Fallout: New Vegas -Metacritic Score: 84
Developed by Obsidian Entertainment, Fallout: New Vegas was one of the first core modern entries in the series that wasn’t directly handled by Bethesda. Set around a post-apocalyptic version of Las Vegas, players took control of a courier who was left for dead in the desert after a deal goes wrong. Players are then tasked with journeying across the desert to the famed city all while dealing with the various, colorful factions vying for control of the still functioning area.
While New Vegas offered more of the same great gameplay that Fallout 3 had delivered, it suffered from a plethora of bugs that were laced throughout the entire game. Along with this were the lackluster visuals that didn’t feel as if Obsidian was pushing the Fallout games further, but instead simply making a large expansion for Fallout 3. Despite this, one couldn’t help but get engrossed in the wacky side quests, solid combat, and the unique survival mode that has since become a staple within the series. While New Vegas may not have revolutionized the FPS/RPG genre, it was a decent enough entry and one that many fans still enjoy to this day… even if the Cazador enemies were super over-powered.
Fallout 2 – Metacritic Score: 86
Released in 1998 and developed by BlackIsle Studios, Fallout 2 was another top-down entry in this open world RPG franchise that tried to expand upon the story and characters from the original Fallout. Players take control of a direct descendant of Fallout 1’s Vault Dweller and are tasked with retrieving a powerful device known as GECK or Garden of Eden Creation Kit. This takes numerous twists and turns (as most Fallout stories do) and ends up involving a paramilitary organization known as the Enclave. Fallout 2 also marked a deeper explanation for the race of super mutants popping up and what was causing their rather dramatic changes.
Despite having some bugs and not really expanding upon the original Fallout’s gameplay in any noticeable way, this title was considered to be a success by many. This is thanks to the wonderfully dark and twisted story crafted along with the various characters that inhabited it. The action and non-linear structure to combat was also praised, despite some critics taking issue with the bulky and cumbersome HUD. Even with these issues, Fallout 2 is considered by many to be one of the finest RPGs ever crafted.
Fallout 4 – Metacritic Score: 87
The latest entry in this legendary series, Fallout 4 marked the first step for this franchise into the next generation of video game consoles. Developed by Bethesda, this game offered the biggest open world that both the franchise and developer had ever held. Set in Boston, players took control of another Vault Dweller who was on the hunt for the murderer of his wife and kidnapper of his infant son. Like most Fallout titles, this required players to interact with a variety of wacky factions and eventually pick a side. Even though the story itself wasn’t nearly as engaging as some in the series history, the search for your child was compelling enough to add momentum to many of the main campaign missions.
Fallout 4 was considered by many to be one of the best games released this generation thanks to its engrossing world, great characters, and interesting side missions that offered players a variety of tasks beyond simple fetch quests. Yet, Fallout 4 still suffered from some seriously notable bugs that plagued the gameplay and made some quests impossible to finish due to a player completing the tasks out of order. Yet, this was largely overlooked thanks to additions like the new crafting system which allowed players to not only fine tune their weapons, but construct entire towns from scratch. It may be some time before players again get to journey into a new wasteland, but Fallout 4 has more than enough content to hold us over.
Fallout – Metacritic Score: 89
The original Fallout was released back in 1997, developed by Interplay Entertainment, and forever changed the RPG genre. Set in Southern California, users take control of a Vault Dweller and are sent out of their Vault in order to find a replacement part for their water purification system. One thing leads to another until the player ventures out to another Vault (now abandoned and reconstructed into a settlement) and learns that this “Water Chip” is located in an underground city full of feral ghouls. This of course eventually leads to conspiracies, super mutants, and insane cult called the Cathedral of Children.
This game was hailed by fans and critics alike thanks to great blend of puzzles, combat, and story-driven moments. Many noted the unique design and visuals that helped give Fallout not only its own look, but an off-beat personality that has made the series so iconic among RPG fans. Combat was challenging but precise, allowing players to experiment with a variety of different weapons and skills. The game won multiple RPG of the Year awards and has helped influence titles for years to come.
Fallout 3 – Metacritic Score: 93
Being the first Fallout title to move from the top down design to first person, this third entry in the RPG series is considered to be the best in the franchise. Set in a bombed-out Washington D.C. called The Capital Wasteland, players assume control of another Vault Dweller (sensing a pattern?) who is on the hunt for his father after he escapes from his vault. During his journey, users cross paths with the Enclave, Brotherhood of Steel, and an underground radio station that delivers some seriously jazzy tunes.
Despite the rather large shift in both genre and to a degree mechanics, Fallout 3 quickly became the highest rated title in the entire franchise. Thanks to its innovative gameplay and approach to progression, players were allowed to truly customize their character. Missions were fun, varied, and offered some interesting choices that had the opportunity to send waves throughout the world. Players were also allowed to stop time via the V.A.T.S. targeting system, which gave users a more tactical approach to combat if they desired.
The Fallout series stands as a testament to what great RPGs can deliver, even with some drawbacks like the occasional bug or glitch. This series helped deliver stellar experiences game after game, as players were immersed into the 1950s-esc dystopian world full of unique characters and terrifying monsters. While other games are always pushing the genre forward, very few things are as fun as Fallout.