Fallout (PC) Review

By Ofisil 30.09.2017 1

Review for Fallout on PC

Since the Fallout franchise fell into the hands of Bethesda, it has been given The Elder Scrolls treatment, meaning that, while it remained extremely addictive, immersive, and all around fun, it sort of lost its RPG "soul" in favour of a more sandbox-esque and FPS-friendly experience. As for the perfect example of how much the series has changed, that would be the very first trip into the war-ravaged, retro-futuristic wasteland of the 1997 original, the top-down isometric, pen-and-paper-influenced CRPG, Fallout. Is there any reason for those who haven't tried this out to do so, though? Will the change of gameplay, perspective, and all-around mood, manage to entertain, or actually alienate?

As the spiritual successor to Wasteland, Fallout's story unfolds in a post-nuclear world; the outcome of a battle that, in less than two hours, led to the destruction of every major city. Its protagonist is the 'Vault Dweller.' Born and raised in one of the many underground nuclear shelters that were created to protect(…) American citizens, this fellow must exit this safe, hi-tech abode, and find a working chip for the Vault's water purifier… and at any cost.

Unlike, for instance, Fallout 4, where it's easy to forget all about saving your kidnapped child, there's a very strong feeling of urgency here due to the existence of a time limit. This may seem stupid in an RPG, but it's handled very well. First, by not being too strict, and second, by offering days to spare for those who'll play their cards correctly. The important thing about that said limit, though, is that it sets the tone for the rest of the adventure.

Fallout wants to make you feel that you have just entered a dangerous place that doesn't give a damn about the "protagonist," and in order to do so, it has thrown lots of weight on its presentation. Apart from the far more mature writing, vulgarity, and gory fights, it oozes with an insane amount of atmosphere. Bethesda's Fallout titles could feel depressing, creepy, and unwelcoming at times, but they seem to have forgotten how all this started.

Screenshot for Fallout on PC

The heavy focus on raygun gothic, old tunes, and 'Merica the Great, led to everything having a weird, almost satirical, Grand Theft Auto-like aura. In Interplay's Fallout, though, the tiny bits of retro-futurism are mainly used in the beginning, and only in order to create an extremely strong contrast with the current situation. Sure, it has a weird (and very dark) sense of humour, but its main vibe is of a dead world that's on the verge of dying once more.

The perfect example would be music, with Bethesda overusing the golden oldies of the '50s and '60s, while this uses them once in the intro, and only to clearly show that those days are over, with the rest of the music available being an assortment of eerie, ambient tunes that make you feel uncomfortable - and while on the subject of sound, this old piece of software (along with its sequel) really has the best voice acting in the whole damn series!

Another example of how Fallout is better in terms of presentation is that, while visually this might seem below average due to its annoying recycling of character models and less than impressive graphics engine, it makes up for it with how dirty, destroyed, and… dead, everything looks - not to mention that, despite the low resolution at hand, it's all very detailed, especially when it comes to the pretty violent battles.

Screenshot for Fallout on PC

In conclusion, the world that the Vault Dweller will have to brave is a very pessimistic place; a place that will challenge you, a place that will depress you, a place that will change you. However, it's also a place that you will change, too, as your actions will have some great ramifications on the outcome. For those who don't know anything about it, this is neither Final Fantasy, nor Diablo. It's not just about playing, but role-playing.

Upon entering the irradiated wasteland, the Vault Dweller is given an immense freedom. Want to solve problems like a cowboy, be an insanely strong, durable, and stupid hunk of meat that can barely talk, an agile thief that hides in shadows and grabs what's needed, or just be able to smooth-talk your way out of trouble? Furthermore, would you rather be a beacon of hope, a cynical opportunist, or a scourge of the land who slaughters whole towns?

Really, Fallout's open-ended nature puts even Morrowind to shame, and, at the core of it all, is the character creation, which revolves around SPECIAL, the acronym for the basic stats, which in turn affect the various available skills. Additionally, a variety of Perks can be activated at later levels, something that can a make a character even more specialised. Finally, it's possible to pick up two traits at the very beginning, which are basically perks that include one big disadvantage.

Screenshot for Fallout on PC

The replay value is sky high due to the sheer amount of characters one can create. In all honesty, though, while this will grow on you, it will do so veeeeeery slowly. To put it bluntly, this is a fantastic adventure, but, oh, my dear mutated Master, such an old and flawed product! For starters, this is a world that gets easier and easier with every step, as the main character gets stronger, but the first few hours are nothing more than an - almost annoying - struggle for survival.

Sure, that's part of the charm of it all. The real problems, however, begin with the dice rolls, and how much they can make the combat suck. As an example, one can be an expert gunslinger, Luck statistic at its highest, with the best weapon on hand, and still manage to miss from two damn meters! Combine this with the insanely stupid companion AI, an atrocious UI, and tons of quest-breaking bugs, and the end result is surely bound to anger.

…And yet, for all its major problems, and while Fallout isn't the best in the series, the deeper you get into this, the more it feels like it actually is so - as long as you are here for the narrative rather than the action. Character interactions, in particular, and especially the voice-acted ones, are simply magnificent, with lots of available choices, and high-quality writing. As for the plot, while it won't take long to reach the finishing line, it's probably the best the franchise has to offer.

Screenshot for Fallout on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Fallout is great, but a weird kind of great. It has so many flaws that it's hard to believe that this was once counted as one of the greatest games ever. Note, though, that while problematic in terms of gameplay alone, it's probably the best in the series when it comes to plot, writing, non-linearity, strong emphasis on role-playing, and atmosphere. This is a title that's hard to recommend to just anybody, but those who'll manage to handle its issues will simply fall in love with it.

Developer

Interplay

Publisher

Bethesda Softworks

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

The entire master section was mind-blowing good.  I still remember it to this day.  Also I played this game as a kid,and was confused why I couldn't set the age below 16 for my character.

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