Fallout 4 Is Basically Borderlands 3

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When writing the last post I realized I hadn’t really followed up on my initial post about Fallout 4’s opening and how it felt more like a first person shooter than a role-playing game. I guess most people who’ve played the game have already figured it out by now, but the rest of the game pretty much continues that pattern.

I think Kotaku’s Patricia Hernandez wrote a pretty good summation of how it feels, and it referenced a Steam review that also puts it into good terms. As the review, by “NIPPON STRONK,” put it at the end, it’s not really Fallout 4, but more like Borderlands 3. In my previous post I said it sort of felt like RAGE 2. The point is, the main draw of Fallout 4 is shooting things and getting loot rather than interacting with characters and stories.

In my post back in November I noted concern with how two hours into Fallout 4 you’re decked out in power armor shooting at a Deathclaw — which is usually high-level stuff in Fallout games. I ended it by expressing hope that maybe the pacing would change once I reached settlements like Diamond City.

From what I can tell 70 hours in (with still a lot left to find and do), it really doesn’t. Since the early parts of the main quest I’ve spent barely any time in Diamond City or any settlement. There could be all kinds of interesting characters and stories in there, but I haven’t found them yet. What’s more concerning is I’ve only really found maybe one or two other sizable towns in the game, outside the ones the player is supposed to build and develop. Overall The Commonwealth feels very different in this regard from The Capital Wasteland (where you had Megaton, Rivet City, The Citadel, Arefu, Paradise Falls, Tenpenny Tower, Underworld, and other places) and The Mojave Wasteland (Vegas, Novac, a ton of other towns I can’t think of right now). Fallout 4 mostly seems to be filled with dungeons you clear out and ransack.

It feels like a near total reversal compared to Skyrim. like I said in my last past, that game felt like it tried to be two things: a place full of dungeons to loot, and a country full of towns and characters to encounter with stories to investigate. It was better at being the latter but Fallout 4 is almost wholly concerned with being the former.

To be honest the best feeling I get in Fallout 4 is when I find a new weapon mod, or a legendary weapon with an interesting effect like unlimited ammo or exploding bullets. Developing my weapons is one of the main reasons I level my character now — so I can get the Gun Nut and Science perks.

The dampening of the character stats in this game doesn’t bother me too much. The kind of “role playing” I’m more interested in is interacting with dynamic worlds to write my own story. There are people who consider Elite Dangerous a role-playing experience despite it having no character stats at all, only a galaxy in which to find your own adventures.

The part about all this that sucks is we can never seem to get a game like this that has both great story/role playing aspects and especially fun controls or real-time combat. The Witcher 3 is a landmark in the former area but merely okay in the latter. There are good story-based RPGs with good turn-based combat, but real-time action-oriented gameplay still seems to be tough for them, and whenever an RPG developer does figure it out they tend to forget about what they used to be good at. This seems to have happened with Fallout 4 and I’ll argue it also happened with Mass Effect 3.

RPG developers are still trying to learn how to balance their tried-and-true skills with the rules of action games. Will we ever get an RPG with the story of an Obsidian or CDProjekt game, and the controls of a Platinum or Capcom game? This is why some are hoping Obsidian get’s to make another Fallout using the engine and shooting controls Bethesda and id put together for Fallout 4.

BULLETS:

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