Showing posts with label Let's Talk About: Fallout. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Let's Talk About: Fallout. Show all posts

June 09, 2014

Let's Talk About Fallout: New Vegas

When Black Isle shuttled off this mortal coil, some of the members, including series creator Joshua Sawyer, created a new studio dubbed Obsidian. Their history record is a bit...spotty *cough* Alpha Protocol *cough*, but when Bethesda had them make a Fallout spinoff game, it was like a reunion long overdue. Fallout: New Vegas is, in my mind, the true sequel to the original games.

It takes place in the same area many years after the second game, and not only are the old factions back, they actually act like they are meant to act, with the Brotherhood of Steel reduced once more to a small isolationist unit of stubborn jerks, and the Followers make their triumphant return (I do love The Followers, favorite faction.). Fallout: New Vegas also improved heavily on Fallout 3's design, incorporating iron sights, restructuring the leveling system, and finally reintroducing proper Faction and Reputation systems. In my mind, New Vegas is the glorious and long overdue wedding of the old games and the new ones. The strengths of both, the weaknesses of neither. So yeah, in case I hadn't already made it super clear, this is my favorite Fallout game to date. I could fill about 10 pages with just love and praise for this game, but instead I'll just settle for going over what makes this game such a vast improvement over the third one. I'm doing this because I hear all too often that people debate over which is better, when New Vegas is so obviously superior I cannot even believe people would do such a thing.

Not a very pretty union, but still...
Fallout: New Vegas takes place in the Mojave Wasteland, where you play a common delivery man swept up in a climactic battle that will determine the entire region's fate. The Courier, as you are called in this one, has been mugged and buried alive. With the bullet effectively scrambling your brains, you are left with only one viable option: Epic Revenge Quest! So naturally you trek all the way across the world, eventually making your way to the eponymous New Vegas, all in name of getting back at the jerk who shot you in the face. Of course, when you DO finally deal with him, the game really opens up, now giving you no less than 4 different paths to walk to the endgame. It's almost silly, but the Old Western motif it evokes mixed into Fallout's world makes it deeply engrossing, especially with all the fun along the way. See, unlike FO3, we have many towns and settlements, meaning alot more people to talk to, and alot more quests to burn away life with.

I'd like to personally thank the man who wrote No-bark. Thank you.
The game also boasts a ridiculously huge arsenal of weapons, and big improvements to combat (I already mentioned the game's inclusion of Iron Sights.), not the least of which is the massive improvement to the Melee and Unarmed skills. . Now you can perform special moves after getting proficient enough in them, as well as learn special fighting techniques, and that's not even touching up on the new weapon modifications. Now combat is wildly diverse and you'll often have a hard time picking what weapons to carry with you on your journeys into the wastes, which usually entail finding even more weapons.

You can even get the Mysterious Stranger's Revolver if you know where to look.
Playing your way was always a sticking point in Fallout, and never has it been more true in New Vegas. I have played through this game about 10 times and would gladly do it again in a heartbeat, because there is always a new way to play through. Perhaps someday I will attempt the Pacifist run...Meh. No bullshit tutorial, no unavoidable battles, just pick up, make your character, and let loose. The best improvement in this aspect is Companions. Companions have always been an integral part of Fallout, but a big problem FO3 had was that A) Companions often had no backstory to learn about, and therefore felt impersonal, and B) Fawkes was OP as shit. Seriously, why would you ever use anyone else but Fawkes? Dude's got like a million health and a Gatling Laser! Companions this time around take a step in the right direction; Literally every one of them, even the dog, has a backstory that you can explore, and even a special personal quest that will unlock some special perk for them.

The Legion are still basically assholes, though.
Factions are not only properly set up, they are an integral part of the game. See, this time around you get to choose who wins. It's not the usual lone man vs evil empire setup, this time it's you, the all powerful and godlike mailman who gets to choose who wins everything. All the Factions that could win are properly presented, given pros and cons, and offer multiple playthroughs just to see how things end up when each wins. Of course, you could be a total dick and take it all for yourself, but it's nice to see that there's actual moral choice in this game, and not the usual Messiah/Monster setup. There's also alot of minor Factions, and one of the cooler things is becoming beloved by one will make another that's their enemy despise you, and the Faction that loves you will reward you with gear, while the Faction that hates you will try very hard to murder your ass. One more thing to mention is Hardcore mode, a special option that adds the need to regularly eat, sleep, and drink to live, as well as make resting in a bed or pausing to take stimpaks midfight no longer viable. It adds a layer of depth and challenge to the game, and I can't play the game regularly anymore since now it's too easy.
It's like Mass Effect! They even got a blue chick!
I suppose I'm done gushing now. Just get New Vegas if you haven't and play it. It's really freaking great, and I love it to pieces. I love it so much, and I haven't even scraped the surface of all the content that's offered within. But here we are, I've done all the Fallout games currently released. What's next? DLC's! Yep, next time on Let's Talk About, I explore the downloadable adventures of both 3 and NV. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading.

