I Gave Fallout 4 Another Try in 2024 and I Kinda Love It

I put Fallout 4 on blast back in 2020 (remember when the world was stuck indoors pending its own near-apocalyptic event?). Sure, I still called it a worthwhile game – deep down, I argued with my inner Bethesda fanboy – but I spent a majority of the article pointing out annoyances that, on reflection, didn’t really bother me when I booted it up in 2024. After nine years, a bunch of mods and a Starfield of lost potential, I finally dug my feet back into Fallout 4 without any expectations other than to blow shit up. I ended up kinda loving it.

My biggest problem, if one can call it that, with Fallout 4 was the existence of the older Fallout games. In retrospect, Fallout: New Vegas is still the best game in the franchise and a near-perfect RPG – lofty comparisons which Fallout 4 was fairly or unfairly pitted against. I’ll let you decide. To make sure I didn’t have another round of bickering with myself about the good old days of Fallout, I put aside all preconceptions and just tried to enjoy the ride this time.

Mods, Mods, Mods

I Gave Fallout 4 Another Try in 2024 and I Kinda Love It

First and foremost, I needed to mod up Fallout 4. After spending a good portion of my life modding Skyrim on PC and Xbox, modding Fallout 4 was relatively simple. I went with the Xbox Series X/S version via Game Pass (partially due to the next-gen update, partially due to not wanting to buy Fallout 4 on Steam again). I set some restrictions to my mods, though. The only things I changed were visuals, weathers and textures with some quality of life modifications here and there. Absolutely no big changes to gameplay.

One of the most significant mods I installed changed the dialogue tree to now show full responses, much like the older Fallout games, instead of the base game’s awful single-word choices. I’m still not crazy about the voiced protagonists but I appreciated the voice acting work that went into some lines, especially my go-to sarcastic replies. Other mods basically overhauled the look of the game for that true “remaster” experience: Vivid Weathers, Enhanced Lighting and FX, Vivid Fallout AIO, etc.

With all that in mind, I did also play the vanilla game first for a number of hours in case modding bias was a thing. The mods do help a lot though and if you’re playing Fallout 4 in 2024, they’re essential.

Bombs Over Boston

I Gave Fallout 4 Another Try in 2024 and I Kinda Love It 2

Fallout 4 has a tremendous opening that arguably outranks all the previous games. Beginning in the year of our Cyberpunk overlords 2077, you play as one half of a married couple who has a much brighter future: Nate or Nora by default. We get a small glimpse of life shortly before the bombs drop (like, literal minutes before doomsday) and while it’s short-lived, I love how this sets up your character. There’s not much room for role-playing but as a preset protag, you at least get to fill in some of your backstory blanks.

Events transpire and you wake up 200 years later to the hostile, derelict wastelands of Boston. Oh, the bombs and passage of time also did a bit of damage, I guess. An hour later, you’re off to find your kidnapped baby son Shaun. You befriend the goodest dog, meet Settlement Garvey, grab rusty Power Armour and a minigun and 1v1 a Deathclaw in a raider assault. If the first quest doesn’t immediately sell you on Fallout 4, nothing will.

Wasted in the Wastelands

I Gave Fallout 4 Another Try in 2024 and I Kinda Love It

You’re given one of two options: continue down the main quest path or do your own thing. Since this is a Bethesda game, I bid my meth-head friend Mama Murphy goodbye, put the all-important mission of finding my son on hold and decided to hit Super Mutants with a rusty pipe for the next ten hours.

Fallout 4, like most Bethesda games, is at its best when it isn’t putting guard rails on your adventure. Bethesda Game Studios, for all its flaws, absolutely knows how to make a compelling open world begging to be explored. Eventually, OCD kicked in and I simply had to fill out those empty location markers on my HUD.

Little did I know this would sweep me on mutliple side quests that spanned the Commonwealth. It took me 20 hours before I even visited Nick Valentine’s detective agency and by then, my whirlwind misadventures slaying Deathclaws, killing armies of raiders/synths and rebuilding the Commonwealth had become legend. Who was I supposed to find again? Oh right, Shaun. My son.

Fallout 4 (and Bethesda games by extension) give this addictive, unrestrained level of freedom to you, like handing the chocolate factory keys to a sugar-addicted kid. There’s no brilliant world design like Elden Ring that naturally progresses exploration with smart map layouts. That’s nice and all but once in a while, you need a game like Fallout 4 to just let you off the leash and go wild without someone slapping you on the wrist and telling you to go back to the main quest. Hell, you can easily get 100 hours of enjoyment out of the game without even touching the main story.

Minutes, Steel and Synths

I Gave Fallout 4 Another Try in 2024 and I Kinda Love It

One thing that I always failed to get into when playing Fallout 4 in the past was the main factions in the game: the Brotherhood of Steel, the Minutemen and the Railroad. I always hated the Brotherhood’s ideologies and motivations, I strongly disliked the settlement management with the Minutemen and I never really followed the Freedom Trail before so this was my first time meeting the Railroad. To my surprise, I sided with the Railroad.

That said, I can sort of see why many would also go with the Brotherhood or Minutemen. Flawed as they are, they all have good intentions, even if they go about it in different ways. By allowing myself to get sidetracked with the intricacies of settlement building this time, I also gained a new appreciation for it. It’s not really necessary in the grand scheme of things but the fact that it’s even in the game – and quite rewarding once you get into it – is a great move on Bethesda’s part.

Taking my time getting to know so many NPCs, exploring new quests that were never on my radar before, and just getting lost in the world was the right way to approach Fallout 4 this time. It was never going to topple New Vegas in my eyes but by taking the blinders off, I wanted it to convince me that I might’ve misjudged aspects of the game that I dug the knife too deep into before.

On Second Thought

Playing Fallout 4 again and having a blast navigating the Commonwealth made me rethink my stance on the game. In the words of Thanos, “perhaps I treated you too harshly.” Does it lack a lot of what makes Fallout 3 and New Vegas so fantastic? Yes. Does it hinder your enjoyment of the game? Not in the slightest.

Bethesda Game Studios set out to push the series forward while dealing with the monumental task of bringing in newcomers. In many ways, it succeeded. Fallout 4 boasts the best gameplay in the series without question; the best gunplay, the best visuals, the best voice acting, the best companions, the best action set pieces and if you really want to say something bold, the best DLC in the franchise with Far Harbour.

All that said, it’s still not my favourite Fallout game but it now holds a new place in my heart and mind. I can easily see myself revisiting Fallout 4 in the future for another go at Boston.

Editor-in-Chief of Nexus Hub, writer at GLITCHED. Former writer at The Gaming Report and All Otaku Online. RPG addict that has wonderful nightmares of Bloodborne 2.

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