Fallout 4

Fallout 4

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A Long Awaited Return to the Wasteland

It’s been 5 long years since the release of Fallout: New Vegas and an even longer 7 since Fallout 3. Since then, we’ve had leaks here and there about Fallout 4 and at E3 2015, Fallout 4 was officially announced to much excitement. If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know already, Fallout 4 is an open world action role-playing game made by Bethesda. Set in a post apocalyptic Boston in 2287, you emerge from Vault 111 210 years after a devastating nuclear war. I don’t want to get into details so I don’t spoil the story for those looking to experience the wasteland for themselves. The modern Fallout formula that we know and love has returned, and it’s better than ever.

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Concept Art of the Nukes going off.

A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game

 

If you’ve played any of the modern Fallout games, you’ll instantly feel familiar with Fallout 4. The combat system is mostly unchanged, with some modifications to make it more enjoyable such as player activated critical hits in V.A.T.S and stronger shooting mechanics. Gun-play feels a lot better outside of V.A.T.S compared to other Fallout games which is very nice to see. The RPG elements while watered down a bit since Fallout New Vegas and Fallout 3 are still reasonably deep. The S.P.E.C.I.A.L system has been changed for the better in my opinion. You start by investing 21 points into either Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck. From there, each time you level up you have one point to again invest in any of these or in specific perks based on the amount of points put into S.P.E.C.I.A.L. For example, if I was to invest 9 points into agility and none into intelligence, I could invest later points into lock picking or sneaking but if I wanted to invest it into hacking, I would first have to level up my intelligence more. I liked this system a lot even though it was confusing at first, I got used to it quickly. Base building, crafting, armor and weapon modding are all new additions to Fallout 4 and they’re fantastic additions at that. The weapon and armor modding in particular is really fun to play around with, renaming guns and modifying them using junk found throughout the wasteland. Base building and crafting I will admit, is not for everyone but i’m sure a lot of people will get a huge kick out of it and I can’t wait to see what the modding community is going to do with it.

Where. Is. My. Son. 

Fallout 4’s story is by no means amazing, but it’s still entertaining and enjoyable. The game starts with your custom created character (male or female) at home before the nukes go off. You’re greeted by Codsworth with a fresh pot of perfectly brewed coffee, your husband or wife and your son Shaun. You then get visited by a Vault-Tec representative who asks to register your family for a guaranteed spot in Vault 111. Shortly after, the nukes go off and you and your family run to the vault entrance and descend. After a series of events, 210 years later you emerge from Vault 111 to search for your son. I don’t want to talk about it anymore simply to avoid spoilers. The supporting cast is strong, characters are funny and unique. There are 14 different companions to explore the wasteland with ranging from trusty Dogmeat, to the undercover detective Nick Valentine. Voice acting is good and lip syncing is mostly fine, however at times it can be out of sync. The dialogue system is fairly bare bones, I wish it mattered when I chose one response over it’s complete opposite and had different outcomes, while this does happen sometimes it’s a lot more infrequent then it should be.

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Baby Shaun in his crib in the pre-war section. 

Still A Bethesda Game

One area that Fallout 4 doesn’t particularly excel in, much like other Bethesda games is it’s visuals and performance. The same engine is still being used here and while it is a noticeable difference from Fallout 3 and Skyrim, it’s definitely not new gen stuff. Most of the time the game runs at a locked 30 frames per second on the PlayStation 4 but the frames can drop during some sections of the game. The game also suffers from some minor bugs and I only experienced a game breaking bug once throughout my play-through. Sometimes the textures can just look ugly and unnatural, otherwise they’re passable at best. Boston certainly walks away from the dull tones of Fallout 3 and is definitely a lot more colorful which is great to see. I truly hope that the next game Bethesda releases features a new and updated engine to fully utilize new gen hardware much like the Witcher 3 did.

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The leap from Fallout 3 to Fallout 4 is definitely noticeable.

Verdict: Must Buy

If you have played and enjoyed any of the modern Fallout games or are just a die hard Fallout fan in general, Fallout 4 is a must buy for you. Any lover of RPGs can appreciate what Bethesda has put so much time into over the past 5 years. The biggest question of all, was it worth the wait? Yes, definitely and Fallout 4 is easily the best modern Fallout games and one of the best Bethesda games ever created. Fallout 4 was well worth the wait and is definitely one of the contenders for game of the year.