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June 05, 2014

Let's Talk About Fallout 3 (Page 2/2)

I know I've probably come off as extremely critical of Fallout 3. But I am not harsh for humour, this is what I genuinely think of the game. I understand that there was no way it would be the same as the old games, but as I said before, there's just some stuff that should go without saying. Fallout was so unique because of things like interactions being remembered and shared across locations. You can't just not include that, especially when you put great emphasis on factions in your new Fallout game. Thus, I have officially gotten to Fallout 3's plot, an unusually personal affair.

You can even decide which genitals you want!
Fallout 3 starts with you being born. This is one of more favorite introductions to a game. Fallout 3 uses the backdrop of the player character growing up in Vault 101 as a tutorial, which is a brilliant use of conveyance. It also helps that your dad in this game is voiced by LIAM NEESON. Time skips forward in several places, because while I would love a game where you just rp as a Vault Dweller, I imagine that wouldn't be the best idea of fun for most. You meet some fun characters, build your character in a nicely made interactive sequence (Or it would be, if you didn't have the option to just pick and choose.), and then shit happens. See, Vault 101 was one of those experimental Vaults brought up in Fallout 2. Nobody is allowed to enter or leave the Vault after it is sealed, and the Overseer is the supreme power. Naturally, your dad mysteriously leaving the Vault causes some "Problems"; The Overseer goes batshit crazy, kills your friend, and sends security to hunt you down. You are forced to leave the Vault in a rather cool little escape sequence. Then you re-roll your character...Way to ruin the immersion, guys. This is when you save to avoid playing this bit again, because it's only good the first time around, and chances are you will play through multiple times.

It's a beautiful wasteland...
Of course, the game sucks you right back in as you step outside for the first time. The sun blasting in your virgin eyes as the Wasteland slowly appears before you is a sight that is appropriately breathtaking the first time playing. From here, you can basically go and do whatever you want to do, though it's rather obvious the game wants you to follow a certain path, what with your very first quest being checking out the nearby town of Megaton. Despite being physically improbable, Megaton is a nice enough town and an interesting location, where you get a number of easy starting quests. Now the ultimate goal for the first half of the game is find Liam Ne- I mean your Dad. The plot is the conventional Fallout method: You go to a town, you talk to some dude, he leads you to another dude who saw your Dad, but he won't tell you where he went until you do some quest for him, rinse and repeat two more times. The good news is, like all the good Fallout games, there is plenty of interesting stuff and strong dialogue to boost this otherwise straightforward structure. The game doesn't end when you find him either, as you get some personal bonding with dear old Dad as you discover what exactly he was doing when he left.

Note: Spoilers ahead.
Dad is actually not from the Vault, and neither are you. You both came from the outside world, but your dad managed to convince the Overseer to let you both in as he was a capable doctor. Your dad was working on making a mass water purifier that would provide all of the Capital Wasteland with fresh clean water, but that sorta ended prematurely when you were born and your mom died in childbirth. He always intended to go back to the project when you grew up, and did so after learning about the GECK, which would be the last component needed for the purifier. This twist, while not particularly surprising (The hints too it are as subtle as an elephant stampede.), is still a pretty good one. Sadly, just as it looks like you are gonna finish the job, everyone's favorite group of assholes show up: The Enclave!

The Enclave: Ruining good times since 2077
Now one might pose a good question: Where the fuck did these guys come from? The answer is...Nowhere in this game. It is suggested that the Enclave had bases all over America, but if that's the case, why is this branch's agenda the exact same one as the original, when the entire reason the original had such a plan was that the Enclave found the intact vats at Mariposa; It was not the game plan from the moment the War began and ended for all branches everywhere! Where the fuck did they get their sample of the FEV virus? How did they make it in such a short amount of time. Where did they get the new Power Armor?! Why are they so united in their cause until the very last second, WHEN VICTORY IS LITERALLY WITHIN GROPING DISTANCE?! Either this is the single greatest coincidence in the history of storytelling, or Bethesda just didn't want to make a new antagonist. Great fucking job making it believable at least...

The Brotherhood of Steel: ALSO ruining good times since 2077
I haven't even gotten started on the other faction that appears for seemingly no reason: The Brotherhood of Steel. They gotta be in every single game, don't they? I guess it's because of the Power Armor, right? You need at least one faction that can provide Power Armor, because you NEED Power Armor, it is absolutely necessary. At least the Brotherhood have a logical reason for being here. Clearly this means Fallout Tactics is canon, and after expanding in Illinois, more Brotherhood decided to go check out the Capital for technological goo-gahs. The Brotherhood has gone from isolationist techno-zealots to altruistic peace keepers, losing all sense of identity, and they really are The Brotherhood of Steel in name and appearance only. So much so, in fact, that a good amount of them split and became the Outcasts, which would be cool if the game had a Faction system. But, wait a minute, I thought these guys were from the Chicago Brotherhood. You know, the group that already decided to be helpful to the community...Why would they trek all the way to DC then suddenly decide to go back to the old ways they'd abandoned long ago...Unless they AREN'T from Chicago....WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCKING FUCK.

