While Fallout 4 is far from perfect, I have had hours of fun travelling through The Commonwealth, Fallout 4’s post-apocalyptic Boston. However, the real fun only started after I lost my save file and therefore over 30 hours of progress. Losing my save was the best thing to happen to my Fallout 4 playthrough.
I should start off however by saying that I am without a doubt the worst kind of RPG player. I can fully admit this. When I play RPGs the first time, I try to get through the main story as quickly as possible, so I can experience the story. If I don’t do this and decide to do some side quests instead I’m always wondering what will happen next, and usually I give in to this thought and just speed on through to the finish line. I always tell myself when I play through it again I will be much more thorough…that’s if I ever get around to playing through it again…which I usually don’t, except for a few games like Fallout 3and New Vegas.
So how did I lose my save? Well I’m honestly not sure at all. I came home one day to spend the Easter holidays with my family (and to get some serious gaming done after barely touching any games for a few months) and as I went to turn my PS4 on toplay some Fallout 4 I was greeted by a message telling me my PS4 had bricked, meaning I had lost everything. I was devastated, but after downloading an update for it off my computer and re-downloading Fallout 4 again, which was not something I was hoping to do again, I decided to start it up and hope that the save was fine. It was not.
At this time my PlayStation Plus subscription was out, so I had no saves uploaded.
After a fewdays of being annoyed that my save is gone, I decided that I might as well playthrough it again. It couldn’t be that bad, right?
Well at the start it was awful. The first few hours were boring, I wasn’t enjoying it and I kept contemplating dropping it altogether, but I decided to continue playing because it had to get better eventually. Only after I killed Kellogg for the second time and seeing the Brotherhood of Steel make their grand entrance to The Commonwealth once again did the game really open up for me and I began to not only enjoy it, but fall in love with the game once again.
When I first played through Fallout 4, I stuck with The Brotherhood of Steel. Sure I dabbled with both The Railroad and The Institute, but I always knew I’d stickwith them to the very end. What can I say? A technologically advanced forcingin a post-apocalyptic wasteland is a very cool concept to me. I played throughthe story, sided with The BoS, built Liberty Prime and followed him to The CIT, where we then wiped The Institute off the face of the planet. I was content with this the first time. Sure The Railroad was no more, but that didn’t bother me at all.
This time however I decided to work with all factions, and do as many missions as I can before I had to take sides. As I did some missions for The Railroad, I began to realise that maybe The BoS aren’t the best choice, but then The Institute isn’tcompletely evil. Their methods may not be the best, but their end goal is a noble one. There really isn’t a right choice when it comes to picking sides. All sides are far from perfect. The Brotherhood wants to kill all synths, but as far as I’m concerned they’re as close to human as they could possibly be, and so should be treated similarly. The Railroad is a small group that, in all honestly, don’t really have any idea what to do. Also they killed hundreds of people to help some synths. That’s bad. The Institute have a goal that may make the entire world a better place, but it’s kind of hard to accept that when they kidnap people and replace them with synths.
And The Minutemen…well, Preston Garvey still is the most annoying person to roam The Commonwealth, and probably the entire planet.
With my first playthrough I stuck with the same three companions throughout. Paladin Danse, Piper and Nick Valentine. I still went and found all of the other companions, but I just sent them to the dilapidated paradise that was Sanctuary.
I don’t really know why I did, I guess it was because I romanced Piper, Nick Valentine is one of the coolest companions ever and Paladin Danse is basically Buzz Lightyear: Fallout Edition.
This time I decided to spend equal amounts of time with each companion, with the aim of getting max affinity with each one. Some companions are a lot better than I thought they’d be and some are just okay, if not a bit boring. I wouldn’t consider any of them awful however, which is a big step up from previous Fallout games.
Deacon turned out to be the star of the show out of all of the neglected companions. He’s snarky, sarcastic and a lying asshole, but he’s a lovable asshole. I loved that as you continue to increase his affinity he continues to lie to you and you always have to call him out for it. However, there is a possibility that he might not be, which makes him a fascinating character to me.
As for worst, that has to be Strong. He feels like he was shoehorned in because Bethesda felt like every Fallout game needs a Super Mutant companion. He’s an one-note character that just ends up being boring. Plus, he’s extremely annoying, and hates everything I do. I moved him to some secluded farm by himself. If I never hear “WORLD IS BIGGER THAN STRONG KNEW” again it’ll be too soon.
