Movie Review – Ghostbusters 2016 (Spoiler free!)

GB

Rexis here!

As promised, I have stepped out into the horrible light of the day star and ultimately plopped myself down in front of some of the biggest theatre screens in the country (because we have those here) despite all of pop-culture telling me not to. When a movie trailer breaks the dislike record on YouTube, I have to see what all the fuss is about. The trailer did suck. On this point, I concede. But how did the movie truly fair? Was it good? Was it funny? Did it live up to the original?

I feel that since this is my third time talking about the film on my Ability Points, I should correct an error I made by claiming this movie to be a sequel. It is NOT a sequel, despite the wording at the beginning of the trailer. This movie makes NO REFERNCE to the events in the previous franchise installments actually happening. This is a reboot. As a matter of fact, you’ll see some familiar cameos playing nothing more than side characters rather than their original GB counterparts.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you are a follower of the blog here, you’ll know one of my basic tenants when watching a movie: don’t expect it to be a certain way. This movie was created with the intent of taking a long dead franchise and renewing it for the up and coming generation. If you can’t deal with that, then don’t. No one cares if you’re going to watch a movie, James Rolfe. This movie has been crapped on considerably since its inception and now that I’ve seen it, I can tell you what to truly expect.

This movie… is not bad at all! I paid ten dollars and while I wasn’t laughing out loud, I did find it humorous and well worth the price. In fact, I might even say it was good. Obviously, there are going to be people who say it wasn’t as good as the first one, but come on… Really? Are you that guy? There are plenty of people who would counter that it was better. Of course, its hard to top any movie with Bill Murray in the first place so its not even a fair comparison. Lets drop the comparing act and stick with the facts, ok?

As I said, this was not a side splitting comedy by any means. There are a few different style of humor here sort of associated with each of the women. So you are bound to find one of them funnier than another. This works well because it gives you someone to relate with. Its also detrimental because if you don’t have a funny bone in your body, you might be not appreciate the different nuances of comedy. Its best to sit back and let the movie do its thing. Sometimes you’ll laugh, sometimes you won’t. Sometimes you’ll just think to yourself, Oh I get it! and that’s fine too.

The story itself feels like a Hollywood reboot. I’ve mentioned before about this sort of thing and I won’t dwell on it too much, but a lot of the main points from the original Ghostbusters are hit in the new one. No different than The Force Awakens or any other reboot, really. I don’t know if predictable is the right word to describe it, but you have a sense of what will happen to some degree. This doesn’t take away from the storyline, however, which was all new. I don’t want to spoil it, but I enjoyed it.

Featuring a cast of veteran SNL alum, the acting was on par for a comedy. Timing and delivery were great and I felt like everyone working on the project was legitimately excited to be doing so. Who wouldn’t want to bust a few ghost, amirite? For me, it was Chris Hemsworth that actually stole the movie. If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ll know he plays the ditzy receptionist and I thought he was just fantastic at this role.

Ghostbusters 2016 does not disappoint, however, I recognize this movie isn’t for everyone. If you were a denier/naysayer from the beginning, don’t even bother. You won’t enjoy it simply because you don’t want to. For the rest of us who were open minded, this movie is a reboot well done and I’m looking forward to the next installment of what is undoubtedly a trilogy. And to the theatre savvy, stick around for the stinger after the credits.

There. I won’t have to write about Ghostbusters again for a while.

Movie Review: Finding Dory (Spoiler Free!)

Finding Dory

Rexis here!

This is going to be short, sweet, and right to the point.

If you liked Finding Nemo, go see Finding Dory. And get ready for all of the feels.

As a self-admitted Disney fan, I knew I was going to love this movie before I walked into the theatre. The thing I wasn’t expecting was the short Piper that played before the movie. It was likely the best Pixar short of them all, and that’s saying something. They have made some incredible shorts.

The movie itself was absolutely GORGEOUS! Remember when Finding Nemo came out and everyone was awed by the graphics, particularly in the ocean. This movie ramps it up to 11. And my understanding is that water is a hard medium to work in. Seriously, from the reef to the kelp forests, to the aquarium, it was nothing short of eye-candy.

