Fallout Is The Bomb
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In my continuing quest to review good multiplayer console games, I ran across Fallout Brotherhood of Steel. Having played every Fallout game ever created over the years, I was overjoyed at the concept of the series leaping into the console world.
Although I was a bit disappointed with what I found, Brotherhood is nonetheless a good game that kept my interest right up until the end.
As the name might suggest, Fallout games take place in post-nuclear apocalyptic world. Basically the world became kind of what people in the 1950's thought the future would be like with flying cars, robotic servants and stuff like that. Then the entire place got nuked. What is left is an interesting mix of crude technology and amazingly high-tech stuff that does not even exist today.
In Brotherhood, you play one of three recruits (there are other locked characters you can get later on) trying to prove themselves to the Brotherhood of Steel, the kind of lawmen of the wasteland. You are given a seemingly simple assignment to locate some missing paladins. Of course if paladins (the top tier of the organization) have gone missing, you would figure that there might be trouble. But anyway, you arrive in a dusty little town that is being harassed by raiders.
Here begins your first foray into blood and destruction.
The game is all about combat. There is a thin plot, but basically you are supposed to kill everything that moves. The best way to accomplish this is to play with a partner, because then you can both be active on the screen at the same time.
Combat is violent and bloody. Bodies explode and fly backwards, goo from giant insects pop off the screen and generally gore is the name of the game. Besides this, there is also some really, really bad language. The game is rated M, and unlike most games stuck with the M rating, this one actually deserves it. It seems the developers purposely put in every bit of bad language they could, to the point that it gets a bit silly. When describing a giant scorpion monster the game says something like "You were hired to kill everything, and that includes this huge MF" only they don't say MF. Dialog choices also give you the option to say "FU" to just about every person you interact with in the game. It seems polite society was the first casualty of the bomb.
There is even a bit of sexual content. You can hire the prostitute named Ruby, whether or not you are a man or a woman, and the game will fade out and play a porno-like soundtrack complete with funny comments. Just be warned that this is no game for kids.
If bad language and sexual content are fine with you, then the game is a typical hack and slash game. Players find better and better weapons as they progress, including some freakishly oversized ones that do thousands of points of damage and can kill all but the bosses in a shot or two. All long range weapons require ammo, which keeps the game in balance somewhat. Melee weapons are also quite powerful, but as I learned the disadvantage to playing a brawler is that you get hit yourself a lot. Partnering a melee character with a powerful shooter is the best way to avoid taking a dirt nap.
I am going to rate Brotherhood's difficulty as hard, because I play a lot of games like this and at times this one was maddeningly difficult. When you have a boss that can chuck an infinite supply of explosive weapons at you or a monster that can heal as you are damaging it, the reload function will quickly become your friend. Especially towards both the early beginning and late ending, Brotherhood can be downright frustrating.
If you like two player games that you can play at the same time, and are tired of the fantasy genre, then Brotherhood is a good choice for those adults who don't mind bad language and gore. Brotherhood is a solid title that probably won't win any awards, but will keep you playing until you blow the head off your final enemy, curse loudly and head back into the wasteland to get liquored up with the local whore. It earns a respectable three and + GiN Gems.
John Breeden II is the Chief Editor of GiN. While a forward thinking man he admits to a fondness for older video games. You should have seen him at Videotopia. John can be contacted at : email@example.com.