Fallout 2 Retrospective

The editors over at PC Gamer took advantage of Memorial Day weekend to return to Black Isle Studios' Fallout 2 for their latest "Reinstall" feature, and just reading the piece will likely convince many others to perform a reinstallation of the post-apocalyptic RPG sequel themselves. A few paragraphs:
The part most people remember though (if only because there can't be a single player who didn't try it) is the sleazy porn studio in bad old New Reno the place where you can temporarily put aside your quest and (cough)make your star rise. You don't get to see any low-resolution hanky-panky, but you do get a special Reputation bonus, as well as a porn name that will haunt you for the rest of your quest. Dick Mountenjoy? Rodd Rokks? How about Ebineezer Screws or Arnold Swollenmember? All are actual choices that people in the street will start shouting at you as are Lucy Loose, Pokeahotass, and Dominatrish for less-than-ladylike ladies.

It's actually a relatively small area, but that doesn't matter. Not only is there a lot to do and see, it's an incredibly reactive little piece of design. As a female character for instance, expect to take lots of (sugar boobs) and (hey baby) crap. Do a porn movie and most guys love you, but the hookers sniff and spit as opposed to salivating over a male stud. Become a Made Man as either gender, though, and the guards who previously gave you trouble suddenly can't wait to suck up. Little, dynamic details like these do more for making a world feel (real) than a thousand carefully coded AI routines.

F2's real genius, though, is that there's no assumption that you have to win every fight or see every possibility. Sure, if you come to New Reno sporting stolen power armor, you'll be a force to be reckoned with. More likely, however, you'll arrive as just another schlub, easily put down if you go around starting fights with the wrong people. Not being the ultimate badass changes everything. What little power and influence you accumulate in New Reno is earned, and it's more meaningful because of it. And that's just the start.