The story, as the title indicates, revolves around Dory discovering who she is, finding herself. Of course, she isn’t the only one who does so. Marlon and Nemo are there as well as some other familiar supporting characters, but the new cast was hilarious and crucial to the plot. No moment feels wasted. Everything flows. And the end? Well its probably one of the most satisfying endings ever, in my opinion at least. But I’m just a completely biased commenter on an obscure blog on the corner of the interwebs. What do I know?

The jokes were super funny! I found myself laughing most of the way through this movie, except for the moments when all the feels were trying to escape my eyeball port holes. Being the macho macho man that I am, I had to force those feels deep inside. If this movie doesn’t draw a single tear, you might be heartless. Not the Kingdom Hearts kind. And if you don’t laugh… What are you? A robot? If so, I, for one, would welcome you as our new overlord.

Now, this is the part where I usually point out the things I didn’t like, but I’ve got nothing for you. Sorry. I loved this movie through and through and any fan of animation and Disney should stop what they are doing and go see this immediately. What are you waiting for? Stop reading this blog and go! Go!

Movie Review: X-Men Apocalypse (Minor Spoilers)

x-men-apocalypse-launch-quad-poster

Rexis here!

You know what’s amazing about the X-Men movie franchise? There’s like a billion movies and all of them are part of the same series. Yes, there is a retconn in Days of Future Past, but it doesn’t mean the events of the first movies didn’t happen. It simply means that tampering with time rendered them moot. This would be like Toby Maguire’s Spider-man going back in time and altering his origin instead of Sony just starting over with a new actor. The X-Men literally changed actors and got younger right in front of us and it worked.  I’ve always had a lot of respect for that. To me, it feels a lot more fitting for a comic based movie.

I’ve personally enjoyed all of the movies with the exception of Wolverine: Origins. That movie got a lot of heat for its inaccurate portrayal of Deadpool, but I didn’t know much about him back then. What always bothered me was the campy feel of the movie. There’s a scene where Wolverine literally chops a ladder down beneath Gambit piece by piece. There also a scene where Wolverine calls Blob “Bub” and that misunderstanding is what causes them to fight. Not the best writing.

Now you have a little familiarity with my take on the X-Men. As for the new movie Apocalypse, I freaking loved it! This movie was everything I really wanted to see in an X-Men movie. There are some minor things I didn’t like (as there are in every movie) such as the weird magic used by Apocalypse to transfer bodies. That is NEVER explained. Its obviously not a mutant power, so what the heck is going on there? Apocalypse also seems a little on the short side. A co-worker pointed this out to me and I have to agree. My only other gripe is about Psylocke. Why is she even a thing? There had to be a batter mutant out there for that role.

On the plus side, and without revealing too much (spoliers ahead, but very minor, no plot details), we get to see some awesome scenes with Nightcrawler, an origin story for Storm, Magneto embracing his power, Quicksilver doing what he does best, Wolverine (OMG), and a fantastic end sequence with one of my favorite mutants and potentially an arc for a future storyline. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know who I’m talking about.

The acting was spot on, with the exception of Olivia Munn. Psylocke was so flat and boring. Its a good thing she wasn’t a major character (I expected this). I thought the jokes were on par with Marvel’s MCU and Kurt Wagner had some great one-liners. The graphics? It’s 2016 and its Marvel. What is there to say? They were awesome. The movie was a beautiful concoction of action and mutant powers. I really don’t understand the bad reviews.

My only other gripe is that this movie was predictable. I knew how Wolverine’s appearance was going to go down long before the movie was released and I had the ending figured out within the first half. Still, I enjoyed every minute of it and would definitely recommend watching this movie!

Movie Review: Civil War – Underoos!

civil war.jpg

This is a badly photoshopped image. Why is Black Panther 50 feet tall? Who’s in those suits in the back? Is that a crashed tie-fighter? I just had to use this.

 

Rexis here!

