Review by StavrosJ
"Possibly the best game I've ever played"
FT has very very good graphics. The environments are all very detailed, and display the ravaged atmosphere of Fallout better than the other two games. The character models are great as well; they are all modelled with careful detail, so much that you can vaguely see their facial features. This is especially true with the mechanical enemies you face late in the game;take one look at the behemoth and you're sure to be awestruck and frightened at both the amount of detail to it, and the ominousness of its shape. The death animations are good too, in fact, there's lots of them. Large calibre pistols rip holes in your foes, automatic weapons pelt bodies with many bullet holes, flamethrowers set enemies screaming while on fire and bazookas blow victims into pieces, in a realistic way, not in that Quake style.(my particular favorite animation is when a mutant gets hit by a shotgun shell. His stomach falls out of his belly and lands on the ground in a pile of mush, and he flies back head over heels. The graphics get one point off because of the weapons. For all the pistols, smgs, rifles/shotguns and machine guns, there is only one model for each. While this isn't a huge problem because you're not going to be looking at them for about 99 percent of the game, I would have liked it if your men looked more varied with more weapon models, say at least 4 models for each weapon class. Aside from that, the graphics have a great atmosphere which really is worth just standing there and looking. The character models are detailed and the animations are perfect.
Sound is probably the easiest department to judge, and I can safely say the sound in FT is perfect. When you're not in the many heated gunfights in the game, there's usually a very realistic ambient noise that plays. If its nighttime and its outdoors, you can hear the howling wind and trees rustling in it. Indoors you can hear the creaking of floorboards, the buzzing of flies, and while this doesn't really count, the overall dead silence of it is quite suspenseful. The weapon noises are spot on. While most weapons look the same, the sounds are more varied. The voice acting is also good, with personalities like R.Lee Ermey(he played the drill sergeant in full metal jacket), and Cam Clarke(you have never played a video game if you've never heard his voice). The other voice actors do a good job of portraying each of their character's personality, especially Rick the bartender. The music mostly blends itself with the ambient noises, and when things get heated up it plays a fast tune which varies on what atmosphere you are in. Also another good quality are the death screams. There are a whole bunch of different death screams; I'd say at least 10 per species, but there are a lot for the human characters. They are mostly funny and exaggerated, but I think it helps strengthen the partially comedic nature of any Fallout game. Overall, sound has nothing wrong with it.
There is so much praise I can give to FT's gameplay, but I'll list the most important ones. Firstly, this isn't an RPG. You don't talk to characters with dialogue options, you don't go on particularly long and numerous subquests, you don't look for clues or read notes, and quite frankly you don't do about 95 percent of the RPG elements you could do in the other Fallout games. The 5 percent goes to being able to barter with various characters and being able to level up all your squad members and do all the character attributes to them as in the original games. This isn't really a bad thing in my opinion because that just means FT is a completely different game. It is a squad based tactical strategy game, and I'm glad to say that out of the many ones I've played (the Commandos games, Ground Control, Desperados), this one is THE best one. There are 20 missions in all, though each one can last a while (about 1 or 2 hours for each one). You can complete most of the missions differently and have different outcomes. For instance, in one mission you have to save a scientist from prison. If he is killed you don't fail the mission; instead you don't get a promotion, which means you don't get access to new squad members, you get less experience points and in some cases you don't get access to better hardware. This element is present in all the missions which makes them seem less of a 'fail this objective and game over' kind of game. You can also play the mission to your own style, though at the end you're restricted to all out brute force. For all the humanoid enemies you face you can deal with them in any way you want. You can sneak up on them from behind, you can create diversions to distract them while the real force comes up while they don't know, and you can lure them into various traps by observing their patrol patterns, then laying mines on the path they take. There are so many options, and thats what I like most about this game. I also like how you can specialize your men to handle different weapons, and play various non-combative roles. for instance, my main character is the main stealth operative, and specializes in small arms. I have a sniper who also operates as a locksmith, and a medic that also operates as a scientist and mechanic. the fallout games have so much depth and options to upgrading your character, and I think out of all the Fallout games, FT's gameplay nature utilizes this to its fullest potential. Your characters can also crouch and go prone, and these two stances really make the difference in many aspects, more than you possibly think. There are also tons of drugs your men can use to enhance their combat potential, and obviously these have negative effects as well. Also, you can ride vehicles now, and thankfully they are mostly easy to control as long as your driver has a good amount of skill points in the driving skill. I took a point off because at the earlier levels your characters are not very developed with their weapons, but that also means they can't hit a target one foot away from them with a shotgun and when sneaking up on the human enemies its a big letdown when your character has the drop on the bad guy, fires, misses, then gets shot back at and killed. The gameplay is more centered around brute force about 50 percent of the game, because you'll be fighting super mutants and robots which are virtually impossible to use stealth on because of their bullet proof nature. That being said, FT is a hard game because about halfway through, each and everyone of your enemies poses a great threat to your entire squad. Until, that is, you get access to miniguns, rocket launchers and a grocery list of laser weapons. You can just group your squad together and rush them at one target: you have to have a lot of concentration and you must think realistically. As for multiplayer, I've never had the chance to try it because of my firewall which I can't get rid of, but given the nature of the game, I imagine it must be a blast working together with fellow human players because there's more strategic options. So overall, FT's gameplay is great, at least in the single player department. A lot of Fallout gamers didn't like this because it didn't have all the good stuff in the first two games, but THAT'S THE POINT! This isn't an rpg! Sure, you get to level up and give stat points but it still isn't an rpg! Its a big pity that there isn't an expansion pack because this game deserves it.
The story in FT is very intruiging. Each and every one of the 20 missions is used to further the plot, and mostly its very interesting. There are no let downs in the story, because it keeps the pace with its thrilling and post-apocalyptic nature. The story, overall, helps greatly to keep the player interested.
Call me a loser but I've played this game for 1 year now. I just love the way the missions are designed so you can have various ways to play each mission over and over again. The huge in depthness of the character interface means you can try different ways to model and choose your squad members each time you play. The game gives you a total of about 20-30 squaddies to pick, each with different specialities, and its good to try using different ones each time you play so your gameplay is more varied. If I had multiplayer I would definitely play this game even more frequently. Overall replayability is perfect because I like every aspect of the game so much that I think its worth reliving over and over again.
BUY OR RENT?
This is a strategy game. Not an RPG. As long as you keep that in your head, this is worth buying. Now I would say that burning this is illegal, but since its been a year already, I guess there's nothing wrong with doing it.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 10/15/02, Updated 10/15/02
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