Fallout 4 Preview

Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Rating: PEGI 18+ (TBC)

Fallout 3 may have been the third main game in a series, but it served as a powerful introduction for many players, with huge numbers of people lapping-up its dark world of post-apocalyptic struggle and intrigue. Selling over 610,000 copies within its first month on the shelves, Fallout 3 was a huge hit, receiving widespread fan and critical acclaim for its rich storyline, exciting gameplay, stunning visuals, and freedom of choice. While the first two main titles – Fallout and Fallout 2 – were big successes, this third game transformed the 2D action of the 90s into an immersive 3D world players became fascinated by.

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While Fallout: New Vegas was released in 2010, this was a stand-alone game and not a direct sequel. Since then, fans have been chomping at the radioactive bit for the next instalment in the series, with no real word on when the game would be released (if at all) until recently.

In the past week, we’ve learned that Fallout 4 will indeed happen, and looks set to introduce the warhead-blasted world to the new generation of consoles in a big, exciting way.

New Wastelands, New Faces

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While Fallout 3 was set in and around the ruins of Washington, D.C., Fallout 4 has been confirmed as being based in Boston and surrounding areas of New England (now known as the Commonwealth). With the date now 2077, 200 years have passed since the war that led to nuclear fallout, and the world is as crazy as we’ve seen in previous games. While details are thin on the ground, the incredible trailer released recently did reveal some striking hints: we see the Statue of Paul Revere, the Boston State House, Scollay Square, Fenway Park (familiar to fans of the Boston Red Sox) – the setting, while still grim, looks much more colourful than Fallout 3’s sun-bleached landscapes of greys and browns.

We also see a brilliantly-rendered dog in much of the trailer (which will please those of us who remember Dog Meat from the previous game), as well as a character dressed in a Vault 111 jumpsuit. While it’s hard to tell from such a brief glimpse, it appears the player will begin in a vault and then venture outside as before, though this is only speculation – any in-vault moments could also be flashback. The trailer also shows footage of life before the nuclear war, which raises an interesting question: will we get to play in this pre-apocalyptic timeline, or is it just for show?

Mutants, Deathclaws, and Metal

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The trailer also shows visuals of Deathclaws (powerful mutated beasts able to kill the player’s character with surprising ease, if Fallout 3 was anything to go by) and Super Mutants: this means we can expect to encounter the usual difficulties as we explore the wastelands, but we still know very little – what other monsters are out there in Massachusetts? Will we get to see giant fire-breathing ants as in the previous game? Will we encounter Slavers again? Will Raiders still make for the same easy cannon fodder?

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The trailer also presents us with footage of the Brotherhood of Steel – the armour-clad uber-badasses who are now the poster-boys (and girls) for the series. Reaching the point in Fallout 3 where you could wear your own armour and join the Brotherhood was a major thrill, and so it’s good to see them here again. We can only hope they’ll carry even more advanced, heavy-duty fire-power this time around!

Playing the Waiting Game

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With no release date confirmed (or even hinted at), fans have got a long wait ahead of them for the latest instalment in the Fallout series – but it looks sure to be worth it. The new technology Bethesda Game Studios has at their disposal means we should get a richer, deeper, even more beautiful experience this time around: the characters and settings we see in the trailer are clearly gorgeous, with the dog’s movements particularly realistic, even when compared to Dog Meat in the previous game.

So, what do we hope to see? Speculation is already rife online, with fans discussing their own expectations and wish-lists, but much of what made previous entries work so well appears to be intact. With any luck, the game will have less bugs than Fallout 3 (which, as many will remember, would crash without warning and create baffling glitches, such as brilliant kaleidoscopic lights appearing in the sky, in this writer’s case), and will offer the chance to use vehicles (as in Fallout 2). However, we can only wait and see!