Some Gripes with Fallout 2

Discussion in 'General Fallout Discussion' started by Joe17, Dec 25, 2017.


Is Fallout 1 better then Fallout 2?

  1. Yes

    16 vote(s)
  2. No

    6 vote(s)
  1. Joe17

    Joe17 First time out of the vault

    Dec 25, 2017
    I've played every Fallout and love them to death in their own way, but I feel that Fallout 2 is lacking in the writing department.

    The game seems to lack quite a bit of continuity when it comes to thematic elements. As in, in some areas, Fallout 2 is just all over the place for the sake of humour. For instance, take the random encounter with that guy at the bridge (forgot what it's called). What is that? What the hell is that supposed to achieve? How does it tie into anything? It just seems so out of place with the atmosphere the game is trying to create. In comparison, Fallout 1 keeps everything in a strict focus. You won't find giant talking rats telling you what to do or a random Tardis in the wasteland; every single encounter or decision has a purpose, and it serves to emphasise the games core themes.

    Fallout 2 just feels all over the place. I guess pop culture references are far more important then a coherent world.

    Another example is New Reno. From my understanding, the place exists so the player can do dumb shit, and for one major plot objective. It's existence brings up a couple questions:
    * How did they even survive the Great War and its aftershock? (Nuclear winter e.g.)
    * Why did the put time and effort into designing a side quest where the player could become a pornstar?
    * What purpose does it serve? What exploration of ideas does it promote? That gangsters will still be gangsters after the war?

    Here's some other gripes I have with the game:
    * Why is the Enclave so one sided? I understand their purpose (that the government often works for its own gains and is susceptible to moral corruption), but surely there needs to be a method to the madness (beyond "mass genicode because genetics don't match and science")?
    * Why is there a giant talking rat?
    * Where did tribals come from? They make sense for the most part, sure, but I'm not sure how the modern ideals of society were lost for survivors of the bombs (even if they were isolated)? You don't just suddenly forget the deeply ingrained social norms and civilised practices that have become part of our nature for no reason, so why have people reverted back to a hunter gatherer state?
  2. Atomkilla

    Atomkilla Hazel Hegemon oTO Orderite

    Dec 26, 2010
    Fallout 2 is all over the place. The writing process and approach to gameworld design were different compared to FO1, and it had a shorter development cycle (though arguably, stuff like engine and mechanics were already developed). Not to mention that the development itself was ridden with issues and the games was shipped basically unfinished, with many bugs and huge portions of game under-developed or cut.

    IIRC some developers commented on it, that different people designed different areas and that there was not much interaction between them, as some sort of unifying whole was never fully established.

    This is actually a logical development. In areas affected most by the catastrophe (I stress this part, areas not as severely afflicted are a potentially different matter), societal norms which you speak of go out the window before the dust settles, and people are just out there to survive - scavenging and hunting, since agriculture is at this point highly unlikely.

    Humans are social creatures, working best in small groups, so naturally they band together and overtime develop common identity that is unique to each group. This doesn't take all that long, and given that survival is a priority, almost every finesse and nuance that is epitome of modern civilization is fading away fast. Preservation of knowledge and recording of history aren't really top priority, and most of the things are passed around through oral communication, not written, and we all know what that can lead to.

    This all leads to obvious reversal of the social development. Knowledge turns to superstition. History to myth. Religion is losing it shape and starts adapting to immediate surroundings, akin to animism and totemism. Hunting-gathering-scavenging is the obvious way to go. Idolization of important figureheads in the "tribe" leads to ancestor cults etc.

    Depending on geography, it is highly likely that many different tribal cultures develop, often with conflicting ideas and ideals - hence war, and war never changes.

    All in all, revert to tribalism and paganism is nothing unnatural. It has occurred many times in history in times of great desolation, famine and overall chaos. It has even happened as recently as in 18-19th century Europe.
    It doesn't take very long. A generation or two of downtrodden is sufficient for the basis of the tribe.

