Review – Fallout 4 (Xbox One)

My hands shook and my stomach churned in excitement as I feverishly tore into the package before me. All I could think was “Finally – the day has come”. The day I’d been waiting for, for what seemed like a lifetime. Today was the day that the latest installment of my favorite game franchise Fallout 4 arrived and I could barely stand the wait and I paced back and forth waiting for the install to finish.

Fallout for me has always been a world I can get lost in. That goes back to the days of the original. I’ve played through fallout 3 and New Vegas 3 times a piece each time differently than the last and each time took no less than 80 hours so to say that excitement that filled the air in the days leading up to release was high to say the least.

In typical fashion of the Feed Your Console team, we will endeavor to avoid spoilers despite there being countless sites out there who divulge the game’s story. The basis of the story sets the player on a mission to find who took his/her son and for what purpose did this happen. For the first time in the franchise, we’re treated to protagonist who not only has a voice but can be a woman as well. In the beginning of the game when setting up your character, players are met with an incredibly powerful character creation tool which morphs the main protagonist’s face in unimaginable ways (See link for some amazing examples). From there, we’re placed smack dab in middle of a pre-war suburban area set within the series’ 50s-esque era. It doesn’t take long to throw you into the world of Fallout with the bombs beginning to drop, the player and his family must run through the streets to their local Vault-Tec vault for protection.

One thing to that’s always struck me as funny about the Fallout series is it’s ability to set you on track to a main story yet distract you from the main mission so easily. I was bound and determined that I would focus heavily on the main quest then after, I’d jump back into the game and continue doing the side missions. That last all of 45 minutes as I suddenly found myself spending no less than 3 hours screwing around in my first settlement.

The team at Bethesda has made a plethora of changes to the games some of which I loved and some, I have to say I wasn’t overly thrilled with. The combat system is still as awesome as it ever was with a few changes. Actually playing the game without utilizing the VATS system is a completely viable option now whereas in previous games it felt much to cumbersome and I rarely ever did in 3 or New Vegas. It just gives the game a whole new feel. VATS has changed a little as well in that now instead of freezing time, time slows down AND the player manually triggers a critical hit after their meter has filled up. It’s no longer a random successful critical hit.

More companions! You read that right. There are 13 companions to find throughout the vast expanses of this wasteland. Each with their own unique style, missions and dialogue help to keep the game fresh and exciting over multiple play-throughs. My personal favorites are Strong, the Supermutant, Nick Valentine the old school private investigator and Dogmeat the ..well… German Sheppard.

Settlements – Perhaps the single biggest addition to the game is the ability to find and build settlements. If you’re the Minecraft/creation gamer, this is going to be your thing. Basically, settlements are found and built from the ground up using supplies you find and break down in the wastelands. Seriously – Everything has a purpose now including pre-war money all the way to the cleaning solvents. It can all be broken down into it’s base components and turned into something else which you can use to rebuild civilization within your settlements. When building your settlements, the people will demand things and they look to you to provide for them. They need water, crops, defense, beds all of this falls to your shoulders. At times when out exploring, you’ll be notified that one of your settlements is struggling and needs help. If you wait too long, you will lose settlers. For some reason Bethesda opted to leave us to our own devices when figuring out how to set up supply lines and their importance. I feel the settlement building needed a solid tutorial. Chances are someone like me would probably have spent more time mucking about in the building options.

Another aspect of establishing your settlements, you must build. I’m not a Minecraft fan. I don’t understand the appeal or the success. Maybe that’s dating me and I’m showing my age but building things in games is not something I have any desire to do. Not in Halo’s Forge, not in Minecraft and not in the Sims. For Fallout though, I was game to give it the old college try and try I did. I literally spent an entire day travelling, scavenging, scrapping, selling, sleeping… Rinse repeat for 9 hours bound and determined this was going to be the game that got me on board with building things in my games. After all that time, I spent no more than 30 minutes struggling with how to build a simple home with power and lights and furnishings. The game beat me. I tapped out. I found that building wasn’t as intuitive as it first looked in the videos online. I couldn’t get the lights to power on in my house save for 1 lowly light in the middle room. I have no idea what I did but I stopped frustrated.

