As of Monday morning, I’ve poured 805 hours into “Destiny.” It’s one of the most addicting games I’ve ever played.
But I haven’t touched the game in two weeks now — something I haven’t done since last September, when “Destiny” first launched.
That’s because I’ve been spending my last two weeks playing “Fallout 4.” And you know what? I really don’t miss “Destiny” at all right now.
I’ll just come right out and say it: “Fallout 4” is one of the best games I’ve played in a very, very long time. But just because I’ve been playing “Destiny” almost non-stop for over a year doesn’t mean “Fallout 4” is anything like that game.
“Destiny” is a first-person shooter with some role-playing game (RPG) elements thrown in. “Fallout 4” is a massive role-playing game that also happens to excel as a shooter — but it’s so much more than that.
Unlike “Destiny,” there’s a real story to be had here. There are many stories to love here, in fact, since there are so many small tangential side missions thrown in that feel just as compelling as the biggest mission in the game: trying to find your son in the “Wasteland,” the radioactive landscape formerly known as Boston.
The lack of story was one of my biggest problems with “Destiny,” something that Bungie’s been trying to fix with its most recent expansions and updates. “Fallout 4,” though, feels like a fully realised, fleshed-out, living world — and it keeps me coming back.
Without getting into particulars right now — Tech Insider is going to have tons of coverage of “Fallout 4,” starting Monday — “Fallout 4” is a fantastic, funny, easy-to-follow, well-rounded game. “Destiny” is extremely addicting, it makes you feel like a superhero with incredible guns, superpowers and gameplay, but I’ve always been painfully aware of its flaws: the game’s randomly-generated loot system can quickly turn the game into the grind, and there are some restrictions within the game (relating to the economy and how items work) that can be truly baffling until Bungie either 1) fixes the problem or 2) defends the issue in a blog post.
With “Fallout 4,” I really don’t want Bethesda Game Studios to change any major aspect of the game like I do with “Destiny.” Sure, there are occasional things that could be smoothed out — the framerate often lags in some of the game’s biggest areas, for instance — but I’m regularly impressed with what Bethesda was able to accomplish.
There are so many details and surprises in “Fallout 4,” it’s mind-boggling.
Unlike the planets in “Destiny,” which are often confusing to navigate (there are no in-game maps during planetary patrols and missions) and a bit boring to look around, “Fallout 4” is riddled with secrets and stories. You walk into a church and you’ll see skeletons in different positions, as if they’re telling their own story. You walk upstairs in the church and you’ll find more skeletons, computer terminals that reveal emails and messages between coworkers that are now long dead, and safes and locked doors just begging to be cracked open. In “Fallout 4,” every single building you can explore is a building that has at least a few great secrets or items to help you on your missions.
Characters are also so much more alive in “Fallout 4” than they are in “Destiny.” In “Destiny,” you can interact with mission- and quest-givers in the Tower and the Reef, the social spaces in “Destiny.” But you won’t find other characters to run into or talk to on your missions. That just doesn’t happen.
In the world of “Fallout 4,” almost every character has something to say — either about themselves, or you, or what you’re wearing. And many of them — most of them, it seems — have missions to give you, quests big and small. “Go return this overdue book to the library.” “Go search across an irradiated part of town to find someone.” “Clear out the comic book shop of ghouls.”
Each mission in “Fallout 4” feels unique, not at all repetitive, and truly fun. No mission feels too enormous or difficult: you can approach missions in so many different ways — you can go in guns blazing or talk yourself out of a situation. In “Destiny,” it’s mainly point and shoot (bad guys, that is).
Of course, “Fallout 4” and “Destiny” are not the same game, and Bungie and Bethesda didn’t set out with the same goals for their games. “Destiny” is constantly a work in progress — one of the game’s biggest redeeming qualities, I might add — but “Fallout 4” is a magical experience that’s captivated me and stolen me away from Bungie’s universe, at least for a time.
With “Fallout 4,” I haven’t put in anything close to the 800+ hours I’ve poured into “Destiny.” I’ve maybe played about 25 hours of “Fallout 4” so far. But like “Destiny,” I’m always thinking about the next time I can play. And that’s a great feeling.
“Fallout 4” is one of those rare games that lives up to the hype, and then some. Go play it.
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