Fallout 4

December 16th, 2015

I’ve been playing video games a while (*cough* 35 years or so *cough*), so I actually fondly remember the ol’ isometric turn-based first Fallout, which in the late 90s presented one of the most original and interesting game worlds I’d ever experienced, a strange mix of retro and post-apocalypse with bags of atmosphere, wit, and moral ambiguity.

Fallout 3 was an absolute corker, revitalising an old niche property in 3d for a new console-using generation in much the same way Grand Theft Auto 3 did, really tapping into the rich atmosphere and humour of the original, and even maintaining some of the turn-based roleplaying vibe within what had essentially become a first-person shooter.  You can even read my old review of it from (the horror) 7 years ago.

The next instalment, New Vegas, was still good but – with the benefit of hindsight – a little disappointing, perhaps a little rushed out after its predecessor.  It was a slightly clunky and bug-prone game that drifted away from that winning retro 50s McCarthy vibe towards less atmospheric wild-west stylings, tried to summon up a less desperate and more civilised wasteland without really convincing on the factional politics, and sidelined Fallout staples like Vault-Tec and the Brotherhood of Steel in favour of the less interesting or convincing Legion and Californian Republic.

It’s taken five years for Fallout 4 to appear, but it’s been well worth the wait.  There’s a cracking opening – classic Fallout both expanded on and condensed – in which you witness the fall of civilisation, are put into deep-freeze as part of one of Vault-Tec’s sinister experiments, and wake to a strange, new, and horrible future in the post-nuclear wasteland.  The action this time around moves to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and though with Minutemen, Lexington and Bunker Hill there are shades of revolutionary stylings the focus mostly returns to Fallout staples like vault suits, raiders, super mutants and the Brotherhood of Steel, and is stronger for it.

The game system has been overhauled, making character development much simpler but no less deep, there’s a much improved crafting system which allows you to throughly trick out every weapon and brings a convincing scavenging value to every screw, tin can and roll of pre-war duct tape, and there’s a powerful if cumbersome base-building tool that allows you to attract settlers and construct a host of interconnected living, breathing settlements (sort of), even if, from a gameplay point of view, there’s not all that much point.  Still, who can resist spending three days building a giant shack that looks like a dong?

Graphics can sometimes seem a bit workaday – certainly characters aren’t as detailed or expressive as in, say, the Witcher 3 and are a fair bit more glitch-prone, and the quality of dialogue and voice acting doesn’t come close to a Mass Effect or The Last of Us, but in a way that’s inevitable.  There’ll always be something of a trade-off between a narrower, more ‘on rails’ experience that’s more lavish and detailed and something like Fallout or Skyrim which is perhaps rougher round the edges but provides that vast open world in which you’re free, to a degree, to find your own story.  The sheer quantity and range of content here is mighty impressive and at times can add up to something really special – the vistas of post-nuclear Boston from the air or a high building can be breathtaking.  I used to criticise Bethesda games for having hundreds of locations but all of them being the same.  These days there’s far more personality and meaning to the settings.  There are little nods, touches and telling details all over the place.  Abandoned foundries, ruined banks, infested libraries, baseball stadiums turned into settlements – it all seems far more distinct and meaningful than it used to.

For such a vast and varied game – and I must have logged well over 100 hours – this is impressively stable too.  Long load times, I guess, but very few out and out crashes or bugs, and the odds and ends of broken quests and inappropriate dialogue that can sometimes annoy in these sorts of games are few and far between.  Impressive, given the vast amount of possible permutations they must have to juggle.

Some criticisms, though, now that the all-consuming joy of being sucked into such a great world has worn off and left me a little more objective. I guess Fallout 4 suffers  from the same syndrome I tend to get with all open-world adventure games.  There’ll be a thrilling first phase as I stand amazed by this vast new world to explore.  A gripping mid-game as I build up my character and dig into the details, largely ignoring the central plot.  But then, having done an exhaustive amount of side tasks, I’ll get a bit bored and overpowered, and rush  through the last stages of the main plot, the climax very much lacking the punch of the opening.  The structure of Fallout 4 doesn’t help with that – early on there’s so much freedom, you really can develop the type of character you want and play them the way you please.  Towards the end there’s a great dramatic twist and reveal but, inevitably, thereafter, your options steadily thin out.

