I should preface this entire post by saying that I’m not really as massive Bethesda fan. Whilst I enjoyed the heck out of Skyrim, I barely played Oblivion, and Fallout 3 bored me into submission; I guess they just don’t make games that appeal to my my pallet? That’s fine I guess.
With that knowledge, it should come as no surprise that I got a refund on Steam after a mere 3 hours of game time. But why I hear you ask? Well, let’s have a look at some admittedly rather early problems I had with the game.
I don’t think Fallout 4 is a bad game, far from it. It’s just samey, too samey. 4 years of development time and all that they managed to do was deliver Fallout 3 with a slightly new lick of paint; some minor changes to the way certain systems work and a still bad user-interface. Some might be fine with that, but I want to see some progression.
I guess I should out with it, I hate the way this game looks. Yes I’m one of those assholes who likes his games to look sexy; especially on my PC. I’m ready to admit that for the most part this is more about the game’s setting than anything else. Post-Apocalyptical is rarely a good look, what with all the brown, and greens that look brown, and yet more…. brown. Bethesda have tried to infuse the world with some colour, but ultimately you can’t polish a turd.
Perhaps with a sleeker; less dated Engine the game would have looked a little nicer, but without Skyrim’s endless mountains of snow and green, river laden valleys, the game’s engine starts to show its age. Add on top the fact that I already dislike this visual style, and you can see why it’s a problem for me.
Let’s talk about the Pipboy, one of gaming’s favourite gadgets. The cool computer on your wrist that lets you play games, manage your inventory, read a map, listen to the radio, check on your health stats and much-much more.
Bethesda have tried to make the Pipboy front-and-center as the primary means of navigating the game’s menu system, and I for one think complete mess that just leads to annoyance and frustration. You’ve got an entire monitor to fill with as much information as you want, and once again you’re forced to look at a screen that’s barely larger than some phones.
I admire their commitment to an aesthetic, but the Pipboy is a bad way to make your players navigate such an important part of the game. Menu design is massively important in today’s games, and it’s an even larger proponent for RPG’s. Everything is hidden behind a button press, and I absolutely hate that.
Much like Skyrim before it, I’d expect to see this modded before too long. Once again it’s the age old adage that Bethesda releases a game, and the fan community makes it playable. Rinse and Repeat.
I know I’m going on now, but I promise I won’t keep you too much longer.
Bugs. All the bugs. Bethesda RPG’s are known to be fairly janky at launch, but there comes a point where I’m just not willing to accept it anymore. We lambasted Ubisoft and EA for delivering broken games on an almost monthly basis, yet Bethesda seem almost immune to this criticism.
Perhaps if the rest of the game was more attractive to me I could ignore having to re-start the game 3-4 times in the open 2 hours, unfortunately it isn’t, and so I can’t. Thankfully I was playing on PC, which allowed me to brute-force my way out of a lot of problems with optimisation. Console owners aren’t so lucky.
Ultimately, combined with the boring visuals, bad user interface, idiotic AI and bad character models, I realised I was never likely to finish the game in its current state. Will I return to the Wasteland? Probably. I steered clear of Skyrim until it was notably cheaper and had received much love from its die-hard modding community. I’ll likely do the same here. Fallout 4 isn’t a bad game, it’s just a little too Fallout 3 for my liking.