Meta-review: Fallout 4 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Fallout4I try to avoid hyperbole whenever possible, but it is hard to avoid when you talk about something as monumental as a new Fallout game, the release of which is probably one of, if not the biggest release of the current generation of hardware in its importance. Bethesda’s main studio and its head Todd Howard are notoriously patient between releases of their franchises. The last numbered Fallout game (not including New Vegas) came out way back in 2008. That is a long time for fans of any franchise, but whenever a fan-base is as rabid as Fallout’s, that makes a game’s release all that more special. Thankfully, if you are to take the reviewers at face value, such a long wait has been worth it. Fallout 4 appears to excel at it’s world building giving you one of gaming’s best sandboxes to date. The same cannot be said, sadly, for its technical achievements. Bethesda games have always had a certain amount of jankiness to them, however after so many games released with so many issues, it appears some are finding it harder to forgive Bethesda, such as Giant Bomb’s Jeff Gerstmann.

Check out the reviews below:

Fallout4PowerArmorGames Radar+: There’s a whole world here to discover and even after all the time I’ve spent in it I barely feel like I’ve scratched the surface. Maybe I won’t tick everything off the list but just trying to see what’s out there is the real draw – for all the missions, quests and other stuff Fallout 4 contains, by far the most important thing in it are the decisions I’ve made. Few games nail a feeling of total freedom and this is an experience made of nothing but that. (5/5)

The Jimquisition: Even as I wrap up the review, there are a dozen things I could still talk about. Using your settlements as farms to earn income, playing retro game pastiches on your Pip-Boy, defending your home from raider attacks, there’s so much going on, so many little additions, that it would take another 3,000 words to go into everything. The changes made overall may scare series fans, but those who roll with the differences may find a sleeker, deeper, altogether more captivating Fallout than they’ve gotten used to. Fallout 4 is something special. Something special indeed. (9.5/10)

Game Trailers: For the last decade, Bethesda games have had similar issues, and it’s getting harder to forgive. Somehow, in spite of everything, Fallout 4 consumed us. When we’re not wandering the wastes, it overwhelms our thoughts as we ponder where to go, which faction to pursue, and what weapon to try next. Fallout 4 is flawed in very serious ways, but it’s also the only thing we want to do. (9/10)

Forbes: In my mind, Fallout 4’s greatest triumph, and its one major point of evolution is in its storytelling, crafting a lengthy, unexpected ending and resolution that I will remember for years to come. It also remains one of the best games in existence for those who simply like to wander and explore and unearth long-buried secrets. But it struggles with archaic gameplay systems and an inflexible engine that anchor the game to the past for all the wrong reasons. Fans may enjoy more Fallout and a brand new map to explore, but this sequel will not be heralded as revolutionary or overly impressive this time around. (8.5/10)

Giant Bomb: But the glitchy technical issues appear across the board in every version of the game. In that, Fallout 4 is universal. As such, a big part of deciding if you want to play Fallout 4 becomes a personal inventory of your desire to either revel in these glitches or your patience at dealing with them, should they appear. As someone who has really appreciated this line of games in both its Fallout and Elder Scrolls flavors, Fallout 4 was still harder to swallow than I initially suspected it would be. It’s another one of those games, for better and for worse.

Follow Tom on Twitter @thomaskagar

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