It’s very difficult to create the illusion of free will in a game.  Ironically, I often find that offering the player choices – morally or otherwise – can break the spell more than putting them on rails, as it becomes clear just how limited and artificial the choices are.  In Fallout 4 you’re obliged to throw in your lot with one of three very flawed factions, and no matter how I squirmed I couldn’t really find an option that seemed faithful to the way I’d set out to play.  Everyone demanded I do things (mostly cold-blooded murder of one stripe or another) that seemed not only out of my character, but out of theirs.  In the end I made my decision more out of a slightly bored and annoyed sense of let’s just get on with this then rather than as the result of a nerve-wracking moral quandary.

Some minor spoilers on my own experience follow…

First I was obliged to massacre the idealistic if ineffectual members of a freedom fighting cell who had for a while treated me like a saviour, and found myself rummaging through a heap of corpses for items of interest, trying on their technical expert’s absurd headgear like a ghastly trophy.  Then I had no choice but to hunt down a long-term travelling companion and shoot him with a gun he gave me while he slept.  Finally, when my old comrades in arms Paladin Danse and his team made a heroic last ditch effort to stop my murderous rampage, even showing up with sad, brave Paladin Brandis who I’d convinced to rejoin the Brotherhood long before, and I shot down their vertibird in a ball of fire then rained atomic hell on the helpless survivors, I realised I had in truth become the psychopathic villain of my own story.  Which is interesting, in a way, but I wish I felt I’d chosen to do it, rather than just been given no appropriate dialogue option to avoid it.

Didn’t help that, by then, I was slaughtering whole divisions of power-armoured Brotherhood of Steel with utter impunity, even on very hard difficulty.  Some weapons, armour, and perk combinations really did seem greatly overpowered…

So, in conclusion, a hugely impressive and enjoyable game and an enormous, atmospheric experience in one of the best game worlds ever designed.  For truly open world adventures it sets new standards in many ways.  But it does, perhaps, as far as telling a really driving and believable story within those worlds, also illustrate the limitations of the form…

Posted in games by Joe Abercrombie on December 16th, 2015.

46 comments so far

  • James Morton says:

    That seems to be a long term issue with Bethesda. Massive open world with many distractions. Great abundance of side quests. Main story line ends up being very ho hum. In fact it’s safe to say that they usually fail to invest you in it.

    They try a little harder going for an emotional hook, but then distract you with a lot of cool stuff, like building settlements and taking the commonwealth back from the raiders, inch by bloody inch. You only remember the main story for the protagonist when you start running out of cool side content to play.

    imagine a version of A Red Country – were our heroes decide to take over the town. Depose the leader of the mercenaries so they can run it. Then remember about the kidnapped kids a few years later.

    I suspect I am going to feel the way I usually feel when I get to that final end run, which is: where is the Snake Plissken “I do not give a damn” option?

  • Bongo says:

    While I admire Fallout 4, I am dismayed at just how much of a ‘shooter’ it has become. I felt something was missing all the time I was playing it.

    It crystallized when I encountered the Children of the Atom. Who are they? What do they want? Who is their leader? Why are they here? In New Vegas I could have explored their history and motivations, interacted with them, helped them or massacred them, but essentially, it would have been my choice. In Fallout 4, I just have to kill them. I have no option, as they attack me on sight. It’s so frustrating.

    Once you notice it, you then see it everywhere. I found a note from a wastelander, describing racing robots. Interested, I actively sought out the Robot Grand National. Perhaps I could bet on the races. Perhaps I could even build one.

    Nope, I just get to slaughter the entire race going community.

    Fallout 4 is a good game, but it´s not really Fallout for me, sailing much closer to a Borderlands theme.

    Quite disappointed.

  • Art says:

    I don’t believe you wrote it. One of my favorite writers likes this abomination. I don’t believe in people anymore.