And spoilers. There’s spoilers here.

I haven’t written anything in almost two months and it feels good to be behind a keyboard to do something other than work and play video games. I’ve been itching to put words on paper (paper means electronic screen in 2016), but my schedule has been crazy. During my absence, I’ve done quite a few things, but I mostly wanted to talk about Captain America: Civil War and how absolutely amazing it was!

Seriously, I cannot gush about this movie enough! And for the love of all things sacred, Iron Man calls Spider-Man “Underoos” in reference to the underwear, which Wikipedia can sum up for you here:

“Underoos were developed as a product idea in 1977 by an independent entrepreneur, Larry Weiss, who obtained licenses for the four major comic character groups (DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Hanna-Barbera, Archie Comics) which included Superman, Batman, Shazam, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Spider-Man, and Captain America.

NBD. Just dropping yet another culture bomb on you. I’ve seen so many people asking what Iron Man says that I had to answer the question in my blog. Sigh.

Anyways, this movie was absolutely everything I’ve come to expect from the MCU. I had no doubt I was going to enjoy every minute. I will admit I was skeptical about Spider-Man, but in my opinion, he stole the movie. The few scenes he was in were incredible. Just watching Peter Parker go toe-to-toe with some of the Avengers biggest names was like a dream. His banter with Tony Stark, how we DON’T see Uncle Ben get murdered, the way he rekt Falcon, Captain America, and the Winter Soldier…. Wow. Just wow. Tom Holland, you da man.

The movie wasn’t without its flaws, however. I didn’t read the comic because I don’t read comics, but I know one of the main criticisms was that the movie doesn’t follow the comic storyline. I don’t care. I just don’t. I was actually hoping to see a lot more plot involving the accords, but in the end we got a revenge story of sorts. And I’m fine with that! It managed to set up a sort of rift between the different groups that will carry over into coming movies. This “civil war” doesn’t simply end when the movie does, as it shouldn’t, because super hero registration is a big deal and can’t be resolved in a couple of hours. Still, I would have enjoyed more info in that regard.

I’ve also seen a lot of complaints about Baron Zemo, the main villain, in case you missed that somehow. He was an interesting character, in my opinion, and a well written villain. He suffered from the acts of the Avengers and sought revenge in an incredibly devious way. He attempted to tear them down from within. His plan was extremely convoluted and required a fair bit of luck to pull off, but isn’t that to be expected? This is a movie based on comic books, after all. He was definitely displaced, though. The original Zemo was a Nazi, but aren’t we tired of watching Captain America kick the crap out of Nazis? I take that back. Its always fun watching Nazis get beat. Tarentino made a whole movie about it. But it gets repetitive if that’s the only thing Cap does. New Zemo struck me as a little more human. I liked that.

As for everything else: the action was on point, the acting was superb, the plot was good-not great, the story telling was above average, and overall – this is how it’s done, Zack Snyder. Side note: Please stop making movies, you hack. You’re ruining everything.

If you’ve read this far, I’ll assume you’ve already seen the movie. What did you think? Did you like Spider-Man? Wasn’t Black Panther just awesome? Because I loved every bit of it and cannot wait for this to hit Blu-ray. I feel like I say that about every Marvel movie these days…

Movie Review: Deadpool (Spoiler Free!)

Deadpool

Rexis here!

Deadpool! Amirite?

You’ve probably heard that Robert Downey Jr. was born to play Iron Man or that you can’t imagine anyone other than Hugh Jackman (Huge Ackman? WTH is an Ackman?) as Wolverine. Well, I propose to you that Ryan Reynolds was meant to be Deadpool! Of course, my idea of what the Merc-With-The-Mouth should be is limited to the little information I know about him (or knew about him). As I’ve mentioned before, I’m no comic reader, but I know a thing or two. And what I know about Deadpool is that he is sarcastic, vulgar, and constantly breaks the fourth wall. Reynolds shines in this position. Its like he has free-reign to do what he does best. Having been a fan of his for a long time (Van Wilder, Waiting, Just Friends), I loved seeing him in this role!

