Having achieved perfect scores for how it plays on the Xbox One and then also on the PC, we now take a look at Fallout 4 on the PlayStation 4. If you notice the big chart there, you will be able to clearly see that it has earned yet another round of perfect 5 GiN Gem scores in every category. Does this mean that Fallout 4 is perfect? No. It has a few flaws and minor annoyances as well. Is it the best game ever created? Well, everything is relative of course, and not everyone will share the same opinions, but looked at objectively, yes, in many respects this is probably the best game ever created.
It’s interesting to note that I happen to know Todd Hargosh, who reviewed Fallout 4 for the Xbox One and Billy White, who looked at it on the PC. They are friends of mine, but having worked with them for many years, I can tell you that we don’t agree on too much when it comes to gaming. We are different types of players and different games appeal to each of us. The differences in our preferences is fairly dramatic actually. But all three of us playing Fallout 4 on different platforms felt like the game earned perfect scores. I think the reason for this is that Fallout 4 lets you play however you want and however you like.
But it’s more than a simple sandbox. Bethesda this time has packed that sandbox with all kinds of various toys, adventures, monsters and bad guys that no matter how you want to play the game, you will have a rewarding experience. Billy spent most of his time building up the various communities out there in the Boston wasteland, digging wells, walling off towns, adding turrets and generally improving both the defenses and the quality of life for the people living there like he was in the apocalyptic Peace Corps. Todd walked a different path, embracing many of the side missions and faction quests, and eventually diving into the main plot. Me, I approached the game from yet another direction, and still had a ton of fun to the point where I really didn’t want to play anything else, or for that matter, do almost anything else other than play.
You see, when it comes to gaming, I am one of those explorer types. I don’t really care about achievements, and the main plot of Fallout 4, while interesting and sometimes surprising, didn’t really tempt me to follow it. I didn’t even really embrace the faction quests too much. When offered membership in The Brotherhood of Steel, I turned them down. I left it open so I could go back, but like the song that Bethesda used to promote the game, I’m a wanderer. Can’t be tied down to one faction, well, not until I satisfy my wanderlust a bit more.
I generally wander the wastes, and explore the many alleyways and buildings of the old city of Boston, much of which is surprisingly intact. Unlike Fallout 3 and the mess that was inner-city DC with its many zones and confusing metro routes, Boston is for the most part completely open to exploration, not to mention the surrounding countryside. The map itself is not quite as large as some of the other Bethesda games over the years, but it seems to be packed with much more stuff to do, so it actually seems a lot bigger. I love Fallout 4 because it constantly rewards my explorer curiosity. Sometimes entire mini-adventures unfold for me, very naturally, just by me looking around and deciding to check out some interesting architecture or a spooky building off in the far distance. Some of these adventures are not even really scripted, as in, they don’t register on the Pipboy. But they have a clear plot and a cast of characters, both of which can often be unraveled if you try.
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There is also quite a few Easter Eggs in the game. Many times I would explore an empty spot on the map just because I wanted to see what was there, and would get rewarded with discovering something cool like a secret military bunker or the basement of a seemingly-ruined house hiding an underground chamber filled with secrets. A few times I was even rewarded with a bobble-head that increased some aspect of my character, just because I wanted to see if I could climb to the top of a building or cross a seemingly impassable swamp. For explorer type gamers, that is pure gold.
I am also amazed at the smoothness of Fallout 4 on the PlayStation 4. Aiming is completely natural, much more like a shooter now than a hybrid RPG. I don’t even use the VATS targeting system much anymore. I’ve gone through entire firefights with dodging behind trees, tossing grenades into cars (which subsequently explode into a mini-nuclear blast) and flanking and outflanking opponents, all in real time without triggering VATS. I simply don’t really need to do it because movement and aiming seem so natural. I do trigger it sometimes, like when I want to score a critical hit or really need to try and get a headshot, but it’s used more strategically or for fun, not because the hardware can’t properly render a good shooter interface, as was sometimes the case with Fallout New Vegas struggling on the PlayStation 3.
The crafting interface for me is just barely second in things I enjoy in Fallout 4 to exploration. In fact, in a way it kind of is like exploration. There are a limited number of mods for each weapon, but still quite a lot. And every weapon from a baseball bat to a shotgun to a plasma pistol can be customized right to your exact playstyle, which I think is much more fun and clever than say, getting millions of random properties like with Borderlands. It makes every weapon potentially valuable based on your perks and style.
For example, I still use a starting 10mm pistol even late in the game because I have customized mine (and named it Judgement) to be perfect for my needs. It’s got supped-up damage (a starting 10mm handgun does about 12 damage per shot – mine does over 40), a reflex sight, extended clip and a beautiful silencer for nearly noiseless operation. I also built it on a legendary assassin’s pistol chassis I found that does an extra 50 percent damage against human opponents. When combined with my pistol, sandman and general damage-buffing perks, it’s a lot of devastation in a very small, quick package. With armor and melee weapon crafting mixed in, it makes for a lot of choices.
The other reviews here have talked about how great the game looks and sounds, and thankfully this is not any different on the PlayStation 4. I even left the radio stations run quite a bit, and was pleased to find that they didn’t re-loop into content and repeat songs for quite a long while.
It’s almost tempting to almost call Fallout 4 a simulation, given how real the world seems now. In the end, it was great for me to come home after a long day of dealing with real life and fade away into the virtual reality that is Fallout 4, a game that really lets you make it into almost anything you want it to be within its very loose framework. Our Xbox reviewer Todd finished the main quest in 53 hours, I’ve put in almost 80 and don’t even really have the main quest anywhere in sight. Both of us are really enjoying Fallout 4, even though it’s almost like we are playing completely different games. Titles like that don’t come along very often. Fallout 4 really is a special game in that way. It can appeal to a lot of people, but in a lot of different ways.
Fallout 4 earns a perfect 5 GiN Gem sweep for the PlayStation 4, where it joins the Xbox One and PC versions. Most gamers should enjoy stocking up on Rad-X cocktails and diving right into a game that can be played however they want for maximum enjoyment.
Developers: Bethesda Game Studios
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One