Everything is in black and white. You see footprints. The camera pans up, and you are watching the storming of Normandy beach in 1942. Your view shifts to the dropping of the atomic bomb. You have seen this all before, nothing new here.
But then you see the future. A future where nuclear energy has been harnessed and the world has changed. There are robots and other advanced technology… and no war.
And everything changes again.
This sounds like the opening to a massive summer blockbuster but if you want to hear how the story ends, you need look no further than the nearest GameStop. The above mentioned plot is that of the 2015 game Fallout 4 from Bethesda Game Studios.
Players in Fallout 4 navigate the post-apocalyptic Massachusetts area in 2877, after having spent the previous one hundred years in a frozen state in a government sanctuary. The game is a mix of adventure and first person shooter, as players explore the ruins of civilization and deal with threats such as renegade bands and mutant creatures.
Both aspects are treated well, with overall smooth controls and even performances overall. The character menu is easy to navigate and everything is designed to give the game a very fifties feel, from music playing on the radios to the green and orange kitchen appliances.
The game suffers from typical problems seen from Bethesda Game Studios such as long load screens and the occasional render error that causes items to disappear into the ground. These, however, do not detract from the overall feel of the game.
The voice acting is done well, with dialogue flowing freely and not feeling forced. Special attention was also paid to the movements of the faces of NPCs (non-playable characters) giving more emotional depth.
Scoring is artfully done. Though one is not necessarily aware of the soundtrack while playing, once isolated, it is clear that music is one of the main drivers of the mood of the game. The score for the game is composed by Inon Zur who mixes small ensemble pieces with full orchestra numbers.
The first five minutes of a video game will make or break it. In that brief span, graphics, voice acting, and scoring are all put on display. For Fallout 4, the first five minutes are nothing short of stunning.