Fallout 4 is an action role playing game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. It is the fourth main game in the Fallout series and was released worldwide on November 10, 2015, for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game is set within an open world post-apocalyptic environment that encompasses the city of Boston and the surrounding Massachusetts region known as “The Commonwealth”. It makes use of a number of local landmarks, including Bunker Hill, Fort Independence, and Old North Bridge near Concord, as the bridge out of Sanctuary Hills.
The main story takes place in the year 2287, ten years after the events of Fallout 3 and 210 years after “The Great War”, which caused catastrophic nuclear devastation across the United States. The player assumes control of a character referred to as the “Sole Survivor”, who emerges from a long-term cryogenic stasis in Vault 111, an underground nuclear fallout shelter. After witnessing the murder of their spouse and kidnapping of their son, the Sole Survivor ventures out into the Commonwealth to search for their missing child. The player explores the game’s dilapidated world, completes various quests, helps out factions, and acquires experience points to level up and increase the abilities of their character. New features to the series include the ability to develop and manage settlements and an extensive crafting system where materials scavenged from the environment can be used to craft drugs and explosives, upgrade weapons and armor, and construct, furnish and improve settlements. Fallout 4 also marks the first game in the series to feature full voice acting for the protagonist.
Fallout 4 received positive reviews from critics with many praising the world depth, player freedom, overall amount of content, crafting, and soundtrack, while criticism was mainly directed at the game’s visuals and technical issues. The game was a commercial and critical success, generating $750 million within the first 24 hours of its launch, and received numerous accolades from various gaming publications and award events, including the respective awards for Game of the Year and Best Game at the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences and British Academy Games Awards. Bethesda has released six downloadable content add-ons, including the expansions Far Harbor and Nuka-World.
Fallout 4 is an action role-playing game set in an open world environment. Gameplay is similar to that of Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, the two previous primary iterations in the series. But unlike the previous two titles, the gun-gameplay was handled by id Software. Returning features include a camera that can switch between a first-person and third-person perspective. Fallout 4 introduces features including a layered armor system, base-building, a dialogue system featuring 111,000 lines of dialogue, and a crafting system which implements every lootable object in the game. Enemies such as Mole Rats, Raiders, Super Mutants, Deathclaws, and Feral Ghouls return along with the companion Dogmeat.
The player has the ability to freely roam in the game’s world and leave a conversation at any time. If the player has discovered a certain location they may fast travel to it. Weapons can be customized too; the game includes over 50 guns, which can be crafted with a variety of modifications, such as barrel types and laser focus, with over 700 modifications available. Power Armor has been redesigned to be more like a vehicle than an equipable suit of armor, requiring energy cores and being essentially dead weight without it and can be modified, allowing the player to add items such as a jetpack or selecting separate types of armor for each part of the suit.
A new feature to the series is the ability to craft and deconstruct settlements and buildings. The player can select and break down many in-game objects and structures, and use them to freely build their own structures. In addition, the towns can be powered with working electricity, using a power line system. Merchants and non-player characters can inhabit the player’s settlements, for which the player must provide sustenance by growing food in makeshift patches and building water pumps. The player can build various defenses around their settlements, such as turrets and traps, to defend against random attacks.
The Pip-Boy, a personal computing device strapped to the player character’s wrist, allows the player to access a menu with statistics, maps, data, and items the player has acquired. The player can find game cartridges, which can be played on the Pip-Boy or a terminal. A new feature for the Pip-Boy interface is a downloadable application for iOS, Android, and Windows smartphones and tablets. This optional app allows players to access the Pip-Boy interface on a separate screen, and play the collected game cartridges when not playing the main game. Another returning gameplay feature is the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System (V.A.T.S.). While using V.A.T.S., real-time combat is slowed down (instead of stopped entirely as in previous entries), and action is played out from varying camera angles in a computer graphics version of “bullet time“. Various actions cost points, limiting the actions of each combatant during a period of time, and the player can target specific body parts for attacks to inflict specific injuries; headshots can be used for quick kills or to blind, legs can be targeted to slow enemy movement, and opponents can be disarmed by shooting at their weapons. Unlike previous games, in which the player had a random chance to inflict a critical hit, they are now performed manually through V.A.T.S.
At the beginning of the game, players are given points to spend on a character progression system called S.P.E.C.I.A.L.. The system represents seven statistics, namely strength, perception, endurance, charisma, intelligence, agility, and luck. When the player earns enough experience points to gain a new level, they unlock an ability. When the player allocates more points to a statistic, more abilities can be unlocked. These perks can be upgraded to improve the protagonist’s efficiency and to further unlock abilities. There are about 275 perks available for the player to unlock. There is no level cap and the game does not end once the main story is complete.
The player may travel with only one companion at a time, although other characters also accompany the player in certain quests. For the first time in the series, these companions can interact with the environment on the player character’s behalf. For example, if the player character does not have required skills to hack a terminal or pick a lock, they can order the companion to do it for them. Any companion present besides Dogmeat will react to certain player actions in one of four ways (love, like, dislike, or hate), which either raises or lowers their “affinity”. Raising a companion’s affinity to 1,000 points will result in them “idolizing” the player and granting a specific perk. The companion will leave if affinity drops low enough, and some actions can turn them hostile on sight. The player can also have sex with some human companions.