By Jason "loonyboi" Bergman
’ve been playing a great deal of role playing games lately (RPGs) which I suppose is nothing really new for me…as a general rule, I love RPGs, since being the storytelling nut that I am, I find they’re the only games that can satisfy me. What is new, and definitely a sign of things to come, is the fact that for the first time, well…ever, really, the majority of the RPGs that I’m playing are on my PC, and not any console system. This is a good thing indeed, and hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.
RPGs have really been (for me at least) the most compelling reason to buy any console system. The Final Fantasy series is a great example on the PSX, as is Panzer Dragoon Saga, which is better known as the best reason to pick up a Saturn. But PC RPGs have always been behind in terms of interface design and usually in terms of storytelling as well. As good as the Ultima series can be, it hasn’t had a single player release in far too long…and the consoles have taken the opportunity to completely dominate the RPG arena. Fortunately, us PC nuts can finally point to a series that rivals the complexity of the better console RPG games.
I’m speaking, of course, of the Fallout games, and I’m currently completely enamoured with these two games. There are a number of reasons for this, but probably the best reason is just how different Fallout is from other RPGs you’re likely to find. Instead of taking place in a fantasy world with elves and gnomes, and all the other stereotypical RPG crap, Fallout places you in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Here’s the concept: the world has gone and blown itself up. Oops. Fortunately humanity survived by locking themselves into vaults, and now that the chaos has died down, they’re emerging from their vaults to start a new world.
Unlike normal games where adult subjects are skirted around (Final Fantasy VII being a great example) Fallout takes them head on, and goes crazy with them. We’re talking about prostitution, (you can even pimp your spouse!) drug use, (lots of crackheads to be found) totally over the top language (someone should wash some of these guys’ mouths out with soap) and much, much more. It’s quite a pleasure, and a major breath of fresh air.
The original Fallout has some problems, no doubt about it, but while some things can be annoying at times, like the time limits placed on certain quests, the fact that your character may have skills he’ll never actually need, and a fairly clumsy fighting system, this shouldn’t keep you from playing it. The sequel looks so much like the original, that at first I found myself wondering why they didn’t just make the thing an expansion pack instead of a new standalone game. But on closer inspection, I was pleased to discover that many of the problems from the first game have been fixed, and while the combat system can still be a bit on the wonky side, it’s definitely getting better. The second title has some problems of its own, but those lie in a different area…instead of being gameplay issues, Fallout 2 seems to have been pushed out the door just a bit too soon…and the end result is that there are some major bugs in the game. A quick bit of advice: patch your game before starting to play! Like many game patches that have been released lately, save games are not compatible with the newer version, so if you’ve managed to get a good 20 hours into the game, you’ll find all your hard work completely lost when you upgrade. Doh! But make sure you do patch the game, as there are some major bugs that you won’t want standing in the way of your quest. There are several weird ways to crash your computer (talking in one spot actually did it before…how odd) and you’ll want to get that covered ASAP.
|Credits: Bargain Bin logo illustrated and is © 1998 Dan Zalkus. This edition of Top Shelf is © 1998 Jason Bergman. All other content is © 1998 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is a majorly hostile gesture.|