Why does anyone like these assholes?
Borking of factions aside, the game has plenty of fun side quests to partake in, and the local radio DJ will spout off about your exploits regularly over his show, Galaxy News. The sidequests are where the game really thrives, offering up a number of really fun things to do and people to interact with, like stealing The Declaration of Independence from a robot convinced that he's Button Gwinnet (Don't ask). There's also the campaign itself, which offers some intense drama and action for those seeking it, and the story may very well suck you in with its steady and strong flow. Now of course I suppose I should mention the ending. The original ending to this game sucks; It's short, skimps alot on details, and then just sorta cuts out. It was so bad that one of the DLC, Broken Steel, was dedicated to fixing it.

Liberty Prime honestly makes the whole game worth it
So that was Fallout 3, how is it really? Well, the roleplay elements are threadbare, the difficulty is all over the place, and I could drive train sized holes through the plot, but I have to say it's enjoyable. The combat is visceral and deeply entertaining, the characters are fun and enjoyable, and the story's emphasis on family and striving for the greater good felt nice and sweet. It's definitely not better than Fallout 2, but it stands on its own as a solid game that successfully brought the series back from the brink. What do you think of 3?

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June 03, 2014

Let's Talk About Fallout 3

Brotherhood of Steel happened, it's true, and I can't change that. The game did irreparable damage to the franchise. Hell, it very nearly DESTROYED the franchise. Interplay sold Fallout to Bethesda and closed Black Isle's doors. Van Buren, the game that was meant to be Fallout 3, never saw the light of day; It was 75 percent complete if reports are to be believed. Fortunately for all of us, Bethesda wasted no time setting to work on a brand new one. And thus I present our topic of discussion this time: Fallout 3.

The first thing I'd like to mention is that the game is not really a sequel to the Fallout stories currently in progress. In fact, Fallout 3 really feels like another Fallout spin-off to me. It's in a completely new location, a lot of features from previous games are gone, and the overall package feels slightly off. Now before you start sending me a bunch of angry e-mails, I want to make one thing really clear: Fallout 3 is really good, even great. I enjoy the hell outta this game, and I'll even break it open and play it to this day, some 6 years later. And I'm not the only who thinks so. Fallout 3 completely revitalized the Fallout community, and it seemed to have the effect Brotherhood of Steel might have had if it, you know, wasn't utter shit; It brought console gamers into the Fallout world. But just because I love the game does not mean I can tear it some new holes, which I totally intend to do. So here we go.

The game swaps out the traditional isometric turn-based style with that of third-person shooting and exploration. There was exploring in the originals, to be sure, but it felt rather impersonal. all movement between locations was done by a map screen, where you controlled a little red X. Here, you see everything, and it certainly makes the world feel more real. The world itself has been painstakingly crafted to look like the world of Fallout, with very similar architecture and retro-futuristic trappings. The Capital Wasteland is a really big place, and while it's mostly desolate, there is still plenty of interesting locations to just come across and promptly explore. It's that sort of organic feeling that Bethesda is really good at cultivating, that makes you want to just wander into the wastes looking for shit. Throw in some awesome ambient tracks, and even a radio that plays retro tunes (Including The Ink Spots "Maybe", which kicked off the first game.), and you've got a very Fallout-feeling adventure that will promptly obliterate about 10 hours of your life. Problem is, there is only a handful of actual useful locations. It is highly doubtful you will ever go out to the fringes of the world looking for things because there are roughly 3 locations that provide all your basic needs and quests.

I personally believe you are a sadist if you collected all these. 
The inventory is roughly the same, though they've given it some fine tuning. Finally, you can loot corpses for every single thing they have on them, including the clothes on their backs and the pencils in their pockets. You need to do this for your main gear too, since weapons and armor now have degrading values, and must be constantly repaired and maintained. The clutter, while useless (Unless you get a very particular weapon crafted), adds to the feeling of scrounging for every last bit of stuff you can use. Or it would if the game were difficult. The game has arbitrary difficulty by making enemies that aren't tougher, but just have more health. This kind of thing drives me up a wall, and I'd like the game much less if it weren't for one simple thing: VATS. Oh yes, VATS. The Vault Assisted Targeting System emulates the aiming system from the originals, allowing you to pick out specific body parts on an enemy and shoot those in particular. It doesn't work in melee or unarmed like it used to, but you can still make incredible use of your guns against enemies who otherwise are a total pain. Deathclaws too fast for you? Break their legs! Mirelurks too tough? Shoot them in their uncovered faces! Super Mutants doing too much damage with their miniguns? Blast 'em right out of their hands! This system, combined with the game's plentiful gore, makes combat way more fun than it has the right to be.

