With the grand release of Fallout 4 this week, I decided to relay some of the review threads I watched over at Reddit. I find these lists a nice repository of the general consensus concerning the quality of a release (especially a hugely anticipated one like Fallout 4). Thus, here are some popular reviewers, their score, and a short blurb from the review itself.
Gamespot: 9 (Peter Brown)
“In the grand scheme of things, Fallout 4’s minor issues pale in comparison to its successes. When you put the controller down, you think about the friend you betrayed to benefit another, the shifting tide of an incredible battle, or the moment you opened a drawer and found someone’s discarded effects, making you wonder how they felt before the bombs fell. In moments like these, Fallout 4 can be an intoxicating experience. You’re often forced to sacrifice something–a relationship, a lucrative opportunity, or your health–to make gains elsewhere. And the deeper down the rabbit hole you go, the more you wonder: what if I chose a different path? You second guess yourself, not just because you had other options, but because you aren’t sure if you did the right thing. The fact that your decisions stick with you after walking away from the game is a testament to the great storytelling on hand. Fallout 4 is an argument for substance over style, and an excellent addition to the revered open-world series.”
Polygon: 9.5 (Arthur Gies) Provisional Review
“Bethesda’s open-world strengths have always differed from its contemporaries in that focus on world-building and a sense of place above all else. Fallout 4 has all the ambiance and history that made its predecessors such wonderful places to get lost for hours at a time, with a much more coherent set of stories within it. That Bethesda has integrated a major building and crafting tool while finally building a great-playing game almost feels like a bonus.”
IGN: 9.5 (Dan Stapleton)
“The world, exploration, crafting, atmosphere, and story of Fallout 4 are all key parts of this hugely successful sandbox role-playing game. Great new reasons to obsessively gather and hoard relics of happier times, strong companions, and sympathetic villains driving tough decisions make it an adventure I’ll definitely replay and revisit. Even the technical shakiness that crops up here and there can’t even begin to slow down its momentum.”
Eurogamer: Recommended (Dan Whitehead)
“However, fans – and I count myself among that number – will likely shrug and accept that this is simply how things are in a Bethesda RPG, and it’s true that the highs do outweigh the lows. Fallout 4 has given me some of my best gaming memories of 2015, along with some of my most frustrating. These are legacy problems that aren’t going away any time soon, and as fun as the settlement crafting is here, I’d gladly do without it for a game engine that offers a more dependable foundation for future adventures. Fallout 4 is a great game. It’s also kind of a mess. Caveat emptor.”
PC Gamer: 88 (Phil Savage)
“As a whole, though, it’s a loving production. It’s filled with care and attention to detail—like the expanded set of radio stations, or the way flash radiation storms bathe the world in a sickly, ominous green hue. It’s a pleasure to pick through the world, to discover new sights, and to pick through the perks and customisation option to conceive the perfect character build, however bizarre. In short, many of Fallout 4’s problems, like every Bethesda RPG before it, are a consequence of what makes them unforgettable. That might not be the neatest conclusion, but it explains why, 50 hours in, I’m still having fun. It also explains why, now that I’ve finished this review, I’m going to play it for many hours more.”
Game Informer: 9 (Andrew Reiner)
“Fallout 4 didn’t blow me away like the previous iteration did, but it did keep me thoroughly entertained and fully vested in journeying across the wasteland. As Bethesda’s “Welcome Home” marketing campaign teases, when fans of Fallout 3 or New Vegas enter this new world, it’ll feel strangely familiar. As one of the top games of the previous generation, this isn’t a bad thing at all. Fallout 4 has all of the trappings that can keep you engaged for days on end.”
Gamesradar+: 5/5 (Leon Hurley)
“Which brings me back to the start – pottering around the garage on an in-game day off. Even now, 70 hours in, every time I set out I’m not sure what I’m going to find. My Pip-Boy’s full of missions but sometimes I just pick a direction and walk until something happens. There’s a still a bit of the map I haven’t fully explored, mainly because I always get distracted enroute. There’s a whole world here to discover and even after all the time I’ve spent in it I barely feel like I’ve scratched the surface. Maybe I won’t tick everything off the list but just trying to see what’s out there is the real draw – for all the missions, quests and other stuff Fallout 4 contains, by far the most important thing in it are the decisions I’ve made. Few games nail a feeling of total freedom and this is an experience made of nothing but that.”
