Fallout 4 is almost everything I hoped for in a sequel to Fallout 3.
The story is much better, albeit a bit confusing, than Fallout 3’s story; the gunplay has been drastically improved thanks to Machine Games and completely eliminates the over-reliance on V.A.T.S that ruined Fallout 3 gun combat. Animations have been majorly improved to contribute to a more organic world, down to lip movements (though they could still use work).
The graphics are not CryEngine 4 and that’s okay, because they look spectacular regardless – especially with mods. For Bethesda’s second entry, they have honestly improved the graphics more than anyone thought they themselves were capable, and the results in this game can be glorious, even without mods or Bethesda’s own 4K texture pack.
As far as crafting and building goes, the crafting from Skyrim and New Vegas is in the game except ammo, armor, and weapon crafting. You can modify weapons and armor, but not create them out right. However, mods already exist to do all of those things. The settlement building is great although a little unpolished and I expect it will only improve over time.
Voice acting is much better than Fallout 3, though the game doesn’t feature as many high profile actors like Malcom McDowell or Liam Neeson. It’s been made up for with far more voice actors and significantly more voiced dialog that helps NPCs all stand out. However, with the dialog itself it has to be said – they dumbed down the conversations a tad bit too much. Fortunately for PC users and probably on console, there are mods to fix these design flaws.
The RPG mechanics are a bit sparse and don’t seem to make sense at times, or exist, but that’s not a deal breaker. Compared to even FO3 and FO:NV, there is rarely more than one way to deal with a situation or finish a quest, which is often expounded by the options not always matching the description – almost to a Mass Effect level of inconsistency. When there is, it usually feels even cheaper than the skill/stat checks in Fallout 3. Subsequently, the lack of true RPG choices makes FO4 feel more like a thinly veiled Bioshock type shooter than one of gamings oldest RPG franchises.
Despite that, FO4 is easily the best of the new generation of Fallout titles already, with official mod support not even finished and DLC not ready yet. Plus, the soundtrack is superb – they’ve included all the good songs from Fallout 3, added a whole lot more, and there’s a classical station that plays excellent songs from Mozart, Wagner, Grieg, and others.
If you do not already own the season pass at the original price, I advise waiting for the inevitable GOTY version. There is absolutely nothing in the DLC that is a must have, I assure you. Bethesda made it seem like they were going to support DLC for this game for months, and the reality now at E3 2016 is that Nuka World will be the last DLC. So there are 3 The Sim’s content packs basically, two real expansions, and a mini-DLC that has one quest chain and the ability to build robots. Compared to FO3 and New Vegas – FO3 having 5 full length DLCs (you might argue it was too much) and NV having 3 real expansions, this is disappointing. Furthermore – as far as the “workshop” packs go, you can literally do 100% of these things using community made mods that came out beforehand (and where Bethesda undoubtedly took the ideas from).