Okay, okay, I am watching my back after this entry because I know some people will want to stealth kill me with a stab to the spine for this statement. But, again, if you hear me out, it will make sense. Yes, the opening theme to Skyrim (sorry I keep using that as a ref. point and not Oblivion, but Skyrim was more widely known) is one of the greatest most epic opening themes of any game ever. Sounds like something straight out of big-budget cinema. Yes, I would be lying to not stop and give that score some credit. BUT (there is always a but), the soundtrack when you actually played was far more ambient. It accentuated your journey nicely, but felt very, well, safe in that world.
Yet, in Fallout 3 you had access to all those cool 1950’s songs on your Pip-Boy. I don’t care what anyone says, the 50’s was a great era (minus the rampant racism and sexism) and you can get that same ideal when listening to tunes from the era. Just the sur-reality of listening to those (often upbeat) songs juxtaposed against the destroyed landscape and mutant creatures and raiders just made it feel so movie-esque. Also, a big factor in my choice is their specific song licenses they get. Come on, game teasers don’t get any better than Fallout 3, and it has a LOT to do with the song they chose (which is featured in the above video).
An arrow to the knee. Yes, good stuff. I know that became one of the most overly used running jokes between game fans ever. Well played. BBBUUUTTTTTT, the overall humor and wit written into Fallout is far more enjoyable than the overly serious tone that seems to run like a varicose vein through all the Elder Scrolls games. Where The Elder Scrolls games take themselves very seriously, Fallout is more like that funny kid in class you really want to hang out with more because he or she makes you laugh all the time. From the Easter eggs to the straight up hilarity of characters like Moira Brown, Fallout excels here. Yes, Moira is annoying, but have you ever experienced her banter AFTER you melt all her skin off by nuking her home town? There is non-stop hilarity there. And she is but one of hundreds of NPC’s who are f*cking laugh-riots. Another great example of this humor is in Fallout: New Vegas. If you put only one point into your intelligence in the game, most of the characters you meet in the game will treat you (and talk to you like) you are retarded. Um, how hilariously twisted is that?
It is that humor and accessibility to proves I am correct when I say the Fallout series is superior to the Elder Scrolls. It is like having two uncles who are both really cool. One teaches you how to break necks and be a lethal and deadly serious killing machine. The other ones makes jokes and sneaks you a beer while you are underage. Which one would you rather hang out with? Fallout is the cool uncle. Elder Scrolls is the deadly serious uncle. Both cool in their own right, but we know which one is more fun to hang out with.
The Vault History
This is one of my favorite aspects about the Fallout games. The varied and unbelievable history of each Vault you encounter in-game (across older versions right up to New Vegas). The Vaults were really just social experiments, and they are sometimes really twisted and screwed up. I will list out a couple examples of the most twisted and interesting Vaults right now to give you an idea:
Vault 11: Sorry guys and gals, but you need to pick one of you to sacrifice, every year.
Vault 92: Hey, let’s put all the greatest artistic minds from history in here. Oh, and let’s slowly pump in white noise and static to see how long it takes them to go batshit insane.
Vault 108: All I have to say to any Fallout fan is “GARY” and they will know the significance of this entry.
Vault 112: Virtual reality living simulation. In other words, the f*cking Matrix (with people in actual Vault sleeping in pods, unaware they are in a V.R experiment).
Vault 12: Hey, let’s make a massive Vault that seems legit, but let’s keep the door open a crack so that radiation can slowly leak in.
Vault 106: This time, we will slowly pump in hallucinatory drugs that no one will know they are ingesting. That should end well for everyone.
That is only six vaults, but there are a shit ton more, and each one has a story worthy of its own game.
The Game Ending
Hey gamers, remember that time we all thought the Mass Effect series was going to have an ending that incorporated every single choice we made in the game into the actual ending, just like Fallout games? And remember when we got three, lame endings for that game that had nothing to do with our choices? Do you also remember how much that sucked? Guess what? Fallout games did the opposite of that, and gave gamers one of the most extensive and full flushed out endings in gaming. Ron “I’ll f*ck yo bitch” Perlman telling us EXACTLY how all our actions affected the world and rippled after we made them. While some people complained about the use of still photos in the actual ending, they seemed to fail to realize this is accompanied by an INCREDIBLY extensive monologue about every single thing you did in the hours preceding it. NO game had ever been that thourough in its finale.
From random people I killed to simple decisions I made, the game walked me through it all and let me know how it went onto to ripple in every event that came after it. Simple decisions I made early on proved to have weight and carry over to the end. It was a novel concept, and the final nail in the coffin as to why the Fallout games are far superior to the Elder Scrolls games (even though Scrolls have a very similar ending). Problem was, my Skyrim copy was so glitched, I couldn’t even finish the game to compare endings. Which means the clear winner is….
Speaking of game endings…..