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 A second try at Fallout 2.

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gavin gold

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PostSubject: A second try at Fallout 2.   A second try at Fallout 2. EmptyMon Jan 11, 2021 7:09 pm

Some time ago I posted about my experience with Fallout 2, how I absolutely hated it, and how Fallout 4 was a much better game.

I decided to give it a second try. But this time, I was going to do things right: I was going to listen to the old timers, I was going to spend some time looking up tutorials and learning about the game before diving in, I was going to keep the wiki open at all times, I was going to mentally prepare for the archaic mechanics...

I felt I should give it a fair try, so I did. Played the game a few times, made sure to finish at least once.

The story: It's OK. Not bad, not great. The premise is nothing new, but it works fine: small town hero, a quest to save your family, a magical object that's the answer to all your problems, and a tyrannical government that stands in your way.

It has a lot in common with Fallout 3 and 4, which is ironic considering how older players say the story in both those games is terrible. The character is far from being a blank slate, having his past, origin and identity well defined. Family is your main motivation. And the game, both in terms of story and mechanics, pushes you towards being the good guy. Yes, there's plenty of room to murder, enslave, plunder and even genocide along the way, but saving Arroyo is always the goal. The game doesn't end until you save your village, and if you're evil in the process it's both awkward given the story, and you will be getting a lot less XP that you otherwise would. I have no problem BTW, I like playing as the hero, I just think it's ironic that people complain about the very same thing in Fallout 4.

On that same note, the Enclave is one of the lamest villains I've ever seen, specially compared to Caesar's Legion in NV or the Institute in FO4, both of which are truly insidious, ever-present threats. They barely have any presence in the game until the very end.

At certain points it feels really preachy, which is something I don't appreciate. The Chosen One should be disgusted to find his ancestral home turned into a deathclaw nest. And, further, it doesn't matter if they're pacifists or not, normal deathclaws are a threat as it is, intelligent deathclaws would be an incalculable threat to humans in a world where civilization is trying to climb out of the gutter. But if you recognize these issues, the game openly tells you you're evil, because why? Kumbaya and let's all get along or you're a bigot? The master mutilated and experimented on innocent people turning them into brain damaged monsters and the "good" mutant Marcus defends it, but I'm the bad guy if I don't like mutants? BTW that could be an interesting conversation, but how about you let the player decide what's good and what's evil instead of having Fallout Jesus tell you?

Honestly, the one part about the story that's truly great is how much freedom you have to progress. Compared to Bethesda's RPGs where to need to locate the one item, or find the one person, or complete the one objective to advance the story, it's nice to have so many ways in which you can go about things.

The world: To me, this is where the game truly shines. The devs really thought about how things would work. Settlements make sense. There's power plants for electricity, wells for clean water. There's farmers who produce food, trappers who hunt for skins and meat, and tanners who produce the leather outfits people wear. There's churches, and casinos, and bathhouses. The world really exists for a purpose beyond giving you targets to shoot, and you can take part in it.

The problem is you get next to nothing out of it. The game lets you waltz into the casino's boss office, put a bullet between his eyes, fuck his wife and daughter and leave a baby in both their bellies, like a total fucking chad. But your reward for it is what? A ending slide? Videogames simply can't replicate the thrill you get out of something like that. The one thing videogames can let you experience fully is combat, which is why I'm not surprised the rpg elements have been neglected in new titles in favor of improving the combat mechanics.

The mechanics: The whole isometric RPG formula, further limited by the archaic tech of the 90's, is the worst about the game. And that shouldn't matter, but it does, because it gets in the way of enjoying the story and experiencing the world. This would be a significantly better game if made on a modern engine, but I'm not kidding when I say at certain points I actually fell asleep when playing. And those talking heads are the stuff of nightmares, Myron specially.

Overall: No, it wasn't as terrible as I originally felt it was. I ended up actually enjoying it. But I wouldn't go back. Fallout 4 was a far better game for me, and a lot of Bethesda's decisions now make a lot more sense.

Anyway, that's my perspective. Like I said, I simply wanted to give the game a fair try. Hopefully that explains the perspective of a younger player to the older audience. Feel free to agree or disagree.


Last edited by gavin gold on Sat Feb 27, 2021 8:17 pm; edited 2 times in total
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roflcopter117
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PostSubject: Re: A second try at Fallout 2.   A second try at Fallout 2. EmptyMon Jan 25, 2021 12:00 pm

Quote :
The game lets you waltz into the casino's boss office, put a bullet between his eyes, fuck his wife and daughter and leave a baby in both their bellies, like a total fucking chad.

For a lot of older players, this is a reward in of itself. lol
It was fairly common game design to have rewards be "a job well-done", as opposed to a randomly generated piece of gear or a radiant amount of currency. What this disparity between the the different fallout fanbases really boils down to is what one wants out of a game. Fallout 4 follows the principle of "peck the button, get the reward" to the letter. Instant gratification vs delayed gratification. New Vegas in a lot of ways was basically the original "fallout 4" planned after Van Buren; it follows many of the same design principles while also modernizing everything. It's the reason why so many people adamantly love it. Back in the day, it really united the old and nu-fallout fanbases.
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gavin gold

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PostSubject: Re: A second try at Fallout 2.   A second try at Fallout 2. EmptyMon Jan 25, 2021 6:12 pm

@roflcopter117 No, no, I didn't mean reward as in getting a better gun or a few caps for my efforts. I mean as in the thrill of doing something like that.

