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Which of the Entries in the Fallout Video Game Series is the Best?

Fallout 2 Loading screen, one of the original entries in the Fallout video game series.

Reviewing the legacy of the Fallout video game series.

Last year, Ryan Alosio (who voiced the character of Deacon in Fallout 4) apparently let it slip via Instagram that the next entry in the Fallout video game seriesFallout 5, was not only coming, but it was already in development. Not long after, our collective hopes and dreams were effectively demolished when Alosio went on the record to clarify that it was all just a misunderstanding.

Then again, the Fallout series has given us a veritable mountain of memorable gaming moments (and sucked away weeks of our lives) already; is it fair to ask for more? Also, what are the chances that Fallout 5 would really live up to our expectations? As I ponder these questions, my thoughts turn to how we got here in the first place.

Fallout 4 was a big deal, and that’s an understatement. Multiple Game of the Year awards do sort of speak for themselves, though. But Fallout goes farther back. Before Fallout 4, there was Fallout: New Vegas, and before that gem there was the critically-acclaimed Fallout 3. Before that, there was…what, again?

The Beginning of the End…

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not suggesting that the origins of the Fallout series have been since lost in layers of post-apocalyptic dust like relics of a past civilization. Plenty of people played the games that came before Fallout 3, and plenty of people still do. Still, it’s true that a lot of people didn’t jump on the bandwagon until after getting to play Fallout 3 – most of them didn’t even know there was a bandwagon (and you can’t blame them – a large percentage of today’s hardcore gamers weren’t even born when the series got its start).

It’s a lot like what happened with Grand Theft Auto. A fun game with an interesting premise evolved into a fun game with an interesting premise and awesome graphics, and suddenly the market for it grew exponentially. With that said, let’s take a look at how the original Fallout games stack up against their successors.

Fallout (1997)

The original Fallout was a huge hit, winning multiple RPG of the Year awards and being referred to as “quite simply the best RPG to hit the PC in years” by Computer Gaming World. Not to be out-wordsmithed, Strategy Plus called it a “glowing example of the [RPG] genre, one which positively radiates quality”. (Ha – see what they did there? “Radiates.” Ha.)

Gamers’ love for Fallout has transcended both time (over the years, it’s been ranked as high as the fourth best PC game of all time by PC Gamer and the 33rd best video game of all time by IGN ) and space (over in Poland, the Wirtualna Polksa web portal put it at the sixth most addictive classic game).

Fallout 2 (1998)

Some people criticized Fallout 2 for not being very much improved from its predecessor. On the other hand, it still got high praise from big names like GamePro, IGN, and Game Revolution, and received generally positive reviews, according to online review aggregators like Metacritic. Tellingly, it has stood the test of time, and just last year was ranked the third best RPG of all time by PC Gamer.

Other Installments

The early series also spawned two spinoff games: Fallout Tactics (2001) and Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2004). A third spinoff, Fallout: Shelter, was released in 2015. None of these games made quite the level of impression as did their counterparts in the main series, but that’s fairly typical of spinoffs. Including these three, though, what would be a good metric for deciding how all of the Fallout games actually compare to one another?

Luckily, someone’s already figured that one out. User Extintor over at GiantBomb started a thread last year in which he (or she) asked gamers who had played each of the Fallout installments to rank each one according to their preference. Then, Extintor assigned each ranking a points value, and kept up with the total tally. At the time of this writing, and only among gamers who played every entry in the Fallout series, here’s how they stacked up individually, from least to most-liked:

  • Fallout: Shelter
  • Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel
  • Fallout Tactics
  • Fallout 4
  • Fallout 3
  • Fallout
  • Fallout 2
  • Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout 4 deserves the praise and awards it has received. With its atmospheric post-apocalyptic setting, its exciting combat, and its intriguing plotlines, it was far and away one of the best games of 2015.

But while the Fallout 4 plot and the Fallout 4 mechanics are both excellent, there’s a mismatch between them. It’s a mismatch that, once it hits you, can make for an unsettling game [Click here to read more…]

So, have you missed out on the best Fallout games?

It’s understandable that there are quite a few of us who didn’t get on board until mid-way through the series. The original games were just easier to overlook. When Fallout 3 hit shelves, overlooking it just wasn’t an option – how could anyone not drool over a massive open-world post-apocalypse role-playing masterpiece that doubled as a first-person shooter and was made by the same company that had created the legendary Elder Scrolls games?

Anyway, if you did miss out, don’t fret –  just go grab an almost 20-year old copy of Fallout and restart your journey into the irradiated wasteland of the Fallout video game series. After all, new isn’t always better. Then, when you’re done, meet me at Game Stop and we can wait in line together for Fallout 5.

Also, if you’ve been a diehard fan of the series, and played them since the beginning, let us know which one you think is the best entry in the Fallout video game series.

Featured Image: Interplay / Bethesda

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