The movie was fantastic! (Not like Fantastic 4.) I didn’t know what to expect going into the theatre and, honestly, I was prepared for disappointment. I walked out pleasantly surprised and very interested in a hero I didn’t know much about before. The story was great and, even though he is abrasive and an anti-hero, I found myself rooting for Deadpool. I wanted to see this guy win! And I’m not the only one, apparently. This movie is on fire!

Honestly, I’m having a hard time thinking of anything negative to say here. Everything about this movie, from the opening credits to the stinger, was awesome! The acting, the jokes, the presentation, the fourth-wall breaking, the violence and vulgarity, it was all perfect. Oh, and by the way, taking your kids to this movie is a bad idea. Don’t be THAT person. And if you are that person you might want to rethink your values. I grew up watching R rated movies, but you know what I didn’t see in those movies? Pegging. I’m not going into details, but leave the kids out of this one. For crying out loud! Why do we force kids to grow up so fast these days? /rant off

This movies was released at an interesting time with huge productions scheduled all around it. We’re only just getting over Avegners: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man. Next in the Lineup we’re going to see Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War, and X-Men: Apocalypse. (So many subtitles.) This reminds me of a time some readers may be too young to remember, and its the reason I think Deadpool is so popular.

Let’s travel back to the mid to late nineties, when music was still good, and take a look at a couple of bands who went mainstream. Blink-182 and The Beastie Boys. I’m no fan of the latter. These bands came onto the scene when music was serious and depressing. People had grown tired of it and latched onto bands who made light hearted fun music, often as parody. Pop-punk was born. Music history is fun.

My point is this: Deadpool has come onto the scene when super-hero movies have grown too serious. Everything is about the end of the world these days. Did you see Doomsday and Apocalypse in those trailers? Those guys are not messing around. This is some serious life or death stuff going on. Fox’s brilliant release timing has given us a respite from the bombardment of heroes we are bound to grow tired of and they’ve kept things fresh by bringing in a hero who can say exactly what we are all thinking, and does he ever!

This is a movie you should absolutely see! Not only does it stand on its own as a solid, action-packed, hilariously entertaining movie, but it also stands as a reflection of the age we’re living in, the age of hero movies. Its a criticism, a parody, and a satirical look at some of the biggest pop-culture icons of the day. I fully believe this is why Deadpool works!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Battlefront and Infinity 3.0 Reviews (Spoiler Free)

starwarslogo

Rexis here!

Hello internet! Today on Ability Points I get to combine three things I am passionate about. Games, movies, and Star Wars! I got to see The Force Awakens before Christmas and I have been dying to share my thoughts on it, but this is a game blog. So I needed something game related to accompany it. Low and behold, Battlefront and Disney Infinity 3.0 were sitting under my Christmas tree.

So let’s get right into the meat of this post and talk about:

forceawakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts (on Facebook in particular) hating on the movie. I don’t know why its so popular to hate on everything or to share your god-awful opinion unsolicited, but that’s apparently what people do.  You’re entitled to your opinion, but if you say “TFA sucks. JJ is stupid,” you’re just a hater and no one takes you seriously.

I’ve always considered myself a fan of Star Wars, but for different reasons than most people. I always laughed at the bad acting, the boring scenes, the dated graphics, and the odd way technology gets more advanced as you go from original trilogy to prequel trilogy. I found Star Wars funny. (I’m a sucker for B-movies and MST3K.)

I actually remember the first time I saw the original trilogy. I was a teenager and it was sometime after Lucas put CGI into them and rereleased the trilogy. I didn’t know much about Star Wars, but I had some friends who sat me down and made me watch all three. I remember saying “They were good.” Nowadays, I contend that the original trilogy was okay. Take off your nostalgia blinders for a moment and you’ll see where I’m coming from. They aren’t bad, they aren’t great. They are okay and fun to watch.

