Is Fallout 4 Really Worth All the Hype?

June 7, 2015

Recently,  the first official trailer for Fallout 4 was released.  

Then everyone lost their minds.

Social media erupted with posts and reposts of the trailer.  Message boards got hit with walls of text.  Looters pillaged their local stores.  Wait, that last one was something else.  Fanboys came out of every corner to praise and gush all over the trailer.  People were acting like Jesus came back and cured cancer, then released the trailer for a video game he made.

With the huge splash this trailer made, there’s no way this amount of hype could possibly be justified…could it?

In a word:  yes.

The Fallout series (full disclosure:  I’ve only played Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, so I’m not as well versed in the entire series as some, and I’m not pretending to be) is one of the best video game series I’ve ever played.

Fallout puts the player in the role of an unnamed protagonist (a different character each installment) who has to deal with life in a post-apocalyptic U.S.  Think along the lines of Mad Max, but without cars.  Ok, that’s a bad example since Mad Max is all about high octane chase scenes.  It’s more like what Mad Max would be like if, instead of vehicles, everyone traveled on foot.  There are different factions and scavengers and gangs roaming the wasteland wanting to recruit you, use you, kill you, and/or eat you.  Oh, and there are mutants and ghouls and mutated animals.   

Fallout is about freedom.  One of the things that makes Fallout so great is you can pretty much do whatever you want.  If you want to just go through the main storyline and beat the game, that’s your choice.  It’s a bad one, but it’s yours to make.  If you want to do side quests, you can do that too.  If you want to just start walking in a direction and explore the wasteland (a personal favorite of mine), you’re free to do that as well.  In fact, you’re often rewarded for it.  There are numerous little places on the map that exist for the sole purpose of you stumbling upon them, and most of them have little items that can help you improve your character, while others have huge upgrades.

The beauty of Fallout is less about story, and more about what you choose to do, and how you choose to do it.  Do you want to be a saintly crusader doing good deeds to help make this harsh world a little bit better?  You’re free to do so.  Do you want to be a self-serving loner who only looks out for yourself?  By all means.  Do you want to be a chaotically evil hellspawn who terrorizes the wasteland, obliterating all life in your path?  Go for it.

Also, not to be overlooked, is the tone of the series.  Personally, I always have a very slight sense of unease playing Fallout, which doesn’t sound so great if you haven’t played, but it is a testament to how immersive the games are.  Another thing is, with it being a post-apocalyptic environment, it could easily fall into the realm of being a soul-crushingly bleak and dark world filled only with despair, but that’s not the case.  Fallout plays out more like a black comedy – sure, it’s dark, but it’s more of a cynical humor type of darkness, with many parts being genuinely funny.  In fact, sometimes I have to pause in self-reflection because I just laughed out loud at something horrible.

The Fallout series is a wonderful series of games with an open world environment, that gives you a large number of playstyle options (from vaporizing enemies with mini-nukes to killing everything with your bare hands…I personally prefer the latter), but is the announcement for Fallout 4 really worth all the hype?  

If you’ve never played or are unfamiliar, I can understand why it might seem like an overreaction, but with all due respect, it’s not.  The reason why is, in addition to being great games, it’s also been a long time since one was released (Fallout 3 came out in 2008, Fallout: New Vegas in 2010), so anticipation has been building for a while now.  So cut us some slack – we’re just excited about finally having a new game after half a decade.

The real question – will the game live up to the hype? – remains to be seen.

If you’d like to check out the trailer for yourself, or just watch it again, it’s posted below.

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