Bethesda had a damn good showing at E3 this year. Dishonored 2 with playable Emily, eight minutes of brutal, fantastic DOOM footage and, best of all, half an hour of Fallout 4. It looks incredible, I’m here to talk about it, let’s do this thing. I’ve split it up into three main sections, and will be focusing on the game itself, not “Fallout Shelter” or the wearable Pip-Boy.
The first part of the demo shows off the pre-war introduction to the game. Turns out I was close in my predictions; you DO go into Vault 111 before the bombs go off, but you come out two hundred years later, and you aren’t the baby seen in the crib. You’re one of its parents. The couple groom themselves in a mirror and this is your character creation; you can tinker with both using dynamic sliders on every part of the face, then pick one of them to be your character. Apparently the game has around one thousand of the most popular names recorded, so that characters in the game can vocally address you by name. In the demo they settled on a generic white man named Howard. The pre-war stuff has a genuine tension to it. Someone from Vault-Tec comes round to check your details for entry into Vault 111 (this is where you allocate your S.P.E.C.I.A.L points, of which you have a lot more than in 3 and New Vegas), then almost immediately you and your family have to run for your life through the streets to the Vault. “I love you. Both of you”, Howard says, and then the bomb hits. They refused to go into any plot details for now, but later on the showed Howard obtaining his Pip-Boy; covered in dust and fastened to the arm of a skeleton. They did say that your character is the sole survivor, so clearly something in Vault 111 goes very wrong. Speaking of the Pip-Boy, it now has 3-D models for weapons and armour, can play game cartridges (the one shown is basically Donkey Kong, but Cold War-ified), you see your character’s hand interact with it in real time, and armour is now put on limb by limb, as opposed to a whole suit. The last thing to mention here (as it won’t really fit into the other categories) is the conversation system. You can do it in third or first person and walk away from it at any time (something I’m genuinely pleased to hear), but now instead of having a list to choose from it uses the four face buttons, with a dialogue option attached to each. My main problem is dialogue options that are tied to skills; Intelligence, Speech, Strength etc. How will they factor in? Will you have to exhaust four options of dialogue before new ones pop up? It could be a nuisance.
The most surprising part of the demo. They showed off the new crafting system, used to alter/make weapons, and build houses, buildings and whole settlements. Weapons can be changed in all manner of ways, to simply adding a silencer or sight (crafted from junk scattered throughout the world), to swapping out large parts of the weapon to make it into something else. Things like taking a laser pistol and turning it into a tri-beam laser rifle. Apparently there are over fifty base weapons and over seven hundred modifications you can make. I’m really looking forward to this; if they do the crafting system well it’ll add a whole new depth to the game’s combat system. As for the buildings, it also adds a frankly unprecedented level of depth. You can craft furniture, then buildings to put it in, then water pumps, a place to plant food and a power line strung together to power everything there. You can build a massive settlement and get other people to come and live there, and draw in unique merchants. It looks like you could spend the whole game just building a town, and ignoring all the story missions. If you’re so inclined.
Finally, the presentation ended with a two minute trailer in which Howard murders a whole load of wasteland creatures and humans to the song “Atom bomb baby”. Deathclaws, Yao Guai, Raiders, Supermutant Behemoths, robots; all of them and more get gunned down and hit with a sledgehammer so hard they explode. The combat looks excellent in first person, V.A.T.S looks as good as ever, and overall the combat looks as good as everything else that’s been shown.
Fallout 4 looks amazing. The character creation, the combat, the new crafting system, the graphics; everything has clearly had so much live and time poured into it. It’s clear that Bethesda want this to be as good as it possibly can be, and it certainly looks like it will pay off. They also gave a release date: November 10th.
I can’t wait.
By James Lambert