Fallout 4: Good Game, Bad Fallout Game


“Fallout 76 | Our Future Begins.” Fallout 4, fallout.bethesda.net/.

Ben Valentine, Writer/Polls

Fallout 4 was divisive. It’s undeniably popular in the mainstream audience, but for many fans, Fallout 4 was a sour turning point for the series. While Fallout New Vegas essentially took the formula of Fallout 3 and perfected it with an old-school twist, Fallout 4 threw all of that out of the window to appeal to a wider audience. In appealing to more people, Fallout 4 essentially becomes a Far Cry game with a post-retrofuturistic skin.


First off, the aspect that receives the most praise (for good reason) is the base gameplay of Fallout 4. The game is a hybrid of survival, loot and shoot, and first-person-shooter, and it works great. Many people praise the game for its Skyrim-esque massive open world, filled with tidbits of lore and visual storytelling. The atmosphere is great and only makes the game world more fun to explore in. However, when you compare the story content and player agency to the previous games of the franchise, you quickly see why it starts to fall apart. Rather than starting as a character with little to no backstory, you begin the game as one of two already determined–but customizable–characters.


Already this game earns a strike, as you no longer have the choice to determine who exactly you are. The game gives you a family, a son, and something to fight for. You are a good person, if abrasive sometimes, and aside from a few very minor choices, you can’t really change that. You could kill everyone you see unless they’re important to the story, in which case they are invincible. Even those you do kill don’t matter in the long run, there’s no Karma or Reputation system–you’re a child in a playground. And the game treats you like one! Long gone are the days of complex moral choices, and gone again is the moral gray ground. You are morally black or white, good or evil. This, coupled with the little meaningful player agency in the game, makes it feel more akin to Grand Theft Auto than Fallout.


Still, it’s hard to ignore the work that went into this game. The world is full of tiny features that add to the atmosphere of a nuclear apocalypse. From finding the skeletons of an elderly couple holding hands while staring at their doom from a porch chair to finding a massive airplane crash full of radioactive creatures, the game does what it aims to very well. Don’t get me wrong, what I have played of this game I thoroughly enjoyed. Still, after it all ends, you leave feeling a little empty. Sure, you could always come back and play in the sandbox, but once you’ve worn out all of your toys, what is there to do?