This question clearly for many of you is very naive and possibly even stupid. So I feel like I need to preface this post by giving a couple points because I know that many of you reading this are eager gamers awaiting to get their grubby hands on Bethesda’s new title, and will be severely angered by any negativity given towards your precious game. So, my couple points are as follows:
- I do not think the Fallout series is bad in any way and nor do I think or wish Fallout 4 will be a bad game.
- My “hype” towards the game may not match that of many of you due to the reasons listed below, but that in no way implies that I am not looking forward to this game or think negatively about it or the franchise. I actually hope it does well because that means it’s another game I can put in 50+ hours into.
- Lastly, this is not some kind of contrarian post going against everyone’s high hopes for the sake of being an outlier and garnering views, a.k.a “clickbait.” Because this is a question that I genuinely am curious about due to my experience with the previous title and from what I have seen from the game so far. It may be a naive question to ask, but I still want to ask it.
Okay, now that all of that’s out of the way, let’s ask the question that’s been on my mind for the past few months: “Why is Fallout 4 such a big deal?”
I had never heard of this series until 2009 when I went to my friends house who told me that he had this new game that he wanted to try out. When I saw the cover of the game, I was unfamiliar with it, after a quick google search, I was shocked to see that it won “Game of The Year” in 2008 by multiple renowned websites. “How the hell did I never hear of this?” I exclaimed to my friend. Getting all giddy and sweaty I told him to hurry up and start it up. He put the game in for the first time and we were off. We were given a great intro into the world, created our weird character, began our journey in a vault, and soon enough after doing the usual RPG stuff, we were killing weird things in the “Capital Wasteland.” We played well into the night, but after about 6 or so hours of playing, we stopped because…well…we were bored. Actually we started to get “bored” around the 4 hour mark, but still wanted to keep going to see what happens. And…nothing did. The characters we encountered were somewhat interesting, the RPG elements were great, but what threw me off was the world that encapsulates you the player. It was brown, grey, and simply dull. Now listen, I don’t need everything to look like The Witcher 3, and nor am I one to focus on the graphics, but everything about the game, from combat, to the world, to just overall gameplay just seemed…”meh.” The game wasn’t bad by any means, I liked the RPG elements, the weapons and upgrade system was all good and fun, and the “idea” of the world being set in a post apocalyptic “retro” future was great, but the execution of the world and everything surrounding you just felt…meh.
So this got me thinking, “huh, this won game of the year?” Especially when seeing that was the year games like, GTA IV and MGS IV came out? I don’t know, it just didn’t fit. And again, I’m not saying the game was bad, it was fine, good even, but it didn’t give me that “wow” factor. And I thought maybe I was being too judgemental and impatient with the game; I mean it is an RPG after all. I didn’t like The Witcher 3 or Persona 4 Golden until after 8 or so hours into the game. So I gave it another chance, went back to my friends’ place and started where we left off. We played for another 4 or so hours, and although it began to get a bit more interesting with interesting new plot events, weapons etc, it still felt bland. At that point I felt like I was forcing myself to play the game in hopes that it would get to that, “oh wow” moment. So I stopped playing. And I still couldn’t get over the questions, “why did this win GOTY?” “What does this game do that makes it so critically acclaimed?”
Time went by and eventually I stopped pondering those questions. Fast forward to E3 2015, and the game all of you are anxiously waiting for, Fallout 4, was announced. And it’s easily the most anticipated game for this year. People are already dubbing it to be this year’s GOTY, which is crazy when games like MGS 5, Bloodborne, and The Witcher 3, all came out this year. But why? When I saw the gameplay that was featured at E3, and the numerous gameplays and details that have been leaked in the past week, I was again pondering the question, “what’s the big deal?”
It’s not like the graphics blew me away, they were fine, but nothing jaw dropping. The gameplay didn’t really show much, but what it did show again looked fine; the whole setting, plot, and world just had this feeling of, “been there, done that.” And with all the new leaks that have been going around the web, even people seem to be disappointed with the final product. From graphics, to the size of the world, to gameplay elements, it apparently was very underwhelming for those that broke their NDA’s and offered to share their thoughts to the world. When watching Rooster Teeths “The Know” on YouTube, hosts Meg Turney and Ashley Jenkins said that, “A player can walk from one end of the map to the other in about 12 minutes.” 12 minutes? That’s it? It takes over an hour maybe two to go across games like GTA V and Skyrim. The Witcher 3 will probably take twice as long as that. 12 minutes is not long at all. Now okay, I don’t care for how big the world is, as long as it’s filled with things to do and interact with. Which is what seems to be the case with Fallout 4. But still, from what I’ve seen, it’s not like this world is anything we haven’t seen before. I’m not saying it looked bad, compared to Fallout 3 it looks gorgeous, but that’s not really saying much.
What’s interesting to me is that it’s not like Fallout is a massive franchise like Metal Gear Solid, Grand Theft Auto, or even Bioshock. In terms of sales and even overall critical response, it’s nowhere near those titles. The Bioshock games were rated (on Metacritic) a 96, 88, and 94 respectively. The Metal Gear series has numerous games in the 90s, with it’s newest entry sitting at a 93. Its the same case with GTA. But if you look at Fallout, only the last game got above a 90. But fine, review scores don’t and shouldn’t be what encapsulates a games value. However, even looking at sales, it doesn’t match up to those “big” titles we all know and love. Heck the first two games weren’t even really known to the masses. So how does one game such as Fallout 3 have such a huge impact and ability to garner such a large fanbase to create such a massive hype for this game? Does the extreme success of Skyrim (a game I adore) have a lot to do with it? Or is Fallout really that good of a franchise that I simply can’t seem to get into and moreover don’t understand?
Bioshock is a series that people know and love, Mass Effect is another series that people know and love, same with Metal Gear, and I understand why they do. From the characters, to the story, to the incredible gameplay and creative worlds, it makes sense why those games alongside many others are what define gaming. All of those games have had those, “wow” moments that made me realize why I love gaming.
I don’t know, maybe I’m still being too quick to judge, or maybe the game does something that simply doesn’t appeal to me as a gamer. But it still baffles me to see the hype built around this game. Whatever the case, I’m curious to see how well this game does, and who knows, maybe I will pick it up and completely understand what the big deal was.
What do you guys think? Why has Fallout 4 been the only topic in gaming for the past month? What’s the reason for this massive hype? Feel free to hate, educate, and explain below in the comments!