Fallout 4 released in November of 2015 to rave reviews by the likes of IGN, Gamespot, and most other major review outlets. The Creation Game Engine has been in service to Bethesda for over half a decade now last time being for the creation of The Elder Scrolls 5 Skyrim in 2011. Four years later the Engine was called into service again for the Creation of Fallout 4, and now still in service to upgrade to VR. Although Fallout 4 had many glaring issues many players gave it a solid pass because of tight gunplay making the reliance upon the VATZ subsystem for hitting targets less of an issue, settlement building allowing the creation of open world bases, and tighter inventory control by eliminating some screens while looting. Fast forward two years and Bethesda has taken a swing at converting one of its critically acclaimed games to VR.
Fallout 4 VR plays out a lot like you would frist expect. Create a character, talk to the annoying Vault Tech worker who gets shafted pretty hard, alarms, get on the pad, lower quick, BOOM. Spoiler warning by the way. The main attraction to Fallout 4 VR is well the two extra letters at the end. I have put about 4 hours into Fallout 4 VR at the time of writing this, and I can honestly say Fallout 4 VR feels like Fallout 4 but that is really it. I personally don’t feel as though playing Fallout VR is any different than playing with a controller. If anything I would in some ways say it feels worse because of the lack of VR mechanics left out of the build.
If you have had the pleasure of trying out a VR Display(The HTC Vive in my case) you will know that some of the best experiences from VR come from interacting with the world around you in the space. Opening doors, picking items up with your controllers, reloading your weapons manually, but none of that is here. Bethesda’s implementation of interacting with the world is simply remapping the keyboard and controller buttons to the HTC Vive buttons. This simple implementation maybe could be forgiven on a cheaper copy of Fallout 4 or maybe even just a $10 or $20 addon to a copy already owned however Fallout 4 VR is being sold as a standalone title of $60!
Other problem areas of Fallout 4 VR are a bit more blatant. The Graphics for Fallout 4 VR have not been updated for the Display leaving the game looking extremely grainy, and the graphics for Fallout 4 were not exactly cutting edge back in 2015 especially when put up against The Witcher 3 which had only come out a few months before Fallout 4. Blurriness has also been an issue with most players at the time of writing this however Bethesda has put out several patches to address this by allowing players to up the supersampling in the .ini files.
Directional movement has been my favorite feature in Fallout 4 VR. This setting is able to be enabled in the settings menu in-game allowing for a great amount of customization to combat players Virtual Reality sickness. I personally feel more players do not wish to let out how much VR sickness affects them because in some cases there really is no avoiding it. Micro-teleportation is also an option for movement in the fallout world. Micro Teleporting is what seems to be an industry standard at this time which allows a player to click a few feet in front of them to move. This is a great way to move if you have trouble with VR sickness but it does take away from the free movement through the wasteland in my opinion. Teleporting can also become an issue if you find yourself trying to do multiple things at once in a combat scenario.
Inventory management is a nightmare. I am not going to sugar coat this at all, everytime I needed to go into my inventory I dreaded it especially going into the settings menu. While it seemed like a cool idea to get to have the pip boy on my arm, I would only get the display to come up about 60% of the time otherwise I was looking at the pip boy with a black screen forcing me to roll my arm back and forth until it came up. The next issue was attempting to navigate the screen to the trackpads. If you have ever used a steam controller you know that the trackpad is not the same as an analog stick magnify that by the fact that unless you are looking at the in-game trackpad indicators while navigating the inventory it was very easy to move to far up or down and then end up in a different menu enterally. I could honestly do an entire article on how much I hate trying to use the Fallout 4 VR inventory system but just go with me on the fact that this system was build for a controller not VR.
Fallout 4 VR does a couple things right while also seemingly ignoring a lot of what makes VR games great. The systems for Fallout 4 to Fallout 4 VR do not feel like an adaptation. Fallout 4 VR feels like someone simply “Let’s put this in VR” instead of how it should be done. Not being able to interact with really any of the world is a big let down and the graphics can make for long play times a bit of a strain with eye fatigue setting in about an hour after I start playing. The movement is possibly some of the best I have seen at an attempt at directional movement, and I hope it only gets better from here. If you were pinning your hopes on Fallout 4 VR being the greatest thing to happen to Fallout 4 VR I think we may need to hold out for Fallout 5 VR.
I know I seem to come across extremely critical of Fallout 4 VR in this article, but I do it with the best of intentions. Fallout 4 VR is being sold at a full price title of $59.99 missing a lot of what makes VR great. Personally if this had been released at $30 or as a DLC to additional to a already purchased copy this might be a little different of an article.