Why its okay if Fallout 4 looks like Fallout 3
Let me just start off by saying, Fallout is my jam. Jam and toast. I've played since the original Fallout was a $10 bargain PC game. So, naturally, I am here to defend it. Recently, Fallout 4 has come under some scrutiny because of the Gamescom gameplay trailer.
Some of the criticisms say that it looks like Fallout 3 dragged some in-game objects over to Fallout 4, close-ups of NPCs look rough, and facial expressions lack realism. All of these things may end up being true. However, the series has always recycled past game objects, textures, and landscapes. Not only did Fallout and Fallout 2 look almost identical, the new gen games look very similar as well. The most dramatic change between the two is just their place from the once lush D.C to the always barren Mojave.
But graphics aren't why we play Fallout
Honestly, it's not even the main bullet point goal of "find a G.E.C.K." Fallout 2 and Fallout 3 had this same end goal. What makes a Fallout game a Fallout game is the lore, the journey, and the immersion. That's why the replay value is so high; you just know you haven't seen everything or met everyone who might have a problem.
After 400 hours in both 3 and New Vegas, I don't open metal boxes or desks anymore searching for loot. I'm looking for a side quest I may have missed, reading dossiers about NCR rations, or taking in the wasteland and contemplating how the hell it got to this.
I understand that graphics affect immersion. The smoother and more realistic the graphics are, the better the experience most players will have. However, I'm willing to sacrifice amazing graphics for an even more amazing story and mechanics that Bethesda has always delivered. In the end, I'll remember the story more.
Fallout is a war game. The post-apocalyptic future isn't pretty, but it is exciting and engaging. That's what keeps us coming back.