The prequel trilogy was, well, bad. A lot of people try to defend these movies, and Liam Neeson tried so hard, but the only redeemable aspect involved watching Yoda fight. The CGI is a bit dated now, but seeing that in theatres when they first released was nothing short of epic.

So when I heard Disney had bought the IP and put J. J. Abrams at the helm, I had a minor nerdgasm. Abrams made me fall in love with Star Trek. I have a hard time watching Shatner’s version (despite my love for bad movies), but I get into some Picard now and again. As a Disney fan and an Abrams fan, I had hopes that this Star Wars would be good. I wasn’t hoping for the moon (space station?) here, but I wanted to see something good come from a franchise I’d come to know so well over the years.

And, man, did he deliver! I’ve only got to see it one time, but I am dying to get back in there again. That is rare for me. Once in the theatre is usually enough, but The Force Awakens has sucked me right in. It’s no wonder its hit the billion dollar mark already.

I find it hard to say anything negative about the movie. The acting was on par and I really cared about every character (Poe was my favorite). Seeing the Falcon on screen again was nothing short of breathtaking. And Kylo was a devastating enemy.

We have to take a moment here because a lot of people are complaining that he wasn’t as badass as Darth Maul and people found him to be whiny. I did not. He had depth to him (unlike Maul) and a great source of anger yet to be revealed. A single line from the beginning of the movie still chills me when I think of it. “Kill them all.” We’ve barely scratched the surface of who Kylo is and who he will become.

Back on point, the visuals were stunning. The music was beautiful. The story was moving. The Force has awakened for sure! I went from being a moderate fan of the franchise to absolutely adoring it over the course of a two hour sequel.

The arguments to the contrary are loosely based in nostalgia. I’m not sure what people were hoping for here, but there are tons of references to the original trilogy that seems to be so beloved by fans, yet people still complain. “Too much like the original” and “not enough like the original” are the general basis of arguments against this movie.  How can it be both? Kind of contradictory, no?

The Force Awakens is a masterpiece as far as I’m concerned and stands as my favorite in the franchise thus far. There are still so many things to see and learn about these new characters. I can hardly wait for Episode VIII.

battlefront

Star Wars: Battlefront

I was not expecting this for Christmas at all. I had played the demo before and was impressed with the graphics. The same can be said after playing the original, btw. I have actually been having a lot of fun with this game. I wasn’t planning on buying it myself as a lot of reviewers will caution you that there isn’t enough content to justify the price. This is absolutely true. A $60 price tag on this game is absurd. It handles like it should have been a free-to-play title.

Its redeeming feature, in my opinion, is the ability to fly the ships we all have grown to love. Taking an X-Wing out over Hoth and shooting down other players is immensely satisfying and I find I don’t get bored with it. The detail is nothing short of amazing and its obvious they took a great deal of time and effort to construct the world.

All your favorite sounds are there, including the satisfying laser fire squirt noise. It all sounds fantastic through a headset. Even slamming a speeder into a tree on Endor will leave you smiling. The game is downright fun.

That’s about all that can be said, its fun. Your level of fun may vary depending on how much you like shooting and flying as there is no campaign. I’ve seen it compared to Call of Duty when playing ground missions and I think this is a fair assessment.

My final verdict: I wouldn’t pay more than $40 for it, which should be easy to find on Craigslist or a similar site since the fun is waning and people are going to start looking for other games to play. I’d say definitely rent it if you are on the fence.

LogoStar Wars: Disney Infinity 3.0

What’s not to love about infinity? I mean besides the hefty price tag that comes with buying every single character because I have an addictive personality and the desire to collect things to fill a void left by faulty parenting in my early childhood, thanks mom… I blacked out for a second there.

I got this game for my kids for Christmas complete with the Rise Against the Empire play set. This is the one that you play with the cast of the original trilogy. You can unlock the newer characters for the play set as well by collecting special hero coins.

We’ve been having a blast! Infinity is a kid’s game. Dying has no real consequence. The missions are easy to understand, but sometimes take a couple tries, particularly race missions. Still, I’ve found myself looking up guides because it isn’t always clear what to do next, despite the mission log being easily accessible.