    Fallout 2 happens more than a century after a cataclysmic event. More than enough time for all of this to happen.
    • [Like] [Like] x 8
  3. R.Graves

    R.Graves Confirmed Retard

    Apr 21, 2016
    Fallout 2 is a perfect mixed bag. It's got a roughly equal amount of good and bad. New Vegas is the ultimate fallout sequel though. 3/4 don't even count.
  4. peadar87

    peadar87 Still Mildly Glowing

    Jun 4, 2015
    Is a nuclear winter canon? As far as I remember the best first hand account of the immediate aftermath is from the Survivalist. He talks about the areas that are actually bombed being sterilised and reduced to rubble, but places like Zion experiencing a "black rain", which he waited out in a cave.

    In areas that weren't bombed and where it didn't rain before the better part of the fallout was washed from the atmosphere, people could have survived without a vault. Wouldn't have been easy, but there's a lot of wilderness out there.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  5. Jogre

    Jogre It's all JO'Ger now

    Oct 25, 2015
    The poll is too binary

    I'd say both games excel in different areas and saying one is better than the other to me doesn't make sense since I enjoyed them for very different reasons.
    A. Chris Avellone established in the Fallout Bible that Nuclear Winter didn't actually happen in the Fallout Universe, because that would require a sheer quantity of nukes that would render the surface almost entirely uninhabitable or some shit.

    IDK if that's been retconned with the "Patrolling the Mojave" joke, but in the time Fallout 2 was written they were unsure, and later they confirmed it didn't happen.

    B. How do you know how much of the city survived VS How much of the city was rebuilt? It could be the major landmarks stood, but the rest was rebuilt from scrap
    Why not?

    It's a silly concept, and doesn't take anything away from the game.
    What purpose does Junktown promote?, That towns will be made of junk after the war?

    What purpose does Adytum promote?, That towns in L.A will be smaller and more concentrated?

    Not every single area needs a grand overarching purpose. If it's a cool idea it's a cool idea.
    I agree, the Enclave were too blatant nazi parodies. They felt very unoriginal as villains.

    The "Method" to there madness is that these people aren't true humans, another sentient species will be a threat to true humanity, therefore wipe out the threat to true humanity.

    I agree that the Enclave are ridiculously unambigous, and fairly uncreative villains, but I would say that their motives do make some sense, even if they have stupid justifications.
    I always assumed same reason there are talking Deathclaws: Enclave Experiments in animal intelligence that went too far.

    It's a stupid idea, but it's not like we get no explanation. Anyone who talks to the Deathclaws and sees Keeng can piece two and two together.
    Define "Deeply ingrained social norms and civilised practices"

    Is living in a brick house and eating dinner at the table every night "Deeply Ingrained social norms and civilised practices"

    The tribals we see in Arroyo still have family, they still have close bonds with dogs and a code of ethics and care for one another. They mostly have the same societal norms as modern people.

    I fail to see why hunting with spears and living in huts goes against modern ideals of society or deeply ingrained social norms if basically every other thing they value they share with the outside world.

    The only thing really seperating the tribals we see from the "civilized" people we see is lack of technology/infastructure and a mythologised version of the Vault Dweller's Actions. Ignore those two things and they may as well just be ordinary people.

    I'd say the people of Arroyo are actually a fairly realistic presentation of how people would turn out after a nuclear catastrophe tbh.
    Firstly, they aren't hunter-gatherers. It literally mentions in the opening sequence that the people of Arroyo keep cattle and raise crops. Hunting just brings in pelts and extra meat.

