Yes, I know — it’s been a while. But my conscience is clear. I was abducted, swept away into an alternate world filled with harsh radioactive storms, dangerous mutated denizens, and (even more threatening) wall prefabs that didn’t sit just right. Yes friends and i-neighbors, I blame Fallout 4 for my absence. The game has managed to suck up just about every hour of my free time, and has even predominated my daily thoughts. I spend most of my time away from home trying to remember where I left my many companions, or reviewing what junk I may be low on before beginning my next building project. And don’t even get me started bragging about Ramona, my magnificently tricked-out gauss rifle. She’s a beauty, I tells ya.
Mind you, I’m not about to review the game. I even concede that it is riddled with glitches and bugs, and is only a moderate step up from the games before it as far as visuals are concerned (even though I love the lighting overhaul and superior atmospheric effects). I also agree that the Gamebryo engine that has been used since Oblivion needs to be let out to pasture to die a noble death, since surely with this latest venture Bethesda has wrenched every bit of possibility out of it, along with same twitching debris and floppy corpses we’ve come to know and love. Nothing is as satisfying as damn near dying before finally dispatching a Super Mutant Overlord, only to see it softly collapse to the ground like a giant Cabbage Patch doll. Aww.
However, unlike most critics of the game, I wasn’t opposed to its story mechanics — mainly due to the fact that the story isn’t why I play a Bethesda game, anyway. I’m that guy Todd Howard talked about back when he previewed Skyrim and casually mentioned how you could even climb to the top of that mountain way off in the background in an particular shot. Such statements always get a emphatic yiss from me, since the massive playgrounds the company always manages to produce proffer untold hours of explorative joy. And while the real estate of Fallout 4 may be less than that of their last effort, it is nonetheless action-packed with both peril and loot. I didn’t even start the core part of the storyline (contacting private dick Nick Valentine) until reaching level 50. Yes, I was that distracted with random adventures, settlement development, crafting and building, and trying to avoid that damned nuisance of a man, Preston Garvey. I had also stumbled into the Railroad, and my broheim Deacon (who never fails to crack me up: in the middle of one encounter with the Gunners that ended up setting off a couple of nuclear-powered cars, Deacon remarked, “This just in, WORLD EXPLODES. News at eleven.” I had to pause the game). It’s easy to imagine him and my character as Elliott Gould and Donald Sutherland in a post-apocalyptic version of Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H, casually cutting in a few holes of golf in the middle of a crosswar between the Synths, Super Mutants and Brotherhood of Steel. Needless to say, after defeating both the Institute and Brotherhood, we’ve got a lot more time to hit the back nine, and are still having a blast (sometimes literally).
With three DLC on the way over the next three months (yes, I’ve already got that Season Pass fired up and ready to go), it seems like my Fallout 4 addiction will continue, which may be bad for blogging, but good for my ongoing fascination for the game that may honestly replace Oblivion as my all-time favorite Bethesda title. As long as I’ve got enough electromagnetic cartridges and Rad-Away, I’m good to go.