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Fallout 4 is the 4th numbered iteration of Bethesda’s long-running and celebrated post-apocalyptic action role playing game series. With the current rise in immersive virtual reality gaming, it is not surprising that a VR version of Fallout 4 would be produced. This article is a Fallout 4 VR Review that examines how well Fallout 4 ported into VR and compares and contrasts Fallout 4 VR with a few similar VR games.
Fallout 4 VR Review
What Is Fallout 4?
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Most video gamers know the Fallout series well, at least starting with Fallout 3. However, for those new to the series, we feel it is best to start this Fallout VR review with a brief overview of the standard version of Fallout 4. The Fallout Series takes place in the future of an alternate earth that adopted nuclear technologies in the 1950s to power their cities and cars, then started building more advanced technologies including robots. The style and design of the world remained in the 1950s style, giving the game a fun retro styling that has become one of its hallmarks.
Global Nuclear war came to the Fallout world in the 2070s, but many humans survived in bunker kick vaults that protected people from nuclear fallout, but also experiment on their residents. Each new fallout game takes place further in history as the survivors rebuild society in a nuclear wasteland full of dangerously mutated animals, malfunctioning robots, and a host of other dangers.
Fallout 4 is set in Boston and the player begins his/her quest iby leaving their vault and exploring the world above. Much like Fallout 3, the Boston area is full of different factions fighting for control of the area. The payer is free to help and even join several of these groups as the game progresses.
As an Action Role Playing Game, fallout balances fast combat situations with open work exploration. Skill and inventory management are also important to the player’s success. Even without the VR headset, the world of Fallout 4 is one of the most immersive game environments available. Almost anything can be picked up and/or manipulated, including the bodies of enemies.
The Boston presented in Fallout 4 might be from an alternate version of Earth’s future, but still retains parts of the real world Boston. This includes including Fenway Park and several colonial era buildings like the Old North Church and the Freedom Trail. Exploring the alternate version of these landmarks offers a fun look at the alternate history of the Fallout Universe.
Gameplay is similar to previous iterations of Fallout games with a variety of both melee and ranged weapons that can be upgraded and modified in various ways. Fallout 4 includes the now-familiar VATS Targeting System, which pauses time and allows players to target specific enemies and even specific enemy body parts. This adds to the role playing nature of the game.
One major addition to the game play is the ability to craft settlements that can attract survivors. There are several areas on the map that can support settlements and special missions where the player is forced to defend settlements against attacks. This is a fun optional game play mode that adds to the player’s sense of connection to the Fallout 4 world. Story and world building have been one of Bethesda’s strong points. The variety of factions to interact with gives the world a lived-in feeling that adds to the epic nature of this world.
How Well Does Fallout 4 Port to VR?
Fallout 4’s transition was not a smooth one, at least initially, but VR made the already highly immersive Fallout World seem almost too real. When it was first released, many early Fallout 4 VR reviews faulted it for many bugs and issues, though they were quickly patched.
The VR version of Fallout 4 contains all the game-play features of the original, with some additions. The use of baton VR controllers allows for complete control over the movement of weapons. For ranged weapons like firearms, this can make the game a bit more difficult, as most people do not have a gunfighter’s steady hands. The inclusion of VATS mitigates the game’s difficulty.
One of the areas where Fallout 4 suffers in VR is in the menu system. Fallout games have used a wearable in-game computer (called a Pip Boy) as the in-game menu for managing inventory, looking at the map and upgrading the character’s abilities. This continues in the VR version of Fallout 4, but navigating this menu can be difficult. The standard game pauses when you look at the Pip Boy, but not the VR version. This might be more realistic, but it makes switching weapons or healing more difficult during combat.
How It Compares
In order to provide the most thorough Fallout 4 VR review, we picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.
- Skyrim VR
- Robinson: The Journey PS VR
- Eve: Valkyrie PS VR
Fallout 4 VR
- Design Quality
This product can be found on Amazon for around $60.
To run under VR requirements, the graphics of Fallout 4 have were reduced. However, they still provide for an immersive environment.
With their open-world nature, Bethesda’s games often contain bugs that require restarting. This is offset by their excellence in world-building and storytelling.
- Well-designed world and story
- Huge open world to explore
- VR weapon controls allow for more realism
- The Menu controls are difficult to master
- The Game does not pause when raising the Pip Boy menu
- Occasional bugs can force restarting
The VR version of Skyrim includes everything from the standard version of the game, with the controls and view mapped to the Play Station VR headset and the Playstation Move controllers. Given the size and complexity of Skyrim, there are a few issues with the controls. Role-playing games require a lot of inventory management and equipment changes that requires pausing the game to inspect menus that detract from the immersive experience.
