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How does Fallout 4 run on PC?

One of the most highly anticipated games of the last couple of years has been Fallout 4, ever since the famous Kotaku leak of 2013. Now, the game has finally arrived, bringing us back to the wasteland, but how does the PC version hold up? I managed to get access to the game yesterday afternoon, so I’ve spent quite a few hours with the game to bring you my performance impressions.

Fallout 4 Settings Fallout 4 advanced settings
Click images to enlarge.

Fallout 4 is running on a tweaked version of the Creation Engine, which was used in Skyrim back in 2011. As a result, most of the graphical features remain familiar, though an updated lighting system has been implemented, along with some better forms of anti-aliasing. Another important thing to note is that while Skyrim was capped at 60 frames per second, Bethesda has done away with that this time around, which is great for those running high refresh rate monitors.

Unfortunately it seems that the initial launcher doesn’t support the 21:9 aspect ratio, which is important for those running ultra-wide monitors. There is some fiddling you can do in the INI file to force an ultra-wide resolution, though some in-game aspects like the HUD don’t scale properly. This may be fixed later down the line so keep an eye out.

If you have read any of my PC port pieces in the past, like the one for Arkham Knight, Mad Max or Metal Gear Solid V, you will know that I am running an Intel Core i7 5820K, 16GB of RAM and a GTX 980Ti in my personal rig. I’m not on the hardware review team, so I don’t have access to the GPUs you will find in some of our other reviews. However, if a system as high-spec as mine struggles to run a game, then we will know something has gone quite wrong with optimization.

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Now we may as well get this out of the way early, despite upgrades to the engine, Fallout 4 is not breaking any graphical boundaries. I ran the game with everything turned up as high as it would go at 2560×1440 and while the bright, colourful opening scenes were eye pleasing, that quickly goes away once we hit the wasteland.

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A lot of textures are quite muddy and lack the higher levels of detail we have grown accustomed to thanks to games like The Witcher 3. This is particularly noticeable when we come across plant life in the world, or when you take a look at character eyes or clothing.


However, while textures aren’t great, Bethesda has made some excellent changes to the environment. Areas with lots of fog look great and the new lighting system is gorgeous during the day, so there is some give and take. Modders will be quick to sort out any graphical disappointments soon anyway.

GeForce Experience

Now let’s talk a bit about performance. In preparation for this piece today, I installed Nvidia’s Game Ready driver for Fallout 4 to ensure I was getting the best ‘day one’ experience I could get. Unfortunately if there was one word I could use to describe Fallout 4’s frame rate it would be ‘varied’. In the opening scenes of the game, you start off in your character’s house pre-war. In this small area, I was mostly seeing my frame rate sit at around the 105 frames per second mark, though at times it would spike up to 130 or dip as low as 80 frames per second.

Eventually, you get out in to the wasteland, which doesn’t help matters much, with the frame rate sitting at around 90 frames per second for the most part but once again varying from the high 130’s to as low as the mid 50’s on rare occasions. I found this to be most noticeable during the day, so it appears to be something to do with the new lighting system.


Things settle down considerably during the night, with my frame rate sitting steady at around the 88 to 90 frames per second mark, with very few sudden dips or rises. Hopefully Bethesda can make a few optimization adjustments over the next few weeks to stabilize the frame rate a bit more.

Just to be clear, it’s not like the game runs poorly, my frame rates are high. Unfortunately, the consistency isn’t quite up to standard just yet, sudden massive frame rate gains and dips will have a noticeable effect on smoothness throughout the game and can hurt the overall experience.

Another thing to keep in mind is that this test is only being ran on one graphics card, so it doesn’t really paint the full picture. Your system may perform very differently. However, if you are having issues, there is a handy forum post available with a ton of tweaks and potential fixes for the game ahead of the first patch.

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There are a couple of bugs to watch out for, I haven’t encountered any graphical glitches so far but I have come across two major issues with the game. Firstly, there seems to be a problem with the terminal system, as I have found my character completely stuck multiple times after using them. I became so frustrated with this bug that I stopped using terminals throughout the world to gather additional lore and backstory.

I have also encountered a bug where the Power Armour animation gets stuck. You can see both bug instances in the two images above. I consider both of these issues to be game breaking, as I couldn’t move or save the game, forcing me to quit and reload. This has happened to me around five or six times so far and I have lost significant progress each time.


Now that all sounded a bit negative but I must say, I am really enjoying my time with Fallout 4. I’m about six hours in and I already feel invested in the story. On top of that, the new shooting mechanics are excellent, so much so that I rarely resort to the VATS system at all. Crafting is a major addition to the game, which helps you collect resources, the system is deep, so it is well worth exploring and making the most of.

If you are a fan of Bethesda-style open world RPGs, then Fallout 4 is worth playing and I am confident you will enjoy it. Just keep in mind that there are some issues right now that can hurt the overall experience.

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KitGuru Says: Fallout 4 is a fun game that has made quite a few improvements on the tried and true Bethesda formula. Performance could use some stabilizing and graphics aren’t mind-blowing, but the gameplay and story are both engaging and the world is big enough to supply you with hours upon hours of exploration. 

