Fallout 4: First impressions

I just spent a little over five hours in FO4. I apologize for the lack of action shots, but hey, at least there won’t be any major spoilers. Here’s what my sleep-deprived brain thinks so far…

The character editor is a little wonky.

Update: Having seen some of the character creations players have posted this morning, I’m convinced my brain broke during this part of the game… maybe I just didn’t entirely understand how the controls worked. What I originally wrote is as follows:

I had some trouble adjusting features exactly as I wanted and I was a little disappointed in the range. After spending around twenty minutes in the editor, my character’s facial features barely looked any different than the stock facial type I chose when I began. You get another chance to change your look before you leave the vault, but I have a feeling I’m stuck with what I’ve created. Which is kind of a bummer. I want my character’s look to grow as she does. (I thought it was cool to give her gray hair after coming out of the cryos.)

Update: Apparently there’s a barber in Diamond City. He can change your hair, but it doesn’t look like you can change any other features elsewhere in the game. I’d personally like to add wrinkles and scars as the game progresses. They should patch in a tattoo parlor for superficial stuff like that.

The prologue is short and sweet. 

I was eager to get into the wasteland as soon as possible. No birthdays, no ink blot tests, no bullshit. There’s around twenty minutes between the opening credits and leaving the vault. It’s just not as plodding as previous FO games, which will make replays a little less painful.

The main objective, so far, is kind of a downer. 

I had the same complaint about Dead Rising 2: when I play an open world game, I don’t want too much responsibility. With an objective like “find your kidnapped baby boy,” it’s hard to believe your character would be enticed by relatively pointless side quests like “build a chair.” If you play games purely for the challenge rather than the roleplay, you probably won’t be bothered by this at all. Those of you who like to submerse yourselves into the character, on the other hand, might feel pressured into rushing the main quests. I just wish the plot was a little bit lighter so that I could go screaming into the wasteland like a maniac from Mad Max.

Companions are kind of annoying, but helpful… usually.

I really dislike the dog (so far) because it has an annoying tendency to place itself in my line of fire. Codsworth is good for carrying loot when you get encumbered, but his lights and inexplicable disappearing acts get annoying. So far I’ve had trouble getting him to follow my commands. He often says, “I’m afraid that isn’t possible,” even when it’s perfectly clear he should have no problem at all. Having said that, I usually hate companions in games and FO4’s friendly AI can be pretty impressive at times.

The graphics and gameplay are smooth on day one.

I’m running my graphics on ultra with an Intel Core i5-4690k, 16 gigs of RAM, and a GTX 970. The first ten minutes of gameplay felt a little choppy for some reason, but after leaving the vault I haven’t had many, if any, complaints. It’s sad I feel the need to commend a game for simply working, but that’s the state of the video games industry, I guess. Nonetheless, this feels a lot smoother than New Vegas and part 3.

It’s kind of easy to get stuck.

Be careful when walking or jumping between walls and objects like cars because you might end up having to reload a previous save. So far, though, it’s not nearly as sticky as a Grand Theft Auto game.

The controls are kind of annoying.

If you want to exit your Pip-Boy, you have to press Tab. If you want to exit a work station, you have to press Tab and then Esc. It’s just the tiniest bit frustrating that Esc will exit some menus, but bring up the pause screen in others. You’ll see what I mean when you play it.

It doesn’t do anything new.

That’s not a complaint. This feels like a Fallout game turned up to 11, which is probably what we all wanted. It’s already a lot more polished than New Vegas and a helluva lot more exciting. We’ve got a good contender for game of the year here. It’s not as smooth as The Witcher 3 yet and some of the additions like crafting and power armor and the new perk system might become intimidating to more casual players, but so far I’m having a blast.

It’s going to be hard going to bed tonight. Hell, it ‘s going to be hard going to bed for many nights to come.

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