Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Fallout 4: A Next-Gen Polish With A Radroach Infestation

The Fallout series has exploded in popularity due to the release of the fantastic new series that debuted on Prime Video last month, I was hooked to that particular TV show and once I heard that Fallout 4 was getting a shiny new coat of paint with updated features and a brand new performance mode I could not wait to sink my teeth into it. 

I had to wait a few days after the initial release, although this update is free if you already owned the game or are subscribed to the PS Extra service there were some launch issues surrounding the PS Extra launch and it wasn’t able to be downloaded for some users of the platform until a few days later. Unfortunately, I was one of those unlucky few. People who got the game through the PS Essentials service when it dropped as one of the free monthly titles however were not given access to the update. 

First Impression

I opted to embark on a brand new journey, and as I was designing my character I could tell the textures had improved greatly, but sometimes they can come off looking a bit unnatural in certain scenarios. Cosworth the friendly house robot butler however looks incredible now. He is so shiny! A bit later on I set off into a house infected with radioactive Blotfiles with my robot companion and the animations on his flamethrower attack genuinely impressed me. This game is almost ten years old keep in mind, and some of the special effects are looking very healthy on current-gen hardware. 

The game is now running at a stable 60fps per second which is a welcome addition. Bethesda games have a reputation for jankyness and Fallout 4 is no exception. Having the game run at a higher frame rate helps offset this and makes the game feel a lot smoother and more fluid. Having the game running in 4K is another massive bonus, those extra pixels help make the game pop and the widescreen support is another welcome addition. Steam Deck support has also been added allowing avid gamers to now explore the Boston Wasteland on the go. 

Bethesda Bugs

The running joke about Bethesda games i the fact it’s the modders who finish the game as they are riddled with so many bugs. The game engine is part of this as they have been using the same engine for almost 30 years, but that is another conversation as I could talk about the issues I have had with this for a length of time and we need to stay on track here. Amongst the platforms, Steam users seem to be grappling with the brunt of the technical woes. Persistent bugs and glitches have persisted even after the patch. One frustrated player hit the nail on the head with their statement, “Many of the bugs that existed and were promised to be fixed are still in the game after the patch.” Another echoed the sentiment, stating, “Finally updated the game and didn’t fix a single issue. But now the mods I used to fix it don’t work.”

The Mods not working is a big issue for the Fallout creation community. The Modders are what have kept the game alive for so long and several huge projects have had to be halted due to the update as they now won’t run properly. One of the biggest casualties is the highly anticipated P.C Mod Fallout: London. This was something the community had been clamouring for and the project has taken years to get to its current stage. Now it seems the team will have to go back to the drawing board and overcome a set of brand-new obstacles. 

The discontent extends beyond gameplay problems to the patch notes themselves. Criticism arose over the perceived lack of substantial bug fixes. I have had a few encounters already with some bugs, nothing game-breaking as of yet, but my companion Dogmeat managed to fall through the floor mid-battle and then randomly spawned on a roof after the fight had ended. I had to use a few extra Stimpaks for that encounter, which I really could have done with my canine companions’ help. 

Unplayable For Some

PC players, specifically those on the Steam Deck, have encountered issues rendering the game unplayable, however. Fallout 4 fails to launch on the handheld PC for some users, while others report encountering numerous technical hurdles upon launch, such as missing graphics settings, defaulting to low settings, and poor frame rates. This is a huge shame as I praised the fact Fallout was now playable on the move, but it seems that isn’t the case for everyone even if they have software that should be capable of running the game. 

PlayStation users, too, have faced their share of challenges, particularly with accessing the game. As I mentioned earlier an initial problem arose when players found themselves unable to upgrade to the next-gen update for free, despite having owned the game through PlayStation Plus Extra. Bethesda confirmed this to be an unintentional bug but some users did purchase the game again to get the update, and at the time of writing it is unknown if refunds will be issued for players who opted to buy the game on top of the subscription service.

Buggy Brilliance

Honestly, it comes as no surprise to me that this launch did not go so smoothly. Bethesda has a history of this and we as consumers keep letting them get away with it. I am guilty of this as I love the content they put out. I did manage to avoid Starfield for now, but I have no doubt I’ll purchase it when it goes on sale on Steam. As irritating as these issues are normally Bethesda take the time to fix the issues and release patches to plaster over the wounds. This update is now the definitive way to play Fallout 4 I have no doubt, it’s just a shame we can’t ever seem to get the full experience on launch when it comes to this particular studio’s games.