Fallout 4 is a remarkable game on many levels. But it’s also a hugely ambitious game, which means it has lots of room for failure. While the game’s pros overwhelmingly outweigh the cons, it does have a few issues.
We’ve spent many hours playing Fallout 4 and have come up with a handful of problems we’d love to see improved in future installments. Here they are.
1. The map
Fallout 4 may take place in the distant future, but in many ways the technology in the game lags behind where we are today. For example, computers seem only to be capable of displaying green on black. And since you view the map on your Pip-Boy wrist computer, the map is green and black as well.
Now I’m not saying it’s impossible to create a decent map in green and black, but Bethesda hasn’t done it in Fallout 4. This thing is full of vague smudges of green, and becomes particularly useless whenever you go indoors and have to rely on an interior map. Remember Skyrim’s map? That thing was beautiful. What happened, Bethesda?
While we’re at it, the game would also benefit from a mini-map. The mini-map in the corner of the screen in The Witcher 3 was a huge help when it came to exploring its vast open world, and Fallout 4 would benefit similarly. What Fallout 4 has, by contrast, is a tough-to-read compass bar on the bottom of the screen. It’s actually a little better than it was in previous Fallout games, but it’s still nowhere near as helpful as a mini-map would be.
2. Character models
Open-world Bethesda games like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls have some of the best-looking environments in video games, but the character models tend to be stiff and unconvincing. The same goes for Fallout 4.
While the main characters look passable, it’s the random NPCs who don’t play a big role in the story who look the worst. Talking to them, you might forget you’re playing on top-of-the-line hardware and wonder if you accidentally booted up your Xbox 360 instead. Fortunately, Bethesda games quickly get mods that overhaul the graphics, and can literally change the appearance of every character in the game.
3. Complex systems aren’t explained well
Fallout 4 is a staggeringly large, ambitious game, and it’s filled with all kinds of things to do. That’s great for people who want to spend dozens of hours in a digital world, but it’s not so fantastic if you want to dabble in some of the side projects the game offers.
Fallout 3 was already a complex game, but Fallout 4 adds new customization options like weapon crafting and settlement building. Essentially, the games have always thrown a bunch of stuff at you and said, “Have fun.” All of it is fun, but it takes a lot of tinkering to figure out. Better tutorial systems would be helpful here.
4. Sorry, Dogmeat, you’re annoying
After playing Fallout 3 and having our canine companion Dogmeat be unceremoniously killed by a mirelurk or super mutant, we all wanted the dog to return in Fallout 4. Well, we got him. But be careful what you wish for, because the dog — and other companions who can follow you around — sure gets in the way a lot.
Not only does he trap you in tight spaces (watch as a companion in the video above prevents Sweet Jim from dodging a proximity mine) and block your way forward far too frequently, but he also rushes powerful enemies, regardless of how much punishment he takes on the way. Naturally, he’ll fall during battle and wait for you to use a precious stimpack to bring him back into the fray.
We love you, Dogmeat, but you’re annoying.
Because Fallout 4 is such a massive game that gives you so much freedom, it’s bound to have a bundle of glitches, just waiting to do things like trap you in the environment, crash the game, or even (potentially) destroy your save file.
Thankfully nothing major has happened during my play time, but I have encountered a number of minor bugs that do things like make NPCs act funny, make body parts stick through walls, render my held weapon invisible, and trap the camera inside my character’s body. (To fix that last one, switch to a third-person camera view and then back).
None of these issues are new to the series or unexpected in such a large game, but they’re there, and it would be preferable if they weren’t. Presumably, many of these bugs will be worked out through updates in the months to come.
6. Resources can be hard to find
To make use of the new crafting and settlement building systems, you need to pick up a bunch of junk as you explore the Commonwealth. The thing is, you’ll often find yourself lacking something you need to craft the part you want.
Then you have to venture back out into the wasteland in search of adhesive, or cement, or whatever key items you need. Unfortunately, it’s not always obvious what objects will have what components. You might think a TV or a car will have tons of components, but you’ll be sorely disappointed.
There’s no doubt that Fallout 4 is a worthy successor to the series, and a game worth buying for just about anyone with the time to play it. But if you look closely, you can still find things to complain about. If you couldn’t, what would we hope for from Fallout 5?
See my other article to know what Fallout 4 got right.