Fallout 4 VR – What was the Controversy About & Why It’s A Must Have for any Virtual Reality Fan.
The release of Fallout 4 in virtual reality was just too big for the VR world not to have controversy, but like any good controversy there are real issues and perceived ones. These perceived issues are simply old issues that people aren’t even aware have been fixed. This leaves the question what really happened with Fallout 4 VR?
1) The game released in VR with a major glitch that made it extremely blurry, and mainly unusable. This issue was entirely RESOLVED within 24 hours via a beta update from Bethesda. Essentially, the game was bugged to run at the desktop resolution, not the HTC Vive resolution. As a result, people with 1080p monitors had an extremely blurry experience. On the other hand, people with 4K monitors still had a pretty clear picture.
Since the patch was released to beta, they have updated it a few times. The patch is currently live to anyone who has the game. The issue was a bothersome, but even at its worst, Fallout 4 VR still looked better than many of the older VR games I’ve played.
(This is not the blur issue, I just wanted to show you these ghouls.)
2) The game came with less than desirable anti-aliasing settings enabled by default. At time of writing, these settings cannot be disabled in the game settings. You need to go in and change the settings manually. You can either add a line to an .ini file, or open the console using tilde (~) enter the command ‘TAA off’ to turn TAA off. To be clear, the game is still entirely playable, and comfortable with these settings enabled – but removing them does make the game clearer. I don’t have a way to show you the difference, since it’s only apparent in VR. I can’t even capture it using the display mirror that I use to make the gifs.
Hopefully Bethesda implements options to adjust features from the VR menus soon. There are already several fixes made by the community that are readily available online.
If I had to fault Bethesda for anything, it’s that they should include a robust set of options in their games at this point, considering that for every Bethesda release you eventually end up having to adjust an .ini file.
(More Ghouls! They’re terrifying in VR. Seeing their limbs rip off in real scale is incredible.)
3) The game is a port, so it’s not built for VR from the ground-up. What does this mean? To put it literally – you are playing the entirety of the flat, desktop version of Fallout 4 – in VR. In many VR shooting games, you manually remove the magazine from a weapon and then insert a new one to reload, oftentimes using both hands on the weapon to stabilize and fire it correctly.
In Fallout 4 VR, you don’t do any of this. Instead to reload, you grab the grip buttons on your main controller. The magazine flies out of the weapon, waits for a second, and flies back in. A lot of people were expecting VR-specific features akin to the reloading found in virtual reality FPS games like Pavlov or Onward.
One issue that I’ve personally noted is that the scopes don’t work in the game… Sure, stuff like red-dot sight attachments do, but not the actual scopes such as the “Night Vision Pipe Rifle” below. In the 2D version, I recall that the entire screen changed to give you a night-vision effect and zoomed in your screen slightly. The same experience in VR, is just the same dark texture from the 2D version – you can’t even look through the scope. There are mods that make the scope see-through, but right now, you’re better off removing any zoomed scopes in the game or avoiding weapons that have them. This is something I expect and hope is resolved in the future, as it does cause aiming issues with some weapons.
Here’s an example:
In combat, it’s not awful, but I highly recommend iron sights…
We’ve discussed a lot of the problems of Fallout 4 VR, but I hope I didn’t give you the impression that the game is any less for having those issues. The largest issues are fixed, some issues aren’t even really with the game, but with other hardware. What does the game get right? The short answer is its Fallout 4 in Virtual Reality. It’s exactly as awesome as that sounds. There has never been a VR game that I have been able to personally point at a distant hill and say, “I can walk all the way from the top of that hill to this far off hill on the other visible side without loading anything. Oh, and that isn’t even half the map!”
(When I heard the Super Mutant Suicider’s bomb get closer to exploding I had to run away quickly!)
Ultimately, Fallout 4 is an incredible game in 2D, and none of that is lost in it’s transition to Virtual Reality. Instead, it puts you right in the Sole Survivor’s shoes. Simple interactions in the 2D version that were little more than a distracting sob story feel very real. The first cut scene at the start of the game… (No spoilers) gave me two options. Joke about it or cry and I had trouble doing either.
Have you ever met Dogmeat in these games?
(These hounds are freaky, especially in slo-mo!)
He’s a bit larger in Virtual Reality than I expected. As soon as I got to Red Rocket for the first time with Dogmeat waiting for me, I was all smiles! The wasteland is an intimidating place on a computer screen – but it’s downright terrifying in person. Having a companion – especially one as fearless and noble as Dogmeat – really helps take that terrifying edge off…
Well, it can take the edge off. Nothing will save you from the jumpscare of a freakin’ over-leveled Radscorpion jumping out of the floor!
(Even the workshop features transfer over to VR seamlessly. While I haven’t tried it yet, some of the regular Fallout 4 mods work in VR too.)
All said and done, in full roomscale VR, Fallout 4 is beautiful. This is the must have game of 2017 for the HTC Vive. I’ll recommend plenty more as time goes on, but you cannot pass up this game (assuming you have the hardware to play it!) Fallout 4 VR is only the start – Skyrim PC VR is confirmed for 2018!
Thanks for reading! If you want to see more, you can find my Twitch stream at twitch.tv/crimsonBZD – I not only play virtual reality, but a wide variety of games. Fun and friends are more important than playing like a pro. This article is just a glimpse of what I and VR have to offer. I plan on making more virtual reality videos and articles for you to enjoy. I want to give a huge shoutout to @ChelzBZD for editing this article