EDGE reminisces on Fallout

Discussion in 'News Comments' started by Dark Elf, May 13, 2013.

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  1. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    I saw this on NMA. Edge Online has written a retrospective on Fallout, here's a snippet:

    This was always a strength of Troika's and the hallmark of good game design - it's all about the storytelling, the moral choices you make, the repercussions and consequences of your actions. The games we remember as truly great give us the ability to shape worlds and make our own legends, and I certainly hope that Eternity doesn't deviate on that point.

    Here's the full article.
     
  2. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    To be honest, on my first and only initial playthrough I found Fallout disappointing. My exact recollection of details at this stage isn't going to be great, but here's a summation of my playthrough:

    I got the waterchip ----> I explored the Glow and found the BoS ----> I found the Cathedral by happenstance and I finished the game. I did other things like start the Deathclaw quest and meet Harold, but I never got resolution because of stumbling on the Cathedral so soon.

    There's plenty of examples in that article of how fantastic Fallout was due to its lack of guidance and subsequent innovative design - but for me it was lack of guidance that allowed me to finish the game prematurely and not enjoy it to its fullest. I like to replay games because of permutations I become aware of through a first playthrough which give me a reason to want to try things a different way, but because my exposure to options was so minimal in my first Fallout playthrough it did not inspire me to bother again.

    I think more well plotted RPGs, like Arcanum, have more guidance which in turn enhances satisfaction when you complete a game. If anything with Fallout all that happened was I got punished for exploration, which isn't right - I know that won't be the situation for a lot of people but it was for me. To me Fallout 3 was an improvement of the formula in terms of enjoyability, but quickly grows stale due to the unimaginative characters, trite quests and gameplay that is far too easy (maxing all skills by level 100 - really?). Fallout: New Vegas improved on this to an extant, but console versions like mine are still haunted by bugs and though the gameplay is solid and some quests are nice in hindsight there's nothing specifically that bowls me over. I've still yet to get very far into FO2 which I've heard is perhaps the best of the franchise; I found the whole regression to tribal society with witch doctors and the like to be entirely unrealistic and off-putting - it's covered in FO:NV but not to the same fanciful and ridiculous extreme.

    In comparison Arcanum has permutations by the bucket-load and for experienced players it is in some ways more enjoyable because by knowing that they're so many options out there you are not fulfilling with your current character it reinforces the cornerstone of all RPGs - player choice. At the same time the game isn't so blind to its central story that you can blunder into it unwillingly, making the game more cohesive by tying it together with a central plot.

    I feel like I should enjoy Fallout more than I do Arcanum due to the sheer awesomeness of its setting, but sadly it falls short and I think the franchise still needs to bring more to the table.
     
  3. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Re:

    As I recall, that aesthetic only applies to the starting area - it's like a prologue. Once you're out of that village the rest of the game uses the same kind of settings as the original Fallout.
     
  4. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    I did progress past the prologue and get to Gecko at one point - long enough to see the whole game wouldn't be more tribal weirdness - but by then I wasn't in the mood. Though a lot of people do say it's the best of the series, they also say it's the most oddball - so if I found the prologue too oddball initially it doesn't bode well for me greatly enjoying the rest of the game. Still, doubtlessly I will complete it one day given its reputation - I guess I'm the Philes of FO2.
     
  5. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    If you're playing with the restoration project there are actually two tribal societies (the second imaginatively named "Primitive Tribe"). However neither of them are "entirely unrealistic" (for the Fallout setting, that is). I actually enjoyed beginning in a backwards corner of the world with nothing but my spear and then discover more and more about the "civilized" world and becoming more and more "civilized" yourself. (The Kaga encounters were nice introductions to this.) I especially enjoyed being mocked in Klamath (the Shrouded Hills of Fallout 2) and being tricked into stealing cattle from a nice little family. Oh, and hitting children in the groin with Sulik's sledgehammer.

