Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Quick Take: Fallout 4 VR

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 12, 2017

Fallout 4 VR is out now. I’ve got somewhat faster Internet now, so I was able to play it the day it released, instead of the next day after an overnight download. It’s “only” about 25 gigs, which comes out sort of lightweight by today’s AAA game standards. I never played the non-VR version of Fallout 4. I was swamped by real life and in the middle of other games when it came out, so I didn’t grab it until it was deeply discounted. Shortly thereafter, before I got around to installing it (with an overnight install with said slower Internet), I heard that Fallout 4 VR was coming. So… I made the decision to wait. I would experience the whole thing for the first time in Virtual Reality.

Now, as a gamer (even a no-longer-hardcore-gamer like me), it was pretty much impossible to avoid all spoilers about the game. I was fine with that. It is a familiar enough world and system for me at this point, after four previous games–not including Fallout Tactics, which is still on my “to play” list. I knew it was more streamlined of a game system than some of my friends preferred, which disappointed me, but might be really good for VR where you really want things more streamlined. Story-wise… well, I knew it started out just prior to the apocalypse hitting. I was kinda looking forward to that look into the retro-future before the bombs fell.

My first few minutes involved watching the intro video in a black nothingness with a big movie screen where I had to step back to see it all. I have a very small play-space for my Vive, so I don’t get to do a lot of moving around. The video was good, but the black nothingness felt a bit unpolished. Then there’s the bit where you are supposed to be looking at yourself from the vantage point of a mirror. That doesn’t work well in VR, either. I imagine it’s a holdover from the original game, but it’s weird bobbing your head around inside a medicine cabinet.

After that, though, things get better. First off, there’s locomotion in VR. By default, Fallout 4 VR uses a teleport system that’s mapped conveniently into the game system. You’ll hear your own footsteps following you a bit, but you burn action points with your movement and have maximum walk / run distances. It seems to work pretty well for me. Players who do not experience Virtual Reality Sickness as easily as I do may use other locomotion systems built into game. But here’s the big win for me: I played the game for over an hour and a half with only a couple of quick breaks (‘cuz nature does call, even in VR). I never experienced any noteworthy VR sickness. Many times, I quit a VR game because I start getting “the sweats” – the first symptoms of VR sickness, and I have learned not to push it. That never happened in Fallout 4 VR. I quit because I was getting tired of standing and had other things I had to get done.

I’m still getting used to the rest of the interface, but things seemed to have been simplified enough that they work really well in VR.  Aiming weapons is pretty natural in VR (I just have to be careful not to accidentally hit a bookshelf or something in my play space). It’s a bit more challenging than aiming with the convenient mouse with target crosshairs and everything, but it feels very real. The Pip Boy works amazingly well in VR. You just raise your off-hand (you can choose your dominant hand preference in the VR options menu) and look at the Pip Boy to activate it. It enlarges as you bring it up, so you can read it clearly. From there, you just use the pad on that controller to navigate around. When done, lower your arm. Easy-peasy.

The VATS system also works really well. You press the menu button on the main controller, and everything slows down to bullet-time. You pick your target by literally aiming at it, and the numbers pop up to the side of it.  This is a little more challenging at long distances, so we’ll see how it goes with something like a sniper rifle. But if you want to use VATS, it’s pretty straightforward.

Finally, there’s the story and visuals. This is the part I wanted to experience first in VR. I’m not sorry. There’s still a world of difference between watching stuff play out on a screen–even when you are in control of it–and having it happen around you when you are in that world. Even though there are limits to the brightness, having a nuke go off in the distance when you are standing on the hilltop is at least twice as visceral as having it play out on a monitor. There are other events which I also think pack a bit more wallop when you are there in the middle of it.

It is somewhat noteworthy that people seem to all be about six feet tall in this world. I’m not used to thinking of myself as short–I’m pretty much average height. On a monitor, things look small unless scaled up a bit. In VR, however, this subtle scaling factor makes everything look a little bigger. I imagine I’ll just get used to it. My first super-mutant encounter is probably going to be pretty intimidating. More intimidating than usual, that is.

I probably experienced  less of the game than would be expected in 90 minutes, also because of VR. I guess I’m still not completely jaded. I still like to sight-see a lot. There’s so much detail to the models and setting, it’s easy to just hang out in some spot and get a closer look at things. If you are an explorer-sort like me, VR is definitely the way to go.

Bottom line… I think I’m really going to like this game. It’s too early to say for sure, but I’m guessing it will probably be my second “must have” recommendation for the Vive (the other being Star Trek: Bridge Crew).  So far, it seems they’ve done a good job of porting the game to VR, and it was probably a very good candidate to begin with. A giant open-world RPG in VR? A relatively clean interface? No VR sickness? I may be off in the post-apocalyptic world  for a while…



Filed Under: Impressions, Virtual Reality - Comments: Read the First Comment

  • McTeddy said,

    Hmm… this sounds interesting.

    I may have to check it out actually.