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Fallout Fallout 1 was a Harbinger of the Decline!

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by sigard, Aug 2, 2021.

?

Fallout 1 represents:

Poll closed Aug 9, 2021.
  1. Incline

    91.1%
  2. Decline

    8.9%
  1. sigard Learned

    sigard
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    Throughout this post I'll refer to the "gameplay elements" of a game as well as the "entertainment elements".

    Gameplay is what the player does in order to play the game and gameplay elements include the game systems that the player interacts with. The key aspect here is the player doing something.

    Entertainment elements are the elements that the player passively consumes, as they do in other forms of media. graphics, sound, animations, narrative, etc. The key aspect here is the player passively consuming media.

    With that out of the way:
    It seems that Fallout 1 has a lot in common with Decline era CRPGs.

    Notable commonalities between Fallout 1 and Decline era CRPGs:

    -single controllable character instead of a party

    - shallow and simplistic core gameplay

    Hide behind cover, pop out to shoot the enemy, then duck behind cover once again. Rinse and repeat. I think we have a word for this. Unfortunately, you can't call Fallout's combat turn based popamole because the enemies aren't smart enough to use cover.

    And if you do manage to get hurt? For only 4 total ap you can use as many stimpacks as you want. Reminds me of certain early hack and slash games before they started putting in timers to prevent you from chain chugging potions.

    Fallout's combat is heavily streamlined and simplified, what with the AI being put in charge of all party members except the PC and with the crouch and prone positions (vital for modeling combat with firearms) being omitted.

    It does have an aiming system, but unfortunately you will find that depending on your skills there is generally a clearly optimal place to aim and after a while you'll just aim for the eyes all the time. This was an attempt at depth but it mostly ended up as false depth. Aiming for a weak spot in the enemy's armor might have added some depth to the aiming system, but in Fallout there is only one slot for armor rather than individual pieces to aim for. (Streamlined armor 14 years before Skyrim!)

    Overall, it is kind of easy to see how the Devs of the next gen Fallout games thought that nothing of value would be lost by scrapping Fallout's version of turn based combat.

    -Heavy focus on entertainment elements instead of gameplay elements

    Despite how simple and shallow Fallout's combat gameplay is, everyone loved the combat, including me as an adolescent. Why? Those awesome death animations of course. They didn't add any depth to the gameplay but they sure looked cool. I bet a lot of you guys wasted a perk on bloody mess.

    It is a classic early example of covering up shallow gameplay using graphics/animation and it works perfectly, people to this day will unthinkingly list combat as one of Fallout 1's strengths, possibly while criticizing next gen games that show the results of your attacks in cut scenes.

    Ok, so the combat system doesn't demand very much from the player. But surely all that exploration and dialog based gameplay will demand a lot from the player? Well, a lot of patience, that's about it. Once the player has figured out the combat system, he has figured out the vast majority of Fallout's gameplay, all that's left are a few easy puzzles and some clicking of dialog options.

    The rest is entertainment. In Fallout, the entertainment elements are generally well done, unlike the gameplay, so it's not really surprising that people love Fallout more for the animations, atmosphere, narrative, dialog, sound, graphics, cut scenes, etc., than for the gameplay.

    Dialog in Fallout does present some gameplay in that you will have to pick options at times, but as a game, "read text and pick option" is far more simplistic than even cell phone games. Especially as many of the choices are rather inconsequential as far as winning the game, often they're more relevant to passively reading about certain cosmetic results of your choice later on.

    As gameplay, dialog in Fallout 1 is a mini game at best. Mostly dialog in Fallout 1 is entertainment.

    Conclusion:

    While Fallout 1 was pretty fun back in 1997, it should be seen as a significant step towards that grim day when Devs realized "Making a game that stays fun for X hours is really hard, but producing X hours of entertainment content is much, much easier, especially since standards for entertainment in video games are so low".

    It's not that big of a leap from Fallout 1 to the modern post decline CRPGs where people here will openly admit that the gameplay is shit and they're just playing for the entertainment elements.
     
