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Fallout 4 review: A welcome armageddon

Bethesda Softworks

Settlements play a significant role in the game. These are areas you'll discover and will need to manage and construct basic resources for the new settlers that occupy them. Things like power, food, water and shelter are up to you. Providing the bare necessities determines the overall happiness of the community, which then can dictate the type of relationship you'll have with them moving forward.

Fallout has always been about exploration and looting, but Fallout 4 seems to have provided some incentive to what's otherwise been the mindless collecting of junk. Fallout 4's crafting system places material value in the items you hoard, giving meaning to the typewriter and hammer you've decided to carry around with you. Weapon, armor, cooking and settlement crafting makes use of the core components of all that junk. So instead of just offloading these items for a few bottle caps -- the game's currency -- you can now turn that typewriter and pencil into a defense turret for a settlement. Well, not exactly, but you get the idea.

The new settlement and crafting mechanics add up to another layer of complexity for you to enjoy while roaming the Bostonian wasteland. But in Fallout 4, you don't have to go at it alone. A number of different companions are available to keep you company, be it the game's new unofficial canine mascot, or Codsworth, your family's robo-butler who's been hanging around doing nothing for two centuries. Every companion acts differently, but I quickly grew attached to the dog who will voluntarily seek out health packs and other vital goodies for you.

Bethesda Softworks

All of the game's information, inventory management, maps and objectives are accessed via the Pip-Boy, a retro computer mounted on your character's wrist -- or a smartphone case you put on your real-life wrist if you buy the deluxe collector's edition of the game. It has most of the same functionality as it did in Fallout 3, but I wished for a few improvements outside of the Pip-Boy's interface just for the sake of convenience. It'd be great to be able to compare a weapon's stats without having to access the Pip-Boy -- believe me, you'll spend enough time staring at that thing.

Fallout 4 isn't without some other faults as well. At times I found that Fallout 4 puts too much confidence in the player, regardless of the fact that this is a game that demands you jump right into the deep end. Some of the game's crafting and settlement mechanics aren't very clear to start with. They're not unsurmountable, but an intimidating game like this probably shouldn't have anything else that makes the barrier to entry that much higher.

The in-game compass can become confusing and frustrating to use too. Objective markers aren't always very clear and you'll occasionally need to juggle going back and forth to your Pip-Boy to double check that you're heading in the right direction. It certainly takes getting used to.

Bethesda Softworks

There are few oddities in the conversations you'll have with other wastelanders. Sometimes a character will be shown from a strange camera angle or something will be blocking their face. Then there are the handful of bugs I encountered in the game. The PC version has issues with exiting computer terminals and sometimes you'll get locked up and won't be able to move away from one. If you get caught without having saved recently it can be awful. Sometimes characters won't always respond to you at the first press of a button because it appears you caught them in a weird animation.

I've been playing Fallout 4 on PC, but also tried it out for a few hours on PlayStation 4. If you have the means, give it a go on PC. A GTX 970 card should be more than enough to play Fallout 4 in nearly all ultra settings. On the PS4 the game plays in 1080p resolution at a rough, mostly unstable 30 frames per second. When you arrive in crowded areas, however, or any time the action picks up on screen, that number very noticeably tanks.

Fallout 4 manages to service its fan base all while introducing new elements and evolving its unique take on the true open-world game. Brimming with an astonishing amount of detail and content to interact with, odds are you'll never see every last thing Fallout 4 has to offer. It's easily a must-play for anyone with a solid gaming PC, PS4 or Xbox One and is all but guaranteed to provide well over 100 hours of play time.

Read what GameSpot has to say about Fallout 4

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