Oh, the greatness of Fallout. Just writing the name out brings back some of the coolest memories of roaming the wastelands. Now, I have to admit, my first Fallout was Fallout 3, so I’m not a dayone OG or anything. However, I’m kind of glad I started with the third entry. The previous entries in the franchise were top down action-RPGs. I’ve tried them…they’re pretty bad. So for the sake of this article the Fallouts I’m going to be referring to is to is the third and beyond.
With the failure of Fallout 76, maybe it’s time we take a step back and figure out what exactly makes a good Fallout game. Obviously making a legendary franchise into an MMO isn’t the right move. This is the second time Bethesda has made this poor choice with their flagship IP’s. I mean, Elder Scrolls Online had such a bad launch that they had to rebrand it. It was sad because I was actually looking forward to it for years. Then they decide to slap a half hearted MMO together a brand it Fallout? I’m not here to bash Bethesda though. They’re actually one of my favorite developers. I just want a return to the amazing singleplayer experiences than made me fall in love with them to begin with.
So, what exactly makes a good Fallout game? One key element is the atmosphere the franchise has delivered for so long. Creating an environment that immerses players in their post apocalyptic setting is absolutely key. If the atmosphere doesn’t fit the world they have created, how do you plan on holding on to that immersion? During the events of Fallout 3, players were given a completely devastated Washington D.C. The landmarks that we have all seen were nothing more than piles of brick and rubble with a backdrop of an endless grey sky. It was an incredibly immersive experience that set the winning formula for New Vegas and Fallout 4.
There is a certain feel about a Fallout game. Exploring a post apocalyptic future that is set in a retro 1950s revival is what truly makes it something special. It’s an interesting twist on a world that had all the potential in the world. Instead of developing sweet touchscreens they decided to devolve back into a cold war like look. Like everything looks like it’s straight out of the 1950s even though technology is so far beyond what we have now.
Beyond the aesthetic and atmosphere, what truly makes a Fallout game is its memorable NPCs. Everyone could probably agree that we all thought about killing Preston Garvey once or twice. YES Preston, I know there’s another settlement that need my help…Jesus. It was just a small quirk in his character that made him a living meme, but to be honest, I liked Preston. He was one of the few characters that actually cared about what was happening.
There’s no doubt that the atmosphere and NPCs we all fall in love with is key. However, one of the most important elements to a Fallout game is the small pieces of lore scattered through out to wastelands. There’s nothing I crave more than to find out what life was like right before the bombs started falling. Some of these pieces of lore can be seriously touching. Like the journal entries about the father who had to kill his family after holding off for so long. That was a tough one to read, and just left me there questioning my existence after the last page.
Fallout games are hand crafted with love, and you can definitely see that in the small details like this. The developers actually put the effort into these hidden gems that can only be found with deep exploration. Nothing can really prepare you for some of the insanely dark things that happen in the Fallout world, but you know what makes it all better? The soundtrack.
There’s nothing that makes a Fallout game more than it’s incredible soundtrack. If you aren’t walking around the wastlands with your Pip Boy radio blaring, are you even playing? Staying true to Fallout lore, the music is a revival of the 1950s rockabilly style that has some of the greatest jams in all of gaming. I mean, there is seriously nothing cooler than dropping nukes to “I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire”. Honestly, if we weren’t treated to this amazing arangments then I just couldn’t get into it. In my opinion there is nothing that sets the mood in a Fallout game like the music. If they can’t hit that nail on the head then please move on to another project.
Hopefully when we eventually get Fallout 5 Bethesda will finally get their act together and move on from the MMO formula. It just doesn’t fit with their franchises. We just want a full, fleshed out singleplayer experience that maybe has the option for drop in multiplayer. It can’t be that hard, can it? I don’t think so. for now though all we can do is cross our fingers and hope for the best.
Are you a Fallout fan? If so, let us know what you think is core to the game, and let us know what you would like to see in the nexr entry in the franchise! As always, be sure to love and respect each other. Let’s maake today the start of a better tomorrow.