    Secondly, hunter-gatherer societies aren't at all unrealistic in a post-apocalyptic scenario. Most people don't know shit about farming, so most people probably would go that way.
    • [Like] [Like] x 4
  6. R.Graves

    R.Graves Confirmed Retard

    Apr 21, 2016
    That's a super weak excuse and you know it. To paraphrase George Lucas "they may have gone too far in few places"
  7. Risewild

    Risewild Half-way Through My Half-life
    Modder Orderite

    Jun 14, 2014
    I have no problem with Keeng Rat or Brain. In a world where radiation mutates living creatures in weird ways:
    • Turn insects into giant versions of them (ants, mantises, scorpions, etc)
    • Makes all cows have two heads
    • Makes some humans survive for an unspecified and extreme long time (at least centuries) with their bodies burned and mutilated by radiation (in ways a human would quickly die from) and make them immune to radiation
    • Give some people and animals psychic powers
    • Allows character to "morph" a "trait" they were supposedly born with into a totally different "trait"
    • etc
    Why couldn't a rare mutation cause increased intelligence in an animal? It's not like there are an entire town of those rats, there are two and they are siblings (which makes way more sense than each of them being just a random super intelligent mole-rat, maybe the mutation was related to unique circumstances surrounding their parents, birth or their upbringing).

    Also like Jogre mentioned, there are people out there conducting experiments to increase the intelligence of other animals/beings. Not only is the Enclave doing it, there are also independent scientists doing it. That is another reason I am ok with the spore plant and scorpion being intelligent (because they are the product of a scientific project that an expert in his field have been working on for years).

    Not everything needs explanation, but in this case we have a few plausible reasons why those two creatures would possess a highly intelligence level compared to all the others in their species. It's not like they are just there and the universe/game doesn't have ways it could happen (mutation or human experimentation for example). As a nice detail, our character even notices that: "You see a large albino mole-rat with an enlarged braincase.".

    Another thing is that rats in the real world are highly intelligent and empathetic (for animals). Not only do they learn things easily (like how to find solutions to puzzles/problems), but they will also try to help other rats if those are suffering or trapped. And mole-rats in classic Fallout games are supposed to be large mutated rats or some creature that resulted from gene-splicing kodiak bears with rats (those are the two probable reasons of how mole-rats came to existance). So they are already a mutant or the result of human experimentation using highly intelligent mammals to begin with.
    • [Like] [Like] x 4
  8. R.Graves

    R.Graves Confirmed Retard

    Apr 21, 2016
    Because going "lel radiation can do anything" even to the point of sacrificing tone or consistency is... well kinda bad.
  9. Risewild

    Risewild Half-way Through My Half-life
    Modder Orderite

    Jun 14, 2014
    But you have no complaints about doing it in all the other ways I mentioned before? They are all things in the first Fallout.
    By that logic, Fallout 1 should be one of two things, all humans are dead and you play with some kind of animal or you play with humans but the world is totally destroyed and the only other humans around are inside vaults too. Because radiation would have killed every human around without being in specialized built shelters (and all the food humans would need to consume to stay alive for so long would be gone or highly irradiated that would kill a human in days).

    There wouldn't be any mutants, no ghouls, all electronics outside of Vaults would be fried because of the EMPs caused by each nuke, all insects would be their real world size, same with rats. The wasteland would probably be a lush green place by now (84 years after the bombs) and so on. Fallout was never about being realistic in terms of radiation or it's effects... Radiation in the real world kills everything and humans die from just a small percentage of exposure compared to the radiation humans get in Fallout...

    So saying that a couple mole-rat siblings could have mutated to be highly intelligent is to the point of sacrificing tone or consistency while allowing radiation to make ghouls, giant animals, two headed cows that survive and thrive, give people psychic powers and other stuff is just arguing for the sake of arguing. It is nitpicking stuff that you don't like because you don't like it and not because it is sacrificing tone or consistency.

    Also, I notice you ignored the second point of humans being developing human levels of intelligence in animals in the lore of the game.
    • [Like] [Like] x 3
  10. Jogre

    Jogre It's all JO'Ger now

    Oct 25, 2015
    I'm not commenting on whether it's a good excuse or not.