The Verge: (Andrew Webster)
“But it’s still very much Fallout — a game that doesn’t really need to change all that much to trigger that familiar mix of dread and joy. A new location and a much better story were enough to pull me into this world, and 60 hours later I’m not done with it. There are settlements I still want to finish building, and crimes I still need to get to the bottom of. At some point I plan to ignore everything altogether, and just wander into the wilderness to see what I can find. Even if I’m alone, at least I’ll have Billie Holiday’s voice to keep me company.”
God is a Geek: 9 (Mick Fraser)
“It’s hard to find genuine fault with what Bethesda has done here beyond the performance issues. They’ve taken everything learned from Fallout 3, New Vegas, and Skyrim and refined it into one huge, intelligent action-adventure movie. It’s more cinematic than you might expect thanks to a clever script and a dynamic chat camera, the combat missions are well thought-out blasts of adrenaline, while the trademark Fallout weirdness makes a welcome return now and then to relieve you of the constant need to fight something. It’s very much your game and your story, and everyone will play it differently simply because there are so many ways to play, and each one feels natural.
There’s always something to build, somewhere to discover, someone to help ,or something to distract you. Ignore the bugs (if you can) and leap into Fallout 4 with both feet, and you’ll find a game bigger, brighter, deeper, and more personal than anything Bethesda has done before.”
Xbox Achievements: 9 (Dan Webb)
“Fallout 4 might not be as technically advanced as, say The Witcher 3, but it’s a game full of charm and substance, which makes up for an ageing Creation Engine. Fallout 4 boasts an incredible world full of intrigue, mystery and suspense, backed by a whole host of weird and wonderful characters. It’s a world you’re going to want to go back to, time and time again.”
Push Square: 9 (Robert Ramsey)
“Fallout 4 is a masterclass in open world design. Consistently engrossing and absolutely stuffed with intricacies, it’s a title that’ll keep you enthralled for hours at a time as you gradually unravel its desolate yet hopeful post-apocalyptic portrayal of Boston. Although it’s let down by some disappointing frame rate issues, it’s not enough to detract from what’s otherwise one of the most atmospheric and beautifully brutal games on the PS4. Significantly improved combat, a constant wealth of gameplay options, and a heavy emphasis on player choice combine to create an adventure that’s truly memorable.”
Game Revolution: 4.5/5 (Nick_Tan)
“Fallout 4 is a roaring response to criticism that the series has ignored its qualities as a shooter in favor of its deeper and stronger RPG roots. Nearly every design change in Fallout 4 poises the game as a more streamlined modern shooter with high production value across the truly open-world Commonwealth wasteland. The introduction of settlements, newly designed power armor, and deeper crafting evolve the Fallout franchise for the better. This occasionally comes at the cost of storytelling, however, with a plot based on stringently polarizing factions as well as diminished interaction with characters in general. But despite these missteps, Fallout 4 will only improve with time, assuredly with the assistance of the community and user-created mods, and soundly reclaims the franchise as a forward-thinking series in the industry today.”
Playstation Universe: 9.5 (Neil Bolt)
“There is so much going on in Fallout 4 that your opening moments of unnerving beauty and serenity will inevitably give way to an even more beautiful chaos. From this chaos springs emergent adventures, the struggle for survival, and near-limitless options, all with their own merit. Despite an air of familiarity, I’ve not been quite this captivated by a game in some time. That’s high praise when considering some of the games that have commanded obsessive hours and play in recent years. Fallout 4 meets one’s expectations of a new installment in impressive fashion. In doing so, it proves to be one of the best games of the generation to date. Say goodbye to life for awhile. The Wasteland is calling you home.”
US Gamer: 4.5/5 (Kat Bailey)
“If you’ve played a Bethesda RPG, you should have a pretty good idea of what you’re in for. Bethesda plays it surprisingly safe with the formula, but they also do a much better job with the story this time around, serving to elevate the game as a whole. While there’s no denying that it can be a bit ridiculous at times, its sheer scope speaks for itself. Bethesda has succeeded in crafting yet another fascinating open-world RPG.”
Rock Paper Shotgun: (Alec Meer)
“52 hours in, would I go back for more? Yes, absolutely. I lived and breathed Fallout 4 for the vast majority of last week and the fact I was mostly having a damn good time meant I did it willingly. It’s glitchy, a little repetitive and over-familiar, and far too heavy on unconvincing combat, but the improved technology (or the budget) means it’s able to realise the dense, detailed, beautiful decay that Fallout 3 did not, and its dramatically better-presented and performed characters means it’s not shooting itself in the foot in the way Oblivion and Skyrim did. The personality gulf between Bethesda games and BioWare games feels a whole lot narrower now. I won’t for one second pretend that it’s what devotees of Fallout 1 and 2 want, but it does feel like the game Fallout 3 tried and, to my mind, failed to be.
