Page name: PC - Fallout 2 review [Logged in view] [RSS]
2011-05-30 21:09:05
Last author: Avaz
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PC - Fallout 2 review

If you ask any devoted PC gamer in their mid-20's to 30's, chances are pretty high that Fallout 2 would be on their top 10 favorite lists. And it's not by chance, either. That's because this epic, post-apocalyptic role-playing game was made by Black Isle Studios, the development team also behind Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, and Icewind Dale.

The protagonist of FO2 is called the Chosen One, the hero of your primitive tribal village in desparate need of a G.E.C.K. (Garden of Eden Creation Kit) to renew life to your dying village. While this is the main overarching quest of the game, there are hundreds of side- and sub-quests to keep you occupied (and for leveling up purposes). In addition to the official quests, there are also numerous data disks that you can read on your PipBoy (your own, personal handheld computer). All of these serve to fill in the detailed world lore of this post-nuclear wasteland set in alternate-future northern California in the year 2241.

This is the real meat of this game and other games of its ilk. FO2's gameplay consists of realtime movement and turn-based combat. (My personal opinion is that there aren't enough good turn-based games anymore. Alas.) The gameplay consists of interacting with the inhabitants of the many towns and organizations you'll visit and discover. Unlike current-gen game plots, your actions in FO2 dictate what future opportunities are available to the player. In addition, there are many mature themes in this game, such as drug usage, sex, organized crime, slavery, prostitution. Of special note is the fact that the Black Isle Studios didn't cheap out with their NPCs like some other games would do (such as having certain key NPCs be unkillable), in FO2, everyone you meet is killable, even children!

Character generation is handled by use of the SPECIAL (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Agility, Luck) system, and is handled in such a way that it is impossible to max out all your stats, so you need to decide what skills you want to specialize in.

All in all, this game offers a few hundred hours of gameplay for those so inclined to explore every nook and cranny and do all the quests. Which reminds me, it is impossible to do every single quest in one playthrough because many of your decisions will open some future quest option or close another, so replaying FO2 with a different character type is highly recommended to get maximum enjoyment from the game.

This game came out in 1998, and is not for the faint-of-heart. Despite its age of almost a decade and a half, the graphics have aged fairly well. It features realistic reactions to certain weapons. For example, if you get shot and killed with a minigun, your body will be riddled like swiss cheese and fall over. But, if you're killed with a plasma or laser weapon, your body will melt into a puddle of goo.

But, as computer gamers our age will usually tell you, playing this game for its graphics is just something that you DON'T do. So, if bleeding-edge bling-mapping and texture surfacing is what you look forward to in your games (just as almost all current-gen console gamers seem to do), Fallout 2 isn't for you.

Final Comments
Fallout 2 is one of those legendary games that live on decades after first being released. Even to this day, there are fansites and communities dedicated to keeping the game alive. Especially noteworthy is that this game has been heavily modified. One of my own personal favorite mods is the one that restored all of the content that was intended by the devs but didn't make it in the game. Not only that, but it also got rid of just about every bug the game had.
/ [Avaz]

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2013-03-07 [Avaz]: As of the time of this writing, the first sentence in Gameplay (about there not being enough turn-based games will no longer be true, as there are a couple Kickstarted games in development that will be turn-based...with Wasteland 2 being the one closest in feel and scope to Fallout 2.

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