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9 out of 10

Fallout 4: Post-apocalypse RPG wanderfest is nearly perfect

We’ve had some terrific new games come out this year, and some great expansions to existing games.

But a real contender for game of the year is going to be Fallout 4.

We talked about this post-apocalypse wanderfest back in August when they started taking pre-orders. Now I’ve had a chance to see the actual game itself, and it simply exceeds expectations.

Fallout 4 is an RPG set on the east coast of the USA in the New England area in a time after the bomb has dropped. So things are something less than orderly and you have to watch out for radiation. Just another day in the video game office, I suppose.

I raved about the great open world in The Witcher 3, but with all due respect to that admittedly excellent game, no one does a giant, detailed world better than Bethesda Game Studios. Recently there was a report about a gamer who accidentally had his character fall into the ocean while playing Fallout 4, and then found a hidden undersea structure. Those are the kind of amazing discoveries you make around almost every turn in Fallout 4.

The game’s premise is simple. Survive.

The game’s premise is simple. Survive. In order to survive you will need to find stuff and make things from it. You don’t have to kill things, but if you’re adverse to a little firearm justice, you’re going to spend a LOT of time running away from things. You find weapons, you find armor, you find food and clothes and every kind of scrap imaginable. You encounter nomads and settlements and the occasional mutant raider. It really is almost overwhelming.

There is a story arc in the game, but if that’s all you focus on, you’re missing the wonder of Fallout 4. I recommend that you fast travel as little as possible. Walking places and exploring what you see is always fun and almost always rewarding.

You have a faithful canine companion, Dogmeat, and you will also meet companions of the two-legged variety. If you’re so inclined, you can work on romancing your computer generated companion so that your computer generated avatar can have some computer generated nookie.

Yeah. Never mind.

You can also build your own settlement in game, and that’s a game unto itself. Players have constructed some astonishing settlements already. Their creativity and patience far outstrip my modest attempts that are often bristling with guns for defense but lacking in most creature comforts. Since part of the deal with settlements is trying to entice other characters to come live with you, I’d have to admit that I’m not really good yet at that part of the game.

Fallout 4 allows mods and the modders are hard at work taking this game places that Bethesda never thought for it to go. Finding mods you like can completely change the feel of the game, extending its replayability.

Graphics are very good, but the overall ambience is better than the sum of its parts. If you buy the game, be sure to listen to some of the in game radio stations. Even just the regular soundtrack is good. Fallout 4 is immersive and will suck up the hours. It’s available for PC, Xbox One, and PS4. The list price is $60 but I’ve seen it for as little as $42 if you shop around.

Crafting, exploration, settlement building, fighting, the huge world and amazing atmosphere are just nearly perfect. I give Fallout 4 a solid 9 on my scale of 1 to 10. The themes ARE adult and can be violent, so this isn’t a game for young children. But your high school aged kids and young adults would love finding this under their tree on Christmas morning. That’s Into Gaming, I’m Mark Lautenschlager.

Written by Mark Lautenschlager

Mark Lautenschlager

Mark hosts the weekly "Into Gaming" Feature on the "Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline" broadcasts and is an avid PC gamer, IT Director, and webmaster. He is married for three decades to the most patient woman on Earth, while paying for the college educations of his children. His hobbies include MMORPGs and eating sushi.

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