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  • Matti M

    Yep, absolutely. very true. the FPS area is a big variety in this game, in my experience. It’s not like in some games where its quite stable and solid within a slight variance of FPS Numbers. Here it LIKES TO BOUNCE. It bounses around. Can dip even to about 50FPS and can be as high as 135 at times. I use v sync capped at 144fps(144hz moniter)

    Happy with the performance of the game however mostly regarding FPS and so on and graphics. But there are some bugs with animations and voice acting and getting stuck terminals. mostly dodge’able

  • Kyle Simon Easter

    I had to to a bit of INI hacking to get the game to fit my resolution, 2560×1080 21:9.
    The launcher would only allow me to run 16:9 1080p (1920×1080) or 16:10 1160×1440 ??

  • Lawrance Devlin

    A .ba2 unpacker has been released, bring on the pre-creation kit mods!

  • D2ultima

    The reason you keep getting stuck is because the game is designed for 60fps, and at your post-60fps, the game’s physics run faster and things break, like the terminals and power armour.

    In essence, it’s BECAUSE you’re not locked to 60 (wasting your monitor) that you are getting those issues. Even though Bethesda said that resolution and fps weren’t limited in any way.

    Here is a video proving the tying to framerate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4EHjFkVw-s

  • Letrico

    I think that issue is actually coming from the God Rays setting. I was running 1440p with 980ti and had everything ultra + manually setting god ray to ultra. When I walk to anywhere that have light spread the FPS literally drop to 20~. Dropped the god ray to High and silky smooth since.

    I’m almost very sure it is the god ray so give it a try.

  • Matti M

    Thanks my friend, possibly fixes. I play on GTX 970 4GB GPU 1080p ULTRA HIGH Quality probably maxed out. runs great

  • srfe

    Renumber, this is a Bethesda game. The games are massive. A huge chuck of code I’m sure it would reach the moon. That being said, bugs are expected invasion huge game… and Bethesda. All things considered this game feels pretty polished, it doesn’t feel they are as many bugs as we normally get from bethesda. They have got to be the best game company on this prewar planet. They listen to what we have to say, looked at the modding community and put the best mods in this game. They gave their best honest effort and care about their craftsmanship. They have out done themselves, really. I have been playing since 5pm east 11/09/15. Thanks to a little trick I got it a day early. Hint. It is Americas tomorrow in Australia, :). Either way, I’m in love with this game. I oy gave 13 hours since I started and just got to diamond city. I spent 3 hours building up a settlement. There is 500 hours of of content if you let it. Maybe after I beat it on my first go, hard difficulty. And it is hard, I’m not on VH yet. I’m thinking of buying some vr gear and play on he survival difficultly. Hopefully good emersion mods will be out then and I’ll be playing on a different plane. But alas. I must go to work. I’m my own boss in a way. I could stay home if I so choose. But this is what being an adult is all about, working when the best game ever made comes out, Responsibility’s, not playing fallout 4. Please someone, send help. I’m trapped in an adult body.

  • BigJimbo

    What rubbish, You clearly would praise anything made by those guys with the Fallout title slapped on it. It has game breaking bugs, looks like junk for Q4 2015, and has average gameplay. Time to face reality and accept that in 7 years Beth. have done very little and frankly been incredibly lazy.

  • srfe

    Rubbish, really?. You are just one of those guys that start shit for no reason. I would not just buy any shit they make. I hwve been standing by, watching. I bet you believe I preorded it because if its by beth it must be good, bullshit. Nothing I said even hinted towards that. They some real lazy shit. Wolfestien would be an example. So much redundant copy and paste bullshit. That game was trash. And if you had comprehension you would have understood the bit where I said all things considered. That game is beyond measure. Not really, must a term
    It is massive. There is no one company or anyone that can make this bug free. They were not lazy in this game. There is do much attention to detail. I myself have ran into some common bugs. Gun disappeareding, stuck somewhere. Etc. I have no fps issues people talk about. 4790k with 980 ti. It runs smooth. Beth games are always buggy. It comes with the territory. all games are buggy. We do jot live in a perfect world. This game is amazing. And you won’t ruin it for me. Let’s remember that mgsv had a terrible game breaking bug that took weeks to patch. The game would no longer progress if you took quit with you on mission 29 and 42. People didn’t go ape shit over that. But if a beth game dies its the end. Because loading a past save and moving on is just the worst thing ever sarcasm. So back to the point they did a great job on this game. I font buy their shit because of a title. Let’s remember fallout 3 , I shutter at the thought of playing that modless. That green shit. It was void of life and atmosphere. Linier as it gets. And remember beating the game? Well if you to that was the end and you could not continue anything. That was a horrble time. So you are a guy the judges people wrong and argue these points you think about someone, that is wrong. You don’t know me. I can only imagine what bullshit you’ll reply with. I’m okay with debating about this, and if you would have done that you would of seen I agree with you. Hut you came at me in a jostle manner and billeted me for no reason, so I give the same treatment in return. Treat others like you want to be treated. I live by that quote. I’m a nice person in person. Because I want that testament in return. Good day.

  • BigJimbo

    The fact that you reply with a wall of text says it all. I think you are trying to convince yourself here buddy.

  • C.J. Sket

    Seconding Jimbo here. This game is very poorly optimized for PC. Frame rate is capped at 72 for the physics engine, very little mod support for standalone items, frame rate drops once 20+ hours of gameplay has passed, and constant bugs and technical issues every patch, its very clearly a console port.