2015 is the year for newcomers. The video game industry has never been better, not only are global revenues for 2015 projected towards $91.5 billion; a 9.4% increase from the previous year, but video games themselves are becoming an increasingly validated form of entertainment with compelling story-telling. In this year we have seen a convergence of long awaited sequels coming into the larger gaming audience. Recent installments of popular franchises have been met with high-scoring reviews and peaked interest inside and outside the longtime fans. So whether you are a hardcore fan of a longtime series or completely missed entire franchises, great games are coming out that you should be paying attention to.
50 Million Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong
What is Fallout and why do people keep talking about it? I know I’m in the minority of gamers with this thought but hey, I’m listening now! Bethesda’s announcement of Fallout 4 gave millions of gamers a massive nerdgasm during E3. So much so, that even as an individual who had no experience with the radiation soaked RPG, I felt a strange tingling in my loins. Was I ready for the massively huge discussion tree and spacious world that I knew nothing about? Would you give War & Peace to a first grader? Probably not. And honestly, that’s what I felt like when downloading the title into my Xbox One, scared of the possibilities and the unknown. But hey, let’s give it a try!
Fallout 4 eases you in with a wonderfully versatile character customization window, allowing you to create a unique character with blemishes, scaring and a number of other distinguishing features that ultimately become hidden inside a raider helmet for the beginning of my game. (Only later did I realize I could take the helmet off and switch my clothes to more casual threads when looking to boost my Charisma or other perks). Fallout 4 prides itself in customization and creating an identity within the game. I could be playing this game drastically different from any of my friends. In fact, Mike (another co-host of this fine podcast) is playing and our stories and game plays differ quite a bit.
After playing Halo, Destiny and Battlefront, the graphics of Fallout are underwhelming in the first couple of hours. But then again, this is my first Bethesda RPG. What they may lack in graphical output, they provide in content, content and — what’s that over there? Oh, more content! It’s strange to go from a grinding MMO FPS to this mutated behemoth of a single-player open world RPG but… I kind of love it.
The Exclusive Club
Fallout 4 is immense, varied and very unique. It is unlike any game I have ever played before. As I continue to make my way through the unforgiving world of the Commonwealth, I am reminded of something Stan Lee would remind the authors at Marvel: “Every comic is somebody’s first comic”. Meaning someone might not know what you’re talking about if Thor battles Fin Fang Foom after M.O.D.O.K. randomly assembles a laser to destroy a world in issue 4 of a 6 part series. Don’t assume the reader has read it all, give them some context! For how much there is to learn inside Fallout 4, the developers provide little to no instruction. I find myself Googling simple tasks to gain more access to the seemingly exclusive club of ‘Fallout Fans’. Bethesda is not in the business of holding hands.
The beginning of Fallout 4 was a bit discombobulating for newbies. In one minute you’re frantically facing off between a miniature Brumak-like creature called a Deathclaw and in the next, you’re trying to line up the edges of a fence. Action and pacing are simmering, but not in a bad way. Bethesda has taken the slow cooker approach to the savory goodness inside Fallout and I applaud them for it. While it took me a good hour and a half to complete one side mission, I found it relaxing yet compelling. A player could easily play for 3 hours without ever feeling like they made a dent to massive game but still coming away with a new experience and some sweet loot (e.g., battered clipboards, stuffed monkeys, aluminum cans).
Towards the end of my first 24 hours of gameplay I start to figure out that there’s a very specific finesse to Fallout. Certain skills give out very specific perks that could help or hinder your play style and outcomes of persuasion, pick-ups and potential deals. You can change your looting routine and have that impact your settlement, armor, weapons and food crafting. Certain clothing and consumables (especially in tandem) effect the outcome of discussion trees and fire fights. Even saving and loading save files is a game within Fallout 4, it really is a brand new world. Without ever playing a Fallout game, I am excited I gave this title a try. It might be slow at times and unforgiving with scarce instruction but it is an addicting jet of mutated joy. My conclusion? Jump on the bandwagon (assuming you haven’t already). Now’s the time to challenge your comfort-zone!