What the critics, players, and my dad think about Fallout 4

The face of a cautious optimist.

The face of a cautious optimist.

Fallout 4 is officially out, and thus the internet is abuzz with hot takes. You can, of course, read our review here. But in case you're curious about what the wider world has made of Bethesda's latest foray into an irradiated hellscape, we've corralled a cross-section of opinion on this page. People are largely digging it, though it seems a few Bethesda Bug Forgiveness Buffers are starting to wear a bit thin. Below you'll find a mix of critic and fan reaction, drawn from the insane number of people playing right now...


Most YouTubers have only just started playing the game, so start forming your feelings together with a few Let's Plays:

Review roundup

GamesRadar+ (5/5)
Our sister site’s Leon Hurley loved how the game exploited his attention by offering constant and valuable distractions: “It’s the kind of game where you set a mission marker, head off to begin it and then four hours and multiple accidental side quests later you remember what you went out for. MILK! No, wait, kill all the supermutants.” Is there a milk quest? I want a milk quest.

Polygon (9.5/10)
Polygon’s Arthur Gies praised the game for its believable sense of place and cohesive narrative: “Fallout 4 has all the ambiance and history that made its predecessors such wonderful places to get lost for hours at a time, with a much more coherent set of stories within it. That Bethesda has integrated a major building and crafting tool while finally building a great-playing game almost feels like a bonus.”

PC Gamer (88/100)
Hey, it’s us! Phil sure liked Fallout 4, even if the cracks are starting to show. “It's a pleasure to pick through the world, to discover new sights, and to pick through the perks and customisation option to conceive the perfect character build, however bizarre. In short, many of Fallout 4's problems, like every Bethesda RPG before it, are a consequence of what makes them unforgettable.”

PCGamesN (8/10)
Matt Purslow at PCGamesN enjoyed the sheer breadth, but felt the game was a bit too familiar this go-round on the nuclear carousel: "There’s enough choice to make at least two playthroughs worth it, meaning this is a game with over 100 guaranteed hours of compelling play in it. With a menu like that, chances are you won’t care about the blemishes and deja-vu. You’ve been happily drinking classic Nuka-Cola for years, so why would you want a changed recipe now?"

The Guardian (3/5)
Rich Stanton at The Guardian was much less forgiving, more tired of Bethesda’s trademark formula and weaknesses than most: “Fallout 4, then, is a paradox, delivering in many of the areas that matter most but undermined throughout by poor combat, technical problems, and what feels like a lack of focus. So here we go again. It’s not war, but Bethesda that never changes.”

It's hard to deny how gorgeous Fallout 4's scenery is.

On Steam, the game holds a Very Positive rating with 6,963 reviews at the moment. A good portion of the reviews make note of the bugs, but that they're not overwhelming or game-breaking. In six hours of play, Super Potato "only had ONE bug and that was [a robot's] head going through the ceiling" which sounds pretty cool to me. Quantization says they can't stop "taking screenshots of breathtaking landscapes and wacky, but appropriate interiors."

Negative reviews criticize the game for it's "unintuitive controls for a PC game" and difficulty changing certain graphics settings, like FOV (here's how to do that, by the way). Some players also didn't like the streamlined dialogue system, especially when it comes to player intent: "I don't know if [choosing] 'Sarcastic' means a playful joke, or me being an enormous asshole." Most negative reviews recommend waiting until mod support is rolled out en masse, so players can fix numerous tiny problems they have with the game. So, the tipping point for most is whether to dive in right away, warts and all, or wait until Bethesda and modders iron out the bigger wrinkles.

Mainstream nods

Ten years ago, hardly anyone knew Fallout by name.

Conan Fallout 4

Conan O’Brien
The tall funny man from the TV played some Fallout 4 on his show recently, but not before an elaborate introductory sequence wherein Conan sports an uncomfortably tight vault jumpsuit and narrowly avoids disintegration. It's all good fun. There's a nice jab or two at Microsoft aesthetics and a tangible sense of growing unease as Conan's thirst for violence and sexual conquest wash over his otherwise goofy demeanor.

My dad
Even my dad, a man in his sixties who calls text-messaging "ebay", had heard of the game: “Fallout 4? What is it? Fall. Out. Four. Shit, I got no idea. Baseball? Is it baseball? Do you fall out when you get four strikes? It makes me think sports kind of. Like baseball. It makes me think it’s a game with some sports thing. Wait. That the commercial with the blue man in the suit?” Took him a second, but he’s not totally off base. Diamond City is built in an old baseball stadium, and more than a few raiders tried to smash my head in with baseball bats.

Arby’s fast food establishment
Thank goodness our favorite brands have our back. Without Arby’s, I’m not sure I would have remembered to eat ever again. I’m really feeling the synergy here, especially since Arby’s roast 'beef' sandies could probably make it through a nuclear apocalypse or two.

James Davenport

James is stuck in an endless loop, playing the Dark Souls games on repeat until Elden Ring and Silksong set him free. He's a truffle pig for indie horror and weird FPS games too, seeking out games that actively hurt to play. Otherwise he's wandering Austin, identifying mushrooms and doodling grackles.