Impressions of Fallout 4

June 3, 2015 delivered a present to gamers everywhere, the announcement of Fallout 4. The fifth installment of the Fallout franchise, Fallout 4 was widely anticipated, and the announcement has sent Fallout fans abuzz.

Fallout 4 may be the most hyped and expected game of 2015, some new features aren’t making some fans happy.

My impressions of Fallout 4 are hopeful, but expecting something that won’t be quite as good as Fallout 3 or New Vegas.

The biggest offender on the list of new features is the voice. In contrast to previous Fallout games, where the player’s character was a silent protagonist, there will now be a voice track to the character, and dialog choices will be spoken as the character. Bethesda, the game’s developer, is claiming it will increase the connection between player and player character, but I don’t see this happening at all.

A silent protagonist allows an individual to mold their expectations on the character. Much like a book, where the imagery is brought to life by the reader, a voice to the Fallout protagonist takes away from the player’s immersion. The game ceases to be the player interacting in a world, but a player observing a character interacting in the world.

The choice of location is definitely going to be interesting. Fallout 3 was set in Washington DC, New Vegas was set in, unsurprisingly, Las Vegas, and Fallout 4 will be set in Boston. Call me biased, but I’d love to see a modern Fallout set on the West Coast, either the fair town of Seattle, or maybe something like San Francisco. I certainly won’t complain about Boston, I’m quite interested in how a post-apocalyptic Boston will feel.

The features I’m most excited about involve the customization aspects of the game. Instead of having a room or a house with a couple of add-ons, the player has an entire settlement to build and maintain, complete with raids by bandits and other unsavories.

Weapon customization will add a sorely-needed dimension to the game, with junk scavenged around the world able to be used to upgrade weapons. It seems like in Fallout 3 and New Vegas that over half the items in the game are just junk to be sold. Being able to use nails and tin cans and whatever else is lying about to upgrade weapons definitely makes the act of scavenging feel less like a grind and have more purpose.

One of the most interesting new developments is allowing a phone or tablet to work as a second screen controller.

Last but not least, Dogmeat. The player’s pet dog will make a return, new and improved. Dogmeat is by no means an unfit companion in other Fallout games, but this time, Dogmeat will have more contextual actions, even being able to help the player with building.

One way or another, Fallout 4 is going to be huge. November 10 feels like a long way away, so now is the perfect time to go back and get some good retro Fallout gaming under the belt before the new one comes out.