Some more Fallout 4. It’s an interesting game. Great fun to explore, but it’s really bad at making you feel like you’re in a real place with real people and a society and an economy. A lot of things simply exist without reason given to why.
Like the class divide in Diamond City - the people who eat at the Colonial Taphouse don’t seem to own anything (besides the tiny shacks they live in) or be particularly more educated than the farmers and caravanners, but they’re somehow super wealthy and proud that they live in the upper stands (why??? you’d literally have to go back down into the city proper to do anything besides get a meal. why are these upper stands residences so valuable?). What do they do? They appear more to be a bunch of delusional people who play-act high society, but I doubt that’s what the game wants me to think. They have plenty of caps (another element of this universe that makes little sense, but it’s a video game convenience I guess), but I’m not sure why.
Based on the way they expand and take over territory, you’d think the Gunners were aiming to establish rule over the whole Commonwealth, but their long-term goals are undefined. It would make sense for them to charge tolls on the roads they control, but they actually just shoot any passersby who come close enough. Doing that would completely cut off trade (and anyone hoping to join their faction), which means they’d have to set up their own farms to keep their people fed, but there isn’t a single Gunner-run farm in the whole game. Crazy crazy crazy. This game makes no sense.
Outside of world-building/writing choices, the first thing I’d change about this game is the raider and super mutant populations. Reduce them by 50% and let more of the game be atmospheric exploration instead of fighting. Not every point of interest needs to have a murder parade. Raiders seem to naturally fill up buildings in the Commonwealth like rain filling up water barrels, it’s ridiculous and unrealistic.
So yeah, the old “Bethesda games are artificial theme parks” observation holds true, but I do think Fallout 4 is the worst version of that problem so far. On the other hand, the game has lots of positives. It’s for sure my favorite example of art direction in a Beth game since Morrowind. They really nailed the look of old-world stuff - the robots, the cars, the architecture, the guns, etc. I love all the overpasses, whether walking along in their shadow or gazing across the wasteland from on top of them. No one talks about the overpasses, they’re a real underrated aspect of this game. The companions are fun, interesting, varied characters to hang out with. And I actually like the crafting loop in F4 of collecting junk out in the world then returning home to install bits and bobs on your guns and armor. All in all it’s a decent game despite not being overly successful in the storytelling department.
Anyway here’s some screenshots.