    The OP asked why there was a giant talking rat, and I gave the in-lore answer.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  11. valcik

    valcik So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Dec 20, 2008
    Yep, you are completely right and F2 authors are well aware of it as well. Since NMA's own ancient interviews are buried deep in the archive with many characters messed up thanks to different font encoding, here's a couple of quotes from decade old interviews writen by the most dreaded and unworthy IGN:

    • [Like] [Like] x 4
  12. Risewild

    Risewild Half-way Through My Half-life
    Modder Orderite

    Jun 14, 2014
    Imagine what games would be like if publishers/bosses wouldn't rush them.
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  13. karadoc

    karadoc First time out of the vault

    Dec 14, 2016
    In general, pop culture references in games don't age well. The Monty Python bridge keeper was delightfully hilarious when Fallout 2 came out; but now it's a bit old-hat, and younger players wouldn't recognise it at all. And there are stacks of things like that in the game, some more obvious than others. There are lots of pop-culture references that many people wouldn't even realise are pop culture references... for example the Pinky and the Brain stuff is prominent, but subtle. I reckon most people would miss that, even if its right in their face.

    In any case, these references and such are not good for a consistent theme; but a consistent theme isn't the main goal of the game. The main goal is to be entertaining. Serious and consistent stories can be very entertaining, but that just isn't the angle that Fallout 2 took.

    Fallout 2 is excellent for its target audience; but its target audience existed 20 years ago. Many of the jokes and references used just aren't as relevant today. In general, pop culture references in games don't age well... But players who remember will still appreciate them!
  14. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Nov 26, 2007
    This was really considered, and there is a remnant reference to it in the West-Tek logs. It was written in as a full location; where they lived.

    Fallout was going to have the S'Lanter, but at some point they decided not to do it; IRRC Tim Cain (perhaps among others) thought that it didn't really fit.

    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  15. Risewild

    Risewild Half-way Through My Half-life
    Modder Orderite

    Jun 14, 2014
    They thought that the location Burrows (S'lanter settlement) wasn't very Fallout-like (it was a lush oasis with green vegetation growing) and because they couldn't finish the S'lanter models for them in time:
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  16. TorontRayne

    TorontRayne This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Moderator Orderite

    Apr 1, 2005


    That's it. I am putting them in my Fallout Doom mod.
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  17. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Nov 26, 2007
    Does anyone here remember the Fallout Half-life mod?

  18. Lexx

    Lexx Background Radiant

    Apr 24, 2005
    That's not even the oldest one. There was one called Wastes or Wasteland or something for Half-Life 1. Don't think it was ever finished.
    /edit: The Wastes.
  19. Kohno

    Kohno Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Jul 30, 2009
    What I’ve noticed during these 10 years post-reanimation of Fallout, is that people increasingly consider Fallout more as an interactive lorebook than an RPG (or, at most something that could be interpreted as ’FPS with some stats combined with interactive lorebook’).

    That’s (in no small part) why Fallout 2 gets so much shit for a handful of bad jokes and few unfinished locations while New Vegas gets most of its shit excused for a return to form in narrative design.

    The poll... Fallout 2 is better as a game for its more expansive nature and technical fixes, but Fallout is better in its fiction. The central ideals of the games are nearly identical.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
    • [Like] [Like] x 6
  20. Jogre

    Jogre It's all JO'Ger now

    Oct 25, 2015
    I honestly hate how everyone expects games to take themselves seriously 24/7, and any breaking of the ice via jokes or fourth wall breaking is considered inappropriate.

    One of the things I love about older games is the silly comments from side NPCs and the fear of breaking the fourth wall.

    Nowadays games need to give strict warnings before even thinking about breaking "Muh immersion". Obsidian is a particular offender of this(Wild Wasteland being a trait to hide away anything even resembling a reference, In-game warnings about looking at memorials in Pillars of Eternity)
    Well I mean, it does return to a lot of the original design philosophies of the first 2 as well
    (Consequences for actions, reactive world, strong focus on RPG elements, multiple approaches to different situations, modular endings based on actions, fairly open nature, ect.)

    While I agree that it's not quite as reactive or unforgiving as the first 2, I'd say it's a good return to form in both central ideals and narrative design.