Fallout 4: Next Gen Review

fallout 4 next gen review

fallout 4 next gen review

Fallout 4 Next Gen is here. The free upgrade has finally made its way to next-gen consoles, bringing a host of promised fixes, content, and new quests. Even the PS4 and Xbox One versions received an upgrade, minus all the fancy new flourishes, so this is the perfect time for me to finally play Fallout 4.

To say I never touched Fallout 4 would be a lie; however, I never truly got into the game as I should have. This isn't like Skyrim, where I never touched the main quest because of all the other distractions; no, this was due to one mechanic in particular.

Fallout 4 next gen sanctuary hills
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I bought Fallout 4 for my Xbox One on launch day, November 10, 2015. With my digital copy ready to go, I fired it up, and unlike the rest of the internet, I really enjoyed my time with it.

After around 20 hours, I never returned to the game; I never played much of the story, and, most importantly, I had never left Sanctuary.

Bethesda games are designed to distract the player and offer seemingly endless quests that draw you into these living, breathing worlds. This strategy has worked for me every new BGS release since Oblivion came out. I have been hooked since the Bethesda formula clicked with me, and yet, in Fallout 4, until now, I never followed a full questline after emerging from the vault.

You see, Fallout 4 introduced a new mechanic to the franchise - Settlements. Starting at the aforementioned Sanctuary Hills, you can build and manage multiple settlements across the Commonwealth. And I was sold.

Venturing no further than the Red Rocket truck stop between Sanctuary Hills and Concord, I decided my time with the game would be building the town into a thriving hub rather than the pressing matter of rescuing my son Shaun.

Now, I am not exactly a pro when it comes to customisation options in video games, but in Fallout 4, I worked and gathered until I had practically rebuilt every house on my street and then some. I had bars, stores, and treetop lounges, and while I couldn't fully master how to make things look nice and neat, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the game.

Related: Fallout 4 Beginners Tips

This is no slight on the main game of Fallout 4; I couldn't comment on it as my Fallout 4 was a base-building game, never daring to venture into Concord, where further mutated nasties may have lurked. But now, with the launch of the next-gen version, it was finally time to start anew and venture forth into the Wastelands of the Commonwealth.

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What I found was a tightly knit story that pushed me ever forward to the goal of finding my son. Each new quest, from raiding old abandoned military installations to the neo-noir detective story branch with Nick Valentine, peeled back more delicious layers that revealed exactly what had happened to Shaun.

I was thrilled; it was a brand new Fallout story I had yet to experience, and I loved every minute of it. But you already know the story and have formed your opinions on the voiced main protagonist, so let's pause and talk about the Next-Gen upgrades here.

Related: Fallout 4 VATS Tutorial

The next-gen launch for Fallout 4 hasn't been the smoothest for Bethesda; bringing the update to so many systems, it was inevitable that issues would pop up. The only issue I discovered was that Performance Mode and Quality Mode on Fallout 4 were the same.

Rather than giving two options, both modes were stuck on the Performance settings that target 60fps over 4K. Bethesda has addressed this problem by clarifying the situation, but I think a bigger separation is needed. Besides this yet-to-be-fixed issue, Fallout 4 ran amazing on Xbox Series X.

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Graphically, much remains the same; in fact, I would be stretched even to say I noticed any difference outside of the higher framerate. Fallout 4 still looks really nice, but it clearly isn't a next-gen-looking title. The team here at Portal also tested out different versions of the new upgrade; here are their thoughts:

Mark (Played on PS4)

I initially didn't have high hopes for the update as I was playing on the PlayStation 4. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I started the game for the first time after downloading the update. I instantly made the mistake of pushing the left joystick and sending my character for a plunge dip in the river, and I thought the graphics looked smoother even as my Sole Survivor was thrashing about.

I immediately took on the new quests, starting with “All Hallow’s Eve” and then “Echoes of the Past.” In the latter, I had to explore the Glowing Sea to find the Enclave’s dugout and battle several monsters, from the pesky Mole Rat to the formidable Deathclaws.

The combat situations tested the performance tweaks. Combat feels more seamless now, with the initial clunkiness I had observed from that first Deathclaw encounter in Concord gone. This also meant that creature attacks suffered no FPS drops, allowing me to become more responsive and have higher chances of surviving Deathclaw or Feral Ghoul encounters.

fallout 4 next gen
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Related: Beat The Concord Deathclaw

Kris (Played on Steam Deck)

I finally tried out the Next-Gen update of Fallout 4 on the Steam Deck. Bethesda's Post-Apocalyptic open-world game runs better now than it did before the update. The stutters are barely noticeable now and cap at 60 fps in a not-so-busy environment. Fallout 4’s frame rate dips to 35fps when the game gets chaotic.

A perfect example would be the first encounter with the Raiders and a Deathclaw on Concord. The Steam Deck will struggle a bit, but not in an unplayable way; to be perfectly honest, it can hold its own and still looks phenomenal.

However, the docked mode is a different story. Once the settings match your gaming monitor, the FPS only tops at 45fps and can go down to 25fps, which is sadly unacceptable to some nowadays.

But all that being said, this next-gen Fallout 4 update on the Steam Deck is a godsend and is meant to be played on the go!

Related: Fallout 4 Power Armor Collecting Guide

I played on Series X, and besides some usual Bethesda hiccups, I thoroughly adored every Brotherhood of Steel-supporting minute of my game. Yes, I like the Brotherhood; oh, come on, they have an airship! The 60fps was more than welcome. I find the step back to older games that run on 30fps jarring, but here, it has been implemented smoothly, from my experience.

So, is Fallout 4 the best game I have ever played? No, that is still Skyrim, but now that I have had more time in the Commonwealth, Fallout 4 is a damn good game made even better with this next-gen upgrade.

And before you scream at the screen, yes, I am aware that Bethesda will have ruined quite a few almost decade-old mods, and I know the update delayed the highly anticipated Fallout London.

However, being a big Bethesda fan for so many years, you come to realise an age-old truth.

Bethesda, Bethesda never changes.... and I love them for it.

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