Nut Load. Mini reviews of games old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional shock face.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fallout Tactics (2001)

Genre: RPG | Players: 1 + Multi via Lan / Online | Developer: Micro Forté

I was once told that every game series needs its turd.  A few escape relatively unscathed, like Baldur's Gate or Elder Scrolls, others get... well... something of Fallout Tactics calibre.

At first sight it's interesting: a tactical, squad-based adventure game that explores a bit more the Fallout universe.  The only problem was that the game development was obviously rushed, and in a pretty bad way.  Some designs are atrocious, and the general look of the game looks like a few steps BACKWARD when compared to Fallout 2.  Still, it had some strong points: squad based combat is a perfect fit for the Fallout universe, and the game offers a lot of possibilities in terms of characters, gameplay and equipment.
That's all.  The A.I. is flawed; its main behaviours akin to a constant zerg rush: send its entire troop at you, not bothering with things like subtlety, and often putting its men in a nice column that you only need to shower with lead.  As I said, the designs are bad but the worst injury comes from the game system; it's neither turn based nor real time.  Basically, it's a mess.  A buggy mess which smells like "unfinished product" to me.  And I'm right, as the following shows:

"If Interplay had allowed more time (and money), MicroForte would have been in a position to deliver a better game.  That's fairly typical of the publisher/developer relationship. [...] Keep in mind that the amount of testing on Fallout Tactics was tragically short.  IIRC, Interplay received the first full beta/fully playable to the end on a Saturday.  The following Wednesday, after one - maybe two - revs, it was sent off for mastering.  That's an amazingly short amount of time (most projects have at least a month between fully playable and gold mastering, RPGs usually have longer).  Myself and a few others asked for more time to do more testing and we were denied.  There was a strong desire to get the game out as fast as possible by someone at Interplay.  I don't think it helped that I had walked out of a marketing meeting a month or so earlier, so my opinion towards the end wasn't well received.
Additional testing time would have allowed: more bug fixes, better balancing (especially in Turn-Based, since the limited amount of testing time, most of QA was testing in real-time) and more tweaks to the game system."

Who says that?  Chris Taylor (RPG Codex forum), Fallout lead designer and a producer on Tactics.  In other words the game release was rushed, released with close to no testing, and knowing it had rather poor gameplay (hell, it's a slaughter-fest even worse than Icewind Dale, with nearly NO role-playing), very little humour (keep in mind Fallout and Fallout 2 were full of easter eggs and funny little things found here and there) and ugly designs.  Gameplay-wise, the game isn't balanced at all (enemies are either too strong or too easy for you, some missions are close to impossible, and a few are downright impossible), and finally Inon Zur was obviously uninspired as the music is quite bland and forgettable...

So yeah. Fallout Tactics is the bad egg of the Fallout family.

Buyer’s Guide:
Available on PC, Mac, Steam, and

½ don't rush your game release or they'll end in the toilets like the piece of shit they are out of 5.*

*The ½ point is for that monstrous heavy machine gun that can one-shot nearly anything, and for which you find TONS of ammo.

Nutted by Docrate1 (who won’t be campaigning for a Fallout Tactics 2 any time soon).

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