In 2015, Bethesda Game Studios brought the post-apocalyptic landscape to life once again with Fallout 4, the latest instalment in the iconic Fallout series. Released on the PlayStation 4, Fallout 4 sought to redefine the open-world RPG experience with a revamped crafting system, a compelling narrative, and an expansive Commonwealth Wasteland to explore.
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The Commonwealth Unveiled: A Sprawling Playground of Ruin
Fallout 4 introduces players to the Commonwealth, a wasteland teeming with danger, intrigue, and the remnants of a once-thriving civilisation. The PlayStation 4, with its enhanced processing power and graphics capabilities, breathes life into the Commonwealth with stunning visuals, dynamic weather, and an attention to detail that immerses players in the post-nuclear apocalypse.
The scale and complexity of the Commonwealth, from the urban ruins of Boston to the irradiated wilderness, showcase the technical prowess of the PlayStation 4. The draw distances, lighting effects, and environmental details contribute to a sense of scale and realism that sets Fallout 4 apart in the open-world genre.
At the heart of Fallout 4 is a deeply personal narrative. Players assume the role of the Sole Survivor, emerging from cryogenic stasis to find their spouse murdered and their infant son, Shaun, kidnapped. The search for Shaun propels the player through the harsh realities of the Commonwealth, encountering factions, settlements, and moral dilemmas along the way.
The male sole survivor or ‘Nate’ has a back story of serving in the military against the Chinese invasion and the female sole survivor or ‘Nora’ is a lawyer. This game differs by showing you the time before the bombs dropped. In their typical 1950/60s inspired home, the news breaks that the bombs have started dropping and must rush to their nearest bomb shelter.
Safety and protection is not found however, the family is placed into stasis and woken up eventually in a dark Institute plot that you will see play out.
The PlayStation 4 allows for seamless transitions between story-driven moments and open-world exploration. The improved character animations, facial expressions, and voice acting contribute to a more emotionally resonant experience, elevating Fallout 4’s narrative beyond its predecessors.
- Minutemen: based on the Minutemen from colonial times who were ordinary people prepared to take up arms at a ‘minutes notice’. On the back foot when the Sole Survivor meets them but with a bit of hard work can regrow them to be the defining force of the Commonwealth.
- Brotherhood of Steel: this Brotherhood chapter is led by Elder Maxon, the child you find in the Citadel in Fallout 3. Well equipped with Liberty Prime and a blimp called the Prydwen and enough firepower to level a city the Brotherhood seem a great choice. However, this chapter has gone back to their old xenophobic ways, wanting to stamp out anything not human.
- The Railroad: secretive and full of code-names, the Railroad calls back to its past of being a group helping synths escape their life of slavery. Secretive organisations mean they have very low numbers so couldn’t police the Commonwealth even if they wanted to.
- The Institute: the Commonwealth bogeymen first met in Fallout 3’s Rivet City. A huge technologically advanced hidden group, who send out their synths into the wasteland to do their bidding. Which at the moment is kidnapping settlers and replacing them with Synth spies, meaning no one trusts anyone anymore.
- Children of Atom: religious fanatics devoted to the divine action of splitting the atom. In the base game you can find a group of them in the Glowing Sea but it isn’t till Far Harbour where you really see this groups strength. Previous engagements with them show them as a religious cult, in Far Harbour however they are more like a Holy Crusade force.
- Super Mutants:a staple of the Fallout series, the Super Mutants of the Commonwealth act in the same ways to other Super Mutants but these know nothing of the Masters army instead being created by the Institute experimenting with the Forced Evolutionary Virus.
- Raiders: your typical Mad Max inspired psychos.
- Gunners: taking the place of Talon Company in the Commonwealth, the Gunners are ruthless mercenaries taking any job no matter how dirty. When you come across them in the wastes act more like heavily armed raiders.
- Rust Devils: new to the Automatron DLC the Rust Devils are simple raiders with a robotic twist. Using assaultron blades as weapons and crafting armour out of robot parts.
