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Late to the Game(s): Exploring post-apocalyptic West Virginia

By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

I’ve got a confession to make – I’ve never finished a Fallout game. I’ve played several of them, and enjoyed them thoroughly, but I’ve never completely finished one. 

The reason for this is that the games are massive, both the environment and the stories are vast and meandering. If you finish all the side quests you get a really good feel for the world the game developers have built. You become invested in and really understand the world, the characters, and how your choices impact both. But you have to invest a lot of time in order to do all those things. I’ve seen folks invest literally hundreds of hours in a playthrough. 

Then, some of them do it again to get a different experience and try different tactics. 

Sure, you can just zip through the main story and reach an ending, but that isn’t the way I or many others choose to play these games. Most of us want an immersive experience when we choose a role playing game (RPG), one that feels like our choices are meaningful. Whatever shortcomings the Fallout games may have – and there are a few – they do a good job of that. 

While I have played several other games in the series, I haven’t played the newest entry, Fallout ‘76. That may change, though, with a recent sale on the game that reduces the purchase price by up to 60 percent. At an average price of just over $15, depending on the version, retailer, and platform you choose, it’s almost 75 percent less than the launch price of the base game. 

If you haven’t played any of the other Fallout games, why would you be interested in Fallout ‘76? For one, the games are each standalone. Sure, you’ll have a richer experience if you’ve played the original top-down Fallout games, or the modern third-person/first-person view games Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas, and Fallout 4. But it isn’t necessary. 

But the reason I’m so interested in finally playing Fallout ‘76 is probably related more to the setting. Fallout ‘76 is set in Appalachia – specifically West Virginia. The game features a version of the famous Mothman creature of Point Pleasant and Huntington’s Camden Park amusement park. Of course, the world of Fallout is set in an alternate universe. It’s a universe where the vacuum tube based technology of the 1950s continued to develop instead of being replaced by microchips. 

That 1940s and 1950s design aesthetic was also maintained, so robots, diners, and vehicles all reflect that, as do the soundtracks of the games. There are also other differences, so the familiar clown mascot we all know from the Camden Park sign, for instance, is replaced with a raccoon. Everything is familiar, but just a little off. It’s one of the things that make the game series so compelling. 

If you’re interested in checking out Fallout ‘76, or any of the other games in the Fallout series, you can find more information on the publisher’s website, http://www.bethesda.net. 

Fallout ‘76 has an ESRB rating of M for Mature, both due to content and possible online interactions between players. So, if you have young children, you should know this game is not suitable for them. 

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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