    Fallout 2 is one of the best games ever made. In my opinion Fallout 3 was bad, but still entertaining. Its story and world were idiotic and not logical. It’s been more 200 years since the war (like Napoleon wars for us) and still it looks like it was yesterday. You even can eat food from broken refrigerators abandoned there two centuries before. In Fallout 2 there were cities that looked like cities (not two sheds and a tent. What did you do for 200 years?). But nevertheless it was fun to play.
    Vegas was much better. It felt more like Fallout 2.

    Fallout 4 is like Fallout 3 but without all the fun. They removed the dialogues. And karma. And non-linearity.

  • Giles Hill says:

    The first warning is in the speech options, which seem rather constrained when compared to F3 and seem to either resolve to “No I’m not interested”, “Yes, but I’m not interested right now” and “Yes, lets go kill them all”

    I should add I haven’t built a maxed out CHA/STR character with good relational perks to test this to the limit, but this certainly seems to be the case with a Joe average.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    I concur, central plot is rarely their strength, but it seemed a particular problem with this one, somehow.

    Didn’t seem so different from Fallout 3 or New Vegas, from that point of view.

    Maybe it’ll help to look at it this way – if we ALL disliked Fallout 4, what would make you special?

    I think it’s fair to say that the dialogue doesn’t exactly sparkle.

  • Twm says:

    I was disappointed how they completely gutted the RPG elements in Fallout 4. The perk system is a terrible replacement for the skill system and makes every build play more or less the same for the first 5-10 levels.

    The shooting is great but I disliked how instead of getting a good variety of guns like in NV you are limited to a small number of guns with slight differences, to make things worse the guns in this game are extremely poorly designed like having the bolt on the wrong side and the combat rifle looking exactly the same as the shotgun.

    Its a fun game if you play it like a shooter but if you want an RPG its very disapointing

  • Art says:

    Honestly I thought that we all disliked it.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Woot! Then I’M special!

  • Art says:

    In fact I can talk for hours about how bad Bethesda games are. But still play them. Because Fallout is Fallout (bongo bongo bongo! This song is so irritating). And in TeS you can roleplay a cat!

  • Bongo – For the Children of Atom, you have to go to meet Virgil (bottom left of the map), that’s where they live, they don’t attack you unless you’re clearing them out for the Minute Men.

    Also with regards to the racing robots, you get the fliers and can go visit, or you can go to, again clear it out for some hassled settlers, as the raiders stole some of their goods.

    All – I easily sunk 100+ hours, I got bored afterwards, the ending wasn’t terrible, but there was going to be a twist from the start. Skyrim main story could be done in 10 hours, but it was still fantastic. Witcher 3 is great, but again, they’re games, not real. They’re catering for huge markets and sadly that means they market at mediocrity.

    Joe – I just got to the part in Half a War where Uthil gets nailed. Brutal.

  • Josh M says:

    Man, I would have loved to read a review on the Witcher 3, Joe. I realize since it came out a while ago that you probably don’t want to do that, but still.
    That said, I’m loving Fallout 4. I’m only like 25 levels in so far though. With Bethesda games I tend to be obsessed with them to start, do millions of side quests, and then eventually burn out and never finish the main questline (FO3, skyrim, Oblivion). I’m hoping that doesn’t happen here

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Wow. Tough crowd.

    Yeah, I played the Witcher earlier in the year – liked it a lot – but never quite got round to a review what with one thing and another. Might have a bit to say about it in due course. Long story short, I think about as good an effort as I’ve ever seen to marry huge open world and great character and narrative. And looks fantastic.

  • Paul P says:

    Joe, regarding long load times, if you haven’t already, get a SSD and install the game on that. My load times are pretty quick with the game installed on a 1TB Samsung 850 EVO. After pulling out my hair over long load times with heavily modded Skyrim on a traditional hard drive, I have since moved all my demanding games onto a SSD and saved my sanity.

  • Paul+P says:

    I like FO4, quite a bit, it can be very immersive. I love the ability to wander and explore. I’ve been ignoring the main story line, just wandering, exploring and shooting when I have to. I’ve logged 100+ hours at this point. But I agree with the comments about over-emphasis of FPS elements versus FO3. I am looking forward to the continued deepening of the mods available for FO4 and eventually I will replay.

