Fallout 4 is a Fallout about restoring civilization. It is not just a Fallout about a wayward family member, a water purifier, a GECK, a dam, or your favorite faction. Sure, those things might be in here (Fallout 4 directly repeats some of Fallout 3’s plot points). But this Fallout is unique among Fallouts for how it’s about restoring civilization to the wasteland. About worldbuilding. World rebuilding, to be more precise.
You might think you’ve restored civilizations in previous Fallouts. And, yes, depending on choices you made at the end of the game, maybe you did. But it wasn’t gameplay. Restoring civilization was a coda. A postscript. An oh-by-the-way, like those “where are they now?” title cards at the end of movies based on true stories. The new civilization was a slideshow and a block of text immediately preceding the credits.
But Fallout 4 is a game where you’re going to rebuild society as you play. In fact, you don’t have a choice. You’re going to be a hero who make the ruined world a better place, like it or not. This isn’t the kind of choice-and-consequence Fallout that will let you play the villain. You won’t blow up Megaton. Your choices will be a) pet the puppy or b) cuddle the puppy. The worst you can do is pet the puppy sarcastically. Besides, everyone plays a good guy on their first playthrough, right? You’ll find a couple of evil choices at the end. If you want to groove on the rubble, as per reformed hippie Jerry Rubin’s description of what would happen in an aftermath, you’re not going to do it directly. It will be a coda, a postscript, an oh-by-the-way. Up until then, when it really matters, you will work for a better world. Fallout 4 is a game about gameplay about rebuilding.
After the jump, the four things that keep Fallout 4 from being the game it’s trying to be. Continue reading →