Note: I had to download some pics from the web. I normally don’t do that but I’m on my laptop and all my screen shots are on my computer at home. I’ll do better next time but the images I found are similar to the in game experience so it’s not going to be markedly different other than the gear I might have had on.
All Fallout (and Wasteland) games have started somewhat similar. You’re a dude in a vault given a task or motivation to leave and you step out into the blinding site overlooked a wasteland of broken remains of the old civilization and the blight that is now and left after hundreds of years in the vault. With a few exceptions of course.
Fallout 4 starts you out just before the nuclear war starts so you can get an idea of what suburban life is like and give you a small motivation to get you started once you get that far. SPOILER: You end up watching your wife die in her cryo tube and your son taken from her.
Once in the vault you’re told you need to be decontaminated but instead you’re put in a tube of some sort and flash frozen (cryo technology). This is different from all other installments where you end up being a living member either in a vault and then leave or outside the vault in a later date.
So after a short romp inside the remains of the vault, picking up a gun and some ammo and dealing with some pesky rad roaches you’re out in the start contrast to the suburban area you ran from in the beginning. And you’re motivated by one single thought in your mind – to find the guy who took your son and get him back.
Outside in the town you once lived in
Your former life is located not far away from the vault itself. Here you’ll run into your former Mr. Handy Codsworth and he’ll aqaint you with the lowdown and also reminiss about what was lost. It’s clear that Bethesda have invested in actual voice acting and a little bit more meaningful dialogue compared to previous version. It’s completely voice acted, including your characters responses or questions and it feels emotional enough to be believable.
I’m not stating that it’s a brick of gold – such as with the many fleshed out characters like in Borderlands 2, but it’s a much more solid attempt to ‘humanize’ the story elements without adding too many repetitive voices with more canned responses.
Eventually you’ll end up (perhaps) saving some people stuck in a further off town that’ll resettle here and you can try out the new crafting/SIM experience tool that allows you to take a settlement and ‘improve’ it (more about that specifically in a different blog post.
Dog companion, stat
I other versions of Fallout the dog companion was something you worked to obtain. In general it was immediate or basically automatic. I have a sneaking feeling that Bethesda wanted you to get back in familiar territory quickly instead of going through the same motions as before giving you that ‘it’s almost the same’ feeling, but repackaged and prettier. You’ll find this guy across a bridge from the town you start in by a gas station and another area you can pimp out. Just as with the first town it comes with all kind of crafting stations and a hole in the ground (if you check out the clues left behind) with your first fusion core.
Just a simple interaction with the dog will make it your first companion and a useful addition when fighting basic enemy critters, not so much against well armed raiders and death claws. One thing tho. There’s a perk that makes it more useful against armed raiders (he can grab the raiders weapon arm and hold it, making your shots easier) and I have also observed him dragging around feral Ghouls on the ground that makes it easier for you to nail them.
Another difference from previous games is that you will get your hands on a minigun and power armor not long after you meet up with dog and walks into the next town over. This is where you end up saving a bunch of people holed up in a Museum from some nasty raiders. And given the task to find a fusion core and take the power armor on the roof and the mini gun and deal with the rest of the attackers.
It is also where you get a first hand experience of a deathclaw.
First – deathclaws much like all other creatures now have more interesting attack patterns. Most of them no longer just run towards you (altho sometimes you’ll see them running logged against an object without getting too you – familiar pathing issue for Bethesda products using this engine). Mole rats will surprise attack, then run off and dig themselves into the ground and pop up elsewhere, raiders will peek out from objects and fire at you and the deathclaw like this one will bob and weave from side to side making firing at it harder. And it’s fast. And hits very hard. Even when you wear a power armor.
This adds to the game itself. Creatures don’t appear too predictable and stupid eventho they’re not perfect. And it provides a tactical element where you sorta have to think on the go and try to get the upper hand on them.
The one exception to this are feral ghouls. They’re pretty much will go right for you so they can rip you open.
Personally I like the fact that you get your hands on these things early. It gets you familiar with how things work now (power armor isn’t just something heavy you wear, it’s a portable tank armor). And I like the new power armor because it’s not just damage reduction – it’ll pretty much deflect almost all shots until one segment gets damaged enough.
It also lets you jump off buildings without taking fall damage. But there is one catch and it’s big. It runs on fusion cores which are at least in the beginning very rare. So while you have a few badass moments you won’t be walking around everywhere in power armor stomping mole rats and mongrel dogs. You’ll save it like I did for when it’s needed – like when I saved a bunch of people from a raider gang that had taken over some factory or something and you have to fight off more than a dozen of them. Having a ‘can’t hurt me now’ thing is for better words ‘useful’. Until concentrated fire blows parts of your armor off that is.