If you liked Baldur’s Gate, then you’ll like Fallout. The new setting and story set this game apart from any dungeon crawler. Hang up your swords and bows and pick up a spiked baseball bat and pistol.
Instead of killing Beholders and poisonous snakes, Fallout has the player killing radioactive scorpions while avoiding two headed cows. The story in Fallout is somewhat unique and establishes itself as a whole new game. In the 1950’s nuclear war broke out sending the Earth into a radioactive wasteland. Only a number of people survived the nuclear blast while others turned into unruly mutants. A select group of people who call themselves the Paladins try and bring order to areas where there is none. Bringing justice to simple-minded mutant enemies is harder than it sounds.
The game starts within one of the last towns called Carbon. It is here that the player gets some background about the game and receives the first missions. In order to scout out missions, you must talk to people. Luckily, Fallout lets you ask the questions that you always wanted to ask to NPCs. For example, early in the game, your character crosses paths with a hooker. After you receive a mission from her, you can ask her how much she charges for her services. If you have enough money, you can find out how good she really is. This game even throws out a healthy dose of F-bombs. Without question, the game is not for young children.
If you played Baldur’s Gate, then you know how Fallout plays. Since it uses the same engines as Baldur’s Gate, many similarities can be seen between the two games. The way you level up, the menu system, and battle system are all relatively the same. However, because of Fallout’s strange storyline, the new types of enemies and environments make for a whole new game.
Combat will have you laughing with satisfaction each time you pummel an enemy. If properly hit, enemies will explode into a volley of blood or they will go flying across the screen. This game offers many types of weapons to kill your enemies with. Instead of wielding a sword, you can equip a spiked baseball bat. Instead of using a bow, you can pick up a machine gun. Spiked gauntlets can also be equipped to punch your way through hordes of enemies. Each weapon is over the top and separates it from any dungeon crawler before it.
The game has the same graphical flare Baldur’s Gate did. Environments are detailed and new armor can be equipped onto your character, changing their outward appearance. The water effects look just as they did before, but now it has the ability to spill over the sides. Everything seems to be well detailed but the player cannot fully enjoy it because the camera does not zoom in. The camera can only be rotated with the right analog stick. Darn. Plus, it was always fun to run through Baldur’s Gate’s water puddles, but players will not want to jump into Fallout’s green murky fluid, as it’s radioactive.
The game features a similar level up system as Baldur’s Gate. After a new character level has been reached, the player can choose from a number of upgrades. Will you increase your melee weapon, your ranged attack, or the distance you can throw your grenades? Unfortunately, the game does not feature a weight system. Usually within action RPGs, a character cannot hold any more items if he reached his weight limit. While Fallout does not have this system and is more player friendly, I feel that it loses some of the strategy of the game. However, Fallout is more based around action than an RPG.
While the control setup works for this game, I would have liked a better default control setting. Naturally, movement for your character and camera are controlled with the analog sticks while the face buttons are used to attack. The D-Pad is used to duck and zoom in on the onscreen map. Unique to Fallout, the Right Trigger button is used to lock onto enemies when using a gun. I found that locking on doesn’t always work in a number of ways. Enemies cannot be locked on from the distance of the entire screen and if you do lock on, it doesn’t always hit the target. Plus, when you use the lock on feature, your character walks very slowly. Enemies will wind up successfully attacking the player because of this. I like the lock on idea, but it still needs a little work. The black and white buttons are used to scroll through your weapons in real time, but it never seems to go the weapon you want first.
Unfortunately, there is very little music in this game. Rarely a tune will play, but when it does, you have to turn up the volume on your TV because it plays so softly. Also, whenever your character attacks, he makes a grunt noise. While this noise is certainly funny the first few times you hear it, it grows to be very annoying within a short amount of time. NPCs feature voiceovers, but some are not very good. Within the starting town of Carbon, the player comes in contact with a barkeep called Armpit. This grimey character will spit up mucus after every sentence and it turns from funny to gross and annoying.
When playing through the game, certain items can be broken or busted up. Boxes and crates can all be destroyed and goodies might be found inside. However, there are many other static items that are thrown around each environment that are not interactive. When approaching an object like a couch, the player may think that he can break it apart. This is not the case. It is like the game is teasing the player because he can only break a limited number of objects.
The game can be fun when playing alone, but everyone knows that two-player co-op is the way to go. You and a friend can tackle the entire single player campaign together. Newbies to the Fallout series can even participate in the game’s helpful tutorial to learn all the controls and maneuvers. Players are given the option to play as one of three characters. There is the big human grunt who is strong but slow, a woman who is fast but weak, and a mutant that is average in everything, but can eventually regain health by standing next to radioactive material. These different characters add to the replay and variety level of the game.
To be honest, there is nothing horribly wrong with Fallout. While it is not exactly the same quality as Baldur’s Gate, players will get used to the slightly new controls and layout. I’ve killed hordes of giant rats and spiders in my day, but I got to admit that killing radioactive scorpions is nice change of pace. The environments and levels are what separate this game from the rest, but the leveling up and weight system seem to take a slight step back in evolution. Players will enjoy their time with Fallout, especially with a friend, but you will probably want to go back to Baldur’s Gate when you’re done.