    How about a First Law game where I can play Glokta? That would be a game! 🙂

  • Morrigan says:

    You prefer Fallout 3 over the superior-in-every-way New Vegas?

    I feel so betrayed now. 🙁

  • Good review. I must agree with the New Vegas thingy. New Vegas was good, really good. It had that Obsidian (and some Black Isle leftover) touch all over, but it lacked certain things. Fallout 3 was good, surprisingly good, although most of that twisted evil touch was gone from the first two games.

    I also agree with the comments saying Bethesda has that issue. All open world games have that to some extend.

    Fallout 4 is a good game, way better than 3 and NV. It has megatons of improvements over the last two, but it also needs a huge more deal. If they were to pick it as Game of the Year and not Witcher 3, it would have felt wrong.

  • I’m about 100 hours into F4, and mostly enjoying it. I have to agree with the people saying it’s rather shallow compared to previous games though.

    The character seems very constrained with lack of dialogue options, and ways to solve encounters and quests. In fact I’m hard pressed to think of a quest that doesn’t involve just going to a place and shooting everyone there until they’re dead.

    For example, (mild spoiler) I just spent an hour wandering around the sewer lair of a serial killer. The premise was interesting, and the trail of notes left behind by the killer raised the tension to quite high levels. All of this was for nothing though when I suddenly I found myself back at the entrance to the sewer. Had I missed something? I had to check the internet to find out, and it turns out, nope. The whole exciting setup just kind of fizzled out, with no story intrigue or even explanation to what the whole thing was about. It kinda summed up the entire game for me. It just felt… unfinished.

    It just feels so limited compared to Fallout 3 and Skyrim where they both felt like entirely different games on subsequent run-throughs. I can’t honestly see anything I can do differently if I were to start F4 again.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Yeah, New Vegas was better. IF YOU LIVE IN OPPOSITE LAND.

    I can imagine you’re right but, honestly, can’t ever see myself playing a 100 hr game through more than once these days. Just don’t have the time. And, I dunno, seems sorta harsh to complain that a game ONLY has 100 hours of play in it…

  • Sally says:

    I think I’m probably about 100 hours in also and all I’ve done so far is build a luxury kennel for Dogmeat.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    I bet that’s a badass kennel you got there, though.

  • Christian says:

    Joe. All I care about is when your next book is coming out and your review of the Witcher 3. Fallout who? That’s right. I could care less about Fallout. I want to know what you think of THE WITCHER 3. I say again. WIIIITTTTCCCCHHHHEEERRRR TTHREEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

  • Kreso says:

    Hm. I liked it. It was the Elder Scrolls-y…
    Just somehow doesn’t live up to Skyrim, that sword and sorcery world just works better for Bethesda.

    It was a good, solid 8/10 for me.
    Bloodborne was 9/10 and Witcher 3 a full 10/10,
    so as far as this year goes, Fallout was… Good. But not great, for me.

  • James Morton says:

    The only answer to this dilemma is clear. We get you, Patrick Rothfuss, Jesse Bullington, Peter Brett, Chris Wooding, Michael Stackpole and anyone else we can get a hold of…to a make a pitch to Todd Howard to write the main story and all the side quests.

    We can call it Fallout: Half a War or Fallout: The winds of change…you get the idea.

  • Tomek says:

    I liked it, a lot, but as Joe put it, once the boundless Joy wears off and rose tinted glasses come off, I found it lacking. I’ve since left back for Witcher 3, which is superior in many ways. I also wholeheartedly second the notion of having Joe review Witcher 3!
    Also,F4>New Vegas (minus the kick ass ncr Rangers and their armour

  • Chris B says:

    Out of curiosity, did anyone notice a difference playing as a male vs female in how the game unfolded for them?

