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» NINTENDO 64 » HARDWARE » PS2 » PSOne » XBOX » GAMECUBE » HANDHELDS » SEGA
Robert (Carpe Mkarzi) Szekely April 2, 2001 Review Feedback

Fallout Tactics

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Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel (FoT) takes place in the same universe as the Fallout RPG games. (What you haven�t played them? And you call yourself a gamer? Now is the time - Interplay has re-released both 1 and 2 in a nice inexpensive little package.) Taking place in the time period between the two RPGs, it focuses primarily on combat and squad level tactics; however, it doesn�t stray too far from its roots.

 Software Specials
 
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Stats

Genre:
Strategy

Release Date:
Available

Publisher:
Interplay

Developer:
Micro Forte

ESRB:
Mature

Requirements:
Win9X
P2-266mhz
64 meg RAM
DirectX 7 video/sound card

 
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The game has 17 different missions and a few �secret� wilderness encounters for you to fight through. Let me first recommend the full install (1.6 GB). It will make your loads much better. Once loaded you get to either pick one of several pre-made characters or modify one (i.e. make your own). Just like in the RPG games you play with the main statistics and perks (they are traits that add a nice unique feel to your character - �Bloody mess� is a fav as it makes those around you die in the most horrible way possible). Once created you are treated to an absolutely hilarious dressing down from your commander and are sent off on the first mission with two other �recruits� - Farsite (sniper of sorts) and Stitch ( Medic and de facto trap detector).

Thus your life and occasional death begins in the Brotherhood of Steel. The install is clean and the amount of tweaking in the options section is pretty good. If you are a veteran of the series I would recommend playing the game on one of the top two difficulty settings. The main difference is the amount of damage that the weapons deal out. I also found the AI much better. At low levels the enemies behave rather stupidly. For example, I was involved in a pretty major firefight in mission 3 and two Raiders were standing side by side. Raider #1 attacked and died, while Raider #2 stood there while his comrade-in-arms was turned to pixel paste and never did attack. I left him standing there beside the body. At low levels the enemy can also be lured into ambushes much easier.

FoT is played out either in turn-based or Continuous Turn-based combat. Here�s the difference:

1) Turn-based is based on action points and initiative. The turns can be set as Squad or Individual. In Squad Turn Based, all of your forces move then the Enemy - repeat as needed. In Individual, units move based on initiative so one of yours may move, then an enemy, etc. I recommend Individual as it seems to be a purer form and adds some nice tense moments as an enemy is closing on a unit you know always moves last. What each unit can do per turn is limited by its action points; once out of points, it can do no more this turn. Pay attention to these points as they can literally mean the difference between life and death.

2) In Continuous Turn Based the action points still count but there is no real discernable demarcation between turns. It mimics real time and is the one way to really make you sweat out a game. Much more can and does go wrong in CTB games.

As a purist I prefer the standard turn-based combat. I like taking my time, setting up kill zones, doing recon by fire and generally covering my ass. Try both and settle on the one that suits your style of game play. I find that CTB is best for multiplayer and TB for the missions.

Let�s dissect a few seconds in a couple of Brotherhood of Steel soldier�s lives:

1) Mission starts.
2) Go Prone.
3) Use the �Sneak� skill to go into stealth mode.
4) Set your posture to aggressive and 66%. This means you will automatically attack anything that you have a 66% or better chance of hitting.
5) Make sure your best weapon is in hand (the greater the accuracy and range the better).
6) Crawl out while your partner is covering your movement.
7) Repeat until spotted or you reach objective.

Now this may seem a wee bit boring, but trust me, it ain�t. Each character has a starting inventory and a limited amount of stuff he/she can carry - admittedly it is a hell of a lot. The rule here is to pick up everything of value. As you may well expect, ammunition is a vital commodity so loot corpses and search everything.

At low levels of difficulty ammo is more important than healing, the reasoning being if you kill the enemy before he can get to you, you won�t need to heal. At high levels healing starts to outweigh ammo, so try to strike a balance.

