My Top Ten Games of 2015
#10 MASSIVE CHALICE
#5 Yo-Kai Watch
#4 Fallout 4
Fallout is among my favorite gaming franchises, with Fallout 2 one of my favorite games of all time. Though I ultimately prefer my RPGs in old-school tactical format (a tease for my #1 Game of the Year), I’ve always enjoyed Bethesda’s massive open-world RPGs. Nothing excites me more than exploring a big world, and Fallout 4‘s post-apocalyptic Boston is satisfyingly gigantic.
More important than just being large is density of content, something that Bethesda has really improved upon with each entry in the Elder Scrolls and Fallout games. You can hardly walk anywhere without finding something interesting, whether it’s a full-on dungeon location or a simple truck with some loot. The world is full of stuff yet still feels appropriately desolate, and most importantly, dangerous.
Big new changes include multiple-choice dialogue, voiced protagonist, and a huge crafting system that’s clearly inspired by the Minecraft crowd (as was Skyrim‘s Hearthfire DLC before that). The narrative updates play to BioWare’s successful RPGs and give it a more cinematic and natural feel that just letting an NPC drone on.
The crafting system is impressive, though the interface, like previous Bethesda games, is frustratingly designed for consoles, even on PC. Once again, we have to wait for a big overhaul mod (like SkyUI) to make it more user-friendly for those of us on PC.
The settlement crafting is not something I plan on diving too deeply into, but I like the idea of owning property and finding allies to settle in. The weapons and armor crafting, however, is a very cool addition and expansion on what Obsidian did with Fallout: New Vegas.
And the power armor! I think Bethesda made a huge mistake giving you power armor within like the first two hours of gameplay, but it is definitely awesome. The fusion core as fuel system is interesting, though I’m not even close to running out of my half dozen cores. It has a definite Iron Man feel to it as part vehicle/part armor – really neat.
I’m fairly confident in saying I like Fallout 4 more than Fallout 3, and probably Obsidian’s Fallout: New Vegas. Though despite buying it on launch I’m barely 20 hours in and just scratching the surface into Boston proper – too many awesome games in November and December!
Fallout 4 is most assuredly a sequel, taking everything we loved about Fallout 3 and expanding on what worked, while minimizing what didn’t. For that reason it does feel like the least exciting and fresh Bethesda game I’ve played. Yet even a simple improved iteration on the greatness of Fallout still ranks highly among my favorite games of the year.