    I found myself immediately bemused by the story after picking a gal as my character, and subsequently seeing her desire to find her infant son (avenge her husband???) go out the window the second she emerged from the vault 111 in favour of some serious wasteland dumpster diving…

    I understand I could have personally pushed on in a more even manner via an emphasis on the story based missions, but the thrilling urge to “explore/kill/loot/upgrade weapons&armor/repeat” was the defining mechanic of this game, perhaps to the detriment of any thematic or narrative driven development?

    Also, minor quibbles around the dialogue response wheel (PS4 version) feeling oddly uneven/occasionally jarring and, an a times broken factions feature throwing up some head scratchers about player loyalties.

    All said, though a great game and worthy Fallout entry I’d say.

    Also, much appreciated this review and your game reviews in general Joe. Please keep em coming!


  • Joe, I agree my criticisms are harsh considering I’m 100 hours in, and for the most part having a fun time. I’m just measuring the game against the high standards of its predecessors, and only in that regard is it a little disappointing.

    They did all the hard work, but just left much of the roleplay elements that I love out of this one. I’m still enjoying it though.

  • Jesper says:

    I’ve been in love with Fallout ever since I searched for the water chip in the demo of the first game.
    I miss the dark humor and the chances to sometimes do something horrible. In that aspect, it somehow seems like FO4 is too polished, at least in that regards.
    I love how the weapon systems works, I like how it now really makes sense to scavenge alot of crazy stuff, even if it means the immesion gets a bit broken, because you’re constantly fast travelling back to your lair to unload your junk.
    The world is marvelously realized, so many nice details, so much love went into stuff. Like the USS Constitution quest-line.
    Until you realize almost nothing matters. It became obvious on my 2nd play through. I started just pressing random answers, and all the quests progressed in almost the same manner. Except sometimes it would stall, until you accepted their demands. Which usually involved, as someone stated above, killing everything at a certain area.
    As soon as it became obvious to me that my Minutemen quests were sort of randomly generated, it again irked me in that I felt it had no real impact, it was just a time sink.
    I rarely felt invested in the factions, they are stupidly fast to trust you, and there is no feeling that your main characted evolves or develops. The freedom in not being too bound, or forced to be invested, also seems to mean you become shallow. It’s like, the scenery, the wrapping, the box, it’s all amazing, but the story elements put inside it all is rather bland. There are not really any character defining moments, not to me at least.
    I’ve played a little over 120 hours, and I have really loved many of those hours. Maybe I just wanted EVERYTHING from this 1 game, because there is certainly many good things about it. I just wish stuff mattered a bit more.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    I agree with most everything you’re saying. The way each faction would welcome you with open arms, spout a load of off-putting absolutist guff, then give you apparently infinite opportunities to betray them and still welcome you back with open arms was not the strongest feature.

    I certainly agree dialogue was not the strongest feature this time around – I’m not sure how often dialogue options really do make much difference in these sorts of games, though…

  • Chris+B says:


    Those were some pretty spot on criticisms I’d say, especially regarding several immersion breaking mechanics and some of the narrative let downs that were fairly easy to find.

    At one point I recall being heavily invested with three of the four factions before their redundant fetch and retrieval quests suddenly converged on a few run away synthetics hiding out at “Bunker Hill”.

    I don’t know if it was a bug, but not one of the combatants in the resulting battle ever recognized me as an enemy, even though I was supposed to have aligned singularly with the Rail Road from that moment going forward by double-crossing the Institute.

    What’s more, since they were carrying some pretty high end gear I’d been lacking, I ended up killing every single npc in the area, starting with BoS Knights and the Institute Coursers/Synths before training my gun back onto the same Rail Road Heavies I was instructed to help.

    The health bars for every npc in the area never once went red to indicate enemy status, so I walked around the area and V.A.T.S.ed them all down, one by one, with absolutely no consequences to the game’s plot.

    I had more power armour pieces and Gauss Rifles then I knew what to do with, though I felt a little sick wading through a sizable pile of former (and somehow, current) allies with my primary faction laughably ok with this display of wanton, homicidal violence…

    Honestly, it was one of the stranger experiences I’ve had in a game, did you come across anything like that?

