A few days and many hours of gameplay on from this week’s earlier look at Fallout 4, and I don’t feel much better off when it comes to caps, fighting ability or even any progress towards the main objective.
However, it has given me plenty of time to look at the Workshop ability which I wanted to talk about today; the countless ways to create safe haven for other wanderers of the Commonwealth, and the extreme annoyance it creates when I’m forced to choose between sellable items and tubes of Wonderglue.
The Fallout 4 workshop
Once you’ve rescued the Minutemen from an ordeal with some nasty Raiders early on, you’ll be tasked with leading them to a new home – Sanctuary Hills. Once there you’ll be shown how to start rebuilding for a better future, using a bunch of craft stations for armour, food, and weapons. The other interesting option is the Workshop; an innocent-looking red workbench which will serve as the centre for your building projects.
Here you can provide shelter, beds, food and water for your Settlers, build generators to power the community, and even set up machine gun turrets to keep them defended against attacks by raiders and the wasteland wildlife. That last bit is especially important, and not just for keeping the wildlife out; the other night I got the fright of my life when a Settler sprinted off into the woods to try and kill a Yao Guai; if I’d not been there I don’t even know if he would have survived.
So far I’ve really enjoyed using the workshop feature in Fallout 4 to create the essentials for survival in the wilderness. Finding and clearing out a small space that I can make my own, and using it to provide for hard-working people who are just looking for a new home.
Crafting is in itself one of the essential components of any good RPG, but given my limited history in playing RPG games it’s only here that I’ve been able to appreciate how rewarding it feels to tool up and kit out my very own space. From my own gaming history I’m reminded of The Sims 2 – where recipes couldn’t be made up without the requisite ingredients and had to be cooked properly to avoid making your Sims ill.
Here on the Playstation 4 we’re in for a far more immersive experience than that, if only because the advanced technology means players can experience their builds from the inside – and not from that classic isometric camera angle, at which so many simulations of the mid 90s and early 2000s were framed. Theme Park and The Sims games are my favourite examples of this unforgettable period of god games.
Once you’ve decided on a few additional perks you’ll able to break down your weapons and armour into more useful components like screws and copper, which is quite handy because otherwise you’re in danger of the next huge pitfall.
Managing inventory space in Fallout 4
Every time I come across a new building on my travels, I open up my inventory and that of my companion (currently Codsworth the robot butler) and make a key decision that will add another 15 minutes to my game every time I do it.
“Looks like I won’t be able to pick much up once I enter, better head back to a settlement.”
Once there I’m able to store all those Junk items – lighters, gas canisters, baseballs, the lot – and see if there’s anything I’m able to build that my settlers need. Once done and I’ve stored away a lot of actual useful items like clothing, armour and guns, it’s back to that building.
But it’s also during these explorations that my inventory soon fills up again, with clothing and guns taken from the enemies I kill – not to mention more safes to lockpick, computers to hack and endless cupboards full of crap just to complete the job. If I’m really unlucky I’m then forced to decide on which items to drop – this happens a lot.
So it’s down to choosing between the 10mm pistol (weight: 4) which would prove quite useful as either scrapped, sold or upgraded, and the roll of duct tape which provides Adhesive material for workshopping.
As mentioned in last week’s post, I find these choices quite annoying, but not as annoying as the amount they happen. I can’t visit one single newspaper office or abandoned factory without knowing that somewhere along the line I need to sacrifice another 15 minutes in order to get back to Sanctuary or the Drive-In and put everything down again. I mean, storyline-wise, I realise this stuff is essential to the needs of my newly-found community but does it really need to get so repetitive?
Inventory management in Fallout 4 has taken one of the series’ best-known features – if not in all of RPG gaming – and made it a matter of extreme importance by causing players some real headaches. I keep reading that there are ways to cheat the system and create an unlimited carry weight, but surely I’m above the level of cheating to remove any inconveniences.
Or am I?
Oh by the way, in regards to that earlier conundrum – everything you build needs Adhesive. So drop the gun and take the tape. Seriously. You’ll thank me later.