ByHans Qu, writer at
I actually love movies, but you'd never know that by reading what I write. @NerdyChineseBoy --
Hans Qu

Full Disclosure: As of this writing, I haven’t actually finished the game. But we’ve done like 20 or 30 videos by now, and I think I have a decent handle on how it plays and what its problems are, and that’s why this review is going up.

Now, before I go on to vivisect Fallout 4 I’d like to clarify that I don’t think it’s bad. It’s entertaining enough, and it certainly keeps Zach occupied. It’s another version of The Bethesda Game, and people loved The Bethesda Game when it came out in the Viking version (Full Disclosure again, I haven’t played Skyrim yet either).

Problem is, I think that this game is indecisive. Schizophrenic. Inconsistent. And, as the title of this article may suggest, I’m going to compare it to a famous piece of literature, the movie adaption of which had Dustin Hoffman in it.

The problem with Fallout 4 is that it doesn’t play to its strengths. It does some good things. I think the Bethesda Game’s exploration methodology is great. It tells you how to do things right at the beginning and then puts you in a place and lets you run around looking for dumb things to do.

And that’s fun! I enjoy it! Exploration games are great, man. There’s something natively appealing about going on your own journey, as opposed to a straightforward narrative that focuses on a single character, like Assassin’s Creed 2.


If you don’t have time to listen to Egoraptor scream for like 30 minutes, this video is all about how modern Legend of Zelda games don’t really get exploration anymore. In particular, Skyward Sword was an Assassin’s Creed 3 style checklist of things to do in a particular order and then you could move along to do the next thing.

Now, I think that Fallout 4 has this exploration gameplay down pat. Like I said up there a couple paragraphs ago, I like how this game drops you into an environment and lets you goof off however you want. That’s cool!

Problem is, the game design doesn’t really compliment this. This game is a great exploration game that wants to be a triple-A FPS. Everything about the way the game feels and plays is like an FPS. The camera sits either in the player character’s face or over the shoulder, and is tightly constrained to point in one direction, rather than providing a wide field-of-view. It doesn’t automatically turn to point where the player is moving. Instead, it stays anchored to the crosshair in the center of the HUD and moves only when the player directs it to. Reload and Ironsights are given their own buttons.

Further compounding these gameplay issues are art direction issues. The game looks like a brown triple-A FPS. It’s washed-out. Everything’s hard to see and looks all the same. This is a death sentence for a game where the point is to go find new places that look different. Come on guys, this isn’t even good art direction in the brown triple-A FPSes themselves.

So now it’s time to do the high-minded pretentious comparison. In Arthur Miller’s famous play that I had to read for AP Lit Death of a Salesman, the main character is an ordinary dude who wants to be happy by being a successful salesman, without realizing that there are other things in his life that he’s better at and make him happy besides. The play is all about his failure to meet up with these arbitrary standards of success without thinking about what he’s good at and what makes him happy for realsies.

Similarly, Fallout 4 is a good exploration game that wants to be a successful and happy triple-A FPS, but just isn’t particularly good at that. It’s a console-and-PC release, so it has to make compromises both ways in its design. Particularly noticeable is the way that dialogue, which Zach assures me was much better in Fallout 3 and New Vegas, is “Mass Effected” to be simpler for people who want to shoot first think later. But then what’s with the Farmville features?

The world is telling Fallout that it needs to be a successful brown FPS to be happy. It’s really good at being an exploration game, but it wants to be happy so it goes and relents and stuffs its ass full of brown and terrible enemy design and shooting, and it can’t even pull it off as well as Halo. And it’s all our fault! That’s right! We went and bought Battlefield and CoD and influenced the market trends, which are the only things that the guys who control the money understand.

Of course, at the end of the play, the guy commits suicide. 4 is more popular than porn, so that’s not gonna happen. And it’s a little disappointing, because it doesn’t matter what people say once it’s already sold the copies. If you’re still on the fence, my recommendation is to play New Vegas again instead.



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