You’ve really got to hand it to Interplay, going crazy enough to run the risk of losing the entire Fallout fan base with a new Fallout universe game. Of course I had some reservations myself before jumping into this game but after a full play through and seeing the amount of effort that went into this game I’m happy to report that this game isn’t the nuclear waste I was thinking it would be. Fallout Brotherhood of Steel makes good use of the Baldur’s Gate style of gameplay and adds it’s own rich sense of humor that doesn’t stop entertaining for a minute. Of course I’m sure some Fallout purists may still shy away from this game, but seriously give it a shot. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Fallout takes place in a post apocalyptic nuclear wasteland, and after much searching, your character, who you pick at the outset of your adventure, has made their way to Carbon, a town on the verge of rebuilding but it’s still got it’s fair share of problems, namely the Raiders who come in and just kidnap people. From here the story spirals out of control in your search for paladins from the Brotherhood of Steel.
The story and dialogue for the game are well written and quite funny at times. You’ll probably catch the few movie references found in the game, and they really fit well. I also like how your character can be a smart ass about responding to certain speeches, however I just wish it had more of a text branch where things could or could not happen depending on your response. Like if I told someone in town to screw off then I shouldn’t be able to get help from them in the future. But then that would have made the story progression a lot more difficult so I’m not going to hold it against the game. Also, if I remember correctly I could attack civilians… that’s sadly not here, I would have loved to mow down the entire town. But at least I can slaughter their cows.
Fallout manages to retain a lot of the graphical tricks that were in BGDA, notably the water and some explosion effects. For the most part the game looks good, although with the way the camera is positioned you wouldn’t really notice much. My only complaint is that some of the character models and their mouths aren’t the most attractive things in the world, but it’s really not a big deal.
The game does some big poly pushing too once you get to the later stages with some mutants taking up half the screen, it’s really quite impressive that this all gets done with little to no slow down what so ever. Like Baldur’s Gate you also get to see the armor that you equip which I always enjoy, no stupid bangles or rings or anything. We’ve got full-blown body armor, which will help you keep clean while mowing down hordes of mutants and raiders and such.
Musically I’m sadly not impressed, the heavy metal music selected for the game just isn’t for me, but if you’re a fan of Slipknot and the like then you’re in for a good soundtrack. The in game music when not rocking out is quite good though. The voice acting as usual is spot on for an Interplay title and that always brings a smile to my face.
Level design is an important aspect of a good dungeon crawler; thankfully Fallout doesn’t have you running back and forth fetching keys or anything like that. Once you get out of Carbon the game is a straight shot through to the end. There are some spots where you can back track but after a while the game cuts off how far back you can go. The only thing this game is really missing is a few good puzzles. There were a couple of them but I wish there were more, rather than just makes the stages look like mazes at times. The jumping spots are a bit tricky, you’ll navigating very small walking paths so you’ve got to take your time, thankfully Interplay decided to be very forgiving on jumping sections and left you with save points all over the course of the game. On one hand people may say that this is detrimental to the game, but when playing a hack and slash adventure game I hate to go back and lose two hours of work, so the more save points the better for me, plus it gives me the ability to be a bit more daring in sniffing out secrets.
You’ve got some heavy artillery you’re going to be using in the game, in fact one of the grenades you find is actually a nuclear warhead which suffice to say did it’s fair share of damage. Other weapons include blade weapons (which I swear look like they come from Battle Angel Alita graphic novels), sledgehammers, pistols, rifles, shotguns, lasers, and a whole lot more. Once you get close to the end of the game though it gets a little ridiculous, one energy weapon can be used for the last section of the game and it does massive amounts of damage, But to counteract that the cost of ammunition is pretty high. I didn’t think guns would fare well in this kind of game but surprisingly there is a good lock on system and it makes targeting foes pretty easy, only flaw is that it’s hard to switch targets at times.
The game itself isn’t terribly long; the first play through on normal mode took about a good seven hours and all but about one hour of that was enjoyable. Only downside was that I found the game to be way to easy. All I would have to do is stuff myself full of stimpaks and I was good to go, and never once did I drop below 80 of those in my inventory. If you’ve played through Baldur’s Gate quite a bit then you shouldn’t have any trouble jumping into this game at Wastelander difficulty. Once you clear the game you’ll have some unlocked characters and the new Apocalyptic difficulty, and you don’t want to try starting a character from scratch there, it’s rough. The secrets you find in game though are worth the trouble, most of the secrets are special weapons and a lot of them are very useful until you find some of the crazier weapons.
When all is said done I must applaud Interplay for taking the risk to make this game. Fallout has some of the most rabid fans around, and after playing this game I think they will come away pretty satisfied. I know I did, and if maybe you liked Baldur’s Gate but not the hack and slash dungeon crawling then be sure to check out this game, it just may be the alternative you’re looking for.
A solid entry in the Fallout series.