I’ve been playing this game on various different platforms since it’s been released way back in 2015. I first started playing on my iPad the day it was released, which was the day of the first Bethesda E3 conference. It took a few months, but I stopped playing on there as it just seemed to get a little outdated quickly. Then I started playing on my PC when it was released for the Xbox One. I did this because there were some new things added into the game like quests. This lasted a few months until it seemed like my little PC couldn’t handle the game anymore, so like before I just gave up. Then a few days before the Bethesda conference this year, a trophy list appeared for Fallout Shelter. This more than piqued my interested because it was Fallout Shelter with trophies, and the trophies seemed completely do-able and you would be rewarded with a platinum trophy. How could I pass that up? Two months later and I finally finished the game and all it has to offer, which means it’s time for a review.
In Fallout Shelter, you get to run your own vault and play the overseer. Who doesn’t want to do that? I mean especially if you’ve played the actual Fallout games before. This just sounds awesome right? You’ll get to build your own rooms in the game that will keep your vault operating, assign people to the rooms to work, dress up your vault dwellers with new outfits to help them with their skills, arm them to defend your vault from raider attacks, ghoul attacks, and deathclaw attacks, and send out your dwellers to wander the waste land or go on quests for you. There are hours upon hours of things to do as this game when from a little mobile game to something bigger. The PS4 version is basically the last version of this game and it’s the full package.
Each time before when I’ve played this game I’ve given up for different reasons. Some of them I could control and some of them I couldn’t. The reason why I played the PS4 version after going through two different versions of this game was because I really liked this game on the PC. I liked all the new stuff that was added to it and knew that the PS4 version would have the same things and it did. At first the game is fun as you build up your vault and get people to come to your vault or force people to have children who then grow up to work in your vault. The game becomes even more fun as you send people out into the waste land to explore and bring back a bunch of new weapons and armor for your vault dwellers and continues to get even more fun as you send out your dwellers on quests. This initial feeling of “wow this game is fun” lasts for about a week until you realize that there are better things that you could be doing with your time. Things that were once fun become old and boring as you do the same thing day in and day out. You would think that this could be one of those little time killer games where you have maybe half an hour to game so you hook it up and play, but it’s not. This game is meant to be played for hours on end and it means that you’ll be doing the same thing over and over again as you sit in front of your screen and watch your vault dwellers generate electricity, make food, and generate water for the vault. Sometimes you’ll go out on quests, but those soon become boring as it feels like you’re doing the same thing and exploring the same area over and over again. Before you know it, this game becomes a complete chore to play and the fun you were once having goes out the window.
I would say that playing on a mobile platform and even a PC platform are easier than on the PS4. The controls are a little iffy and take some time to get used to. Even by the end of the game, I was still a little tripped up on the controls and every now and again would press the wrong button and do something that I didn’t want to do. When you’re clicking the screen or just plain touching the screen, the game is a little easier to control. When you have to use the PS4 controller and highlight everything that you want to do and then press a button, it makes things a little more complicated. I’m not saying that this is a difficult game, it’s just that the controls are a little wonky and sometimes they get in the way of actually playing the game. This also makes the game less fun when you’re constantly aggravated that you clicked on Mr. Handy again and not the person that you wanted to level up.
Why Bethesda, Why? Yes, your games are full of glitches. Everyone knows this. Gamers poke fun of your glitches, you poke fun at your glitches, and it’s kind of become this staple in each and every game. Most of them are funny as it’s something stupid in game like getting tossed up into the air by a giant in Skyrim and dying. Hope you saved your game before you ran into that encounter. What’s not funny though when it comes to glitches are glitches that completely crash a whole system. I’m not even talking about in game. In game, Fallout Shelter runs smoothly and is basically glitch free, weird for a Bethesda game right? But when you shut off the game, that’s where the problem starts. This happened about halfway through my playtime where when I started to shut off the game, it would just crash my whole PS4. The game would shut off like it normally did and then my PS4 would just shut off as well. This is not one of those funny glitches and it’s actually something that could possibly be destructive as it not only crashed my PS4, but also my external hard drive. To this day this has not been fixed and knowing Bethesda, I doubt it ever will be. While we’re on the topic of asking, “Why Bethesda, Why?” How about the microtransactions that this game is filled with? You’re used to this coming from other games, but from a Bethesda game? I knew it was coming because like I’ve said, I played this game on multiple platforms, but just why? For me, microtransactions are just a sleazy practice from greedy game companies.
