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Gaming Reviews with Grimm Series 1: Fallout

Patrick Keith reviews his favorite (and not so favorite) video games. Covering PC games and different consoles, Grimm goes into detail about his experiences with each game. Don't forget, Grimm has a knack for finding the rarest glitches when he plays any sort of game!

Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel

Alright the next game in the series and … wait. This isn’t the same game or story from before? Nope! This is a step in a new direction and is considered to be not really related to the actual story line. Developed by Micro forte and published by 14 Degrees East on March 14, 2001, this takes place in the same post-apocalyptic world as Fallout 1 and Fallout 2. This is a mainly combat orientated role-playing game, with the player now controlling up to 6 squad mates and engaging old and new adversaries. The story thus far is some filler on the group known as The Brotherhood of Steel. Essentially the group that you are part of is a splinter from the old Brotherhood tasked with destroying the remnants of a super mutant army.

To start the game is a lot different from the others. First of all is character creation but this is still familiar because the ever simple and effective SPECIAL system is still in use. This is one of the only things that stayed the same. Quick review the special system is a seven stat system with skills and a perk every three levels. You get to be the main guy and have to be human but the rest of your party can be of many races including Super Mutants and the fearsome Deathclaws. Take note the role-playing is, somewhat sadly, focused on shooting people in the face, so the non-combat skills are of much less importance in this game. In fact, you can’t survive if you don’t choose something for getting your murder on. New game systems start with the change in game play at its most fundamental level. Originally you were always in turn-based combat, and now you can choose that, Squad turn-based, and my favorite continuous turn-based. Squad turn-based is like the old way only everyone goes at the same time as the rest of their friends. Continuous is where it’s real-time and action points regenerate at a rate determined by your agility. This makes combat capable of going much quicker and, if you aren’t careful, much messier for you.

Next is several mechanics that are all important and are all related in importance. First of all is that there is now line of sight. You can only see someone if one of your soldiers can see them. This makes the next two things very integral to survival and scouting. First the importance of height is made clear with an increased fire range and partial cover from gunfire and second is the ability to change stance. With the ability to stand, crouch, and crawl you can now use cover to hide completely from view and notice or sprint to new points on the map. Finally the feature that makes it possible to control the squad effectively is the sentry settings. This allows you to make them passive and only notify you if they see an enemy, make them defensive and only notify you about enemies and return fire, and finally to notify you and be aggressive, engaging any and all enemies that come in range. All this means you can set up fire teams to watch for incoming, scout out enemies with stealth, and to storm buildings or bunkers to clear them out.

On the next topic the weaponry is more varied again and any choice in weaponry can be very deadly if applied right. However, with the addition of real-time, melee options are far more difficult than the old method of run up and punch. You have to be creative. Now granted there is still the same problem of automatic weapons easily hitting anyone in front of them, and the glitch where if you have a zero percent chance of hitting someone you’ll likely plaster whomever else is nearby. But this is a small problem or advantage depending on who’s on the receiving end and the rest of combat is well done and smooth. Most notable in weapons is now grenades not only do respectable and deadly damage but are infinitely handy for enemies hiding behind things. Finally in weapons is the full addition of vehicles during missions that give you good armor, mobility, and most importantly the ability to play bumper tag. The vehicles can be destroyed if you’re not careful but can also be repaired and your squad can fire out from the inside, and the vehicles have an infinite inventory space so they make great storage. The only real downside is that after your game of vehicular homicide in the mission where you receive it, you have to leave it parked in the bunker of your choice because one of the only glaring glitches in this game that was never fixed. You can not enter a mission in a vehicle, if you try to you lose the vehicle for good. You can however leave with it and travel from bunker to bunker in them or even use the vehicles to hunt for special encounters on the main map. While being a real buzz kill this doesn’t make the game impossible or anything, it just makes you sad.

For the game overall you spend time doing missions, moving your way up in the ranks, getting access to new squad mates, equipment, and new missions from your main bunker. As you progress new bunkers are made and become your new home, and you enter new areas with new missions from these bunkers, and as you go you can keep finding more special encounters. As before the special encounters vary from funny to profitable and a few times both. The story over all is rather simple compared to the other Fallouts but is still thorough in it’s simplicity, and finishes up quite neatly with the possibility for multiple endings dependent on the player. This is all the single player content though; this is the first Fallout to have multiplayer capability. Its simple enough you make your squad, they make theirs, and either it’s a multi-way war or it’s a teamed war, sometimes with an objective one team or the other has to protect or destroy. Typically however you kill everyone against you and you win. Only real problem is that some weapons and armor are so strong that only the weapons that are considered “overpowered” by some are strong enough to beat that character. Such things involve power armor and heavy weapons like the browning m2 which did enough damage that it could literally instant kill just about any character build out there, and it has the range of a sniper rifle. So usually either everyone plays to be the craziest character, or the game has a few restrictions in place by the host to make the game fair and fun.

In finish I found this game to be quite fun, the controls simple enough for the most part and, despite the one or two glitches, overall the rest was done smoothly and fun. I particularly enjoyed the insanity that real-time combat brought and the new challenge of height and line of sight when battling or sneaking around. I have heard more than a few people complain about this game, comparing it to it’s predecessors and pointing out the complete step away from heavy role-playing with solid involving story line that was very well done. I agree it’s a lot different from Fallout 1 and 2 and I think that’s good. It was put out by different companies and was designed to be a squad-based combat orientated game for strategy and violence with less storyline. I believe it accomplished this very well and is a very fun game when looked at without thinking it’s a sequel to the first games. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a decent real-time or turn based strategy game set in the Fallout universe.



Written By Patrick Keith. Edited by Tyler Clapp. All references, icons, and imagery are trademark to their appropriate owners, and author and editor take no credit for creation/ownership of these things, only the opinions stated in this article.