Having put almost a 100+ hours into Fallout 4 since it came out, it’s safe to say that I need to get a life and that the game is definitely not a bad game in any regard. However, the game is also a really good example of how sloppy high budget AAA games are getting in this day and age.
Fallout 4 had effectively been in production for 7 years before release and the game even went gold on the October of 23rd. So it genuinely makes me wonder what the standards for a released game in the industry are these days, since there are numerous problems with the game. It was released with several bugs, companion and enemy AI that seems to malfunction on a regular basis, frequent FPS drops, character animations that’s sub par at best, graphics that is a marginal improvement over the previous iterations of the game, game engine speed being tied to the FPS of the game and almost the same UI we had in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, even though it was criticized quite heavily by the users. There are even some game breaking bugs that can halt your progress in the game altogether.
Consider this, if this was Assassins Creed or Call of Duty I was talking about right now, people would be up at arms about how there’s a lack of innovation and polish in the industry but since it’s Fallout 4, the short comings are not only expected, but also accepted as being a part of a Bethesda game. Bethesda seems to have a shield around itself thanks to it’s fans who will go to lengths to defend Fallout 4 and the bugs it contain stating that it’s usual for Bethesda games to have bugs and everyone should be used to it. Some will even go on to say that the low resolution textures in Fallout 4 don’t matter a lot to them since people don’t play Fallout for it’s graphical capabilities but that shouldn’t be the case. Compare Fallout 4 to games like Metal Gear Solid V or The Witcher 3, both of which came out this year, and it becomes obvious that Fallout 4 feels like a step back compared to these games which not only looked better but also performed better and had bigger worlds to explore with far less loading screens attached to them.
You wouldn’t be at fault if you hadn’t played the previous iterations of Fallout and thought that Fallout 4 was just Skyrim with guns, because let’s face it, that’s very much the case. Fallout 4 does very little to improve itself and actually takes a step back in terms of some game mechanics compared to it’s predecessors, such as the dialog system which is no longer dependent on your S.P.E.C.I.A.L anymore (Other than your Charisma which lets you say some more things) or the perk system which is more about collecting magazines throughout the world and making sure you’ve the right S.P.E.C.I.A.L points in order to get the perks you want. The dialog system in particular has been dumbed down to such an extent that people who are playing Fallout for the first time will never know the glory of playing a character with 1 point of intelligence and just grunting their way through the entire game.
It should be noted that Fallout isn’t a yearly release and that shouldn’t be an used as an excuse for the game to not have a lot of improvements but rather should reinforce the need to have more innovative ideas over it’s past iterations. Bethesda might have the mindset that they don’t need to fix something that’s not broken but what they don’t seem to understand is that there were a lot of broken things about Fallout 3 that have made a come back with Fallout 4.
Even the new Settlement building feature, which seems like a fleshed out version of a Fallout 3 mod, feels incomplete in many regards. Even if we’re to ignore the fact that there’s a hell lot of clipping issues and that most of the things in the whole “workshop mode” don’t snap together, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the game doesn’t go on describe how to create supply lines, what supply lines actually do, how to assign settlers, how to see which settler is working where, etc. The whole feature feels janky and the UI for the workshop mode is even worse than the normal UI that’s present in the game.
Fallout 4 doesn’t take itself very seriously and neither does Bethesda as a game development studio. The problems of Fallout 4 are very evident since the game released in an absolutely shoddy state but the fact that the game still got raving reviews across the board is a worrying trend for the industry since it only means that the industry and the consumers alike at this point are satisfied with whatever they’re given instead of expecting a quality product considering that they’re paying for it. Because of this trend, studios like Bethesda have little need to improve themselves since at the end of the day, they’re still selling their products and making money out of them regardless of how technically inept their games might actually be. And this will only lead to more studios following the same trend on creating a hype train to sell a game rather than actually making a well polished game, which would sell itself.
Despite the obvious presence of technical inefficiency by Bethesda in Fallout 4, websites like IGN go on to say that “They (Bugs) are a bummer, no doubt about it, except for the hilarious ones.” Dan Stapleton, Executive Editor at IGN, goes on to justify that unless a bug is halting your progression, it doesn’t matter much and then contradicts himself shortly after by stating that there were some progression halting bugs in side missions but he didn’t care much since he already had all the exp. This mentality isn’t just exclusive to IGN but is present across most traditional gaming media outlets, YouTubers and consumers alike, and that is a problem for obvious reasons since it tells publishers and studios that it’s OK to release a game in this manner.
So overall, while Fallout 4 might be one of the better games to have come out this year where you can spend countless hours into, the problems of Fallout 4 such as it’s technical ineptitude shouldn’t be overlooked just because it’s a Bethesda game and they’ve released games in a similar manner in the past. At the end of the day, the fact remains that Fallout 4 lacks the polish that should be standard for any AAA game coming out of the industry in 2015 considering the amount of money, time and man power spent in making the game and considering the fact that people need to spend $60 or their regional equivalent in order to play it.