About a month ago I started playing Fallout 4. Incredibly late to the party, I know, but better late than never.
After the interesting intro sequence I set out into the wasteland to explore.
The first thing I noticed was that the shooting was better than before. Not great, but better. For sure it was preferable to Fallout 3 where the guns felt like they were shooting magic spells rather than bullets.
I also noticed that the game was hard. Thinking back, this was my own fault. After pursuing the main quest for a short time I decided to head as far North as I could on the map, and discovered the Nakano residence, the gateway to Far Harbour DLC which I then embarked upon, not realising that this content was meant for far more powerful players. Players who had completed the main quest. After arriving and speaking to the locals, I headed out into the mysterious fog and was promptly killed by a giant hermit crab that lived inside a van.
I dejectedly left Far Harbour and headed back to the Commonwealth, but that wasn’t much better. Enemies were soaking up all my bullets and I was running out of health restoring stim packs.
I was close to giving up. I just couldn’t keep up with this world. Then I heard a radio message asking for help from Trinity Tower. It was close by do I decided I would take a look. At the base of the tower I found him, the creature that would change my relationship with Fallout 4 forever: A Legendary Super Mutant.
He was tough to take down and I had to use almost all the ammo I had from every gun I owned, and then hit him a few times with a pool cue, but when he finally took his last breath, I was awarded with a gun, a pipe pistol.
That’s not such a big deal. These guns are plenty in the Commonwealth, mostly used by Raiders and Super Mutants.
Unbeknownst to me Fallout 4 contains randomly generated loot, items that you can find that grant unique perks. These could be anything; increased damage, increased movement speed or even a gun that you don’t need to reload.
My new gun was better than all of these however. Through some cosmic, nuclear miracle, it could slow down time. Every time I took aim down the sights, the world would slow for a number of seconds and allow me to pick off my foes with Max Payne-esque precision.
The same world that was once causing me to grit my teeth in frustration was now my playground. I would peek out a door and take shots at enemies as they slowly turned towards me. I’d jump off buildings and pick my targets off in slow motion like some sort of demented Rambo. Bliss.
However, as time went by and my enemies began to get more powerful, my gun was doing less and less damage. On top of that my finger was starting to hurt due to all the clicking.
That’s when I discovered weapon mods. With all the scrap I collected on my travels through the wasteland, I could modify my weapons, increase their damage and accuracy and even change the type of ammo they used. After scavenging around the Commonwealth for the most precious of all resources (glue) I assembled my ultimate weapon. The Matrix Rifle.
Fully automated with a 48 ammo capacity, coupled with green dot sight, my pipe pistol was now a pipe rifle. A killing machine. A killing machine that ate ammo like your mum eats cookies.
So I set off to make money. I needed cash to buy ammo. This gun was going to be my only mistress and she was expensive. After cleaning out every vender in the Commonwealth and selling everything I owned, I had enough ammo for my rifle that I wouldn’t need to worry about running out anytime soon.
I used the Matrix Rifle for the rest of the game. Using perks to increase my automated rifle damage whenever possible. It was heaven.
Some hours later the game required me to use a weapon provided to me as part a quest, a silver Tommy gun. Playing the game with this gun just didn’t feel right to me. It was a disappointment every time I aimed down the sight and the world didn’t slow down for me. I had been spoilt by the Matrix Rifle.
That’s when it hit me. Fallout 4 is unique. That one random drop from that one random enemy changed the way I experienced and played the game to a massive degree. I must have spent at least 5 hours collecting material and ammo to upgrade and maintain my gun.
If I hadn’t of picked up that gun, what would have happened? Would I have given up playing? Would I have found a different gun to satisfy my needs? I’ll never know. My Fallout 4 experience was unique, as I’m sure yours was. Only a select few single player games can create stories like the Matrix Rifle.
However, the Matrix Rifle was so good I had trouble playing without it. So I suggest that in their next Fallout game Bethesda include bullet time as standard, maybe make it use action points while in use so it’s not too overpowered.
Whatever happens in the next game, I’m just glad that I killed that Super Mutant when I did, and was able to change from the Wasteland wimp that I was, to the Wasteland warrior I am today.