As I play through Fallout 4 I’m plagued by a nagging question. It’s not “where is my son?”, the question the game’s story wants you to ask (I’ve thoroughly lost the plot), instead I’m left asking myself “Is this game any good?”
And I’m not so sure it is. The gameplay is perfectly fine, though the V.A.T.S. system that makes it unique also really frustrates me when the game thinks I’m trying to aim at my ally and not the bad guy two feet away from me. The branching dialogue works, but it often teeters between superfluous and a pale imitation of Mass Effect. The world’s really cool to explore, but the World Map is a pain to parse that sometimes makes me loath to find that one quest over there. And the plot is disjointed in that wonderful way that only open-world games are.
But I’m having fun, and I often find myself looking forwards to diving in again and seeing what’s in that one abandoned building over there. Despite the game’s issues, it’s really not a slog and I’m definitely enjoying myself. Building settlements is fun, shooting bad guys is fun, leveling up and getting that one new perk that lets me do something new. Game’s fun; I’m having fun.
I think this is something I wrestle with a lot, the whole question of “is this worth playing/watching/reading?” There’s a measure of a desire to want to spend my free time on things of ~Quality~, y’know, ~Art~. But it’s also okay to do something just because it’s fun. Maybe a better framing about the way I spend my free time isn’t the question of whether something’s worth playing measured against some unknown rubric but whether or not it brings me joy. Destiny’s infinite gameplay loop may be my own personal hamster wheel, but I’m having a lot of fun doing it. I know the MCU movies aren’t the Epitome of Cinema, but I love them all the same. And yes, Fallout 4 is a little bit of a mess, but I’m having fun.
So I guess it’s good.