I’m a little ashamed to say I’m on my second play through. Not because I have no life but because when I got into work, one of my friends told me he was on his fourth and I was dismayed.
I’m gonna try and refrain from fangirling too hard because that makes me sick and it just isn’t me. And this is by far a perfect game but its pretty freaking close.
The game itself didn’t take too long to install and load up although I wished I would have just downloaded it so I could have had my own private mini midnight launch instead of waiting feverishly for the post and deluding myself that it might have come a day earlier like that one time ages ago I may have imagined. Although obviously I fucked it up and had to reinstall it because I let it download the update mid installation so it was all installing from the net and I couldn’t see the entire loading bar which drove me nuts so I had to reinstall for sanities sake.
But when it was finally loaded, I started and found myself oddly gripped by the opening live action cinematic and then created my character of which I based on David Morrissey’s depiction of the Governor from Walking Dead. And before you jump down my throat calling me a philistine for using that version and not the fu manchu moustachioed comic and novel version (all of which I’ve read exhaustively, except the latest novel I think), I say fuck you David Morrissey is better looking, face it.
I think his face and his depiction of the Governor is also a lot more rounded and likeable and I was actually sad to see the show stick with the comic storyline and his death, when they went off the rails mid season and used the books a little I thought he might have been remodelled into an ongoing character and that would have been more interesting than just sticking to the source material with a few deviations.
I think his character was perfect for the character displayed by the voice actor for the male protagonist in fallout 3 Brian Delaney. I was initially sceptical about the voiced protagonist as the previous games had silent protagonists and voiced protagonists in rpgs like mass effect can get a little annoying and break immersion slightly because it feels less like you are the main character and more like you’re watching the main character do stuff.
But I have to say it really sold the immersion and the emotion at the start of the game, the game didn’t kid me and expect me to care about the main characters wife or kid (like in fallout 3 where you’re supposed to care about your fictional dad played by Liam Neeson) but I was very aware purely through the voice actor’s acting that the main character did care about his wife and child and that sort of sold the emotion of the game.
And when the ‘event’ happens, I really felt like someone who had been tossed into this hostile landscape, whose home and everything he’s known had been destroyed and had to sleep on the floor of truck stops office while it rained and radiation clouds blew through with only a dog to keep him company. It really felt morose and beautiful and that you had to live another day to get revenge and to rebuild a life for yourself and make something beautiful out of all the ugliness that surrounded you and I really loved it.
Despite that, I was proved right about the downsides of the voiced protagonists, mainly and I see a lot of chatter about this, it’s almost impossible to be evil.
Now I suppose you could just kill everyone but its hardly enslaving people and eating babies a la Fallout 3 is it. And the evil dialogue options just sound angsty and mean in Brian’s voice, he just seems too nice a guy to do all that fucked up shit. So twinned with my David Morrissey Governor smooth talking gunslinger character, he came off less monstrously evil and more misunderstood monster. Less Count Dracula more Frankenstein’s monster.
And to be honest I really dug that, good and evil are so subjective so losing the karma system and making good and evil more ambiguous seemed like a step in the right direction. If anything the karma system just evolved into the companion approval system, so depending on which character you pick to come with you, determines what you want to say or do to impress them. But again not one companion is Hannibal fucking lector, where would be the practicality of that? Every character, evil, cruel, vindictive or not has to be in some way likeable or redeemable so that you enjoy their character and want to follow their progression and I think Bethesda delivers on that well.
The factions are also really interesting and have their own sort of style; on my first play through I sided with the minutemen and set about uniting the settlements of the commonwealth, basically creating a people’s army. I don’t know what it is about this game that’s different from elder scrolls, in Skyrim and Oblivion I really didn’t see a problem with joining the mages guild and using the magic I learned for a little bit of thieving on the side. Or joining the fighter’s guild and then turning those talents to assassination, but in F4 the factions are a little more involved, a little more compelling. I couldn’t swear allegiance to the minutemen and then swear an oath of service to the Brotherhood of steel, it really feels like you’re either one or other and each faction is heavily tied into the main plot of the game unlike in Elder scrolls where each faction is its own quest line in a way. I can’t say which I like more to be honest; I think they both have merit.
The game play is great, the exploration (which is always the crux of rpgs like this) is top notch, the anal crafting is minecraft levels of addictive, I literally had to pull myself away from it just to actually play the game main game it’s so intoxicatingly addictive.
I think they really nailed the levelling and perk system too; it’s perfect for someone like me that likes to create a lot of distinct characters and loathes everyman grinders who spend ages making a character that’s good at literally everything. I’m sitting her playing my talker, small guns character and I can’t wait to start a big guns character who swings bats at people, now I’m playing that character and I can’t wait to play my slashy stealthy character who uses silenced weapons and crafts his own explosive traps.
But the game as a lot of people have said; is not really an rpg, the dialogue wheel is a little stunted and the voice actor does make it seem like you’re further away from the actions than you’d like.
Overall, I’m enthralled by it, I want to get lost in it, I almost feel like I rush it just to try and absorb everything I can get, I want to experience everything and I can’t wait for dlc.