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.
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.
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Niels might have really liked the evolution of the Witcher series.
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.
Fat Boy launcher
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.