The darkness lifts, unrecognizable blurry images slowly come into focus. Where am I? What did I … I remembered. I look down at the raked lines across my right hip. Deathclaws. I was trying to make my way out of the abandoned hospital when one powerful swipe of its arm sent me spinning down the embankment. My last spray of pellets, my last faithful shot from my shotgun, are now buried 4 inches in the beast’s face. I must have crawled into this run down rusty motor home afterwards. Did I really just put my face on this disgusting, brown, and urine drenched mattress for the night? No time to think about that. Someone could still live here, someone could try and fight me for my supplies. No ammo. No medical supplies. Time to go. The ringing in my head, and the blood caked down my left side will have to wait, I have to get out of here. I lean up on the door and open it slightly, nothing outside but dead plants, and burned darkened ground. I stumble forward, there’s a highway leading over the wasteland to the city, should be guarded by the local militia. If I make… it they’ll help me. With all the favors I’ve done for them this week. That’s when the I heard it: RWARRRRR… I know what that sound is. They found me! I don’t know how, but super mutants tracked me down. Time to go! My head explodes with pain but there’s no time to even shout for help, if I stop I’m dead. Sweat and dirt sting my eyes. I can hardly see, but I know the highway is there. Can’t lose it here, FOCUS! I HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE!
Fallout, it’s back. November 10th marks the release of another chapter in this captivating and thrilling post-apocalyptic RPG series. Taking place in and around Boston, Massachusetts. You will play (as usual) a vault survivor exploring the wastelands. Yesterday, developer Bethesda Game Studios released their launch trailer detailing some aspects of the story as well as enticing game play action in the new game engine. This launch trailer comes after leaked gameplay footage went viral across the internet. Prior to the leak, hype for Fallout 4 was intense. Now, gamers’ reactions have been mixed, with some outright declaring the game “officially a dud”. Is this a fair assessment?
We do not have an advanced copy of Fallout 4 yet to declare officially one way or another. As a matter of fact, neither do any of the gamers that have simply watched the gameplay leak. The main point of contention appears to be that the leaked footage shows a player running from one end of the map to the other in 11 minutes. This has some vocal gamers up in arms already declaring the game too short or not any good. You have other gamers meticulously measuring cubes and comparing it to Skyrim’s map size. Does it really matter? Why would that even be important? Size of the wasteland map would have little bearing on game length provided that there is a lot to do in the game. How many locations are there to visit? How deep, wide, involved, are those interior locations? What’s the story like? How intricate and well woven are the flashback moments? Are there advances in gameplay and atmosphere that further suspends disbelief beyond Bethesda’s last few Game of the Year RPGs? After the game is done, will I sit back and reminisce on the great moments and harrowing escapes that lead to something valuable or impressive? These are the questions that would seem to matter most, and these impressions will emerge once people get their hands on the game.
The guys over at DigitalTrends.com posted an article detailing improvements to the Creative Engine (the game engine behind Skyrim and Fallout 4). A new “physical deferred renderer” will attempt to accurately reflect light off surfaces, giving each in game material a more realistic appearance. Volumetric lighting has been improved. Cloth, hair, and other flexible objects will flow realistically in the wind, and even become drenched in the rain. Dynamic post processes are being used to alter mood, and scenery based on time of day to enhance emotional impact. Tesselated hardware based dismemberment should give those fantastic VAT slow motion carnage that added visceral punch. There are more enhancements included in this release, all designed to take advantage of advanced GPU technology. All of these advancements are improvements beyond what was seen in Skyrim.
As of today, over 28,000 people are still playing Skyrim. That’s a top 15 game according to Steam per game statistics. Based on how well Morrowind, Fallout 3, Oblivion, and Skyrim have been received and extensively played, any reason to even believe Fallout 4 will be any different? Time will tell for sure, but some leaked video of a player running across the surface for 11 minutes doesn’t dispute it’s potential to be one of the best games of the year either. The point is, it’s a little ludicrous to proclaim a game the best ever, or the worst ever, off 15 minutes of leaked footage. At its highest difficulty levels, it might be impossible to be out in the open for 11 minutes without having a Deathclaw keep your left leg. It appears foolish to become polarized on an aspect that is probably inconsequential to the main story and game experience in the long run.
As with any RPG, the story is at the heart of the experience. Fallout 4 includes 111,000 lines of dialog, that’s more than Skyrim and Fallout 3 combined. What is known of Fallout 4’s story? Not too much, Bethesda has been playing the full details close to the vest. Their latest launch trailer reveals a conflict and distrust with “synths”. Men and women who appear to be human, but are not. New characters appear to be pulling your decision over to consider them a threat, or not human. While armored guards harass average citizens at gun point to determine if they are “synths” or not. Other trailers have shown moments from the past, before the world turned into a radioactive hellhole, giving the impression that what occurred will have a strong bearing on your moral choices in the present. Fallout 4 is set to launch in just a few days but in the meantime take a gander at their official launch trailer.