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To those expecting an article revolving around a sudden and miraculous newspiece concerning an upcoming Fallout installment, mend your eyes and look away. Fallout 4 is still at least a year away and perhaps won't see proper introduction into the gaming industry's eyes until 2013. However, to those diligently awaiting such news, speculating as to what would make Fallout 4 truly stellar when compared to its brothers is of some formidable mettle. Simply said, Fallout 4 can easily surpass Fallout New Vegas and Fallout 3 by patching up the problems aplenty found in both of Fallout 4's older brothers. Skyrim, too, is wary of Fallout 4, for Betheseda will surely take notice of some issues found in its critically acclaimed creation. Betheseda, if you're reading this, take some notes.
Fix #1: The Length of the Barrel
Compared to the breadth of the expanse generously provided by Skyrim, Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas are mere mudpuppies by comparison. Several notable cities populated the lands found in Skyrim. Any Fallout 3 or Fallout New Vegas player, with ease, can count the number of major cities and establishments with one or two hands. This does exclude the smaller settlements sprinkled across the wasteland such as Novac and Westside. The almost lifeless streets of Freeside, hardly impressive glamour of New Vegas, and the monotone nature of a demolished D.C do qualify as post-apocalyptic, but there could have been so much more.
The Fallout universe is very much permitted to bend itself to new boundaries. In such circumstances, Betheseda has plenty of wiggle room to take Fallout 4 to a new region; a region exceedingly larger than Fallout New Vegas in its scope and also a region with a plethora of conflicts. Thrust players from the freezer into the frying pan into such an environment that includes more than one capitol or one gigantic quest hub. Being able to travel from one city to the next and appreciating the variety in architecture, city life, culture, and everything else in-between is a feature that has been lacking in the Fallout franchise as of late. With more cities comes more choices, and therefore adds many handfuls of enjoyable and meaningful playthroughs. It may even be wise to integrate some quests that are so tremendous that perhaps an unfortunate city may meet the fate of Megaton.
No...a ghetto doesn't qualify as a city.
Fix #2: A Lack of Emotion for Companions
Videos are littered across the digital transverses of Youtube of unfortunate Rauls or Fawkes' being reduced to nothing more than ragdolls being annihilated by frag mine piles and MIRV blasts. In game, Fallout companions are practically used as punching bags, invincible bodyguards, pack mules, and decoys. Fallout New Vegas notched up companion use by permitting companions to die should a player be playing on Hardcore mode. Nevertheless that is evaded by constant quicksaving. The pollutant clouding the could be beautiful aspect of having Fallout companions is the fact that there is no connection, no reason to appreciate or relate to companions in the Fallout universe. The absence of such connections is so outrageous that in Fallout New Vegas, players can simply walk up to Veronica, a power first wielding companion, initiate a short conversation, and immediately hire her regardless of karma or reputation.
Solution: Deeper Depth for Companions
Fallout New Vegas brought forth a welcome improvement to companions by giving each companion a meager backstory and side quest which would eventually enhance their capabilities. There was one vital factor plaguing these companions, however. Almost all of them were odd hitchhikers looking for someone to follow. Raul, Veronica, Lily, even Arcade in a certain context, were essentially piggyback riding the Courier to accomplish their own agendas or just to not feel alone anymore. In most cases these companions are able to be hired from the get go or through skill checks, although some required a quest or two to hire as a quest bonus of sorts. The only companion that seemed to garner any attention to itself was Rex, for Rex was a dog and many have a compassion for "man's best friend."
Adding deeper depth is as easy as developing these future companions' personality and character before allowing the player to hire them. Allow players to either love or hate companions, to be able to relate to their causes, desires, and pasts. This makes permissible a companion true to its name. Witnessing brutal and apathetic Paladins mistreating Veronica to the point where a sort of side quest initiates to where you can learn about Veronica whilst trying to help her redeem herself to the Brotherhood would certainly help with character development. It would be one funny journey, too.