    I know exactly what you mean here, those where my own experiences playing Fallout for the first time. This problem is very much improved upon. While there is almost as little hand holding as in the original, you are at least pointed in an appropriate direction. You cannot stumble upon the "secret place that you're looking which I shall not mention". You CAN stumble upon an end game base if you're unfortunate but you wont survive for long in there. However once I had completed the game for the first time and the ending slides arrived I realized how much I had fucked the world up in the process of saving my village. The different endings available and the ways to acquire them are actually superior even to Arcanum. I started a new game immediately after the credits (the only time I've ever done that, wanting to do everything differently. It took four Fallout 2 playthroughs before I attempted the first one again.
     
  6. Muro

    Muro Well-Known Member

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    I deduce that everyone who posted in the thread finished Fallout 1 at least once, so I'm not bothering with spoiler tags.

    I didn't find the tribal nature of Arroyo in Fallout 2 all that unrealistic. Look at it like this. Arroyo was founded by the Vault Dweller, a man who experienced a lot of effects of humanity's technology. He witnessed the devastated world, used the death-bringing weapons, fought mutated animals, was forced to kill people disfigured on mind and body by radiation and genetic engineering and lastly he overturned a warlord who was on his way to use his science and make the world an even more alien place.

    The way I see it, after he was exiled from the Vault, the Vault Dweller was broken and disheartened by the way progress shaped the world. When he eventually founded Arroyo, I think he deliberately opted to create an "untainted" community where the newer generation would be taught as little as possible about science and technology, the resulting regression being an intended return to "the good old" ways rather than a bizarre side effect.
     
  7. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    I see what your saying, and it is quite a reasonable interpretation of why things are the way they are. Still, to me it seems like an awful lot of regression to have occurred in just 80 years - I find it difficult to reconcile that society would change to that extent on such a time scale. It has been many years since I've played it, so I'll have to wait and see if my opinions change when I give it another go and whether I'm being needlessly obstinate (which is quite likely) - unfortunately my laptops now dead and I can't see myself getting a new one for a good while to try it out again.
     
  8. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

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    I don't understand your confusion.

    People are born after a nuclear war, they know about 'technology' but not the theory or the industry behind it.

    They spend all day hunting and gutting geckos, and they die at 35 of an infected wound, leaving an even less 'civilised' generation behind.

    How could they not regress?

    The real question is where do the three meals a day come from for those who walk around ruined cities trading bottlecaps?
     
  9. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    I understand the regression of technology, just not so much the regression of culture. It goes without saying that culture would change in 80 years, but for people to regress to tribalism with shamans and the like when it was never part of their heritage (well, presumably) seems contrived - maybe if it had been 300 or so years since the original FO this slide might be more realistic. At least when you encounter Caesar's Legion in FO:NV he readily accepts that his luddite and mostly backwards society is a contrivance he created and one he expects to change in the future.

    I guess you encounter the NCR and other examples of more civilized societies as you progress through the game, but I like games to have a good intro and I felt Fallout 2's was a bit jarring. For me, the opening and conclusion to a story (whether in a game, book or film) are always the most important parts - not so much the middle. As I said though, this is mainly based on my hazy recollections - I'll probably revise my opinions when I replay the game.
     
  10. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

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    You've obviously never been to Nimbin.

    It takes less than one generation for a culture to revert to superstition, especially if there's a belief that the old world-view is destructive and there's a lot of drugs involved.

    It's also likely to be natural for the human brain. We've spent a couple of million years confusing dreams with reality, and just a couple of centuries with a half-accepted scientific paradigm.

    Also, we're talking about southern california here. New age claptrap is part of their heritage.
     
  11. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    To do quite the grave dig, I've finally finished FO2.

    I did enjoy it, but I think the game was trying to be too quirky and interject awkward "random" humour - especially early on with Sulik and Hakunin - regardless of whether it was appropriate or not. I also really don't like a mesoamerican themed temple in the very north of California - why's it there? Are we supposed to assume the Arroyo tribals built it?

    It's all way too much of a stretch, and makes the opening jarring and strange. The tribes seen in Honest Hearts aren't half as weird by comparison, and their belief systems are more fleshed out; the Sorrows being heavily influenced by Randall Clark posing as a godlike figure to them when they were naive enough to buy into it, the Dead Horses following the council of Joshua Graham. It would have been nice if the Elder could have offered more exposition and contextualised why the Arroyo tribe is like it is only around 80 years down the line from FO.