So how do you get all this stuff?

Well, after each mission you can return to the Brotherhood�s Vault and do some trading. Here you can recruit new members to your squad or retire those already with you; trade what you have found for new equipment and supplies; pick up more stimpacks or other healing supplies; and get a briefing on your next mission. This is where the game feels a lot like its predecessors. It feels like an RPG. Your Squad gains experience, goes up levels, acquires new perks (which you get to choose), and increases their skills. I would almost call FoT a Hybrid game, an RPG/ Strategy.

Missions contain Primary and Secondary objectives. The Secondary ones can safely be ignored in most cases. In Mission 2 I was supposed to meet up with an informant, but I was delayed getting to the meeting place and the informant never showed. I completed the mission and no penalty was assessed.

The PIPboy (your very own post-nuclear holocaust PDA) map will show you where the objectives are and what you have to do.

The interface overall is very smooth and very easy to use. Weapons can be dragged from inventory into your hands for arming. Double clicking on a consumable item in inventory (stimpacks, pills, food etc.) means you use it on yourself. Dragging the same into one of your hands and clicking on it means you can use it on others.

Your skill are accessed through a menu and simply clicking on the skill (say, Lockpick) then the locked item (in this case) will force the use of that skill.

Moving is a simple point and click as is combat. Hold your cursor over a target and it will change to a set of crosshairs and a number will appear. That number is the percentage chance you have of hitting that target. Moving to a crouching or prone position will increase that chance.

When your squad is not in combat the game is effectively real time and you can move everyone at once with no Action Point restrictions. Once detected or if you attack or are attacked/detected the game switches to turn-based (if you are playing that style).

The hallmark of the first two RPGs was the wicked sense of black humor and it is still evident in FoT. Some of the text taunts from the enemy in game are worth the price of admission alone.

Be warned - with the language filter turned off there is some pretty strong language and potentially offensive remarks (a rape comment pissed me off - I know the backstory supports the potential, they just should have walked away from that one).

Sonically FoT is pretty good. The voiceover work is exceptional but I found the ambient sound effects sometimes simply disappeared. Many times I watched either one of my troops or an enemy fire with no sound accompanying the event. This seemed to occur during some of the larger firefights.

The look of FoT is exactly the same as the previous games. The characters have the same animations and the engine is starting to really show it�s age. That being said it does do the job and is good for the genre but it just feels dated - it�s a taste preference as opposed to a true gripe. I did notice that there is some �flickering� of some units� color. I had a unit in �sneak� mode and it kept flickering from pale transparent white to bright white to blue in 1-second intervals. It was very distracting.

As I said before the mission are canned - meaning that they are scripted. This is my main complaint against FoT. In X-Com every mission you went out on featured a random map, random number and random types of enemies. It kept it interesting and fresh, even into your 20th Terror site mission.

FoT does not have this randomization. Sure the position of units may vary a bit but on the whole, once a mission is played there is no reason to replay. FoT quickly acquires a �Been There, Done That� feel that, quite frankly, disappointed me. Once I played through the missions, as exciting, challenging, and fun as they were, I had no reason or desire to start all over.

The Multiplayer does add to the longevity of the game, but as with all Online games you have to put up with the percentage of idiots out there.

Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel is a great squad based strategy game. It will push you to be a better gamer but once complete it has little replay value. Kudos to Microforte for turning out such a fun game - I just wish, well, you know�

See you in the wastelands.


Game Title Rating
Concept
Natural fit and progression from the RPG series.
85
Gameplay
Fun but can become repetitive. Canned missions so replay value limited.
80

Graphics
Serviceable for the game but some odd flickering and color problems.
80

Sound
Good VO work but sound cuts out on occasion.
85
Technical
Pretty damn stable. Some odd crashes, AI limited at lower difficulty levels.
80

Overall
Damn fine work, but could use a few extra features.
82




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