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One of the most exciting announcements at this year's E3 was Bethesda's big reveal of Fallout 4. The new Fallout is set to be the biggest and most beautiful Fallout yet, and best of all we don't have to wait too long for it.
The game launched on Steam this week, and it's the PC version you want if you're keen to see it at its absolute best. Unlike the console versions, the PC version's resolution and frame rate aren't locked, so if you have a beast of a rig you can play it at 60fps. In order to get the most out of Fallout 4’s gorgeous post-apocalyptic visuals NVIDIA recommends that you have a GeForce GTX 970 or GTX 980 Ti. Check out the full PC system requirements here.
Building your own character
Fallout 4 begins with you looking into a bathroom mirror, ready to create your character. There's very little limit to what you can do with the character creator; choose your gender, race and assorted features, and you can sculpt various facial characteristics until you're absolutely happy with your creation. Whichever of the husband and wife duo leaves the bathroom mirror first is the one you'll play as, and the game even creates a baby based on their appearances.
Owning a robot butler
If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that we've all dreamed of owning a robot butler, and in Fallout 3 your dreams can finally come true. He's called Codsworth and he's the most obliging metal servant that you could hope to own. You're likely to be disappointed when the bombs hit and you find yourself without an electric valet, but Codsworth's made of sterner stuff than you might think; 200 years later he's still working, and just waiting to fix you a lovely snack.
Seeing the end of the world
In previous Fallout games the Great War – the two-hour nuclear showdown that laid waste to most of the world – is something that happened a long time ago, but in Fallout 4 you can experience it first-hand. The prologue is set just before the Great War, and gives you a chance to look around your dream home, packed with the latest 2077 retro-50s technology, and book your place in Vault 111 just in time for it all to kick off. Interestingly, when the nukes hit you haven't made it into the vault; what's all that about? Bethesda isn't saying.
Putting on the Pip-Boy
If there's one piece of retro-futuristic tech that we all associated with Fallout, it's the Pip-Boy, that unwieldy wrist-mounted portable computer. It's back in Fallout 4 in its most advanced form yet. Not only can you use the Pip-Boy 3000 Mark IV for the important business of managing all those lovely stats, including SPECIAL (strength, perception, endurance, charisma, intelligence, agility and luck) attributes and associated perks, you can also plug in game cartridges for a quick game of Red Menace or Atomic Command.
Taking the dog for a walk
Another Fallout favorite making a comeback is your loyal canine pal, Dogmeat, a big German Shepherd who'll stick by your side, fetch items when you can't be bothered to walk to them, and happily go for the throat of anyone or anything that so much as looks at you funny. He's one of a number of AI companions who you can team up with throughout the game.
Running and gunning is all well and good, but when you want to go in for the kill then it's time to break out the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, or V.A.T.S. It's a smart targeting system that slows the action down to Bullet Time and overlays your target with an AR display showing its overall health, the percentage chance of hitting each individual body part, and the amount of damage your weapon's likely to inflict. Take your shot, and see it unfold in lovely cinematic slow-motion.
Building your own village
You can't make a game these days without incorporating some kind of crafting element, and Fallout 4 really goes for it. Its construction system allows you to get building; anything from a rickety little shack to hide out in, up to a complete village with its own electricity, running water and trading posts. Best of all you can get building quickly and easily with a set of thoroughly intuitive in-game tools.
Pimping your guns
The crafting element continues with your weaponry. Fallout 4 has over 50 basic weapons to find, with everything from handguns to energy weapons and rocket launchers, and that's where the fun only just begins. On top of that there are over 700 customizations that you can apply, which means that it's easy to create your very own unique weapon that’s personalized to match your own destructive tastes.
Customizing your armor
Let's not forget about Fallout’s iconic Power Armor. Like pretty much everything else in the game , you can go to work on it and fine-tune it until it's just how you like it. Whether you want something light that won't slow you down, or the full-on walking tank experience, Fallout 4 has you covered. You can even incorporate a jet pack into your Power Armor and take to the skies.
Visiting beautiful Boston
This time around the action takes place around Boston, Massachusetts. Even 200 years after getting hit by a thermonuclear device, there are still parts of the city that recognizable, with visible landmarks including the Paul Revere Monument, the USS Constitution and the Massachusetts State House. Beyond Boston there's much more to see; Fallout 4 boasts an enormous open-world including mountains, blasted wasteland and the thoroughly irradiated ground zero area. For the first time in the series, it also has a dynamic weather system to give the world an extra level of realism.
Fallout 4 is now available to download on PC via Steam.