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  2. agris Arcane Patron

    agris
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    excidium is rolling in his e-grave
     
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  3. Bester ⚰️☠️⚱️ Patron Vatnik

    Bester
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    I'm not reading that ^
    With a few exceptions, most pre-fallout RPGs offered "a gazillion galaxies, all randomly generated, all distinct by 1 pixel color", unintuitive control schemes by making a ton of hotkeys that you needed to read about in the manual, and lacked in the story department. Other genres kept evolving and outselling RPGs, while RPGs stagnated for almost a decade and as a result, there was talk about the imminent death of the genre. Fallout is the thing that evolved from those poor selling RPGs into something that became accessible to all and was more fun. It wasn't a decline or incline, it was one of the select few games that saved the RPG genre. In short, it went higher than simply being incline. It was a jump 90 degrees upwards.
     
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  4. Lord_Potato Arcane

    Lord_Potato
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    sigard

    Working hard for this dumbfuck tag, aren't you?
     
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  5. Lemming42 Arcane

    Lemming42
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    Everything you say is true. Fallout is a storyfag game through and through - anyone seeking great combat and exploration need not apply.

    It's been said on here before, but Fallout's greatness comes from the way it's arguably the first ever RPG where it feels like you're actually playing against a DM who's reacting to what you do. Successfully creating that illusion is at the core of any story-based RPG, and Fallout is one of the only games ever to succeed at it. You classify this as "entertainment elements", which comes across as kind of dismissive. It's fair to criticise Fallout's core mechanics (because they are a bit shit, for the reasons you pointed out), but it's equally fair to say that the game doesn't necessarily need great combat. And at least the combat is serviceable, rewards/punishes you for your skill point allocations as it should, and is over quickly. It's not like New Vegas, which might be the best Fallout game if it weren't trapped in the fucking Gamebryo engine, forcing you to endure the worst combat known to mankind.

    Fallout's story and setting are also wrapped up in such a great package - the graphics are beautiful, the music is amazing (even if it's just a dark ambient CD which Mark Morgan found and decided to copy every fucking track off), the clay models for the talking heads all ooze character, boosted by top voice acting. You correctly mention these as the things people remember about the game, but again, they're such a success that they're all the game needs to be great. It's not a perfect game, but it sort of shows you the outline of a perfect game, which is more than most RPGs do.

    Fallout's briefness is also part of its strength. Fallout 2 and New Vegas are both great games with their own strengths, but their length isn't one of them. Unless you just do the main quests in both and ignore 95% of the content, 2 and NV are utterly overlong and by the end you're just begging for it to end. Fallout 1, meanwhile, throws you into a snapshot of a fascinating world, shows you a glimpse of the lives of the people living there, sends you on a journey with a clear beginning and end, and concludes at the perfect point, where you've seen enough to be deeply invested in the world, but seen so little that you're wishing for more and your imagination is running wild.
     
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  6. nyjsu Educated Patron

    nyjsu
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    yo mama was a harbinger of decline
     
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  7. Stavrophore Kalin was right all along. Patron

    Stavrophore
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    Strap Yourselves In
    Combat is kinda shallow, but not everything has to be DnD tier complicated.
     
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  8. mondblut Arcane

    mondblut
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    The word you are looking for is "Ultima VII". Fallout wasn't a harbinger, it was only a bump on the long road down.
     
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  9. Lonely Vazdru Pimp my Title

    Lonely Vazdru
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    The fact that they don't love you back is probably the source of your dissatisfaction. I'm not sure playing CRPG and pissing people off on boards will ease it.
     
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  10. The Jester Cipher

    The Jester
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    Your mom was Hardener of my dick.
     
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  11. ciox Savant

    ciox
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    While Fallout 1 goes from a party system to a single-character system, it also shows a way for such a system to work, through improvements to character customization.

    There was either no such thing as feats, or they were not at all popular before Fallout's perks came along, instead RPG characters just gained new capabilities automatically at certain levels, and stayed locked to one path of development.

    Fallout's perks then made it back into D&D as feats so that even a full party system could have more character customization, and inspired the character levelling systems for many other video games.
     
