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What To Think Of Bethesda's 'Fallout 4' Presentation At Gamescom (Opinion)

As Gamescom 2015 approached, even though I'm particularly an impassioned gamer, I found myself excited to see what Bethesda would have in store for us for Fallout 4. I already walked past the booth a couple of times the day before, and when the time came to actually enter, the walls surrounding it made the entry today all the more mysterious, as I haven't been able to peek inside just yet.

Then today came, I walked up to the press desk, confirmed my reservation, and went inside. More mystery ensued as I, along with a handful of other journalists and trade visitors, were led into a completely dark and closed-off room. I had heard a rumor that Todd Howard himself (Game Director & Executive Producer at Bethesda) would be giving the presentation, so my hopes were high.

A Bethesda employee closed the door and told us that we'd be watching a gameplay video narrated by Todd Howard (bummer). The video was comprised of two parts: one that explained the character development system, and one that showed off various fragments of gameplay.

Character Development

The character development in Fallout 4 appears to be the same as Fallout 3 with the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. traits (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck). Each of these traits can be trained, and as you progress through the leveling system you'll slowly unlock various perks. These range from actual improvements such as increased strength when in melee combat or armored, to just plain fun improvements, such as one where the bodies of enemies will sometimes explode in a gory mess (that's the name of the perk, "Gory Mess") when killed.

This system isn't much different from past titles, but it seems to work well, so it isn't a problem.

Then my hopes were crushed.

The Gameplay Fragment

I was expecting to see shiny next-gen graphics, more detail than before, and a whole new game – but I didn't. What I saw were various fragments of gameplay stitched together, where the player would enter combat, select different weapons with his Pip-Boy, shoot enemies, reload, and use the V.A.T.S. targeting system. Sound familiar?

That wasn't the only similarity to Fallout 3. Everything else seemed to be the same as the previous game, too. Sure, the level of detail on the Pip-Boy and the overall graphics were a little higher, but beyond that I had a very, very difficult time telling a difference between the two titles.

I quietly left, and as I was walking to my next meeting, I found myself wondering, why did Bethesda stick to the same recipe? Is it laziness, or are they scared to deviate from a successful strategy? For an adventure game, I certainly expected the developers to be a little more adventurous.

Mind you, I'm not upset that Todd Howard wasn't there to give the presentation, or that the game was remarkably similar to its predecessor. I am, however, simply shocked that I had such a hard time figuring out what, if anything is new about the game. Even all the sound effects were recycled (of course, nostalgia did hit when the "new town discovered" chime sounded).

Thankfully, the demo did conclude with not one, not two, but three shots with the Fat Boy launcher. It's good that mini nukes can still make me smile, and what also leaves me feeling more positive is that Bethesda tweeted that Fallout 4 will not have a level cap, and you can keep playing even after the main storyline is completed.

Follow Niels Broekhuijsen @NBroekhuijsen. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.

  • WhyFi
    It has been a long time since I have seen such a whiny article with so little justification for said whining.
    Reply
  • jjb8675309
    Did you expect it to adopt Metros gameplay mechanics or something!?!? This is FO, of course the PIP boy and VATS systems would be incorporated.
    Reply
  • Cons29
    you can build a house i heard, among other things
    Reply
  • Cal01
    You're right Fallout 4 is exactly the same game as 3 because the graphics are just "a little higher". It obviously shares similarities to the other games in it's series, or were you expecting it to adopt gameplay from the sims? I understand that this is just your opinion but it sounds like you were finding things to give the game a bad name, so I ask myself are we looking at the same thing?
    Reply
  • clonazepam
    FO4 is probably different enough to FO3 if you plan on living a significant amount of time within the game. If your plan was to have a nice, straightforward start to finish play-through, then it might feel too similar.

    Niels might have really liked the evolution of the Witcher series.
    Reply
  • Tony Casagrande
    Either this entire "article" is deliberately trolling to get page views, or your opinion is bad and you should feel bad. 400+ hours of potential gameplay, build your own settlements from the ground up, 50 base weapons to customize with 700 available modifications, the damn robot actually SAYS YOUR NAME, but let's complain about... well, apparently you're complaining that it's a Fallout game.
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    By your logic all sequels to popular novels should be written by different authors in a different writing style, lest they be too familiar.

    I for one am glad they're sticking to the same system. Any tweaks they do are welcome, but a huge part of Fallout to me is exploring a different region with different characters, a new story, missions, etc. I'm hoping to see them make the world more immersive with improved graphics and better AI.
    Reply
  • FlamingNinja1201
    This is a whole new level of stupid. Why did you expect them to remove everything that makes fallout the game it is.
    Reply
  • jonny rebel
    Gory Mess perk

    Fat Boy launcher

    wat
    Reply
  • alidan
    google polygon rockband 4 and see an even worse game article...

    that said... all i want from fallout 4 is weapons with a retarded amount of customization, VERY mod friendly systems so if something in the weapons customization is lacking, its easy for someone in the know to go in and expand, and if possible, the ability to play this game without vats at all, while i like the system some times, i would love for the fps mechanic of the game to be strong enough to stand up on its own, i felt it lacking in the previous 2 3d games.
    Reply