Fallout 4 may have a poopy narrative, but it does a lot to make the open world feel like a powder keg ready to blow

Fallout 4 is a really complicated game for me. Complicated because the story is such shit and the gameplay is really fun so I want to go back into the game again and again, but I don't want to interact with the factions and push the story forward. It's just so trite and arbitrary and I hate pretty much all of the quests dealing with the factions. But since the factions are the main quest, it's impossible to proceed without them.

So once my original save was completed, I created a new one and avoided the story as best as I could, and focused entirely on leveling up as fast as humanly possible and also building my settlements from the ground up, which is easily where I have the most fun.

Whereas my original save was mained by a woman named Maria, for my new save I decided to change it up and play as a total beeftank, Frank. Frank the beeftank.

Meet Frank. And the workshop tutorial tip that I can't seem to get rid of.
 See, I found Spectacle Island a little late in my playthrough. Like, post-game with very few quests left to go and I was running out of reasons to continue playing. But Spectacle Island was such an interesting location. One, it's a big ass island that you can turn into a settlement, and two, the added isolation of it being an island made it feel more real as a settlement. So I definitely wanted to spend more time there on a fresh save.

I thought, hey, this could be much better than the Red Rocket station I'd been using since the beginning of the game. And so playthrough 2 began.

 Once out of the Vault I turned the difficulty to Survival and made my way straight to Saugus Ironworks and obtained the book that allowed me to place statues. It was a bit difficult as I was very, very low level, and there are some high level enemies over in that area. So after dying 50+ times as I entered the door, I finally managed into the room with the boy I am normally supposed to save and the guy wearing power armor and I skipped right past the dialog and was surprised to see that they won't actually attack you. I walked right up next to the leader of this enemy group and he just kind of looked at me, waiting for me to respond. But you don't have to. In fact, I came back 30 hours later and he was still just standing there, waiting for me to respond.

Once out of there, I headed straight for Diamond City to use the exploit to allow me to buy out their entire inventory, Shipment of Copper included. Once I did that, I went back to Red Rocket(Or, went there for the first time) and obtained Dogmeat. What proceeded from there was a several hour long session of duping Copper and then placing hundreds and possibly thousands of statues all around Sanctuary, leveling up slowly but surely.

Eventually after not so long I was level 60+ and ended up starting to play the game the right way.

Once I was out and about for real in the world, discovering places and actually willing to play, I happened to notice how willing the world is to just blow the fuck up. Pure carnage. Pure Anarchy. Pure Canarchagey.

I wouldn't say the world has much depth in it. As with the rest of Fallout 4 it's all quite shallow. All factions seemingly shoot to kill on sight and there's no real emphasis on Raiders "doing what they can to survive", they all just seem like a bunch of fucking psychos. Actually speaking on something similar, if the Gunners are mercenaries then why do they just attack on sight? How come I can't hire them or something? That seems weird.

Anyway. Even though I don't like the narrative of the game, the gameplay itself always seems really immersive and rewarding to me when I'm walking from one place to another and then in the middle of the journey, fatmans are going off, raiders are screaming, mutant hounds are, uh, hounding. Then when you jump into the fray, a Vertibird flies in over head and suddenly the fucking Brotherhood of Steel are getting their kill on. It's awesome and insane. It turns something as uninteresting as walking from somewhere to somewhere else into this huge brawl of high level enemies and explosions and nukes and fire and death and, well, it's great.

See this video where the universe sets up the punchline and then delivers, with style.

It's the little moments like these that make the game feel so much more rewarding. I mean, what were the chances that something catastrophic blew up right at that time? It's fucking hilarious.

Or in this video, where I thought I was about to receive some BoS backup, only to see what was really happening.

Goddamn Gunner's stole the Vertibird!? What in the hell? That was great and totally unexpected. In fact, I haven't seen anything like that happen before.

Or this one, which was really annoying for a while because I kept dying over and over again. The entire area was filled with high level enemies so it was definitely a tough fight.

I was just trying to go check something out nearby when this entire fucking town exploded into Gunfire. Then the Brotherhood of Steel, once again joins in and gets shit kicked in.

Honestly, for a faction that is built around the words Brother, Hood, and Steel - all cool words on their own, even cooler together - and also use big powered suits and fly big powered ships and shoot big guns, these guys get taken out a lot. Very rarely have I ever witnessed a group of BoS actually kicking anyone's shit in.

