What Made Fallout Great? | NowThis Nerd

War… War never changes But ‘Fallout’ sure has

From its roots in complex CRPGs, to its rebirth as a triple-A sandbox shooter, and now, with ‘Fallout 76,’ an online survival simulator, the ‘Fallout’ franchise has undergone some drastic mutations since its debut in 1997, especially after Bethesda bought the rights to bring us ‘Fallout 3’ and beyond From a sales standpoint, it’s never been more successful, but for longtime ‘Fallout’ fans like myself, the series has lost sight of some its foundations, so today, I’m going to look at three aspects that cemented ‘Fallout’ in the hearts of Vault Dwellers everywhere, and see if the new games are worthy of its legacy I’m Andrew and this is What Made Fallout Great Let’s start with the Setting ‘Fallout’ didn’t invent the post-apocalypse, its spiritual predecessor ‘Wasteland’ set the stage nearly a decade earlier, and it drew heavy inspiration from ‘Mad Max’ and an obscure ‘80s comedy called ‘Radioactive Dreams,’ you've probably never heard of it That was our first encounter with disco mutants I was sure it wouldn't be our last

but few works of media have made the ruined landscapes of a nuked out Earth feel so imposing and alive The first game is set in 2161, 84 years after the Great War between the US and China Humanity is slowly starting to pick itself out of the rubble, but for the most part, the wasteland is still pretty wild, with civilization clustered in vaults, tiny villages, and makeshift cities

It might seem like a cliche today, but in 1998, the setting was still pretty novel, and it would take the idea to some amazing new places in the sequels ‘Fallout 2,’ and later ‘New Vegas,’ aren’t post-apocalyptic They’re post-post-apocalyptic In the century since the bombs fell, rebuilding is well underway We’ve cleared away most of the debris, coalesced in tribes and nations, and formed governments in the hopes of returning the world to the way it was

It’s both an uplifting message of humanity’s endurance, and a cynical warning of making the same mistakes all over again Say it with me class: Hubris Unfortunately, the modern Fallouts don’t really touch on those themes They jumped the timeline forward another century, taking place 200 years after the apocalypse, but looking at the Capital Wasteland and the Commonwealth, it might as well have happened yesterday You’re telling me in two centuries, we still haven’t gotten our shit together to build factories, or get rid of the hundreds of corpses just lying out in the open? And also, if it's been 200 years, how are there still corpses just lying out in the open? How can there be a single scrap of food left in the wild after 200 years of scavenging, and why is it still edible? I understand that the East Coast was hit a lot harder during the war compared to the southwestern setting of the other games, but look at everything humanity’s accomplished in 200 years

200 years ago, we thought the best way to cure disease was draining all your bad blood! Even after a nuclear apocalypse, we can’t come up with a better currency than bottlecaps? Both games do an amazing job of creating an atmospheric wasteland, but they don’t push the concept further the way the classic titles did The best Fallouts aren’t about the end of the world, that already happened That was last week They’re about how we rebuild, and how our Choices shape the world to come The first ‘Fallout’ begins with a simple premise: The water purifier in the Vault you were born and raised in is broken, so you’re sent out into the wastes with a strict deadline to find a replacement part

Look, just be safe Within that framework, ‘Fallout’ gave you a vibrant world to explore, and let you create your own experience There are a ton of ways to complete each quest, from stealth and diplomacy to all-out slaughter With a high enough intelligence stat, you can own the final boss so hard he kills himself, but if you roll a Vault Dweller with low intelligence, you can only respond to NPCs with a series of caveman grunts and garbled Hulk speak Hey, you not look like ghoul

How come? Huh? Wha? Every single character in the game can be killed, even children Which has never even been possible in GTA, a game you can literally boot up and go on a mass genocidal spree through San Andreas So, just for scale, you don't normally program killable children in a videogame 'Fallout 2' expands the series’ scope even further, opening up the world and removing the strict deadline, giving you time to pursue lucrative careers in boxing and pornography, High five! Fair where your skills in the sack are determined by a ridiculously complicated stat equation

Some programmer had to write that bit of code This is where we're at as a society It’s a high water mark for player choice in games, but ‘Fallout 3’ walks it back a bit It’s still an open-world sandbox, in the tradition of 'Oblivion' and 'Skyrim,' but, like many Bethesda games, it’s as wide as an ocean and shallow as a puddle Sure, you can nuke Megaton, and eliminate the Ghouls in Tenpenny Tower, but these are mostly choices that affect your character and karma, not the story or the world

