Monday, December 19, 2011

Fallout 2 Finally Finito

Yes, I have finally finished plowing through the first two Fallout games! And fantastic games they are, too. They're extremely playable for being nearly 15 years old, and they really don't even look that bad, owing to the fact that they're rendered in pixel art rather than primordial polygonal 3D like a lot of games of that era. I really like how they're playable with just the mouse alone; they're simple once you get used to the interface. I would really only use the keyboard to choose dialog options and to ESC out of inventory screens and such.

In broader strokes, they play like an Elder Scrolls game, only with a narrower focus, an isometric perspective, and a turn-based combat system. Much of what else is present in the one of the two series has a direct analogue in the other. Most people reading this will probably have played Fallout 3 and/or New Vegas. I would imagine those games are even more like a combination of the two, which of course makes perfect sense given who publishes them.

I'm aware of the rich history of RPGs on the PC, so it shouldn't come as such a surprise to me that a game this full of possibilities and freedom to role-play was possible in '97 or '98 (the original and the sequel, respectively), but it does. It's probably my console gamer roots showing. Contrast these games to the biggest RPG of the day on that side of gaming, Final Fantasy VII, and... yeah. Different schools, of course. Maybe it's just that the content presented here appeals to me at this age more than replaying FFVII.

I had a blast with both Fallout and Fallout 2. Functionally, they're nearly identical, though Fallout 2 is a larger  game and features some slight refinements. I would heartily recommend playing both. Few games integrate as well into a series with what has come before as Fallout 2 does. It is set about 80-90 years after the events of the first game, the main character is a descendant of the original Vault Dweller, the regions of the Fallout world explored in both games overlap. Fallout encompassed a region of California from south of LA to south of SF, and Fallout 2 overlaps that in the south, extending north up into southern Oregon (Klamath Falls). There are several shared locations to visit in Fallout 2, where you can see what the passage of time has done to them, and people throughout the wastes refer back to the deeds of the Vault Dweller from time to time. It's very interesting, and it does a lot to reward player investment.

I'll be excited to explore more of the world in Fallout 3 and New Vegas. I have Fallout Tactics, too, though I'm not sure what to expect from that. I'll give it a go sometime after the new year. It feels good to have these two classics under my belt. They're incredible games to this day, and now I'll be able to go into the modern incarnation of the series with a trained eye.

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