- The Disciples: blood thirsty and very gothy, the Disciples favour bladed weapons and are the more sadistic of the factions.
- The Pack: relying on their own brute force and animalistic tendencies the Pack act just like that…a pack.
- The Operators: a more clean cut and precise gang, less mindless killers more precise assassins.
One of Fallout 4’s defining features is the introduction of settlement building. The PlayStation 4’s architecture empowers players to construct and customise their own settlements, from modest shantytowns to sprawling fortresses. The crafting system, while occasionally complex, adds a layer of creativity and player agency that extends beyond the main quest line. With the introduction to modding to the game comes features that help massively, like no clip and built limit removal.
The Settlement system, despite facing some technical limitations on the PlayStation 4, resonated with players, offering a tangible connection to the game world. The ability to shape the Commonwealth according to the player’s vision and witness settlements thriving or faltering added a new dimension to the Fallout experience.
Fallout 4 enhances the companion system, allowing players to form deep connections with a diverse cast of characters in an almost Bioware approach. The companions, each with their own personalities, stories, and unique abilities, create an interesting and dynamic approach to this game. The PlayStation 4’s hardware capabilities contribute to more realistic and emotionally expressive companions, fostering relationships that extend beyond mere gameplay mechanics. Once at a certain bond level the companions will give you unique perks and dialogues and have a romance mechanic.
All companions (not including craft-able automatrons)
- Codsworth: The Sole Survivors faithful pre-war mister handy butler. With a soft-spoken british accent with hints of hysteria, Codsworth really is a lot of fun to bring along with you and makes sense for story reasons.
- Dogmeat: DOGMEAT IS BACK…sorry but nothing is better than traversing a ruined state with an ever-trusting, ever-loving and never judging furry companion.
- Cait: the Irish Lass Kicker is found fighting in a Raider combat arena for money. The Sole Survivor takes over her contract and becomes close friends. Funny comments and great in a fight Cait is a great choice for a companion in Fallout 4.
- Piper: the nosey reporter of Diamond City. Inquisitive, stubborn and no-nonsense Piper has the local knowledge that is helpful for a person out of time.
- Preston Garvey: the reluctant leader of the remnants of the Minuteman after their devastating betrayal and loss at Qunicy. Preston really does get a hard time for telling you about settlements that need your assistance all the time, but he means well. Loyal to a fault and trusts the Sole Survivors Judgment to become the General of the Minutemen and will support your decisions on war in a heartbeat.
- Curie: science is in the nam, for this French accented scientific Mrs Handy robot. Found while exploring the hidden areas of Vault 81, Curie wants to experience and discover all there is to know about the wasteland, and you even have the opportunity to give her a new synth body.
- Paladin Danse: Steel isn’t as strong as Brotherhood. Paladin Danse recruits the Sole Survivor in a recon mission for parts to call in the rest of the Brotherhood. He field promotes you to Initiate and takes you under his wing. Stoic and smart, Danse is a great choice for companion even without his hundred odd pounds worth of power armour.
- Deacon: a companion shouldn’t be two faced, Deacon has more than that. An agent in the mysterious Railroad who helps sponsor your entry into the group. A funny and interesting character but falls behind due to being in one of the worst factions in Fallout.
- Hancock: this ghoulified mayor would make a Goodneighbour. Hancock is widely known and respected throughout the Commonwealth and commands any room they enter. Tough and with a lax attitude to rules, John Hancock is a signature companion in Fallout 4.
- MacCready: mungo murderer MacCready makes his return in Fallout 4. This time all grown up the former mayor of Little Lamplight back in DC is now a mercenary for hire in the Commonwealth, with his goal being able to make a lot of caps to help his family.
