So a few months ago, I became a completely addicted Fallout fan. Since then, I have put a crazy amount of hours into Fallout 3 and I’ve thrown down (£)99 caps on the Fallout 4 Pip-Boy Edition.
It all started at E3…
On 15th June at 3am I tuned in to watch the Bethesda conference. At this point, I was aware of the Fallout series and had watched the trailer for Fallout 4 but had never actually played a Fallout game. So when Todd Howard (Game Director and Executive Producer at Bethesda Game Studios) took to the stage and started talking about the new addition to the series I was most definitely intrigued. The game looked fantastic. Howard spoke a lot about its new features enabling players to deconstruct and reconstruct buildings, create custom weapons and much more. Everything about the game seemed inviting to me, from the retro-futuristic art style to how vast and open the Wasteland looked. How had I never picked up a Fallout game before? I watched the entire presentation in silence, soaking up everything that Howard had to say, then I witnessed the unveiling of something that would cause a huge stir in the Fallout community: the Pip-Boy Edition.
I’ll be honest, when I first saw the Pip-Boy, I wasn’t exactly sure what to make of it. Having not have played Fallout I had no idea how fundamental this instrument was in gameplay, so its big reveal at E3 was somewhat lost on me, at first. I mean, it looked like a cool little gadget and it was rad that you could just slot your mobile phone right in to create a second screen experience but I really didn’t understand how epic it was at that point in time. After a quick explanation from Howard I was up to speed on the Pip-Boy’s functions and I began to understand its importance in the game. Minutes later, Howard announced another “totally new game” available on iOS, called Fallout Shelter. This game was entirely built on the same retro-futuristic style that I had liked in the Fallout trailer and overall, it looked pretty cute and fun. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to wait too long to test it out as Howard said it would be available after the conference had ended. I watched the Bethesda conference to the end then promptly collapsed into bed.
A few hours later, I rolled over and found that I was wide awake. Then suddenly, my thoughts switched to Fallout Shelter. Flash forward to the following afternoon and I had already built three different vaults and was busy managing them. The addiction set in quickly and others in my family were soon sucked in. We sat there for hours talking about how many dwellers we had in our vaults, what had happened to the dwellers that we had sent out into the Wasteland and exchanging tips on how to play the game more efficiently. The game was a lot better than I had anticipated and I found myself playing it whenever I could, even whilst cooking! A few days later, whilst tapping away at Fallout Shelter on my iPhone and eating dinner with my free hand, I chatted to Christian about the game. “It feels as though I am missing out on a lot of Fallout references by playing this”, I said. He agreed that a lot of the references were probably going over my head and said that I would probably really enjoy the ‘real’ game if I gave it a chance. So that night, armed with only my keyboard and mouse, I ventured out into the Wasteland of Fallout 3. Over seventy hours of gameplay later, I can confidently say that this is the best game that I’ve ever played. The 1950s retro- futurism is ridiculously attractive, the V.A.T.S system feels easy and rewarding and finally, I understood all that fuss about the Pip-Boy. I loved it. I found myself investing entire days in Fallout 3, only tearing myself away from my monitor for toilet breaks and food (sometimes I even ate whilst playing). I was at my happiest when I was venturing across the Wasteland in pursuit of a new quest and unraveling more of the plot within the game.
After finishing Fallout 3, I was bereft. I had invested so much time into the game and had enjoyed every second of it. With high hopes, I logged onto GAME and searched for the Pip-Boy Edition. Alas, I was days too late to secure a preorder and closed the browser with an empty basket. I should have been quicker – I had had years to play Fallout 3 and had only picked it up now – but I wanted that Pip-Boy Edition so badly! Then, to my surprise, the bundle resurfaced a few days later in a magical second batch of stock. Without hesitation, I snagged one and hastily deposited my twenty caps deposit, securing myself the preorder, a place in the Fallout 4 Vault Club and a sweet little Vault Boy bobble head. As you can imagine, I was ecstatic with this turn of events. I didn’t put a single point in ‘Luck’ in the S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats in-game but somehow I had managed to get my hands on a real Pip-Boy. In a matter of weeks I had gone from a complete noob to an obsessive Fallout fan and on top of that, I had bagged myself, arguably, the coolest limited edition game release to date! That was probably the fastest that I have ever parted with £99 but it filled me with an even greater burning excitement for Fallout 4.
Now let’s time skip, once again, to the end of July:
“Fallout 4 Studio Cannot Make Any More Pip-Boy Collector’s Editions”, the headlines exploded onto GameSpot after an interview with Pete Hines (Bethesda’s Marketing VP). Despite having made more of this collector’s edition than any other commissioned by Bethesda, the factories had essentially shut up shop and had reported that they could not make any more Pip-Boys. I had been incredibly lucky.
As the weeks rolled on, small nuggets of information on Fallout 4 were tossed out to the press and public. One of the most exciting announcements being that the game is breaking its traditional leveling system by not employing a level cap, meaning that even after the main story is finished, you can continue to play and level (something that is both amazing and dangerous for those of us who just can’t get enough of the game!). Then came Gamescom, where the press got to watch a fifteen minute gameplay demo.
Interestingly, quite a few negative impressions of Fallout 4 have come to light, with some people claiming that the game looks “exactly the same as Fallout 3, for good and bad”. Others have also claimed that “fittingly for a game that encourages scavenging and hammering together equipment to survive, Fallout 4 looks recycled”, but I have to be honest, I’m really not too upset about that. After watching the trailer for Fallout 4 more times than I can count and after searching for updates on the game, daily, I can pick out a number of things that I am excited about.
Firstly, did you see that beautiful colour palette? I know that Fallout 3 sticks to the last generation stereotype of being very dark and sort of gritty and I really appreciated how that fits so well with its post-apocalyptic theme. Even so, for me, seeing the more vibrant palette in Fallout 4 gives me hope that this will make the game all the more realistic and immersive. Although I really did not have a problem with how dark [literally] Fallout 3 was, it will be nice to see the newest addition in ‘Technicolor’, so to speak. Just because it’s post-apocalyptic doesn’t make it all doom and gloom, right? Moreover, I really cannot wait to explore the new world and see what types of areas have been created for me to discover and manipulate. This is also something that I am really interested in seeing; you can literally create a settlement! In Fallout 3, due to the decisions that I made in the game I ended up having a home in Megaton that I would religiously go back to, to pick up supplies or dump stuff that I wanted to keep, but didn’t want to carry around with me. However, in Fallout 4 Bethesda has provided us with a fully dynamic game engine which that means that we can deconstruct buildings and strip the junk lying around us for materials then rebuild this stuff wherever we want. Having control over what we want our base to look like and how we want it to function in regards to aspects such as trading and defence will not only be game-changing, but will also feel so much more personal. Crafting has also been taken to a whole new level in this game, too. Finally, from the trailers and feedback from the press at Gamescom, it seems like combat may be quite different in Fallout 4, with more opportunities for us to pick exactly how we want to play. We are already aware that V.A.T.S has been tweaked and with the game appearing to have “more intense” combat than Fallout 3, I am pretty confident that I will not be disappointed.
Overall, 10th November really cannot come soon enough!