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Or the first hour and a bit because I was so excited when I loaded up this piece of post apocalypse bliss I forgot to check the time…

Fallout 4 has a lot to live up to, the third instalment was a masterstroke of gaming and New Vegas took what made it great and tweaked it. So wisely Bethesda ease you into their long awaited sequel with a strikingly familiar feel.

This time you don’t start in the vault but living in an idyllic suburbia with your wife and infant child, however as this is Fallout the peace and quiet don’t last. Cue atomic war. Luckily you have a pass to a nearby vault, unluckily it’s a Fallout vault so expect evil and immoral experiments.

You’re not here for fun and games, you’re here to be frozen in suspended animation and studied. During this process you witness your child kidnaped and your wife shot. Yep it’s a Fallout vault alright! Due to some technical meltdown your chamber awakens you and you’re off on the chase…

This is were Fallout 4 hands control over to the player, up until now it has been scripted follow the NPCs. And this is were anyone who played the third iteration of the game will feel right at home. Escape a vault that is infested with radroaches, been there, done that.

Nothing has really changed; pick up anything and everything of value, wack the roaches with a security baton, snoop about on the terminals all the while looking for the exit. One welcome addition is the introduction of mini games. The first one, a clone of the arcade version of Donkey Kong, is found just before you exit the vault and you can eject it from its terminal to access via your Pip-Boy whenever you want.
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Once you exit the vault you’ll notice a few differences; The repair feature of your weapons is gone they don’t decline in condition this time, however your armour does and repair stations pop up from time to time, though no real introduction is given to these it’s a case of muddling through on your first go. The levelling up perks have had a face lift as well, not a case of: these are the perks you get a level 1,2,3 and so on more a case of you can only have perks if your S.P.E.C.I.A.L points are high enough. Luckily you can add to your initial base points every time you level up.

Another change to note is that V.A.T.S has changed. In previous instalments the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System would pause the game as you targeted a specific body part then restart and play out your choices. Here it just slows down proceedings, while that does not change combat that much it can become annoying if your foe closes in too much ruining your shot.

Soon into the game you come across a faithful canine companion and that provides pluses and a negative. You find the beast just waiting for you on your pre-described route, the way you have been told to go. There he is just aimlessly hanging about, no exploration needed. It is no real achievement and somewhat lessens the enjoyment of finding him. One of the plus points is his fighting style, no longer does he just stand there allegedly taking HP of his opponent he will launch himself on them forcing them to the ground and grab their wrist to stop them in their tracks. The other is his ability to locate items for you. In this dark, dank world you might easily miss a stimpak or some ammo, so the dogs habit of barking to alert you to some goodies is a pleasing one.
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If Dogmeats inclusion seemed forced the players first encounter with a Deathclaw is a massive let down. Straight after acquiring your first suit of power armour and a minigun it stalks into view, however you are not alone. A batch of raiders you were fighting will turn their attention to it, giving you added fire support. Plus you’re in a suit of power armour wielding a minigun… The monster is as fast as greased lighting and looks like a nightmare but it really just zig zags all over the place then falls down dead… A major anticlimactic battle from the scourge of the Wasteland.

Thus ends the first hour of Fallout 4. Well hour and a bit, like I said I wasn’t paying attention… Some further things to note 1) Your character now has a name and a voice, both good things but this means that the iconic narration of “War, war never changes” is no longer supplied by the dulcet tones of Ron Perlman but your character so minus points there. 2) After an hours play I had found four safes but not a single bobby pin, something should be done about that!

Will I keep playing? Of course I will!! So far it’s Fallout 3 with whistles and bells on and that’s all I ever wanted.

@DolefulDoug

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