Sunday, 22 November 2015

Fallout 4 Review - Radioactive Frame Rate.

By Sam Coles:

Fallout is a series that I like but I don’t love because most of the time they have glaring issues which people seem to sweep under the carpet and say “What do you expect it’s a Bethesda game”. I find that is a terrible excuse because if any other company were to do that they would be crucified. Fallout 4 swayed me when I first saw the E3 trailer earlier this year, but has it swayed me to like this game? Yes and no, but unfortunately more towards no, but it’s not a bad game let me get that out in the open. 

Fallout 4 at the start of the game takes place before the massive disaster that is World War 3 and you start off in your family home where you must create your character in the bathroom mirror whether it be male or female. This great because the customisation is great fun to play around with whether you want to sculpt yourself into the game or make a monstrous abomination. This will also sculpt what your infant child looks like as, you also get to choose your name and your robot butler calls you by that name depending on how many names they have logged, subtle details like this are great. The nukes finally start to fly and you must flee to the Vault where you are then cryogenically frozen for 200 years, you awake after your slumber and go for the surface only to find that Boston is ruins, so you must start your adventure of survival.

Throughout Fallout 4 you’ll be exploring cities and settlements where you’ll converse with other survivors whether they are friendly or hostile. This is the thing I like about this game with the conversation system for starters your characters speaks and plus the conversations feel more organic and I think it helps with the cinematic angle in the conversations rather the static nature of past Fallout games.

For the most part though you’ll be trudging the wasteland and getting into skirmishes with bandits, super mutants and other mutated wildlife. Sometimes they’ll drop some rare items such as armour, weapons whether they’re melee or firearm and medicinal and other crafting supplies to help you on your journey. The game handles like a decent first person shooter when you’re in combat for the most part, it does feel clunky still which is a bit of an issue because the collision detection can be eerily precise sometimes. If you don’t want to play it like a shooter you can go back to the old school way of playing Fallout with the VATS system, where you can slow down time and you can pick parts of the body to blow to pieces and there is a percentage of what your chances are of hitting the target so it's like the old dice roll systems of early CRPG's.

Remember you have to survive in this world and maintain your health because there is no regenerating health so you have to keep yourself in peak physical condition by using Stims and food. You can be injured too where you can cripple your arm which will make your aiming more Waverley or you can hurt your leg which will make you limp. I like this aspect because you constantly feel vulnerable every step you take because your next step can see you legs blow off by a trip mine.

It’s not all shoot everything because for the most part it’s best not to get involved because sometimes you’ll be out numbered, plus if you decide to take the passive option you’ll be rewarded with currency, more info about a quest or new gear, so think before you shoot. Sometimes this will help you gain allies as you travel the wasteland as they can help you fight, carry some of your inventory or even give you information about a certain area, so you don’t have to go alone.

The presentation is good, but not great let me get the positives out of the way first. The game nails the wasteland look with ruined buildings to the rotting corpses that have been there for decades. The atmosphere is fantastic where you can sit there and listen to hear nothing but the eerie soundtrack play in the background, the game gets creepy when you visit the vaults. In terms of atmosphere it's fantastic!

Now in terms of the technical aspects of the presentation I'm not impressed. The textures are very muddy especially textures on clothes they're very low res and something that wouldn't be uncommon on a Xbox 360 or PS3. This game has horrendous bugs and frame rate issues well on the Xbox One version, but I have heard issues on PS4 and PC as well.

I've had frequent frame rate drops especially in urban areas where it would drop to single digits this really happens when there is fire everywhere and there is a quest where you're inside a warehouse and there is fire everywhere, which lead to slide show movement. I don't understand how no one has addressed these issues I always get the comment “It's a Bethesda game what do you expect”. No. You can't say that for one company and not for the other because if Ubisoft, EA or Activision released a game in this state you would be shouting to the hill tops, but just because it's Bethesda you give it a reassuring hug, when you should be saying this is not acceptable.

I've had bugs with the conversation mechanics as well where the main character would just stand there like an idiot with no button prompts to carry on the conversation and I also had several crash back to the dashboard as well.

When the game is running fine which isn't often the game is great but the constant stuttering really sucks me out of the world and the constant crashes make want to throw my controller. Just because it's Bethesda doesn't make them any different from any other video game company they should be criticised just as much as Ubisoft or EA etc.

Fallout 4 is a fun experience when the game runs properly, but I can't look past the performance issues that it has so I don't see myself going back to this game yet until these issues are straighten out.

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