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Fallout 4: Settle or Wander?

Oh, I’m the type the guy who’ll never settle down. I’m never in one place. I roam from town to town.

Every time this commercial comes on, I find myself whistling the song from that point on. This advertisement has become iconic with the game, for good reason. It sets the mood with it’s older sense of style, contrasted with the bleakness of the Commonwealth.

What’s interesting though is that Fallout 4, more than any other entry in the series, gives an equal option to settle as well as wander.

Sure, every denizen of the Wasteland must scavenge to survive, picking up cans for their all too precious aluminum or lighters for the oil. However, the addition of the rather deep building mechanics gives players the option to make a home out of nothing. Whole towns can be constructed in many locations, complete with the ability to make truly unique light shows and defenses to keep invaders at bay.

With enough spit and grit, even the most run down areas can be called home.

With enough spit and grit, even the most run down areas can be called home.

Not only that, but the mobile game Fallout Shelter actually gives players a hint at the community building gameplay featured in Fallout 4, complete with similar assets. Settlers can move into a claimed area, needing resources to survive and weapons to defend themselves. It’s intriguing to see groups of people create a meager existence and manning their posts. Nothing gets me motivated like one of my settlements coming under attack. Sure, few of them have names or stories, but these are people who have trusted me as their leader, and I can’t let them down. The only complaint of this system is that it can be rough to manage several settlements at once.

Many of the players I know have spent many of their hours simply perfecting their home base. As soon as the mechanics are understood, it becomes an addiction similar to that found in Minecraft or Rust. Some players have even exploited the system to create stunning works, including a recent building of a Rubik’s Cube replica. Practical? Not really. Style? Absolutely. Super Mutants can surely see it from miles away.

For added style, this thing actually works! Image originally posted on VG247.com

For added style, this thing actually works! Image originally posted on VG247.com

Making a home is a central theme to Fallout 4‘s design; its all about being taken out of one’s comfort zone. Everything these characters have known has been blasted by the nuclear weapons and further stripped away by the dangers of living in the Commonwealth. Any way to keep one’s mind off of the Deathclaws and Raiders is a powerful thing. Preston (one of the many companions), after getting close to the player, will reveal that finding such good company changes his outlook on his entire existence. It’s a truly humbling conversation that is comparable to many other characters and stories. Its easy to get attached to them.

It’s these moments of peace and revelation that makes Fallout 4 so powerful.

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I’ve spent whole evenings just discussing the layers of meaning after being blown away by a quest or dialogue.  Fallout as a series has always made players think well after the controller has been put down or the program is shut down. The latest installment does this in almost every moment, especially when confronted with the ideals of the Institute or the Brotherhood of Steel.

There’s so much more to Fallout 4 than I can relay with a single article. Imagining the things yet to be discovered and the extra content surely to come is mind blowing. And the mods! Surely, the homes players carve out of the dust will continue to become more elaborate when new pieces are inevitably added by Bethesda or the modding community.

I will be in the depths of this city for quite some time.

I will be in the depths of this city for quite some time.

Whether one’s settling down or wandering around, the wasteland is a challenging place, filled with possibilities. Fallout 4 is truly what you make of it, and it’s tools for doing just that are awesome.

Look forward to more Fallout content in the future, as its sure to be fired up on our consoles and PCs for quite some time.