When Nuka-World was announced for Fallout 4, I was simultaneously thrilled as well as stricken by a sense of deja-vu. The thrill came from the prospect of exploring an even campier and goofier version of Disneyworld, complete with the stories and characters that would accompany it. The deja-vu came from where this feeling came from. Then I remembered the last time I was this thrilled.
That gameplay compilation was essentially the capper to what many considered to be the strongest E3 press conference in years, and probably the peak of optimism many had for Fallout 4. In hindsight, maybe the emphasis on gunplay and explosives would serve as foreshadowing for what is to come. In any case, the trailer for Nuka World as well as the E3 trailer represents to me something missing in Fallout 4: a degree of “fun” or humor to overcome the nastiness of the wasteland.
Fallout 4, at times, is a deeply negative game. There are not many happy endings. There are few characters who are content with their lives. Nothing you do will particularly change the Boston Commonwealth. In short, is Fallout 4 a downer?
One of the things highlighted by the development team for Fallout 4 was the fact that they moved towards a brighter, happier and more varied color palette as a response to criticism about the depressing brown and green Capital Wasteland from Fallout 3. However, it feels like during the development of Fallout 4, they doubled down on the darkness of Fallout 3 without really providing an outlet for the player to appreciate the absurdity of a blown-out Boston. There is really isn’t much in the way of characters like Moira Brown, or quests like Stealing Independence to help balance out the nastiness of the wasteland they constructed.
In short, is the game's overall tone one of the main problems with it, or am I simply reading too much into it because of my disappointment with some of the design choices?