Holy Jehoshaphat, Batman! Fallout 4 is coming in just 5 short months. This proceeded my estimated release date of February or March of next year and I’m so happy to have been wrong. So let’s get into some of the impressions I had during the full reveal at Bethesda’s E3 conference. And I’ll only be talking about Fallout 4 because, well, we’re a Fallout-centric channel.
Let’s start off as the conference did, with the beginning of the game and character creation. Josh and I discussed what we wanted the beginning of Fallout 4 to be like immediately after we saw the trailer. We both had hoped that we’d start the game as a person running for the Vault-Tec vault as the bombs were falling and sure enough that is the case. No doubt I’ll be spending at least 30 minutes customizing my first character with an extensive system of facial morphs and trying to get my baby to look weird as shit!
As Todd Howard was speaking, I thought we’d end up playing the baby (now an adult) of the 2 characters we create but apparently that isn’t the case. We know now that we awaken, likely from some sort of cryo-stasis chamber, 200 years after the bombs fall. If 200 years is accurate, then that will place us in the wastes of Boston around the year 2277 which is the same year that Fallout 3 takes place. This could mean we could possibly hear Three Dog on the radio and hear news of things that happened in Fallout 3, maybe even stuff our own player did should we be able to import saves.
Before moving on, I want to talk a little bit about the art style of the game. It’s kind of weird to me honestly. It seems like some hybrid between Skyrim, Bioshock, and maybe even a little ESO thrown in. The textures seem a bit dated already but the models aren’t that bad and I bet this game will run pretty well on mildly dated hardware. That said, we can expect ENB and other mods to quickly bring updated textures that will test the limits of GTX980s and TITANS. I know I personally will be getting a desaturation mod that will bring back a grittier feel to the game that seemed to be lacking a bit in the shown gameplay.
Now let’s talk about this cute and cuddly dog, named Dog apparently, though maybe we’ll be able to change that at some point. I was a little thrown off by this interaction. Why would a dog immediately trust this stranger and immediately follow commands? Is there some training they skipped over and didn’t show? I’d half expect the dog to attack first and after a few quick kicks, you show dominance and then the training happens over time as you build a relationship with the dog. Regardless, it seems that it will be a very helpful tool to get things for you and scout out places before you go in. I noticed a trade option for the dog and I’m not exactly sure how that would work. Can we get saddlebags for the dog to hold our lamps and Giddyup Buttercups? At least we known he’s useful in combat.
Speaking of combat, the VATS system seems to be more streamlined than its previous counterparts. Those familiar will know its jarring effect as it freezes time and its clunky UI allows you to select specific areas on the body to shoot at. This version still has the action point system to limit the amount of shots but it doesn’t seem nearly as jarring and instead of freezing time and pulling you out of the game slightly, it slows time down allowing you to choose your shots but still making combat feel visceral and dangerous.
Let’s move on the crafting which will likely be the longest part of this write-up. Crafting has always been hit or miss for me. Either the system is streamlined and intuitive and I use the hell out of it or it is crap and I avoid it like the plague. This system looks to be the former. It looks downright amazing! Let’s look at the weapon modding first. A big change this system makes is that all the clutter items that we ignored in previous titles, the lamps, the hobby horses, the typewriters and desk fans, all of these items are now salvageable and grant you parts to making weapon and armor mods.
Weapon modding will be a huge selling point for me in this game. There’s a reported 50+ base weapons and over 700 weapon mods available (before game modders up the stakes) and this doesn’t simply change a few specs but drastically alters the weapon and makes it something completely different. Modding was introduced with New Vegas but this is so far beyond that. You can start with a simple 9 mm pistol and end up with an assault rifle or silenced sniper. The vast amount of changes to energy weapons makes me want to finally play a dedicated energy weapons aficionado with a plasma sniper and energy shotgun thingy. Edit: There is luckily a renaming system so ol’ Bertha will be a thing!
Customizable power armor!!! I saw the trailer with the power armor in the garage and immediately knew we’d be able to mod our power armor and thank God my assumption was correct. They didn’t go into much detail at all, in fact Todd Howard practically mentioned it in passing. I’m hoping this is because it will be amazing and he didn’t want to spoil anything and not because it’s crap and he didn’t want us to know. After seeing a power armor suit with jump jets, it’ll be the former. I’m hoping that the suit mods will be moddable in a way that fits our combat styles which could include stealth, fisticuffs and enhanced sensory capability like seeing in the dark or heat signatures. All I really saw in the demo was cosmetic stuff. Someone make a Shredder mod from the TMNT movies. The original ones dammit!
Oh, before going on to building settlements, I just wanted to say that the layered armor system will be pretty badass and on a more personal standpoint, this could open new possibilities for Fallout lore episodes.
On to rebuilding the world one settlement at a time. This system is pretty great. It reminded me a lot of the house building in Wildstar with the placement and whatnot and I think it’s pretty amazing that your settlement is built completely by the junk laying around in the wastes. The customization seems limitless and again, this makes for even more amazing Fallout lore series opportunities. The fact that you can rebuild and defend multiple settlements and even setup caravans between them makes this world so much more alive and you truly will feel like you have control over it. The world is your oyster!
Damn! Nearly forgot about the new Pip-Boy. This thing looks great and so immersive. The sounds, the animations, the knobs and buttons. It all just looks like something of the real world. And now it sort of is with the collector’s edition and the phone app. I’ll probably be getting that damned thing, though to display, not nerd out at conventions or anything… *ahem* Anyways. It features everything you’d expect but now they’ve added mini-games from our past like Donkey Kong and Missile Command. They’re nifty little editions but I don’t see them getting much use unless NPCs out in the wastes end up challenging you to a game for certain stakes.
I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t leave off on a negative note and that’s where we talk about some of the things I wanted to see but didn’t. The first being transportation. That’s not to say there isn’t any but I didn’t notice any featured except for the airship, the chopper and the derelict cars we’re all familiar with. I would really like to see some kind of Mad Max stuff going on with customizable cars build from scrap with weapons and crap attached and there’s always the risk that a roaming hoard of bandits on their own vehicles come to steal your shit off your corpse. We’ve covered in a Hidden History episode just how much Mad Max has influenced Fallout and I really believe this to be a missed opportunity.
And honestly that’s all I thought was missing. I mean there’s stuff they didn’t talk about like companions and where I can get my Nuka-Cola fix but that is all stuff that will slowly be released as the launch date draws ever closer.
And this is where I leave you. What parts of the conference did you most enjoy? What features do you want to tinker with the most? And what features do you feel were missing or weren’t discussed? Let me know in the comments or respond to the social media post that linked you here.
Thanks for watching and stay tuned right here on the ShoddyCast for your weekly doses of lore, podcasts and news!