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Fallout 4 review: Won't set the world on fire, but might start a (tiny) flame in your heart

Hayden Dingman | Nov. 10, 2015
For nigh-on fifteen years, Bethesda’s games have stood as my benchmark for the open-world genre—from Morrowind’s opening “Wake up, we’re here” all the way through the last minute I played of Skyrim. Even Oblivion’s obvious missteps mattered little to me at the time, given the scale of the game.

It’s the end of the world

I guess we should talk about bugs. It wouldn’t be a Bethesda game without bugs.

Let’s see. 1) Accessing Power Armor from the front sometimes results in your character trying to walk through the suit, locking all the controls and forcing a reload. Accessing Terminals that have chairs in front of them can sometimes have the same result.

2) Late in the game, trying to fast travel to a certain location (named “Ticonderoga”) would cause the game to crash-to-desktop. Every single time.

Fallout 4
Oh, so uh...stuck in the floor again, eh Nick?

3) Companions are dumb as rocks. I actually loved the one I was traveling with—a gentleman by the name of Nick Valentine—except he is apparently programmed to go sit down whenever the player is busy. It would be a nice touch except that he’ll often sit down and then never stand up to come find you again. Companions will also try to walk through walls, take off running in the opposite direction when you get in an elevator, fall through the floor because they can’t jump, et cetera.

4) You can walk away from any conversation. You’re no longer frozen in place. Unfortunately, neither are NPCs. Sometimes you’ll be having a serious conversation and characters will just turn around and walk away from you, forcing you to start the whole conversation over.

5) I had three different quests where the scripting broke. Two of them I was able to fix by fast-traveling away and then back, forcing the game to reload the quest triggers.

6) The game wouldn’t even launch to the menu on my laptop (with a 970M) in fullscreen mode, Low settings, but ran fine on a mix of Medium/High in borderless windowed.

7) Not really a bug, but the menus in this game are a mess. Sometimes Escape is used to exit menus (like the workshop), other times it’s used to pause the game—at which point Tab is typically your means of exiting. Actually, keyboard and mouse controls are across-the-board wonky.

Fallout 4

These are only the major ones. There are innumerable graphical and audio glitches that also plague the game, plus fairly major optimization issues in downtown Boston—issues that seem to get worse the higher you climb a building. And the load times are predictably lengthy and obtrusive.

If Bethesda releases a patch that eradicates some of the more egregious bugs, add another half-star to Fallout 4's review score. It's that buggy.

Bottom line

For a long time, nobody made games like Bethesda. There is a leniency afforded to you, I think, when you’re the only one doing A Thing and it’s A Thing people like. You overlook the bugs. You overlook the bad AI. You overlook the poor main story.

 

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