• Martin van Zeelandt / TCD

Fallout 4: A Game Changer (2015)


The reason that I became a revived gamer is because of this game, Fallout 4. Yes, it might sound weird, and truly unbelievable, but before 2018 I did not have a games console at all. Well, I did, but that was a long time ago. I used to own an Atari 2600, do you remember that? Are you old enough to remember that one? Between the Atari and the PS4, I never owned a games console, because I didn't like gaming that much. I was (and still am) a music lover, and music has always been my preference above anything else. But things changed during the course of 2018: I discovered a game on Youtube called Fallout 4. And it has changed my life completely.

The wife bought me a Playstation 4 because of my talking about Youtube videos which were focussed on Fallout 4. Most videos I watched were made by Oxhorn, a well known Youtube creator. I fell in love with the game, and was happy enough just to watch all the videos, but after I received my PS4, which included a few games, I haven't looked back, and played many hours. And yes, I did also get Fallout 76, but let's not talk about that game: we are all aware of the disaster that is Fallout 76. I tried, believe me, I tried playing that game, but it wasn't what I was looking for in a game.


When I had the Atari, I played many games over and over, but they were basic. Still fun, for the late 80s. Was I a gamer back then? Yes, I was. But simplicity was the key word for gaming back in the 80s. Nothing major was released, which involved quests. It was basically 'can you kill this?', and yes, that was your whole game (simplified). Obviously games have changed, and I even played on other consoles (which weren't mine). I even jumped on the bandwagon when Wolfenstein 3D was released. But it just didn't do anything for me. And that's a rarity in my life. Technology has always been my thing, but gaming, not really.


You can imagine the excitement when I got the PS4 on Christmas day! I did not attend any other ventures that day: who needs food when you have got a brilliant games console with a few games? It came with Fifa, but I am not bothered about football in general, I find it the most boring and overhyped sport on Earth, so that's still clean, never used, in a draw somewhere. But the wife got me Fallout 4. Game changer that was. I got it set up on the PS4, and looking at the statistics of 2019 it was my most played game of the year, by far.


But what makes Fallout 4 so special? I think the setting is just perfect. It's an open world game, with many quests and side quests, with plenty to do. And stunning graphics, it must be said. You can tell that Bethesda has spent a lot of hours in this game, creating it. Yes, the graphics don't appear to have aged well, compared to 2020 games, but I am an easy guy, and don't mind if the graphics aren't as good, as long as they don't resemble anything made in the 80s or 90s.


I think the nuclear apocalypse as a whole appealed to me. A world that was created, focussed on the aftermath of a nuclear apocalypse (who actually started it? was it P.A.M.? was it China, or the USA, or even Vault Tec?) and the sole survivor. The name is really not suitable, seeing as the character you (the survivor) is looking for, your son Shaun, is still alive (that was a huge spoiler though!). And certain aspects of the game don't make sense. But you can't have it all, eh?


You are frozen in Vault 111, and you see your wife being killed, and your son being kidnapped. You go back into a cryogenic state, and wake up into a world of unknown. Fully unaware of everything that has happened outside of the vault, you are on a quest to find the killer of your wife, and your son. But instead of just doing that, the game has you playing a lot of quests with factions such as the Brotherhood of Steel, the Railroad, the Minutemen, and even the Institute. Here is where it becomes slightly messed up: you are looking for the killer, Kellogs, and you get rid of him. But to get there takes a long time, and side quests take you away from finding your son. You can be playing God knows how many quests before you actually focus on your missing kid again. And the character appears to not be bothered about his kid, unless provoked. That's odd: if my kid was missing, to hell with Preston Garvey and his settlement quests, I am going to find my son!


During the game play you do go to several locations throughout Boston. Sanctuary Hills is the main location where the sole survivor used to live, but you have plenty of other locations to go to, like Goodneighbours, Diamond City, and if you have purchased the other DLCs, you can even go to Far Harbor. There's plenty to discover in the aftermath of a nuclear apocalypse. Plenty of marked and unmarked locations. And you get the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people, who can become your companion, and you can even spark a romantic relationship with them.


And here's the annoying thing: the companions you can choose from, can range from annoying and not really an added value to cute, adorable, and a good companion. Here are the companions you can use throughout the game:


  • Codsworth - a friendly robot that is owned by the sole survivor, and remains active as a cleaning robot, long after the apocalypse has happened, yet his cleaning duties are really shocking: the players house is a sh*t hole. And his cheerfulness made me leave him in Sanctuary Hills.

  • Preston Garvey - you meet him in the Museum Of Freedom, and he is truly the most annoying character of them all. He sends you to all these settlements, to bring peace and prosperity to the Commonwealth, yet it makes me wonder why he doesn't do all of these himself? He sends you all around Boston, to find new Minutemen settlements, and he never stops giving you jobs to do. Lazy sod.

