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Fallout 4

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Fallout 4 Game Poster Image
Gory nuclear apocalypse adventure full of mature concepts.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 67 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 122 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Provides commentary both subtle, overt on topics ranging from rampant consumerism, potential dangers of rapid technological evolution to fanaticism, corporate corruption. Also contains strong themes exploring family, friendship, military duty. Glamorizes sci-fi warfare.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Your customizable (gender, appearance) protagonist can be selfless, heroic, greedy, murderous, or some other mix of traits, according to decisions made in dialogue, actions taken. Other characters in the wasteland run the gamut from stoic, duty-bound to selfish, evil.

Ease of Play

Little outright instruction means players need to experiment to figure out how things like the VATS targeting system, crafting, character upgrades work. Franchise fans won't have much trouble acclimating, but series newbies could be in for a hard slog, at least at the start.


Exceptionally graphic first-, third-person combat involving guns, explosives, swords, other weapons. Heads, limbs are frequently lopped, blown off in slow motion amid gory sprays of crimson. Mangled bodies, body parts remain where they fall, often in grotesque positions.


Male, female characters appear in underwear. Players can try to "romance" nonplayer characters in dialogue, but without explicit results.


Occasional but very strong language, including "f--k," "s--t."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters use drug syringes, pills, can drink various kinds of alcohol to receive short-term effects both beneficial, detrimental. The protagonist can become addicted to substances, forcing him or her to seek treatment or suffer health consequences. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Fallout 4 is an exceptionally violent role-playing game set in a postapocalyptic future with first- and third-person combat involving guns, swords, grenades, and even miniature nuclear explosives. Time frequently slows to show bodies blown to bloody, gory bits that remain where they fall rather than disappearing. The player's character is on a righteous quest to find his or her lost son, but how she or he acts along the way is up to the player. She or he can be a selfless hero to the people of the wasteland or a murderous thief working only for self-gain. The adult-oriented story contains strong language and is designed to make mature players consider challenging concepts, including the societal, political, and technological consequences of an alternate history and future in which America fully embraced the power of the atom after the Second World War.  

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycommonsensemedi... November 10, 2015


Fallout 4 is a fantastic, thoughtful game that anybody ages 13 and up will apreciate it. Its complex, and the violence is almost cartoony in a way, and not comm... Continue reading
Adult Written byVulcan1975 November 11, 2015

Great game, just not for tweens

This game includes some violence, but it is not a central focus of playing (unlike games such as Halo and Call of Duty). Any fighting is mostly against non huma... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old November 10, 2015

It's not even that bad (contentwise)

The game, Fallout 4, is the 4th MAIN game in the series about living in a nuclear apocalypse wasteland. Instead of going the dark, edgy way that Fallout New Veg... Continue reading

What's it about?

FALLOUT 4 begins moments before the bombs fall in 2077, with a young family running to a vault shelter outside Boston to escape the fiery explosions and radioactive fallout. Put into cryogenic suspension, the game's hero eventually wakes more than 200 years later to a wasteland filled with mutants, ghoulishly deformed humans, and survivors who've banded together in small pockets of semi-civilization. He (or, if the player chooses, she) embarks on a quest to discover what happened to his son, who was violently removed from his suspension chamber before him. That quest is only one part of a much broader experience set on a massive map crammed full of locations to find, people to meet, and events in which to take part. Players will loot ruins for supplies, weapons, and aid items; engage in intense combat against a mix of human raiders, feral wildlife, and mutated people; experience side stories that provide context for the world in which they find themselves; and help build settlements for beleaguered wastelanders using a robust crafting system. Players who want to take in everything can expect to spend 100 hours or more exploring the irradiated ruins of Boston and its surrounding area.

Is it any good?

This role-playing game is everything that players loved about Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas brought to current-generation consoles. Its nuclear wasteland is massive and rich with interesting places to discover and tales to enjoy. Around every bend is a factory, schoolhouse, abandoned mine, or police station loaded with loot and hiding narrative secrets worth seeking out. These memorable locations and the interesting stories they contain slowly combine to create a fascinating tapestry of Fallout 4's weirdly retro-futuristic world, making it feel like a living, breathing place full of colorful characters and complicated social and political structures. And being at the center of it all can be an exhilarating experience.

But all of this can be said about previous games in the series. Aside from an expanded crafting system that finally gives players good reason to pick up some of the random stuff littering the wasteland (you'll actually find use for the ceramic in old toilets and the plastic in disposable cutlery), a slightly modified character progression system that places more focus on the popular "perk" abilities, and the larger role given to the game's Iron Man-like power armor, Fallout 4 is very similar to its predecessors. It doesn't even look all that much better, despite the leap to a new generation of console hardware. Long story short, Fallout 4 will be a delight for anyone simply looking for more of what they loved about the last couple of Fallout games but perhaps a smidgeon disappointing for players hoping for a game that significantly evolves the experience.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. What does it mean to become desensitized to violence in games and movies? How might it alter how you view and react to real-world violence?

  • Families can also discuss gender roles in games. Do you typically choose to play characters whose gender matches yours when given the opportunity? Why might someone choose to play a character of the opposite gender?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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