The leveling system has been tweaked a fair amount. Instead of earning skill points and perk levels, now the player gets a single perk point for each level they gain and that point is put into one of the various basic skills OR they can apply the point to a more focused perk (“Bloody Mess” for example) some of which have minimum level (ie:lvl 21) AND skill level (Strength lvl 8). Some people will find this to be a more focused and streamlined level system, I for one was mostly impartial but it did feel to me like my character was vastly under powered or unable to do certain things by the time I had reached a character level 20.

Weapon/Armor crafting and modification also makes it’s debut in Fallout 4. Gone are the days of weapon/armor degradation (Except for the Power Armor). Now by using specific work shops, Weapons can also be modified and created using parts found across the wasteland or the parts and pieces from scavenging. You can also find legendary items during gun fights with Raiders, super mutants etc. This is a fun and extremely welcome addition to the franchise and I would really like to see Bethesda expand on this feature going forward. Perhaps some sort of system to combine items to create highly specialized weapons and armor.

A major issue I have with the game comes from the dialogue system and Karma system. Let’s start with dialogue. It’s too basic. In previous games, your relationship with townsfolk and other NPCs could directly be affected by the choices made within the dialogue system. It could also affect your karma as being a good guy or a bad guy. Which brings me to the Karma system. There is none. It’s gone the way of the Do-Do Bird. At least it appears to me that it’s long gone. When I act like a jerk, my NPC might hate that or they might love it. None of that matters though because you can always have a romantic relationship with your followers (not all of them thankfully).Why they would make the decision to scrap one of the most fun little pieces of the franchise. I can only speculate that it was omitted to allow for simpler decision making by the new generation of Fallout players. I feel these 2 changes were huge missteps by the team.

Graphically I think the game looks outstanding. I know the engine is a little old and even a little tired but I’m not understanding the chatter on the internet about how people think the games graphics are terrible. They’re not. Granted they aren’t up to spec with some of the other titles out there on Xbox One/PS4/PC but I’ve never expected that from Bethesda. In over 60 hours of gameplay, I’ve noticed some framerate dips and a few hilarious graphical glitches but I don’t feel that is something that deserves much time on.

When Fallout 4 was announced I was hoping for a big, engaging game that was worthy of $70(the standard going rate for games here in Canada now). I wanted long game play, a massive world to do some serious exploration in, more guns, explosions with an engaging story and side quests. I wanted the new title to be something I fell asleep and had dreams about. What I got was exactly what I had hoped for. If there’s one game you play this year, make it Fallout 4. I’ve yet to get a game that packs so much punch for such a small price compared with other games out there today. Hats off to the team at Bethesda once again. Now… Please sir – May I have another?

Feed Your Console gives Fallout 4 an enthusiastic 9 out of 10

NPD sales for March 2010

Industry Sales March 2010
Video Games: $1.52B
Video Game Hardware: $440.5M
Video Game Software: $875.3M
Video Game Accessories: $206.8M

Top 10 VG Console/Portable SKUs March 2010

Title Platform Publisher Units Rank Last Month
GOD OF WAR III* PS3 SONY 1.10M **
POKEMON SOULSILVER VERSION NDS NINTENDO OF AMERICA 1.02M **
FINAL FANTASY XIII PS3 SQUARE ENIX 828.2K **
BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2 360 ELECTRONIC ARTS 825.5K **
POKEMON HEARTGOLD VERSION NDS NINTENDO OF AMERICA 761.2K **
FINAL FANTASY XIII 360 SQUARE ENIX 493.9K **
NEW SUPER MARIO BROS. WII WII NINTENDO OF AMERICA 457.4K 2
BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2 PS3 ELECTRONIC ARTS 451.2K **
WII FIT PLUS W/ BALANCE BOARD* WII NINTENDO OF AMERICA 429.6K 9
MLB 10: THE SHOW PS3 SONY 349.2K **

Top 10 PC Game SKUs / March 2010

Title Publisher Rank Last Month
PC The Sims 3: High-End Loft Stuff Electronic Arts 1
PC The Sims 3 Electronic Arts 3
PC Dragon Age: Origins Awakening Expansion Pack Electronic Arts **
PC Command & Conquer 4: Tiberium Twilight Electronic Arts **
PC World Of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Expansion Pack Blizzard Entertainment (Activision Blizzard) 8
PC Supreme Commander 2 Square Enix, Inc. **
PC The Sims 2 Double Deluxe Electronic Arts 9
PC Napoleon: Total War Limited Ed Sega of America **
PC Warhammer 40,000: Dawn Of War II: Chaos Rising Expansion Pack THQ **
Source: The NPD Group/Retail Tracking Service

R.U.S.E reaches 1 Million Beta Downloads

Ubisoft’s upcoming War Strategy Game R.U.S.E has surpassed 1 Million downloads on the Steam network.