Dogmeat and Nick Valentine are still the best though. Dogmeat because dog, and Nick because a synth detective is the coolest thing ever.
Cait’s accent is still terrible though.
By the time I started replaying through Fallout the first two DLCs, Automatron and Wasteland Workshop were already released. Automatron was a fun mid-sized DLC that adds a quest where you must stop The Mechanist, a character from the Silver Shroud radio series, from taking over The Commonwealth with a horde of evil robots. While that adds a substantial amount to the games, the real meat of the DLC comes from being able to build your own robot companions. Being able to mix and match between parts of different robots allowed for some interesting combinations. My favourite being stupid, sexy Codsworth.
I have yet to fully get the most out of Wasteland Workshop. I love the settlement building system in the game (even though it is far from perfect) and I’m hoping it’ll add some interesting things to the game, along with the rest of the settlement building DLCs. I also can’t wait to create my own Vault.
Far Harbor was released during my playthrough and before I even got to it there were also some things added to the base game, such as weapons, armours and quests that fleshed out the base game. I’ve been using the Radium Rifle almost non-stop and has become my go to weapon due to its stopping power and abundance of ammo. I’ve only got to Far Harbor recently but I’ve been enjoying what I’ve been playing so far. The new area is refreshing compared to The Commonwealth, it’s alot less brown and has more personality than the entire base game. It’s still not perfect however, I don’t know why the developers thought basing an entire DLC on something that can drastically lower the games framerate. While it hasbeen fixed somewhat there are still times where the frame rate can drop to sub 20 FPS, making travelling through the island a bit of a drag.
Compared toother DLCs that Bethesda have released for their other games I’d rank Far Harbor near the top based on what I played.
I was always one to keep the radio on during my playthroughs of Fallout 3, New Vegas and Fallout 4, but this time I decided to keep it off permanently, and now I don’t think I could go back. Don’t get me wrong, I love the soundtrack to the game and I can easily sing “The Wanderer” and “Rocket 69” off by heart because the lyrics have been burned into my brain, but score really helps with the immersion. Whether you are deep into a battle with a group of raiders, or are travelling through the hellish nightmare that is The Glowing Sea, there is always a piece of music that suits the situation perfectly.
The ambient sounds of The Commonwealth are fantastic too. Hearing the gusts of wind when you’re on top of a ruined skyscraper, to the sounds of caravans travelling through the wastes and the sounds of a firefight going off in the distance all add to the experience and I highly recommend that others turn off their radios too.
Everyone has their own playstyle. Some prefer to stick to the shadows and sneak their way through The Commonwealth, some are pacifists and seek only the most peaceful way to end every encounter and then there are people like me, who prefer the whole going in guns blazing and blow up as much stuff as possible along the wayplaystyle. It’s just much more fun to me, but unlike previous games, it feels like this option doesn’t really more feasible until later, when you have thousands of items for scrapping allowing you to create all sorts of weapons of mayhem. Unlocking new legendary attributes and having the required items to craft new weapon parts really add to the game and make bringing peace to the The Commonwealth through force a much more complete, and just pure fun, experience.
Don’t get me wrong, I like being the good guy too. While I always try to go for the peaceful route when dealing with civilians and characters, I have no problem raining destruction down on Raiders, Gunners and Mutants.
Fallout 4 still has many problems. Crafting is far from perfect, the dialogue wheel was an awful decision and there are still performance problems and bugs (but hey, a Fallout game wouldn’t be a Fallout game without bugs), but at its heart it is agame that has given me hours upon hours of constant fun.
Losing my save has taught me many valuable lessons when it comes to not just playing Fallout games, but also playing any RPG. I now know take my time with games andto fully appreciate them on my first time through, because there might not be asecond time. A game as large in scope as Fallout 4 deserves to be explored from top to bottom, every quest and side-quest to be completed, and for every story to be enjoyed.
Now excuse me while I jump right back in and seek out some more adventures in The Commonwealth.
If it happens again though this game can burn in hell.
You’re reading TAY, Kotaku’s community-run blog. TAY is written by and for Kotaku readers like you. We write about games, art, culture and everything in between. Want to write with us? Check out our tutorial here and join in. Follow us on Twitter@KoTAYku and Like Us on Facebook.