It actually makes me think a lot about Metal Gear Solid V and other types of games entirely. In MGSV, you are given multiple excuses as to why you never see any other factions fighting in the area. In Afghanistan it's because the Mujahadeen soldiers have left the area and so you never really get to see anything authentic in Afghanistan. You rescue one Afghani soldier and that's about as much of the war in Afghanistan as you get to see. It's fairly disappointing as the war during this time was pretty intense, I mean have you seen Rambo 3?

Same thing when you get to Africa. You are told there's shit going down but you never get to see it yourself. Because "reasons".

As much as I love MGSV, the open world gameplay it presents, and the options it gives you, the open world itself is very dull and barren. Some animals here and some soldiers in the exact same place doing the exact same thing there. It took the concept from Ground Zeroes(Or was it that Ground Zeroes took the concept from The Phantom Pain?) of soldiers on their patrols doing very minimal movement and it made sense. It made sense that these marine soldiers are guarding this base and not just walking around willy nilly, so it's an easy sell.

But in The Phantom Pain, since there is no threat of danger or any chance of an enemy attack(and by enemy of course I mean the Mujahadeen), they just stand around doing nothing except waiting for you to fulton them.

I actually almost shit myself, metaphorically speaking when I stumbled across soldiers in the middle of target practice in the big military base you find Huey in. I thought they were shooting at me, but bugged out. Then I looked closely and noticed the targets. I thought that was the shit! They are doing stuff, real stuff! How immersive. But that's it. You don't see them sitting around eating, you don't see them doing jumping jacks or pushups like soldiers would probably be doing. They just stand around, walking back and forth, waiting for you.

I defend the gameplay in MGSV very fiercely. I think out of all of the things the game did wrong, the gameplay was not one of them. And yet, while you yourself have many options at your disposal, the enemies really don't. I remember hearing from a guard that they have gained chopper support, so whenever I get caught I'd have to deal with an attack helicopter. I was really excited to hear that because that's so cool! And it also makes perfect sense. But then I realized, I had already completed the game and chocked up a total gameplay time of something close to 220 hours. Maybe more by now. So I got to see zero of this feature in places where it would count, in the actual missions to liven up the world and make it less repetitive.

It's was a little heartbreaking to hear of this basically hidden feature the enemies could use against me to even the odds. Because after all, you never see any real vehicles outside of a mission other than jeeps and trucks and they do nothing to make the game more challenging or even interesting. But then, I never saw a chopper. I believe one was called in once, and I saw it coming via the iDroid, but then for some reason it turned around and went away. And I was all, what the fuck. THAT was your chopper support!?

Another game I am reminded of is The Last of Us, one of my favorite games of all time. It features a story of a near zombie apocalypse, but you never see any enemies dealing with the infected. In fact, the other enemies very rarely even seem to care about how much noise they make or what they are currently doing. They seem, very clearly, there for Joel, and not under any assumption than anything else is going to get them.

There's actually one moment in Pittsburgh, in the hotel, where you see an enemy with a shotgun shoot a dead clicker, and also at the checkpoint where they are sniping infected from the spotlight area. But that's it. And it's not even a real "interaction". They just kind of shoot at them and sometimes they clearly miss, but the infected go down anyway.

The Last of Us is a different example, and there are probably much better examples to make. But it was one of the biggest "Oh, doi!" moments I've had when I realized... they never fight. Raiders and Infected never go at it, dukes up. While they do in the DLC and while it is way satisfying, I would have liked to see more of it in the base game.

I have played a lot of open world games in the past year or two and a lot haven't really utilized the scale of the open world for anything meaningful. Basically every Ubisoft game falls into that category. Grand Theft Auto V didn't have a lot of stuff going on in the open world, though it was developed for last gen hardware. Now that they've stopped supporting last gen consoles GTAO has already made huge leaps into the kind of content that one would expect from an open world game. So I guess that counts for something.

The Witcher 3 had a lot of great landscapes and the open world mostly felt alive and filled with things to do and find. I called it a "true open world", not as a true open world game where you have like 500 activities to do, but because the world was beautiful and teeming with shit. And I quite liked it.

While Fallout 4 may not be the most in-depth game, or the most polished, it's certainly nice that you can sit back on some rooftop somewhere and watch a hoard of Super Mutants fight Gunners, only to be interrupted by 3 Vertibirds filled with power armor wearing Brotherhood of Steel soldiers ready to fuck shit up and then immediately lose the Vertibird because holy shit it has like no health comparatively.

And that's pretty cool.

My name is Ryan. I like to play video games and Dungeons and Dragons and all kinds of other cool stuff. I also like to write. This is my website, it's nothing special, but I write about topics from time to time that probably make no sense. But if you think they do make sense, then hang around and check out some other articles. My friends call them "blogs" but goddamnit I've got a URL and everything, so they're "articles".

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