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Chris Kavan's Video Game Reviews (462)

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Strange Brigade 4/5
Satellite Reign 3/5
Watch Dogs 2 4/5
Divinity: Original Sin 2 4.5/5
Marvel: Ultimate Allian... 3/5
Star Trek: Bridge Crew 3/5
Metro 2033 3.5/5
South Park: The Fractur... 4/5
Sundered 3.5/5
Mass Effect: Andromeda 3.5/5
Life is Strange: Before... 4/5
God of War 4/5
Doom (2016) 3.5/5
Armada 3.5/5
Detroit: Become Human 4/5
Destiny 2 4/5
Horizon: Zero Dawn 4.5/5
Oxenfree 4/5
Murdered: Soul Suspect 3/5
Kirby Star Allies 3/5
Celeste 4.5/5
Dark Quest 2 3/5
Just Cause 3 3.5/5
Guacamelee! 2 4/5
The Incredible Adventur... 4/5

Next 25
 

Fallout 4   PlayStation 4 

It's the Apocalypse All Over Again    4/5 stars

War. War never changes. The mantra of the Fallout series continues as Fallout 4 provides much of the same elements that began with Fallout 3 and continued with New Vegas. Some things have changed, but, for the most part, Bethesda plays it safe, giving open-world fans more of what they like but not being nearly as innovative as they think. If you enjoyed the previous two Fallout games, you will most likely enjoy this one but make not mistake, the game is far from perfect.

Presentation: Let's be frank, the Fallout series has never been known for its stellar graphics. Fallout 4 is no exception with enough popping and such going on that even in this next-generation, just doesn't look spectacular. Granted, the facial animation has gotten better - as have the details - but this isn't ever going to be a cinematic masterpiece. As long as you don't look too close, the game is perfectly fine. I only encountered a few flopping bodies and the game didn't crash nearly as much as the previous two games. One thing that continues to piss me off is that if you place items on tables, the ground, etc - you know, to personalize your home or personal space, nothing ever stays where it's placed. Items move or even disappear - something to do with how the game handles so many items - but it just makes me mad I can't set up a pool table or kitchen table and not have everything fall to (or through) the floor. It's a small thing, but you would think after all this time they could fix it... but no. Otherwise, the game is serviceable enough. Not super pretty, but then this is supposed to be an ugly world, right?

Story: Once again, you are swept up on the eve of nuclear annihilation - the game begins in the past, before the bombs drop, in a normal home: husband, wife, newborn. You can choose to play either as a male or female but soon after choosing your sex and look - things change forever. The bombs are coming and you get ushered into a local vault mere moments before the big one hits. As in previous games, the vault is not what it seems - this one happens to be a cryogenic vault and you are frozen along with all the other people. You wake up momentarily to see armed men taking away your child - your significant other is rewarded with a bullet. You aren't killed, but wake up to a much different world - the Fallout we all know and love. The game soon introduces you to the first faction, the Minutemen, and off you go. The game takes place in the ruins of Boston, with many familiar places (Fenway Park, Independence Hall, the USS Constitution and many others) and, if you've visited the city, finding these places is some of the most fun you'll have.

The game soon sends you to Diamond City (Fenway in all its glory) where we are introduced to the boogeyman of this world: The Institute. Rumor is, this highly-technological organization kidnaps people, often replacing them with synths - human-like robots who look but not quite act the same. Most of the populace lives in fear and paranoia because of them. You, however, just want to find your son, Shaun, the boy who was taken - and this Institute seems the most likely culprit. Other factions emerge. Of course the Brotherhood of Steel - who wants all the technology for their own, becomes involved. Then there is the Railroad, an underground group who instead of living in fear of synths, wants to help them escape, giving them new memories and purpose in the process. You can support or ignore any of these groups, but make no mistake, the end game will have you destroying more than one.

The story can get lost amidst so many side missions and radiant quests, but at least the game does throw in a nice curveball when you finally get to the Institute that makes things more interesting. Let's just say you'll find Shaun, but he may not be who you're going to expect. In any case, even though the factions feel much weaker than the previous games, the story itself has better heft to me.

Gameplay: If you have played the last two previous Fallout games, everything has pretty much stayed the same. It is a sandbox game/shooter (FPS or third person depending on your chosen camera angle). You still have VATS to slow down time, companions that will follow you (many of whom you can romance) and familiar enemies (the zombie-like ghouls, mutated animals and the ever-present raiders). On the surface things looks much the same, but the underlying framework has changed quite a bit. You are no longer level capped - I'm at 82 currently and still have only unlocked about half of the perks you could get. You still have the same stats: Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck (aka SPECIAL) - and under each of these main attributes you have a total of 10 perks you can unlock. Some are very familiar, some are new. The game doesn't hinder you in any way. As long as your base attribute is high enough, you can unlock any of the perks. You can also find bobbleheads and magazines to increase certain attributes and values.

One of the biggest changes, and not for the better, is the speech options. In past games, saying certain things would change the way people and factions reacted to you. Certain perks would make your speech better, giving you more options. In Fallout 4, there are always only four options to choose from - and occasionally you can influence these. The four options are limited to being boring and neutral, being overly optimistic, being a condescending jerk (usually the sarcastic option) or being an outright asshole (aka the mean option). Yet no matter what choice you make, the game will just go along. Sure, people may react differently, but in the end, none of the choices really matter. Granted, companions will react to you choices (and you will gain or lose favor depending on how you react) but otherwise the game is straight-forward will little actual choice on your part.

Replayability: With multiple factions to choose from, lots of nooks and crannies to explore and plenty of choice for traveling companions, survival mode for hardcore players, Fallout 4 gives plenty of reason to go back. While I have not played the DLC (as I'm sure there is a Game of the Year Editiion on the horizon anyway), it just gives more incentive to play. Plus, PC master race has all those mods to choose from.

Overall: Fallout 4 isn't perfect, far from it, but if you like open-world games that rewards exploration off the beaten path, this game will more than scratch that itch.

Presentation: 4/5
Story: 3/5
Gameplay: 4/5
Replayability: 4/5
Overall (not an average): 4/5

 

 


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