Nuclear Family

What I'm Playing: Fallout 4

Back when I mentioned playing Skyrim (which I never did play through to the end), I talked about games that somehow manage to allow too much freedom. An open world sounds like such a boon to the gamer, right? But when the choices of where to go and what to do next are almost limitless, making a decision about what I've acquired enough skill to accomplish becomes maddeningly difficult. The Fallout series carries similar dangers, some of which I addressed in my post about Fallout: New Vegas.

You'll note it's been a couple of years since that post, though, and Fallout 4 has made a lot of updates to gameplay. Once again, the world is vast and scary, though this time around, you're playing in post-apocalyptic Boston, instead of post-apocalyptic Las Vegas. The map is a lot less irritating this time around; there's a lot less wandering in aimless directions trying to get to your destination. The controls are a little more intuitive. The leveling system is a little simpler (the new perk chart is a really fun way of figuring out how to build your stats). By just about every metric, the gaming experience has improved.

But like in Skyrim, I wish the game wouldn't offer quests to players that are too low level to tackle them. Why send me to clear out an auto factory full of enemies if those enemies can kill me in one hit? There's also a new crafting component to this game that is conceptually very cool, but again, needs a bit more of a go-here-do-this structure for dummies like me.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a challenging game from time to time, and Fallout 4 certainly qualifies. I like what I've seen so far, and will definitely keep playing. But goddamn if it doesn't reinforce the idea that I'd be totally useless in a post-nuclear society. I can barely handle the pixelated version.


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