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  • matthewsoare

Falling out? Not likely…

So, I expect by the time this is finished that a certain someone will call it a “love letter to a game” (You know who you are) but without further ado I give you… Fallout 4. Well, I’m not giving you the game…more like my early thoughts, from launch night shenanigans in Hull, to my recent adventures in the Commonwealth. So, lets start at the beginning. as all three of you are probably aware by now, I’m a librarian. (clue: As part of my job I get to go out into the community to promote the service and do what is wonderfully titled as “outreach” work. In my wisdom (and by a complete fluke) I managed to ingratiate myself with the staff at @gamehullsuper who very kindly allow me (more regularly than my feeble geeky body can cope with) to participate in their midnight launch events for games. I know. I get to talk about books and games and books with geeks like myself, and get paid for it because I can promote our service and hopefully remind some of these people that the library (literally across the road from the shop) has stuff that they might be interested in. I don’t know quite how it happened… but it did…and I think it is a very good relationship. We get to reach what is traditionally a low engagement group and they get my work feed tweeting about me going and so reach some people they maybe wouldn’t normally reach. (I think we get the better end of the deal tbh). I digress, apologies for the work speak there… but, you know… background. So, yes… I got to go to the midnight launch for Fallout 4. For a selection of photos you can view the gallery below. Yes, I made a vault dweller jumpsuit.

The evening was brilliant. with Andy (the man in charge) having organised a 1950s diner, and a number of other distractions (other than queuing) for the evening. Charity cakes and drinks were available and I provided some local flavour by [Redacted] which went down really well. Most people seemed to spend a large portion of the evening standing in queues to either buy or finish paying for their pre-ordered copies of the game. Me? I’d been in earlier in the week and sorted that 😉 All of which meant I could chat away to people and discuss the scary awesomeness that is nukemap and talk about the game and books and stuff. At midnight the thronging masses left and I grabbed my copy and headed home to a nice warm bed. “I’ll play this tomorrow night”… Time passes… Tomorrow night… Okay, so Tuesday (I think it was a Tuesday) rolls around and work is over…Upon arriving home, the PS4 is fired up, and the moment most gamers love had arrived. New game disc inserted, new game installing…. and boom. Ready to go. So. Fallout 4 then. More people have written more eloquently than I am about to but… Here goes…. This game looks good. For a tweaked game engine that has been around since the days of Oblivion (via Fallout 3 and Skyrim) it looks very impressive. I mean, really impressive. The world is brooding and dark, but not overly brown (like Fallout 3 was). Everything looks like it has a reason to be there. The buildings look suitably dilapidated and worn away, with some of the smaller buildings still standing almost complete. It really does look like you’d expect a post apocalyptic world to look. So, the game. I’ve read comments dissecting the opening of the game, but you know what? It sets the scene well. So it’s not the most accurate representation of the human race in a crisis, but it does manage to convey a sense of urgency (in me at least)… and shortly after you go through the tutorial style section and off you go into the world. Handholding is over. The world is yours, and everything in it, as Scarface would say. This is something I have often struggled with in Bethesda games, the fact that you are kind of let loose on the world with very little training. Very little idea where to go…I’m not great with massive open worlds and having to entertain yourself, I prefer a little structure. So when the quests start coming in then I’m a bit happier. So, the first couple of quests get underway, and off you go into the world. I’m not going to say anything about the quests, for those yet to pick up the game, but they are pretty impressive and get you immersed in the world quickly and effectively. That night I had had planned to play the tutorial and get an idea of the game then go and do the washing up…Well, the washing up didn’t get done because (and I may be wrong here) I think I was abducted by aliens. It’s the only way I can account for *that* much lost time in one evening. The next thing I knew my phone pinged and “What? How is it 10.35?” The whole evening had flown by with me entirely lost in the world created by Bethesda. To the exclusion of literally everything else. Now that is a fair endorsement for a game from a developer who makes games where I tend to not enjoy the opening couple of hours.

I’m still diving in whenever I can, and constantly learning about the game, learning about the simplified upgrade system, discovering new worlds and meeting new people. My favourite story occurred early on (somewhere around level 5/6) where I was ambushed by a Radscorpion. Diving for the nearest outcropping of rock I circled firing shotgun shells into best, alternating between real time panicing and shooting wildly and using V.A.T.S. (the slowed down *almost* turn based) encounter modes… Eventually and with the almost loss of Dogmeat (the pet dog companion the game gives you) I beat the thing. Collecting my hard won meat off the corpse I headed on my way…but it taught me a valuable lesson. Since that moment I have progressed, slowly and cautiously… not being overconfident. Always on the lookout for an ambush or a slip or anything that could mean death…I am currently level 10 and still worry about something ambushing me. Seriously, it can easily take me a whole night of gameplay to travel from point A to point B, simply because I am being careful. It’s ridiculous. Yes, I know I can ‘fast travel’ but then I’m likely to miss out on some of the locations or places I could stumble upon…and there are *lots* of places. You wander in any direction for long enough and you come across a shack or farmhouse, a village or town. Or even a car factory or industrial complex. There is the General Atomics Galleria (with suitably vague back story when you actually start exploring it…) or the old marine training ground with all it’s automated machine gun turrets. Everything is a hazard. Even water and food. Need to increase your health? okay, you can eat that Radscorpion meat, but remember that it is irradiated and so will mean that your overall health will drop because of radiation poisoning…you can take pills to reduce the radiation poisoning, but so far they seem pretty rare… it’s a trade off between how desperate you are for the immediate health versus the longer term loss of that overall health… making you think twice about even healing yourself. Then there are the characters that inhabit this wasteland. There are raiders (bandits out to kill you and steal your stash), super mutants (to be avoided at all costs at the moment) – the scariest of which are the super mutant suicider things that run towards you packing a small (but big enough to kill you if you get too close) nuke that they explode when they get close to you… hearing that beeping noise getting louder and faster is one of the scariest things I’ve encountered so far in the game. Then there are the “good guys”. The settlers who want help with picking fruit, clearing out raiders, or finding things/people. However, my favourites are the robots. The floating multi-armed General Atomics robots that float about and have excellent voices (I *swear* one of them is John Cleese) – oh,  and they have hilariously apt names. These guys add so much character to the world that I feel it would take a much stronger man than I to destroy them. But it has to be said, the real winner here is the package. Great gameplay, great visuals, excellent audio (either spooky background noise, classical radio or 1950s) and the characters. As a whole the world is populated perfectly. Just enough to make that stumbling upon a settlement plausible, but not too many that the world is full of people. Oh and it might be a spoiler (but it happens *very* early on in the main story line) but the ************** kicks arse! So there you have it. I am really enjoying this game, and the time I have spent with it has only scratched the surface. My current play time is….12 hours and 1 minute. Oh, and that’s before I have even discussed the fact that you can use your iPad as your Pip-Boy to manage your in game inventory… I’m sure I’ll come back to that in another post later. But for now I’ll see you soon, and if you want to comment on this post or the new site then do, and if you feel the need please get in touch at suitedlibrarian(at)gmail(dot)com. See ya soon.

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