The controls feel a bit more clunky that the first two iterations of Infinity. The characters don’t seem to move as quickly and it feels like you have a delay between performing attacks that wasn’t there before. its unfortunate because I’ve always felt like Disney had perfected the game with 2.0.

The sound is wonky. Sometimes voices don’t sync with movements. Other times, the sound cuts out. This has been an ongoing issue with Infinity games. Coupled with the occasional loading glitches and screen that freezes up and it feels unpolished and thrown together.

It is a very fun and immersive game, but those faults really detract from the experience. Even though its a kid’s title, I still really enjoy playing it. My son and I have a blast running around, finding new missions, and unlocking new abilities. Plus, its a lot of fun to see Vader fight Anakin.

As I’ve said in past discussions about Infinity, be prepared to spend money if you get into this game. And have a nice shelf for all your newly collected characters, play sets, and power discs.

Game Review – Fallout 4 (Spoiler Free)

SFsCHoV

Rexis here!

I am a Fallout fan. You might not believe it, but there are diehard fans out there who would argue that I’m really not. You see, I’ve never played Fallout 1 or 2 and I have no intention of doing so. This would cause some people to lose their minds when I say I’m a fan. These people fall into two camps; the type who hate the modern titles (3+) and those who will play them, but maintain an elitist position about the series.

I am a Fallout fan not because of what the older titles did, but because of what the newer titles are doing. Let me explain, then we will move into the review. I enjoyed classic RPG games when I was younger, but I grew tired of the constant grind for more experience and playing the stats game. I also enjoy FPS, but just running and gunning tends to bore me after a few levels. I discovered a fusion of two of my favorite types of genres in Fallout 3 many years ago and have been hooked since.

It doesn’t hurt that the story takes place in a post apocalyptic wasteland based on a future where nuclear power had become the norm, like living in a perpetual 1950’s America. I love it. And I think any claim that I’m not a real fan should be squashed immediately. Elitist be damned!

Trying to write a review for Fallout 4 is not going to be easy because I don’t even know where to start. I suppose we should address the elephant in the room; the new genre added to the game. Yeah, there is a whole new genre within this game.

Building and Crafting

FPS and RPG were already staple at this point with Fallout 3 and New Vegas leading the way, but now we have a whole new play style we can take advantage of, the crafting and building aspects made popular by Minecraft, and modern games are now capitalizing on. You can read about my concerns on this subject here. Basically, before release I was worried about the inventory management aspects in this game. It only makes sense to discuss this first as all of my fears about spending an eternity in a crafting menu were waylaid.

A settlement is an area in which you can build. There are many aspects to it, including defending it from raiders (which I’ve yet to do). All of the materials you drop into your crafting benches are accessible from anywhere in the settlement. There are no recipes to memorize. No crafting grids. No nonsense. You simply pick something you want to build and find a place to put it. I was able to build a wall around my settlement with ease. Simply put, I love the building aspects and they’ve made it soooooo easy!

In turn, collecting things around the wasteland is essential! You never know when you’ll need a ceramic mug or damaged clipboard. Pick it up! Or have your follower do it for you. Head home, unload, get back out there! It really is a lot of fun to craft and I found the hours flying by as I was perfecting my base at the Red Rocket gas station.

Weapon crafting doesn’t seem as extensive as we’ve been led to believe, but there are a lot of options. Its not just slapping pieces together, like some of the previews have shown. You unlock different parts by choosing certain perks and you can customize weapons based on those things. Armor works in a similar fashion. Its very intuitive and well incorporated. I never bothered making weapons in previous titles, but I really enjoy it here.

The Story and Setting

No story spoilers, I promise. Fallout 3 sent you on a mission to find your Dad. New Vegas wanted you to get revenge on the man who shot you in the head and left you in a hole. Believe me when I tell you that Fallout 4 ups the feel factor to over 9000. Literally, my jaw dropped. We’ve all seen the trailer where you design your character in a prewar environment, so I don’t feel like I’m ruining anything telling you that you will get some time to explore the main characters life before the bombs drop. Take advantage of this and get to know the characters. I’ll leave the rest a mystery, suffice it to say that I don’t think I’ve wanted to pursue the main story of a video game more than this one.

