Fallout 2 isn’t a bad game, in fact, none of the main games in this franchise are. It’s got what you’d expect from the previous game: black humor, non linear gameplay, a nicely sized world with plenty to do. But at the end of it all, the sequel doesn’t do much to elevate so much as it does just stand in the same vicinity as the game that came before it.
Don’t get us wrong, the gameplay here is still pretty fun and works just as well as it did before. The turn based combat works perfectly fine, even if enemies will ignore your AI buddies in favor of dogpiling on you and only you just for the hell of it. The writing is still as solid as the first one, though the plot of this one is basically a retread of the original Fallout. Hell, even the interface is basically the same, warts and all. Sadly, the game just never entirely takes off entirely like it should; it feels more of an expansion pack than New Vegas did, and the bugs and lock ups can take you out of the engrossing world. It’s not a bad game to play, but the issues may be more toxic than the radiation.
In the late 90s, RPGs were getting overshadowed by multiplayer shooters. As a spiritual successor to 1987’s Wasteland, the original Fallout had people hungry for another post-apocalyptic RPG, and it certainly succeeded in that regard.
Instead of going through dungeon #582, the post apocalyptic environment is a nice change of pace. While it’s a shame that you can’t go into first person to have a real idea of how large this world is, everything properly conveys just how ruined the world is. There’s junk everywhere, everyone looks like they stepped out of Road Warrior, and there’s two-headed cows! The blending of post apocalyptic tropes and clothing with 1950s Americana is jarring at first, but one that quickly works in the game’s favor through the black humor, though it sometimes gets to be a bit much.
Unfortunately, there’s also a number of issues plaguing the game. While combat can be tactical and rewarding, especially when you stop an enemy before they come to rip your face off, your AI allies are so stupid that they’re an enemy even outside of fighting. You also have to steal from them or barter to get something you want from them, making you wonder why you bring the dopey ingrates with you in the first place. You sadly can’t go into first person to have a real idea of how large this world is, and the story is incredibly basic and near forgettable. It’s a great RPG for its time, with an emphasis on “for its time.”
Nobody was expecting the release of Fallout Shelter during E3 last year. Heck, no one was expecting it, period; everyone was so focused on the news of a new proper entry into the series that it was amazing that Bethesda it a stealth release. It was so perfectly timed that it made you ignore the chances of it not being fun because it was just a Fallout mobile game.
True enough, that’s more or less what we get here, and it is actually pretty fun. It definitely looks like Fallout and feels like a mostly natural extension. You certainly feel like the Overseer as you set up different rooms and set up Vault Dwellers to create little Vault Dwellers or keep them alive. It also is weirdly hilarious to watch them get attacked by radroaches. That never gets old.
But while it very fun (and funny), the game is also in desperate need of an end goal in sight. It’s too easy to feel like you’re really just going through a daily checklist that doesn’t waver and goes on and on and on. In addition, some folks are going to be sour on the microtransactions. While you can get resources and items the good ol’ fashioned way, it may have you feeling uncomfortable sinking realistic cash into it.
The first new numbered entry in the series since 1998 may have rubbed diehard fans the wrong way for being essentially “Elder Scrolls with guns.” That’s a fair complaint, but even with that in mind, Fallout 3 really is a dang tremendous game.
Just about everything about it works: the combat is awesome, the VATS system is ridiculously entertaining and awesome; watching a guy’s head explode into chunks in slow-mo never gets old. Exploring the Capital Wasteland is fun just in and of itself with how big it is and the feeling that you and your character share in exploring this completely foreign world. Whether it’s the random enemies lurking around or meeting new people that’ll give you quests or sell you stuff, the world is just damn fun. And that’s not even getting into the Karma system that lets you choose between being something good, something bad, or a little bit of both with the people you come across during your adventures. Megaton, man.
Slightly less fun, however, is the plot. It starts off pretty well with you growing up with your dad and being forced to leave your home out into the Wasteland to find him. But the ideas surrounding it and what dear old dad was up to with Project Purity don’t entirely hold up to the writing, and it can sometimes feel like there’s a carrot being dangled in front of you that someone’s chosen to yank away juuuuuust when you’re about to grab it. Combined with the glitches that characters can sometimes have that range from funny to really annoying (I swear one guy’s head moved to the right while his body stood in front of me), and the tale spun by the Bethesda writers doesn’t entirely gain the steam that it wants to. Still, for just the gameplay and decisions the game throws at you, and the five consistently entertaining expansions that followed, Fallout 3’s problems are overshadowed by what works, and what works is well worth stepping out of the Vault for.
Waiting for Fallout 4 for seven years was a torturous experience, even if part of that time was spent with some great DLC. But still, we were crying out for a proper entry into the series on our new consoles, and Bethesda certainly gave us one with this.
Much like the previous two games, there’s a lot of reason to get distracted by the main plot. Whether it’s the various side quests, the charming and lovable companions (Valentine FTW), or the settlement mechanic, the game is definitely worth its $60 price point. As the Sole Survivor of Vault 111, the idea of finding your lost child is going to be an afterthought as you try to make a life for yourself in the destroyed city of Boston. The world feels just as, if not more, lived in the previous games did, and it’s once again perfectly easy and acceptable to lose yourself in this atmospheric world.
There are some dull spots; the requisite Bethesda technical issues pop up, and the visuals aren’t always anything to write home about. While the visuals can be a sticking point for some, some of the bugs just make things more entertaining, and even the ones that aren’t can’t slow down the game’s great momentum. Much like war, awesome never changes, and Fallout 4 is certainly really damn awesome.
Some people didn’t drink the Kool-Aid that Fallout 3 was providing back in 2008, but they really took to New Vegas when it came out a few years later. It’s easy to look at New Vegas as another expansion to go along with the other five for 3, but it’s more than that. If you’re someone who was turned off by Bethesda’s departure from what the series is typically known for, New Vegas is more your jam.
Instead of playing as a Vault Dweller making their way into the real world for the first time, New Vegas puts you in the shoes of a Courier delivering a package from the Mojave Desert to the titular town…right before they get robbed for the package, shot in the face and left for dead. Ouch. You’re brought back to life, and from that point on, it’s a fairly straightforward and well written quest for revenge that becomes something bigger along the way. The characters are all charming and funny, and the story does a good job of taking you in to this world, even if the character animations and glitches do their best to take you out of it.
The addition of a hardcore mode that has healing occur gradually over time instead of instantly and requires the player to eat, sleep, and drink to keep living isn’t the only one. The series’ reputation system that was absent from the previous game returns here, providing incentive to choose which factions to stay happy with and go through multiple runs to have different choices that’ll affect the world. Hardcore is fun to play if you can hack it, and even if you’re content with prepping by playing through on the other difficulties, you’re sure to have a fun time wandering through the Strip by yourself or with your Companions. Plus, you can stab Caesar, and that can never get old.
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