Fallout 4 Review

Dan Webb

For some bizarre reason I just couldn’t get on with Fallout 3. I’m not sure whether it was because the Wasteland was too desolate or the fact that the drab colour palette of its post-apocalyptic landscape zapped all the fun and beauty out of the world. It’s one of life’s great mysteries. When monster RPG code drops into the office though, I like a challenge, and Fallout 4 is one hell of a challenge. While last-gen’s Fallouts failed to capture my love and attention for too long, this generation’s has no such issues.

Fallout 4 sees players step into the shoes of either a female or male protagonist – both who are voiced, (huzzah!) and both quite excellently, may I add, at the time when the world is about to go to hell. Unlike previous iterations of the franchise, Fallout 4 lets you not only experience the world before the war sees the bombs drop, but gives you a front row seat to the moment the world takes a turn for the worse.

"Sup, Codsworth?"

The game itself takes place many years after day zero, and without spoiling any of the journey, suffice it to say that your drive and motivation is to find your family. The less said about it, the better. Just know that it’s a fairly enjoyable experience, one that has shades of Blade Runner about it thanks to the introduction of a synthetic race, and is largely predictable, but nevertheless enjoyable throughout. It errs on the side of simplicity and lets the game, the game world and the experience do the talking. In fact, some of the more epic quests from Fallout 4 fall outside of the main narrative, so as usual it pays to venture off the beaten path.

Players will find themselves sucked into a hugely political hotzone with multiple factions fighting for what they believe is right and to put their stamp on the future of the Commonwealth. Who you side with and who you choose to follow will all have an effect on the narrative and the missions you encounter, meaning there is plenty of replayability here. The narrative splinters at one point and your experience for the closing hours of the game can be hugely different depending on the choices you make. Not just reskinned missions either. We’re talking about completely different quests with wholly divergent outcomes.

The Commonwealth of Boston is chock full of things to do and people to aid. If you’re a big exploration fan, there are hundreds of unique areas, small pockets of civilization to save from extinction, there’s a huge sprawling downtown city to explore, and loads of zany characters who want your assistance. There are distress signals to investigate, settlements to help out, conspiracies to uncover, plenty of people who need help and more. You’ll never be short of a thing or two to do once you’re knee deep in Fallout 4.

Dieeeeeee Super Mutant!!!

Fallout 4’s world is an utterly fantastically realised and beautifully designed wonderland too. Thankfully, the desolate Wasteland of Washington with its lack of colour and personality is a distant memory, being replaced with a diverse and tragically picturesque alternative.

From a gameplay perspective, however, very little has changed. VATS makes a triumphant return, as do a ton of the perks that Fallout has become famed for, plus there’s a load of crafting options, whether you’re making weapon mods, modifying your armour or weapons, or tinkering with your Power Armour. It’s classic Bethesda fare here, allowing you to play how you want and to customise the shit out of it.

One of the main introductions is the game’s settlement system, an entire Sims-like, build your own town mechanic which is truly wonderful. You’ll be able to make use of all that useless tat that you picked up on your adventuring and put it to good use. You can build houses, decorate them, construct defences, entice settlers to come and build a new life with you, build shops and so much more.

It’s a huge portion of the game, although that said, it’s one that really has no bearing on anything. It’s bizarre that a feature so big, and clearly one that’s had a monstrous amount of effort put into creating it that it isn’t utilised more. It’s optional, which is both good and bad, but more baffling than anything.

Fallout 4 isn’t perfect though, and considering it’s on a new-gen machine, it’s not one of the prettiest games you’ll encounter, and it does suffer from the odd-dip in frame rate when things get hectic. Not enough to spoil or mar the experience, but one that’s noticeable.

The Creation Engine is showing its age too. While the lighting of Fallout 4 is fantastic, the animations still feel like they’re stuck in the past. Granted, it is a significant step up over Fallout and Skyrim, and Bethesda has made some great strides with the cinematography of the conversation scenes that had always been the studios’ weakness, but it’s not the new-gen marvel we were all expecting.

They’re minor complaints in truth, in the grand scheme of things, as Fallout is an open-world RPG that boasts tons of character, some brilliant quests and superb mission design, all set in a world that encourages you to check out every nook and cranny.

From an achievements perspective, Bethesda has crafted a fairly straightforward list, but more importantly, they got rid of those ridiculous karma achievements, so we’re ecstatic about that. For the most part it’s by the numbers – do 100 of this, 50 of that –there are a lot of quest-related rewards and even the more interesting ones are rehashed from previous iterations.

Killing things with a chaingun, yesterday.

But it does what every good achievement list should: it encourages exploration and players to use all aspects of the game at their disposal. Yes, those pesky Bobbleheads are back and thanks to all the choices in game, you won’t be able to get all the achievements on one run-through (unless you save sensibly). Otherwise, it’s a solid list.

While Fallout 4 isn’t quite the evolution of the franchise that we thought we might see with the new-generation of consoles, it’s still a bloody excellent game. Visually, it’s not all that and the engine is starting to feel a little creaky now. That, and there aren’t that many evolutions in gameplay from the last generation of Fallout games, but it’s still one of the best open-world RPG experiences on these fairly new-ish machines.

Fallout 3 fans will absolutely adore every aspect of Bethesda’s latest outing, while there’s even enough there for newbies – or those who didn’t quite fall for the last iteration – to get swept up in a world of intrigue, drama and mystery. I've been converted by Fallout 4, and I’m convinced I won’t be the only one.

Fallout 4

Fallout 4 might not be as technically advanced as, say The Witcher 3, but it’s a game full of charm and substance, which makes up for an ageing Creation Engine. Fallout 4 boasts an incredible world full of intrigue, mystery and suspense, backed by a whole host of weird and wonderful characters. It’s a world you’re going to want to go back to, time and time again.

Form widget

Inon Zur has done a fantastic job with Fallout 4’s score, hitting all the right notes in all the right places. Courtenay Taylor and Brian T. Delaney both do a fantastic job as the female and male survivors respectively too.


2015 had some amazing looking games, Fallout 4 isn’t one of then. It still has its charm and is a wonderfully realised world with great art direction, but it’s a little rough around the edges at times.


With every iteration of the Creation Engine, the gameplay improves. VATS is still a pleasure as always and you can even treat it as an FPS if you so wish. It’s not a perfect engine by any means, one that’s ageing, in fact, but it’s the best it’s ever been, which is still impressive.


Fallout 4’s Boston is a much richer environment than Fallout 3’s Washington. It’s a world full of tragic beauty, colour, diversity, wonderful characters and an interesting Blade Runner-esque narrative.


It’s a pretty good list by Bethesda, so much better than Fallout 3’s. No more karma achievements, thankfully, but you’ll be having to save tactically or play multiple times if you want them all.

Game navigation