Tag Archives: Todd Howard

Fallout 4, PC

The fourth Fallout was released by Bethesda in 2015, some seven years after Fallout 3, and five years after Fallout: New Vegas. In fact: I would call this the fifth Fallout game, because Fallout: New Vegas was more than just game number 3.5, in my humble opinion – it was the best game in the entire series. But anyway… What do I know?

What Fallout 4 retains from the previous games it benefits from (like lockpicking, hacking, and companions, which are essentially the same), and what Fallout 4 loses from the previous games it also benefits from too. Excepting for maybe the Perk Chart, which I found to be a big step backwards, usability-wise, in Fallout 4.

That ‘blip’ aside, I love the sparse and refined interface of Fallout 4; the story and conversations are simpler and more realistic; and ‘crafting’ has taken on a whole new meaning this time around. New additions to the gameplay, such as building and defending settlements, the use of power armour, and manufacturing helper robots, I think are all excellent. Although base-building in Fallout 4 is not perfect (trying to get fencing to connect up is a bitch), the fundamentals behind it work very well and add another dimension to the Fallout experience.

Of course, Fallout 4 is all about chasing quests, gaining and using experience points, playing politics with different factions, and hoarding every piece of tech and weaponry you can get your hands on. Exploring the crumbling, post-apocalyptic Boston, Massachusetts yields many surprising moments.

What I love most about Fallout 4 is the world itself. And the atmospherics. The effort Bethesda has made to create a believable, destroyed world is remarkable. The use of light/dark; coloured lighting; weather effects; music and sound effects all combine to make something really worth experiencing. On normal difficulty Fallout 4 is a challenging game – that I like too. At times the enemies in the game can be utterly ruthless and punishing (try meeting an Assaultron Demon and its friends when you’re lower levelled and see what you think of that experience…), and there are many unique monsters in the game that are way beyond your initial capabilities and who will mince you for dinner without warning if you make a mis-step. Which is all part of the Fallout RPG experience – fear, followed by eventual domination (when you go back to get your revenge later). And – there being no real level cap this time – you could in theory just keep on surviving indefinitely.

At times Fallout 4 can be frustrating. A game this big and complex is going to have some bugs, and I did experience a couple that broke my game (which I had to use to the console to fix), which nobody wants to do, but at least a fix was available, saving hours of gameplay that I’d otherwise have to re-do. I also think that the item management is still not quite as good as I’ve seen in other games. Organising items can be quite tiring in Fallout 4 and a few tweaks to the menu system might have made it a lot easier. But overall: I don’t want to complain about it too much, because I really enjoyed playing Fallout 4.

Where would I put Fallout 4 in my list of best Fallout games? Is it better than Fallout: New Vegas? Mmm. I would probably put it joint top with Fallout: New Vegas. In some respects, Fallout 4 is better, but in other respects: not. The story/characterisation and world-building in Fallout 4 are outstanding. There’s no doubting that.

More: Fallout 4 on Wikipedia
Steam: Fallout 4 on Steam

100 Best Level-Grinders Of All-Time
100 Best Level-Grinders Of All-Time

Skyrim, PC

Or – to give the game its full title: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – a legendary, open-world RPG with a dragon-riding, fantasy horror setting, and a chilly, Nordic, snowy feel to the landscapes.

Skyrim opens with you riding on the back of a cart, on the way to your own execution, and within a few short minute explodes into a startling escape from a fire-breathing dragon. None who’ve ever played Skyrim will ever forget the introduction…

From there it’s a long grind to greatness, with endless quests, bounties and conundrums to solve – all via a first-person viewpoint. A sword in one hand – a shield in the other – it’s up to you how you play the game out.

Add also a bunch of superb DLC and you have one of the best reasons to level-grind in existence. Skyrim is dungeon-crawling creepiness, and dragon-riding exhilaration, made real, for devotees of real-time, 3D adventure games. Atmospherically it is arguably at its best when underground. Clearing vast underground caverns of undead (the Draugr are inspired), or monsters, or Dwarven machines, or ghosts – or worse – is absolutely gripping. Storming castles full of bandits or vampires is also fun too. And learning the various spoken magic words to inflict great damage upon your enemies is unique and inspiring. Crafting, item enchanting, and potion-making are also incredibly detailed and fun too. Skyrim is a gigantic leap forward from Oblivion.

If it did have its downsides: it would be that the dialogue isn’t great at times – it isn’t particularly well-written – and there are some strange and frustrating paradoxes in the quests (not to mention game-breaking bugs). Also: the magic system isn’t as open and flexible as the one much-loved by TES fans in Morrowind – the magic’s been ‘reined-in’ a bit for Skyrim (there’s no levitation or long-jumping as seen in Morrowind). Other than that, though, Skyrim has more detail, more stats, and more grinding than pretty much every other RPG out there. Except for maybe The Witcher 3… 🙂

The original Skyrim was released in 2011 by Bethesda Softworks. A High Def remaster was released in 2016. These grabs are from the remastered HD version.

Click: The Elder Scrolls series on The King of Grabs

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Elder_Scrolls_V:_Skyrim
Steam: Skyrim on Steam

100 Best Level-Grinders Of All-Time on thekingofgrabs.com
100 Best Level-Grinders Of All-Time

Redguard, PC

The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard is a third-person action/adventure set in the world of Bethesda‘s famous The Elder Scrolls series. It was released in 1998 for the PC, running under MS-DOS.

Compared to other Elder Scrolls games, Redguard is something of an anomaly. For starters: you play as a set character, rather than one you generate (and name) yourself. The game itself is also much more simple in nature than Morrowind, Oblivion or Skyrim.

Redguard utilises a maritime/swashbuckling type scenario, and features real-time sword-fighting and action. There’s even an element of platforming in the game, although it’s not particularly good.

You can still buy and play Redguard now, thanks to websites like GOG.com. It’s not a bad game – just very simple. As long as you don’t expect too much out of it, you should find it enjoyable.

More: Redguard on Wikipedia
GOG.com: Redguard on GOG.com