I recently started playing Fallout 4 again, after taking a long break for the past year. When it came out, I started playing it immediately, for nearly 50 hours straight in fact, then stopped unexpectedly after a few weeks. If I had to pinpoint where I went wrong with my approach to this behemoth, it was obvious when I fired the game back up.
I had just about every single location marked CLEARED on the entire top half of the map, and almost no locations discovered on the bottom half of the map. This game has a tremendous amount of things to do, and to be honest, you can easily spend one to two hours simply raiding and clearing out a single base. That’s just how packed this game is. What I ended up doing was getting caught in the rabbithole of Fallout, where you keep getting sidetracked by new locations.
Of course, some of the rules I gave myself pretty much guaranteed I would never progress the main story. Originally I loaded the game back up to see where I left off, and if it would be possible to just finish the main questline, to knock the game off my backlog.
But that’s where I was pleasantly surprised – and maybe it’s because I haven’t played a Fallout game in a while, but I immediately started having fun. I quickly became re-acquainted with my weapon setups, the general controls of the game, and it was an absolute blast. Of course, it wasn’t long before I fell into my old ways, right into that bottomless pit of exploring every little nook and crannie.
And that is where it began to get tedious. I resumed the game at the point where my quest goal on the main line was to “Meet the Minutemen at the Castle,” a relatively early part of the main quest line for someone with 50 solid hours logged. I met up with Preston and did the usual awkward dialogue exchange, fast forward an hour and I’ve got artillery set up and a few more outposts established.
Then came the next reminder of my early retirement – how repetitive the game can get with the outpost protection side quests. Assuming you haven’t played Fallout 4, you establish outposts throughout the map that become inhabited with wandering NPCs. They take up shelter and contribute to the cause and can be assigned to work for you. But once you control too many outposts, you are constantly pestered to travel to them and defend them. The fourth time Preston sent me to an outpost for another generic protection quest, I gave up on them entirely. Currently they’re sitting in my Quest log and will likely never be completed.
An example of a quest that I really enjoyed recently was Unlikely Valentine. It was a great time, and although it was pretty tough, it felt rewarding at the end. It seems like this quest put me back on track to the main focus of the game (being reunited with your kid), as Nick Valentine is now available to help you track down your son. Following my year-long hiatus of Fallout 4, I completely forgot where I left off, and it turned out this quest was my ticket back in the main quest line.
I’ve logged 5 more hours over the past week, and I’m having a blast with it. If you have a limited amount of time to play, this game can be tough to take in, as a single quest can take over an hour, distractions aside. Bethesda succeeded in making a gigantic world that is full of distractions that, if allowed to distract, can burn you out fast. The game is a sidequest hell and a completionist’s nightmare. But all that aside, it’s still a fun world to explore – you just need to be able to pace yourself, stay focused on one quest at a time, and let it take you for a ride.