It's been two weeks since I reviewed Fallout 4 and I'm still playing and finding interesting things that leave me thinking. So I decided to write again about this great game and some of his flaws and strengths that may not be so evident until you spend quite a while playing.
First I need to address something I've seen mentioned a lot on the Internet and is that a lot of people say the graphics are bad and that the quests are repetitive. Personally I don't think this true for the majority of the game but after playing a longer time I finally can see where this complains are coming.
The problem is a serious design flaw in the game and it works like this. At the beginning of the game you are given your main story quest and some side quests from a group called The Minutemen, the problem is that because this are the only side missions you have at the beginning you can feel compelled to doing them. Most of this missions consist in this simple pattern "X" town is in problems, you go there and they ask you to kill "X" enemies in "Y" location. Then you repeat the same thing 7 or 8 times before you can advance further in the plot about this "Minutemen". So now I understand when people say that quest are boring. The ironic thing is that you don't have to do this missions as they say to you, I did most of them by accident when I was doing other much more interesting side quests.
This also affects the perception of the graphics in the games. Most of the complains are about the ugly characters models. At first I didn't understand this complains because I focused on the more interesting random side quests that you get as you explore, a lots of this being companions quests which are very well designed and look pretty cool. The problem is that if you follow the Minutemen story line or by change get some different side quests, you end talking to a lot of farmers that look really really ugly. I think some of them are even randomly generated because they don't have names and they just appear as "Settler" or "Worker".
Another serious flaw in the game I haven't the chance to mention es the dialogue system. They changed the classic list of options for something similar to the dialogue wheel from Bioware's games, this isn't a problem by itself in fact at fist I didn't noticed it because I'm so used to it from other RPGs. Also as I dedicated a huge bunch of time to exploring and most of the side quests I did didn't have a lot of dialogue I didn't noticed any problem with the system.
But once you get into more dialogue you discover that the system is awfully designed. First there are only 4 options, this limits the system a lot. Worse it is badly designed, in similar systems like in Dragon Age Inquisition or The Witcher 3 dialogues are divided in segments and your responses are divided as well and usually it is well indicated what each option does. For example if you are in a segment of dialogue usually responses that end that part of the conversation are indicated. If you want to get more information you usually are taken to a sub-segment of dialogue where you can ask a lot of questions without actually ending the conversation.
In the Fallout 4 system things get really confusing, sometimes you can ask several questions, most of the time only one and sometimes even asking for more information will end the conversation without the chance to choose other response. Also there is not much choice in what you say usually your options are only "yes", "no" and "maybe" with this last one almost always being considered as a yes.
So with this things in consideration does I still think Fallout 4 is a great game? yes, I highly recommend it. It is still very fun and with tons of things and details to discover. But I also now understand better the complains of other people about the game. I also highly recommend avoiding the Minutemen quests at the beginning because they can really undermine your experience they get really repetitive after a while. Just do first one or two missions to get some experience points and become leader of the Minutemen and then go on your way. As you find towns and other quests eventually you'll fill the requirements to advance in their plot line without all the tedious missions.
I know people can doubt my objectivity when recommending Fallout 4 after mentioning this flaws in the game. But I found it really fun and that the good things vastly outweigh the bad stuff. Also for me I think this is the way Bethesda is experimenting with a lot of things even if people feels some aspects of the game seem rushed and not very well implemented. I think that is also true, but look at it this way. We know Fallout 4 is made with a modified graphical engine used for Skyrim, we also have a new generation of consoles. I seriously think that because their engine is getting old and because of the new consoles they released Fallout 4 as soon as possible before it become outdated. Also I think a lot of the things they added are because they wanted to see if people like them so they can perfect it for the next Elder Scrolls and Fallout games.
There are two things I'm excited to see in the future.
First the settlement system where you can build towns and create tons of things inside them like grow food, put stores and even creating trading routes between your towns. Right now the system is very basic but there is one thing that give me hopes, right now towns can be either allied or neutral to you. But what if they are hostile, perfecting the system so you can recruit soldiers, put patrols in the roads and interact with enemy towns either violent or diplomatically could be really interesting to see in future games as the idea could work well in both Fallout and The Elder Scrolls games. The basis are there they just need to improve upon them.
The second thing even if right now is more speculation on my part than any other thing. Right now the problem with Bethesda games is that their games are really hard to make. On one side you want a really big world with tons of objects to interact with and a lot of freedom. On the other side you want a stable game with the best graphics possible. The problem is that both things are incompatible having more things and a bigger world will have a toll in your graphics and the game stability and vice versa. There are two solutions, one is making fewer interactive objects, quests and other things so you can have more space for a graphics and fewer bugs, this is the approach most games take, for example in Dragon Age or The Witcher you can't interact with every single cup, bottle and thing like in a Fallout or Elder Scrolls game. Personally I don't think they will make this as it is a big part of the fun in this games. The other thing that can be made is making a modular world. Instead of having a really big map and having everything in the game inside this map. Now you make smaller maps divided by a loading screen so instead of having to load everything at once you do it in pieces giving you more space for graphics and other stuff.
This also is made in Dragon Age and The Witcher with great success, they have several big maps instead of a huge single one and you travel between them using the map screen. Right now Fallout 4 doesn't have this approach, but after playing a lot of time I found that in the game there is really very little unused space. This is important because we know the game is going to have several DLCs and with so little unused space in the map it will be difficult to make a DLC without re-using locations of the game. This is a perfect time to begin to use a modular approach in the game, with each DLC adding a new map and letting you travel between them freely. Bethesda has done something similar with other DLC in the past but they always try to maintain the illusion that the game is a single huge map. So right now given all the new things which are experimenting I hope they give it a try and add new maps even if it breaks a little the illusion of a single huge cohesive world.