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 Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]

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Carabas
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PostSubject: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Wed Nov 11, 2015 8:51 am

I will use a spoiler tag if necessary. I've barely started the game so this is just a series of thoughts and considerations more than anything else.

First I'd like to start with the presentation. The obvious thing here is how it looks better than the older games especially when it comes to faces. The start of the game doesn't look incredible by today's standards though. At best the game is fine with a little more saturation which may come as goods news to most of us after spending too much time roaming the bleak expanses of Skyrim.

So now it is possible to create a character that looks good without spending the better half of a decade fiddling around with sliders and that's good news.

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Wed Nov 11, 2015 9:45 am

I'm breaking up my post (I'm on the train so typing this on my phone).

What I like is that Fallout 4 includes many things that have been added to F3 and FNV throughout the years thanks to mods or things that we wished were in the game. Sprinting is natively supported and that's a welcome addition. Grenades can be used with a key FPS style. Guns can be used for melee attacks. There are so many little things that make the game a much more enjoyable experience. Shooting has been dramatically improved so relying on Vats is no longer the only way of dealing with foes.

All in all, these improvements will make Skyrim with guns a much better experience than Oblivion with guns ever was but things don't work out so nicely when it comes to the story...

Don't get me wrong, the introduction is miles above the shitty Skyrim prologue but it has some issues. The most glaring problem is that it tries too hard to hark back to F3 which is a rather uninspired idea. For a moment I thought they were going for something like Rage (an underrated game IMHO) which would have allowed us more freedom but instead we get F3 all over again. At that point my only wish is that the player character won't end up being a sidekick like in F3. There is no denying that in F3 the interesting character was the father (aka James voiced by Liam Neeson).

In any case, it seems obvious Bethesda is going for a rather heavy handed narrative that will probably appeal to the masses but leave some of us wanting for something more meaningful, something that doesn't feel like it's your average Hollywood material if you get what I'm trying to say.

I have mixed feelings when it comes to the voiced character. The voice acting is really good (so far) and while some comments may make for a more shall we say lively experience it also limits how the character can be played. The same can be said about the backstory. FNV did find the perfect balance by offering players a blank canvas on which we could draw our own characters. Just like F3 before F4 is forcing us down a certain path and that makes for a different brand of roleplaying and storytelling. This is the reason I never considered The Witcher to be a crpg (to me Tomb Raider is as much of a crpg even if it's bloody linear). Time only will tell how restrictive F4 will be in that respect.

The game is not going to be a real Fallout game like the original games or even FNV. Bethesda made sure of that by pushing down our throats their version of the Fallout canon. I don't expect the game to have any of the elements that made the first Fallout so great i.e. satire and dark humour. All it takes is seeing how the introduction plays out. You just have to consider the intro video of F4 which shows American soldiers strutting around in a way reminiscent of Hollywood war movies and compare it the original video for Fallout 1 with the soldiers in power armours who ruthlessly execute a prisoner before starting waving at the camera while the vintage song keeps playing.

At this point it's obvious Bethesda is going for a straight faced story, one that we are all familiar with because it is the average slosh Hollywood keeps pumping out year after year. That is hardly surprising but it's still disappointing.

Forcing us to relate to the main character by making us press a button is as heavy handed as it gets and if you've played Specs Ops the Line you already know how wrong it is to force players to push a button whether they want to or not (and as a rule I tend to be contrary when it comes to things like that).

Games can be emotional experiences but they have to allow us to get drawn into these emotions. Otherwise pressing that button ends up being alienating, a blatant reminder that we are playing a game instead of taking part in a deep and immersive experience.

F4 seems too eager to resort to cheap tricks to force us to relate to the protagonist (musical cues for instance are all over the place only reinforcing the parallel with Hollywood blockbusters) but so far those tricks have only created distance (at least as far as I'm concerned).

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Wed Nov 11, 2015 9:58 am

I will correct the typos on my computer later on.

The last thing I should breach upon is the streamlined mechanics. F4 is pretty much a simplified organic game just like Skyrim. The good thing is that numbers don't really get in the way, the bad news is that number crunchers will have a hard time coming to terms with those changes (just like Skyrim).

I don't really mind simply because the old system worked well with the original games but did not really make sense when you think about the Bethesda recipe in which your character ends up being good at everything (something that sadly is true of FNV as well) so IMHO streamlining the whole thing is definitely the right move.

EDIT: I've fixed the typos and the punctuation in my posts above.

The last thing I forgot to mention is the atrocious Field of View which is a real disgrace on a PC with a decent resolution...

Obviously Bethesda can't come up with a decent PC port even after all these years.

There are ways to fix this but it's been reported that using the console can cause problems down the line.

There is a thread on the official forums on how to improve the performance of the game on the PC.

