21 October 2014

Fallout 1, Fallout 2 (1997, 1998)

Game score: 95%
Platform: Steam, PC
Steam links: (Fallout 1) (Fallout 2)

War. War never changes.

The Romans waged war to gather slaves and wealth. Spain built an empire from its lust for gold and territory. Hitler shaped a battered Germany into an economic superpower.

But war never changes.

In the 21st century, war was still waged over the resources that could be acquired. Only this time, the spoils of war were also its weapons: Petroleum and Uranium. For these resources, China would invade Alaska, the US would annex Canada, and the European Commonwealth would dissolve into quarreling, bickering nation-states, bent on controlling the last remaining resources on Earth.

In 2077, the storm of world war had come again. In two brief hours, most of the planet was reduced to cinders. And from the ashes of nuclear devastation, a new civilization would struggle to arise.

A few were able to reach the relative safety of the large underground Vaults. Your family was part of that group that entered Vault Thirteen. Imprisoned safely behind the large Vault door, under a mountain of stone, a generation has lived without knowledge of the outside world. 

Life in the Vault is about to change. 


It's been a while since I reviewed any game, eh? No wonder, I was just too busy replaying the first 2 Fallout games. For 5th or 6th time, I am not sure. Why am I reviewing these two together and why now, almost 20 years since they were published? It's simple - they're super awesome, they are pretty much alike and sometimes hard to distinguish and they recently had a nice little update on Steam, making them a bit easier to play on modern computers without the need to use unofficial patches. Rejoice the (kind of) high resolution and steam cloud support! And I will do my best to keep this short, I don't want to scare you away with too much text.

Seriously, these two games deserve to be on everyone's top 10 games list of all times, especially for the role playing gamers. They kind of marked a new era of RPGs, since RPGs were a dying breed in the first half of 1990s. I remember that era very well and it's not that there were no RPGs around to play, it's just that there were no really good ones, especially if you didn't own a console such as Super Nintendo (and those were a special kind of RPGs, not for everyone's liking). So Fallout came out as a savior and started a fantastic era of wonderful games that still warm every true gamer's heart (I have to mention Baldur's Gate 1 and 2, Planescape Torment and Icewind Dale). The first Fallout game is considered to be a sequel to 1988 game called Wasteland, but it couldn't be official due to copyright. 

As you got it from the intro text, Fallout takes place in a post apocalyptic world. Your people have been sealed off in an underground vault and were unable to communicate with anyone else for decades. 84 years later, you have been picked by the Vault Overseer to save your people - a water purification chip malfunctioned and you need to find a replacement. It shouldn't be hard since there are many vaults nearby and someone should have an extra chip. Of course, things don't go as easy as expected.

Fallout 2 happens 80 years later. Your character from the first game set off a series of events that lead to... well, a lot of things. Among them was a creation of a settlement in which your new character starts his adventure to find a G.E.C.K., a device that can create fertile land out of wasteland and help your village survive and prosper. As expected, things go bad very soon.

Both games look and feel exactly the same, so there's no need to separate the technical review of either of them. They're isometric, real-time games with turn-based combat (based around action points) with all the typical RPG elements such as experience, levels, skills etc. The real super feature of Fallout games are perks! Fallout is the one that introduced such concept into video games, a concept that was later used by many. Anyway, perks are special power-ups that you can pick for your character every three levels. These power ups range from abilities such as radiation or poison resistance, bonuses to movement or fire rate, awareness of enemy's hit points etc. Perks are so much fun, they will really make you want to level up so fast just to see what you may be able to pick up next (everyone always went up for sniper that allowed you to score critical hits with almost every shot!).

Fallout games are known for their MANY easter eggs

It is possible to complete both games without seeing more than 20% of the actual world and quests in it. And not just that, depending on your intelligence, charisma or luck, encounters with people and settlements will be very different: different dialogue options, different possibilities for upgrades etc. This gives Fallout games a LOT of replayability, even though the main quests always remain the same. Also, your actions really change the world and you will be given a recap when you complete the main quest. You get to decide if you want to be a good or a bad guy, almost all the "good" quests have an evil alternative.

What else to mention and still keep it short... These games feature quite a LOT of weapons (pistols, semi machine guns, shotguns, rifles, sniper rifles, laser and plasma weapons, Gauss guns, knives, various advanced melee weapons...), hundreds and hundreds of useful and useless items, NPCs that can join and die for you. You can even join a mafia family and become a made man. Or become a boxing champion. Or even a porn star! Speaking of that, be aware that Fallout is 18+ game due to adult content (swearing, gore, drugs). In Fallout 2 you can even get a car to move around faster (really helps a lot), as well as provide a storage for all the items you would otherwise sell or drop.

It's been 17 years since Fallout was released and the game didn't grow old. The only problem, although a rather big one, is the presence of many bugs. Some were fixed during all those years, but I guess that some were too complex to be removed and they still remain. Unofficial patches released on the net can fix most, but not all. So I suggest you save a lot and often, using more than 2 save slots. This saved me quite a lot of times after I encountered a bug that would make me go crazy.

Fallout created quite a lot of followers and the sequels helped a lot. Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas are great games, but they lack the spirit of the first 2 games (yeah, I am a sentimental fool). I am trying to explain the fascination with these first 2 games... I guess it's their greatness in the time when they were released. Not many games were as complex and provided so much and still had very good graphics. If you didn't get to play them in 1997/1998 you would never understand, simple as that.

Have fun, Vault Dweller!

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