I’ll start this critique by saying that this game is not even near perfection as some of you might have heard/read elsewhere. If you expected a blog post full of praise, flowers and wide-eyed bunnies you are in for a dissappointment, however if you are interested in reading a wall of text about the acomplishments and flaws this game has, please continue reading.
I’m hesitant about calling this a “review” since I’m not trying to sell the game to anybody; I’m just going to elaborate primarily on the flaws that draw it back. Hence, the use of the word “critique”. I’m pretty sure most of you already know why this is such a fantastic game even if you haven’t played it yet, nonetheless I’ll elaborate on the positive features at the end of this series of posts because I just love hearing myself talk about something I’m passionate about. No, really.
Let me get the technical issues out of the way first. There’s an incredible amount of bugs in every single corner, be it dialog options that you shouldn’t get, copied NPCs that don’t belong in their current place, NPCs going hostile for no reason, broken quests, broken rewards, crashing during combat and every other not so annoying issues I’m forgetting at the moment. The patch that was later released fixed quite a few of these bugs, and introduced some others (oh the irony). If it were not for the fact that I save every few seconds, then I would be really pissed off by all the technical issues. As it is though, it’s just an annoying detail.
Some high percentage of games start with something interesting and compelling that grabs the player by the ba… throat and doesn’t release for at least half an hour. Fallout is not such a game, apart from the excelent cutscenes the gameplay starts rather bland, playing as the chosen one you are tasked to do a dungeon crawl through the “Temple of Trails”. Except for the final challenge of the temple, everything else feels bland and almost like a waste of time. This section could be seen as a way of introducing the player to the game’s mechanics sort of like a tutorial. Believe it or not, it’s good that it starts slow, testing your combat skills since there is the very possible chance of you making a character with the combat prowess of a wet noodle, something you should avoid at all costs unless you want to save and load constantly like I do. So, make a character, test his/her abilities and then start a new game making the required modifications to the stats, repeat this process until you’ve got something that can stand it’s own in combat and isn’t as intelligent and charismatic as a rotten lettuce.
Anyways, in the temple you kill some ants and scorpions, disable some traps, grab everything that is not nailed down to the floor if you feel like it and have an exchange of fists with a buddy guard at the end to prove your worth. You can actually avoid the combat, and just steal the key that opens the door leading to the town of Arroyo, the problem here lays on the fact that it’s a lot more convenient to steal the key from the guard because you avoid wasting your time and the exp gained is virtually the same (or even better, I don’t remember well). Not to mention that if you fight you have to run all the way back to get your items back.
Every single town/place has a very united and informed population. I’m very intrigued by the method of telepathic conversations the people in Fallout 2 must have because there are some instances were I swear there’s no other way to explain the situations and behaviors. Imagine for a moment that you are walking down the street and decide to gently punch somebody in the shoulder for no damage because they are blocking your path and won’t move no matter what you do. You hit or miss, it doesn’t matter, what you’ve done is the epitomy of evil and you should be punished with a passion. A massive telepathic shout for help must be triggered when you hit a bystander, because suddenly every single person in the freaking city is either running away from you or charging your way, waving torches and pitchforks in the air while frothing at the mouth, screaming for your blood. The next thing you know, you are running for your life while being shot at with shotguns and SMGs. The same thing happens when you try and fail to pickpocket somebody, even when you are putting an item on their pocket instead of taking one. So, don’t try to slip money on someone’s pocket because you might end up with a face full of lead.
Here I’ve only touched on some of the issues of Fallout 2, next week or sooner I’ll be posting a second part of this critique continuing with the negative aspects and explaining some of the overall design flaws further. I think it should be important to note that I’m only 40% through the game, but I think it’s not likely I’ll find other important aspects I haven’t seen already. Otherwise, I’ll just make yet another post on the subject, so it’s a win/win situation.