Positives

-Characters are unique and entertaining

– Strong gun-play and V.A.T.S

-Simple but lots of RPG elements

-Entertaining story

Negatives

-Bugs

-Performance and visuals

-Same old engine

Thanks for reading guys.

-Harry

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Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

Twin Assassins

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is the ninth installment in Ubisoft’s long-running series. Set within London in 1868 during the Industrial Revolution, the story follows twin assassins Jacob and Evie Frye as they try to free the oppressed people of London from Crawford Starrick and the Templars. The sibling rivalry between Jacob and Evie feels natural, unforced and dynamic. Starrick is a fantastic antagonist and much like the main characters, is very likeable. It doesn’t do much to change the samey, repetitive formula that the series has followed for a while now but Syndicate gets that formula right.

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Syndicate is the first Assassins game where the player is able to freely swap between to main protagonists and the first mainline Assassins game with a playable female character. The free-running system is the best it’s ever been and has a few new additions to it. The ability to scale down buildings has returned from Assassin’s Creed Unity and thankfully has been much improved. The rope launcher, is a completely new addition to Syndicate, the rope launcher allows Jacob and Evie to zip-line their way up any building and to traverse between them. It feels fluid, natural and I hope to see it return in future installments. The combat system has been changed quite a bit and has a more close quarters approach to it. Syndicate does away with swords and gives the player a slew of new weapons to use. The Cane Sword (it’s as awesome as it sounds) is one of the most creative and inventive weapons I’ve seen, heard of and used in a video game. There are also kukri, revolvers, brass knuckles and the series staple hidden blades. London is split up into seven boroughs which are all controlled by Templar forces. You take them back by taking down outposts, participating in gang wars, killing certain Templar targets and more. The entire map of Syndicate is about 30% larger than Unity’s and there’s plenty more to do after you finish the 14 hour campaign.

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Evie has far more stealth orientated game-play while Jacob is more loud upfront.

A Story of Two

Syndicate’s story is one of the strongest in the franchise. It starts of extremely well and keeps the player interested. The story doesn’t deal with anything too serious and it’s fun to watch how it all unfolds through Jacob and Evie’s conversations. It keeps a good pace all the way up until the ending. The ending feels lackluster and is quite disappointing. The characters are extremely likeable, especially Evie and Jacob. The rivalry and competitiveness between them is refreshing and fun to watch. Jacob is a very do things my own way kind of person. He’ll use whatever means he has to to get something done, even if it leaves a trail of ruin behind him. Evie on the other hand is much more do things by the book, always saying that the way their father wants them to do it is how they should do it. Evie is a very patient and loyal character, while still being a very strong, likeable female protagonist. Jacob and Evie aren’t exactly the same, but it feels like there should be a bit more difference between the two play styles. Jacob is a lot more upfront and violent while Evie is stealthy and careful. There are some skills exclusive to Evie that are stealth oriented and skills exclusive to Jacob that are combat orientated but it’s only a few skills and it doesn’t change the game-play as much as it should. Starrick is a very sinister and hell bent antagonist, wanting to make London under his control as his main motive for his actions. The supporting characters are all interesting and unique and side characters such as Charles Dickens and Queen Victoria have a good amount of depth for them too as you work through their side quests.

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Starrick is definitely one of the best villains in the series.

A Beautiful Revolution

Syndicate looks, plays and runs amazingly. The game runs at a consistent 60 frames per second at 1080 p. Victorian London has never looked so good, the bustling streets are filled with people and smoke rises from multiple buildings. The River Thames is one of the best areas in the game, with boats sailing through detailed water it truly is beautiful. The streets aren’t as packed and dense as they are in Unity but the roads are occupied by chariots (which are quite fun to drive). It is definitely the best looking and immersive Assassin’s Creed to date and it shows what the PlayStation 4 can do.

The River Thames is a marvel to look at.
The River Thames is a marvel to look at.

Verdict: Very Good

While not the best in the franchise, Syndicate feels like it acts as a redemption for Unity’s mistakes and flaws. If you don’t like Assassin’s Creed in general, Syndicate won’t change your mind but if you do enjoy Assassin’s Creed (especially the older ones) then Syndicate is definitely worth playing.

Positives

-Strong Characters

-Interesting Story

-Gets the Assassins Formula Right

-A Beautiful London

-CANE SWORDS!

Negatives

-Not enough difference between main protagonists (game-play wise)

-Lackluster Ending

Thanks for reading guys.

-Harry