So I thought I'd share my thoughts here on finishing Fallout 1 for the very first time. Finally getting the chance to play it, I have a lot of things to say about the game, overwhelmingly positive in fact! I got into the series with 3 and played every game (except 76) after that, so I felt obligated to give the originals a chance. Boy am I glad I did!
From the start, this game immediately drew me in. From the way you create your character, how you interact with other characters, to the multiple solutions to quests. Not to the mention the atmosphere the game gives off. Bleak and almost hopeless, each area falls under the same umbrella. It reminded me a lot of how Fallout 3 felt (with just a much better script and story). In fact, it felt as though Bethesda tried to emulate that feeling from the first game into 3, which was one thing I loved about Fallout 3 and most definitely loved during my playthrough of the first game. Even the ending wasn't entirely happy, as the Vault Dweller is cast out from Vault 13. While you saved the Wasteland from the Super Mutants and retrieved the Water Chip, what do you get in return? You've been exiled by the Overseer. It's not a happy ending for you, which keeps with the themes of Fallout 1. Which, in my opinion, is one of this game's greatest strengths.
The roleplaying aspects are also something that I tremendously enjoyed, obviously with it being the driving force for many to play the game. From the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats, to traits, to the skills, and all the factors that are affected by such help broaden the replayability of the game, and open up a variety of different playstyles. Combine that with the multiple solutions to quests, such as siding with Killian or Gizmo, having the Brotherhood of Steel assault the Master's base or sneaking in to blow it up from the inside, or even the option to just tell the Lieutenant or the Master the location of your vault and straight up lose the game, all these add meaningful layers to the game. This IS a true RPG through-and-through. One that you can play through multiple times and get a different experience each time. Having played through it once, a second one will come eventually, it's inevitable, and I cannot wait for that!
The story of Fallout is pretty simple when analyzed, but that doesn't make it a bad one at all. In fact, it's leagues better than Fallout 3 and 4! Starting out small with a very simple premise, finding the Water Chip, and escalating to save the Wasteland from the Master's Unity. It's an effective formula for storytelling, but, unlike Fallout 3 and 4 which follow similar escalations, Fallout 1's pacing and worldbuilding are handled far better and more believable than the former two. As you explore the Wasteland you begin to see just how prominent the Super Mutant threat is. Starting with subtle mentions of big mutant creatures from characters, to finding a corpse of one with a transmission on it, to finally speaking to a mutant and potentially (if the right or wrong option is chosen) meeting the Lieutenant in Mariposa and seeing the full-extent of the threat. It gradually builds up in a natural way. Meeting the Master after all the build up, hearing the words of the Children of the Cathedral speak of their precious Unity, is a moment in gaming I won't ever forget. Hearing the voices of those he's absorbed, all melded together as one "Dark God," speak of his Unity and plan for the Wasteland and his mutants is chilling and unforgettable. I knew about the Master and most of the lore before playing the game, but the impact of meeting him still hit me. Yet, in the end, the Master's plan is flawed as the reproductive organs in Super Mutants have been destroyed, thus they'll die before the humans in time. So, he feels it's all been for nothing, and he initiates the self-destruct of the Cathedral. Once he and the Mariposa Military Base have been wiped off the face of the Wasteland, you return to Vault 13 a hero. But are outcasted for the safety of the vault.
Fallout 1 is an incredible game, and I am so happy to have finally played this absolute classic! Sure, the game isn't perfect, it does have numerous flaws. The combat for instance, while not a bad system at all, can get rather repetitive and isn't a highlight of the game (although aimed shots do add a layer to combat, and the critical death animations are always a joy to see). Also, I felt as though Agility was the most important stat to have higher than others, as combat moves are entirely based on it, so it disincentivizes having a lower agility for anything other than roleplaying. Also SCREW YOU IAN FOR SHOOTING ME AND KILLING KATJA CONSTANTLY!! AT LEAST TYCHO DIDN'T AIM HIS SHOTGUN DIRECTLY AT THE BACK OF MY HEAD WHILE WE FIGHT A FLIPPING DEATHCLAW MOTHER!!! Anyway, other than those things, most of my other complaints are minor nitpicks. (Except you, Ian. Does he die canonically? I can't remember, but bloody hell!) All jokes aside, if you haven't played Fallout 1… what are you doing? Go play it if you ever get the chance! It is worth it entirely! If you do, I recommend installing the Fallout Fixt mod. It patches out a lot of the leftover bugs and can add a bit of cut content and other mods depending on what version you install. I installed the Purist version just to iron out the bugs for a clean experience, but you can do whatever you're comfortable with.
In the end, Fallout 1 is the true Fallout that I needed to play to truly appreciate the universe and legacy the series had before now. (Not trashing on modern Fallout, but I can't deny that it's reputation has been slightly tarnished by Bethesda as of late, but I'm always hoping for the best for the series in the future.) In the meantime, I'll be moving onto Fallout 2 next. I've heard that, alongside New Vegas, it's considered the best in the series. It'll be hard to surpass the first game in my eyes, so my expectations are pretty high. Maybe after that playthrough I'll do the same for Fallout 2 as I did here for the first game. We'll see. Welp, that's all I really want to say. I could go on, but I think that's enough. I really loved Fallout 1, and wanted express my thoughts on the game. Hope this wasn't a bad take or anything.
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