The somewhat loveable companion cast of Fallout New Vegas
Fix #3: Caves and Vaults
Both Fallout and Skyrim boast dungeons and caves throughout their domain with the latter being superior with its numerous dungeons. Nevertheless, caves in Fallout need to meet an improvement checklist and mark itself for some changes. Both Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas incorporated optional caves, vaults, and subway stations for players in order to reward them with a challenge, special armor and weapons, and or story development. Many may regard the world below pristine enough as is, but there is surely plenty of work bench space to build upon. Cave exploration is one of these aspects that should be the foundation in optional vaults and caves in Fallout 4.
Solution: Living Vaults and Unique Caves
Fallout's background is marvelous as it allows the inclusion of Vaults into its universe. Vaults can be hellish tunnels of which few dare enter, science experiments gone horrible awry, or havens withholding human generations untouched by nuclear armageddon. Naturally, each Fallout requires players to visit these vaults one way or another through main storyline quests or important side quests leaving a few optional vaults of which players can enter and learn of the fate of the people that once, or still, lived in them. Fallout does a wondrous job in including vaults filled with danger and failed science experiments, but there are few with true backstory to them. With the exception of Vault 101, Betheseda has yet to include a similar vault with vault dwellers that are actually sane. Actually observing the nature of vault dwellers and being able to somehow determine their fate in their time of need would be quite interesting. Certain choices could play part in their prosperity, downfall, or death. More gory vaults, and vaults with wild science experiments, are also welcome, but is irrevocable that a living vault is much desired through the Fallout fanbase.
Caves, too, lack character in the Fallout universe. Fallout New Vegas, especially, was the dominion of many caves that were near replicas of one another with different enemy formations within. Very few true caves held any storyline or side quest signifigance and were usually for players to test their might or to retrieve certain unique weapons and armor. Although there is little to be done about the looks of caves, much more attention needs to be allotted to their variety and their backstory. Even including an important faction or two dwelling in large caverns which branch off into several other optional caves would be greeted with welcoming arms. A hidden cave or two inside a generic, unnamed building with extreme difficult wouldn't hurt either, Betheseda.
Please welcome perilious vault dwellers in some chaotic vault, Fallout 4, please.
Fix #4: Hardcore? Please.
Many are familar with the hardcore mode found in Fallout New Vegas. Hardcore mode would add sleep, food, and water requirements for your character alongside healing items not taking effect instantly, limbs requiring Hydra, Doctor Bags, or medical attention. Ammo would also weigh upon your character, companions were subject to actual death, and deprivation of sleep, food, or water would eventually kill you (although its rare that any of those actually kill the Courier.) Hardcore mode added a gorgeous new way of playing New Vegas as players had to constantly keep water on hand, doctor bags on the ready, and bring as much as ammo as would be needed alongside a few weapons. As already said, this only changed the way a player would play the game. The game play stayed the same and despite it being hardcore mode, it really wasn't. The mode should have been aptly named "Survival Mode."
Solution: Put the Hard in Hardcore
Those that enjoy playing Fallout for its theme, a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and relish in the opportunity to scrape the casings off ammo to fuel a fire to survive another day would inevitably enjoy a mode that both incorporates Fallout New Vegas' hardcore mode into a mode that also changes gameplay. Having ammo boxes that once held 50 rounds of 10mm rounds only hold a mere 8, enemies with elevated senses, having the time of day affect what creatures appear or their difficulty, certain dirty water sources being able to deplete health reserves, having stimpaks vary in their effectiveness, and so much more could truly make Fallout ascend in its difficulty and experience. By putting this in the game, players will have the opportunity to challenge their skill against an unforgiving wasteland.
Hardcode mode lacks that "scream at the TV," factor in New Vegas.
These fixes, and many more, are just some in a plethora of changes that are bound, in a hit and miss manner, to hit Fallout 4. Fallout 4, whenever it does come out, will undoubtedly surpass the prowess of Skyrim and Fallout New Vegas; it must. However what will determine Fallout 4's replayability and acclaim are factors that have been plaguing the very genre it takes part in. Will Fallout 4 remedy those vectors or simply be claimed by them? Regardless, Fallout 4 is to meet its release date sooner or later. What would you like to see in Fallout 4? Will you even be purchasing Fallout 4?
--- This article was inspired from a similar article found on CVG written by Sam White.