  • Piper Wright - a journalist you find outside of Diamond City. Don't really know her added value to my gameplay, I have not selected her because I don't like journalists in real life. She's got an interesting story, but meh, not that special for me personally.

  • Cait - If you go to the Combat Zone, you can have her as your companion. She is a drug addict, and you need to help her overcome her fears, and her drug addiction. She comes with deep dialogue regarding her past. Fierce companion. I like her humour.

  • Paladin Danse - a member of the Brotherhood Of Steel, with emotions ranging from 'bored' to 'die-hard killer'. You do find out that he's indeed a synth, and you get to choose if you want him to live, or die. An interesting character

  • Dogmeat - everyone's favourite companion. A dog? Yes. A feisty dog. Never shy of trying to save the sole survivor. Not much dialogue with him. He can only do tricks. But you can spec him up with special dog armour! How cool is that?

  • Strong - a super mutant who likes human milk. Really don't like him. Sadly, after you save him, you cannot kill him. I tried, God knows I've tried. Saving synths, yes, but no super mutant is worth saving, including this monstrosity.

  • Old Longfellow - a miserable old man which you can find in Far Harbor. Make sure you download this added pack. Far Harbor has got many interesting quests. But Old Longfellow can remain in his hut.

  • Porter Gage - Don't really know what to think. Every time I go to Nuka World, I never have him as my companion. Don't trust him. And on many occasions I eliminate him and all the factions at Nuka World. Boom, gone.

  • Nick Valentine - now here's an interesting character you definitely should choose. He comes with a few quests, and even tries to help you find your son. And he's there for you, always. A nice and handy companion to have. Haven't tried to be romantic with him, don't even know that this is an option though.

  • Deacon - he's odd. He's everywhere in the game, if you pay close attention. He lies a lot. He's part of the Railroad, but he can be a nice companion, if you see through his lies and deceit.

  • John Hancock - a feral ghoul turned major. I liked him as a companion, a no nonsense person, who will show you in a minute of entering Goodneighbours that he doesn't take any crap from anyone.

  • Robert MacCready - another companion with an interesting back story. Also linked to a previous Fallout game. Didn't spend much time with him.

  • Curie - the most interesting and cutest of them all. Yes, my wife got shot in Vault 111, and I owe her my undying love, but sod that: Curie is the one I have as my companion the most. She is just adorable. She is a robot that wants to become human, and eventually you do get her as a human companion. That's messed up, but everything's possible in Fallout 4

  • Ada/Automatron/X6-88 - all these have not been my companion so far, I probably chose the wrong quest paths, and leave them where they are. And X6-88, who wants to join the Institute? They are evil, they took my son! Nuke them all!

It depends on who you choose, with path you go on. The only one that has any interest in your back story is Nick Valentine, the mystery detective. But Curie is just the best. And her French accent is just so damn adorable.


But that doesn't mean you NEED to have a companion. You can leave them at settlements, and wonder the Commonwealth on your own. Your life, your rules. What if you are a cat person and hate dogs? Leave Dogmeat where he should be. That's the good thing about this game, it can be as different as you can make it.


This game also has a lot of opportunities to explore the Commonwealth. A lot of quests are there to be carried out, and a lot of mysterious locations, filled with super mutants, feral ghouls, gunners, and more. Never trust anyone, and always have your guns ready wherever you are. But also be prepared to start a war with a settlement if you shoot one of its residents by accident: I've done that many of times, and had to start fighting and killing nearly everyone. Covenant, you hear me? Don't mess with me.


Whatever path you choose, the end will always be in the Institute. You decide what happens. You find your son, but will you help him? Will you help the Institute, or destroy it fully? How long do you support them? I've had many game plays where I simply killed my own son on the spot, and had the whole Institute against me. But those are choices you make. YOU, the player.


This game also comes with a lot of interesting side things to do. Have you got a settlement? You can build walls, have settlers move into this new locations, create places for people to sleep, things for them to do. The world is your oyster. It does become annoying that you sometimes lack experience or materials to build something to completion, so certain settlements didn't have walls or even beds. And the settlers would let you know that they are complaining about lack of beds. Just sleep on the bloody floor!


Super crabs, bugs, Deathclaws, scorpions, etc. You've got a lot of enemies in this game, and the only thing you want to do, is find your son! Even after waking up in Vault 111, the first thing you fight, are radroaches. You really get a sense that the world is a non-hospitable place, and you have to fight literally everything to stay alive. There's even a location on the map, which is called 'The Glowing Sea', where without decent protection, you cannot even survive without receiving radiation. The nuclear bombs did fall there, so it is the in-games Tsjernobyl.


