|System: PS4, Xbox One, PC|
|Dev: Bethesda Game Studios|
|Pub: Bethesda Softworks|
|Release: November 10, 2015|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080i||Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Use of Drugs|
The best new addition to Fallout 4 is the crafting and building system, which allows you to mod your weapons and armor, as well as build up settlements that will then support you on your journey. You can build freely inside any pre-set building zone (mostly settlements removed from the city center), doing anything from creating your dream post-nuclear shanty-palace to a fort guarded by nasty traps and turrets. All the item collection you'll want to do for these systems requires an awful lot of back-and-forth due to inventory weight limits, though at least all your workshop inventories are linked. As with all the menu interfaces in the game, the building and workshop interfaces could be better, but in general this is one of the best improvements over Fallout 3, and one of the few systems in the game that is up to par with the competition.
Maybe I'm being too critical – fans who started out the series with Fallout 3 will find more of the things they loved about that game, with a slightly prettier wrapping and even more wacky things to discover. There's plenty of fun to be had if you're willing to ignore the thematic oddness and out-of-date design decisions. I, however, feel like we've given Bethesda a free pass on certain game elements for too long because it was once the only big company making these types of games. That's no longer the case, however. Over the past few years I've enjoyed the strong cover system in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the deliriously fun action combat of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, the ever-improving open-world traversal systems in Assassin's Creed, the delightfully responsive shooter controls in Destiny, and the narrative and world-building excellence found in The Witcher 3. I've got higher expectations for presentation and gameplay these days, expectations that Fallout 4 falls short of in almost every respect.
The open-world/sandbox RPG genre that Bethesda helped create has moved on and done some amazing things. It's even spread into and influenced other genres like action-adventure and MMORPG-shooter. My hype to see how Bethesda would interpret all these innovations and incorporate them into the Fallout setting turned to disappointment when I stumbled through a game that features the same poorly-implemented combat and all the same old Gamebryo engine annoyances and glitches we've been dealing with for years. Fallout 4 will provide some good old-fashioned fun for players who are looking for a prettier Fallout 3 (now with Minecraft!), but it could have and should have been much, much better than that.
Date: November 9, 2015