- Nick Valentine: a synth and a private detective…so you’re telling me Fallout 4 has Inspector Gadget? Valentine is probably the biggest stand out companion in Fallout 4. Funny and a good guy at his base processing, Nick will throw himself into the flames to help the Sole Survivor find his son. He allows a processor from a killer to be implanted in his own head for you to look through and will follow you into the glowing sea of radiation in the bottom of the map.
- Strong: a friendly super mutant who wants to discover the milk of human kindness…and drink it. Taught about stories of humans by a captured radio host, Strong is imprisoned by his own kind before the Sole Survivor saves him and he can tag along as a biological tank.
- X6-88: how could the wasteland become any more dangerous? Put some Terminators in. X6-88 is a high-level synthetic “recovery agent” for the Institute. Fast, accurate and near indestructible X6-88 is a formidable foe for your enemies.
- Ada: you can’t program feelings, or can you? You meet Ada at the start of the Automatron DLC after her caravan is attacked by the forces of the Mechanist. She then seeks revenge for her makers death and assists the Sole Survivor in taking down the Mechanist.
- Gage: a miracle to reach middle age in this profession. You meet raider Porter Gage in Nuka World. After being around the block quite a few times now acts as an advisor for the old Overboss and again for the Sole Survivor after they take over that mantle. Coarse and violent this old Raider is an experienced set of hands to take with you.
- Old Longfellow: Far Harbour is the hardest section of DLC in Fallout 4, so why not take the most experienced hunter and guide with you?
Radiant Quests and Exploration
Fallout 4 introduces radiant quests, dynamically generated missions that offer endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. So you can sit back and venture into uncharted territories, uncovering hidden stories, and facing unpredictable challenges.
By radiant quests that does mean alot of settlement defense.
The Commonwealth is filled with points of interest, from abandoned buildings to irradiated swamps, and the PlayStation 4’s graphical capabilities render these environments with a level of detail that encourages exploration. The dynamic weather system and day-night cycle further contribute to the immersive nature of the game world.
One part of this wasteland that really lets the side down is the lack of really great settlements. Clearly with the idea being you create your own, which is great, Diamond City is not anywhere near as large or detailed as places like The Strip, Megaton, Carbon or even Tenpenny Tower.
A feature wanted by console gamers for years finally arrived on Fallout 4, with Todd Howard revealing there will be the ability to mod your console games. This gave console players the ability to have Macho Man Deathclaws, hyper realistic 4K weaponry and really embrace the incredible work that people in the modding community do.
Developers however faced backlash with the introduction of the ‘Creation Club’ an area for paid mods. Both mod makers and users pushed back against this. The ‘Creation Club’ is still there but as an option for people to use alongside a free modding portal.
Released on the PlayStation 4 periodically after the main game came out, these expansions added layers of complexity, storytelling, and gameplay elements to the post-apocalyptic adventure.
Automatron: Return of the Mechanist
Automatron kicked off Fallout 4’s DLC lineup, re-introducing the Mechanist and a horde of rogue robots threatening the Commonwealth. The DLC added a new quest line, customisable robot companions, and the ability to create and modify robotic allies.
On the PlayStation 4, Automatron showcased the game’s crafting system, allowing players to intricately design and customise their robotic companions. You can either craft a new robot pal from scratch using parts you scavenge off the new enemy faction the Rust Devils or you can customise the Sole Survivors pre-war robot butler Codsworth.
The DLC’s mix of action, crafting, and a touch of humour set the stage for what would follow, expanding the player’s arsenal and offering a taste of the possibilities within the Commonwealth, and reinforce what the Fallout series does best.
Wasteland Workshop shifted the focus to settlement building, introducing a plethora of new construction options and features. The DLC allowed players to capture and tame creatures, set up arena battles, and create elaborate traps for unwelcome guests.
On the PlayStation 4, Wasteland Workshop capitalised on the platform’s processing power to offer a smoother and more expansive settlement-building experience. The DLC appealed to players who enjoyed the creative aspect of Fallout 4, providing new tools to shape the Commonwealth in unique and often amusing ways.