So far I have enjoyed explaining the game, but is it the best game ever? What are its weaknesses? Well, there are plenty. Here are a few that I can remember:


  • Glitches - oh my days, there are plenty. Companions talking to you when they are stuck in a wall? Or even when you send Paladin Danse to Boston Airport. Try to find him! You can hear him talking and walking, but he's nowhere to be found. Bethesda sadly has a reputation of making games that contains glitches. Fallout 76 anyone?

  • Saving Settlements constantly - even when you've got the best protections, the best turrets, biggest walls, etc. You have basically made it into a fortress, they still need your help. And it always happens when you are far away from them. You can give each settler the best available weapons, and they still won't make it without you being there.

  • Preston Garvey and his quests - can there be anyone more annoying than him? He is just chilling in Sanctuary Hills, and sends ME out to the Commonwealth, to do his shitty jobs. Useless. And some quests are the same, over and over. Can no one survive without me? I am a survivor, came from a vault and my wife got killed, and my son kidnapped, and you can't fight off some super mutants? Go away!

  • Game crashing - I've had that happen to me a lot. CE-34878-0 anyone? There are many pages on the internet filled with errors that this game has, and how to fix them. You might be fighting for a settlement, 5 super mutants surround you, you empty your gun, aaaannd.... the game crashes. CE-34878-0. Damn.

The good thing is that this game has got mods available for you. Many contain fixes for any glitches that this game has. Be aware that downloading these might affect the game, and maybe even the game play itself. But you can have fun with a few mods. Or you can download add-ons, released by Bethesda themselves, which can give you a few new perks, player locations, quests, etc. They can even contain errors, but hey ho, you can't have it all.


So what makes this game interesting? Choices. You have got many choices, and you have to make a lot of them. Who do you support? The Minutemen, Brotherhood Of Steel, The Railroad, or even the Institute? With them, you get a lot of quests, and the game feels like it goes forever and ever. If you play your card right, you can have hours of fun.


With every level that you increase, you get to choose a perk you want to become better in. And there are a lot of them to choose from:


The game gives you plenty of perks to choose from, and you will become stronger, and the game becomes more interesting. At a basic level you won't be able to open all the doors and terminals you find in the game, unless you have increased your skills on the perk chart. This obviously means that you sometimes need to revisit a location, if you want to open terminals, safes, etc. After a lot of hours playing (and even destroying the Institute) I have not had the opportunity to have each perk set up to the max. It does take some time.


Another good thing that happens: once you finish the main quest, you can still continue playing. There's no limit, no ending. You are the hero, you have saved the world, and yet you still need to do shitty jobs for Preston Garvey, the lazy bastard. Or, just to be more into Fallout, you just start the game again, and be back in Sanctuary Hills, talking to the Vault Tec representative. The world is your oyster.


Once you are sucked into this game, you spend many hours playing it. This game and previous instalments have gained huge popularity over the years, and I consider myself a fan. I've read everything there is, and have seen hundreds, or even thousands of videos, focussed on Fallout. I am truly in awe with this story, and how it turned into these games. I even played Fallout Shelter, but that became boring after a few weeks.


This game got me 'back' into gaming. I still find it fascinating, and having played this over and over, I do find new things here and there. There are plenty of mods out there that give you the chance to play more quests, if you want that. But be aware, the more mods you have, the chance is that you have more errors than before.


You can even have mods that mess up the game completely. Or even X-rated mods. But they don't appeal to me. You can make the game as interesting as you please.


Even with the glitches, errors, etc, I still find this game highly enjoyable. It builds up nicely towards a brilliant 'ending'. It has grabbed my attention more than any other game I own, or ever owned. To me this game is special. Hence why Fallout 76 is such a disappointment. I don't like playing online, I like to be the 'sole survivor'. I want the world to be mine. Fallout/Bethesda, please make the next instalment like Fallout 4, but better. This franchise deserves it. And the following it has, wants it.


I cannot stress the fact that this is a flawed game, but it does work. The Fallout franchise has gained me as a follower. Hell, I am even sitting behind my PC, typing this, with my Fallout t-shirt on. Respect for Bethesda for releasing this 5 years ago. It might have aged slightly, but it's still an enjoyable game. I hope that you, if you have played this before, might get back into this game, or when you have never played this, gives this game a go. It is worth your time and effort. The story line is interesting, and fascinating.


This game has sparked my interest in games and gaming, and now I cannot let a day go by without having at least a few hours on the PS4. I am hooked. For me, this game has been a game changer. It certainly has made me happier.


Why can't we just kill Preston Garvey? Pfff, don't need him at all.


Game Title: Fallout 4

Developer: Bethesda Game Studios

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Played On: Playstation 4

Game Requirements: 28-39 GB Free Space

Release Year: 2015

More Information: Bethesda - Official Website

More Information II: Fallout - Official Website



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