Moving on from praise into more hate, Fallout 3 royally fucked up on one of the franchise's most prominent and important aspects: Karma and Reputation. Karma basically dictated how you would be perceived, as either a good, bad, or neutral individual. In the originals, all it did was affect how NPCs and towns initial reacted to you. In this one however, there's a bunch of crap that's dictated by Karma. Certain companions are unattainable, hit squads will hunt you down if you dip too far in either direction, and ultimately the game's ending is changed. This is fucking dumb, and I will now explain everything I hate about this. First, how do people in the Wasteland know everything you do? The only form of communication over large areas is caravans, and word of mouth isn't that reliable, not to mention there are several instances where no one could POSSIBLY know what you did (Saving Butch's mom in the Vault, for example.), but you get Karma for it anyway. Second, why the fuck are there hit squads for if you are a good guy? Like seriously, some jackass put a hit out on you for being incredibly helpful. What the hell! Lastly, Karma is far too easy to manipulate. I can literally detonate a nuclear warhead, and kill an entire town, full of innocent people, but I can just unload 40 bottles of water on some guy asking for them and ALL IS FORGIVEN. But the worst sin Fallout 3 has committed is there is no Reputation system. Factions are just sorta there, and you can never really join them. It makes it feel like there's no real stake in anything you do, since the only way to piss off NPCs is shooting them or TELLING them you are going to shoot them first, ya know, to be polite.

But on a positive note, what other game lets you nuke a town?! 
Lastly, the leveling in the game is wonky. Percentages have been replaced by solid numbers, meaning you can no longer level your skills past 100. Whatever, no big deal. But now you get a perk every level. While this sounds awesome, it's not, because initially there are barely any actual perks, just small stat increases. To make things lamer still, there are certain skills that you absolutely HAVE to level, unlike previous games where you could do pretty much whatever you wanted. Repair and Medicine are pretty much required if you want to have a good time, since Repair is necessary to maintain your gear, and Medicine...somehow magically dictates how effective drugs are...Because...They removed self healing from the game.

I'm not done yet, but we'll have to wait until next time to discuss more. Next time, I delve into Fallout 3's story, the quests, the controversial ending, and the DLC's. Do you disagree with what I think? Think I'm being too harsh? Go ahead and speak your mind, and thanks for reading!

Let's Talk About Fallout 3 - PAGE 2

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May 30, 2014

Let's Talk About Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel and The Rape of Fallout

Author's Note: All bets are off on this one. I will be swearing like a sailor. I apologize if this is not great for you, but you need to understand that I only beat this game last month; The scars are still fresh.

This is my hell.

Okay, rather than start this thing off ranting and raving, I figure some more context is in order. Let's say you were a Fallout fan, circa 2004. You have been waiting 5 years for Fallout 3. You follow the Interplay news very closely, you go on No Mutants Allowed all the time, and you even pre-ordered Fallout Tactics and played all the way through, even though you hated it for not being what they said it would be. But you can handle all that, you know 3 is coming, it's gotta be! That's when you hear about this game. I don't think you could have made this thing more unappealing if you tried: an action oriented, top down shooter that took place in Texas of all places and once again starred those shiny boring guys The Brotherhood of Steel. If that wasn't enough to get any Fallout fan typing death threats, wrap your head around this one: Console exclusive and following its own liberal interpretation of the continuity. I wish so much that I was kidding about that last bit, but I'm not. Here's the direct quote:
"However. As we have stated more than a few times now, FO:BOS is not a continuation of the PC chronology. It is inspired by, and takes place with a recognisable tangent of the Fallout Universe, but is a law unto itself. Further console games (should they come to fruition) will have to follow what we lay down with this game. Is there an answer that will appease your "Why the hell change it..."? Probably not, because when you get right down to it, we changed it because we wanted to. FO:BOS resides within a thrice-removed tangent from ourselves, with Fallout 1 and 2 nestled somewhere between. Yes facts about FO and the BOS that we could use in our defense have been listed, but since we are going to stay the course that Fo: BoS is not meant to be canon or not necessarily follow canon, then we can't site those items. Can we?"
From Left to Right: Patty (Random Blonde),
Cyrus (Black Dick), Nadia (Ginger Tits),
Cain (Ghoul with Mullet),
and Rhombus (Ruined Character)
I want to find the asshole that wrote this and shove my copy of FO:BOS down his throat. There's a lot more than just this beautiful line here, though. The now infamous "Team Chuck" that made this atrocity effectively ruined the game's reputation before they even released the game by continuously bad mouthing fans and contradicting every little thing about Fallout every step of the way. Why even make it a Fallout game if you are going to make it have its own canon intentionally? And why make it for consoles when all of Fallout's fans were PC people?  To whore out the brand, obviously! With literal whores too! Go ahead and look up the trailers for this game. Please, I'll wait. If the "Better than sex" line didn't send it home that this is just a shameless cash-in, perhaps it's time I stopped putting it off and actually talked about this....thing.

