The History of Fallout

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On first glance, Fallout 2 doesn't look a whole lot different than Fallout. The engine, interface, and control scheme are almost identical, though each of them did receive a few enhancements. However, players will find that the world has evolved since the last time they adventured in it. The wasteland looks, feels, and is much more settled, as is evidenced by the intercity politics and the thriving pit of scum and villainy known as New Reno. People have grown accustomed to survival and have finally found time for things like drug addiction. The wasteland is certainly still there, but it feels much more civilized then Fallout. As civilized as a world can be with talking deathclaws, anyway.

For the most part, Fallout 2 can be considered a worthy sequel. The formula that worked so well in the first game is largely untouched, and fans will find that there is much more content to sink their teeth into. What would the result have been if the game had been taken in a different direction? Unfortunately, we know the answer to that question.

Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel (2001)

In my time with the Brotherhood I have personally trained fifty initiates and I am proud to say that fourteen of them are still alive and kicking. - Paladin Ragchak

Fallout Tactics was developed by Micro Forté and published by Interplay's 14° East division. Rather than staying within the confines of the role-playing genre as the previous two titles had done, Fallout Tactics was instead developed to be a squad-based tactical RPG hybrid. It is also important to note that due to various contradictions the game had with the lore of the previous two games, many fans (and original Fallout developers) consider the storyline of Fallout Tactics to be non-canonical.

Unlike previous installments in the series, the story of Fallout Tactics does not focus on the vaults and those that dwell inside them, but instead on the organization known as the Brotherhood of Steel. After the events of Fallout, a schism emerged in the Brotherhood of Steel. One faction wanted to admit outsiders to the order in order to build up its strength, while the other wanted to keep the Brotherhood pure. In the end, the purists won out and the other faction was essentially exiled. Ordered to pursue the remaining Super Mutants to the east and across the Rocky Mountains, the exiles built airships and set off. But disaster struck the expedition and many died in a storm that destroyed the airships. The survivors crashed outside the city of Chicago and formed a new Brotherhood, one that accepted recruits from the surrounding communities. The player is one of these recruits, joining in the Eastern Brotherhood's crusade to bring order to the wasteland.

While the graphical look of Fallout Tactics is very similar to that of the previous two games, the way it actually plays is much different. Fallout Tactics totally lacks the free-roaming nature of the first two titles, making it much more linear. Character development isn't as intricate and oftentimes there seems to be no consequence to your actions beyond the life or death of your squad. The only real decisions the player needs to make are tactical ones on the battlefield.

That being said, Fallout Tactics can still be considered a good game by its own merits, though the reasons to hand it praise are much different than the first two titles. Players who enjoyed games like X-Com or Jagged Alliance will feel very much at home with how Fallout Tactics plays. Players create one character to act as their avatar, and then recruit additional squad mates from the Brotherhood ranks. Briefings are given before and after each mission, some of which are provided by R. Lee Ermey who plays as General Barnaky. Mission types are varied, ranging from search and rescue to escorting a supply vehicle through a hostile town. In all, Fallout Tactics provides a solid tactical experience with a light offering from the RPG department.

When the game was released, fan reactions weren't all that favorable. The track record set by the two previous installments garnered very high expectations, and most gamers were expecting a third game in the series rather than a standalone hybrid. Nevertheless, the game received fairly high review scores, and it did offer another chance for fans of the series to return to the wasteland while they awaited Fallout 3. As it turns out, the wait was much longer than expected.

Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel (2004)

Sometimes the meat slides right off the bone, if you know what I mean. - Harold

Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel is an action RPG developed and published by Interplay and released in 2004 for the PS2 and Xbox consoles. Set between the storylines of Fallout and Fallout 2, the game places the player in control of a Brotherhood of Steel initiate who has been given the task to find several missing paladins in the town of Carbon. This simple search and rescue mission eventually spirals into a quest to save the wasteland.