The “worst” pick, and it’s already feeling tricky. Fallout 4 was my most-played game of 2015. I spent hundreds of hours within the Commonwealth, and never got through all of its lengthy DLC, so it feels like I only saw a small percentage of what Fallout 4 has to offer even if that’s not technically true. No matter where I went or what I’m did in the game, there was always something interesting out in the distance, waiting to be discovered. I love companions like Nick Valentine and Curie. I love how Diamond City feels like a real place. Building settlements is also way more addicting than it has any right to be. And let’s not forget, this is the first Fallout game with combat that isn’t garbage.
Fallout 4 is an excellent experience as far as exploration and adventure are concerned. But compared to the other Fallout games there’s something missing. Unlike the others, role-playing and world-building aren’t as important in Fallout 4. Instead, Fallout 4 seems more concerned with keeping you busy shooting stuff and finding loot, which is fun, yes, but not really what Fallout games have traditionally been “about.” I wrote at length about this disappointment here:
While the main game can miss the mark at times, the DLC understands exactly what makes Fallout so good. Far Harbor, the biggest DLC Bethesda has ever created, is a perfect depiction of a post-apocalyptic New England, grouchiness and all. I loved learning more about the synths, even if it made me question everything I thought I knew about Fallout 4. It’s clear that Bethesda designed Far Harbor with choices beyond murder, and it pays off. Some of the most memorable moments in Fallout 4 happen during this self-contained adventure, as you try your best to juggle all the different factions.
Bethesda continued to hone this delicious moral ambiguity with Nuka World, a DLC that, much to Preston Garvey’s horror, lets you become a raider. Nuka World isn’t as philosophically complex as Far Harbor, but it doesn’t have to be. With Nuka World, Bethesda said goodbye to Fallout 4 with a bang, letting you run wild in a chaotic carnival house of attractions. Nuka World is everything fans love from the zanier side of Fallout. It’s a perfect send-off.
Even with these additions, you’ll note that Fallout 4 is still last in my ranking. The thing you have to remember about Fallout is, even when they’re disappointing, Fallout games are still pretty damn good.