Brotherhood of Steel takes place in Texas, a place that might've been a neat location for a new Fallout game, and you select from 3 characters. Yes, you SELECT. Goodbye, custom characters! Your choices are: Black Dick, Ginger Tits, and Ghoul with Mullet, with unlockable flavors of Random Blonde and 2 Ruined Characters. Riveting. So despite having an identity handed to you in this game, everyone still calls you the Initiate, because saying names the game designed you to have is hard. It's like if you were forced to be named John Shepard in Mass Effect, but everyone still called you just Shepard, or rather just Commander. You are sent to a small town called Carbon to meet with Brotherhood agents. There is no real story to this game, honestly. It is never explained, not even in passing, why the Brotherhood sent 3 unarmed trainees to a random town only to leave before they even arrived on some insane quest involving Super Mutants. Rather than just wait for the Brotherhood or go home or...Back to their base(?), you decide to just follow them for no good reason. I should mention that this game also goes the extra mile and pisses on the memory of the old games by ruining classic characters like Harold, Rhombus, and even The Vault Dweller, despite claiming to run its own canon. Kiss the darkest part of my white ass.

Fuck the poignant ending the originals gave us. The Vault Dweller's a bad ass old dude now!
You chase the Brotherhood across Texas, through incredibly repetitive top-down shooting galleries, which pose little to no challenge, except for the times where the game expects you to platform. I should take this time to say this game has co-op, because misery loves company, and I played through with a friend. Mike, thanks for playing this abhorrent trash with me, couldn't have done it without you. It seems to take any chance it gets to spit on the brand, replacing Nuka Cola with real-life Bawls Guarana, and mutilating the art style and music with shitty grunginess. BUT IT'S OKAY, IT'S ITS OWN CANON GUYS!

Never even heard of this stuff before BOS.
Good first impression, right?
You pray for the game to be over every step of the way, and, mercifully, the game is only three acts of horror. But ooooooooh man, did they go the extra mile to make Act 3 the worst thing ever. Enemies soak damage while still being as not difficult as always, the area is filled with ass-numbing puzzles, and culminates in what might be the worst boss battle I have ever fought. I should mention real quick before I get into this that the writing is also the drizzling shits. Everyone in this thing speaks in monosyllables like the script was written by a 5 year old, and given all the sex and fart jokes in the game, I wouldn't be surprised if you told me an actual 5 year old wrote it. Anyway...Okay here goes. The final boss is a Super Mutant who inexplicably has a full head of long flowing white hair. Okay. You have to kill him three separate times before he actually kills over..Okay. Then, he transforms into a bunch of blobs that take an ungodly amount of damage, are completely stationary, and take about 20 minutes of continuous fire....I WILL FIND YOU, CHUCK CUERVAS. I WILL FIND YOU AND I WILL BEAT YOU OVER AND OVER AGAIN FOR THE SINS YOU HAVE WROUGHT....Okay. Then you do the classic outrun an explosion cliche, and credits.

Literally the worst boss EVER.
I do not exaggerate when I say I took 3 shots of vodka and drank a beer when I finished this game, just to try and forget it. What was it all for? Why would they do this? Did you know they even planned a sequel? That it was in pre production before this one was even released? This game was so horrendous it killed the Fallout franchise. It sold abysmally and a few months later Black Island was closed and the licence was sold to Bethesda Softworks. Fallout 3, 75% complete, was cut down before it could even take off. But you know what? I didn't need to play the game to know it was gonna suck. I did it to myself. I guess that's just human nature right? All I had to do was read a review, but none really exist. I could have stuck with what I knew from the trailers, that sold it like it was made for masturbation enthusiasts. I could have stuck with the developers' own words, which made such poignant claims as:
" We discussed story and setting with Black Isle ambassadors, and followed their recommendations and ideas."
Or, fuck it, I coulda stopped at the title screen, where Ron Perlman wasn't there to say how War, War never Changes...It's over. Next week we move on to greener pastures. A toast to Fallout's return, people... Feel free to leave us your comment on #VTi Facebook or Google+ post.

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May 29, 2014

Let's Talk About: Fallout Tactics - The Beginning of the End

Before I can even begin to talk about Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, I need to talk about its history. This is because the nature of this game is not easy to figure out without knowing said history, and when given the context of its conception and creation, you will probably feel a lot more merciful towards it. So, you may remember in my last article I brought up my feelings on Interplay as a company post-Fallout 2. I was not exaggerating for the sake of the joke, Interplay changed in a dramatic, awful way when the company went public to save its sorry ass from certain bankruptcy. They still wanted to make games, and so they came up with an admittedly good idea: They would keep Black Island on its development of Project Van Buren (The Fallout 3 that never was, which will be discussed later.), while at the same time they would have other development teams make spin-offs. It makes sense, in my opinion, or rather it made sense. This way they could still keep their promise to fans with a third Fallout game that could somehow trump Fallout 2, all the while keeping them entertained and their pockets lined with spin-offs taking place in the robust world the first two games created. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?!

