We were not left in the lurch when Bethesda unrolled all the cool new features in their next iteration.
Oh my God, you guys. That was awesome, wasn't it? It was just phenomenal. I'm legit having trouble pacing myself, because even looking down on my caringly crafted notes so I could talk about everything in cohesive order, I just want to regurgitate fangirl rainbows all over my screen.
Bethesda's fourth course in the celebrated franchise is going to be Game of the Year, I'm calling it now.
Set early on in the Fallout timeline, this particular Vault Dweller emerges 200 years after the fallout as the sole survivor of Vault 111. You get to explore the Boston area with your dog companion (who they just called Dog, but come on, it's Dogmeat) in typical Fallout fashion; this time though, they've added more things to do than there were side quests alone in the last two games.
You actually start out in Pre-War times; for the first time, you get to experience first-hand what the world was actually like before they blew it up, and it looks awesome. That Golden Age-future kitsch is present everywhere, from your massive record player to your robot butler, Codsworth. A Vault-Tec employee knocks on your door to confirm your place in a local Vault, and then... well, everything goes to shit. But we all sort of knew that was happening.
You find a new-style Pipboy that seems a lot more like a smartwatch than the tried-and-true 3000 model; for starters, they actually programmed little games you can play on the thing. You know, when you're out in the lonely wasteland, death at every corner, low and ammo, thirsty and hungry - you want to throw down on a Donkey Kong clone, right? Well, yeah. I do. Don't judge.
Now, let's just dive into the new features.
Fallout 4 includes a home customization system that was a little more reminiscent of Skyrim's Hearthfire, but far, far more in depth. You build new items, furniture and additions to your home through finding stuff like, say, scrap tires and metal. You refine them and you can turn them into things. Finding random items for scrap also finally stretches into all the junk you used to find in the world, too; there's more use for toy cars and Wonderglue beyond throwing them in the junk launcher now - which, as well, is included in the game. But more on that after.
When you finish building up your home, you can also build up around it into its own settlement; you can stretch that out into its own city, where you can build trading posts for traders to come sell stuff, have people move in, and even establish Brahmin caravan routes between settlements that you've built in multiple locations. You can hook up power, hook up a terminal to your town to customize things like lights and defense systems, and, well, hook up defense systems, because your settlements will most certainly be under attack from Raiders. Those guys are jerks.
Another customization option they've also finally offered is in your arsenal. Fallout 4 will feature 50 base weapons, from a baseball bat to a plasma rifle, with 700 different modifications available. You can start out with something basic like a plasma rifle and pimp that baby out to make it either scattershot or focused, silenced or scoped; the possibilities are everywhere and I fully expect to lose my job, my family and my home just from building new weapons.
You also get your own personal set of fully customizable(!) Power Armor, but if that doesn't float your boat, Fallout 4 will finally offer a layered armor system, in case you want some of the leather add-ons to your vault suit, but not all of them.
Now what actually comes with the game if you decide to drop the $120 on the Collector's Edition? Why, I'm glad I asked.
The Collector Edition will net you, along with a very handsome case, your very own smartphone-compatible Pip Boy, modeled after the version from the game. That's right, you can actually mount your phone in there and carry a functional Pip-Boy. It was the only thing missing from that Hallowe'en costume I had a few years ago, and I'm glad I get to bust the old jumpsuit out again. Best of all, you can download an app for iOS or Android that will sync along with your game, so you can actually use your new toy while you play. What functions it'll have beyond showing you stats and inventory, I'm not sure yet, but that's still a pretty damn cool feature.
If you're gearing up for its release, just remember, you don't have long to wait - I know I'll definitely be reminding myself that every single day now until then.