Hi, my name is Paul and I have a problem.

I’m not sure that calling it a problem is really accurate.

That’s probably a problem in and of itself though.

Like many others, I’ve been playing Fallout 4 to the detriment of any other extracurricular activity in my schedule. But let’s be honest, I knew that was going to happen. I feel like all the people for whom Bethesda’s open world opuses (opi?) are not just another game to play, but an event worth letting so many things in your real life slide, will know what I mean when I say this game has it’s hooks deep, deep in me.

Like well past the skin and digging raw, bloody furrows through my muscles.

It’s not like I’m missing work, or completely skimping on familial duties. The dog is still making it to school, the kids are still getting fed and put out in the morning.

But I think about the game. Not just a little, or when I’m not preoccupied. I think about it all the time.

All.

The.

Time.

I don’t actually see raiders while I sleep (though I have vague memories of dreaming about post nuclear apocalypse, so that’s fun), but I plan quests when I’m away from the game. I think about how best to develop my settlements when I ought to be paying attention to something else. I plan my leveling up perk advancement sometimes.

So, while this isn’t any kind of review (I don’t know that I’ve got it in me to attempt a full game review yet, certainly not to start with something as Goddamn huge as a Fallout game), I will go ahead and and say that yes, the game does have some issues.

Occasionally the frame rate will dip randomly, and for no apparent reason. Sometimes it will dip for very apparent reasons. It never becomes unplayable, or lasts too long in my experience. I’ve had one or two BHC’s (Bethesda Hard Crashes, you know what I mean). There are times when it feels almost a little too much like Fallout 3, instead of pushing forward more.

All that having been said, the art direction in this game is superb. The visuals aren’t necessarily mind blowing, but the composition is always solid, always selling the fiction they’ve set up. The color palette is much improved over previous games, with bright reds and blues and yellows all over the place, breaking up the drab wasteland with glimpses of the retro-futuristic world that never was.

V.A.T.S. is better this time around. Though folks who aren’t so adept with first person games may still rely heavily on it, the targeting system doesn’t freeze time anymore, keeping the pressure on to choose your targets before they choose you. But seasoned first person gamers may not need it much at all. The gun-play isn’t going to knock off a Halo or Call of Duty, but it’s totally serviceable and does its job just fine.

My not review is turning into a lengthy stretch of words, so I’ll call it here and end with this.

I can’t wait to go shoot some more raiders and collect some caps.

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