  • James Morton says:


    The problem with dialogue in a Bethesda games has always been an issue. In earlier games all NPCs had certain stock phrases that were used for all NPCs of that race. It’d be delivered in a different tone from one used by an NPC who was part of a quest. I also suspect that they didn’t always bother with continuity. Some performances from one sequence would vary from another. I am reminded of Nick Valentine and the odd way he would sound like a bad Bogart impression from time to time.

    I kind of liked the way mass effect did it. It also ditched dialogue options in favor of a certain approach.

  • Sean says:


    I have sunk more hours into Fallout 4 than I’m willing to admit in public. It’s amazing and addicting, and I agree that it is the best of the franchise to date. On my current playthrough, I’m doing something a bit different, and it has made the game experience *very different* and better in almost every way.

    What I’ve done is upped the difficulty setting (varies by person to taste–just make it challenging) and proceeded through the questline in a way that, supposedly, allows you to keep three of the factions as friendly even after completing the game. It’s a legit ending with scripted dialogue and outcome. I’ll provide details if you’d like, but a quick youtube.com search will allow you to find it yourself; I recommend reading the video description rather than watching the video if you’d like to avoid spoilers. The video description provides step by step written instructions.

    The factions like to step on each other’s toes, and aiding one has a tendency to make it stronger and more aggressive. The original discoverer of the “best” ending had to experiment in balancing the factions in order for them to not break down into all-out war with each other, but it is possible to do so. In the end, you can still get quests from the three “more traditional” factions after completing the main quest line.

    Why is doing the above making the game better? I’ve avoided wandering the world in general and doing side-quests so as not to wreck the balance accidentally. In doing so, the main missions have at times played out differently because I hadn’t met X or done Y yet. I’ve been introduced to game elements the way Bethesda scripted it, not in my usual willy-nilly wanderer fashion. It’s been more enjoyable this way.

    Also, I haven’t had time to scrounge and level and become a demi-god of destruction. It’s a real struggle to survive and thus more engaging.

    The game’s just been better, IMO. It’s worth a try if you’re up for it, and not as much of a time-sink as a massive explore-everything play through.

  • Jesper says:

    -> Sean
    That sounds interesting. I remember that actually the most interesting thing about New Vegas was to play on the Hardcore mode, that made it feel a lot more like survival, which was a nice addition.
    I’m curious about it now, thanks 🙂

  • Phil+C says:

    Fallout 4 or Witcher 3, which is the best in game l,ay etc

  • Simon Jones says:

    Speaking of the factions, you do actually have the option to side with the Minutemen in addition to the other three factions. They’ve got their own ending quests and everything.

  • Alejandro says:

    Would be interesting to know your GotY.

    I guess it is between Bloodborne, The Witcher 3 and Fallout 4?

  • Morrigan says:

    New Vegas is superior to FO3 in just about every way. The quest design, world building and the writing is ridiculously better (look at this awesomeness http://i.imgur.com/mAENC.jpg ) and you don’t have endless samey metro tunnels filled with endless supermutants everywhere. New Vegas had better RPG mechanics too; you could solve most quests without combat, unlike FO3 which gated every place behind tunnels upon tunnels of supermutants and bandits, leaving you to a miserable experience until you started putting points into guns (and then the game suddenly becomes piss-easy).

    Since I’m lazy I’m just gonna leave this out here, which details just how dumb FO3 really is (full disclosure, I played NV first, for about 64 hours vs 50 for FO3, so I still sorta enjoyed it briefly, but it was a chore to finish, unlike NV):

    The Blistering Stupidity of Fallout 3

    As for the bugs, they were both about equally buggy for me. I hear NV was buggier than FO3 on PS3 though, so maybe that soured the experience if you played them on console (don’t worry, not gonna go “PC master race” on you, I’m a console gamer through and through but Fallout is just simply better with mods, fan patches, etc.). A friend of mine prefers FO3 pretty much only for that reason, since he played on PS3 and his NV save got corrupted at some point.

  • Morrigan says:

    @Alejandro: He better say Bloodborne, which is the only correct answer! 😀

  • Hawkeye says:

    Morrigan, it takes more than a dodging simulator to get goty. Witcher is the best.