Emerging from the vault, as you are apt to do in these game, you find yourself in a post war Boston, which I thought was a weird choice at first, but it has grown on me. Exploring in Commonwealth is very rewarding and entertaining. I’ve accidentally discovered three vaults and I haven’t gone far from home. There is rarely a moment where traveling is boring because there is something to see around every corner. And something to kill you.

All your favorite staples are there, including some familiar songs from Billy Holiday, The Ink Spots, and Danny K. It really plays to your nostalgia. I am sorry I have to say this, but Three Dog would have been an improvement. The radio DJ is… lame. I’m not sure how such an annoying character got so far into development.

The UI and Voice Acting

The main character is voice acted! There was some allusion to this in the trailer, but I didn’t expect him to be fully voice acted. The days of focusing on the target characters face are gone. The camera will go back and forth during the conversation (they actually have conversation!) and responses are assigned to the four buttons. I rarely find myself skipping through dialogue as I did in the previous titles. I just wish I could hear every response because some of the options are really funny.

The user interface has been improved vastly. Remember when you had to open every container to search for items. Well, since this game is heavily focused on collecting things, this is no longer what you do. Here is how it works. Place the reticle over a storage container or dead body and a small menu pops up. You navigate it by using the d-pad and grabbing what you want. This does not freeze combat. You can still open containers by using the “transfer” option, but it is largely unnecessary in your explorations. No clunky menus to collect stuff! Thank you!

All the usual Pip-Boy functions are still there and you can utilize them just as your used to, but the favorites menu really helps in keeping the action going. Press the d-pad at anytime and you have three slots for each direction to assign your favorite items. I have my three best guns on the left arrow so I can swap quickly during combat (pistol, shotgun, sniper rifle; custom of course).

In all, they’ve gone through great lengths to keep you out of the menus and in the battle. It feels so fresh and smooth that it will be hard to go back to the previous games after experiencing this. Its funny because, in older titles, after browsing a storage container you would hit the cancel button to back out of it and move on. In Fallout 4, I keep hitting the cancel button only to bring up my Pip-Boy. I’m still adjusting to the new system. Games really condition us, don’t they?

 I also have to mention that one of my companions refers to me as Master Rex. He says my name. He actually says my name! Can you think of any other game that does that?! Its amazing!

fallout-4-deathclaw

Companions and Death

You will want a companion. I never used them in previous games because of their bad habit of getting in front of my gun and dying. I’ve had three companions so far (you can only have one at a time) and they don’t die. They also help a ton by carrying all of the junk you will undoubtedly collect along the way. They are voice acted, have great dialogue, and I’ve even had one ask to talk to me, like he was getting stuff off his mind. It makes them feel organic and real. If they could die, I’d be sad.

Giving them commands is fantastic because it can be done without interrupting your gameplay. You can be in the middle of combat and tell your companion to loot a body without missing a beat. No clunky menus! (Seeing a trend here?)

They are also very useful in combat (depending on who is with you, of course). You will die. A lot at first. And it matters! Death will set you back to your last save point. There is a quick save option in the start menu, but forget to use it and you will lose your progress. This is so, so, so important! The only way to use “wait” is to sit in a chair and it doesn’t refill your health. No auto-regen! In an age where death doesn’t matter in games, I found myself frustrated every time a raider blew my head off or a deathclaw ripped out my spleen. It forces you to reevaluate your strategy and take a different approach, which makes you better at the game (by playing it!). When the threat of death and consequence is very real, the commonwealth becomes less of a playground and more of a survival situation. Running out of bullets can be a life or death situation.

Speaking of which, I couldn’t find an option that required eating and drinking (modders, make this a thing please). You can do both to restore health, but they aren’t required. Also, weapons don’t degrade so you won’t find yourself repairing them on the fly. Most of the weapons you pick up, you will scrap on the workbench.

