Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel Review
If you’re also a PC gamer then you probably have heard of the Fallout games before. Set in a post-apocalyptic world in which the Cold War turned hot in the 1950s, the Fallout series has spawned several well-regarded RPGs and a squad-based strategy game. The series now makes its console debut as an action-RPG built on the Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance engine in Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel. With a pedigree that includes a venerated PC series of games and the engine of an excellent action-RPG game you’d think that Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel (BoS) would be destined to be one of the top console games of the year. I thought so too. After playing BoS though, I was soon disappointed to find that it is a thoroughly average game.
|Outnumbered. Get used to it.|
BoS casts you in the role of a wasteland mercenary who’s recently joined the legendary Brotherhood of Steel. The Brotherhood is a society dedicated to bringing order back to the wasteland basically by killing anyone or thing that causes trouble. Unfortunately you’ve lost your fellow Brotherhood warriors and your quest to track them down forms the core of the game’s story.
Before play begins, you have your choice of playing as a big bruiser named Cyrus, a quick but weak woman named Nadia, and a mutant named Cain who’s not as fast as Nadia but stronger and not as strong as Cyrus but faster. Cyrus is your melee and heavy weapons guy, while Nadia is better suited to those who prefer to conduct their killing at a distance behind the safety of a gun while eluding direct confrontations. The mutant is a middle of the road character who has the advantage of not only being immune to the ubiquitous puddles of radioactive waste found in the wasteland of the future, but of being able to regenerate health from the ooze.
If you’ve played Dark Alliance, then you’ll be able to pick up BoS and start playing right away. The game shares Dark Alliance’s control scheme (with a few modifications), which is a good thing because it works pretty well. You cycle between your equipped weapons with the Black and White buttons and attack with B. This allows you to quickly switch weapons so you can blast away at an enemy with a shotgun, and then switch to a club when it gets closer. Using a stimpack (the futuristic equivalent of a health potion) is a trigger pull away, and the other trigger can be used to lock onto a target when shooting. There are also buttons used to jump and crouch, the former of which you’ll need to use a lot and the latter never at all. However there is a major difference in control between Dark Alliance and BoS, when you use the right stick to move the camera you’ll find that unlike Dark Alliance you can not zoom the camera or change its angle. Throughout the game the camera is locked in an awkward high angle that is almost a straight overhead view. This can make it difficult to get a good view of the action at times, especially in close quarters. It also makes it hard to view some of the details in the game – for example, billboards touting a certain energy drink whose manufacturer apparently survived the nuclear holocaust intact are somewhat hard to read.