Movement is another area where VR has to make sacrifices. Skyrim offers both short-hop teleport controls and free movement. Some players find the free movement causes motion sickness. Additionally, graphics suffer in the port to VR. Smooth motion in VR requires 90 frames per second, which is slower than the non-VR version. The immersive experience offered by VR offsets this to a degree.
- Design Quality
This product can be found on Amazon for around $40.
Skyrim VR’s graphics are simplified for VR, with simplified lighting, shadow effects, and blurry textures that lead to some game-play issues when characters or animals pop in too close.
As a port of the standard edition, Skyrim VR contains all the design aspects that made it a “game of the year.” With the ability to use both short hop and free movement, players can fight dragons and giants with ease. The melee combat system could use some work.
- Offers an amazing new perspective for one of the best Role Playing Game currently available
- Ranged combat and magic translate to VR amazingly
- Poor graphics compared to the non-VR version of Skyrim
- Only available on PlayStation VR
- Clunky controls hurt the immersion of the game
Robinson: The Journey PS VR
Robinson: The Journey PS VR puts the player in the role of Robin, a young boy who survived the crash of the Starship Esmeralda on the planet Tyson III. Robin explores this new world and must survive with only his wits and his AI companion as he searches for a way to find the other crew members and escape this harsh new world.
The game features awe inspiring graphics with a lush and lifelike world full of dinosaurs and deadly puzzles. The game uses the Playstation Dual Shock controller instead of the PS Move batons, which makes manipulating items in the game world counterintuitive. The game play itself is best described as first-person point-and-click with puzzles that need to be solved in order to progress. Many of these puzzles have solutions that can be difficult to find.
- Design Quality
This product can be found on Amazon for around $100.
Robinson: The Journey is made by Crytek a game company known for their amazing graphics. They brought all their skills to this game. The visuals exceed most other VR games currently available.
Beyond its amazing graphics, Robinson: The Journey is a shallow game with illogical puzzles and an annoying AI companion. The use of the Dual Shock Controller instead of the PS Move batons makes the movement difficult. Additionally, the free movement option can cause motion sickness.
- Best graphics available for a PlayStation VR game
- Walking among dinosaurs is pretty amazing
- Poorly designed game play
- High price
- Annoying AI companion
Eve: Valkyrie PS VR
Eve: Valkyrie is a space-based arcade style dogfighting simulation that exhibits some of the best VR game play available. It is a muti-player game where two teams of up to 8 players take control of a variety of spaceships with both “death match” and “area capture” modes. Set in the Eve: Online universe, the ships, and weapons involved will be familiar to non-VR players.
Space-based dogfighting sims have been on the market for decades, but they truly shine in VR. The ability to look around the cockpit at the different displays inside the ship and out through the cockpit windows gives a heightened sense of immersion and allows easier targeting. Given that space-based combat is done from a seated position, motion sickness is less of an issue than in games where the characters are walking or running on the ground.
Besides flying small fighters, Eve: Valkyrie includes heavy fighters and support-class ships with different weapon load outs, maneuverability, and shield strength. These additions allow for different styles of play that keeps the game from feeling stale. Though most of the combat is exciting and gripping, the one-on-one dogfights can become monotonous.
Progress and unlocking new starships can be slow going and the availability of upgrading through micro-transactions is a black mark. For gamers who are not willing to pay more to get ahead, it can be a frustrating experience to battle against those who purchased bigger and better ships with significant firepower advantage.
- Design Quality
This product can be found on Amazon for around $60. However, the game offers a variety of micro transactions that can push the price higher.
Eve Valkyrie’s graphics are top-notch, creating a believable, yet fantastic, outer space environment with beautifully designed ships and an epic scale that makes the player truly feel like they are in outer space.
Most of the game play in Eve: Valkyrie is well-designed and balanced for arcade-style action grounded in realism. There are issues with one-on-one dogfights, but the 8-on-8 battles are full of pulse-pounding action that will keep players interested.
- Immersive multi-player space combat
- A large variety of ships and upgrades
- Excellent graphics for a VR game
- Slow upgrade process and the overabundance of micro-transactions
- One-on-one dogfights become monotonous
- No voice chat except in between matches
Fallout 4 VR Review Conclusion
For Fallout fans seeking an immersive VR role-playing game, this Fallout 4 VR review wholeheartedly recommends Fallout 4 VR. Skyrim VR, made by the same company, offers similar game play in a fantasy world, so we rank it a next best choice. EVE: Valkyrie is the best choice for space combat fans. Due to the high cost and shallow game-play, this Fallout 4 VR review recommends against Robinson: The Journey unless lush graphics is the only thing you care about.