pretty fun walking up to enemies and bashing them, I enjoyed crafting guns, sneaking around, and sniping enemies, but usually my firepower was weak because I was not spec'd for it. If I had owned the game, I would have started over. Because I didn't own the game, I went for an all-in, I'm just gonna play as-is approach.

Steam Game Time: 5.0 hours (session game time)


The RobCo Pip-Boy (Personal Information Processor)

+ Good story and atmosphere
+ Lot's to do
+ Reasonable learning curve, the game slowly introduces new mechanics as the player progresses

~ Character (face) customization is decent
~ Crafting system... And I'm glad I'm not buying this game (because I would spend so much time with the system)
~ Possibly melee is better than ranged...
~ 25.4 GB of hard drive space! That's huge!

Minor Cons:
- So many controls. Not entirely intuitive. It's all introduced one by one but not always directly so the help might be missed [20170528: There's an entire help section in the menu screen]

- Sometimes the tooltips for a new game mechanic is easy to miss. [20170528: There's an entire help section in the menu screen]

Prior to playing Fallout 4, I had no idea that it was an open-world action RPG. It wasn't until I started reading some reviews on Steam that I had put two and two together: Fallout 4 was developed by Bethesda Game Studios, the same developers responsible The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (2002), The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2006), and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) (they also did Fallout 3).

Alas, I did my best to try and get into the game, but all the missions, crafting, and choices eventually overwhelmed me. With that being said, I lasted much longer with Fallout 4 than I did with Skyrim (7.5 hours on Fallout 4 vs. 2.7 hours on Skyrim). Though technically I only put in the extra time because I knew I would only get to play it for at most 48 hours. At the time of this writing, there's still 1 day 12 hours on the clock, but I don't think I'll play more of it.

Hacking into a computer terminal.

Overall, I enjoyed Fallout 4 more than I disliked it. It has its flaws, but some of those flaws are due to my personal preferences. If you're looking for a simple, straightforward game, then definitely look elsewhere. However, if you're looking for a game with complexity which allows for hour after hour of gaming, all while enjoying a post-apocalyptic setting, then I would highly recommend Fallout 4 (for the same desires but in a fantasy setting, see Skyrim).

For a linear gaming experience, filled with action, and some (weapons) crafting, I would recommend Dead Space 3 (2013).

Fallout 4 (PC) (2015)

Relevant Links:
Fallout 4 (Wikipedia.org)
Fallout 4 (PC) (MetaCritic.com)
Fallout 4 (Steam Store Page)

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