Now that All the DLC is Out, Was Fallout 4 a Worthy Successor to the Series?
Remember those doldrums between Fallout 3 / New Vegas and Fallout 4, when the years just kept dragging on with no reliable information of any kind coming out? The fan base got rowdy as the Earth kept revolving around the sun with Bethesda remaining tight lipped. There was a time when the poor company couldn't post anything on Facebook without 100 or so comments of this image:
But then it finally happened – that magical day in November of 2015 arrived, and we got to explore the nuclear wasteland once again! While there were naysayers from the first couple of trailers, most fans were waiting with baited breath for what was sure to be a masterpiece.
Only it really wasn't.
We got a minor graphical upgrade, but otherwise Fallout 4 was really a step back in most directions. There was a near complete loss of those interesting conversation aspects that changed based on how you made your character, with different ways of tackling situations if you focused on Science or had a ton of points in a specific gun skill, etc.
It was yet again the same old story, with the Sole Survivor going off looking for a missing family member in the wasteland, but here the story seriously constrained your actions. There was really no ability to go nuts upon realizing the world has ended and give in to post-apocalyptic apathy or rage. Instead, you play as a guy who immediately does what everyone wants while he searches for his son.
Lack Of Options
Remember back in Fallout 3 when Moira sent you off to investigate different creatures and areas to write her wasteland survival guide? You could half-ass the quest to give moderately useful info that might not help, go all gung-ho and get even more info than was requested to build an ultimate guide, or outright lie to Moira's face so her “survival guide” would be full of errors that would kill people.
Then think forward to New Vegas and the Come Fly With Me quest. You could help the ghouls launch their rocket to an irradiated paradise or change the trajectory so it crashed into the ground. You could even tell Chris that he's actually human and convince him to either forgive or hate the ghouls – both resulting in different responses down the line.
While there are some branching quest lines in Fallout 4, there's really nothing of that caliber happening all throughout the story, as there was in the previous two games. Gone are the days where a high Speech score (or in some hilarious cases, an ultra low Intelligence stat) meant you could radically change a quest and complete it entirely without combat.
Due to the full voice acting and dumbed down conversation wheel, there's really only two ways to go about this game.
The main way is to always be helpful, continuously returning to the obnoxious Preston Garvey for yet another freaking settlement that needs your assistance and always offering to be a roving paladin of righteousness. Sure, you can take the sarcastic and rude dialog choice first, but you'll still then have to agree to help whoever is asking for it.
Remember how I mentioned there were two ways? The second way is to play through while wearing the Silver Shroud outfit, which unlocks unique dialog with companions as well as NPCs throughout Automatron, Nuka World, and parts of the base game. It's nice that there's at least some kind of option for a different experience, but its really more of an Easter egg afterthought than a legitimately different way to play the character.
A Changing Game With The Season Pass
Now that all the DLC packs are out and the season pass is complete, Fallout 4 is finally a complete experience, and we have to ask ourselves – was this game actually a worthy successor to the series in its final form?
First, let's take a look back at what was added with each DLC and how it changed the base game in various ways.
The significantly more immersive robot building options from the Automatron DLC added in a much-needed element that had me finally playing the game again for extended periods, hunting down each type of weapon or body part. There were some bizarre and amazing combos that could be built, and that crafting aspect had me hooked much more strongly than settlement building or weapon upgrading.
The Wasteland Workshop DLC added in some cool options if settlement building was something you were interested in, but was mostly a minor diversion. Since you typically aren't going to spend much time in one single settlement (and modders had already drastically increased the building options), there wasn't a lot of meat there.
If the Wasteland Workshop was a minor diversion, then the Contraptions Workshop was just an outright waste of time. Sure, it was fun to put somebody in the stocks or build a Willy Wonka conveyor belt system for an afternoon, but honestly I've never bothered with any of those options since the first day that DLC was installed.
Far Harbor was finally a DLC of actual worth, adding in a fantastic (and huge) new area filled to the brim with creepy atmosphere and interesting story as you helped the fisherman or joined in the battle between DiMA and the Children of Atom. While the new companion wasn't all that interesting, this area as a whole was more fun to explore than a lot of the base Commonwealth area. Although it saw accusations of plagiarism on Bethesda's part, that Brain Dead quest was probably the high point of the entire game.
Much like with the previous Workshop DLCs, the extra settlement building options next presented by the Vault-Tec Workshop had very little story content, and the ability to map out and customize your own vault was already available (and done better) through mods. Honestly, this one should have been a side quest in the base game, and not a paid expansion.
The Sole Survivor finally, finally got to be bad with Nuka World, which is probably the best of the DLC. The different areas of the amusement park are varied and entertaining, with lots of fun little nods to other series (tell me you don't think of both Tremors and Jurassic Park in Dry Rock Gulch!). Adding in the Nuka Mixing machine crafting option again kept me hunting down ingredients in ways I never cared to do in the Commonwealth.
The End Result
Alright, it's time to finally come down to it and pony up that answer: was Fallout 4 a worthy successor to the series after all the season pass is now complete? Although it pains me, I'm going to have to go with a hard “No.”
Thinking back to my experiences across the series, I actually had more fun with the much-maligned Fallout Tactics than with Bethesda's latest entry. This sort of feels like a pretender to the throne more than a real Fallout game, as the story, quests, and options from Far Harbor and Nuka World were actually better than the base game.
This sort of feels like a pretender to the throne than a real Fallout game, as the story, quests, and options from Far Harbor and Nuka World were actually better than the base game.
Without those expansions it would be difficult to recommend part 4 of the series at all, and even with them it's sort of a hard sell. One was decent, three were basically pointless, and only two were legitimately good. This might have been the Fallout we inpatient fans deserved, but it definitely wasn't the Fallout that we wanted.
It might be time to hand the reins back over to another developer for the next entry, as was done with New Vegas, or Bethesda really needs to go back to the drawing board and re-think their wasteland vision for Fallout 5.
Sorry guys, as a whole this Fallout entry was a let down