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After hearing the incredibly positive buzz about the new Fallout 4 game, I made sure I got my hands on it the minute it was released. Since last Tuesday, I have been spending all of my waking time playing this game.

The fifth installment in the main Fallout series takes place in Boston and the Greater Boston Area in the year 2287. The events of this game precede all of the major points in time covered by the other games and their spin-offs. You explore a large chunk of New England accompanied by various companions — using a large-field editor to build settlements. A lot of this game is customizable with most of the map and character’s design is left up to the player.

After a beautifully designed opening to catch you up to speed with the opening events of the game, you can design your character. As a lover of The Sims franchise, I was blown away by the design engine created for Fallout 4. I spent my first hour with this game constructing the faces into a male version of what I’d like to date, and then the female character as myself. The character’s faces are divided up into sections — three of which are solely for the nose. I have seen numerous screenshots of celebrity lookalikes made by new players of the game — all of which are uncanny and hilarious.

In line with the idea of the game’s demographic, it’s worth noting that this isn’t your run-of-the-mill violent shooter game. This is an adventure game, where the choices you make affect the path you’ll be taking through Fallout 4. Instead of resorting to spraying and praying with a fully automatic rifle, you can use dialogue and non-violent solutions to solve major conflicts in the game. I’m not saying that this is a preferred method — I’m just saying that this alternative is an option.

As a dog lover, this game really rubs me the right way. After reaching a certain checkpoint, you meet a German shepherd who becomes your ally immediately. It’s odd, since you wouldn’t think that a dog who had just gone through a nuclear war — presumably not socialized by any humans — would be friendly to a stranger who just happened to sprint into town. But, luckily for me, this happens to be the case. You can use the dog to sniff out goodies and assist you in combat, which is a nice feature. Your dog can get hurt, but I wouldn’t advise wasting a stimpak on it, since, as I’ve noticed, the dog’s health regenerates on its own.

As usual with the Fallout games, you must keep your eyes peeled everywhere you go — leave no room unchecked, leave no table unturned, leave no enemy body clothed. I’ve been spending a lot of my time running through rooms and opening drawers, picking up useless, heavy items such as bags of cement and broken fans, but that’s just because it’s fun and you can drop anything at anytime in the game. Unfortunately, despite my ability to pick up random objects, I lost out on a freebie perception level-up by failing to notice a small Vault Boy bobble head on a table in the first quest. I only noticed it the second time around when my partner advised his friend to pick it up — something he knew about from his own run-through. Frustrating as it is, there are more little perks to be picked up along the way, so be sure to stay alert at all times.

This game isn’t without its bugs, unfortunately. The first glitch I encountered was in the opening scene where you have to take a drink of coffee but there is no animation to accompany the slurping sound.

Everyone I have come into contact with has listened to me rave about this game. I cannot recommend it enough. It is, however, $79.99 at this point. I would suggest waiting for the inevitable Steam Christmas sale, or another means of acquisition. Another reason to wait would be for upcoming patches, which will remedy the current bugs in the game. Despite this, I will say that this game is worth every penny, and I look forward to having more exciting conversations with new players of Fallout 4.

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