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Wed Nov 11, 2015 9:59 pm

There is one thing that bugs me and that was the same with F3, how do the good people at Bethesda expect us to believe that after all that time there are still prewar stuff waiting to be picked in dilapidated homes and mailboxes... In F3 the world feels like it's just awakened from the Apocalypse. That's another thing FNV got right. It's rather hard to make sense out of F3 (and from what I've seen the same thing applies as far as F4 is concerned).

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Wed Nov 11, 2015 11:29 pm

Raidin' ain't easy man.

Cool Cool

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Thu Nov 12, 2015 7:59 am

Hell no. Laughing

I could add a few more things regarding how ridiculous Fallout 4 can be but I'll just stick to my early assessment that Bethesda went for the Hollywood action blockbuster garbage type of narrative.

Without going into spoilers territory I'd say that I wish my guy could use his well above average intelligence to say moderately astute remarks. That would be a nice change of pace.

I have nothing bad to say about the voice acting but the writing is appallingly trite (and I'm trying hard to remain polite).

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Thu Nov 12, 2015 8:58 pm

I know I may sound a bit critical but there are some nice things. F4 feels like playing a modded version of F3 (a much better one) and it's great.

Skorp you're going to love the base building mechanics. I have to say the crafting is absolutely great as well.

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Thu Nov 12, 2015 9:05 pm

Yeah, from what I have seen in MATN's videos the crafting system looks pretty solid and base building is kind of interesting. Hopefully I can build a town worthy of my paranoid self Laughing

Steam wants $80 for it and they can go fuck themselves. At this point a physical copy would end up in the same price range and cheaper thanks to the gift card I dug out of the boxes of crap from my old flat with the stupid bint. So I am getting that sometime later this week.

I will share first impressions of my own when I do get the game

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:35 pm

80 is way too much. I had a great deal (39.99 with an extra 20 € credit on my account with the store that I can spend as I wish so basically I paid 19.99 which is the reason why I preordered). You should check out greenman gaming, they may still have a voucher for 20% off and that's better than paying full price.

On the subject of the game I do like how they made sure stats can be useful. Charisma is no longer a dump stat and that's really nice.

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:47 pm

I can get a physical copy for $35 with the gift card. This place is also a treasure trove of retro stuff so I might splurge a bit and get some more old school stuff. I picked up a Japanese copy of Final Fantasy Mystic Quest for $5 one time, and both Shin Megami Tensei 1 and 2 for like $20.

Might pick it up tonight, I've got a few errands to run, plus Jez is coming over later so we might do a Fallout-o-thon.

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:53 pm

35 is definitely a good price!

Considering how much fun you had with F3 I'm confident you're going to have a blast with F4. The base building is something that you're going to enjoy a lot. It's almost a game within the game. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:55 pm

FalloutCraft Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Thu Nov 12, 2015 11:25 pm

Exactly! Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Fri Nov 13, 2015 2:11 am

Well, I got my copy, and the game is downloading.

It was a wild goose chase -- I had to go to three different bloody stores to find a sodding copy. They are overloaded with the shitty console versions, but getting a bloody PC version was a chore.

24GB will take a while, so I am currently rolling a large white zepplin.

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Fri Nov 13, 2015 5:54 am

The story is balls but they nailed the gameplay. Smile

It's a pity people buy so many shitty console versions. The UI may not be meant for a PC but I expect mods to fix that. Once you've edited the FOV and the settings there is absolutely no contest. Crap, ever since I took the time to edit the settings the game has become much more impressive visually.

They say they want to implement mods on consoles but I don't see how they are going to compete with any decent PC on that front. Playing a game like this one on consoles is a waste of money.

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Fri Nov 13, 2015 9:20 am

The bloody download finally finished, and I was able to play.

It runs on my old Phenom X3 Black Edition 2.6, but with my 7750HD, the graphics, well, politely put, look like arse. Might be time to build myself a new machine and have my X3 as secondary AutoCAD PC.

I experimented with the crafting system, and I built a few uglyass houses. You were right, I am definitively going to waste some time making some housings.

The story is indeed a bunch of bollocks. Then again, this has been the case since Fallout 3.

I can barely put together coherent sentences, so I think I will go crash. It has been a long evening.

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Fri Nov 13, 2015 9:33 am

I knew you'd like this aspect of the game. Smile

You shouldn't need a high end machine to get the most of the game but at lower resolutions it looks like a game that was made for the PS2. In all fairness with some settings cranked all the way up it becomes rather beautiful (not as impressive as Assassin's Creed Unity but definitely a huge improvement compared to Skyrim or F3 and FNV).

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Fri Nov 13, 2015 9:46 am

Technically, my 7750HD is under the minimum requirements, yet the autodetect set it for Medium. Those textures really do look appaling and yeah, I definitively get a PS2 vibe.

I'll tinker with the settings a little more in the next days, Raptr usually has Performance/quality auto tune settings that are quite effective, but since F4 is a spanking new game, there's nothing yet. I also skipped a few GPU driver updates not having played anything really intensive for quite a while, can't hurt to try that as well.

