Mini-Reviews: Fallout 4, Mad Max, Shadow Complex Remastered

Fallout 4

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The long-awaited follow-up to Bethesda’s 2008 Fallout 3 and Obsidian’s 2010 Fallout New Vegas, there was a lot of hype around Fallout 4 and I played Fallout 3 in September 2015 and quite liked it with a lot of interest in how the next instalment would improve the franchise, unfortunately I wasn’t really all that convinced that it did.

Looking at two things specifically, first the story has an interesting premise, your spouse is killed as you go into the vault and your child is kidnapped as you are frozen in time for a large amount of years, when you finally awaken you want revenge and answers for what has happened. I liked the story, there is a great sort-of twist later in the game which changes a lot of what you do, the different factions with their own ideologies works quite well too, in the end I made the decision of what I thought a parent would do who loved their child (without giving away any spoilers that should tell you what decisions I made).

Secondly, the world itself is massive and completely boring and tedious to play around in. Having played The Witcher 3 last year, that game has a phenomenal story, great gameplay and fully realised world with plenty of interesting and compelling side content, its fun to fight various creatures of all shapes and sizes but Fallout 4 has none of that. The world is so big and so bland, there is a ton of tedious micromanagement for when you have filled up your back-pack with constant back-tracking to sell or store things unless you leave them behind – which is something I’d recommend too much because you need money for stuff.

The enemies are fine, VATs is a decent system, there’s lots to do I just didn’t really think much of it was hugely enjoyable, Dogmeat is good but it’s just not all that comparable to better RPG and open-world games we’ve played recently. It reminded me of Dragon Age Inquisition in that it had a lot content but not much of it is as enjoyable as it could be with lots of repetition (although DAI is a more enjoyable game than Fallout 4 I’d say).

It’s certainly not a bad game, but with so much tedium to it I feel like it was a missed opportunity, the base building and defending stuff wasn’t all that good either which is tough for me to say given how much I like tycoon and building games, I hope Fallout 5 when it inevitably releases years from now is a better game.

Likes:

  • The story is good and has some interesting choices and twists
  • I thought it looked good (I might be in the minority here)
  • Pet dog

Dislikes:

  • Lots of tedious gameplay features
  • Boring world
  • Too much micromanagement

Steverulez Recommendation: If you liked/loved Fallout 3/New Vegas you’ll probably like this a lot not sure people who liked The Witcher 3 a lot will find it matches up to that though.

Mad Max

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Mad Max is a strange game, I’ve no experience with the franchise before it but thought it looked good and would be fun to play, perhaps I didn’t enter the game in good faith by not watching at least the latest movie first but I didn’t think it would be required viewing to play the game.

Having finished it I’d say that the idea was nice with some decent ideas for upgrading your car with racers and so on but it’s completely and utterly soulless, other games get a lot of criticism for copy and paste repetitive open-worlds – and those comments might be fair, but Mad Max has that 3 times over.

The story is not that interesting and doesn’t develop much, with only a few points where it’s even doing anything but there’s so much repetition, it has a huge map and they could have done some fun stuff in it but it’s just the same missions, side missions, claiming outposts and so on over and over, a big long checklist of challenges to do but it doesn’t culminate in any sort of payoff unless you really like gamerscore.

The car handles fine, it took some getting used to but there are a few cars to unlock with different weapons you can use, different add-ons to put there but trying to do things with the car will get tedious when you realise after an hour or two that this is literally all you will be doing for as long as you continue to play the game. Clearing outposts, collecting scrap, killing towers, upgrade your car.

It’s not a horrible game, it’s perfectly functional at what it’s doing and there is a lot of content but it depends how much you want to do that over and over, I did a lot of it as upgrading your car and Max is pretty essential and I had fun but there was always this repetition hanging over me which meant when I was done with it I was quite content with not going back to it.

Likes:

  • It looks good, runs really well
  • Blowing stuff up in the car is fun, racers are good too
  • Lots of content to play if you like it…

Dislikes:

  • …but some might be get bored very quickly once reality of the content sets in.
  • Not much of a payoff
  • Not much to the story

Steverulez Recommendation: It’s decent for a rental or buying cheap, there’s some decent foundations to build on if Avalanche get the chance to do so again but there is a lot of copy and paste of content.

Shadow Complex Remastered

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The 2009 hit from Chair Entertainment and Epic Games got a great remaster on consoles and PC with lots of graphical improvements and gameplay additions but is largely the same great game that released 7 years ago. I played it on Xbox 360 when it came out and completed it in 2014, it’s an enjoyable game which was a particularly great Metroidvania at the time with lots of upgrades for the character, collectibles and captured the genre style very well, fitting in with the best of them.

With that though and its age I do feel that it hasn’t aged all that well particularly compared to games like Ori and the Blind Forest, it has some annoying difficulty spikes and other things where it was awkward to see where to go and how to progress despite an option on the map to tell you where to do so a few times it failed me.

The story is pretty basic but has a good conspiracy in there and progresses well, it’s not the main aim of the game so I won’t be too critical, its fine and Nolan North does a decent job with the script he has been given. The abilities your character gets over time really open the map up but it can be frustrating at the progress you get them with lots of backtracking within the thin confines of the game areas, I get that is part of the Metroidvania thing but it could be a little frustrating in Shadow Complex.

The weapon upgrades and abilities you get a fun, I liked the melee combat system of taking out enemies that way or by just blowing them up, there are some interesting new mechanics you get throughout the game such as the rocket boots (for lack of a better phrase), triple jump, foam gun and rockets which help open things up.

It’s a good remaster, it looks much better which is great and there’s not a lot Chair can do if it has aged a little but its a great and enjoyable game I would definitely recommend, the futuristic-conspiracy-story style to the game is nice as well I thought.

Likes:

  • Great remaster, looks nice and runs well
  • Lots of upgrades and collectibles to find
  • Not a deep story but it holds the game together well
  • Good level design with upgrades really opening it up later on

Dislikes:

  • Shows its age a little at times
  • Can be frustrating in the beginning with areas locked out as you wait to get upgrades
  • Map can fail you on the odd occassion

Steverulez Recommendation: Shadow Complex is a great game and worth trying if you enjoy Metroidvania’s for sure