R.U.S.E, gamers will rely more on their brains to manage a war of perception, where deception and mislead then the might of their individual forces.

Take your War time RTS to the next level and manage a battle that take place on Land, in the Air and at Sea.

Ubisoft sent us over three R.U.S.E beta commemorative wallpapers to celebrate – get them here:

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Game play footage and tutorial. Part 1 of 2:

Game play footage and tutorial. Part 2 of 2:

To participate in the Public Beta available on Steam, head over to www.steamgames.com/RUSEbeta.

For additional information about R.U.S.E. visit www.rusegame.com.

Mega Man, Magic and Atari Classics


The latest edition of Xbox Live Newsbeat (vol. 6) brings us updates on the Xbox LIVE Arcade Block Party, Magic the Gathering and Mega Man 10 all now available from the Live Marketplace.

Game Room (Microsoft Games Studios)

March 24 | 240 to 400 Microsoft Points for game downloads; 40 Microsoft Points for single gameplay Remember those weekends spent at the arcade with popcorn and “Pac Man”? Now your Avatar gets to play the games that so-infused your childhood. With a launch library of 30 original arcade and console classics, including “Centipede” (Atari), “Asteroids Deluxe” (Atari) and “Super Cobra,(Konami), you can personalize your game room to make your Avatar feel at home. Play solo or invite your friends to custom challenges across Xbox 360 and Games for Windows – LIVE – you’ll have plenty to explore as new games release each week. What’s more, you can buy the games once and play on both Xbox 360 and Windows PC platforms. “Game Room” is rated E10 for Everyone 10+ and available worldwide.

Magic: The Gathering Game Add-on (Microsoft Games Studios)

March 31 | 400 Microsoft Points

New downloadable content from the world’s premier trading card game brings more magic straight to your living room. Battle solo or harken to your friends on Xbox LIVE to help trump your opponents. Multiple player modes and interactive tutorials help make this former card game that much more enchanting. Rated T for Teen and available worldwide.

Mega Man™ 10 (Capcom)

March 31 | 800 Microsoft Points

The all new tenth edition of this 2-D classic brings the game back to its retro roots. Featuring classically-inspired boss characters, 8-bit graphics, and Mega Man challenges, “Mega Man 10” sends you straight to the year 20XX. Roboenza – the Robot Flu – has spread like wildfire and robots are incapacitated everywhere.  As the epidemic multiplies, it takes infected robots on a downward spiral, and they destroy the city! You, as Mega Man, must solve this viral mystery! Can you do it? This game is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB and available worldwide.

Meridian4 Brings Biology Battle to PC

Montreal game publisher Meridian4 signed a distribution agreement with The Games Company to distribute an updated PC Version of the XBL indie title Biology Battle.

Biology Battle

Players will take on the role of a medical nanobot and embark on an exciting journey into the depths of a biological cell. They must evade the defense tactics of other cells and try to survive for as long as possible.

Biology Battle for PC will feature:

  • Eleven different versus modes (e.g. lasso, froghop, worms)
  • Play online against thousands of real opponents
  • Comprehensive tournament mode, demanding coop mode
  • Improve the ship´s capabilities with various bonuses
  • Enhanced features from the XBLA-hit; the latest graphic and shader effects, high use of DX 10/11 abilities, new game modes, new enemy types, and and improved AI

“Biology Battle is an excellent title and performed extremely well on XBLA. We are very optimistic to create a similar impact on the other platforms together with our new partner Meridian4 and are very excited to add Biology Battle as one of the key titles in our upcoming line up for its release in second quarter of 2010!” said Christian Sauerteig, Director Marketing & Sales at The Games Company.

Biology Battle is the XBLCG’s highest rated Dual Stick Shooter, complete with original and competitive survival modes and 11 PARTY GAMES! Biology Battle is a modern, fast-paced take on the action arcade genre.

Show your Love

Are you looking for something last minute to get the co-op player in your life for Valentine’s day. But your out of time and don’t have any ideas?

