(Review archived from January 20, 2016)
This is a game where I kind of lost my way in terms of providing a coherent end game summation. I honestly didn’t know what to say about it, and in many was I still don’t. First though let’s start with some basics. The hype around this game is real (IMO). To my mind this is undoubtedly one of the greatest wRPGs of all time. It is an open world done right. Not an open world in which, “sure you can walk where ever you want, but in order to progress the plot you’ll need to be funneled you through a specific ordered set of quests.” No, this is an open world is the sense of, “Leave the opening area, and do whatever the hell you want.” In some ways that’s what can make this game feel somewhat overwhelming. Every play through will be a unique and open ended experience. I love the way that your stats have weight and meaning in terms of how the game is played. Low intelligence effectively means you can’t even communicate with anyone. High charisma will open up new dialog options and in some cases whole new quest paths. Furthermore, the karma system here is perfectly suited to the in-game world. You can be a shining paladin, or you can be a despicable serial killer, or even find the middle ground betwixt the two, and ultimately the world around you couldn’t really care less. It’s a very effective conveyance of the post-apocalyptic dystopia. In the words of Stephen King it’s a world that has “moved on”. Morals don’t matter nearly as much as results, and in the end that’s probably the game’s crowning achievement. Although the post-apocalyptic dystopia had been done to death even at the time of this games release, Fallout created a world with such deft panache, such attention to detail, and with so many unique elements, that it became something incredibly memorable and wholly its own. Even months afterward I’m still trying to effectively put my thoughts together on this one, but this is hands down one of my favorite wRPGs I’ve played from its respective era.