No matter what happens, your dad dies, and whether you get the good or bad ending depends mostly on choices you make in the last mission Now, I’m not saying linear or on-the-rais story is bad, ‘Fallout 3’ was an amazing game that literally brought the franchise back from the dead, but if it were up to me, I’ll take ‘New Vegas’ any day The spinoff was developed by Obsidian, home to many of the original ‘Fallout’ creators, and the game is a welcome return to the choice and freedom of the first two games As the Courier, you find yourself in a war between four factions all competing for control of the Mojave, and using a complex reputation system that returned from 'Fallout 2,' you can side with Caesar’s psychopathic legion, go all in with Mr House, or restore order with the New California Republic

And if none of those sound appealing, you can just kill everyone and take control yourself Hi there! Good to meet you! I did that one Yes Man! Yeah Oh yeah It was a big departure from ‘Fallout 3’s’ more simplified story, but ‘Fallout 4’ regressed even further

The addition of a voiced protagonist killed a lot of the game’s potential for choice Now, instead of a laundry list of responses to pick from in conversations, You’re stuck with four extremely limited options that pretty much lead to the same conclusion every time You can’t really be evil in ‘Fallout 4,’ at best you can just be kind of a dick, I should try plugging you into a toaster next Mmm, fresh toast It's nice to know that even when I'm about to have a foreign object shoved into my noggin, you find new horrible ways to laugh at my expense

and no matter how much you side with the Institute, the Minutemen, or the Brotherhood, nothing will stop you from becoming the boss of all three until the final missions lock you out It’s a big departure from ‘Fallout’s’ RPG origins but that’s nothing compared to ‘Fallout 76’ With no NPCs in the world, your choices are limited to your interactions with fellow players You can cooperate with your group as you explore the world and build settlements, or you can be a griefer and gank noobs all the livelong day

The only story is the one you make, which in a way, gives you more freedom than the tightly plotted mainline games But it’s not exactly the best vehicle for Satire The original Fallouts had a deeply cynical, satirical take on the nature of civilization after the apocalypse So bongo bongo bogno, I don't wanna leave the Congo, oh no no no noooo The cruel anarchy of the wasteland, the death and despair, was contrasted with the kitschy, 1950s Raygun Gothic aesthetic ‘Fallout’ is basically a ‘Duck and Cover’ PSA brought to its natural conclusion, What are you supposed to do when you see the flash? Duck and cover! using cutesy cartoons to put a false facade of positivity over this grim future The Cold War era’s bizarre fascination with atomic technology that could wipe out our species in an instant is laid bare once the end result of nuclear armageddon actually comes to pass Scavenging for Nuka Cola and Sugar Bombs among hordes of radioactive Ghouls, was supposed to highlight the absurdity of marketing consumer products using world-ending iconography, but now

If you’re a ‘Simpsons’ fan, you’re probably familiar with the term “Flanderization” Just follow me here Ned Flanders didn’t start out as a super-religious right winger, Knock that off, you two, it's time for church! he was just Homer’s way more successful neighbor

But as the series progressed, that small trait became the entire character, overshadowing what made him such an effective foil in the first place, and the same thing is sort of happening with ‘Fallout’ Instead of using the gee-whiz ‘50s style to make a point, It’s been reduced to window dressing, a marketing flavor to set it apart from every other post-apocalyptic game that sprung up in the original’s wake Vault Boy was once an ironic, smiling mascot for the death of humanity, now he’s shooting free throws and doing influencer streams with Rick and Morty [VOMITS] Nuclear weapons, the horrifying implements of global destruction that ruined Fallout’s world in the first place, have become Call of Duty killstreak rewards, something to troll people with online until they respawn with zero consequences You think Oppenheimer designed the nuke to troll people? I mean probably

I am become OP, destroyer of noobs! I’m not saying 'Fallout' should be serious, ‘Fallout 2’ is one of the goofiest RPGs ever, maybe one of the goofiest games ever, but it always respected the horrors of atomic power Look: War… War never changes, but maybe gaming has, and whether ‘76’ will set the world on fire is still anyone’s guess It could either be a new direction for the franchise, or, more likely, a forgettable diversion until the next ‘real’ entry comes along, one that sticks to the three pillars that made ‘Fallout’ in the first place, and returns the franchise to its RPG roots

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