O right, THAT could go wrong.
Turns out, self-sabotage is all you need to ruin a good idea. Enter Micro Forte, a company that ,like Interplay, inexplicably still exists. ZING! To say Micro Forte was unqualified is a bit unfair, but what is fair to say is that Interplay handled the entire situation like insane slave drivers. The head of the team in charge of Tactics would say that Interplay allowed them much less money and time than was sufficient to deliver the game they wanted to. As such, the plot and how the game fit into the canon suffered. To make matters worse, the team attempted to merge Real Time Strategy elements into the game, even though they originally planned to do Turn Based only, just like the original games. The overall package suffered for it. He would also go on to claim that the game got only FOUR DAYS to test and run QA sessions, and that he was repeatedly denied by Interplay to have more time to work. Now, normally I would not take this all as fact, or even bring it up, but this is pretty much all the information on the development of Tactics that is readily available, and when you consider what Interplay would do next....Well it just seems more plausible. What I do know for sure is that Interplay blatantly lied about the true nature of the game, claiming that the funds the game produced for Interplay would speed up Fallout 3's release. So it became the most pre-ordered game in Interplay's history...The players would only realize they'd been duped when that other spin-off reared its hideous head. With all this now in your mind, let's talk about Fallout Tactics.

The game is never this exciting, sorry to say.
Fallout Tactics takes place in the time between the first two games. Now the Brotherhood of Steel, when it was introduced, was a clan of pretty badass dudes. They all had Power Armor, Energy Weapons (Which were THE best weapons in Fallout 1, bar none.), and a lone wolf attitude. But then in Fallout 2, they are hardly even mentioned. After finally meeting one, the literal only member of the Brotherhood that you meet in Fallout 2, he explains the the Brotherhood has largely broken apart. How did this happen? Airships...Yeah. Suck it in. See, Tactics explains that after what happened with The Master, there was a split in opinions in the Brotherhood.  Some of them wanted to start recruiting outsiders to expand, while most of them wanted to stay the course. To get rid of this discord, the majority leadership sent the minority on an expedition to destroy the remains of The Master's Army. Ummm, why did the minority agree to this? The Master's Army had dissipated across the West by this point, clearly no longer a threat, yet the people that you are actively disagreeing with who want you gone tell you to haul into newly reinvented rigid airships on a wild goose chase. This raised no suspicion whatsoever? Wonderful, the game hasn't even started yet, and I already loathe it. So, they load up into their airships. Oh yeah, airships, you know those things that would never appear in another Fallout game despite being incredibly useful. Hell, the Brotherhood rides them all the way to the Midwest before they crash from a storm! AND MOST OF THEM SURVIVE SAID CRASH! Anyway, the Brotherhood members, now stuck in my own neck of the woods, Illinois, are forced to set up shop. They then decide to fuck over their superiors, like they should have before being sent on a certain one-way death trip, by recruiting locals to join them in exchange for protection from raiders. Thus, the game begins, with your character, The Warrior, securing the Midwest for the Brotherhood, wiping out anyone who disagrees, and forcing everyone else into servitude. And you are supposed to be the good guy in this game!

I found this meme appropriate for....Some reason.
Though don't be fooled into thinking there's some manner of roleplaying and choice in this hot mess, because that would be expecting too much. The game is absurdly linear, and the wonderful variety of simple things like becoming a Prizefighter or Slaver or what have you from the old games is gone. There aren't even any formal towns to visit. Gameplay is as follows: You go to a place with enemies in it, you walk along a premade path, killing all enemies along the way, you complete some stupid objective that is superficially always the same, and you get to the end. You do a certain number of those, then fight a boss. Rinse and repeat about 20 times. Sometimes, you get to drive a vehicle, and it suuuuuuuuuuuuuucks. Oh, it sucks so very much. See, as I mentioned before, the game wrestles between Real-Time and turn based. Controlling a vehicle in an isometric perspective in turn based combat is like trying to push a lawn mower sideways. It only gets worse when you add in the removal of the grid that made traversing land in Fallout 1 and 2 good and simple.

