Bethesda have released a trailer for the upcoming Fallout 4, and despite it featuring no gameplay or story information and only really showcasing the visual elements of the game, the fanboys are insisting you cannot criticise the graphics and ‘omg this game is going to be amazing!’
The graphics are not the problem I’m seeing in this video, rather it’s the animation. My first thought, on seeing the dog move through the house towards the bedroom was, ‘is this a PlayStation 2 game?’ Its movements are stiff and unnatural, seeming more like a train running along an invisible track when leaving the house. However I am willing to cut the trailer some slack as it’s really just about previewing the game and probably isn’t meant to represent any kind of finished product.
The actual graphics do look good and I do understand that given the huge scale of a game like this, it’s unrealistic to expect the very best from its graphics. That being said, what we do see is encouraging as it not only looks good, but there is more variety in what we see. Fallout 3 and New Vegas did, for the most part, look the same: brown, dirty shanty towns. There seems to be more of an attempt to create some visually diversity here. The shots of the wasteland also look visually interesting. One of my criticisms of Fallout 3 was that the wasteland was very dull to look at and travelling meant consulting a map and placing a marker. With New Vegas, there was more of an attempt to put things on the landscape, such as a giant model of a dinosaur, that would pique the players interest. It looks like – and I hope this is the case – the game will present things to the player that will better incentivise exploration.
Though no story or gameplay is given as such, several parts of the trailer do offer some hints as to what we might expect. It begins with flashbacks to the moments the nuclear bombs drop, giving us a glimpse of a time before the war. The radio presenter talks of the war, and of vault tech, and confirmed nuclear explosions. Do events of the war have an impact in the story beyond the set-up of the world?
One possible shot of gameplay features the player being attacked by ghouls in a shop. This does suggest that foraging for food and other useful items will still be a big part of the game, though I really hope this isn’t just a case of rehashing old ideas from the past. I also very much hope that Bethesda have worked on the shooting mechanics, which were absolutely diabolical in Fallout 3, feeling more like a PlayStation 1 shooter. New Vegas blessed us with the ability to look down the barrel of the gun, making it feel a little more natural but was still very limiting.
When looking at this shot…
…I was at first thinking, ‘what is that statue, does it tell us where the setting is?’ It was only on a second viewing I noticed the big, bloody ship in the sky. The next shot shows a member of the Brotherhood of Steel in a vehicle that is lifting up off the ground. I do hope we get to go for a ride. Most likely if we do, it will be scripted events, but given that the ship bears a bit of a resemblance to Final Fantasy VII’s Highwind, it would be a fun twist on the fast-travel mechanics if we got to fly whenever we choose.
Alas, Bethesda do have a talent for letting me down. I was so excited when that robot came out of the ground in Fallout 3, but it ended up feeling like I was watching someone else play the game. I’m excited, of course, but I’m far from one of the fanboys already declaring this a great game based on one trailer with a badly animated dog. But I’m definitely eager to learn more and hopefully we’ll get some gameplay details at the upcoming E3.