One of the most anticipated games of the year, Fallout 4, released this week, and many happy gamers have already spent hours traversing the world of post-apocalyptic Boston.
However, one thing gamers noticed quickly, especially in those first few hours of gameplay, is that the game is hard: much harder than other open-world titles that released this year, including The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Dragon Age: Inquisition.
However, hard games aren't necessarily a bad thing, and anyone already familiar with the Fallout franchise understands that Bethesda knows what it's doing when it creates a game that's difficult right off the bat.
Here are just some of the difficulties gamers will face off against in the Wasteland.
Most modern games spend their first few hours leading the player through a tutorial phase, where players get a chance to try out skills and learn their way around the controls. Many games even include areas set up to test abilities and skills, giving players a safe place to work without the fear of dying, should they fail.
Fallout 4 completely ignores this. There are no tutorials or any explanations on how to play the game. Shortly after you take control of the character, you're immediately pitted against radroaches that can kill you in an instant. Players familiar with other Fallout games already know to pick up a tool early on to bludgeon the bugs to death, but for those new to the series, the only way of learning is the hard way.
Of course, Fallout 4 does offer tips, and sometimes, even lets players know what buttons do what, but other than that, you are on your own. This means that instead of a tutorial, gameplay itself (or what's considered the real world in the game) is all the experience you'll get. So, you better learn fast.
Death comes quickly in the wasteland. Here's the thing: you will die, and you will die often. Even if you turn the gameplay setting down to "Very Easy," death will claim you. That's because the game doesn't hold back on encounters with things that will kill you, even at the very beginning. This is a game about surviving, so with death imminent around every corner, players must stay on their toes and learn to do what it takes to get to the next encounter.
All this death might frustrate gamers, even to the point that they're cursing Bethesda for ever creating the world of Fallout. However, that death is there to force you to take a step back and look at how you're approaching things in the game and forcing you to strategize better — because this is what life is really like out in the wasteland: it's do or die. In the world of Fallout, sometimes, it's just die.
Insanely powerful enemies and difficult missions
Without giving away any spoilers, one of your first few missions has you fighting raiders. Fortunately, they're fairly easy to kill. However, it's the thing that comes out from underneath the ground after you take on the raiders that you have to worry about: a deathclaw. Anyone familiar with previous franchises of Fallout knows that it's best to run from these creatures, but part of the mission here is defeating the thing.
Good luck with that. To reiterate, you will die — and you will die often. Eventually, you'll figure out a strategy and a way to use your weapons to kill the thing. However, you'll still want to cry afterward. At least you get power armor for the battle, and it's most definitely needed here.
It's okay, though, because, again, remember — life in this world is harsh — and that deathclaw reminds you of that early on.
Other early missions involve jumping into a radioactive lake of water and taking on raiders who have machine guns. These get assigned within the first few hours of gameplay.
So, do you have what it takes to survive Fallout 4? With a little patience, a lot of skill and an immense amount of luck (and yes, you can invest in luck through the perks system), you'll survive to live another day.
Fallout 4 is available now on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.