That's not to say controlling normal combat is easy; I found it much easier to just have all my guys right click one enemy, rather than try out any actual "Tactics". Only a few enemies react to being attacked at a time, when logically an entire raider camp would be on your ass the moment they heard gunfire, but the Real Time also made your teammates dumb as dirt, only attacking when they were themselves attacked, forcing you to keep Aggressive stance turned on at all times. Now I know what some of you are thinking, and yes, you could turn off Real Time whenever you wanted. The thing is Real Time was clearly intended as a big focus, and the game incidentally controls much better in Real Time. If you turn it off...You are going to have a bad time. As for actual plot, The Warrior and whatever poor expendable lugs you bring along with you on missions eventually uncover an army of hyper advanced robots; We're talking full on Star Wars-style battle tanks and mechs. As if this couldn't be silly enough, you must then find their HQ and nuke it, whereupon you meet The Calculator. The Calculator is a super computer running on a combo of human brains and computer chips. You literally get the only meaningful option in the game at this point, which is smash fancy computer, put brain in fancy computer, or put jerk's brain in computer...Insert joke about Mass Effect 3 endings here.

The game does take in height advantage and cover,
but that's as strategic as it gets.
Fallout Tactics is lame, simply put. Lame story, with lame characters, lame locations, literally no music, and a lame attempt to make one of the most boring factions relevant. Why not Fallout Tactics: NCR? Maybe there was going to be something like that. Tactics apparently already had a sequel lined up when fans demanded its destruction, and it was so. It's a shame too, since a second game could have improved on the old one, which had serious potential. This was the first Fallout game to take place outside of the Midwest, and the second one was supposed to be in Florida! Can you imagine how awesome that would be? Shooting Radioactive gators in the Nuclear Everglades? Running Jet shipments in New Miami? GHOUL DISNEYLAND?! The list goes on! I would only recommend Tactics to those with curiosity; It's not so terrible that I would say to stay away, and I suppose it has important details about the Universe to take in. Otherwise, don't bother.

That doesn't look like it should be in a Fallout game, does it?
...Now, lemme just say, this next game I will be talking about...It's gonna hurt. Part of me wants to skip it, but part of me knows it's gotta be done. You know? People need to know about this game. It's a cautionary tale, a show of how low a series can truly fall. A testament to artistic incompetence and corporate greed. Next time on Let's Talk About, we cover the worst Fallout game of them all as well as the worst disaster of a game I've ever had the misfortune of playing...Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel.

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May 28, 2014

Let's Talk About: Fallout 2

Fallout 2 is lauded as one of the best, if not THE best CRPG of all time. It literally came out a year after the first one, so that should put things in perspective. Fallout 2 was made with Fallout's engine and uses a lot of its assets, but it not only better but arguably perfect. Meanwhile, Call of Duty gets a new game every year, has a bigger budget, and an improved engine with new assets, and yet manages to never, ever improve even slightly. It just goes to show what being in a development team with no restraints and tons of passion can do. Yes, this was truly the high point in the history of Interplay, when its slogan "By Gamers for Gamers" actually meant a damn. But I'm getting ahead of myself, let's get back to the game.

Fallout 2 takes place a whole 80 years after the events of Fallout, but despite that large time gap is still very much a sequel. It's interesting to see the long-term effects of your previous incarnation's decisions, even if it's not like Mass Effect where decisions carry over from previous games. You see how villages grow to full blown towns, the Super Mutants moving on from being "Humanity's next evolutionary step" to being just one more race of rejects in the post-nuclear world, and even how the NCR got to the point that it is at in Fallout: New Vegas. Gameplay is fine-tuned, allowing more immersing interactions and reactions from NPC's, the ability to fully customize your character and your party members, and pretty much just play, however the hell you wanted...Provided you got past the extremely cruel hurdle that is the game's first act. You could even do crazy roleplaying things like getting married or becoming a Porn Star (This is the real image of the perk for being a Porn Star, by the way.)!

But story is where things kinda falls off. First off, the game has a lot of pop culture references. I mean A LOT. Like too much. Nearly every other character makes some sort of reference to something that happened that was relevant at the time, or references a famous film like 2001: A Space Odyssey. Then there's the actual plot of the thing. After The Vault Dweller got kicked to the curb in the first game, he went and founded his own community! With blackjack! And hookers!..But not really it's just a village that eventually develops a stereotypical tribal culture and worships the Vault Dweller as a prophet of sorts. You play the grandson of The Vault Dweller, and of course you are dubbed The Chosen One. From there, it's essentially the same plot as the previous game: Save your people by finding an elusive item, only to find an even greater threat that must be destroyed. Here, however, we were introduced to one of Fallout's most enduring group of evil assholes: The Enclave.

Extremely well equipped, dangerously effective, and incredibly zealous in agenda, The Enclave are a shadow government that has existed since even before the War, twisting the United States into an autocratic police state determined to outlast everyone else on the planet. Unfortunately for everyone in the wasteland, that agenda has not changed even after the United States was blown to smithereens. In my opinion, they are just the stereotypical "evil empire" that seems to act irrationally because MUHAHAHAHHAH EVIIIIIIIIL. I mean, sure, they are intimidating, with their working flyin' machines, augmented Super Mutants, and incredibly awesome custom Power Armor, but their plan to take over the Wasteland is f#$@ng dumb, even though it leads to one of the best plot twists I've ever seen in a video game.