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  12. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

    Grunker
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    Fallout's gameplay is mostly ass. Infinitron and I got a decent amount of hate for saying as much way back in the day, and Darth Roxor still hasn't forgiven me, the dear boy.

    But core combat gameplay isn't really what Fallout is about, so you can't judge the entire game on it's half-assed customization systems or weak-ass combat. What it does in terms of C&C, sensation of scarcity build into the mechanics, building an outstanding atmosphere and having mechanics back up the roleplaying in each aspect of the game is where it truly shines.

    It is meaningless to divide everything into "decline" and "incline" as if game design follows a binary up- or down-trend. If you actually think that way inside your own head, you've drunk too heavily from the Codex meme pot.

    If the question is whether Fallout 1 is a good game, it most certainly is.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2021
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  13. V_K Arcane

    V_K
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    Only if you never played Dragon Wars, Pool of Radiance, Dark Sun or Quest of Glory.
     
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  14. mondblut Arcane

    mondblut
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    Here, he said it: Fallout IS decline.

    "Perks" are garbage, basically skill trees sans clean presentation. The reason they are there is because every RPG needs some button:awesome abilities and they couldn't do it via spells and powerful magic artifacts as it is usually done. Cargoculting this crap back into games WITH spells and artifacts is plain retarded.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2021
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  15. ciox Savant

    ciox
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    Found the Fallout 4 fan.
     
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  16. Trashos Arcane

    Trashos
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    First we have to define what "exploration" is.
     
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  17. Tihskael Learned

    Tihskael
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    It is a good game and stands out for no RPG is truly great.
     
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  18. Gandalf Learned

    Gandalf
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    That's Dungeon Hack & Diablo, which were released before Fallout.

    Fallout has it flaws but it remains one of the best cRPG's ever created.
     
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  19. DraQ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    DraQ
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  20. Daedalos Arcane The Real Fanboy

    Daedalos
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    > read thread title:
    > Oh wow, i'm sure this thread has a very though-out and well versed opinion and argument about fallout 1
    > click on thread
    > close thread
     
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  21. Sratopotator Scholar

    Sratopotator
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    Every game that has a lot of moving parts and has a big following (a "Great" game) can be considered as a harbinger of decline. Each and every one. Duh (even purely because of its popularity).

    1. Obviously, Great games are imitated by other developers.
    2. Even Great games are not perfect. In general, no games are. Developers imitating a Great game, often duplicate its faults. Every Great game has faults.
    3. Even if a product is Great, people who like this product can be complete morons and have zero taste. Surprisingly, liking something that requires a certain level of "taste", does not mean that the person liking it has the chops to create anything worthwhile, or even that the person can differentiate good ideas from bad ones.

    This is all even more true for games that can be considered "better than the sum of their parts", which Fallout certainly is (seeing how much of it is objectively mediocre).

    PS: tldr
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2021
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  22. Ol' Willy Arcane Zionist Agent

    Ol' Willy
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    Fallout's weakest point is undoubtedly combat.
    To think of it, skill system isn't properly realized at all. I already wrote about this some time before.
    But the foundation is great. And when we play Fallout, we can see the first use of this foundation and it is glorious.
    The sad part that there was very few games based on this foundation. Fallout 2 grow wide, but not high. Arcanum is a different beast.
    Things were in this sad state until 2015. AoD, Nevada, 1.5, Dungeon Rats, Sonora... all games built on this great foundation.
    The legacy of Fallout, sans the horrible wannabes
     
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  23. Zed Duke of Banville Zo Kath Ra Patron

    Zed Duke of Banville
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    Dungeons & Dragons has always had fairly abstract, gamist combat, with the early computer adaptations increasing the complexity by making it as tactical as possible, in similar fashion to several early competitors developing more detailed, concrete combat systems . :M
     
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  24. ExposedBrainMatter Educated

    ExposedBrainMatter
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    How much amphetamine are you using to write these?
     
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  25. TheHeroOfTime Arcane

    TheHeroOfTime
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    [​IMG]
     
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