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Fallout 4. Sometimes Bigger Isn’t Better (Story)

Fallout 4. Nick likes me.
“I got you as a friend. There’s nothing more an old bot could ask for.” This is one of the more satisfying aspects of the game, or is that a social outcast sort-of-thing to think? Here, Nick Valentine, a synthetic human with the memories of a 21st century detective (who’s fiance had been murdered by a crime boss), professes warm friendship.

This is the second part of my Fallout 4 review, Fallout 4.  Sometimes Bigger Isn’t Better.  For the first part, with the introduction and description of what’s similar and what’s different in this newest edition to the Fallout series, please go to Fallout 4. Sometimes Bigger Isn’t Better (Overview).

The Story, or, an Outline of a Story

I don’t know if it was bad directing or bad choices that made the story so shallow in Fallout 4.  This game has a huge map, voice acting, cut-scenes that accompany all the dialogues, all kinds of crafting and building, and many followers that have a lot more comments and quips than in previous games, and all of those things take up memory and developing them would have used up the game’s budget.  Those are things that either weren’t in the previous games, or they were but to a much lesser degree.  So choices were made, and the newest story suffered; it is much more of an outline than an actual story.

The main stories in Fallout New Vegas DLCs, like Old World Blues and Honest Hearts, for example, have more to them than this new whole game does.  Characters in those DLCs talk a lot more about what they’ve done and what they’re doing than in Fallout 4, which has a story where all the missing explanation is an irreconcilable, glaring annoyance.  Your own character doesn’t have the ability to question much of anything, like any normal person would, nor do they have anywhere near the normal level of frustration, sadness, anger, etc., expressed in all things related to your son and your quest for him.

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Fallout 4. Sometimes Bigger Isn’t Better (Overview)

Fallout 4 Older Model Synth
An old model synth found in an abandoned part of The Institute (with a “posterize” filter).

Fallout 4.  What can one say?  After years of anticipation, the 2015 sequel to Fallout 3 (2008) and Fallout New Vegas (2010) is found to be bigger and . . . different.  It should be different, at least in some ways, of course.  Fallout 4 (Bethesda Softworks, Rated M) is a BIG game, as so many new ones are today, but it tries to be too much in this reviewer’s view. How can a video game have too much?  Well, Fallout 4 isn’t just any video game. It is one in a series, one in a franchise (Fallout New Vegas technically isn’t part of the franchise, but that makes no difference to player perception or lore) with a certain style and lore.

While there is a lot to be happy about with Fallout 4, the new gargantuan level of building and crafting (together with the related radiant quests) is not integrated well with the actual story of the game. It’s almost as if they’re two different things, two different games held together by thin threads. The story comes off as being really minimal compared to both the other in-game activities and the last two Fallout game stories. The ultra-tragic story sets the mood of the game, and when that mood is betrayed (finds no outlet), the resulting annoyance (anger and dismay, more like) spoils the game. But more on that later.  Since this Fallout review would be really (really) long for one blog post, it was divided into two. This first part goes over things that are the same and things that are different in this newest Fallout (the lists here are not exhaustive), with the second part presenting the story, with commentary, and giving a final overall analysis and rating.

Continue reading Fallout 4. Sometimes Bigger Isn’t Better (Overview)