Okay, I have a confession to make. Though I am a fan of all sorts of RPGs, I have never played any of the Fallout series. It just always seemed to be on the edge of my attention while other videogames or projects took up my time.
Then I saw that the game, along with several of its sequels, was on sale at Good Old Games, and decided to give it a try, especially since it had been made by the same people who made Arcanum.
Before I played the game, all that I knew was that it was a post-apocalyptic RPG that had built a pretty big fanbase, and quite a few sequels. The background to Fallout's world is that the USA and other modern nations took a different path in history, which ended in the Great War wiping out most of humanity in a matter of hours. It's kind of like a look at a world if the Soviets and Americans had actually pulled the trigger and started World War III.
Of course, it's not all doom and gloom. A lot of the game has a bit of tongue in cheek humor to it. The Pip-Boy illustrations are hilarious at times, and the retro feel to a lot of the world can be pretty amusing as well. I mean, we've got two-headed cows, hideously oversized iguanas and scorpions, and robots with brains for CPUs. How can that not be awesome?
One of the main draws for me is the opportunity to effect the ending. Fallout gives several different endings depending on what choices you make throughout the story, and how quickly you complete the games main objectives. I like the feeling of being able to contribute something to the story; it was something I enjoyed in Arcanum, and I liked it here too.
Alright, time for the nerdy portion of this analysis. The mechanics behind this game are extremely well balanced. I feel like I can enjoy this game as well when I build a muscle-bound guy with a sledgehammer as when I focus on sniping skills. The whole SPECIAL system is very interesting to me, and half the replay value is from making a new character and seeing how the whole experience changes. Each variation is almost like playing an entirely new game, even if you try to trigger the same endings. Although the game is kind of short in some ways, I can see why this game was the first in a major franchise.
All in all, it was a game that was definitely worth the small amount of money I used to purchase it. Now I just need to see how the next couple of sequels lived up to the promise...