Well EA to the rescue! Get in on the Heartbreaker sale now and pick up The Saboteur, Dead Space and Dragon Age: Origins via PC download for the under $100… Only available until February 14th.

Ubisoft Premieres New DRM Strategy [Update]

For the PC Gamers out there, DRM has been a big issue in the past years.  Starting with the Settlers 7 Beta, Ubisoft is changing their DRM forecast to cloudy . In future Ubisoft PC titles, including Assassin’s Creed II, players will be required to log into their Ubi.com account each time they launch the game. That means that you’ll always need to be connected to the internet to play your games. Although this is where most of the comment raging will happen, I think the bigger issue is that gamers will have to have a ubi.com account (and remember their password!). Do gamers want an EA account, a UBI.com account, a GameSpy account or the myriad of accounts that each publisher or multiplayer provider could set up?

We’ve contacted Ubisoft as to whether the authentication will be necessary with the Steam, Direct2Drive and Impulse versions of their titles.

Update: Ubisoft has responded to the outcry:

“Ubisoft’s number one goal is to provide added value that will facilitate and enrich the gaming experience of our PC customers. The Settlers 7 beta version is enabling players to discover that this platform empowers them to install the game on as many PCs as they wish, to synchronise saved games online so that gameplay can be continued from where they left off (from any computer with an installed version of the game) and frees them from needing a CD/DVD in order to play.

“The platform requires a permanent Internet connection. We know this choice is controversial but we feel is justified by the gameplay advantages offered by the system and because most PCs are already connected to the Internet. This platform also offers protection against piracy, an important business element for Ubisoft and for the PC market in general as piracy has an important impact on this market.

“Any initiative that allows us to lower the impact of piracy on our PC games will also allow us to concentrate further effort on the creation and expansion of our intellectual properties for the PC – our goal is to deliver the best gaming experience to our customers.”

Review – Dragon Age: Origins

I have a confession. I knew almost nothing of this game until one of my friends pointed it out to me as one of his most anticipated games of 2009. I looked it up and was less than impressed with the game play visuals I found but when I noticed this game was coming from Bioware, I immediately rushed out to buy this title based purely on Bioware’s track record. I loved the Knights of the Old Republic series, Jade Empire was a great title that I’m still hopeful will get a sequel and of course Mass Effect floored me (Come on ME2).

Dragon Age Banner

Dragon Age: Origins gives the gamer the choice of 6 character classes each with its own distinct story arc. In tradition with how we do our reviews here, I won’t be divulging any plot points only to say that every decision you make helps to shape your interactions and who your hero is. I’ve managed to play through 2 of the 6 totally a massive time suck of over 80hrs in my life gone and I can think of no less than 10 different situations I’d like to play out differently to see how it changes things.

This is one of those games that you just have trouble putting down. The story is engaging as are the characters that join you on your travels. I found myself liking something about every single one of them which is what made some decisions all the more difficult because I really wanted all of them to like me but it’s just not possible.

Dragon Age

Something else that Bioware has done with a great deal of success in my opinion is amazing DLC support. This is actually something I’d been hoping for more of from companies that make deeply engaging games like Dragon Age. My only concern with the DLC is that I feel they may be a little overpriced for the amount of time you’ll spend playing them. The Stone Prisoner, for example, came free with my game but not all versions will have the free code thereby costing them a whopping 1200 points for what amounted to me as an extra 30 minutes of game play (yes, I actually checked). The forthcoming expansion should prove to be something special if anything I’ve heard of it is an indicator.

While the graphics may not be the prettiest on the market by a long shot, the quality of dialogue (trust me, there’s a great deal spoken here) just helps to tie together a well put together medieval story full of intrigue, sorcery, betrayal and love.

If you’re itching to play a great RPG, look no further than Dragon Age: Origins. This is a must have title for any gamers collection. I’ve spent a ton of time on this game and will no doubt be logging in many more hours in the coming months. I’m more than eager to get my hands on the expansion to see what other adventures await my heroes.

Dragon Age

Pros:

  • Long game
  • Multiple stories keep the game fresh
  • Plenty of DLC on the horizon
  • Great Story
  • Awesome Voice Acting

Cons:

  • For the price DLC is too short
  • Graphics aren’t the best on the market

Feed Your Console gives Dragon Age: Origins a 9 out of 10