Fallout 4 VR has 99 problems, but incredible gameplay isn't one of them!
I can remember back to June 2016 when Fallout 4 VR was originally announced. Pete Hines got up on stage, and confirmed what many VR gamers imagined as the ultimate dream come true. Bethesda would be bringing the world of Fallout 4 to VR. Prayers were answered. VR enthusiasts around the world rejoiced! This would be the game that would single-handedly save this young and wobbly industry.
Well over a year later, on December 11th, the game would finally arrive on Steam. Unfortunately, this wasn't the glorious arrival we all wanted it to be. It seemed as though VR's savior had not only failed to single-handedly save the entire VR industry, but it appeared as though it could usher in an even greater level of malaise and apathy. The game was plagued with numerous issues and bugs in those first few weeks. Critics and pundits around the industry were calling the game a major letdown. HTC Vive owners were complaining about blurry visuals. Oculus Rift owners, were complaining that the game was barely playable with Touch controllers. (To be fair the game was never announced to have Oculus Rift support) Basically, it seemed that everything that could possibly go wrong with the release of this massively important game, had gone wrong.
However, there also existed a small number of players that were able to play the game without issue. Initially a small minority, their calls for patience fell on mostly deaf ears. Instead, the internet was all too happy to launch into a tizzy about another bug-riddled mess, courtesy of Bethesda Game Studios. The story writes itself. It's practically a meme at this point.
Still, word began to spread, that once you got the game running properly, there was something truly magical underneath all the problems. Something beautiful. Players started experimenting with ini file adjustments. Reddit posts began to appear with ideal settings that you could copy and paste. Guides started showing up on YouTube. HTC Vive owners were starting to dial in their experience via the ini. adjustments. Oculus Rift players did the same, along with using OpenVR InputEmulator to fix the busted Touch controls. Things started to really come together. The entire PC VR gaming community rallied around this idea of helping everybody experience the best that Fallout 4 VR has to offer.
Now that we're almost into mid January, the monologue about Fallout 4 VR has shifted. Instead of hearing mostly complaints, we hear mostly praise and admiration for this incredible game. The truth of the matter is, once you can finally play the game the way it was meant to be played, then you can see it's nearly unlimited brilliance. In fact, I'd have to say that this game has been given an entirely new lease on life with this VR retrofit. It's almost as if Bethesda Game Studios philosophy of game making and Virtual Reality are a perfect fit. Gee... who would have thunk it? Could it be possible that a go anywhere, and do almost anything type game would be a perfect marriage with the VR medium? Skyrim VR's success on PlayStation VR has shown this to be true. Fallout 4 VR on the PC VR platforms will continue this momentum.
There's just something incredibly special about being able to head off in a random direction, wandering the wasteland in search of whatever adventure or action may find you. In fact, straying off the beaten path, might actually be the best way to enjoy this game. It's almost like LARP-ing (live-action role-playing). You can take on whatever role you wish, as you randomly explore this inviting but dangerous canvas that Bethesda has crafted. You will meet all manner of individuals out in the wastes. Some of which, would love nothing more than to separate your head from your torso. It's a dangerous, violent world out there, but the good news is that you have plenty of firepower at your disposal. In fact, there are so many different ways to approach a situation, that the game can take on a life of it's own at times. You can choose to take the stealth path for example. Slowly creeping along, you infiltrate the enemy stronghold, taking out each enemy like a silent assassin. Staying hidden, and using weapons that don't alert other bandits nearby. Or maybe, you want to go in guns blazing, with your sawed-off shotgun.
The enemy encounters in Fallout 4 VR are definitely one of the highlights of the game. I've been playing VR games since April 2016, and this is one of the first times I've encountered enemies that not only have a decent level of intelligence, but also genuine personality. These enemies will shout obscenities and insults as they attempt to surround you from all sides and rain gunfire down upon you. I experienced all of this when playing the flat version of Fallout 4 back when it first arrived on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. However, this is different. The feel of having your boots on the ground, with the world of Fallout 4 literally surrounding you in every possible direction, takes the experience up several notches.
You can get lost in this game. This is the kind of game that can end relationships. I honestly believe that this type of game is exactly what VR gaming has desperately needed. Going forward, we just need to keep making this type of game. Keep making it look better, sound better and play better. The scary thing is, that's exactly what's going to happen. Bethesda Game Studios seems to have a patent on this genre, but I don't think it's going to be too long before another talented studio comes along with it's own unique spin on the concept. Go anywhere, do anything type games and Virtual Reality are an absolute marriage made in heaven. This is only the beginning. Five years from now, I can only imagine how much better everything will look... and play. It's going to be absolutely glorious!