Far Harbour: The Fog of War
Far Harbour took players on a boat ride to the mysterious island of Far Harbour, where a conflict between synths, locals, and the Children of Atom unfolds. This expansion introduced a new landmass, complex moral decisions, and a storyline that delved into the origins of the synths.
Obviously inspired by Fallout 3’s Point Lookout DLC, Far Harbour takes you to a coastal and swampy area with a much higher difficulty and harder faster enemies.
On the PlayStation 4, Far Harbour demonstrated the platform’s ability to render diverse environments, from the eerie fog-covered landscape to the irradiated horrors lurking beneath the surface. The DLC’s atmospheric design, multiple endings, and challenging decisions expanded the narrative scope of Fallout 4, providing arguably the most compelling and memorable DLC experience in Fallout 4.
Contraptions Workshop continued the trend of enhancing settlement building, introducing a variety of conveyor belts, sorting machines, and elaborate contraptions for players to experiment with. While less narrative-driven, the DLC appealed to players who enjoyed the intricate art of crafting within the Fallout universe.
On the PlayStation 4, Contraptions Workshop*leveraged the platform’s capabilities to smoothly integrate the new construction elements into the settlement-building experience. The DLC’s emphasis on creativity and automation showcased the versatility of Fallout 4’s crafting system, as well as giving you the ability to craft components from scratch.
The crafting DLC’s did receive backlash from players not interested in the mechanic, but for those who are will enrich the Fallout 4 experience more than anything.
Vault-Tec Workshop: I got 88 problems, but nukes aren’t one
Vault-Tec Workshop took settlement building quite literally to new depths, by allowing players to construct their own vaults. This expansion also provided a unique narrative in which players become the overseer of a vault, managing its inhabitants and conducting experiments while struggling with their own internal struggle of previously being a Vault-Tec experiment.
On the PlayStation 4, Vault-Tec Workshop showcased the platform’s ability to handle complex construction and management systems and is a genuine feat of size and scale from a crafting element. The DLC offered a change of pace, allowing players to play the role of an overseer and decide whether to explore the darker side of Vault-Tec’s experiments.
Nuka-World: Raiders, Rides and Soda oh my!
Nuka-World served as the final major DLC for Fallout 4, transporting players to the dilapidated Nuka-World amusement park. The expansion introduced a new region, multiple new raider factions, and the opportunity for players to embrace a more nefarious path.
One problem that Fallout 4 gives you is that your main character was a soldier/lawyer BEFORE the war. Without the opportunity to change who they are to fit into the new world and embarking on a morally good quest of finding your infant son and getting revenge for the murder of your spouse. All this means that in an RPG element it is difficult to justify your character becoming a violent warlord.
This new DLC however really changes that, you enter Nuka-World by running the dreaded gauntlet before taking over all the raider gangs. At which point you can set your sites back into the wastes, beating settlements into submission.
Fallout 4 on the PlayStation 4 is a testament to the evolution of the Fallout series and the capabilities of modern gaming platforms. The game successfully marries a captivating narrative with an expansive open world, offering players a chance to shape their own destinies in the Wasteland.
The PlayStation 4, with its enhanced processing power and graphical fidelity, elevates Fallout 4 into a visually stunning and immersive experience. The Commonwealth Wasteland, with its dynamic storytelling, settlement building, and memorable companions, stands as a testament to Bethesda Game Studios’ commitment to evolving the post-apocalyptic RPG genre.
As players continue to traverse the irradiated landscapes of the Commonwealth on the PlayStation 4, Fallout 4 remains a cornerstone in the Fallout series, leaving an indelible mark on the gaming landscape and solidifying its place as a modern classic in the RPG genre.
- I like settlement building so theres that
- Great companions
- So much customisation
- Varied areas to explore from the glowing sea to the city to islands
- The settlements just aren’t as good as previous titles
- Over complicated stories
- Missing a bit of the humour and oddness of previous games