Videogames have gotten pretty good at letting you experience combat. An intense fight can be an awesome moment. It's obviously not exactly like being in a real fight, but that would come with a lot more stress and danger, so it gives you some of the same thrill while being safe.

But videogames can't simulate sex, not to the same degree, or to any degree really. Fucking and impregnating Angela Bishop irl would feel amazing, while in a game it doesn't produce any feeling at all. A computer program can't give you those emotions.

That's why I say it doesn't surprise me that those kinds of RPG elements have been neglected in newer titles in favor of better combat. Because that's the one thing videogames can do well.
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roflcopter117
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PostSubject: Re: A second try at Fallout 2.   A second try at Fallout 2. EmptyMon Jan 25, 2021 11:46 pm

Mass appeal is also a significant factor in this shift in priority. A lot of those old-school isometric RPGs are hard to get into for the average person; when they were being made, they were on relatively miniscule budgets with a similarly small target audience. Publishers today want a game that everyone can digest in order to maximize the number of customers (there is nothing inherently wrong with this, it is a financially sound decision).

Regarding simulating other experiences, people really had to rely on their imaginations more often back then due to technical limitations of computers. This was even the case for combat. We don't do that as often anymore so younger people such as you and myself will naturally have a harder time enjoying such games.

Combat is a simple, generally fun, and easy to make gameplay element that can appeal to many people. Everyone seems to like slaughtering things, so it is natural for the market to shift in that direction. The market follows the money, and the money is currently in games with a simple and digestible gameplay loop; explore, kill, loot, repeat. Companies are ultimately out there to make money, making a cool game is a byproduct of this goal. The shift doesn't surprise me either, but for a different reason.

I am more so on "team RPG", but the idea of someone preferring Fallout 4 does not offend nor surprise me. You and I seek different forms of gratification in games, and like different games by extension. AND that is absolutely okay.

Good on you for really giving Fallout 2 a fair shot though. It's not always an easy thing to do but you pulled it off. (For the record, I have plenty of criticisms for Fallout 2 as well, in spite of my enjoyment)
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princevegeta2005

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A second try at Fallout 2. Empty
PostSubject: Re: A second try at Fallout 2.   A second try at Fallout 2. EmptyFri Feb 05, 2021 9:10 am

I get what you mean, its very very clunky and outdated and while id love to go through the story the gameplay is just way to boring for me to sit down and play all the way through. ive always hoped for a fallot 1/2 remake in the new vegas engine so new school fallout players could enjoy it
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sandtwister200

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PostSubject: Re: A second try at Fallout 2.   A second try at Fallout 2. EmptyFri Feb 05, 2021 11:24 am

@roflcopter117 wrote:
Quote :
The game lets you waltz into the casino's boss office, put a bullet between his eyes, fuck his wife and daughter and leave a baby in both their bellies, like a total fucking chad.

For a lot of older players, this is a reward in of itself. lol
It was fairly common game design to have rewards be "a job well-done", as opposed to a randomly generated piece of gear or a radiant amount of currency. What this disparity between the the different fallout fanbases really boils down to is what one wants out of a game. Fallout 4 follows the principle of "peck the button, get the reward" to the letter. Instant gratification vs delayed gratification. New Vegas in a lot of ways was basically the original "fallout 4" planned after Van Buren; it follows many of the same design principles while also modernizing everything. It's the reason why so many people adamantly love it. Back in the day, it really united the old and nu-fallout fanbases.

That was one of the best parts of my playthrough was plowing his wife and daughter all whilst married to the lady in Modoc whom I also plowed.

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gavin gold

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PostSubject: Re: A second try at Fallout 2.   A second try at Fallout 2. EmptySat Feb 06, 2021 11:12 pm

@sandtwister200 It is a cool moment in the story, I don't disagree with that. But you're relying completely on the player's imagination. To me it's hard to get any thrill out of a little bit of dialogue and an ending slide. I can appreciate it as storytelling, I just don't care for it as a game mechanic.

Not necessarily means that kind of thing is it's a waste of time. You could add a bit more dialogue and a few semi erotic scenes and it could work because it at least would be more interactive. Not that Bethesda ever would do that because it would affect the game's rating.

@princevegeta2005 Probably better to remake it in a more modern engine, the NV engine is really old by now. Having said that, one issue to me is that not everything that works in an isometric tabletop RPG necessarily works well in a 3d FPS.

In FO2, you and your character are completely separate. You don't interact with the world, your character does, and you observe from afar. Your ability as a player to influence your character's actions is very limited, and in that context, skills are meaningful representations of your character's proficiency. I was surprised by how useful they were.

I say I was surprised because in NV, skills are just gamey mechanics that get in my way. I'm a good shot, I know how to play the game, but if my character's skill in guns is low, the bullets I fire will artificially curve, making me miss. Naturally, I was glad they removed skills in FO4, it was a necessary part of a more fun and fluid combat. Most people however, will mention this as one of the things they dislike about FO4, which boggles my mind because I've never seen a single person that actually likes FO3/NV combat, in fact most people mod it to - to varying degrees - reduce the importance of skills in the game.

The problem is a lot of people cling to the old out of a habit, or confuse the desire for depth in a game with keeping around old mechanics that are not a good fit for the new format. So if the game was remade today, I suspect it would draw more criticism than not, because a lot of what's old fans like about it doesn't work well in an FPS, and if you truly modernize it, a lot of people would claim it's not what they want.
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