It’s been a while since I advised anyone on the proper way to play a game. That post made me look like a Skyrim apologist: “Skyrim might seem boring – the combat is clunky, the interface is awful, looting and managing inventory is tedious, and the quests are unrewarding – but you’re probably just playing it wrong. Just don’t do anything the game tells you to do. Yeah, all the containers are full of stuff to loot and inspect, but don’t bother looking in them because none of it is any good. What? Don’t ask me why they put it in there. Yeah, I suppose they could have spent the development time making better quests or fixing the broken AI but… just leave it alone, alright? Oh, and ignore all that dragon stuff. It’s anti-climatic. Learn to enjoy fetch quests instead, then it will be fun.”
Hey, I’m sure every blogger has posts they’re ashamed of, right?
Needless to say, my final impressions of Skyrim were not nearly as glowing as my initial ones. (“No way – I can go anywhere and do anything? What fun! Wheeeeeeeeeeee! You need me to do what? I’m the friggin’ Dragonborn! Get your own stupid thingama- ah, this sucks. I’m bored.”) From what I’ve read, this is a pretty common response to the game.
My gaming preferences have changed quite a bit since I wrote that article. I blame this on playing too much Demon’s Souls and reading too many articles about classic RPGs like Baldur’s Gate, Gothic, and Fallout.
No, not that Fallout:
I’m talking about this Fallout:
It turns out that gamers with a lot of classic RPG experience (read “hardcore” gamers) have little to nothing good to say about Bethesda’s re-imagining of Fallout. Yet many hold the original game in reverence, some even citing it as the supreme RPG. Get a load of these reviews on GOG.com:
Fallout is one of the few games that can truly be called a classic. Modern games today fare poorly to what Fallout provides… This game is a must for any RPG lover, or someone looking for an introduction to the genre.
Playing this game has been a revelation… if you ever needed an illustration of why shiny graphics should take second place to gameplay, Fallout is it. The depth of the game is incredible…
A fantastic RPG game set in a post-apocalyptic world filled with survivors, mutants and interesting locations, considered by many to be the best game in history… Fallout is a game with a rich world and countless possibilities. Personally I believe that every gamer should play it until the end at least once. I definitely recommend this game to everyone!
[Fallout] has the best replay value of any game I’ve experienced to date.
This is one of those rare games that oozes quality from every pore.
When you start the game you’ll be treated to with one of the most chilling, well-written introductions a game has ever been blessed with.
In an age where many are predicting the death of traditional RPGs at the hands of multiplayer extravaganzas, Fallout is a glowing example of the genre, one which positively radiates quality.
You get the impression: If you haven’t played Fallout, you probably should if you want to have a better appreciation for RPGs. I’ll be the first to admit that I was initially turned off by the outdated graphics. What really got my attention, however, is the amount of praise Fallout receives from gamers who are jaded with modern RPGs like Skyrim and Mass Effect. I’m in that camp, so I should definitely enjoy Fallout, right?
Wait for it…
Yes! I totally enjoy Fallout. And you can too if you give this game a fair chance. But before you go and buy it and start playing it, I have one tiny piece of advice. I know I said I wouldn’t tell you the proper way to play a game again – Fallout doesn’t need that anyways – but hear me out.
First, don’t use a walkthrough. There are lots and lots of them around, so you’ll have to be careful in order to avoid them. At times, it will be especially tempting to just glance at a walkthrough. Don’t do it!
You see, part of what makes a game like this so great is the opportunity it gives you to discover things on your own. A walkthrough – particularly the type that tells you every step you should make, every skill point you should invest, every perk you should choose, etc. – robs you of that chance. Unlike modern RPGs that hold your hand, making it impossible for you to lose and taking away all sense of risk and reward in the process, there is no hand-holding in Fallout. Your mission is to find a water chip. “Okay, great!” you say. “I’ll head for the nearest quest marker.” Lo and behold, there is a marker, but you won’t find anything there. At this point, you could consult the nearest walkthrough, but you would be robbing yourself. Go explore! Go get killed! Learn lessons. Make mistakes. Meet people. Ask questions. Gain companions. Figure it out.
I’m willing to bet that most people who have such fond memories of Fallout didn’t have a walkthrough when they played it, since the internet was hardly a thing then.
Second, (and finally) read the manual. Fallout is an arguably complex game. This is a good thing. The manual is your friend.
Also, the GUI is rather counter-intuitive. So the manual is worth a read for that section alone.
That’s it. See? A pretty simple guide to having fun in the wasteland. So go give Fallout a chance. You won’t look at RPGs the same way after.