I made a list of what I would need for a new build -- a PSU, a GPU, RAM, motherboard, and a processor. Could be worth paying a visit at my local computer shop, been getting all my PC stuff there since my good ol' Pentium 4.

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Fri Nov 13, 2015 1:30 pm

There is a thread on the official forums:

http://forums.bethsoft.com/topic/1543988-a-data-vault-of-tweaks-and-fixes-for-the-pc-version/

I did skip the sweet fx part simply because the game looks good enough once I managed to get the right settings for my computer.

The interesting part is to identify the bits that are more taxing for your machine. Textures for instance hardly make a difference in terms of frames per second (well as long as you meet the requirements) but godrays quality is a killer (and probably not worth it).

Some settings make a really huge difference in terms of visual quality and have little to no impact.

You should also consider editing the FOV (either by editing the ini files or using the user made configuration tool which is said to make it easy -I haven't tied it out myself).

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Sat Nov 14, 2015 12:22 am

That should help. Cheers, bro.

Edit -- Oh yeah, updating my drivers and doing those few tweaks allows me to run on High, and the game looks much, much better!

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Sat Nov 14, 2015 9:19 am

Right, so I had more time to sink my teeth in the game tonight.

The crafting system is really good, and I spent the better part of the evening turning Sanctuary into a fortress. Made a few metal houses for the residents, and currently building myself a tower of my own, just because I can.

I also got the T-51, and that's one part of the game I am not too fond of. Back in F3 and NV, especially in NV, power armor was just bloody amazing, and in F4 it feels Iron Man-ish. Although I am quite looking forward to seeing that power armor a certain loading screen refers to. I was also surprised to see some annoying bastards toting power armor, and some foes also underwent some interesting changes.

Tweaking and completely disabling godrays improved the smoothness of the game, although I still have some heavy lag occasionally, especially when entering new areas.

Upgraded a gun to make myself a very nice Sniper. I took the Scrapper perk to make crafting easier.

The survival system is much more fleshed out and actually useful. Food is actually a viable alternative to stimpak spamming, which is a refreshing change.

I like that towns are bigger and have more depth, now. They are genuinely fun to explore and more varied than they were in F3 and NV.

My machine can handle High, but some textures occasionally still look like arse. I am planning out a new build, my trusty X3 does the job but it's starting to show it's age.

Overall, yeah, Beth made some nice changes and a fairly good job with this one. Not all of the changes I like, of course, but I was expecting to be disappointed by the game, and I am not.

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Sat Nov 14, 2015 12:59 pm

The armour thing is a load of bull. It shouldn't come as a one size fits all kind of armour anyway. The protagonist may have had some training but they really expect us to believe that the armour has been standing around for two centuries? That's so preposterous it's not even funny.

There is a real problem with time in this game. Things feel like the Apocalypse had just happened and people were still trying to figure out ways of surviving on a day to day basis and talking about the people they've lost (I'm thinking of the first bunch of friendly people you're supposed to run into).

It just doesn't make sense.

The Iron Man comparison is very apt. The only redeeming feature is that some fuel is required. Still, it's a very heavy handed way to introduce features in the game. Bethesda is always sacrificing substance over style. As long as it looks good on the screen they don't care if it doesn't make a lick of sense.

If you can look past this you're in for a treat though as the crafting and base building mechanics are great time wasters.

I've decided to start over from scratch to take my mind of things and give a Charisma build a try considering that for once Charisma is not a dump stat.

By the way you should set your textures on Ultra and see how it goes. From what I've read and experienced going from High to Ultra doesn't come with a severe hit in terms of performance.

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Sat Nov 14, 2015 7:09 pm

By the way the Intimidation perk is just awesome. You can subdue an enemy peacefully and order them around. It's great and it was definitely worth starting over to get it asap.

My new guy is shaping up nicely, here is a picture:

Spoiler:
 

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Tue Nov 17, 2015 9:28 am

The way stats work is absolutely great. We don't get mired down in numbers but we can still come up with a build because becoming good at everything would probably take forever.

More importantly Charisma is useful especially if you're trying to be a bastard (which is difficult since it's a Bethesda game but passing speech checks can really help playing the manipulative scheming nefarious type).

I've found a few followers and while
Spoiler:
 
may be quite underwhelming I'm becoming really fond of
Spoiler:
 
. Taking a follower makes sneaking effectively impossible. Last time I tried it was incredibly funny because my follower kept knocking everything around...

Considering that it's just vanilla I'd say we can expect the best once the editor comes out next year.

I already have a few ideas regarding some little modifications I'd like to introduce to the game.

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout 4 First Impressions [no spoilers]   Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:45 pm

I've started building stuff in Sanctuary Hills.

It may not be exactly what I had in mind at first but what started as a market with a roof turned out rather nicely:

Spoiler:
 

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