HSfXgzP

Getting a Taste of Power

Some of the best games give players a taste of absolute power before taking it away and making them work for it. Fallout 4 does just that. You get the power armor and mini-gun very early on. You get to experience it for all its worth. Then your power core dies like a battery and you hang your suit on its rack until you can find another power source. You don’t get to wear the armor everywhere like previous installments and you don’t need anyone to teach you to use it. You just have to keep it powered up. It is customizable, which I haven’t gotten to do much with as the parts seem rare (or I haven’t explored enough).

When you put it on, the UI changes and you have gauges on your screen that monitor your health as well as the remaining power in the suit. Immersion! I’m looking forward to doing more with this, for sure.

The perk system works a little differently this time around, which is not a bad thing. You can actually raise your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats which is great because, going in, I wasn’t sure what to put my points into. I got a well rounded character, but there are some perks I don’t have access to. Raising those stats lets me access them.

You have a myriad of perks to choose from; some familiar, some new. And with all of the options, you know there is going to be some intense replayability in this game. I kind of want to have an adventure as an idiot with no intelligence and very high luck. The real beauty is that I can.

Graphics

Commonwealth is gorgeous for a wasteland. It is incredibly detailed, as is expected. Even the settlements you build look good and fit among the environment. Nothing is out of place. The details on the armor and weapons are painstaking. Someone spent a lot of time making these things look as real as possible. All the characters and enemies got a fair treatment as well. The deathclaws are terrifying.

A lot of people said the game looks just like Fallout 3, and I can’t say they are wrong, but I can say “Who cares?” Fallout 3 was beautiful, too. Don’t be a hater. Graphics don’t make the game, anyway.

The only complaint I have in this department is with the animation of mouths. They just look off to me, but its a small oversight compared to how great everything else looks. I’ll leave all the fps talk to other reviewers, suffice it to say that the average gamer is going to see a meticulously crafted world.

One of my favorite features are the nuclear storms that blow in. Everything is fine until the sky turns brown and dark, coupled with booms, lighting, and random radiation poisoning that creates a dark environment fit for a post apocalypse.

Music

I touched on the music a bit already. You have the standard Pip-Boy radio with a few stations that I’ve found, my favorite being “classical.” There’s just something fun about fending off a wave of ghouls to classical music. Recommend! There are also a variety of hits that really set off the theme of the game.

In addition to this, there is actually an over world soundtrack of ominous music to accompany your adventure. This isn’t music from the Pip-Boy. Personally, I turned it off because I felt like music from an unknown source ruined my immersion.

Controls

I’ve already explained how some of the controls work in the UI section, but I can tell you here that they are tight. The character does what he is supposed to. Nothing is floaty. I have had zero trouble getting my reticle onto an enemy, which can be a burden when an FPS lacks the precision of a mouse.

I haven’t had a single death that I could blame on the controller. I suppose the only change I could recommend would be to automatically close the favorites pop-up after a few seconds. Here’s why:

If I am battling a raider and bring up my favorites menu, but then don’t make a selection, the menu will stay up. It isn’t intrusive in any way, but when it is up it limits the functionality of other menus. I’ve found myself trying to loot a body on the fly only to see my favorites menu preventing me from grabbing the loot and ducking away. Remember, combat doesn’t stop.

I suppose this is more of a UI complaint, but there you go.

fallout_4_63529

Overall

There are very few negative things to say about this game and any problems I might have are vastly overshadowed by the simply amazing gameplay. It is intuitive. It is immersive. It is beautiful. There are very few clunky menus to be stuck in.  The voice acting is great. Most importantly, above all else, the game is FUN!

If you are on the fence about this game, don’t be. I know the hype around it is on another level, but I avoid hype like the plague. I love this game. It is an improvement to the franchise in every conceivable way. For the first time in a long time, I’ve bought a new game that I have a hard time putting down. If you are like me, a Fallout fan who enjoyed 3 and New Vegas, I am 100% positive you will enjoy this game.