The Best Fallout Game Perfected The Formula

The best of them made it perfect!

By Douglas Helm | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

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The Fallout series of games could easily go down as some of the best RPGs of all time. The truly immersive environments, the morality options, and the retro-futuristic post-apocalypse setting all combine to make something truly special for players. With four games in the mainline series and several spin-offs, it can be difficult to pick which of the Fallout games stands above the rest. Of course, there are some real misses in the bunch (looking at you, Fallout 76), but for the most part, the games deliver in quality, story, and gameplay. With that being said, there’s definitely one Fallout game that many might agree is the best Fallout game.

Before diving into my pick, let’s talk about the runner-ups. First, you have to give the original Fallout and Fallout 2 credit for the concept and the worldbuilding the series has become known for. Though future iterations would make significant changes to the gameplay, the core concept was too good to throw out the window. The branching morality, the unique post-apocalypse wasteland, and many story elements were born here. Going back though, these games are a little dated. Also, the top-down, turn-based RPG style doesn’t quite immerse you in the world as well as later installments. If you like top-down and turn-based RPGs, you might dub these the best Fallout games, but there are better choices out there.

This brings us to the 3D Fallout installments. Bethesda would take over the series from here, releasing Fallout 3 in 2008. Making the game first-person was an inspired choice and made the series that much better. You could really dive into the world and all of the other established trademarks from the series were there, just with better gameplay. But, while Fallout 3 would be the beginning of the new formula, it doesn’t get to claim the title of best Fallout game. Nor does its sequel, Fallout 4. No, that honor has to go to the spin-off, Fallout: New Vegas.

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Fallout: New Vegas was released in 2010 by developing Obsidian Entertainment. They took the formula that was established in Fallout 3 and perfected it. Fallout: New Vegas gives you everything you could possibly want out of a Fallout game. You get combat bolstered by the ingenious V.A.T.S system. You get memorable and wacky characters that could only exist in the wastelands of Fallout. You get one of the best storylines the series has to offer. You get a great soundtrack to listen to as you explore. And of course, you have various factions battling it out in the Wasteland, which you can choose to ally with or oppose. While Fallout: New Vegas doesn’t have quite the same scale as Fallout 3 and 4 in its open world, the tighter focus allows you to explore every little nook and cranny without feeling too overwhelmed. Fallout: New Vegas is the best Fallout game because it does everything right, and doesn’t come with the usual complaints people have with the series. The one qualm people do sometimes have is the fact that the deserts of Vegas don’t always make for the most interesting environments, but the vibrant apocalyptic towns and cities more than make up for this.

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The story of Fallout: New Vegas is simple enough. You’re a courier who gets a package stolen and then you’re left to die in the desert. From there, the game opens up and lets you do whatever you want to do. There are tons of side quests, a fun main quest, and tons more to enjoy. Many others also agree that Fallout: New Vegas is the best Fallout game. It received great critical and commercial reception, with the Metacritic score currently sitting at 84 and a user score of 8.8. While Fallout 3 and Fallout 4 are ranked slightly higher, you’ll see plenty of opinions that choose New Vegas as the reigning champ. With that being said, you can’t really go wrong with any of these three options. They all bring something unique to the table, and Fallout fans are bound to have a blast in any of these versions of the wasteland.

If you’ve been too busy playing the mainline Fallout games and you missed this 2010 spin-off, you should definitely give it a try. You might just be missing out on the best Fallout game you’ve ever played.