Fallout Review

No, not that one. This one. The one that started it all.

Fallout was released in 1997 by Interplay. A turn-based RPG with an isometric top-down view,  and sprite graphics, Fallout has aged pretty well. I didn't play this game until 12 years after it came out, but it was still a tightly gripping story that I wanted to play again immediately after I finished it. Consistently rated one of the top PC games of all time, Fallout is well deserving. The game is cheap now, I bought it for $5 from Good Old Games. I have seen retail packs of Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics at Target for $15, and the game is also available on Steam for $10. This game is well-worth picking up.

Fallout has a retro-futuristic style that lends to its appeal. [ The fears and triumphs of the 1950s are frozen forever in the world of Fallout. Fallout clearly owes a lot to Mel Gibson too. The post-apocalyptic world you find upon exiting your Vault is modeled on Mad Max, especially Beyond Thunderdome.

The game has a style of verbal expression that strikes me as an exemplar of the RPGs and adventure games of the 90s. Very punny and full of pop-culture referenes, obscure and not. Some of the best jokes in the game are displayed as status messages after you travel from one place to another.

The gameplay is excellent. The game offers a great many options for playstyle, with a really well-done character creation system that offers endless tweaks and specializations. There is enough flexibility in the quests that you can either talk your way out of everything or just blow everything up. You have the freedom to do a great deal. You can help or harm anyone as you see fit.

There are lots of things to be discovered and explored. The game is big enough that you cannot see everything in one play through [especially before the patches that removed the in-game time limit]. The game can also be brutally hard. It is possible to get in over your head, or progress down a path only to find you cannot complete it. Lots and lots of save files are a necessity.

The story is well-plotted and involving. You are thrust into it with only a 90s era cutscene to set the stage, but I was immediately hooked. I really cared about the people and events, and I wanted to see it all end well. There are some options for the ending, but the greater part comes down to a choice to either play the role of the hero or to betray your people. This, along with the now removed time-limit unified the story and gave it pressing urgency.

This game has the whole package. Engaging story, deep gameplay, and a quirky sense of humor. You should buy it.

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