Vibrant and characterful as well as immense, Fallout 4 is the giant leap forwards Bethesda’s RPGs sorely needed in terms of presentation, though the unrelenting focus on routine, lightweight combat sees it fall just short of triumph status.”
Destructoid: 7.5 (Chris Carter)
“After spending roughly 40 hours with the game, I can safely place it somewhere in the middle of Fallout 3 and New Vegas in terms of quality. A lot of the franchise’s signature problems have carried over directly into Fallout 4, but all of its charms have come along for the ride as well. It manages to do a whole lot right, but the story drags at times, and glitches…glitches never change.”
Escapist: 4.5/5 (Conrad Zimmerman)
“Whether or not players find other changes displeasing, such as the new dialogue system and its limitations, is likely going to depend on their personal relationship with the Fallout series. Newer players will probably never know what they’re missing and are likely to have a fantastic time, while fans who have stuck around may be disappointed with the direction Fallout 4 takes.”
Forbes: 8.5 (Paul Tassi)
“In my mind, Fallout 4’s greatest triumph, and its one major point of evolution is in its storytelling, crafting a lengthy, unexpected ending and resolution that I will remember for years to come. It also remains one of the best games in existence for those who simply like to wander and explore and unearth long-buried secrets. But it struggles with archaic gameplay systems and an inflexible engine that anchor the game to the past for all the wrong reasons. Fans may enjoy more Fallout and a brand new map to explore, but this sequel will not be heralded as revolutionary or overly impressive this time around.”
Kotaku – 20 hours with Fallout 4 (Chris Suellentrop)
“I am starting to resent small nuisances, like having to remember to change my clothes to improve my charisma stats before bartering with a shopkeeper. Your companions—whether Dogmeat or others that you meet in the world, whom you can ask to travel with you—seem to frequently get in your way, especially during interior sequences.
Still, this is a game that seems to be getting better as it goes along. If you value largeness, Fallout 4 sure is big and there’s plenty more to do. I’m just getting my first perks and have settlements to build. Now excuse me, I’m going to go get lost in it.”
VideoGamer: 9 (Simon Miller
“The fact of the matter is, though, that this is more of the same, even if that ‘same’ has been pushed to new heights. If you hated Fallout 3, then there’s not much to get you onside here. If you loved it, then you’ll love this all the more, because of its differences as well as its similarities.”
Digital Trends: 4/5 (Will Fulton)
“Fallout 4’s staler story and oversimplified dialog are relatively minor dings to a largely satisfying whole. Bethesda had two hugely popular games in Fallout 3 and Skyrim. Fallout 4 doesn’t make any radical leaps forward, but it smartly iterates upon the accumulated wisdom of its predecessors. It has simple, smart improvements to combat; companions have more depth; leveling is a more elegant process; and the addition of crafting and settlement building open up entirely new forms of play.
All in all, Fallout 4 is the best, most polished Bethesda RPG to date. The Commonwealth is expansive, inviting, and a lovely place to explore for a few months.”
Ars Technica: (Sam Machkovech)
“But I wasn’t propelled enough that I would encourage an average quest-loving gamer to take the Fallout 4 dive. We’re now in an age where open-world games can forgo plot in favor of such cool stuff as fully fledged crafting systems (Minecraft) or online co-op survival (DayZ, ARK Survival Evolved), or they can take the best stuff of Fallout and Skyrim’s pedigree and slap even better plot and acting into it (Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Dragon Age: Inquisition). Fallout 4 peaks at neither of these extremes.
Series fanatics probably shouldn’t cancel their pre-orders, but they should definitely check their expectations about ambition and next-gen series boosts at the radioactive vault’s doors.”
The Jimquisition: 9.5 (Jim Sterling)
“The changes made overall may scare series fans, but those who roll with the differences may find a sleeker, deeper, altogether more captivating Fallout than they’ve gotten used to.
Fallout 4 is something special. Something special indeed.
No, scratch that.
It’s downright S.P.E.C.I.A.L.”
Have you played it yet? Will it live up to the hype? Will Bethesda release a bug-less game?