    It seems like as a lot of FO2 has tongue in cheek humour, it almost wants to treat the tribe as a joke; which makes it hard to invest in with regards to caring about the main quest and wanting to locate the GECK. Apart from that the rest of the game was good, having interesting fleshed out settlements and feeling like a nice logical progression from FO. I also liked how there was much more to do than Fallout and reaching the maximum level was achievable without any grinding.

    I also replayed FO too, and I think I did just get the short shrift on my first playthrough. I did much more this time round and enjoyed the main quest a great deal, especially the ending that comes with Bloody Mess. I didn't like how accessing the higher levels for perk requirements seems tricky, and the game was a bit sparse, but it was still very enjoyable.

    I guess FO:NV now feels like a very good progression for the series - it was more serious in tone like the original with it's humour well gauged (it feels like Wild Wasteland is solely there to make the humour similar to FO2) and it shows progression from the factions of FO2 in a way that FO3 didn't (bringing in newcomers like House and the Legion for example, with the NCR weakening post-Tandi). The difficulty was also well judged from the incredibly easy FO3, something which is important in a series primarily focussing on survival after the world has ended (at the same time, Bethesda did a good job of adapting the turn-based system of the original Fallouts to the previous console generation so they do deserve some credit).

    I'm hoping now that Bethesda will make a new Fallout that creates a few new interesting factions, has moved on from New Vegas and FO3 in an interesting way (the setting progresses from those past events) and the story written more on par with that in New Vegas than FO3. I'd prefer it if they were bold about their choices too, a lot is up in the air at the end of New Vegas in terms of the fates of the major factions - it takes some difficult decisions to make hard rulings about what is now canon and not worry too much about upsetting people but the series would be better for it. I won't be happy if they take the FO3 tact of setting it in a more distant part of America so they can conveniently not mention the events of New Vegas. I guess only time will tell.

    I'm now trying to psych myself up to play FO3 again to get a complete overview of the series, then I'll finally give New Vegas another go.
     
  12. Zanza

    Zanza Well-Known Member

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    Bethesda for an Arcanum sequel.
     
  13. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't mind it, I feel like the themes of Arcanum are a bit easier to cover (racism, magick vs technology, making things feel anachronistic, class struggles) than those in Fallout. However making a plausible story would be difficult with how Arcanum left things, also you would have to have it located on the same region as Arcanum - whereas Fallout series is free to expand to other areas of the US whenever it chooses. This also makes it tricky given that if the game was a sequel as opposed to a sequel then you'd have to introduce new locations to fill up the map with justification being given for each. All of these things make it a bit of a challenging IP to handle, even if it does have promise.
     
  14. The Pigeon

    The Pigeon Member

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    No, not Bethesda, I don't want them to ruin the name buy releasing a dialogue-lite and ultra buggy version. I've seen what they did with Skyrim and Fallout 4, no more :p
     
  15. Zanza

    Zanza Well-Known Member

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    Bethesda for an Arcanum MMO!
     
  16. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    Yeah now after Fallout 4 I'm not so keen for them to tackle something like Arcanum. Skyrim was a pretty enjoyable game, but Fallout 4 was pretty damn dull to be honest. None of what I was hoping for in the first sentence of that penultimate paragraph of my long post was even remotely delivered on in Fallout 4, which was a damn shame. I've now gone back to playing Pillars of Eternity, leaving Fallout 4 only half completed.
     
  17. The Pigeon

    The Pigeon Member

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    I enjoyed a lot of Fallout 4 but all the bugs and the cut back dialogue was pretty bad and would kill a new Arcanum game for me. I'd never played much fallout before that so the dialogue didn't worry me as much but I am familiar with Arcanum.

    Should I buy Pillars? I kickstarted Tides of Numenera but still waiting for that to be playable.
     
  18. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I'd recommend Pillars, though the main story is pretty linear there's still many ways to solve a lot of the quests and I find the combat enjoyable. Many people aren't big on the combat however so I think it's a matter of preference.
     
  19. The Pigeon

    The Pigeon Member

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