  • Alejandro says:

    I have read more or less all game Reviews here so just some recommendations for games you have missed but could match your taste:

    Wolfenstein The new Order: I am not the biggest FPS fan but this is a really good one. Fantastic storyline. Single Player only. Reminded me of Resistance 3 but was far better.

    Until Dawn: My surprise hit of 2015. Premise sounds cheesy but it has been a fantastic (if a bit short) experience. Great atmosphere and Settings.

    Risen 3: This game made some top 10 lists when it has been released the first time for PC and PS3. Top 10 of worst games of the year 2014 this is.
    However, the new Version for PS4 is much better. Not as good as Gothic 1-3 but it Comes Close. Just ignore the Voodoo guys and go for the Demon Hunters.

    Lords of the Fallen: Similar to Risen 3 a B grade RPG. For the first 2 hours I thought they took Dark Souls and got rid of everything that makes Souls games so fantastic. Clunkier combat, worse atmosphere, bad dialogues etc.
    Once you get used to it you will visit some nice Locations.

  • Pau says:

    I have to agree with the people (I think Joe included?) that prefer Bloodborne and The Witcher 3 over Fallout 4 and MGSV.

    Between those 2 I think Witcher is the better game, but Bloodborne is a better experience. Why? Because even playing on the hardest difficulty if you do all the sidequests from The Witcher 3 (and you really feel compelled to do them), you end up overlevelling your character whereas Bloodborne is ALWAYS a challenge.

    I started Bloodborne: The Old Hunters in NG+ and lv 85 and o my o my, the pain!! Was hard to reach the first boss, but once I did there was no way in Hell I could beat him, so frustrating…and yet so rewarding!

  • Chris Arnott says:

    Bleurgh. Give me easy with good story and side missions. I don’t like to be challenged too much in my video game escapist worlds. I want to run amok in battle and be a shiny star good guy.

    Only just started Fallout 4 last week. Enjoying it but also sidetracked by building. Spent one whole day building rather than doing missions. Should get back to my MA reading really…

    As for the Brotherhood? They don’t get my backing. One mission was enough.

    Loved the first book of the Shattered Sea trilogy by the way. 41 years young adult me. Glad to see the dedication to Skyrim, Last Kingdom and Vikings too. Three story worlds I love. Must try The Witcher 3 too once I’m not so busy.

  • Oscar says:

    “I’m not sure how often dialogue options really do make much difference in these sorts of games, though…”

    Give The Age of Decadence a try, then 😉

  • James Morton says:

    recently finished FO4. I got an ending that left, the BoS, The railroad and the minutemen intact. Not in anyway an exploit or having followed the “process” as laid out in the youtube vid someone spoke about earlier. You concentrate on the main quests, take the minute mens side to take out the institute. I only engaged with the BoS and railroad to a slight degree – but once I entered the institute with Minute mens help – it sort of locked out the other two. It did reduce my involvement with them to repeat missions but I was fine with that.

    What I missed was the “a plague on both your houses” option to end the game, which you sort of had with Fallout: new vegas.

  • Tam says:

    I don’t agree with your take on FO3 compared to NV, and I personally feel that the “Fallout staples” like vault suits and the Brotherhood of Steel are getting very tired and should be moved away from. Other than that, very nice review and would love to see more!

  • Andrew H. says:

    Oh the irony!
    I purchased Fallout 4 last week during a Steam sale, but have yet to play it because I only have one day left to finish ‘The Blade Itself’ before returning it to the library.

    Of course I will then want to finsh the trilogy before I forget who all the characters are, so it may be a while before I am able to travel the wastelands.

    Thanks a lot Joe!

  • Walker says:

    On my original play through I had similar objections. There is actually a method for sparing both the Railroad and Brotherhood, though of course its always possible to re antagonize the Brotherhood later. It’s a bit tricky to get it, and it does require the Institute to be destroyed still which seemed to me an easy thing for the game to have avoided. Minor Spoiler, but in Far Harbor DLC a fairly peaceful ending is available for the new factions, though it can only be achieved by permitting DIMA to “get away” with his old crime, though the regret he carries may be a punishment by itself.

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