A New Adventure In The Wasteland

Fallout 4, the seventh iteration in the Fallout series is finally slated for a Nov. 10 release date and brings enormous changes to the series. This follows precedence for Fallout developer Bethesda, whose Fallout 3 changed the Fallout series completely from a top-down role-playing game (RPG) into a three dimensional first person shooter RPG. These changes received mixed reviews with many longtime fans worrying that the series is becoming more “casual,” while others welcome the new approach for the post-apocalyptic RPG.

One of the most hotly debated topics when it comes to the changes between Fallout 3 and Fallout 4, is an overhaul of the perk and trademark SPECIAL system. The selective perk and SPECIAL systems have both been staples of the Fallout series since Fallout 1 released in 1997. The SPECIAL system, which determines stats such as your strength, perception, agility and luck, never had an extreme importance or heavily affected your character unless you specifically meant for it to. Now in Fallout 4, the SPECIAL system will determine which perks your character will be able to unlock to a much greater extent than it had in previous games. This is because the perks are no longer freely listed, but are now in a perk-tree style akin to Skyrim, also developed by Bethesda. Each tree is devoted to one of the seven SPECIAL skills and depending on how many points are put into a skill, you will have more or less options in which perks you can get.

Ever since first person shooting was introduced in Fallout 3, fans have complained that it was clunky and inaccurate to say the least. The development team at Bethesda seems to have listened to the community and learned. The shooting mechanics in the game will now be much more like your modern first-person shooter, introducing the ability to aim down the sights of your gun, dynamic crosshairs to show how accurate your shooting is, and a grenade hotkey, allowing players to quickly toss explosives without having to go into their inventories first.

VATS has always been a defining mechanic in the Fallout series and in Fallout 4 it receives an enormous series of changes. VATS mode is a shooting mechanic that allows players to slow down time and carefully aim at any part of an enemy and shoot there specifically, be it their arms, legs, torso, or even their gun for a chance to knock it out of their hands. In Fallout 4, the VATS system no longer slows time down completely, putting a rush on the player to attack quickly, before their target has a chance to move behind cover or attack first. Random critical hits have also been done away with and are now replaced by a critical hit bar, which is filled up slowly and can be activated to make a shot hit critically.

Fallout 4 boasts a new iteration of Bethesda’s Creation Engine, the software used to graphically design the game, or in simpler terms make it look pretty. Dynamic lighting, shading and coloring are all features that hold great potential to bring life to the lifeless, monotone settings of the previous Fallout games. However, best of all might be the engines’ ability to create non-playable-characters in the game world, all of whom look stunning, something that Bethesda has been infamously terrible at.

Fallout 4 is set to be a contender for 2015’s game of the year and whether or not you are a fan of the series, it’s a smart idea to look out for it. Fallout 4 releases this upcoming Nov. 10 on PS4, Xbox One and PC. Have fun out there wastelanders, and remember to keep an eye on your Geiger counters.