Role-playing in Fallout
An RPG should, by definition, be all about assuming and performing a role, about getting into character and acting as though you were them. So how does the first game in one of the most celebrated RPG series of all time fare in this respect?
Read all about it after the break.
For Fallout, I assumed the role of the character of Ashley, a very intelligent and attractive 18-year old on a quest to save her people. I had to abandon the first version of her, because she and her party got unfortunately walled in and I had to restart the entire game. You can read all about Ashley here and see what changed for Ashley 2.0 here.
My intention was for Ashley to fight as little as possible and solve most quests by peaceful means. This proved impossible, even with version 2.0 who was additionally beefed up to strengthen her speech capacity and pacifism. Not counting animals, robots and beasts like the DeathClaw, by level 12 in not even a year of her young life she had slain 135 sentient beings. With very few exceptions, Ashley only killed in self-defence. Her efforts to avoid battles included running away from as many chance encounters as possible and going out of her way to not cross paths with creatures she thought could be hostile and attack. She did solve a quest or three by using her charisma and wit, but she was far from being able to “talk her way out of any situation”, even with her Speech skill at 200% (the maximum).
When in combat, Ashley did look the part, hitting with deadly precision from a safe distance while her party-mates acted as tanks. But she was no match for opponents that were faster than her and for some reason, even on the wimpy combat difficulty setting, every bad guy or gal in the game attacked her, ignoring the threat and damage posed and inflicted by other party members.
Socially, she managed to attract the largest possible following (two men, one woman and a dog) but her sex life was pathetic despite her openness of mind. For all her stunning good looks, every each one of her carnal offers was turned down.
Maybe life in the wasteland was tougher than I anticipated, but overall, roleplay-wise, Fallout did not deliver a very satisfying experience. It was not a deal-breaker, but neither was it the stuff of RPG greatness.