By Sean Reis
At this summer’s E3 2015 Press Conference, Bethesda Studios announced its latest installment in the “Fallout” series and hype immediately ensued. Set in the year 2287 in post-apocalyptic Boston, Mass., also known as the Commonwealth. “Fallout 4” may not have lived up to every fan’s expectations. Following countless hours of gameplay, however, I must disagree.
First and foremost, I feel the need to write to the haters. All I ask is, “What did you expect?”
At the end of the day, “Fallout 4” is a sequel — another “Fallout” title and merely an updated installment in the series. To expect anything else would be simply outrageous. I understood this before I bought the game.
I also understood I could not compare “Fallout 4” to “Fallout 3” — one of the most innovative video games in history — and I will not make such comparisons. Instead, I will pretend as though “Fallout 4” was the first of its kind with no predecessors, in which case it receives a 10 out of 10.
In “Fallout 4,” the player has full control over the entire game, and although there is a strict plot to be followed, the various ways for the player to eventually “beat the game” are seemingly endless. Not only are there multiple sides to choose from, but as you complete the story, you can also wander around the Commonwealth, an area large enough to explore for days of gameplay with no end in sight.
With another settlement to trade with or another building to scavenge around every corner, you can do whatever you want in the post-apocalyptic city of Boston. As the lone survivor of Vault 111, you can continue as a lone wolf, you can have your choice of companions fight by your side or you can even start your own town.
If starting your own town seems like it might be too much work, know that I originally thought so, too. However, like many other aspects of the game, I quickly found myself lost in establishing my sanctuary for all, despite the little interest I previously had, because the game does a very good job at pushing you to try it.
Whether or not you will enjoy starting a settlement as much as I did, I do not know, but I highly recommend taking at least some time away from the story to do so. I will warn you, though, that finding time away from the story will be difficult because you will be emotionally enveloped.
When I said you will be “emotionally enveloped” in the story, I meant it. Never have I ever taken a break from a video game because I felt I could not decide whose side I was on. Meanwhile, for “Fallout 4,” I had to take a two-day hiatus to finally make up my mind. I didn’t even complete side quests during this time — that was how emotionally conflicted I was and that is what put this game over the top for me.
“Fallout 4” is my pick for the game of the year. Though I promise I won’t spoil the ending for you, promises mean nothing in the Commonwealth, where I hope you enjoy exploring over winter break.