Fallout 4 clings to many of the great (and not-so-great) gameplay trappings and overarching designs that made Fallout 3 such a captivating release. The wealth of identifiable content is used as the backbone of this sequel, but all in support of making the act of wandering the Commonwealth Wasteland one of the most rewarding (and time-consuming) experiences in gaming.

The main campaign offers some surprising twists and turns, but a lot of the story mirrors events from Fallout 3. The real points of interest come from how you can toy with and poke at the different factions. Player choice pops up everywhere, but it’s rarely as black and white as “save this city or nuke it.” Boston proves to be a treasure trove of unexpected discoveries, gorgeous vistas, and (most importantly) valuable loot. Even after getting hit with nukes, the world is surprisingly colorful and inviting.

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The central story plays second fiddle to picking a direction and wandering until you are forced to put the controller down. Unearthing the secrets of this dangerous land is far more enticing than making progress in the main story threads (of which there are many). Nearly every mission is enjoyable, though a good number follow the simple composition of enter an area, clear it of enemies, grab an item, head back to the mission-giver.

The flow of gameplay is balanced remarkably well, giving the player nice doses of exploration, combat, looting, and crafting at any given time. The most improved element of Fallout 4 is the gunplay. With all of its action, Fallout 4 will keep you thoroughly fully vested in journeying across the wasteland.