Get it?! DICK RICHARDSON. Humour!
Let me break it down for you. The Enclave moved to a secured oil rig just before the war and are thus free of radiation. They, therefore, wish to eliminate all sentient beings that have been exposed to the stuff, even humans who are for all intent and purposes normal, declaring them impure. They created a virus that would kill them all, and leave only themselves alive. Now think about this one; The Enclave will be the only humans left...How can they hope to sustain a population with only a couple hundred people? Granted, there's no known number on how many Enclave members there truly are, but what happens when they finally take the mainland? Won't they also be irradiated and thus be rendered impure? Or will they live their whole lives in those clunky, hard-to-make power suits? What will they eat, as all the plants and animals are QUITE impure? Radiation does not just magically go away because you killed all the people who had it! None of this is ever explained! Gah!

This one Mr. Handy spouts off about 5 references to movies on a loop.
But what about that big twist, you may ask. Well, you may already know it, but it was in Fallout 2 that we learned the true nature of the Vaults; They were never meant to save anyone, but rather to run social experiments on various groups of people, with the Vaults that had no such experiments being a control. This essentially meant that the malfunctioning of the Water Chip in Fallout that started the whole series and incidentally set all these events up until now in motion was because the chip was DESIGNED TO MALFUNCTION. Mind. Blown. The best part about this twist is that you hear all of this from the freaking President, who has some very loose lips. This would also pave the way for some of the more bizarre and creepy stuff we'd see in Fallout down the road...
Fallout series are one of the most fun games in history of rpg.
So, does Fallout 2 deserve all its praise? Yes, yes it does. The story may not be as strong, but the villain is compelling. The gameplay is much stronger, the references can be really funny if you know your trivia, and not even the most recent addition of New Vegas had as much variety for the main character as this one did. The consequences, interactions, and reactions were all fine tuned to the point that the world of Fallout 2 just came alive as you played it, and let's not forget the ridiculous number of possible endings for each and every location you came across. Simply put, it's the best Fallout game ever and you really need to play it if you have not already.

Seriously, where did he get the armored suit? It's nowhere in the game!

Have a dissenting opinion? Think Fallout 2 actually sucks? Talk about it! Share what you think about Fallout 2 and hey, share some fun stories about it. Next time: Fallout Tactics!

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May 27, 2014

Let's Talk About Fallout: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game

From humble beginnings, right? The original Fallout was released on September 30th, 1997. If you were to play it today without ever doing so before, you would probably be shocked at far it came. So how did it come so far?

How did this plucky little game made 17 years ago get to being one of the most recognizable names in video games? Well, it's a long, bumpy road, and this series "Let's Talk About" will be covering all the ups and downs of your favorite saga. Let's dive right in with Fallout: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game.

Fallout: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game
The original game established pretty much everything we would know about the series going forward: The Vaults, Ghouls, Super Mutants, the Brotherhood of Steel. The story follows The Vault Dweller, a Vault dweller from Vault 13. The Water Chip that provides clean water for everyone in the Vault had crapped out, and you are the unlucky sumbitch who has to go find one. The game played in an isometric perspective, and the role-playing elements were nicely crafted. If you were to pick very low intelligence, your character could only speak in monosyllabic words.

The Master
The path itself was rather straightforward but still open-ended, and there was a very easy exploit in the game that let you do basically whatever you wanted (Gambling of 70% or higher ensure infinite money.). You could even wander out in the middle of nowhere in the desperate hope you'd find an alien spaceship! Through a series of events, in which you trek from settlement to settlement (Or you could cheat and go straight to Necropolis, you dorks know who you are.), you eventually uncover a plot to conquer the wasteland. The plot would come to be the basic plot of every Fallout game: You play a blank slate character who sets out to accomplish a simple task, but in the process discover an even greater quest. This quest being one of the best villains in RPGs: The Master.
"Play Fallout 1, it is fun role playing game."
This nightmare fuel is The Master, the creator of the Super Mutants. Those of you who played other Fallout games have only heard of this guy...This is him...Or it. Not only is he physically horrifying, the dude speaks in this freakish sort of cyborg speech. While Fallout would never get quite this twisted ever again, it would set the standard; Fallout is a mature experience. There's mutilation, extreme violence, drugs, and other risky material. Hell, you used to be allowed to kill children! I ultimately have to say that while Fallout is old, it has aged gracefully. I'd still play it today in my spare time, if I had spare time. Fallout was very fresh, the world it created was one that immediately got everyone's attention, and would effectively remain in the minds of those who played it forever...Only one question remains....

Where did he get that Armored Vault Suit?

Now it's your turn! Discuss the good and bad of Fallout, the things you remember from that mythical first in the series. Join us with your comments on this post at Facebook or Google+.

More Let's Talk About:

Fallout 1, 2 Tactics, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4