Breaking Up With Fallout. Part 1

Having no hard proof whatsoever, I will still say that Fallout 4 is probably not a lifetime away from being announced. There has already been some talk of the game’s setting, and the general vibe seems to be that it’s the very next title to come from Bethesda. This feels like the right time to look back at this series’ bumpy existence and decide where we stand.

To give you an idea of what perspective we will be looking at things from, I will introduce myself by confessing that I have always loved Black Isle Studio’s ‘old’ Fallout. The first two games have long represented my all-time favorite role-playing series but so has Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls. Naturally, when I first heard that the franchise was to be resurrected by none other, I was actually giddier than… err…

This was the stoned guy right?

I fully realized that there was a possibility of Fallout going first person, and I could care less. Hell, I’ll be honest, I had always dreamed about getting a bit more close and personal with the wasteland, and who better to make it happen than the makers of Morrowind, one of the best video games of all time? Besides, any Fallout was better than no Fallout, which was the apparent alternative at the time, due to the state Interplay was in.

The existing fanbase was quite averse though, jumping at any opportunity to piss on Bethesda. I remember the shitnami that their VP of PR, Pete Hines, drew for giving a poor example of what he felt Fallout’s humor was all about. It wasn’t the most insightful thing ever said, sure, but he was not even entirely wrong; and plus, his job was making the game sound appealing to as many people as possible. It only made sense for him to drool over the possibility of hilariously “blowing a guy to a bloody mess” (errr, you know what I mean). Hell, Planescape: Torment, possibly the most story-heavy game of all, had a scary-looking corpse on its’ cover. That stuff sells!

And it could have been worse.

When Oblivion dropped, people got even more riled up. Some Bethesda fans too were displeased with the direction they took with it, though Oblivion was a massive critical and financial success. Personally, I had a great time with the game, despite realizing the obvious flaws. I do agree that, next to Morrowind, it resembled a deformed retard brother who had been kept in a basement for good reason, but the game definitely did not call for all the preemptive criticism Bethesda received on Fallout 3. Everyone has a fluke and those guys seemed pretty sincere in their “care for Fallout.” I trusted them and remained hopeful, even after I saw this:

This was the first image connected to Fallout 3. An artist’s work for Bethesda titled ‘Raider’.

And then came the real details, the trailers and the game…

Now, reviewing Fallout 3 is like stepping in shit; I’ve done both before and let me tell you that it doesn’t end when its over. If I praise the game, I will be chastised by the series’ rabid cult following; if I crap on it, I will be dismissed as one of them. It’s just the way of things. There is just too much going on with that release, outside of its’ actual content, what with the franchise changing developer hands and switching from third-person isometric to the first person perspective, among other things.

At this point, I will just honestly say that, when I finally got to play Fallout 3, I absolutely hated it. Despite the promises, the game was clearly ‘Oblivion with guns’, and while I ultimately liked Oblivion (and the idea of an Oblivion with guns), Fallout it was not. Particularly, what stung the most was the drastic change in the art direction. It was all very wrong and amiss, which wouldn’t be such a damn shame if Fallout of old didn’t feature one of the more unique settings in gaming.

‘Old’ Fallout.

But again, I’m not here to re-review Fallout 3 so lets leave it at that (at least for now) and move on to every rabid Fallout fanboy’s dream come true–New Vegas. Bethesda really earned some Karma points by entrusting a Fallout game to Obsidian, a developer with a significant chunk of Black Isle in its’ foundation. And the resulting RPG didn’t disappoint. In the amount of choice and consequence, the quality of writing and the various role playing elements important to Fallout, the game was a massive improvement and that is a fact. AlienLion rated it 9/10 and I had a lot do with that, so yes, I was very impressed. But at the same time, it’s a sobering thought that New Vegas is as “Fallout” as the series will ever get again.

Dont get me wrong, I will probably play Fallout 4 out of curiosity, and if Obsidian makes another one, I’ll be on it like brown on brown underwear but only because New Vegas was a genuinely good RPG and not because it will be another game in the Fallout franchise.

On to Part 2

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