The graphics on this game are nothing to brag about as they’re just ported over from the mobile version and the PC version, but that doesn’t mean that they’re bad graphics. They just don’t stand out in a crowd. That being said, I did like that even though they were basic, they still had some detail to them and you can tell that a team of people worked really hard to craft each and every vault dweller along with the types of rooms that you could build for your vault and the areas for each quest. Was every single thing in the game original and new? No, there were of course reused designs and reused environments, but no one seems to be dwelling on that anymore, so it’s not really a big deal.
Now to my favorite part of each review, the trophies. There are a total of 35 trophies for this game. That includes a platinum trophy which is awesome because this game is completely free, unless of course you give in and purchase one of the many microtransactions for the game. Anyway, the trophies are pretty basic and are easy to get as long as you don’t mind a really long grind. Sure there are trophies that you can get when you start the game, but there are other trophies that will drive you completely mad as you have to grind for them. If you’ve played this game then you know that I’m talking about the Get Off My Lawn trophy, which requires you to fend off 50 raider attacks. As your vault grows in size so that you can get the other trophies for this game, raider attacks become less and less frequent as you’ll get attacked by more deadly things like ghouls and deathclaws. There is a trick to get the raider attacks, but you’ll still have to leave your system running for hours as the attacks are completely random and can happen at any time. There are also a few trophy glitches out there that you should be weary of if you’re going to play this game and one of them has to do with the legendary weapons and outfits. I got my trophy for collecting 20 legendary weapons and 20 legendary outfits way before I even collected them. My weapons were at 7 and my outfits were at 5 and the trophy popped. That was great for me, but I’ve seen people collect more than 20 of each weapon and outfit and still not get the trophy until they went over 20. Then there’s the trophy for crafting an outfit, a weapon, and a theme. At first this trophy didn’t pop for me and I had to wait to finish another theme and then collect them in the order that the trophy had in the description for the trophy to pop. One more trophy glitch was for collecting 10,000 caps. While I had collected 10,000 caps long before my trophy popped, it only popped when I had 10,000 caps saved up and it showed on screen. I’ve come to the conclusion that the trophies are just glitchy as hell or the descriptions for them are off. Either way, glitchy trophies are never a good thing.
You’ll find no multiplayer in this game as it’s strictly a single player game. These days I find myself looking for ways to put multiplayer in a game though. I don’t know why as I do love single player games, I just find things a little fun every now and again to switch things up and to have the option of interacting with other people. For this game, I would have loved to see one of the quests be to actually raid another person’s vault. This would have been great so that you and a friend could farm raider attacks. This would have also added a new element to the game, but I have no problem with this being a strictly single player game.
Overall I give this game a 2 out of 5.
+ This game allows you to live out your Fallout dreams and play as an overseer of your own vault! You’re the one in charge now as you tell people what do to do.
+ Simple but really well crafted graphics that work best on all platforms.
What’s Not So Great:
– This game is fun for probably the first week that you play before it becomes a tedious grind.
– There are game crashes, not while playing the game, but when you shut the game off. Maybe the game just thought that because you were done with the game, you were also done gaming all together for the day.
– Making things only worse for this game are trophy glitches. No one wants trophies to glitch especially when you are working so hard for them. What’s the point of grinding to get a trophy only for it not to pop when it’s supposed to?
– Just to top off my what’s not so great list, microtransactions. Sure, they’re completely up to you if you’re going to purchase them or not, but just having them in game is a sleazy practice and it’s one I don’t like.
Yes, this game is free and yes it’s another addition into the Fallout world as you patiently await the release of Fallout 76 but it’s just not worth it. Being the die hard Fallout fan that I am, I’m totally excited about Fallout 76 and can’t wait to play day one, I’m not a fan of this game. To be honest, it’s one of those games that I knew what I was going into and I kind of wish that I never started it on the PS4. It really wasn’t worth the two months of time that I spent on this game and it wasn’t worth all of the system crashes and the external hard drive crashes that this game caused. I feel like if you’re a die hard Fallout fan, you’ll want to play this game, and that’s fine. If you’re a borderline Fallout fan, I would suggest skipping this game unless you’re into time management games. If you insist on playing this game, just know what you’re getting into before playing this game.